On Friday night I had the pleasure of being visited by a dear friend from Madison, Marissa Mullins. We met my sophomore year in Spanish 224 with the one and only, Profesora Margarita Zamora. What a lady. She sure didn't put up with anything less than our best and I learned a lot that semester. Marissa was a freshman who snuck her way into a class with all sophomores and juniors and felt a bit out of place, nervous and desired more than anything to make at least one friend. She noticed that every day I brought this cool homemade-looking purse from Ecuador (because it said in nice black letters, "Ecuador"), and finally one day she got up the courage to ask me if I had ever been to Ecuador. I went over winter break the year before with a PhD student who is from Quito and has semi-started up a business in taking people there for Winter and Spring breaks so they can get a safe little taste of the country while traveling around with a native.
Anywho, apparently Marissa had just returned from the same trip that I took, but a year after I went. What are the odds?! They only take 7-12 people each break so just the fact that we both randomly went on this trip obviously must mean we'd be friends, right?
That year for Christmas mom and dad bought me a Crock-Pot so I was so excited to try it out with anyone and everyone. I ended up having Marissa over to try a new recipe in the slow cooker and have "story sharing" about our time in Ecuador, but it turned into so much more than that. We started connecting on the faith level as soon as we both found out we wanted someone to go to Mass with and we began meeting up every Wednesday for coffee, chatting and then praying a Rosary and going to the candlelight Mass together at 9 pm. What a beautiful base from which to build a friendship. Our friendship continued over the next three years, getting stronger as we went, and this weekend she even made the nine hour trip to come see me. What a gal!
While she was here we had the delight of joining Fr. Cheney at a favorite spot: Applebee's. On the way back to the Newman Center after dinner the sun was setting over in the west and it was BIG, pink and round--SO beautiful. Without missing a beat Fr. looked to the right and exclaimed, "Good work, God! A+ on that one." That became our theme for the weekend, especially yesterday when he took us flying over the Smoky Hills in Minnesota near Detroit Lakes and showed us the magnificent fall foliage. I've seen a lot of really beautiful things in my life thus far but man, I don't know that I've ever witnessed something quite like this!
|There's a priest--(and a pilot!)--you can trust!|
|Pilot Cheney and beautiful teammate.|
|THAT'S what I'm talking about!!|
|Marissa and I in front of beautifully landscaped NDSU campus entrance.|
|Cari and I in front of the famous Fargo sign downtown.|
p.s. the Photo cred all goes to Miss Cari Devlin! What an eye!