Adventure Amidst A Tropical Storm

Recently, a “Before I Die” chalk wall was installed on the Riverwalk along the Hillsborough River. People have written things they want to do/see/experience before they die all over this wall. Genevieve and I decided it was completely necessary for us to go write on it, so we grabbed some chalk and a camera and made our way to the Riverwalk. Little did we know what kind of adventure we were in for.

Naturally, I had to drink an Acai smoothie first. I have priorities here, people. Some sort of snack is a must before an adventure.

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We brought our own chalk, but chalk was provided at the wall. Whoops. Looks pretty next to my car freshener, though!

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Genevieve became my muse for the day. She just seemed to fit right in with the scenery! The Riverwalk and river itself does provide for a nice background. As much as this city bothers me, I get reminded often of how pretty/unique it is. It just has character, you know?

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Found some random artwork as we were walking over to the wall. Thought it was cool and inspiring. Don’t we all wish our eyes were that color?

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And finally we reached the wall. The wall itself is stunning, eye-catching, and moving all in one. I just adore all of the different colors. Although some people wrote humorous life goals, seeing how many people want to experience so many different things at some point in their lives was so powerful for me. Each and every one of the things written on this wall represent a different person, with a different life story, with a different background, with different opinions/beliefs/ideas. This wall represents the diversity of human beings. And I think that’s the most beautiful thing. “Hug Harambe” was a personal favorite of mine.

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The other side of the wall. Check Genevieve out as she snaps a pic of it.

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Here are some of the ones that really stuck out to me and Genevieve:

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And then…torrential downpour occurred. Fast. Out of nowhere. Just as we began to write on the wall, a tropical storm hit. And it rained like it was nobody’s business. It rained so hard we couldn’t even see and it hurt to fight against it. We ran back to my car as fast as we could, but it was too late. We were soaking wet. But we felt that we had to leave our mark on this wall somehow. So we waited out the storm. Or at least we thought we did.

The rain had stopped temporarily, so we returned back to the wall, only to find that it had all been washed away. This was sad for the people who had come before us, but great for us. A clean slate meant we could write as much and as big as we wanted. So we left our mark:

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Remember when we thought the storm was over? Yeah, no. The hard, fast, cold rain came back, forcing us to make a run for my car once again. We watched as the words we had added to the wall washed away. It was a sad moment. Being that we were soaked, cold, and fed up with this tropical storm, we decided it was best that we tried again on a sunnier day. So we sat in the car and waited for the storm to pass so that I could drive. Sad 😦

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My phone got rained on and took a little water damage. I had to soak it in rice for a few hours following this adventure. Also, we went through all of this but never even got to leave anything for anyone to see. So it doesn’t seem like much good came out of this experience. However, there’s something about being with your BFF in the rain in a bad situation that makes for an unforgettable memory. Something to laugh about forever. At least I learned the lesson that you should never try to write on a chalk wall when a tropical storm is about to hit. Probably should’ve thought this one through more.

Lainey Shapiro

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