July 4, 2014

¡Cuatro en Colorado!

I love my best friends.

A successful selfie with a throw-away camera.
I have other best friends "outside" of Cuatro, but the four of us not only got through college volleyball together - we made it one of the greatest experiences of our lives.

Anyone in sports can attest to the fact that when your teammates are your best friends, your life has found that beautiful blend of work = play.

Tanya, Jenn, Amanda, and I definitely beat to our own drum together at The Master's College, and the more people who didn't understand us, the crazier and louder we became. We identified in the fact that we found everything fun, exciting, and/or awesome. That much enthusiasm annoyed a lot of the serious and stoic students at our school. And we loved every minute of it.

We were too hot in the Dominican Republic.
But as goes the lives of many in the 21st century, we each ended up in our different corners of the world after college. Amanda's career took her to Connecticut. Tanya had to finish school, then made her way back to the dairy in Northern California. Jenn waited for Kevin to finish school, then they married and moved to Idaho. I married Marc, and we hopped from San Diego to Redding, then leaped to France. The last time we had all been together had been for Jenn's wedding back in 2010.

Our individual attitudes toward basically everything.
It had been way too long - but friendships like ours never expire.

The stories came back, clearer and funnier than ever. New inside jokes emerged effortlessly, as if it had only been last week we had met up in the "caf" for another breakfast of laughter. It didn't matter that the setting changed from California to Colorado, or that two husbands and a baby are now in the mix.

Friends since flared jeans.
If you ever have the amazing opportunity to have a group of best friends, make being together a priority after it's no longer convenient. It doesn't have to be once a month, or even once a year; the main idea is that each person feels the pull toward the huddle, and when you can make it work, you do.

The cat lady, her cat, and basketball players out for free candy.
The Colorado Springs area opened up a whole new world for us to discover, thanks to my in-laws, Tom & Ingrid, moving to the rural suburb (is that a thing?) of Peyton, Colorado. They opened up their new home to us, and took care of everyone, especially baby Blake!

We were explorers in the Garden of the Gods, Seven Falls, and Helen Hunt Falls. Seven Falls is closed for another year, so we don't actually know if it's cool. Helen Hunt Falls is not named after the actress, but instead a writer from the 1800s named Helen Hunt Jackson. Might have been smart to include her full name.

We enjoyed a lovely tea at the Glen Eyrie Castle, home of the Navigators. The tea was cool, the eats were neat, and it was General Palmer's castle tucked behind Garden of the Gods. If you like castles and food, you'll love Glen Eyrie.

We refreshed our competitive spirits touring the United States Olympic Training Center, watching World Cup soccer games on TV, and even playing volleyball together again at an open gym. Our patriotism soared as we walked where Olympians have walked, then crashed as the US soccer team played terrible defense (with the obvious exception of Tim Howard, our new hero). We don't even like soccer, but the World Cup hooks you in and holds you until the end! At open gym, we teamed up with a future overseas player, Erika, and a college player, Madison, and had a blast beating teams on a coed net. We looked pretty good for borrowed shoes, no knee pads, and a pregnancy!

SkyZone ended up being a very fun surprise that Ingrid and I stumbled upon while driving around. If you ever have the chance to go to a trampoline gym: just say, "YES." Between fun jumping, dunking, and some wild version of volleyball, we could not stop laughing. It's also a great workout, but when anyone trips and falls, you literally cannot breathe anymore because you are laughing so hard at 7,000 feet of elevation. Amanda and Kevin fell. A lot. Tanya fell only once or twice, I think. I only fell when I finally made a dunk on the high basket.

Here, you can see for yourself what it's like to hang out with us for a bit.

(Spoiler: It's RAD. You're welcome!)

We were us then, and we are us now, forever and always.

Thank you to everyone who helped make #cuatroencolorado a reality!!!