July 04, 2013

Summer! (So Far) & Some Ramblings


It hasn't "officially" been summer for very long, but in between all the grown-up things and busy stuff of life (job hunting, school, church responsibilities, etc.), I'm trying to make the most of the beautiful weather and the fact that I live in one of the world's greatest cities. Here are a few good things from my summer thus far:

SALTWATER-WEARING

I mean, would it really be summer if my Saltwaters were just sitting in my closet?? On this particular day, Camille and I both happened to be wearing our Saltwaters with skirts. (C on the left, me on the right.)



KENNY CHESNEY CONCERT WITH MAGGIE

Mags invited me to a Kenny Chesney concert with her in May. We had a BLAST! We wore our cowboy boots (Maggie bought hers just for the occasion!), we ate greasy stadium food, and we enjoyed watching all the die-hard fans. (I tell you, some people take their country music VERY seriously! I'm lookin' at you, Hokies!)



It was FRRRREEEEZING once the sun went down, so we wrapped ourselves nearly head to toe in blankets. We marvelled at all the girls walking past us in tiny shorts and skimpy dresses. Were they not cold?? The funny thing was that WE, the girls wearing neck to toe fleece, kept getting men stopping by to chat with us. One of them gave me his number. I don't really know what to do with it, but if you ever want to say hi to a guy named Elias who likes to tailgate AFTER concerts and who "isn't really into country music but was just there because someone gave him free tickets" (Riiiiight. Who are you kidding, Elias?), I've got a number for you. Also, he was cute.

SOFTBALL ON THE MALL

This was a bucket list item, remember! And I'm so blown away that I get to PLAY SOFTBALL on the National Mall!! What???!! Who does that?? Oh, right. The University of Utah Alumni team does! (aka I do! :D) Now if only I could manage to get all the way around the bases for once...




BIKE RIDING AND BOOK READING

I've been dying to read Mindy Kaling's book for FOREVERRRRR! And I finally did! (Thank you, MoCo Library!) It's HYSTERICAL*!! I highly recommend it. I finished it in one day, it was THAT hard to put down!

*Sidenote: my mother asked me recently what hysterical meant. In Spanish, it means some sort of emotion to an extreme. This whole time, I've been using the word hysterical to mean funny. I discussed this with my roommates one night, and after deliberating and contemplating, it finally occurred to me to look up the definition online. I did. Sooooo, yes. Hysterical = REALLY funny. And now we know.


I decided to bike from Capitol Hill to the 23rd Street chapel in Arlington. In 90-something degree weather. In a skirt. It was a bad idea. Now I know that if I bike that long in such crazy humidity and heat, I won't look even halfway decent. And who wants to look less than 49% decent at Institute??


EATING DELICIOUS FOOD

Caitlin, Whitney, Andrea, Steph, and I decided to use my American City Diner (ACD) Groupon to splurge on hamburgers, milkshakes, banana splits, and Pretty Woman. So fun! If you've never been to ACD, it's a 50's style diner near Friendship Heights/Tenleytown that, during warm weather months, shows an old-timey movie every night at 8pm. It's quite fun! :) The movies are shown on a projector in their sunroom, which is open but covered, so you're outside without being FULLY outside, AND you get to eat burgers/fries/milkshakes while you watch! 



I try to feed the missionaries at least once a month. Here is part of my latest missionary feast. Please note the homemade rolls in the back (They were SO good!! I couldn't even believe it!) and the s'mores chocolate-chip cookie bars in the front. :D Let's just say it wasn't the healthiest meal the elders have ever had...



Celia and I visit teach Erika, who is truly amazing! We just love her so much. She is from Brazil, and she invited us over for a delicious home-cooked Brazilian dinner last week. I loved how even in Brazil, rice and beans are such a staple. Rice and beans = my ultimate comfort food! 



MEETING NEW FRIENDS

Thanks to the wonders of technology, the world often feels very small. As my brother has been serving as a missionary for our Church in Manchester, England, I've gotten Facebook friend requests from some of the people he's taught. One of them is Zoe, a 21-year old exchange student from China. Zoe and I have gotten to chat a lot via Facebook, and I got to meet her in person when she was in the U.S. on holiday a few weeks ago.

