Leap Day

It's Leap Day (in case you weren't aware), and days like Leap Day deserve a very special blog post celebration. I mean, if you're super lucky, you'll get to live out about 25 Leap Days in your lifetime. That's insane, right? I'm currently on Leap Day #6, and I've decided that if I only get 25 of these babies total (and probably not even that many), I should make them incredibly memorable. I'm not sure what that entails quite yet -- but I'm a huge fan of celebrating something for the simple sake that it occurs only once a year, let alone once every four years. So get a Cookout milkshake. Do a cartwheel. Create a custom postcard out of newspaper clippings to send to your dad if your university beat his university in basketball last night. I'm thinking I'll do all three, because it is Leap Day, after all :)

Do you remember what you did last Leap Day? (2008) I'm guessing that until you read this post, you were completely unaware of the wonderfulness of February 29th, so perhaps you neglected to celebrate appropriately. I assure you that Leap Day 2008 was one of the grandest day of my life:

Oh, look -- I did a cartwheel last Leap Day, too! I didn't realize that when I wrote it earlier. However, I can also assure you that no milkshake/cartwheel/postcard combination today is going to top these photos.

Exactly four years ago, I was in Costa Rica with my high school senior class. We had spent the entire week working with/for Nicaraguan refugees: digging drainage trenches (busting all the water pipelines in the process), playing with adorable children (who referred to me as "Gordita," thanks to my wonderful male friends), running a free medical clinic, hosting a huge banquet (with a mariachi band), being trapped inside a church for hours because there was a gang stabbing outside, and learning more Spanish in the course of six days than we had in four years. (I'm getting rather reminiscent and am inclined to pull out all of my pictures, but that shall wait. You're welcome).

However, on our last full day in Costa Rica, we traded in our construction gloves for bathing suits (one-piece, obviously), drove to Puntarenas, and rode a catamaran across the Gulf of Nicoya to Tortuga Island :)

I could tell you a lot of things about that day. I could tell you about the shaded hammocks in between the palm trees, or the ridiculously clear blue water, or the sunset over the ocean as we rode off on the catamaran. I could tell you that it snowed back in my hometown of Winston that day :) But really, I'm just going to tell you that it was Leap Day.

And I remember that it was Leap Day not only because I am incredibly good at remembering dates, but because I vividly recall laying on the island next to my best friend, Kacey, watching all of the guys in our class play some form of monkey-in-the-middle/don't-hit-Mrs.-Mills-in-the-head, and thinking about Leap Day.

In that moment, it was weird to think how much had changed since the last Leap Day. I didn't know Kacey (or any of my high school friends, actually) the Leap Day before that. I hadn't gone to Calvary, yet. I hadn't joined the Worth the Wait drama team or the In Motion Dance Team or played one dreadful season on the Varsity Women's Soccer team. I hadn't ever worked at Camp Bethel or driven a car or taken the SAT or kissed a boy or gone to National Youth Conference in Colorado. A lot happens between Leap Days, let me tell you.

And I sat on that beach knowing that I would graduate from high school in a couple of months and jump into a world of uncertainty, and I wondered just how much would happen in my life before Leap Day rolled around again.

Trust me, lots has happened :) Since that last Leap Day on Tortuga Island, I graduated from high school, started dating some ginger kid, and moved off to college. I pulled all-nighters and ate ramen for the first time. I raced on the Duke Women's Rowing team and learned to make a killer cappuccino. I went to basketball games at Cameron Indoor. I did my first graphic design project on Illustrator and Photoshop, and since then, I have created an entire portfolio. I wore shorts to class and nobody died. I highlighted my hair (major lolz). I volunteered in five different Durham public schools. I have gone to new cities & tried new things... and made so many new friends. It's actually crazy to think that so many of the people who are near and dear to my heart have come into my life since the last Leap Day -- I can't imagine my life without them now! After all of that (and lots more, for sure), here I am... getting ready to graduate again.

By "here I am," I didn't actually mean HERE. Unfortunately, I'm still in Durham -- no tropical islands in my near future.

Goodness gracious, I couldn't even begin to guess what my life will look like on the next Leap Day! Four years from now? 2016? It was a little easier to make Leap Day predictions in Costa Rica; I at least knew I'd be a senior in college by the time 2012 came around. This time... I've got nothing. Whatever happens, I'm sure I'll look back and be amazed at how much has happened in my life. I'm also sure that I'll prefer sunny and 90 degrees to chilly thunderstorms -- I'm strongly considering spending the rest of my Leap Days on islands from now on :)