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I woke up to the sound of thousands of locusts. I was still suffering from a little bit of jet lag due to my flight to Van Buren, Arkansas. I was on this trip because my baseball team had just won the regional championship in Napa Valley, Idaho. We are here for six days regardless of our win-lose record. If we kept winning we would be there for twelve days, creating a great chance for great experiences in this amazing state. The smell of steak and eggs drifted through the house. My roommate, Ryan, and I hopped out of our bunk bed and went into the kitchen. Toni, Tony, Drew and Houston were already seated at the breakfast table. We sat down and dug into our great meal.
After breakfast we went out to the pool. Though it was only nine in the morning, the hot Arkansas sun was beating down on us with intense heat. We couldn’t swim long because we had our first Babe Ruth World Series game later in the day.
We got out of the pool and hung out for a little while before lunch. We ate and then got a tour of the 7-acre yard of the house we were staying at. On the property, there was a boat shed, a pond and some trails for the four-wheeler. As we were walking to the pond we came across a water moccasins’ dried up old skin. Luckily it wasn’t the actual thing. I was seeing thing that I had never seen before in my life. There were wild birds, snakes and bass in the pond. It was amazing.
Before I knew it I was on the way to my game. We showed up and absolutely demolished the team, by a solid 15 runs or so. When the game was over, my team had a meeting and headed back to their homes for the night.
Once we arrived home, we showered and went straight to bed, excited for our trip to Little Rock the next day.
Using the natural alarm clock of the locust, my roommate Ryan and I woke up. Breakfast was already made and was waiting for us t eat in the car. The drive wasn’t bad at all for the kids because we just slept he whole way there. We finally arrived to the huge sign that say ‘The University of the Arkansas Razorbacks.’ It was awesome. The first thing we did there was go down to the football field. It was definitely a nicer field than anything Oregon had. We spent a few minutes down on the field and were then escorted to the baseball field across campus. My team and I met up there and were offered to have an hour-long practice on Arkansas’ baseball field. It was such a great experience. It made me feel as if there were 20 thousand people there watching me hit when I went up to the plate. The feeling was amazing. An hour passed fast than I could imagine and we got a team break, went to eat supper at a great southern restaurant and drove home.
When we got home, Ryan and I got all washed up by jumping into the pool and swimming around. We then watched the movie “Hell Boy” and fell asleep.
After we ate, the father of the family, Tony, and his sons, Houston and Drew, took us to the pond. It was pitch black outside and I was very nervous to walk into a snake. We only had the lights on the truck to see and that wasn’t much light to help us. When we hopped out of the bed of the truck I could see the spiders scattering away from underneath me. I could also hear things in the bushes across from the truck. We didn’t catch any fish during our outing to the pond but it was just amazing being out there in an environment I had never been in before. We went inside shortly after and went to bed.
When the first Sunday came, my family, roommate and I joined the housing family for church. I was not very excited because I was so tired from our adventurous night. We arrived and found a row of seats. Once we sat down it only took a few minutes before I was fast asleep, face down in my hands. My sleep was interrupted by an ‘Amen’ and then Ryan and I were asked to excuse ourselves, with all other teens, across the street to the Junior High Sunday School across the street. Ryan and I were nervous because we didn’t know anybody there. We arrived, took a seat and were immediately asked a ton of questions. Once everyone knew who we were and why we were there we began our lesson. I was still very tired and a little lost as to what we were doing, so some girls came to mine and Ryan’s aid. They helped us understand what they are studying today and overall we didn’t even do much studying at all; we just talked the whole time. My church experience was amazing; I met a few very cool and nice people. After church retired, Ryan and I found our way to the parking lot, piled into the car and went home.
Days were flying by, and I couldn’t believe I had been in Arkansas for almost a week now. Every day had been filled with so much fun. We went to places that Oregon would never have. The best dinner night while I was there was when we went to an old catfish place. While eating there I tried catfish and frog legs. Before I had tried them they sounded quite gross but I ended up losing a bet to Ryan, which made me eat them. They were very delicious.
We also did a lot more fun things while in Van Buren. We swam, fished, four-wheeled, saw some great sights and more. One of the coolest sights we saw was on a bridge that overlooked a shallow creak. When we looked down from the side of the bridge we could see dozens of snakes flowing with the current. It was pretty freaky because they are very poisonous snakes.
Despite our 5-6 loss in the Babe Ruth World Series championship game, it was undoubtedly the best week I’d ever had.
The day after the championship game, the team had a reservation to ride on the ferry up the Arkansas River. We went on the ferry because it was a great way to get back to Little Rock. On this boat ride, we passed Fort Smith, swam in scary, poisonous snake invested waters, and saw some amazing and beautiful sites.
The trip gave me a chance to meet people that seemed to live on a whole other continent because their lifestyles were so different from ours. I saw some of the greatest and coolest things my eyes had ever seen. It was an experience I will never forget.