Although I’ve been blessed to have been able to spend a good bit of time with some dear friends this summer, there are several of them I wish I could have spent more time with. One of them is Elizabeth. Between school and then work and church and being super popular with lots of people making demands on her time, she is a tough one to pin down sometimes. But ironically enough, it seems to have actually gotten a bit easier since she got a new boyfriend. Caleb and Michael have several times taken the initiative to plan double dates and outings and such, which means I’ve gotten to spend more time than usual with my lovely friend Elizabeth (oh yeah, and Caleb and Michael, too :]).
Two of my favorite such outings were going to the High Museum and visiting Helen for the day. The High was supposed to be a surprise for me and Elizabeth – the only thing I knew was the date, and that I should dress up. But it turned out that Caleb told Elizabeth all about it, so the only one who was surprised was me. And boy oh boy, did the three of them enjoy the fact that I was left in the dark. They were definitely enjoying teasing me, lol. But it was worth it. The High was having an exhibit on classic cars, which was why we went that night. Knowing that I used to race, they chose that activity really solely because they thought that it would interest me – I felt very loved :).
After leaving the museum, we came across an interactive exhibit set up outside the museum entrance. It was basically just a bunch of hammocks hanging under the stars – using them was encouraged. It took a few minutes to snag 2 hammocks near each other, but we finally did, and stayed there in various amalgamations of people until the museum staff finally kicked us out.
My other favorite outing, as I mentioned earlier, was a day trip to Helen. Elizabeth and I had so much fun with the boys at the High, that we decided to plan our own date. This one was also supposed to be a surprise, but they are pretty insightful and had mostly figured it all out by the time we left. But it was still fun. She and I had packed stuff for a big picnic, which we ate upon arrival to Helen, which is about an hour and a half away from Atlanta. After that, we rented some inner tubes and floated down the river. It was pretty crowded, since it was Labor Day weekend, but we were able to navigate pretty well, especially considering the fact that we had decided against renting poles for steering. I found that tying myself together with another inner tube made navigating the river exponentially easier – when one person got stuck on a rock, the other one usually bounced off of them and then pulled them free. I only got stuck badly enough that I had to stand up to get off of the rock 3 or 4 times.
In the middle of the river, there was also a couple of big water slides, at which we took a fun detour for a while. We started off racing each other down, but when Michael was going so fast that he slammed into the pool at the bottom and scraped himself up pretty badly, we decided to calm down a little bit and go at a more relaxed pace.
Once we finished the tubing course, we went back to the town and walked around for a bit. I didn’t want to bring my camera on the river, so the only pictures that I have from the entire day are from when we were walking around the city center. Helen is a very picturesque town – it’s supposed to be a facsimile of a traditional German town. It’s incredibly touristy and I would hate to live in it, but to visit for a few hours was actually a lot of fun. They have lots of little candy and artisan and gift stores that you could browse for hours if you wanted to. My shopping limit is much less than that, so I only lasted about an hour before I was ready to head back home. But it was a very nice day. I was particularly grateful for the fact that, despite all of the driving to get there, I was actually able to rest and re-charge a bit on the river. I had been going so hard for so long at that point, that some rejuvenation time was really just what the doctor ordered. Getting to do it with people I love was just the icing on the cake :).