Friday, September 5, 2014

BYU Days

I have good news.

James moved back to Provo!

Part of me feels like I'll wake up one morning and realize that it was all a dream and that he's still back in Washington. But BYU started up on Tuesday and I'm starting to see large quantities of people wearing backpacks, so reality is slowly sinking in.

Typically I don't work Fridays, so today I thought it would be interesting to follow James to school. Not in a creepy-stalkerish way (though that could have been interesting), but more in a "day in the life of James" way. Here are the things I thought whilst back on BYU campus:

1. College students aren't scary.
I used to be very intimidated by college students. They seemed so old, so big, and so mature. Today I realized that they aren't very intimidating at all. I'm older than at least half of the students there, I'm sure. I might not be large in stature, but most of the college students don't feel big to me (perhaps I'm just used to them?). And as far as maturity goes, there are a lot of immature college students. They aren't immature in the same way high schoolers are immature (ehh...that's a debatable statement), but it's obvious that a lot of students have quite a bit of growing up to do still.

2. The beehives are freshmen.
I recognize that statement sounds odd. Let me elaborate. When I was a freshman at BYU, I remember seeing a couple of girls from my home ward that were on campus attending EFY. The fact they were at EFY meant they were at least 14 years old, and I remember being shocked they were old enough to be there (in my head they were still 12 years old. 12 year old girls were known as "beehives" in Young Womens. In case you've forgotten.) Now I didn't see any of those girls on campus today, but I do know for a fact that those girls live in Provo now and are starting their freshman year at BYU. It's blowing my mind how quickly time is going by!

3. I don't know how to take notes.
I sat in on two of James' classes. One was a physics class and I realized that the last time I took a physics class was my junior year of high school (let's that would have been 6 or 7 years ago). I remember liking physics a lot, but his class was a type of class that had a couple prerequisites (which I obviously have not taken). I didn't know what the professor was talking about. I tried to understand. I had intended to take notes - note the term 'intended'. I wrote a whole lot of nothing on account of it was all over my head. The second class was a stats class and almost bore me because of how easy it was. My major wasn't statistics, but I took a few stats classes and dealt with a lot of research papers throughout my major, so I was very familiar with statistics terms and concepts. I had planned on taking notes for that class too, but didn't feel the need because it all seemed to easy. My conclusion is this: I can't take notes if I find something to bee too easy or too hard. Is there such a things as something being a medium difficulty level? Does this mean I can only take notes if I partly understand something?

4. Holding hands on campus while wearing a backpack is a strange phenomenon.
This might be a silly point, but I'm going to address it because it was a thought that went through my head today. When I was a BYU student, I obviously had crushes on boys. Some of those crushes were mutual. None of those crushes lasted. There was one small period of time when I was at school though where I was willing to commit to being somebody's girlfriend. My point is this: the majority of my college student days I was a single woman. This meant I didn't hold hands with boys on campus. Being on campus wearing my backpack (which I did today so I could fit in) made me feel like I was back to my old self - the self that tried not to get trampled and who focused on getting to class on time. Holding hands with James on campus and being introduced to his friends as his girlfriend was weird. Not a bad weird. Just...foreign. It was mixing two different sides of myself. For some reason, in my head I can't be a student and in a serious, committed relationship with someone. Those are two separate stages of life. At least for me.

5. I could have lived in the math lab.
The summer after my freshman year I lived in the math lab. But then I changed my major and didn't have much reason to be in there anymore. James had a break between his classes and today he went to the math lab to work on homework. Remember, I was experiencing a day in the life of James, so I went to the math lab too. I looked around and had the thought, "What if I hadn't changed my major?" I would have been in the math lab a lot more. I will admit that sometimes I feel really insecure about my major when people asked what I studied. People either assume it is an easy major, a joke of a major, or they don't really know what to say so they just nod and say, "cool." 75% of the time they'll ask me what I want to do with it and then I feel all kinds of annoyed and flustered. Nobody likes that question. Apparently we can't think of anything else to say though, because we all ask it anyway.

