Authenticity, Personal, Travels

Three Vignettes: Everest, Ice Cream & Spelling Bees

Vignette [vin-yet]

1. any small, pleasing picture or view.

2. a small, graceful literary sketch.


1.)    In 2010, I trekked to Everest Base Camp. Almost.

During a six month backpacking odyssey, my now-husband & I decided to go trekking in Nepal. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t think about those mountains – my idea of heaven! We made it to nearly 17,000 feet before suffering high altitude sickness.

After contemplating our predicament, we made the incredibly difficult decision to turn around – we were within only an hour’s walk of Everest Base Camp. At that elevation, it just wasn’t worth the risk of worsening symptoms.

Thankfully we did descend, because that night I became violently ill with food poisoning, which is challenging enough at sea level (I should know, I’ve had it nearly everywhere in Southeast Asia).

With my immune system completely shot due to altitude, I pretty much wavered in & out of consciousness for a couple of days. Eating was impossible & I lost a staggering 30 pounds. Uffda! Talk about knowing your limits. Despite the bittersweet decision, I’m so thankful we listened to that little voice that said, “Turn around.” I’ve come to find that knowing your limits is okay.


View More:

2.)   At age 15, I earned my first job as Ice Cream Scooper Extraordinaire.

During my interview, I was asked how I might handle an unsavory customer situation, to which I replied, “Really? How can you be cranky when you’re ordering ice cream?”

While scooping for three summers, I had the time of my life & met several lifelong friends (for real, these gals were in my wedding). Due to our excessive scooping, we each had a semi-permanent ice cream “tattoo” on the right forearm. We donned these sticky, fudgy smudges with pride & valor. It was the best job ever.


3.)   In 8th grade, my life was consumed by spelling bees.

Yes, I was THAT girl. Ever the studious nerd, I could spell words with more syllables than a monkey’s uncle. To this day my shelf still dons multiple trophies featuring an actual bee character, forever immortalized in shiny gold relief.

Apart from winning the school bee, I won the Duluth City Spelling Bee, the Regional Spelling Bee, then went on to place 4th at State, out of sixty-some spellers (just shy of qualifying for Nationals – the top 3 earned a trip to the big bee in D.C.). Major dork fest, and proud of it!

Second image by Gina Zeidler, bottom image by Photographs by Jenna Leigh


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *






Browse by Category

Fave Posts