"It's a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes. Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same. You realize what's changed is you." -F. Scott Fitzgerald
Wow. The one word that I think best describes being on a bus with the same 39 people for 43 days getting to experience this beautiful country of ours all while following our passion of singing. Wow.
Coming on this trip was a decision that I changed my mind on several times. Looking back, I couldn't have imagined not going. I, along with lots of others, made new friendships or strengthened old ones. We made memories that we will never forget. Some of us realized that we could start at life after ONU in one of the places we stopped at. All of this wouldn't have been possible without the amazing efforts of Dr. Ayling and Shawn Stevens. They made this trip absolutely phenomenal and we want to thank them 10 fold.
Now that it is the day after, I am finally allowing myself to look back and think about all that we did in those six weeks. We explored Atlanta, New Orleans, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Anaheim, Hollywood, Portland, Seattle, Denver and Chicago (there may be more that aren't sticking out right now). Some of us spent a day at Disneyland. We got to see the Grand Canyon, really large cacti, the red rocks of Sedona, the Redwood forest, Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helen's, and Mount Rushmore. We stayed with about 30 families that graciously allowed us to stay in their homes for the night and with that, we got to know them and more about the cities and towns we were in.
There were many tears shed by many singers last night. Some happy that we were making such beautiful music, some sad with the realization that we weren't going to be around our friends tomorrow. Thank you, University Singers, for accepting me as a pharmacy major into the choir as a freshman three years ago. You all have made a true impact on my life and I have made many lifelong friends because of it. I love you all. 'Till we meet again, this is Megan Stephan, signing off for the ONU National Tour Choir 2016 blog.
"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."- Dr. Seuss