Walking into our cabin that we rented for the weekend with 32 other people. Where every crack of the house is packed full of food and talking and laughter. Seven girls crammed into just my bedroom alone. But sleeping is only a priority for a few crucial hours a night because the giant gorgeous lake just outside our house demands our full attention for every day of our stay in this paradise. So we spend all our days tangling our hair in the wind, burning our skin in the sun, dancing on the boat, laughing on the jet skis, shivering as we wake surf, until our muscles are too fatigued, and we are far too intoxicated with happiness that we come back to our cabin for delicious gourmet meals of sweet pork salads and grilled barbeque chicken, and then we lounge around with each other, chattering through the night.
And that was the gist of my weekend at Bear Lake.
Ryan and I arrived late Thursday night, because we got caught up laying in the grass of my front yard, eating fresh pears with Julie, her boy Derrick, and his sister, Jeni. Ryan’s boat was blocking the sun in front of us, hooked up to the back of his truck, dirt bike in the bed. We had just finished loading up alllllll of the food, which took two cars to transport to our house, leaving Costco entirely barren. Which seems like it would be a most impossible thing, until you became an “older” single in Utah, and get invited to go live with tons of other “older” singles for three days in a cabin by the lake because people of the sort have money for fun toys and vacation time for many days and lots of friends. And I accepted my invitation because a) Bachelor in Paradise IN REAL LIFE and b) one dashing boy was going.
So, Ryan picks me up after work, and carries my suitcase to his truck, which the suitcase was packed with enough outfits to clothe everyone in the house three times over. Because, who knows? I’ve never been on a trip like this before. He opens my door, and I get a running start so that I can hop up into his truck. Mostly I am just getting really good at pull-ups from using the ceiling door handle to lift my whole body all the way up to the seat. Then we begin our trek north to Bear Lake.
We arrive and secure his boat near the marina, after I scavenge for pretty hefty rocks to put in front of the tires, and then Ryan comes back carrying a freaking boulder to hold the boat in place. Then we drive up the hillside to the cabin to unload everything else and join all the other people. The cabin is bumbling with humans in every space, and I get so overwhelmed that I hide in the corner behind the couch. Okay, so I wasn’t behind the couch. But I did hide in the corner until some of Ryan’s friends came over to chat, asking me things like, “What is the craziest scar you’ve ever given to another person?” “Have you ever had a strange encounter with a hooker?” I laugh and laugh while Ryan’s hilarious roommate tells me the answers about his own life. Ryan socializes with everyone, putting things away around the house, helping everyone get settled, but when he realizes that I am frozen in terror on the couch, he comes over and puts his arm tightly around me. Then I feel better about safely observing the girls twirling their hair and lip pooching, and the boys trying to lift all the heavy things without just completely taking their shirts off and overtly flexing. Though some do just that anyways. Pheromones are flying. I text Kersti before I fall asleep that night, “First of all, I miss you. Second, this is GOING TO BE SO FUNNY!”
Friday morning I wake up really early to 12,000 people chattering all around me. More like, 15 people talking in the kitchen downstairs over breakfast, but the noise production easily could have been a full classroom of children in bed with me. I groggily step over all the other people sleeping on the floor around the bed that Christy and I shared. I’m not sure what could make me feel more pompous than sleeping in a fancy bed with a 5 foot high wooded headboard, while handfuls of other girls sleep on the wood floor around me. I volunteered as Floor Sleeping Tribute, but Julie secured the bed for me, which I felt far less guilty about because I spent the next couple of nights falling asleep on Ryan’s bed of shifty couch cushions shoved against the wall beneath the trundle of a couch in the loft that’s 8,000 degrees and absorbs every sound in the building and then amplifies it to an ear-shattering decibel. But, because I’m so benevolent, I’d offer Ryan his makeshift bumpy cushion bed back to him and really exaggerate the fact that I was being kicked out so pity me, and then I’d sneak off to my bed of luxury in the side bedroom with a bit of noise insulation and a breezy window. Because all that really matters is that you make people believe you have a heart.
