If you’re looking for a challenge, just try to get a complaint out of Olivia, a high school junior from Hudson River Presbytery. There may be no more hopeful, optimistic person at Triennium this year than Olivia. And that’s after almost 24 hours of exhausting travel.
Tuesday morning, she awoke at 3 am to carpool to LaGuardia, a couple of hours’ drive from her home. They expected traffic along the way, but facing none, arrived early, excited and ahead of schedule. In fact, before the set meeting time, all 34 members of her presbytery travel group were present. But that’s where the smooth sailing ended. First, they were delayed before boarding the plane. Then they sat on the runway for two and a half hours waiting to take off. “But, it was air conditioned!” Olivia shared optimistically. That delay prevented them from catching their connecting flight from Washington, D.C. to Indiana. “What’s ironic,” Olivia shared with a smile, was that even though the flight was only 52 minutes, due to the delays, they could have driven to D.C. and made their connection.
Upon arrive in D.C., her group learned that there were only 3 flights to Indiana that day; a few members of her group got on each of the first 2 flights and the rest took the last flight. As they waited in the D.C. airport, some napped, but Olivia and her friends enjoyed card games, used their meal vouchers (“The airport food was so good!”), and formed friendships with members from their delegation they hadn’t known. Olivia said that she had been disappointed to travel through the nation’s capital without the opportunity to see the Washington monument, but because they were there beyond sunset, she was able to see the moment clearly because it was lit up at night.
Finally, her entire group arrived at the Indianapolis airport and was able to travel together to Purdue. After receiving room assignments and keys, Olivia and her delegation finally made it bed near 3 a.m., a full day after her journey began. Even though they missed the first small group session, Olivia said that she thinks they all have assimilated very well. She loved that Triennium took place on a college campus and looked forward to worship every day. She especially loved the documentary “I AM” that all small groups watched the first night and how it made her think about our interconnectedness and the role of emotion. When asked to fill in the blank, “I am ___,” Olivia responded “I am hopefully not the problem!” Thanks to her optimism and enthusiasm, it is safe to say that she is not.