a collection of certainly special, uniquely unusual, and equally momentous thoughts: memoirs of me

Friday, May 27, 2011

A night out on the town

I have absolutely no qualms with going places on my own, as in, going out to see a site or to eat at a restaurant or go shopping, all by myself. I’m not sure why. It could be that I’m the oldest child and have had to forge the trail my whole life, or it could be that I’m not one of those people who wouldn’t be caught dead in some social circumstance without a girlfriend or boyfriend or any sort of friend by my side. I simply don’t mind doing things on my own. In fact, I think it’s kinda liberating being able to go anywhere all by myself and enjoy my own company and the pleasure of a great meal or a great flick alone.

That’s what I did tonight.

With both my roommates (and the rest of the DC singles world) at Duck Beach for Memorial Weekend (I moved here just a tad too late to get a spot in a house) and with three whole days all to my lonesome, I decided I had to make some grand plans in order to make some grand memories this weekend.

So I did.

And I started off the weekend right with taking myself on a date. Yes you heard me right. I got all dressed up in a cute skirt and some pretty jewelry, caught the bus to Pentagon row and took myself out to dinner.

Can I just say it was one of the most pleasant evenings I’ve had in a while?

Pentagon Row is an outdoor mall that’s just to die for. It’s absolutely gorgeous with cute restaurants (which are all fairly reasonable in price) that each have outdoor eating areas, nice sun umbrellas, and lots to look at and soak in. I choose Noodles & Co. which is one of my favorite restaurants in Orem, decided on a bowl of Japanese Pan Noodles with sautéed beef, and a piece of flat bread. Yum and delicious.

Sitting outside in the warm evening air, reminiscing on my time and memories already made here in DC, thinking about all that’s before me, listening to people’s conversations next me. It was glorious. I spent a good deal of time at my table enjoying the light breeze and reading a chapter from President Monson’s biography (which is spectacular by the way and everyone should read it asap).

I took a stroll around the shops and looked at the menus of the other restaurants for future date nights. Of course I ended up at DSW and had to buy a pair of sexy black heels to go with my sexy black pencil skirt I bought last weekend at GAP for sickeningly cheap. Love GAP sales. Love sexy black pencil skirts. Love sexy black heels. Love feeling sexy.

To top it off I totally splurged and bought a vanilla bean frappuccino from Starbucks and then proceeded to sit on a bench and sip it nonchalantly while enjoying everything around me.

With the exception of the shoes I feel like it was a pretty thrifty night. I mean, I only spent $11 on food and dessert. That’s pretty good right?

Don’t get me wrong, I hope for the day when I will have a handsome man to share nights like this with. I think it would be grand to fall in love in this city. But for now I’m completely content and completely happy. Like my roommate said the other day, we are so lucky because we get to experience and live both lives, the single one and the married one. I get to live and breath and party and rock the single life and eventually I’ll get to live and breath and rock the married and married with kids life.

I’m so glad I get to do both.

I’m so glad I get to live.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Big Smiles and Swollen Hearts

Adventure of the night: Washington DC temple

I finally made it! I might have been most excited about this adventure out of all of them and I was finally able to go last night! It was our stake temple night and I went with a couple new girlfriends. When we arrived it was almost sunset and let me tell you, there aren’t words to describe the scene of serenity and beauty surrounding the temple. It had been raining slightly all day but the sun was finally uncovered and the greenness, lushness, and beauty were beyond words. It was very heavenly.

The DC temple is a very large temple and has a similar feel to that of Provo or SLC because of its older interior design, textiles, and architecture. I always love receiving my recommend back after they’ve scanned it and walking past the front desk into the larger lobby. Since the temple was almost closed for its regular hours there weren’t a lot of people around. It was quiet as always, big smiles on everyone’s faces, and a feel of holiness, joy, peace, and comfort that is unique to every one of the Lord’s temples. We dressed in our white clothes and joined with the rest of our stake and ward in the chapel.

