After dealing with the Marine Corps for nearly three and a half years, I'm used to nothing ever going according to plan.

"Oh, your boyfriend is driving up to Durham to spend a Saturday with you since he has the day off? We'll wait until he makes the 3+ hour trip and then let him know that we've decided everyone is going to work today anyway, forcing him to turn directly around and drive 3+ hours back to the armory. At least you got a thirty second hug." (True story.)


"Oh, your boyfriend submitted a request for leave forever ago to ensure that he would be off for your college graduation? We'll accidentally file those with the wrong higher-ups so your boyfriend's request won't ever get approved, and he will have to start the process all over again just days before your graduation. Hope it works this time." (Also a true story.)

That is just a microscopic sampling of the plans that haven't worked out over the years. Because of this, our plans alway have to be simple. Flexible and simple. We now know better than to attempt to attend a wedding or make plans to see a concert together, because the Marine Corps' version of Murphy's law is notorious for interfering with everything.

So when my best friend, Kacey, had an idea that would eventually involve eight different individuals from five different cities (including my Marine Corps boyfriend) all ending up at the same beach at the same time on the same day to celebrate the end of college, I didn't actually think it would happen. There were way too many variables, way too many things that could have gone wrong.
But despite everything - coordinating schedules and transportation, figuring out exactly where to meet up, and the forecast of thunderstorms for the majority of the day - it somehow all worked out. For once, everything went according to plan. Actually, everything went even better than planned. And let me tell you - it was glorious.

While the original plan was to lay out on the beach, not think about anything school-related, and possibly get in the ocean if it wasn't freezing (it was), the day also ended up being filled with surfing and fitballing. I had never surfed, and I most definitely had never even heard of fitballing (burying the majority of a giant exercise ball in the sand and using it as a trampoline to do flips on the beach). Nevertheless, I attempted both for the first time and had an absolute blast! I told you -- even better than what was planned :)

Oh, heyy... it's me! I got up on my very first try!

I think Kacey was just as surprised as I was that everything fell perfectly into place: the whole trip was rather spur of the moment & not the most organized. The forecast of thunderstorms randomly disappeared and was replaced by a sunny, blue sky. The Marine Corps seriously thought about having PT at noon on a Saturday, but they, too, randomly changed their minds & Zach was able to come. Our friend in Wilmington was able to meet up with us when we randomly called him from the beach. After a semester filled with stress and tears and "I'm-never-going-to-graduate"s, everything finally worked out. It just happened & nothing went wrong... and I was so, so glad :)

I have attractive friends.

What is even cooler about this trip is that I took it with a group of my closest friends from high school. Yes, I met some wonderful people at Duke & will definitely cherish my college friendships. But all six of us pictured below? We've been together since we were fourteen, some of us even longer than that (Josh & I have gone to the same school since 2nd grade; Kacey, Tucker, and William have been together since 5th). Even though we went to different colleges and live in different cities, we've remained friends and stayed in touch. Yes, we've grown and changed throughout the years, but we can still call each other up out of the blue and end up driving a few hours to spend a day on the beach together.

And yes, we still laugh hysterically when somebody points to a small child playing in the ocean and yells, "Ty!" :)

Calvary Baptist Day School: Class of 2008
(There were only 50 of us total, so I think 6 people in the same place qualifies as an official class reunion.)

A few more Instagram pics from the day:

"True friendship isn't being inseparable. It's being separated & nothing changes."