The moment Ginger and I pulled out of that grocery store parking lot, I knew my life would never be the same and I was ready. I was ready for a change, a new start, a new outlook and a fresh beginning.

My life at home had not been a bad one at all. As a matter of fact it was pretty perfect. Being an only child had its advantages. I wore the latest fashions and drove a red 1976 MGB convertible. I never had to share a bedroom, a bathroom, my toys or the affection of my parents. I never had to mow the lawn, pump my own gas, I never even had to kill my own cockroach! It was a privileged life indeed.

All of that was in the past now. I was leaving it all behind. Most of my material possessions and personal belongings were now back in Alabama, even though I did manage to bring along some unwanted baggage…some issues I couldn’t quite shake. Getting rid of that heavy, cumbersome baggage would take some time.

Our 700 mile trip from Mobile, Alabama to Springfield, Missouri was carefree and fun. Just two girls on the open road going to a school we had never even seen. It was an all day trip full of laughter, anxious chatter, heart broke love stories, fun music and plenty of bathroom breaks. This was all new territory for me. I had never been away from home, never been through Northern Mississippi, Arkansas, or Missouri. The fall colors were breathtaking and the crisp fall air was a welcome change from the hot humid air I was used to.

After sixteen hours of driving we finally wandered onto the campus of Central Bible College. The butterflies in my stomach felt more like Belfry Bats. Everything was new. New sights. New smells. New faces. New places. And here I was, flying without a net…at least that’s what it felt like for me. A young, naive, sheltered girl leaving the old behind and now getting ready to experience all things new.

We drove onto the front parking lot of Bowie Hall, found a parking place and turned off the car. That handy-dandy Volkswagen Rabbit had gotten us there in one piece! We had no idea what to do next. There was no welcoming committee, no familiar faces to greet us or give directions. When we got out of the car, a guardian angel (and a handsome one at that) by the name of Rick Muck appeared out of nowhere. He was tall, dark and handsome and wore a big smile in his face. I guess we looked like two lost pups because he immediately hollered from the sidewalk, “would you girls like some help?” “sure”, we said. He was a perfect gentleman. He directed us to Bowie Hall and solicited the help of a few more guys to help us get all of our treasures into our room.

We made our way to the second floor and found our room. Of course I had never been in a dorm room before so I had no idea what to expect. When I walked in I saw a small, bland, sterile, cinder block room with one window, two twin size beds, a desk, a chest of drawers, a small sink and mirror and two small sliding door closets. There was one bathroom that we would share with our suite-mates next door….I didnt even know what suit-mates were! (I told you I was naive) Ginger and I immediately went to work, unpacking boxes, hanging up cloths, putting sheets on our beds and making our room feel like home.

Later that night, when all had calmed down, I crawled into my tiny bed, pulled the covers up under my chin and closed my eyes. Everything around me was strange and different. I was scared to death and giddy with excited at the same time. I was already missing my Mom but I knew, deep down inside, this was exactly where I was supposed to be. I didn’t know why or what tomorrow would hold, but I did know who held my tomorrow’s and that was all that really mattered.

We had a big day ahead of us the next day with orientation, buying books, touring the campus and meeting new people. My mind was racing a thousand miles a minute. What should I wear? Who will I meet? I hope I don’t get lost! How could I ever go to sleep. To be continued…