Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Weekend Recap Part I: Surprise Party!

Something happened this weekend that was just incredible. I walked into Nikki and Eric's apartment on Sunday evening expecting a casual dinner with them. But they guided me into their living room to find my parents and many of my friends hiding in the corner. They may have yelled "surprise" but in my blurred memory of the moment, they were all just standing there smiling at me. I was incredibly confused and looked to Nikki for an explanation. She (and Eric) had thrown me this awesome surprise going away and good luck party for my bike trip!

Here is a video of the surprise. My favorite part is when I say "oh my god" over N&E's new china cabinet and Nikki says "Ohhh my GOD" thinking I've already seen everyone in the living room! Also, I am an incredibly awkward surprisee. I just stood there in silence for 5 seconds waiting for an explanation!

This video makes me so happy. I have watched it about 500 times.

They did the party potluck style and had everyone bring a dish from a different state that I'd be riding through. So the menu was full of the following:

Washington: Clams by Eric
Idaho: Homemade potato chips by Joshua
Montana: Buffalo Sausage by Chris
Wyoming: Cowboy Pasta by Sarah and Breck
South Dakota: Milk by Trader Joe's
Iowa: Corn and tomato salad by the Shaws
Illinois: Popcorn made in Chicago by Kate
Indiana: Hoosier pie by Hadley and Danny
Ohio: Cheese by Nikki and Eric
Pennsylvania: Philly cheesesteak dip by Jenny and Brendon
Maryland: Crab dip by Dana
D.C.: Funfetti cake by Nikki

The food was all so amazing and, to top it off, Nikki made a funfetti cake (which is our classic cake) from scratch! I know that making cakes with flour and sugar is extremely challenging so I am really impressed by how delicious this one was!

Just when I thought that I have the best friends ever and couldnt ask for more, Nikki sat me down with a big blue gift bag and told me that everyone at the party, and some who couldn't attend, had chipped in to get me a going away present that would come in handy during 3,600 miles of biking. A new, very comfy, bike seat that matches my bike perfectly! So, in spite of all the sweat and grease, it looks like this summer will be stylish after all. And my mom gave me her hand-me-down Keane bike sandals which are the best and most comfortable ones on the market.

A little later, Nikki pulled me into her bedroom and gave me a beautiful, but durable enough to wear all summer, cuff bracelet with the coordinates of Anacortes Park (our starting point) on the outside and of Washington, DC (our end point) on the inside. She also gave me a heartfelt letter of love and encouragement with inspiring quotes about biking inside. I love the uniqueness and symbolism of this bracelet and I plan to wear it every day of the summer!

I am completely in awe of all the kindness and thought that went into this party. It never occurred to me that my trip would warrant an official goodbye gathering and that made it the very best kind of surprise. This weekend, with the party and a long bike ride in the heat, made the bike trip feel closer and more real than ever. I am becoming more aware of what a huge deal this is and I owe that, in large part, to the recognition from great friends like Nikki and all those who came or contributed on Sunday.

It also started to sink in how hard it will be to leave these people for so long. My excitement for the trip has hogged all of my attention and, as my departure gets so close, I am becoming more aware of how much I'll miss people. 


I am still in disbelief that the whole night was real and I can't say thank you enough. I feel so lucky for having the best and most supportive friends.

Cheers to adventure and friendship and love and support!


  1. The video makes me SO happy!!! LOL @ Nikki thinking you saw everyone.... when I heard her say "Oh my goooooddd" I almost yelled "SURPRISE" right then! Haha!

  2. What a wonderful surprise! I love your new gifts :) You have great friends and family!

  3. That's so sweet! What lovely friends! :)