May 31, 2012

Hayley and Tin Tin

For this blog, I want to give a shout out to two of my Boston friends. Hayley is a long time pal; we met in our study abroad in London in 2005. Several moves and degrees later, she is in Boston doing administrative work for an inner city school. Tin Tin also works at the same school as a teacher.

For Memorial day, we took a hike around middlesex falls together. As I shared things about my life and in turn listened to their stories, I couldn't help but be so grateful for these women and their friendship. When you tell someone about what you are going through, it is always nice to hear an empathetic "yeah, me too." It also doesn't hurt to stay up late watching youtube videos of This.

In short, they've been there.

May 28, 2012

In Memorial

This memorial day has got me thinking about all the people past and present that serve our country.  I recently visited my sister, Cassi, in Georgia. Her husband, Kelly, is in the middle of his second tour of duty in a year with the Air Force. With Kelly gone, Cassi keeps herself plenty busy raising her toddler Daphne. Daphne is precocious, smart (thanks to her mommy) and knows how to melt your heart.

It was so good to see my sister and her day to day life. In addition to looking after Daphne, she is devoted to occupying herself with meaningful activities, very little which benefit herself. From leading the 12-18 year-old young women in her church congregation, to keeping up her garden; she fills each day that Kelly is gone. I especially enjoyed the enriching conversations, the gymnastics, the traditional boarding house styled lunch and the nighttime movies.

Picture her saying, "more?" in the cutest
most wheedling tone.

Mother and daughter getting ready together
Daphne survey's her pigtails in the mirror

Sister, Sister
NCAA nationals, seeing this live was so worth it.

A traditional boarding house lunch. Yes, that is a plate of
cobbler and fried chicken.


There is something about coming in to this view last wednesday, after the day we had on Tuesday that makes you want to jump up and down and sing. Tuesday was a foggy, wet mess. At one point my co-worker Michelle looked up, and seeing the storm outside, cried "What a horrible day!"

Tuesday night I laid in bed reading and smiled because I had done something very exciting and brave. It began with a familiar inner dialouge which went something like this:

"I could really go for some (choose a flavor) Ben and Jerrys"

"Not a great idea. you've already had chocolate today remember?"

"Oh yeah, true."

Five minutes goes by

"I could really go for some (choose a flavor) Ben and Jerry's"

"Alright, compromise, if you ride your bike to the store you can get some. Plus you need contact solution."

So I got on a bike and rode toward the store. One problem though, the air was filled with mist and rain and it was cold. After a few moments I thought I should head back. I circled around my neighborhood, but then realized that that wasn't what I wanted. I wasn't so cold anymore and the lightness the bike provided as I flew through the small streets was unparalleled. So I rode, and before I knew it I was way past the store and practically flying. I whizzed through neighborhoods with huge green trees that grew over the streets all the while inhaling the sweet smell of rain and flowers. After what felt like no time at all, I finally stopped and took in my surroundings. I was in a neighborhood several miles from my house. I looked down at my hands, they were shaking.

When I got home, my entire back and legs were covered in mud and water. I threw my clothes in the washing machine and jumped into a hot shower. A bit later, I slid into bed to read "Unbroken" with a smile on my face. It was a good night.

May 26, 2012

Easter with the Olenicks

I first met Rachel when we lived in the same Flat (apartment or floor) during my London study abroad. A very dedicated student, she was the only one allowed to bring a laptop so she could write her thesis. The rest of us were required to write all of our papers by hand which if you've done before is pretty tiring. So, probably a bit annoyingly, we asked to borrow Rachel's laptop constantly. She didn't have to share with us, but she did, and she did it cheerfully and kindly. That's just the kind of person she is.

Rachel and I kept in touch over the years despite moves, marriage, missions and schooling. Lucky for me, she and her husband Michael live in Pennsylvania now and we were able to reconnect over Easter weekend:

Saturday we followed a dream itinerary that included a walk around historic Doylestown (found an old copy of Magical Mystery tour at a record shop!), a tour of the Mercer tile museum (so interesting), water ice (delicious), a Philly food tour (cheeses galore!), Mike's cheesteaks (the 1.5 hour wait in line was so worth it) and a revival show of West Side Story. I'm so sad that I left my phone at home that morning and didn't get to take any pictures.

On sunday I got to be a part of Rachel and Michael's sunbeams class. Seriously, the cutest kids ever.  My favorite was when one little boy raised his hand during the sharing time lesson and asked, "Can we go home now?" (Tell it how it is little brother!). After church, Rachel made a delicious Easter dinner. It was a great trip and I can't wait to see them again.

Easter dinner, yum
Rachel and Michael

May 25, 2012

95 Berkeley St

My Desk

My view

It's a pretty diverse group in my building

Neighborhood Blossoms

Neighborhood architecture; love the blue
and yellow entryways 

Neighborhood eats: The South End Buttery's Turkey Chili with
a Baguette

My amazingly sweet co-worker Michelle, who is
also a foodie like me.

Another co-worker, Marcel, made a nifty chore chart for one of
our mutual clients. 

May 20, 2012

Rose and Rochelle

For spring break my friend Rochelle flew out to visit me in Boston. I love this picture of us, from when we were first becoming friends as roommates during our London Study abroad.

Rochelle's famous "Smirk"

A few years later we went back to London so Rochelle could run the London marathon. Her first marathon, which she ran in under four hours. Pretty impressive huh?

Rochelle is smart, sassy, and the owner of the best gutteral laugh I've ever heard. She just finished law school a few weeks ago and is now studying to pass the bar. Congratulations Rochelle! For her visit we saw the Boston sights and then took a megabus to NYC and DC where we met up with Rose, another good friend from the BYU days. Rose enlightened and brightened our experience with good conversation and food for thought. It was so good to see her! Here are some pictures from our trip.

Mitchell Hurwitz's original "Banana stand" from
his youth.
At the top of the rock in NYC

At Walden Pond
My roomate Megan joined us. Love the reflection in this picture.  
The Jefferson Memorial
Rose and I on a bus in Georgetown

National Gallery in DC

Central Park

You should ride in this seat on a megabus at least once. 

May 15, 2012

Summer reading

Summer makes me think of public libraries. I can still remember going to the small Gilbert library in Arizona growing up. It was in an old house that was converted for the city's use. Sometimes I will have dreams that take place in this building. I remember the drinking fountain upstairs and that when you entered it smelled like air conditioning. I took a class in magic tricks from a clown in one of the classrooms. The basement had the children's section. Someone had painted an enormous tree on the wall. The library used to make up summer reading lists for kids. My mom would take us to get books and then we would get points at home for every book we read. At the end of the summer, we took a family vacation because of all the points we earned.