In summary, being back on BYU campus posing as a student was odd. I can't believe I graduated almost two and a half years ago. Some aspects of it I miss, yes. But mostly I feel like I've accomplished that stage of life and I'm satisfied with the stage I'm in now - a working woman. (I almost used the term professional, but that feels too grown up to me.) To be honest, I'm ready to continue the stage of being a working woman outside of a college town...but that would mean James and I would be apart, and I quite enjoy his company, so I guess he makes staying here worth it.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Trip to the Evergreen State - Day 4

Sunday morning was pretty low key. Church wasn't until 1, so we had a few hours to relax. It had been awhile since I had the opportunity to play a family piano, and so I had brought some sheet music so I could play a little bit while I was there. I took Sunday morning as my opportunity. It felt nice to play, but their dog was barking throughout the second half of the song and I got scared. If you know me well enough, then you know I'm not a dog person and am actually a little bit afraid of dogs. Having a dog staring me down and barking scared me a bit and I remember thinking, "I'm sorry you hate my playing." Maybe she was singing along...but I'm convinced she just wasn't okay with me being there and playing their piano.

James's parents had church at 11, and so they left before we did. James and I took the dog for a walk around the neighborhood and I kept thinking about how much I was going to miss the state of Washington and how much I was going to miss being able to hold James's hand. You don't appreciate small things like that until you're forced to go without them. The walk didn't last too terribly long. We went back in the house and played a game on the Nintendo 64 (oh how I missed the N64). Unfortunately I was really, really bad at the game. But I don't think he judged me too much for it.haha Besides, he knows what I'm capable of when it comes to video games. He's seen me play Super Smash Bros, and let's be honest, that's the best video game ever anyway!

Next we went to the kitchen and made chocolate chip cookies. And can we all just pause and take a second to agree that cookie dough is way better than baked cookies? It was so tasty! So we made those, and then we had to finish getting ready for church. Church was in an actual church building, which is especially refreshing when you've been meeting for church in classrooms on BYU campus. I felt really awkward when we first got to church because James is the Executive Secretary and he got whisked away almost immediately after we walked in the building. I stood around awkwardly waiting for him. He had to schedule a bunch of appointments, so he spent a good chunk of Sacrament meeting doing that. Part of me was hoping we could be sitting closer, or be holding hands, or that he'd put his arm around me, but I recognized he was busy with his calling. I'm not that into PDA anyway and I know that it can be obnoxious to see other couples during church being too lovey-dovey. So I suppose it was for the best that he was busy; we didn't do anything that would make other people the least bit annoyed or jealous.

We only stayed for Sacrament meeting. We drove back to his house and came home to the smell of wonderful food that his parents had been preparing. There wasn't a ton of time before we needed to leave for the airport, so we ate, chatted for a little bit, and then printed off my boarding pass. The drive to the airport was about an hour and James and I talked about what some of our favorite parts of the trip were. As I'm reflecting back on the trip, I will tell you what my favorite things were: cuddling with him at the end of the day, hearing him give me a tour in an Australian accent, and I think if I had to only pick one more thing it would be hiking at Deception Pass. Although, I enjoyed just about every part of the trip. :)

Now I'm going to add for you some some James's thought. I asked him to tell me what he was nervous about in me coming, what he was most excited about, and what he learned about me while I was there. Here is his response:

"The thing I was most nervous about was how you were going to interact with my parents. I was hoping that everything was going to be well and it did. :) I was most excited about you being here physically, to be able to hold your hand and hold you! And something that I learned about you is that you can be more spontaneous and I liked that a lot. I hope that as we spend more time together we can be more spontaneous and open with each other. I also learned that you are a naturally good shot!"

There you go. Now James is famous!

When we got to the airport, he parked in the parking garage again and walked me inside. This is also something that nobody has ever done with/for me before. He even walked with me all the way to security! And while he didn't walk through the line, he walked beside it and it secretly melted my heart. I loved that he stayed close to me for as long as he possibly could.