I loved listening to my own bishop bear his testimony along with the temple president and wife. It prepared me for the ordinances we would begin shortly. The session was amazing and sitting in the large celestial room after and watching so many of my good strong peers enter testified to me of the strength of the church in these times. The spirit was strong and burning inside me. I was overcome with gratitude for being present.

It was dark and sprinkling when we walked out the doors that night. Everyone’s smiles were even bigger than when we entered. Our conversation on the drive home seemed more reverent and reserved.

I love to see the temple and enter its doors. I love the privilege it is for me to partake of the holiness within. The temple is the center of my life and the reason for my happiness.

Above and Beyond

Adventure of the week: Air and Space Museum

It wasn’t the best weather this week and so when my fieldtrip day came around on Wednesday I decided I’d better do something indoors for fear of rain. I took the metro to L`Enfant station and got completely lost coming up from below ground (nothing was clearly marked and when I walked up I had no idea where to go) but eventually found my way around and headed to the Air and Space museum.

When I came around the corner I couldn’t believe the humongously massive building that was the museum. It took up an entire block and was just enormous in structure. I had a woman take a picture of me with the museum sign and was once again disappointed when she cut off half of it (maybe one day people will figure it out) and then entered the front doors. I was immediately caught off guard but the masses of people. There were just swarms of people everywhere, mostly middle school groups, groups of business men that looked like scientists of some sort, tour groups of elderly people, and everything in between that I almost didn’t know what to do for a second. I found myself a map and decided to just start on the ground level, work myself around that floor, and then head up stairs.

Quickly I realized how big this museum really was and how much there was to see. There were a dozen or so individual exhibits in different rooms all with life-size models, boards explaining how everything works, movies and sound bites, and so much more.

I promised myself when I began all these field trips that I would take the time to read and learn what was before me. I didn’t want to just walk through and say I saw everything, I wanted to understand and learn and walk away with a new sense of understanding for each monument or museum and their history.

Once more I quickly realized that to read and try to understand everything in this museum would take WEEKS. I got through the first room trying to read everything and it took me almost a half hour! And there were a dozen left to go! Well scratch my plan of reading everything. You could stay in there for days on end and never get through everything. I decided just to skim and try to get an overall picture…..and besides, I’m not a rocket scientist (science never was my strength) and I didn’t understand all the technicalities so skimming and absorbing as much as I could from the surroundings was just fine for me.

I found that a little while into my excursion I was extremely bothered by the thousands of young, middle school, smelly, and inconsiderate kids running and yelling around me. Here I was trying to be intellectual and appreciative and smart and mature and considerate of the material in front of me and all I could focus on was the silliness of the boys and girls running around. Eventually I was able to zoom them out and my experience got a lot better.

I made some notes from the exhibits I liked and here’s what I learned:

-Pluto’s not officially a planet anymore- yeah I know, when did that happen? I knew there was some debate but I saw the words plain and clear. It’s not a planet anymore. My kids will grow up learning a solar system which won’t include Pluto. That feels a little weird.

-Everything is A LOT bigger than on tv. I mean, geez, I saw parts of space ships that were displayed in the air above us and I couldn’t get over the size of everything. Just to get a couple of men into space requires equipment that is enormous. I’ve had a recurring dream several times in my life where I’m in a space shuttle and taking off for the moon. I’ve always wanted to be able to sit in a cockpit of a shuttle and although I didn’t get to at the museum just seeing one from the outside was really pretty cool to me.

- I loved the display of the different Gemini and Apollo missions. It was cool to read what was accomplished during each one, see the pictures of the astronauts, and look at some of their actual equipment that they had in space. I saw the famous white vest that Gene Kranz wore during the Apollo 13 mission, Buzz Aldrin’s space suit, and a pressurized pen that they used to write notes and letter with in orbit. So cool! (you can tell by now that I liked the whole space aspect of the museum more than the plane side)

- I also really enjoyed the pictures of nebulas and stars taken by the Hubble telescope. Their color and detail was astounding and to think that several of these objects are thousands of light-years away and the Hubble can still take pictures of them blew my mind. I remember being in elementary school and going to a presentation about space and being so amazed by what’s out there and by what we don’t know. There’s just so much we don’t know and so much that’s too far away for us to study. I can’t think about it too much or too deeply or else I go crazy.

