Ok, so me being my weird self, found a sort of string in my summer plans, and decided to theme my summer. 'Out of the Box' is this summer's theme for me. I know that sounds so run of the mill, but whatever. Knowing that my summer has this theme, I've pushed myself to doing things I normally wouldn't do. I'm expanding my comfort zone, and I like it. :) The big, main event of my summer is that I'm doing a summer foreign exchange dealeo. A wonderful french girl, named Maïlys, comes and spends three weeks at my house. Then, I go to her house in France with her for three weeks. All alone. This experience is very exciting, BUT very scary too. I've never ridden on a plane alone before, I've never been from my parents from more than a week, I've never been to a foreign country (except Canada, but they speak English, so I'm not counting them at the moment), I've never spoke french to a real french person, the list goes on and on. A few years ago, I would've let my fear overcome me and not gone, but not now. When my teacher told us about the whole thing my heart skipped, in my head I thought, 'I HAVE to do this, I HAVE to do this!!!!' So far, Mailou has been here for a week and a half, and I've loved it all. At times, it's tough, because I'm not used to having to host someone, or let them use my things and stay in my house for so long. It's been great though, I've learned and expanded and become a better, more experienced person. Although this is the main event of my summer, taking up 6 weeks of it, it is not all.
Each year my church youth group goes on a short term missions trip somewhere. This year we went to Findlay, Ohio to help with flood relief. The last times I've been on this trip, Project Serve, I've been on a construction/labor crew and loved it. This year, I did something different, out of my box. I was on the photo crew. We drove around and took pictures of the town and all the crews doing their assigned jobs. It was fun, but different. When I was there, I didn't like it so much, but when I got home, I realized all the things I had learned about myself, by putting myself in a different situation. Also on the trip, we have a fun day at the end. We went to Cedar Point, how could you go to Ohio and not go to Cedar Point? I'd never been on a roller coaster before. I was scared, but really excited. After my first one, I was like, 'Man! Why didn't I ride one sooner? These things are SO fun!!!' So I rode a bunch and it was REALLY fun. :) I went on big ones that I initially had said I wouldn't step foot on. I pushed my box a bit further, and now I love thrill rides, coasters, or huge water slides.
When I set out my summer to be 'out of my box', I didn't think it would be that out of the boxy, and that only one or two things I would push myself. But I've discovered just how many ways I can push myself and grow. Little things, like changing my attitude or seeing someone else's point of view, to big things like getting on a cross-atlantic plane all alone. My summers only half over, so who knows what else will come my way.