The trip was better than I could have imagined. I had such a great time and I hated that I had to come back to Utah to real life. I'm ready for the fall to be here so that he and I will be living in the same city! Having the distance has been good for one thing though: it is allowing for us to get to know each other really well. Since we can't do anything except for talk to each other, I'm learning so much about him, and he is learning much about me. I really don't want to be annoying and mushy, but I will end by saying that I seriously feel so incredibly lucky and blessed. James treats me so well - better than I feel I deserve, actually. He is so sweet, and kind, and thoughtful, and considerate, and gentle, and polite, and aware, and courteous, and patient, and a million other things! I have never met a guy quite like him before and I just can't believe that I get to call him mine. I love him! :)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Trip to the Evergreen State - Day 3

On Saturday the plan was to go hike to the Ice Caves. I think the drive was about an hour away from James's house (James' house? Uh-oh. English confuses me... Let's try it this way - the drive was about an hour away from Marysville.) We went hiking with his parents and their family dog, Idun. I was kind of excited to spend time doing things with his family, because as much as I loved spending time one on one with James, I was excited to be in Washington so I can see where he grew up. I wanted to see how he is with his family. I wanted to interact with them and get to know them a little better. Unfortunately for me, I tend to have more introverted tendencies than extroverted ones. And although I wish I could have been more social and talkative, the truth is that I wasn't as outgoing as I could have been.

The drive to the Ice Caves hike was pretty. The hike itself was pretty too. It wasn't a very strenuous hike at all, and it was cool seeing so many families on the hike. There were a lot of little kids on the hike, and probably just as many pet dogs as there were little kids. The trail reminded me of a place called Muir Woods in California that my family and I went to a few summer ago. The trail was short and easy, but not boring. It's one of those hikes that is worth doing. We stayed close by his parents and dog at the beginning, but then we went ahead at a slightly quicker pace. I've said it before, but I'll say it again - I love hiking!

We met up with his parents again and I'm pretty sure we all walked back together at the same pace. His parents were very nice. I liked them a lot! They were very friendly. And they were normal.haha They didn't make me feel uncomfortable at all and I remember thinking, "I wouldn't mind doing another outing with them again in the future." 

We stopped at a diner in the middle of nowhere for lunch. If I'm being 100% honest with you, dearest reader, then you might want to know I was not feeling the greatest at this point in the trip. I was feeling a sharp pain in my lower right abdomen. I pressed my fingers against the spot and asked James if he knew what organ was located there. He told me that he was pretty sure that's where the appendix is located, and asked me if it was hurting. I admitted that it was hurting, but also told him that I'd be fine - I'd felt this pain before. He seemed rather concerned for me, which was sweet, but it also made me secretly panic. Appendicitis runs in my dad's family. Three of his brothers have had it. What you should know is that as much as I love my dad, I have unfortunately seemed to inherit many of the not-so-favorable genes from that side. Don't appendix is fine. It didn't rupture. There was no emergency rush to the hospital (although I played the scene out in my head as we were all eating our food. I pictured being in a hospital bed and extremely embarrassed. Asking James to forgive me. James's mom being sweet and taking care of me. My parents rushing up to Washington. Calling my boss and telling him how sorry I was that I'd have to take time off work to recover.) I didn't have much of an appetite at lunch, but I ate anyway. I was pretty sure my pain wasn't a big deal, and so I didn't want to make it out to be. But now that a few weeks have passed, I thought I would finally admit that I was secretly a little bit panicked on Saturday because that pain persisted for a few hours and drained my energy. 

When we got back to their house, we uploaded pictures from my camera onto James's laptop. We looked through them for a bit, and then he showed me pictures from his mission. He told me a few stories and it was nice to relax and listen and be in an actual home instead of an apartment. After a little bit of that we decided it was time for me to finally get my tour of Marysville!

I was excited for this part. He grew up in Marysville, and I wanted to see all of places that had a significant meaning to him. First we went to the community college where James took classes in high school. Then we went to a trading card shop. I really had no idea what to expect. Part of me pictured that we'd open an old wooden door and then walk down a staircase to a poorly lit basement. I pictured to see a bunch of nerds in cloaks hovered around a table look up at us puzzled. And a socially awkward store owner come up in our faces and ask us a million questions. Instead what happened was we opened a regular store door and climbed zero stairs. The lighting was better than I assumed. There were some nerds around a table, but I don't think anyone had a cloak on. The employee left us alone, and I spent the entire time wondering if there were Pokemon cards there. We didn't stay long.

