I was born in Orange County and I lived in Long Beach, California until I was nine years old. I’ve lived in the Seattle area of Washington for the last ten years and I’ve come to really enjoy the rain, the trees, and the atmosphere. According to recent surveys, the Puget Sound area is one of the top “unchurched” areas in the country. About 7% of the population are regular church attenders who consider themselves dedicated and responsible to their faith. While I’m very happy to be part of that mere 7%, it saddens me at the same time.

I honestly don’t know why I just went into that little tangent… I guess a writer has to start somewhere.

Brian, his friend Justin, and I went to a park in Atascadero (California, which is where I am at the moment) and ate burritos from Taco Bell and then played an excellent game of frisbee. I haven’t played in a while, so I was really rusty. However, after about ten minutes into the game, my skills started to sharpen and I started to throw the plastic disc to Brian or Justin. I slipped once and almost fell on my face (as usual) but I don’t think either Brian or Justin saw it.

Justin wrote a screenplay which I read completely through by noon. It was incredibly funny and there were numerous times where I had to leave the dinner table, where I was reading, and walk off the laugh. So many of the things that made me laugh hysterically were things I knew no one else would laugh at quite as hard, which is probably why I enjoyed reading it on my own so much. Laughing until I cry are moments I love and cherish because they don’t happen to me nearly as much as I wish they did. Certain people cause me to laugh until it hurts and those people (*cough Brian cough Steph cough*) hold special places in my hearts. They got the touch. The gift. Other people who have made me reach that point never know what to do. They always seem to get confused and somewhat worried. Eventually, no one’s really laughing at whatever happened anymore, it’s more of a time to laugh at me in all my hysteria.

Should I tell you about the train ride I took to get here? It’s not all that interesting, however I suppose I can mention some details. The first train I took traveled from Seattle to Portland. I switched trains in Portland and rode on a Starline from there straight to San Luis Obispo. It really was a beautiful trip and I enjoyed it very much. Although, I think a lot of it has to do with who I met while I was on the train. The woman I sat with, Valerie, was incredibly sweet and was excellent company. At the Eugene, Oregon stop, Trenton, an Oregon State University student, got on the train and sat across the isle from me. Needless to say, we started talking and made fast friends due to similar interests. A God-lover and a music-lover… How could we not get along? He was going home to see his family in Martinez, California, which was a stop about eight hours before I had to get off. However, we exchanged emails before he left. His ultimate goal in life is to become a professional tennis player and I’d really like to stay in contact with him so perhaps, one day, when I see him playing a tournament on ESPN, I can say to whoever’s with me, “That’s Trenton! I rode with him to California on a train! And we became friends! That’s right, baby, yeah!” The trip itself was beautiful. The scenery was wonderful to watch. I got to write a lot and read a lot and I talked on the phone quite a bit, too.

However, the thing that was amazing was my arrival to the San Luis Obispo train station. A spectacle was there to greet me and I never thought anything like it would ever happen to me.

When I stepped off the train, I went immediately to pick up my one piece of checked baggage. Afterwards, I called Brian on my cell phone which at the time only had a “smidgen” of power left in the battery. However, I was able to receive my first instructions from Brian before my phone died completely.

“Go to the front of the train station and when you see the mime, go up to her and tell her she has pretty feet.”

“A mime?” I could not believe what he was telling me. A mime? An actualy mime?!

“Yes, a mime.”

“Who has pretty feet?”

“Yes, tell her she has pretty feet.”

“…Ok.”

“Ok. Go.”

So I did. I walked around to the front of the station, loaded down with my luggage, and saw a girl, a mime, forming an imaginary box around her. To tell you the truth, I was pretty nervous… However, when she turned toward me, I recognized her as Jesi, Brian’s best girl friend. Of course, I decided to play along and ignore who I knew she was. I walked straight up to her and I said, “Hi… I’m supposed to tell the mime she has pretty feet.” She looked at me for a moment, paused, then nodded and she spoke to me–something I know mime’s aren’t supposed to do. I forget everything she said, but she took me to the bathroom where she said my “fairy godmother” was waiting to give me my next instructions. The mime (Jesi) took my luggage and I entered the bathroom, excited to meet my fairy godmother.

