I like nature, I really do. Especially when it's chilly outside and I'm wearing a comfy jacket. Sometimes the air indoors just gets too stale and still, and I love being able to go outside to breathe in fresh air. I also really like being able to go back indoors to a clean, bug-free environment. So what happens when you take a germaphobe camping?
This weekend I went on a church retreat in Denton, Maryland. Michael and I don't actually go to this church, we go to the assistant pastor's house every Wednesday night with some awesome people for a Bible study and fantastic fellowship. The church-goers are a very tight knit community and everyone already knew who I was without actually meeting me. I'm sure after our first date last year, word spread like wild fire about Michael's new girlfriend. I'm okay with it.
When I first heard about church campout and decided I would go, I pictured a couple big log cabins with lots of rooms, huge stone fireplaces, deer heads on the wall and quilts in deep colors like burgundy and hunter green...
That is not at all what it looked like there. There were like a hundred tiny "cabins" made of cement stones or siding - all white washed. It was pretty and bright. There were lots of oak trees and acorns covering the grass.
I loved the way the light shone through the trees, which were turning beautiful fall colors.
Michael loves tradition. He has been going to church campout for as long as he can remember, and he gets so excited about it every year. It's cute. He is also such a creature of habit when it comes to stuff like this. He has been staying in a large cabin called "Dukes Hall" for years. Him and a bunch of friends signed up to stay there again, so I did too. When we pulled up to the cabin, I grabbed my bag and 3 huge bottles of Fiji water, and stepped inside.
I have this thing about water. I love it, I drink so much that if I don't have some for a few hours, I start to get headaches. I loved fresh bottled water without sodium. I have a really hard time drinking tap water from anywhere. I know it's all in my head, but I just can't get past it. So I armed myself with tons of Fiji water for the weekend. Smart.
Okay back to the story - Dukes Hall smelled bad. I'm sorry, Michael... but it did. It smelled like an attic filled with antiques that hasn't seen fresh air in 50 years. It was musty, to say the least. The room I was staying in had a double bed with a stained mattress. And there were 6 guys that were staying there with us. It was all too much. I thought about sleeping in the car, when I realized I could just stay somewhere else!
So I stayed here. People told me it was one of the "newer" buildings. It was also one of the only heated buildings, and it had bathrooms in it so I wouldn't have to walk to the bath house to take a shower. Score.
It was also where the high school/college girls stayed. So there were a lot of these:
Of course there was a lot of chatter and giggles about boys until very early in the morning. It did my heart good to hear it. Don't worry, I wasn't eavesdropping. I stayed on the other side of the room where it was quiet. But every once in awhile I would hear things like:
"I can only flirt with guys I don't like, because I'm too nervous to talk to guys that I actually like."
"Don't worry, I don't like him! I know you do and in my head he is yours and I would never like him!"
"I just wish I knew if he liked me..."
It was so sweet and innocent. I remember thinking those exact same things when I was in high school. It is so safe and secure to know that you have a man that loves you back, and will never leave you. I texted Michael and told him I was so happy to have him in my life and how I couldn't wait to call him my husband.
Sorry about that mushy side-story.
When I picked out my bed in this huge room of bunk beds, I was very particular, as you can imagine. I wanted a mattress that was covered and had no stains and no smell. The above picture is the kind of thing you don't want.
So I found a bed that met most conditions and was fully covered in what seemed like a new layer of plastic. It was great, except for the 1 foot clearance between the bottom and top bunk. Michael, the sweet man that he is, took the top mattress off for me. Way less claustrophobic after that.
I also have to sleep with a fan, I love that steady noise. It puts me right to sleep. So he found me a clean chair to use as a night stand to put my things on. He did his best to make me comfortable. Thank you, boyfriend. You're the best.
That's how it goes down when a city girl goes camping. You keep working at it until your sleeping conditions are satisfactory. You keep all your bags and things up above the ground so spiders don't mysteriously crawl into them. You keep fresh bottles of water with you at all times.
Is this high maintenance? I hope not. To keep everyone from thinking I'm a psychopath, I will tell you that I had a nice relaxing time. I enjoyed walking around taking pictures of the natural, pretty things around me.
It was fun to spend the weekend with Michael and our awesome friends. It was great to do something out of the ordinary.
When I got home on Sunday night, my sweet mother had washed all my sheets and towels with lavender scented fabric softener. God bless that woman.