The next location was a park! I really liked this part of the tour, because James and I walked around hand in hand and talked about lots of fun things. I was feeling a little bit better, and I was feeling more comfortable. We walked around the park and he showed me where he did his Eagle Scout project. We were there for longer than I thought we would be, but I really didn't mind at all. I enjoy parks. :) And we were having good conversation. We continued our journey and he showed me the theater that he worked at in high school, then we walked around the outlet mall (maybe the outlets are their finest attraction? I'm actually not so sure why we It was fun walking around with him. He tried to show me what a real jacket looks like. Turns out my little cotton jackets are a joke in rainy Washington. Other things I saw: his elementary school, the Marysville Marina, and a taco truck he goes to all the time for lunch. He also showed me B/E Aerospace - the place where he works. One of my favorite parts of the tour (and my trip to Marysville), was when James turned on some epic background music and started to talk in an Australian accent. It made the tour more exciting. It put me in a better mood. And it also gave me a case of the giggles. He is so goofy! 

After the tour, we went back to his house and met up with one of his buddies from high school, Chris. James hadn't seen Chris since before his mission, because Chris is serving in the navy and only recently was he stationed in Washington. I was really glad that James had the opportunity to visit with his friend. And it was interesting to hear Chris talk about his life and his job. I don't have any relatives that have served in the military, and I don't really know any military families. It's a completely foreign concept to me. Anyway, so it was cool to visit. It was the three of us, as well as James's parents. 

Once Chris left, we all played a few rounds of the game Boggle. (Shout out to Melissa! I totally thought of you while we played!) I really, really loved playing with his family because my family likes playing games too. I loved that I kept finding similar interests that we share! I thought about how James would fit in well with my family, and how I could picture our families playing games together (I don't know when or how that would ever happen It would be interesting to have a joint family game night though, because apparently his dad always wins. And my mom always wins. If we played any team games, they'd definitely need to be on different teams, or their team would destroy us all. 

After Boggle we decided we'd all end the night by watching a movie. The movie of choice was called, Red. I had never heard of it. Maybe you have. Apparently it is one of their favorite movies. However, they kept trying to warn me about it - and how if I was feeling uncomfortable or offended, to please say something and they'd turn it off. When we started the movie, I was expecting it to be some horrible movie that would emotionally scar me and give me nightmares. But now I understand that they were just trying to be considerate and sensitive. I made it through the whole movie, in case you were wondering. It was much, much better than I had anticipated. No nightmares that night either! 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Trip to the Evergreen State - Day 2

When I woke up Friday morning I remember thinking, 'I am very tired.' But I also remember thinking, 'I am very happy that I get to spend an entire day with James.' I came out of the guest room and he told me good morning and he just held me. Something that you may or may not know about me is that I absolutely love to be held. Kissing is fun, yes, but being held is more meaningful to me. And so it warmed my heart that holding me was his go-to form of affection. Yet another reason why he is perfect for me! :)

We made French toast. By 'we', I really mean that he did all the work and I just watched. I got the eggs out of the fridge, and I got to sprinkle cinnamon on the toast. As I admit this, I'm realizing that I did about the equivalent of what a 6 year old would do when helping mommy or daddy cook. Strange as it may sound though, I found it very attractive that James not only knew how to cook, but that he willingly did it for the whole family (and me) to enjoy.

After breakfast we got ready. Here is the part where I confess something: I don't really like getting ready at other people's homes. I feel pressured to get ready fast. So what happened on Friday was that I didn't do my hair. I just blow dried it straight and then called it good. I told myself I wouldn't think about it. And you know what? I realized that it didn't even matter.

The first place we went to was Boom City. I'm not really sure how to explain Boom City except to say that it was on an Indian Reservation and I saw more firework stands than I've ever seen in one place. It was like a grocery store for fireworks! There were multiple aisles and just thousands of dollars worth of stuff that would blow up and look pretty for maybe 4 seconds each. I have a really hard time swallowing the fact that all of us Americans are burning our money. I don't even want to think about the millions of dollars that were exploded in the sky on July 4th. So I'm going to not think about it and move on to the next activity.

