Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Beyond Boston: New Hampshire IV Retreat

After a weekend away and a busy beginning to this week (first exam as a grad. student and beginning to learn partial dissolution procedures in the clean lab!), I am just now writing about this past weekend's adventure.

I took the opportunity to get out of Boston and see part of neighboring New Hampshire.  Intervarsity offered graduate students from around Boston the opportunity to go on a fall retreat to the Toah Nipi retreat center, near Rindge, New Hampshire from Friday night through Sunday afternoon of the long weekend.

View from the Beach
Toah Nipi means "wide waters" in the Algonquin language.  It has long been a meeting place where people came together, whether from the Algonquin people or attending modern retreats and camps.  In fact, a birch-bark canoe recovered from the location attests to the rich heritage of the site.  The buildings are surrounded by woods containing miles of hiking trails on all sides and are near a beautiful lake rimmed by trees just beginning to change colors.  

Becca canoeing!
Almost 200 graduate students were in attendance for the weekend event.  We had all kinds of activities spanning everything from fun and games to worship and learning.  On Saturday we had free time, which I filled with canoeing on the lake, an hour-long hike in the woods, helping to assemble apple pies for dinner, and many rounds of the game Bananagrams.  Other fun activities included a late-night game of Dutch Blitz (that I won!), group games with BU GCF, and a Jack-O-Lantern carving contest between the groups from different schools.  We also had meaningful times of worship, joined in group Bible study with other graduate students from our own schools, built friendships while having fun and around the campfires, and received invaluable advice from people who have been where we are now and are willing to share their experiences by serving on a mentor panel.  We were also challenged to seek balance in our lives and to live now like we want to live the rest of our lives.

Campfire on the beach
On Sunday, I also happened to be celebrating my birthday while on the retreat!  At breakfast they surprised me with a large square of coffee cake and candle and sang happy birthday.  I don't think I could have asked for a better way to spend my first birthday of graduate school than building friendships and being challenged to grow.

It was wonderful to be able to leave behind some of the worries and stresses of graduate school for the weekend.  Don't worry though- I am a geologist through and through.  As I sat on the beach on Sunday morning, I found myself looking down at the sand around my feet and thinking "I wonder how much garnet I could separate out from this sand in the mineral separation lab...." then proceeded to sort through a handful to find a grain to show to a friend so she could see what I am studying!
Ever the geologist...."How much garnet is here?!"

No comments:

Post a Comment