I had only ever been camping once in my life, but for two nights and three days, most of which were spent volunteering out in San Diego, California.But a cabin was a completely foreign experience to me. I was staying with one of my best friends out in Big Bear, California another experience I had yet to have. At first the trip seemed to be disastrous as there were two crying babies, three dogs, and two girls in the second grade fighting each other and whining constantly. But, including me, there were four teenage girls and we managed to keep sane for the trip while my best friend’s parents drove and talked quietly with each other.
When we arrived at the cabin, disaster seemed to head our way as one of us teens had gotten puked on by a dog only to have the same dog repeat history on the floor. No one panicked though as we unloaded the contents of the trunk and the babies (not in the trunk), but the same poor girl with dog trouble had gotten peed on by one of the babies with a leaky diaper. Eventually, we all moved in to our rooms and beds, unpacking slowly and savoring the cool mountain air.
The first day passed by slowly and quietly without interruption, but the second day seemed quite the opposite. My best friend and I were awoken by the faint smell of pancakes and maple syrup. Drifting with sleepy eyes towards the smell, my best friend fixed both of us a plate while I patched a bloody nose that I had received from the new altitude. After eating our fill, we raked every pine needle around the house, which hadn’t been done in quite some time so there were around three layers. Even though I was almost a stranger to the environment, and to the family, I did my share the best I could. All the while, remembering something I learned long ago, “you gotta work to feed the soul”-“Superman” by Lazlo Bane.
Almost every day started the same, breakfast and collecting pine needles, it was therapeutic in a way. Every time I raked, I became more and more grateful for the luxuries at home. Luxuries like hot water (our water heater works all of five minutes at a time), my mother’s cooking (no matter how good, no one can replace it), being the youngest (small children are irritating), and having a cat (I’m allergic to dog saliva). Even with all of the work that was shared among the teenagers (the younger girls refused to work), I still got to see so much of a new town.
I saw how small theaters can be and I saw the most amazing mom-and-pop shops. But most of all, I got to see what kind of person my best friend really is, and getting closer to her is the most rewarding thing I have worked for in my life.
We walked almost every day, seeing the huge homes on Switzerland Road, the stupidiotic shop in downtown Big Bear, but after a week I began to think of Michael Buble’s “home” more and more often.
Smelling pine, and cleaning after it was serene, but seeing the Fourth Of July Fireworks made me homesick. So I went home, feeling missed by my friend and her sisters and loved by my mother for taking me where I wanted to go.
And as buble sang, “it’ll be alright, I’ll be home tonight, I’m coming back home.” Never regretting a thing.
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