I've LOVED getting to be a part of my brother's mission this way! And it was fun to introduce Zoe to Shake Shack (mmmmmm....) and to take her up to the DC Visitors' Center. We had a miracle happen at the VC. At that time, there was only ONE sister in the entire DC North Mission who spoke Chinese (Mandarin). And she was about to go home in a matter of DAYS! Zoe and I walked into the Visitors' Center, and Sister Lin (a sweet sister from Taiwan) greeted us right away! I know it was no coincidence that we met Sister Lin, that we found the ONLY Chinese sister, and that she was able to teach Zoe about the gospel in Mandarin. :) The Lord is mindful of even our smallest needs, and He watches out for us every day. This I know to be true.



POOL TIME

If you know me even a little bit, you now that I am deathly afraid of the water! I don't mean I'm afraid to shower or get wet... I'm just TERRIFIED of drowning! (It's Freudian. Ask me about it some time, if you don't already know why...) BUT! On a nice summer day, what's lovelier than spending some time roasting poolside with your favorite girls? :)



CATCHING UP WITH OLD FRIENDS

Speaking of favorite girls, I recently discovered that my friend Andrea happens to be the niece of... my 8th grade algebra teacher, Mrs. Mortensen! (She's remarried now, but I can't remember her new last name.) I loved her! She was also the head coach of my N.A.L. team (N.A.L. = National Academic League. Yeah, I know. I was super cool as a teenager. ;) Ha ha.), and we all just loved her! She even came to my quinceanera. I mean, really! Anywho, when Mrs. M was in town with Andrea's mom to visit Andrea, we all went to breakfast at Silver Diner. It was really fun to see her and to catch up!

A funny sidenote that Mrs. Mortensen reminded me of:

So, when I was in 8th grade, I happened to be one of the "starters" on our N.A.L. team. (I know, I'm getting cooler by the minute!) I was also the only 8th grade starter AND the only GIRL starter, two things I was actually quite proud of. :) Anyway, at some point during one of our matches, we beat our rivals (South Ogden Jr. High. Darn Spartans!), and... we stole a chair from their school. I think it was maybe the chair our team captain sat on? We called it our lucky chair, and from then on, we took that darn chair with us to every match. Even the away matches. On the bus! We were very committed. I think it's safe to say the chair WORKED, because we were UNDEFEATED that whole season, and we were district champions! :D We got a trophy and everything! And there was an assembly for us in front of the whole school. (Ha ha ha! I'm in my bed laughing my guts out as I type this!) To this day, I walk by the trophy case every time I go back to T.H. Bell (for my brother's concerts, etc. I'm not just hangin' out at my junior high, for the record), and I laugh a little inside (partly out of hilarity, partly, because we won that trophy, dangitt!). And of course, the chair was front and center in our team picture. (The photo is attached to the trophy, so if you're ever in the halls of T.H. Bell Junior High, look for the girl with the big brown curls + bangs (it was a bad hair year) and yellow shirt standing behind the... yellow chair! And oh, gosh. Now that I remember, that yellow shirt belonged to my friend, Julia. My mom didn't like me borrowing clothes from my friends, but I just loved that shirt, so I changed into it at school, and I wore it for the N.A.L. photo. Bwah ha ha!)

Soooo, yes. N.A.L. :) Oh, and in 9th grade, I was still the only girl starter, and I was team captain. :) And we took that chair with us everywhere, too. Unfortunately, we DID lose a game that year, and we lost our title. :( And OH! This is actually good! So, you know how in school gyms they have banners hanging up on the walls of past championships? The banner has the year, the sport, and is a thing of glory? N.A.L. has a banner in the junior high gym! I saw it with my own eyes in December when I went to Spencer's Orchestra concert! I should've take a photo...

And back to the original subject: catching up with Mrs. Mortensen. Here we are:



SCHOOL

Last but not least, my summer has this at least once (or more) a week:


I accompanied the missionaries to a lesson yesterday with someone who wants to get baptized this month. We taught him about what it means to endure to the end, and what I thought of was this graduate program. I've worked hard for nearly two years, gone THOUSANDS of dollars into debt (hyperventilating over here as I type...), and just generally out in a LOT to get my Master's degree. I'm SO close to being finished, but I'm feeling a little burned out. Sometimes I want to just give up and be done, but wouldn't that be such a waste? It would be silly to work hard for SO long, only to throw it away at the end, because I couldn't hang in for a few more months/weeks.

Life and the gospel work the same way. It's a constant effort to be good, keep the commandments, do what's right, etc. Life will always present obstacles and temptations, but we have to keep doing what's right 'til the very end of our lives. What good is it to be obedient to God's plan right up until we die and then to just give up and quit at the end? At least that's how I see it.


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OK, and now I've just rambled on and on... Thanks for making it this far into the post! I hope your summer has been lovely so far! :)

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