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Life in Images, Life in Words

Thoughts from the Malibu

In the past 4 months, I have been gallivanting through the great state of North Dakota along with bits of Minnesota and South Dakota for nearly 8 weeks. I have learned a lot, had a heap of fun, and am exhausted.  All in a day’s work, right?

Here are some thoughts that have had many hours to roll around in my head while cooped up in this car…

  1. Hotel keys also work wonders as ice scrapers when in a pinch.
  2. Rumble strips on both the inside and outside of my lane on state highways are a lifesaver for this easily distracted girl.
  3. I love driving by old, rundown farms, fields full of cows, rolling hills scattered with horses, the beautiful Badlands, the hills/buttes of the ranch countryside of Western ND, beautiful sunrises and sunsets… Just see #2…
  4. I am extremely thankful for Aaron’s ability and willingness to drive our small family most places.  Reference #2 again…
  5. Small car + icy roads + early (think 5am early) morning drive + BIG trucks + Western ND oil country = a stressful first day ever on the road for high school visits.  Everyone survived and I was even on time that morning.  Never again though… that week’s schedule will be changing for next year!
  6. This small Malibu and I, SF 3427, have bonded very well over the weeks.  I have had her out a lot and put the majority of her 12,500+ miles on her odometer myself.
  7. I dearly miss consistent time with Aaron (phone calls don’t count!), sleep, our bed, a kitchen, good food, sleep, normal schedules, our Missional Community, River City Church, sleep, time in the office, having the ability to have people into our home, having a clean floor, sleep, having all the laundry done, and having cell phone reception.
  8. I love having Sprint as our cell phone carrier, but they get horrible reception in the majority of North Dakota.  Once I hit a few miles west of Jamestown, I flip to an extended network and fight for service in the rest of the state.  I am done with dropped calls, text messages that won’t go through, a GPS service that won’t work, and not being able to update apps to clear the app center notification!
  9. At one of my last high schools visits for the year, a counselor gave me such a nice complement! While I don’t make a practice of comparing myself/NDSU to other reps/schools, she said she was so glad I had come that day because I spoke of NDSU far better than other school reps did about their respective colleges. After a crazy busy fall semester not knowing if all this work has had one iota of impact on these students, at least a counselor was able to confirm I don’t always sound like a blubbering fool in front of students :)

Please keep in mind this list has been compiled at the end of my travel season, and exhaustion is speaking louder than the fact that while I’m on the road, I absolutely LOVE meeting with students.  Most schools I visit have a good group of students genuinely interested in being a part of the great Bison Nation.  My favorite meetings include a smaller handful of students where conversation happens more than me just handing over a presentation about NDSU.  I just love being able to share what NDSU is about, what we have to offer students, and our impact on the FM area, North Dakota, and beyond.  This informal counseling is wonderful; I just wish I could have more long-term relationships with these students!

In reference to #2 once more, here are some photos captured while traveling, some while I was stationary, and others, if I’m honest, while the car was moving. What a beautiful state I live in!

The National College Fair in Minneapolis.  Got to see Aaron's cousin there, too! Fun!

The National College Fair in Minneapolis. Got to see Aaron’s cousin there, too! Fun!

We had a fun break from the craziness and got to spend a weekend with Megan.  We had a blast!

We had a fun break from the craziness and got to spend a weekend with Megan. We had a blast!

Some very early mornings made for fabulous  sunrise photos!

Some very early mornings made for fabulous sunrise photos!

another bug-filled windshield sunrise!

another bug-filled windshield sunrise!

not a sunrise, but I just love ND sunshine!

not a sunrise, but I just love ND sunshine!

Spearfish Canyon - one of my favorite places to travel this season!

Spearfish Canyon – one of my favorite places to travel this season!

another Spearfish Canyon capture.

another Spearfish Canyon capture.

one more of the Canyon!

one more of the Canyon!

a secret desire of mine: purchase an old, run-down farmstead and restore it to its original beauty and function!

a secret desire of mine: purchase an old, run-down farmstead and restore it to its original beauty and function!

a foggy morning drive - literally less than a quarter mile visibility. thankfully most days were not like this!

a foggy morning drive – literally less than a quarter-mile visibility. thankfully most days were not like this!

beautiful buttes of Western ND!

beautiful buttes of Western ND!

A spot near and dear to my heart: the beautiful Badlands of North Dakota!

A spot near and dear to my heart: the beautiful Badlands of North Dakota!

What a fall it’s been! I’m looking forward to a spring semester spent in Fargo, but am already looking forward to Fall 2013’s travel!

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