Well, we made it safe and sound to Maryville, TN! Let me tell you, the view on the way in was incredible. I have definitely been through these states before, but I must have been snoozing the whole time, because I never knew how beautiful Kentucky and Tennessee actually were. On top of the great view, the 11 passengers in our 15-passenger van quickly became great friends.

You think that is crazy, don’t you? Like how could an eight-hour car ride allow time for great friendships to start? Well, we were blessed with some mega-fast bonding skills and it was all because of each individual. Our lovely pilot, Alisa Smith, kept us alive the whole time, as well as keeping us from getting too far separated from Sister Barb and her crew.

Her navigator, Joe, kept us in tune with all varieties of music. He also started one of the best bonding games, 20 questions. This is when many inside jokes and quotes began. Chelsey saved the car from Joe’s music with her fabulous country music that we sang loud and proud through much of Tennessee.

Gabby taught the group about her ever-so-healthy Herbalife products. Ellen and I quickly bonded over talking about mutual friends. She also is taking on what might be the hardest job of the trip: SHARING A BED WITH ME. We will see if she is still talking to me in the morning.... :)

Ashley entertained us with her multiple selfie Snapchats and her ever-so-funny “blonde” (even though she is a redhead) comments. Don’t worry. I am not making fun of her because we are about the same. We were nicknamed the book-smart, street-dumb twins.

Taylor was a beast at 20 questions, kept me happy with all her gum, and gave us a great laugh as we watched her sleep with her mouth wide open. Meredith always knew what I meant when no one else knew what I was talking about. She also got us on the great conversation of the Bachelor Finale. She may have had the best advice of her life when she stopped us from getting Mexican food for lunch, when we still have four hours left in a car.  THANKS MERE!

Sergey made sure to take all the scenic picture and was one of two brave guys who shared the back seat with me. Dorron was with Sergey and did a great job at pretending every story and every picture I showed him was interesting.

I am looking forward to getting to know everyone else in the other van including Sister Barb, Tommy, Tiffany, and Alex!

We finally made it and were not out of the car for a minute before the pastor and his wife of the church we are staying at greeted us with friendly smiles and open hearts. The church is beautiful and we are were grateful for being welcomed in this place.

After settling in, shopping for food took place, because who doesn’t love food?!  We then ordered pizza and shared many more laughs that would probably be only funny to the 15 slap-happy members of this trip.

We were then so blessed to receive letters from sisters at Lourdes. We each were matched with one sister that wrote us a letter for each day of the week. “HOW CUTE?!” was the response from all...well, mostly the girls.

We are now settling down, getting ready to watch a movie and get rested up for the busy week ahead. We also have some sleeping to make up for with this whole “spring forward” time change. Do you think any of the girls are happy about missing out on some of their beauty sleep? Not a single one.

We wanted to thank everyone that has helped us get here and/or are praying for us. We will make sure to share our smiles and love with all the people we meet here so to reflect all the love we have received at Lourdes University.