SHOOTING! I had never been before! We drove up to the gun range and I had no idea what to expect. I got handed some very fashionable protective eye-wear and then James helped me put on some protective ear-wear. We looked stunning. The first gun I got to shoot was a rifle. James taught me how to load the gun, how to hold it, what to do, etc. I looked through the scope and tried my best to keep my hands and arms steady. I've always heard about guns having, 'kick'. I didn't really know what this meant. And since my imaginative brain does a very good job at exaggerating things, I anticipated shooting a gun to be this huge ordeal. I expected bruises. I expected a sore arm. I expected to lose my balance. And I expected to have really bad aim. What really happened was I didn't feel much of a kick at all. (Probably because James is a kind soul who started me off easy). Also, I discovered I wasn't that bad at shooting either. That was a real shocker.

I don't have much of an opinion on guns, because I've never sat down and thought about it before. What I do know is that I always associated shooting with three things: bad guys, good guys, and hunting. I never thought about it as a sport. It was actually kind of fun shooting at the targets and seeing if I could get the bullseye every time. I started wishing that I had discovered shooting earlier in my life, and I was excited to be dating someone who had guns already and who could take me shooting again sometime! The next gun I learned about and shot was a pistol. I felt pretty legit, although I'm sure I looked rather silly. It was soooo fun though. I can't wait to go again!

After we went shooting, we drove up to a place called Deception Pass. I didn't realize this till later, but we were very close to Canada! Deception Pass was really pretty. We went driving through the woods (everywhere we went felt like we were driving through the woods and found a lovely parking spot and walked across the bridge. See below.

And then we wandered a little bit and went on a short little hike. I love hiking so much! I like getting out of the city, away from the noise and people and distractions. I feel less stressed out and just feel happier being surrounded by the beauty of nature. It was fun getting to do that with James. He makes me feel really happy as well. When we got to the top of the little mountain we were climbing, I turned to him and told him that I loved him. I knew that I wanted to tell him that, but I wasn't sure when or how. It felt like a good moment though. He told me he loved me too. It was precious. :) 

I feel like I need to take a moment to explain something though. Generally I am not a fan of throwing out the 'L' word. I don't want to say it prematurely. Once you say it the first time to someone, there is no other "first time". You have to be careful. You don't want to accidentally toss it into a makeout session while sitting in the car. In my mind, things like saying, "I love you" need to be special, and they need to be meaningful. I don't want to tell a boy I love him unless I really mean it. And while some may argue that James and I haven't been dating for very long, so how could I possibly know I love him? To them I say, "I've dated around enough that I know exactly what I'm looking for in someone. And he already fills all those things and more." The thing I like about James is that he is very genuine. I don't feel like we're playing games. And I don't feel like we're hiding anything from each other. It's kind of hard to explain I suppose. But the fact that I don't say it easily, yet felt like I could say it so quickly to James, is a big deal. To me at least. 

There we are on top of the mountain. I'm sorry it's not a very good picture of the view. But my mom would approve of this picture, because it has people in it. She doesn't like pictures of just nature by itself. haha

Anyway, after Deception Pass we drove back to Marysville. If my memory serves me correctly, I think it started raining a little bit. Washington rain was nice. It smells a lot better than Utah rain. When we got back to his house, I mustered up the courage to play and sing him a song I wrote for him on the piano. And then he gave me a pair of earrings he got me. I definitely wore them every day of the week when I got back to Provo. :)

Next we went to a BBQ. It was at their family friends' house. I didn't know anyone, and I'm not a very social person, but I think it went okay. It reminded me of 4th of Julys back home and doing BBQs with family friends in Folsom. But I think the part I liked the most was I felt welcomed, and I felt like I was getting a good taste of what James grew up with. It was fun being a part of things! We actually watched fireworks there, so we all went out to sit on the driveway (similar to what we've done back home). It was unlike firework shows I've experienced in driveways before though. People were lighting off aerial fireworks in the street. You definitely aren't allowed to do that in California. After further research I discovered that almost half of the states allow aerial fireworks though. I guess I never knew what I was missing! It was really exciting watching the fireworks. Especially the part where the firework tipped over sideways and practically killed us. Alright, so maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but it really did tip over and shoot at us. Another part of the experience was watching the sky fill up with smoke and seeing remnants of exploded firework rain from the sky. I'm sure we all smelt of gunpowder and sulfur by the end of the night. It was crazy to look out and see (and hear) all the fireworks going off around us. It was intense!

