Tag Archives: South Carolina

First Car, First Job

In the great state of South Carolina, the lawmakers decided that it was a good idea to allow kids to get their driver’s license at fifteen years old.  At the time that I was waiting to get my license, this seemed perfectly reasonable.  In hindsight, it terrifies me.  What business did I have driving a car that young???  But when I turned fifteen, I became a licensed driver. 

My parents bought me a car.  Now before you go thinking I was a spoiled daddy’s girl, hear me out…  I don’t know where they found it, but Dad came home with a 1980 orange Ford Fiesta.  This was 1990.  They spent $250 on it because it had a cracked head gasket.  Dad found a functional head gasket at the junk yard and I had a car. 

My First Car

The thing with owning a car is that you have to have money to buy car insurance and gas.  Dad was willing to pay for repairs, but the other two were up to me.  And as embarrassing as that car was, it ran and it gave me my freedom, so I drove it.  I was the only one of my friends with a car, so they rode in it too. 

On my fifteenth birthday, Dad took me to the locally owned steak house in town.  The owners went to our church, so when their pastor walked in with me and asked them to hire me, what choice did they have?  I started that weekend on the salad bar.  I made minimum wage, which at that time was $3.85/hour.

I learned a lot of things at that job – how to make southern macaroni and cheese and green beans; that black-eyed peas are supposed to have black spots in them and you shouldn’t throw them out because you think they’re rotten; that popping a piece of pineapple in your mouth before sniffing it is never a good idea because spoiled pineapple is one of the worst of all flavors; and how to avoid creepy old cooks that think they have a chance with fifteen year old girls. 

I also learned how to handle it when people are mean and hard to get along with.  The restaurant was owned by a married couple who could be alternately wonderful and cruel, depending on what they thought of you that month.  I worked there for two and a half years, so I got to experience the full gamut of their emotions and moods.  I was often on their bad list.  I would go home crying, telling Dad I was going to quit and never go back.  He refused to let me quit, teaching me that there will always be difficult people in my life and learning to deal with them was a necessary life skill.  That lesson has come in very handy over the years!

After two and a half years the restaurant closed down.  I had risen in the ranks and could do every job in the place except cut meat and was making the unheard of salary of $5.25/hour. 

I’m not sure how I feel about teenagers working now.  At the time I did it, I didn’t think I had a choice.  I ended up quitting basketball because it interfered with my work schedule and they gave me crap at work about it.  I didn’t do the high school musical because the rehearsals were during work hours.  I often missed football games and outings with friends because I was working.  I learned responsibility and a good work ethic, but I regret the things I missed as well. 

There was definitely a pay off to working all those hours though…  I made some wonderful friends at that restaurant.  I also had awesome clothes because the second I got paid I headed to the mall and spent every dime of my paycheck that didn’t go to tithe, gas, or insurance on clothes!  Man, I miss those days!

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Vacation

Robertson Hall

 

I went on vacation this week (sort of).  As an alumnus of Regent University School of Divinity I am eligible to take up to four masters-level classes for $100 each.  It’s a little complicated, but basically I can take classes I wasn’t able to take before I graduated at a drastically reduced rate.  (A regular class right now costs each student $1575!)  Since $100 for an entire course is significantly cheaper than most weekend ministry conferences and I’d get to go back to one of my favorite places on earth, I decided to take them up on the offer.  I signed up for a class called “Models of Biblical Discipleship” which is being taught by one of my favorite professors.  I worked as Dr. Chandler’s graduate assistant and took several classes with her.  She has been instrumental in forming my thoughts and plans regarding ministry.  She is a wonderful, godly woman who I cannot say enough about.   

Dr. Diane Chandler

 

I needed to go to Virginia Beach for a weekend to take this class.  It’s an eight-week course, but the majority of it is done online with the exception of the 2 ½ days in class.  I looked into driving the fourteen hours it would take and crashing on a friend’s couch, but that did not seem like the ideal way to set myself up for learning.  Let’s see…  sit in a car for 14 hours, sleep on someone’s cramped couch, then sit in class for 8 hours a day before you get back in the car and sit for another 14 hours.  I don’t think so!   

So I decided to do the “grown up” thing – I booked a flight, got a hotel room, and rented a car.  I found the best deals I could on all of this stuff and found creative ways to pay for it.  I also decided if I was going to be at the beach for a few days, I’d extend the trip a little longer so I could actually enjoy the beach.  I haven’t been on a vacation that didn’t include driving home to South Carolina in six years, so I figured it was time.  Then it crossed my mind that this trip might not be so fun by myself…  I’d booked a hotel right on the beach and it would sit empty most of the time with no one to enjoy it.  So, I mentioned it to a couple friends who I thought would probably be able to go with me and suggested they book their own flights and join me.  Amazingly, they both agreed and without a whole lot of thought or planning, we were off to the beach.  

View from our hotel room

 

After sitting in class for the last 2 ½ days, I’m ready to do something fun and spend the next 1 ½ days enjoying the beach.  Of course, it’s raining, but I’m still on vacation!  I’m planning to visit the church I attended while I was here and take each moment as it comes.  I also got to reconnect with some old friends.   

My sweet friend, Janna, the first person I met at Regent.

 

With friends in the Student Center.

 

As for what I learned this weekend, it was all about how to build relationships with people and nurture them in their relationship with Christ.  It’s a beautiful concept and I’m looking forward to implementing it in a more intentional way in the future.

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