And there she was. In a shimmering dress and with hair that fell across a sparkling face in little spirals. She was holding a red rose in her hand. Her eyes were wide and I could hardly believe she could hold a straight face, because I could hardly do so myself.

“Greetings, my child. I am your fairy godmother.”

“Wow, you’re beautiful.”

She touched the top of my head with the rose and tiny, glittering crystals fell out of the petals and into my hair. “You are blessed,” she said. “And now I will introduce you to your new best friend.” She crossed over the a bathroom stall and knocked. Immediately folling the knock, I heard the toilet flush and who should open the stall door but Erin, Brian’s sister.

“Hi there! Wow! How are you?! It’s been so long since I’ve seen you!” Erin was so enthusiastic!

I was really getting into it, “Yes, I know! It’s been so long! It’s so great to see you!”

We walked out of the bathroom and down the hallway a short distance where Erin stopped me in front of a very small, very cramped phone booth.

“You know what? I’m gonna go get a soda, but I’m expecting a call from my boyfriend. Would you mind waiting here, in case he calls?”

“Sure, I don’t mind!”

“Oh, and would you mind holding this?” Erin handed me a metal briefcase. “I’ll be back, ok? Just wait here.” So I took the briefcase and I sat in the little phone booth and tried desperately not to lose composure. By that I mean, trying very hard not to break out in tears and laughter.

The phone rang. My heart jumped at the sound. I couldn’t bring myself to pick it up right away. So I waited about two extra seconds before lifting the phone.

“…Hello?”

“Excellent work thus far, Agent Snuggles. Do you have the briefcase?” It was Brian using some sort of accent. I think it was Russian.

“Yes, I do.”

“Ok. Open the briefcase and you will find the information of one of our top agents. Natasha…” and he explained the character I would meet next. Within the briefcase was the most incredible replica of an FBI form that I’d ever seen. I could hardly believe he made it.

He continued, “You must now return to the front of the station where you will meet Natasha. Wait for her there to receive your next instructions.”

I did exactly that. I went out to the front of the station and waited there with the briefcase and the paper in my hand and after a moment, a young girl dressed in a very classy, black suit and dark sunglasses.

She didn’t slow down as she came closer to me. She only passed me and quickly said, “Follow me.” So I quickly trotted behind.

She took me to a bench where she opened up a laptop and activated a message which Brian narrated. The video was playing the theme song from “Mission Impossible” and Brian narrated it. The message said to find to the girl with the long, black hair inside the train station and her code phrase was “Take me out to the ball game.” After I finished watching the message, I gave the metal briefcase back to “Natasha” and I headed back into the station. There she sat with what appeared to be a baby cradled in her arms.

I looked around for a moment, making sure she was the only one with long, black hair, and it was quickly confirmed that she was. I crouched by her side, “Excuse me. Would you… take me out to the ball game?”

She looked up at me, “Oh, we’re not going there, darling.” She spoke with a British accent. “Not today.” She stood and turned to walk out of the station, away from the front doors. I turned to follow her. I later learned this was done because I wasn’t supposed to face the front of the station… not yet.

“So how was your trip?” she asked me.

“It was long. About 27 hours or so.”

“Really? That is dreadfully long. Although, not quite so long if you were coming from Europe, am I right?” She bounced the “baby” in her arms. “Oh, would you like to see my baby?”

“Of course!”

She lifted the blanket wrapped around the “child” and revealed an Alf-doll and I fought not to laugh, “He’s beautiful.”

“Oh, thank you, darling,” she smiled. She turned me around and when I looked out the window, I could see my final destination. Just outside the doors was Brian and about six others, clammered around him. I reconized him immediately, despite how he was wearing a hat with fake hair and dark sunglasses.I walked through the front doors, giddy and so happy to be there at last.

“Welcome to California!!!” they all shouted.

Welcome to California, indeed… I never felt like royalty before and I am forever grateful to Brian and his wonderful friends who put together the most unforgettable welcome I’ve ever experienced. It was the best beginning to what has been the most wonderful break. Ever. Not just from school, or family, or Washington. But just being here is a blessing.

God, why do You do such wonderful things for me? I’m so undeserving. Good times, God… Good times…

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