Cat's Eye Nebula

After two hours I was ready to leave having learned a great deal. Although I probably read only a small percentage of the boards and posters I feel like I found a couple things that really interested me and made me think a little deeper. It was a successful personal field trip indeed!

This was one of my favorite exhibits. It was a display of the planets and their relative sizes but on a much smaller scale. It was cool to see the comparisons on a size I could actually understand.

Better Luck Next Time

There’s a frozen custard shop around here that I’d heard of even before I came. I’d seen it in people’s pictures or read it on their statuses and I actually got to go for the first time the other night. Sorry to say, I was unimpressed. However, I must first say that I’m not an ice cream person in the first place. It just doesn’t do a lot for me. Give me a good cookie and I’ll be in heaven but ice cream either has to be amazing in flavor or have a lot of toppings for me to really enjoy it. Needless to say, the Dairy Godmother didn’t have either of those things. They are known for their frozen custard (the only flavors they have are vanilla, chocolate, and a flavor of the day) and most recently because President Obama gave their little shop a visit and sat in one of their chairs. Taking a picture with that chair was probably my favorite part of the whole experience. It was nice chatting with some friends and eating something cold, and I’m glad I can now say that I’ve been to the infamous Dairy Godmother but if it’s up to me I probably won’t be back soon. Sorry Dairy Godmother, you just didn’t capture my heart or turn on my taste buds. Better luck next time.

My Life is Complete

I thought moving out here would mean sacrificing the one restaurant that I can’t live without. I was wrong. The week before I arrived they opened the first Café Rio east of the Mississippi and guess what? It’s 45 minutes from my house.

Oh heaven bless me.

I made my maiden voyage and am happy to report that Café Rio tastes just as amazing in Olney, MD, as it does in the west. The salad was huge, the chicken so tasty, and the tomatillo dressing to die for as usual.

Monday, May 16, 2011


This post is dedicated to my mission.

I returned from the beloved land of Texas two years ago Saturday and I still think of my mission every day. It is a part of what I've become and what drives me to be better in the future. I want to be better for the people listed below, because they loved me and because they took giant leaps of faith that I admire greatly. My mission was the hardest thing I've done in my life. I never worked harder for something or saw the hand of the Lord so clearly.

His miracles are real. He is real. This work is real.

There are not adequate words or blog space to record what I feel about mi mision. All I can say is that I loved it with everything I had.

My precious ones who I had the opportunity to see baptized.

Leti- You were my first and my closest still. You are my example now because of your service and dedication in your calling. You are strong and powerful. You loved me before I ever knew how to speak Spanish. You love me still and I love you back.

Sarah Eby

Alejando- If you only knew how much you've changed my life. Yours is still the story I tell everyone. I can't wait to find you again someday.

Paz- Your quiet gentleness and powerful strength made me happy to be alive.

Gabby- You did it! I'm still so proud.

Miriam Saldana

Eric- I can not take any credit for this moment. There were so many missionaries, generations, that waited till you were ready. I'm just grateful I got to be there on your special day. And more especially, be there when you baptized your own son Zach.


Luz- Your were like a girlfriend to me. I know you will do great things for your own family as you stay strong in the gospel.

Violeta- Oh my little spunky Oxaquena. You were beyond your years. I can only imagine the things the Lord has planned for you. I can't wait to see.

Maria- My dear Maria, you were truly a miracle. I knew that when my last transfer started I still needed to find you and I'm glad we did. Your courage was inspiring. Your baptism on my last night of my mission was a perfect ending. I couldn't have asked for anything more sweeter. I find strength in your valor.

Nicolas- You got baptized a couple weeks after I left but that's okay. Wherever in Mexico you are now I hope you stay strong. You taught me so much and made me laugh everyday.

