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

Monday, October 31, 2011

I think I'll go to Boston

Growing up in Orem, UT, meant that I attended an almost all-white high school where the overwhelming majority of students were LDS and came from middle-income families. I liked it that way. At least in the area where I lived there wasn’t a lot of competition or pressure to become a millionaire or CEO of a Fortune 500. Don’t get me wrong, my parents expected the best out of me and I always knew they would push me to get the best grades possible, but the idea of every applying, let alone attending an ivy league university never even crossed my mind. I was content attending a smaller, less prestigious university where I could go about my business getting a good education without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to get it.

I guess you could say that Harvard and MIT and Columbia and all those places really felt unattainable to me, untouchable in a sort of way. What I knew of those universities was all from the movies.

It wasn’t until I went to Ohio a couple months ago with a group of friends, one of which happened to attend Harvard Law School, that I got my first glimpse of what attending Harvard was like. The whole weekend I couldn’t resist asking Chris B. question after question of what his experience was like there. Luckily for me he wasn’t the type to put his nose in the air and snoot at all of us who didn’t go to a school like that. Instead he answered my questions and was really nice about all my inquiring. I found it fascinating to hear his stories and experiences, and even more found a new friend who I loved talking to.

My brother Spence also helped me understand what the culture of Boston is like since he served his mission there. His stories of the people, the general feeling toward organized religion, and the kind of life Bostonians live was so different than my stories and experience in the middle of Texas where I served and worked in the ghetto.

Finally, after years of being fascinated with these schools and the idea of going to Boston myself one day I got to go last weekend and made the 10 hours trek up to New England.

Almost immediately I was impressed with the scenery and skyline in general. The beautiful Charles River that runs through the middle of the city, almost constantly dotted with crew boats. What’s more, my roommates and I splurged and got a four-star hotel suite that had amazing beds and lots of space and mirrors (clearly exactly what three girls need for a weekend in Boston when we want to look cute the entire time).

The purpose of our trip was to attend the famous Boston Education Conference for YSA’s on the East Coast which, although we skipped out on some of the activities so we could explore Boston, was awesome and very well put together. I was extremely touched by the things the speakers shared and overwhelmed with the feeling that I need to sacrifice more for my Savior and tie up some of the loose ends in my spiritual life. Once again I was extremely grateful for opportunities such as these where the church uses its resources to get such amazing speakers for us like Clayton Christensen, Kristen Oaks, and Matt Holland.

Clayton Christensen- If you don't know who this guy is and what he's done not only for the church but in his profession you need to look him up. He's an incredible person!

Some of the highlights of the weekend were these:

1) The FOOD- either we lucked out on finding all the best restaurants in Boston or Boston just has the best food in the country. We ate incredible pizza topped with roasted potatoes, cranberries, and spinach. Café Luna treated us right for brunch on Saturday where we ate pumpkin pie stuffed french toast, homemade mint hot chocolate, and Belgian waffles topped with blackberries the size of quarters, and later we had authentic French cuisine where I ate a croissant made with so much butter it just fell apart in my mouth. Can I say delish???

2) Walking around MIT and Harvard campuses. Finally I found myself walking the streets of the universities I once thought were untouchable. MIT was surprisingly quiet and we enjoyed some of the incredible Danish architecture and marveled at the science buildings where cures for cancer are being found. Harvard was bustling with people, students, and tourists. Walking through the gates onto the quads with the gorgeous Harvard school building surrounding me was breathtaking. There I was, standing in front of the Harvard library, I couldn’t believe I was there. I imagined what it would have been like to walk the halls of that great campus an attend classes with world-renowned professors.


Amazing architecture

Rubbing the foot of John Harvard for good luck, a Harvard tradtion

The Harvard library

3) Walking along the Charles River and watching the Crew teams. We were also lucky because there was a huge crew competition the weekend we were there. I decided that if I had grown up on the East Coast Crew would have definitely been my thing. Everything about it was entrancing to me and I wish I could turn back time and sign up. Who knows, I’m not too old, maybe the next time you hear from me I will have joined a team!

4) Our Boston Harbor Cruise on Saturday night. I mean, who doesn’t love dressing up all formal, getting on a nice yacht with 300 other single Mormons, and dancing and eating the night away? Although the air was chilly I absolutely loved going to the top deck and watching Boston at night. We danced, we sang, we laughed, we ate, we danced some more, and a cute guy got my number (and although he lives in Delaware he’s coming down next weekend so we can go out). And finally, way too late we finally made it back to out hotel and almost died from exhaustion.

The only disappointment of the weekend was having to leave. It was way too short of a trip and I’m desperate to go back as soon as I can. I fell in love with this city.

I think I’ll go to Boston………again!

FDR Memorial

Adventure: FDR Memorial

Back in high school going to the FDR memorial was one of the most impressive sights we saw. We went after dark and I remember the backlit waterfalls and great stonewalls inscribed with the words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

On a perfect summer day a couple weeks ago I decided to venture once more so I could refresh my memory and enjoy the FDR memorial one more time.

It did not disappoint.

This time the sun was on its way to setting. I had taken the day to walk around the tidal basin, thinking, pondering, and just loving life.

As I walked through the stonewalls and admired the waterfalls I enjoyed thinking about life during FDR’s administration. Those were hard times, time beset by poverty and unemployment where people struggled just to survive. The great American spirit barely endured in the hearts of the people.

But it did endure.

As a people we’ve been able to pick up over and over again. Wars have taken loved ones, poverty has plagued our people, terrorism has beset us, but we’ve been able to find the hope and faith inside us….and move on.

Over the years we’ve become the most powerful nation on earth. We enjoy civil liberties and freedoms many countries don’t have. I live a luxurious life full of comforts and extras.

Strolling through these monuments makes me realize how blessed I really am. Thank you FDR for helping the American people through a hard time and believing that we could come out on top.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Forever Proud

This article was published yesterday in the Deseret News and spoke deeply to my heart. As you all know, I had planned on going to BYU for almost my entire adolescence but when the time came the Spirit told me that BYU was not the right university for me. Never in my life have I been more grateful for the decision I made, the leap of faith I took, to move away, face my fears, and attend BYU-Idaho.

BYU will always hold prestige but eventually, someday, BYU-Idaho will be known around the world as well. It is already becoming that way. Folded quietly in the middle of Eastern Idaho with the foreboding winters and bone-chilling winds. Amidst all that there is a power and a spirit, a humility and a strength, that I will never forget. It is the Spirit of Ricks.

I'm proud to say that I'm a BYU-Idaho Alumni and attended under the direction of President Kim B. Clark.

BYU-Idaho is my school. It will always be my school. It will always be in my heart.