I just got back from my first-ever church retreat. I went with G.C.'s church, HCBC, to a camp in East Texas. On Friday, I went home with her and we spent the night trying to figure out our chemistry homework (which involved a whodunit that did NOT make sense), geometry/algebra homework, and watching Tangled in Spanish (that was epic). Then we went to sleep at around 11. The next morning, we woke up and headed to her church, whereupon I first met her junior and senior guy friends (and I don't know their last names, so I'll just refer to them by their first names) James, Michael, Daniel, Jeremy, and Zane. We hung out for a little and then set about finding a car in which to ride. There was no room left in any of the cars, so G.C., Michael, and I ended up in a van full of....middle schoolers (and Zane and one or two other high schoolers). UGH. Not only do middle schoolers smell bad, but they are extremely loud and hyper! It may not have been so bad if we hadn't had to sit in the parking lot for an hour because our ReNew booklets had to print, but still. I heard some rather inappropriate things and some rather bad language in that hour...not fun o.O But Michael entertained us and kept the chaos controlled, so that was good.
We finally got started and quickly discovered that Michael and Zane are huge fans of metal and techno music. Soooo we listened to LOTS and LOTS of death metal, techno, electronic, and even some Swedish metal whilst driving in the van. I absolutely do not understand how metal is even considered music....
Our driver (who I think is named Matt) made us play a 'get to know each other game,' where we would introduce ourselves and then everyone else would take turns asking us a question about ourselves. This was a very long game, as there were 13 of us (not including Matt), and we all had to ask everyone a question. It was sort of entertaining when Michael asked his questions, though, because he would do it in his 'formal voice,' which is a deep, gentlemanly voice that sounds more like a 30-year-old's. And it's awesome, because he's a huge physics nerd, but he's still so hilarious and friendly :D
So after 3 long hours, we arrived, whereupon we headed to the mess hall for the welcoming message and all that stuff. Then we headed outside, where we could start all the activities. We watched some people attempt the Junkyard Climb. This is a ropes course where you climb a ladder made of intermittent thin logs and then onto a tire and then on a net rope and then onto a 2 x 4 box, whereupon you jump and grab a trapeze that's seven feet from the box. Fun stuff! I actually wouldn't have minded trying, but it was pretty crowded, so I didn't.
And then came Hexball. G.C. noticed some people in the gym, so we left the Junkyard Climb to see what they were doing. They were playing Hexball (it's actually called Gaga, but that's a stupid name, so I'm calling it Hexball), which is absolutely the most amazing game I have ever played. You and a bunch of other people stand inside a large hexagon and one person has a volleyball (or any other ball). The volleyball has to hit three walls of the hexagon before it's considered 'live' (meaning the game can now commence). Then you can push and roll the volleyball at other people in an attempt to hit them anywhere below the waist, in which case they'd be out. Your foot can't touch the ball at any time, or you're out. You can only block with one hand. The last person that hasn't been hit wins. When you're playing with six or seven high school boys, this game gets extremely intense. Michael was standing outside the hexagon and got hit very hard by a stray ball that one of the boys had thrown, and he dropped to the ground immediately like he'd been shot; he wasn't hurt, so it was completely hilarious. I've never seen anyone fall to the ground that quickly :D Anyway, G.C. and I are going to try to convince our P.E. coach to add Hexball to our curriculum; that'd be so freakin' awesome!!!
So after several games of Hexball, G.C. and I sat at a fire that one of the kids had coaxed from an ember for a while. That was relaxing...and rather smoky, because people kept putting leaves on the fire. Then we and the rest of the kids went to Session, which is where one of the youth pastors gives us a sermon. We also sang with the band. After this, we went back to our cabins for small groups, and then we went looking for the boys, but couldn't find them. Eventually, we were told by somebody that they were at the bonfire, so we got a ride with some other kids out to the bonfire, which was out in a wide-open field surrounded by pine trees. You could see so many stars out there! It was epically beautiful :) Michael and James and Daniel entertained us with all their different accents (Michael specialises in Russian) and that was so funny! Best bonfire I've ever been to :D
At 11:30, we went back to our cabins and went to bed. We woke up at 7 the next morning and went to breakfast and then to Session. After that, we played more Hexball until lunch. After lunch, we signed up for various activities such as trail rides, tomahawk throwing, the giant swing, the high ropes course, etc. G.C., James, and I went to the trail rides first. I rode a palomino horse that was really sweet. We rode through the woods and through a creek, and that was epic. I loved the trail ride, but I'm so sore from it! Ugh.
After that, G.C. did the high ropes course (you climb a pole, shimmy across a rope, and finish with a zipline) and then we went to the rifle range. I watched while she, Jeremy, and a few other guys shot at the targets. The counsellor for that, Nate, had a pink rifle. Hmmm....
Then we wandered around for a very long time, looking for Michael and the boys. We eventually found them and proceeded to play many games of Hexball. IT'S SO FUN!!!! Then we hit the tomahawk range. G.C. did okay; I didn't try and was content to watch. More Hexball came next :D Then I went back to the fire with James while Grace headed off somewhere with Michael, and I stayed there for a while. There was a boy there (a senior, I think) named Trent who was stoking the fire, and he looks like Jakob from my book! :O I was so excited but didn't show it because that would be perceived as creepy, I'm sure o.O Anyway, I took lots of mental pictures so I hopefully don't forget what he looks like. Then, after creeping on Trent, I hit the camp store and bought some buttons for my Army satchel, along with a Powerade (yum!). Then I watched G.C. throw more tomahawks, and then we had supper and afterwards played more Hexball with Michael and Daniel (I broke Michael's winning streak! Success!) and then went to Session. Small groups came after, and then I took a shower and all that while G.C. checked out the blacklight dodgeball. She said it wasn't very good, so I didn't go back with her. We went to bed.
This morning, I was incredibly (and still am) sore, so much so that I honestly could hardly get out bed. My legs, arms, backside, and abs were/are so sore!!! G.C. and I feel like little old ladies hobbling about o.O I guess I got lots of good exercise, though ;) Anyway, we went to the last Session and then loaded everything up to go home. There was some confusion with the seating, because everyone decided to ride in a different car than the one in which they came, but somehow, Michael, G.C., and I still ended up in the van with the middle schoolers :| So we listened to lots of metal and techno (and Michael Raved, which is when you put your hands up and 'dance' vigourously in your seat, and that was...interesting...) We all kinda feel asleep after that.
All in all, a very enjoyable (and extremely exhausting) weekend! :D I will definitely want to go back next year!! :D :D