So, in the spirit that the message was delivered:
- and then another time ::he:: bought me a new Christmas album (Wintersong - highly recommended) to listen to all weekend long!
Once upon a time, I was going to turn thirty.
Instead of a thirtieth birthday, I got a thirtieth birthday weekend.
Barb sent me to work with plates of filled cupcakes!
After work, ::honey:: took me for a night in Vegas!
Dinner at PF Chang's, my choice.
Out late on the strip, watching the Bellagio Fountains...
And (trying) to ring in the birthday with sparklers! (Stopped by hotel security - DRAT!)
And back to the Bellagio gardens and chocolate fountains...
1. Ma Soeur moving out to Utah. I’d been living here for several years, but when Jill moved out west, watch out! The fun was just beginning. She moved out in the summer and lived in an apt that was just a few blocks away (we were always south o’ campus girls) and then moved into the dorms when fall started. Everytime she’d come visit me, she’d bring vending machine food. She had that Cougar Card thing, you know, so she’d bring me “free” stuff and treat me to all of the overloads of sugar I could handle (and that’s a lot). She used to come visit me at Out-N-Back and bring me and my co-workers food from Sonic, too. I have tons of memories of heading to meet her somewhere on campus, only to see her bee-bopping my way wearing her headphones and some sort of black satchel, complete with multiple pins and spiky hair. I still can’t believe how close we’ve become since then. I love you, sista!
2. Starting the ‘y’. If you’ve known me long, you may recall that I was always a little anti-thebyu. Now…I have no idea why. I have super fond memories because everything in my little life clicked at the same time, and it just happened to coincide with the start of thebyu…I started a great job that I absolutely loved (and continued until I graduated) and didn’t have to work weekends. I started getting financial aid, so my work hours decreased dramatically and I had time for lots of fun backpacking trips. I finally chose a major that I loved and had classes with professors who made everything soooo interesting. I finally had a car so my freedom felt infinite. And finally, I lived with (and continued) to live with people that I loved to live with…I had amazing friends in all of the areas of my life, and my life was just practically picture perfect. (aside from Chad-trauma)…I truly think that if everything else hadn’t been so great, I wouldn’t have actually made it through the Chad-trauma. (Sorry to bring it up, honey, but I love you.)
3. Hiking the AT. This opened worlds to me, it felt like. This was my first backpacking trip. And it was a month long and 300 miles. Now I kinda think it was a little insane. But I was 20 years old and invincible, so I did my research, recruited my friends Anna and Kim, bought my pack, and went. We started in New York and ended in Vermont and we had some long days. But we had amazing days. And we had crusty days. And we had really smelly days. This trip, though, opened my eyes to the beauty of the outdoors and the simplicity of carrying everything you need on your back. (And, later, it led me to a job, which led me to Chad.)
4. Chad breaking my heart. Sorry, honey, to bring it up again. I’m really NOT trying to hold it over your head! This is not one that I would ever have thought would make it to my top ten. And I’ll be honest, it probably just barely (time-wise) did…but this is my reasoning…Maybe I needed to have my heart broken to realize how much I loved this guy and how much I needed him in my life. I was a little…flaky…when it came to some parts of our relationship and I definitely learned lessons from the nights of crying and missing him…it seems I’ve had to learn them repeatedly throughout our relationship, but I now appreciate so much the love that he gives to me now and the way I feel about him…I’m still learning not to take things for granted, but I think I would be lightyears behind if things had worked out perfectly from the beginning…so there you go, honey. Thanks for breaking my heart (and coming back a few times!)
5. Summer in Africa. This is another thing that my time at thebyu gave to me. I was able to spend four months in Uganda, living with a host family and other girls in our program. That was an eye opening experience like I’ve never had. It definitely widened my perspectives, taught me to be thankful for what I have and (again) not to take things for granted. I’ve taken several vacations/trips and this was the most meaningful in terms of what I learned and saw. I also made lifelong friends that I love and hope to keep in touch with throughout my life.
6. My work. I started working for this company back in 2000. (I’m trying not to be too descriptive because I don’t want this to pop up in a search engine!!!) The work was appealing to me because it was camping, backpacking, and hanging out with teenage kids for eight days at a time. All of our students come because of complex issues they’re struggling with and we work with them on a very intense basis to help them see where things have taken a wrong turn. The work is rewarding and impactful, probably as much on staff as on our students. I came back the next year and met my ::honey:: here. And about two years ago, we came back again. I never would have guessed that my summer job would have turned into this. Sometimes I grumble about things around the office, but when it all boils down, we (as an organization) do a GOOD job at what we do. I’m happy that I work for an organization that does good, and that I can feel like I’m making a bit of a difference, in whatever small way I can.
8. I got married. Unbelievable. This is probably the hardest thing that I did throughout this decade. We’re pretty open about the fact that it was ridiculously hard for us in the beginning…like ridiculously. Neither of us have ever fought with anyone else like we’ve fought with each other. I’ve been my worst person to ::him:: and I’m so sorry for it. We’re nearing three years, and the first two were…rough. To say the least. But over the last year or so, we’ve finally begun to learn how to stop the fights, and how to bite our tongues when we should. Most people talk about a “honeymoon phase” of the marriage, and we are just now entering ours. Sometimes I’m just giddy about how much I love ::him:: and how much I love being around ::him:: and talking to ::him:: Not many couples can do the 24-hrs-together-everyday-thing but I just love it…I can’t get enough, I tell you. You’re the best, mister, just the best.
9. We bought our own place. And who knows whether it was a smart move, what with the economy the way it is. But we did, and it’s ours. I love everything about our warm, cozy, little home, and everything that we’ve done to it. It’s our blood, sweat and tears, and I am so proud of all of our hard work and for what I see when I look around at everything. I can’t believe we did it.
10. Filling up my folks empty nest. Well, nearly empty. After I graduated from college, I was a little bit scared and a little bit lost, and maybe a little bit broken-hearted. So I moved home. It was a safe place. I became a temporary wal-martian and worked for “the man.” I watched movies with my little frere, made quilts and other projects with ma mere, and learned politics with mon pere. I read western American literature, studied GRE words, and stuck close to home. And I healed. And after a while, I felt brave again, and then I left home for the last time. This time at home was so important, though, because I reconnected with my parents on totally new ground. I love them and appreciate them so much and really value the relationship I have with both of them.