[2022/09/02] SpO retreat (part 1)

I worked today from 8 AM to 3 PM and then I walked over to Rosie’s to catch the van for SpO retreat. I thought they would leave at 3 PM so I had to rush so much, but turned out they didn’t leave until 3:30 PM. Welp ig…?

I was in the same van where CM was my driver and I called shotgun. I didn’t expect I would have such fun conversation with CM, but I really did. We share similar hobbies of being outdoors and trying new things. He did Philly Half Marathon last year without much training last year and also had a volunteer trip to Laos and Thailand. He is a chemical engineer and will be doing a rotational program @ Merck when he graduates.

When we arrived, we set up our beds and all went out for gaga ball. This was my first time ever seeing this game. Basically, people stay in an octagonal pit and try to not let the ball touch other parts of their body except for their hands and arms. If they do, they will be eliminated and the game continues until there is only one person left. I record a video of them playing this game – fast-paced and amusing to watch.

Then we did some warm-up, and ice-breaking games before heading for dinner, a DEI activity, and the firepit at night. I remember that we played character-guessing and butterfly tag for ice-break and fire pit had s’more at the end. The DEI activity was very clever I thought because it was simply based on Candy Land, but used the theme of the route from Home to Fall Fest. I got player D, who had the most difficulty reaching the destination. I made a calculation that it would take me 11 times of going through 10 cards at hand to make it to the end, given that I can only move up 2 boxes at once. So from the perspective of the athletes, some people took much more effort just to participate in the Fall Festival compared to others. And our job as a committee is to make the controllable factors be at their best as a way to support the athletes driving through the uncontrollable difficult factors.

But what struck me that night was the whys that people shared as we all gathered around the fire pit. I realized a few common themes: having beloved family members or friends who have disabilities, wanting to participate in something bigger at Villanova, and liking the community of people who support SpO. I think I belong to the last group. I think I’m incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by people who care to give and are non-judgemental. Call it a bubble if you will, but I think being able to live in such bubble is a privilege that so many people envy to have.

I would like to end today with some meaningful notes in case someone asks me for advice regarding SpO retreat next year (though I don’t think they would because I am graduating in May next year).

  • Hats and shades are your best friends
  • Don’t forget to bring shower stuff (towels, shower shoes, shampoo/conditioner/face wash)
  • Bed sheets for twin-sized beds are better than sleeping bags because it might get hot at night as some rooms don’t have A/C.
  • Bringing a small tote bag to carry from one activity to another help you keep all your stuff in one place and not lose them
  • Bring insect repellants and remember to use them frequently
  • Bring a jacket with you because it might get cold at night
  • You may find a lot of people not needing those stuff above and you are the only one bringing them. Don’t worry about it – they will lowkey envy you because bringing those stuff will help you have a good-night sleep and a peaceful mind to fully enjoy the activities.

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