We left and went back to his house. We showered, got ready for bed, and then watched an episode or two of Community again. It was a very eventful day (and pretty tiring too, to say the least), but it was likely one of the best days of 2014 I'd experienced!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Trip to the Evergreen State - Day 1

I am beyond excited to share all about the trip I went on last weekend. And you should be warned that there will be a lot of pictures in this post. 

The trip started on a Thursday. I took work off and my friend Dan picked me up to give me a ride to the airport at noon. I'm not sure why, but I was extremely anxious. I felt like a young teenager about to go on her first date. It shouldn't be a shock to know that the second I saw Dan I said, "Dan, I'm so nervous!" We got in his car and my hands were so clammy and shaky. One would think that I was about to stand up and give a speech to an important group of people. Once I got to the airport I felt a little more at ease (sort of!) I didn't get pat down at the airport, which was new for me, and I didn't get in trouble for anything in my carry-on bag. I did my research and had all my liquids under 3.4oz and all together in a clear, quart size bag. While waiting at the airport, I texted my dad a bit and texted James as well. There were 0 seats in the terminal available, and so I just stood there, ticket in hand, trying to calm myself down. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. 

I boarded the plane and was seated next to a couple that I would guess to be in their 50s. They were friendly, but we didn't speak much. I read a bit from a book by Tina Fey called, "Bossypants". That kept me occupied and my mind calm. And then we began our descent. I put my book away and had my face glued to the window. I understood why Washington was considered to be the "Evergreen State." It was beautiful. I turned to the couple next to me and asked if they were from Seattle. I remember the answer was no, but I can't remember where they said they were from. Georgia maybe? Also, I couldn't remember why they were there. Business? Maybe. I do know that they asked me where I was from and what I was doing in Seattle. I told them I was meeting up with James. I explained that he is from Washington and is doing an internship there this summer but will be returning back to Provo in the fall. I told the couple that I'd be staying with James's family and I was a little bit nervous. The man laughed a little and replied, "A little? I could tell you were nervous about something, but I wasn't sure what." They wished me luck and the women said something along the lines of, "Maybe we will see him near baggage claim!" I was secretly hoping that they would see him, but I was also glad that chances are they wouldn't. I fully anticipated either falling on my face or forgetting how to interact with a human being once I saw James.

What you should know about me is that I plan things out in my mind. I played out the image of giving James a huge hug when I saw him. Probably jumping on him in excitement. But I thought too much about it. Would I drop my suitcase? What if it gets stolen? Do I take off my backpack? Do I have my cell phone in my hand still? Should I put it away? Should I take my purse out of my backpack? All of these thoughts were pushed aside rather quickly though as my mind was focused on one thing and one thing only - I was going to pee my pants if I didn't get off that plane in 3 minutes. 

Luckily I made it in time. haha. I then called James as I started walking down the corridor. I thought it would take me awhile to find baggage claim but it turned out that I was actually very close by it already. James picked up the phone and I told him that I was about to get on the escalator to head to baggage claim. I don't like this part of airport adventures. There are always people waiting down there, some with signs, many with smiles. I don't want to make eye contact with them because, let's face it, they never are there for me. I didn't want to appear hopeful by looking around because in the past, I've always walked to the curb outside to be picked up. This time was different though because James was going to be INSIDE the airport waiting for me. I panicked and suddenly became very nervous. 'I bet I'll trip on the escalator', I remember thinking. We talked on the phone while I looked around for him and once we figured out where the other person was, my heart about stopped. I put my phone away as I saw him walking toward me. There weren't many people around, and it was the perfect opportunity to drop everything and jump hug him. But as previously mentioned, I was beyond nervous. So I am sad to admit that our reunion wasn't as exciting as it could have been. I did give him a great big hug, however. But my nervousness did not go away. I showed him how shaky my hands were. I really have no idea what my problem was. 