Familia Quiztian- I knew you'd make it. I can only imagine what your baptism was like, the whole dozen of you on the same night. What a miracle! Isabel, the thought of you still makes me cry for joy. I loved being in your home and feeling your spirit. I love each and every single one of you. Your family will change generations.

Those who I will love forever and hope to one day see dressed in white:

Concepcion and Ramon- teaching you to pray was one of the most sacred nights in my mission. Thank you forever.

Runkels- You know how much I love you. The many evenings spent in your home are precious to me. You have no idea how much I desire your happiness. I hope to be reunited someday in the celestial room. I await that day. I know it will come.

My companions:

MTC: Hnas. Clifford and Wight

Trainer: Hna. Borgholthaus

Follow-up trainer: Hna. Trujillo

Sis. Green

Hna. Jenks- You taught me more than any other person on the mission. You loved me in my hardest of times. You taught me true charity. You taught me to be like the Savior. You will always be my best friend.

Hna. Ayoub

Hna. Carrillo and Kammerer

My mission president and wife, the Thurstons: you were truly my parents in Texas. I consider you family and will eternally be grateful for your wisdom, love, generosity, hard work and dedication, and testimonies.

Random pictures that I love:

My posterity: all the sisters I trained or were trained by those I trained

The famous four: we worked hard, played hard, and saw miracle after miracle.

Dallas Temple

Chicken Little

Some incredible members that I love

Texas Fort Worth Mission

classic Texas

Always true

One of my many unique Texas experiences, feeding a long horn

Only in Texas. Yep, those are beer cans

Love it.

A perfect characterization of my mission, tired but happy.

I will not forget any of you my precious ones. Don't worry, I'll be back soon because everything is greater in Texas.

From the Buzz to the Nationals

Adventure of the day (Friday night): Washington Nationals Major League baseball game

I grew up going to Buzz games as a little girl. They were always such exciting events. We’d buy candy bars and sunflower seeds and hide them in our purses so the gate guards wouldn’t find them. I would always take my blue baseball mitt in the hopes of catching a fly ball. We’d go up with my mom on a perfect summer evening and watch the game and enjoy each other’s company. Sometimes we’d splurge and buy nachos or a hotdog or a snow cone. My favorite was eating Butterfingers. I thought it was exciting when the guy up to bat would hit the ball and I’d try to follow it in the air and see where it was going to land and if anyone was going to catch it. We’d do the wave and would sing Take Me Out to the Ball Game during the 7th inning stretch. I never knew all the rules, nor did I really care about knowing them, I just loved being with my family. Buzz games (and eventually Bees games) became a special summer tradition. Those were the best of times.

Two years ago when we were with my dad in Newport we decided to go to a LA Angels game. It was my first major league baseball game and it was pretty sweet, although it didn’t have quite the allure of the smaller, more personal Buzz games. Nonetheless, I loved the huge field, the lights, the thousands of people, the smells of pizza and nachos, and just being there.

On Friday night I went to my second major league game, this time to see the Washington Nationals, or the Nats as they’re lovingly referred to here. The field was just as big and I remembered how much I love the vibrancy and the life, the lights and the sensations of being in a major league stadium. I love being in those kinds of places on a Friday night. I feel alive.

We got our tickets and tried to sneak down into the better and lower seats but almost the second our rears touched the metal seats two guards approached us and asked to look at our tickets. Busted. We had to move higher into the seats we’d paid for. Oh well. Our seats ended up being perfectly fine (at least for me the amateur-doesn’t really care about seeing the goatee of every player up close-here for the social aspect of it person) and I thoroughly enjoyed looking at the signs and the humongous jumbotron television.

It ended up being a pretty good game too. There were lots of hits, some really exciting moments and innings, and surprisingly even some suspense. By the end of the 9th the score was tied 5-5 and so we went into extra innings, finally ending in the 11th when the Marlins scored and we couldn’t return. We shuffled out of the stadium with all the rest of the loyalists who’d stayed the extra innings and headed to the car. It was an awesome experience and I’m glad to check one more thing off my list.

Maybe actually two things. We didn’t go home. We went to IHOP at midnight and my pancakes never tasted so good. :)