Sunday, August 18, 2019

Week 33: Minnesota Island Adventure

Just sit right back
And you'll hear a tale

A tale of a fateful trip
That started from this scenic port
Aboard this little ship

The captain is a generous man
Who hosts this trip each year

Three years ago I joined his crew
And met these friends so dear

OK, the Gilligan's Island theme song rewrite is corny and doesn't do justice to this treasured tradition. Give me time and I'll some day write a pretty song or a poem, but I still won't be able to capture the love and gratitude I feel for this group of people and the special memories from these island retreats.

In 2016, I wrote a lot on my blog about my 6-month stay in Eden Prairie, Minnesota while working on a contract at Optum. I viewed the experience as a bit of an experiment to see if I'd be able to make good friends in a short period of time.

It turns out that one of the friends I met that year, Chris, hosts an annual island retreat each August, and I feel so lucky to be included on his guest list! This trip feels like a wonderful family reunion to me.  The island is such a secluded and serene getaway and I get to visit with some of my favorite people. 

It's kind of like the movie, "Same Time Next Year" (except rather than an "affair," I'm having more of a "group kumbaya love" for this special group of people.)  While we're all away on this island together, we have time to talk, and I love getting to know these people better.. finding out what makes each of them tick and what their passions are...  Every year there have been both familiar faces and a couple of new ones, and it's always fun for me to get to know people in this kind of setting.

This year, I really went overboard with taking photos. I wanted to capture the happy feelings I had from the scenic beauty, the lazy nights around the campfire, and the fun of enjoying the outdoors.

One of the many things I love about this crowd is their playfulness and sense of community! Brenda helps coordinate the meal sign-up sheets before we go, and everyone pitches in with cooking and cleaning. The weekend is full of good food, drink, and laughter. We also celebrated two birthdays (Gale's and Chris's) with cupcakes (brought by Nancy.)

Mischievous Dennis!

I had fun smashing one of these in Darren's face!

I stayed a few extra days in Minnesota this year since I'm happily devoid of job responsibilities. This gave me the opportunity to meet up with my boss from Optum, Emran, and have special 1:1 celebrations with Lisa and Nancy B. (To be documented in my 60 celebrations slideshows!)

Taking a work mentor, Emran, out to breakfast.

Celebrating with BFF, Lisa

Enjoying the day with Nancy
And so completes Goal #36 of my 60 until 60 list: Visit Minnesota friends in August!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And you would be Ginger, Maryann....or Mrs. Howell?