We walked hand in hand through the airport to the parking garage. I thought it was very sweet that he parked and came into the airport to meet me. Never in my life have I experienced something like that. Eventually I stopped being nervous around him, but in all honestly I think it took about 2 hours or so before I was finally calmed down. I'm glad I got over it. Otherwise that would make for a pretty awkward and less enjoyable trip!

The day was spent in Seattle. I learned that I am a terrible navigator, and I also learned that James is a very patient person. The first thing we did was walk around downtown Seattle and visit Pike Place Market. The best way I can explain it is that I felt like was in Santa Cruz near the boardwalk AND wandering near the piers of San Francisco at the same time. It was cool to get the experience. I am not so great at large crowds though (they make me feel kind of anxious), but I loved getting hold James's hand and have him close by me. He makes me feel very safe and protected. The rest of our time in Seattle was spent at the Seattle Center. The way I would describe the Seattle Center is like being at an amusement park, minus the rides and roller coasters or like being at Temple Square without the religious undertones . We took lots of pictures and we spent a lot of time talking. We also ate some yummy pizza at a place called Mod Pizza; it's like Subway - you go down the line and tell them the topping you want on your pizza. It was fun. :) And then the very last thing that we did was go to the top of the Space Needle. It was really neat being that high up. I've been up high before, but it's always been on top of a mountain and mostly looking out at trees and other mountains and such. It was cool being up high and seeing the skyscrapers and the lights of traffic and then looking off to see water in the background too. I felt like I was in a movie. Except it was a lot more crowded. And there were a lot of different kinds of people around me, speaking different language. And my hair wasn't blowing graciously in the wind. It was whipping me in the face. But I had a handsome boy with me that I got to call mine, so I was pretty okay with everything.

Here are some pictures of our time in Seattle:

After our adventures in Seattle we drove about an hour-ish north to Marysville, where James and his family live. When we got there I will admit I was pretty exhausted. It was pretty late and I hadn't gotten much sleep the night before (because I was an anxious mess.) When we got to his home we spent a little while chatting with his family in the kitchen. James only has one sibling, who happens to be on a mission currently, and so talking with his family just meant talking with his parents. We told them about what we did in Seattle, and then we went off and got ready for bed.

James and I watched a few episodes of a show called 'Community'. You've probably heard of it, but my knowledge of shows is as follows: Full House, Modern Family, and America's Got Talent.haha So I had never seen Community and of the episodes we watched, I thought it was pretty funny. But my most favorite part of watching Community was that we got to cuddle. I felt very comfortable because a) I was wearing my PJs, b) I didn't have to worry about my contacts getting all dried up and killing my eyes, c) I didn't have makeup on my face, and d) I felt safe and loved in the arms of someone I adore. 

I will stop with the sappiness there. The day ended, we parted ways, and I slept in a very comfy bed. :) 

To Be Continued....

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Fighting Giants

Today was a good day at church.There was a common theme in all three meetings. In Sacrament meeting the speakers talked about "being still". They talked about all the distractions out there in the world and how if we focus on the Savior, then it's easier to feel the spirit and make righteous choices. In Sunday School we talked about David and Goliath. We talked about 'giants' that Saul had, and 'giants' that David had. We spent a lot of time talking about these 'giants' - or rather challenges- that brings us down. And we talked about how the Savior can help us overcome our challenges and weaknesses. In Relief Society we talked about a conference talk from the last session of General Conference titled, "Are You Sleeping Through the Restoration?" We also talked about distractions, and we talked about giants we face, and we talked about the Savior. After church my home teachers came and talked to us about the Atonement, and to always remember Christ so that we may have His spirit with us. The common theme is to focus on the Savior, and that by doing so we will become more edified and able to become more perfected in him.