So anyway, we spend our days on the lake in Ryan’s boat with all our closest friends. First Ryan helps me fix the retarded drawstring of my sweat pants by tying a nail to the string, looping it through the waist band, retying the knot, and then using Julie's zipper jacket to light a match and burn the ends of the drawstrings so they don't fray. All while I just extend my legs on the back of the boat in the God-blessed sun. That man. Then, everyone takes turns wakesurfing, while Julie and I stay dry inside the boat. Which is exactly what we did on Labor Day when we all went boating at Deer Creek. Heaven forbid I have to wash my hair more than absolutely necessary. Mostly, because water slightly frightens me. And it’s not until the next day after Ryan takes me out on the waverunner at an alarmingly fast speed where my stomach eats itself in fear - and then I lose my voice from laughing so incredibly hard because something about speed and intensely jarring turns makes my giggling problem intensify to a medically serious suffocation problem that causes us to have to completely stop on the waverunner multiple times so that I can start inhaling again - that I finally decide to try wake-surfing. Turns out it is the WAY FUNNEST THING IN THE WHOLE WORLD. And after several failed attempts of trying to get up with everyone yelling at me in the water “your knees are too close together! Spread apart!” “Chantel, you can learn this now, or you’ll have to learn it later when you have a baby– SPREAD YOUR KNEES!!” I finally get up and surf the wake for such a long time that the other people in the boat are basically asleep and the sun is setting, and then all their prayers are answered because my leg cramps up and I have to let go of the rope. They all start cheering like they are so excited for my success in wake surfing, but I know they are mostly just relieved that I am no longer trailing behind the boat like a gimpy little deer. But then they all seem to want to be my friend after, so I just assume they like smiling gimpy deers. And I’m so proud of myself for getting out on the water and trying something new that I can’t stop beaming! And shivering. Ryan holds a towel around me, and then calls over a waverunner to come take us back to shore.
Our first day boating, we head home early so that I can take a nap, and then Ryan takes me for a dirt bike ride up the mountain while we wait for the dinner line to die down. Our second day boating, we come home a bit early to start cooking dinner for all these hungry people. Well, Ryan starts dinner by grilling 3,000 chicken breasts on the patio, and I go downstairs to have my toenails painted by one of the girls, while a large group of us watch the BYU/Texas game. And then of course as I’m running back upstairs to act like I’ve been helping to cook the whole time, I squash my left toes into the stairs and ruin the fresh polish. Which is exactly what happened last Friday when I left the salon with Lizzie - because Ryan reserved my first ever mani/pedi, so Lizzie and I made a girl date out of it by going to the salon in downtown Salt Lake - where having people dote on my icky running feet makes me feel all lavish and adorned inside - and then following with Salt Lake’s finest sushi. Anyway, two seconds after we left the spa, I smeared my large left toe all over my foot by doing absolutely nothing except walking, and I thought I could fix it by blending my own polish colors back at home, but it came out incredibly goopy and messy, which used to be normal to my eyes, but compared to the rest of my smooth shiny red toes made me realize I have a horrible toenail polishing problem. Oh well. To my standard, I nailed it. (har har).
So, anyway after dinner, we spend the evening playing Just Dance in the basement with a group of people, until we go back upstairs to participate in the real dance party happening on the balcony. Then Sunday morning, we all cram ourselves full of breakfast burritos, because on the day we’re supposed to be fasting, heaven forbid we let people go hungry. Then we brush out the sea from our hair and go to a local church. Only to come home and rapidly clean and restore the entire house, saying goodbyes as groups of people slowly take off. Which is really sad for me that the weekend is already over, because a) I can live in Bachelor in Paradise for way longer than 3 days and b) I had come to really like these people. Even the Swedish girl who yells in her sleep in the middle of the night and wakes everyone up in panic. And I like her Swedish sister because she has this awesome recording of me dancing in my own little world on the boat that she lets me watch over and over again. And I like this Brittney girl because we had a really hilarious conversation about Chacos, turned into Macho Chacos, turned into Macho Chaco Taco, turned into ordering a meal at Taco Bell and adding more rhyming words to try and help the cashier understand what it is that we want - Macho Chaco Taco Yaco Chaclo - turned into – “I JUST WANT A TORTILLA COVERED IN CHOCOLATE SAUCE! IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?” Which turned into laughing hysterically on the dock, while Ryan was tying up the boat, and every other person could not follow the speed of our ridiculous conversation. And I’m even going to miss that group of blondes who all look the same and probably have the same name.
So, once everyone left and the leftover food had been packed, our little group of friends remained in this huge quiet cabin, sitting in the living room with a pile of unclaimed items – a box of female hygiene products right on the top, which led to a conversation about awkward grocery store encounters where the men would run into their female friends and only this one item would be tucked under their arm, and Ryan pointed out that the whole time not a single person could actually overtly say the word TAMPON!
Then we all nestled in for a nap to try and recuperate some of our severe sleep deprivation before driving back down the gorgeous Logan canyon. Homebound. Real Life Bound.
And thus ends the weekend I went to Bear Lake Paradise and got sore abs from laughing so much, more permanent smile wrinkles, a sore back from being dragged by a rope behind a boat, and such fatigue that I am going to need a week of recovery. And you'll be the first to know, even the muscles around my crotch are sore from wake surfing and having to SPREAD MY KNEES.
Upward and onward,
And because this was such an awesome weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ....... I took one picture. SO YOU BETTER ENJOY IT.