I've been thinking about some of the giants I face in my life. And to be perfectly honest, I don't think I turn to the Savior nearly as often as I should to help me combat them. Sometimes I wonder if the reason why I don't turn to the Savior is because I am too focused on myself and am too afraid that these giants will inevitably crush me. I forget that the Savior is always there and wants to help. If I ask for help, he will help me find the strength to endure my trials.

My mind works in the form of analogies and parallels. I like finding connections in my life. The connection I am making right now is about my students. On the first day of the semester, I give them my contact information and I promise them that I do not mind answering their questions. I remind them throughout the semester to feel free to contact me if they have a questions about anything/need help with anything. I am surprised by how few actually take me up on the offer. Even more interesting is the students who are struggling and who I try to reach out to. Even though I am there for them and try to reassure them I don't mind helping, many students become discouraged in their failures and overwhelmed by their perceived inability to do something really hard - a college math class. Even when I try to give them hope that they can still pass, it amazes me how many don't trust me. They don't put in the effort because they don't think they have a chance. I wonder how many of us are like that toward the Savior. I'm sure it breaks His heart to see us - His students- giving up on themselves. I'm sure it breaks His heart that so many of us don't turn to Him when He has promised us that He's there for us no matter what. We aren't a bother to Him. He wants to help us fight off our giants. He wants to step in to help us succeed.

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Second Summer With Wendy

Last summer I had a very spunky student. We'll call her Wendy. The class Wendy was in was very small. In fact, the majority of the semester was just her and one other student, who we will call Mark.

Mark, Wendy, and I had a very fun relationship in class. Of course we spent time learning math, but we told each other stories and created real friendships. Wendy would tell us how she missed the previous class because her mother-in-law tripped over the cat and she had to take her to the hospital. Mark would tell us about his 7 year old daughter who would read books to her pet bunny.

When August was approaching, I was starting to feel a little anxious and sad and I told Mark and Wendy how I was "supposed" to be getting married that month. You can read about that here if you'd like. Wendy and Mark made it their secret mission to distract me from my wedding that never happened. For awhile, they tried to get me to pursue something with one of my coworkers who dressed nicely and did his hair well and probably wore hawkridge from Old Spice.

Then I started doing things with a boy in my ward. I wasn't sure if he liked me, but Wendy (who you should know is a mom with kids around my age) would confidently tell me that I had nothing to worry about - I was a cute girl with a fun personality and a hot bod. Boy and I hit things off at first, but you can read here, that things didn't last very long.

Trevor H. came to visit that same summer, and while he was here we had a 2 minute conversation that went a little something like this:

Trevor: "Do you ever wonder what things would be like if we ended up together? I mean, if I hadn't ended things?"
Me: "Sometimes, yes. But I know it's not healthy to hold on to what-ifs." (Silently I was thinking - I love you still, but now it's more in the way as if you were my brother!)

If you want to know more of that background story, you can click here.

Let's fast forward... The semester with Mark and Wendy ended. I went on a couple dates here and there over the course of the year, but nothing really came from any of it. I was focused on my job, and I was focused on making a plan for myself to get the heck out of Provo and begin a new phase of life. I felt like I reeeeally needed a change, and I felt overwhelmed with decisions. (which I talked about here)

I was 91.23% sure I was going to be leaving Provo for good in the fall... Until I got set up on a blind date with a very tall, attractive, mechanical engineering student named James. We went on date after date and before I knew it, I realized that I was 91.24% sure that if I did leave Provo, I would be very sad. (And I think he would be sad too... Our current long distance relationship is hard enough!) So here I am, declaring  that I will officially still be in Provo in the fall. I signed my housing contract today!!! I'm not so excited about living in Provo, but I am excited to continue to date James! :)

Earlier this week I saw Wendy in the lab studying. Her faced beamed when she saw me and she gave me a hug. She asked how life was and I told her about James. And my heart got very excited. I find that the more I get to tell people about him, the more I realize just how lucky I am. He treats me so well and he makes me feel like I deserve to be treated well. He makes me feel very special, and very happy! Unsurprisingly, Wendy is very excited and happy as well. She gave me a piece of paper with her address written on it and said, "Send me a wedding announcement!" I'm looking forward to a second summer with Wendy. :)