Irish Magic

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A few months ago, I Went on the trip  of my life. I got to use my passport for the very first time, and crossed an item off of my bucket list. I went to Ireland! It was such an amazing experience, and I am finally going to write about it so that I can remember the most important things: The landscape, the history, and the castles. =]

The landscape: The Irish scenery is so varied, and so beautiful. The green rolling hills were what originally drove me to Ireland, and they certainly did not disappoint me. They were everywhere. And they were all dotted with sheep. In many places, you would also see stone fences. I am sure some of them were recently built, but I couldn’t help but imagine them being thousands of years old. There are so many architectural masterpieces that are that old, dotting the entire country. There was also the beautiful seaside. One day, we spent the whole day in the car, driving along the coast of Northern Ireland. The ocean was unbelievably blue-green, and the coastal cliffs and rocks were stunning. I had never seen anything like it. Every now and then we would stop at a particularly interesting spot and just enjoy the scenery. One of my favorite spots that we stopped was called the Giant’s Causeway. It was a natural rock formation that really reminded me of magic. There were hundreds of stone columns lining the coast. What was truly amazing, was that these columns were hexagonal in shape. They did not look natural and they were very stunning. Another beautiful natural landscape that we witnessed were the legendary Cliffs of Moher. They are the cliffs that are filmed in The Princess Bride, known as the cliffs of insanity. These also took my breath away. We spend a couple of hours just walking along the edge of the cliffs. We even sat on the edge of them and snapped a couple of pictures. That was cool. On the western side of the island, there was an expanse of bare rock covering miles of the ground. It was crazy how cool the Burren looked with just nothing but the weirdest shaped rock in the world! It was cool!

Another really cool thing that we did was take a tour of a local forest. On a Segway. Although it was winter in Ireland, the scenery in the forest was stunning. I seriously felt like I was in the heart of a mythical, magical fantasy. The trees were all lined in moss. There were several old and crumbling bridges that we crossed that were built in the 18th century.

 

The History: We were able to spend much of the trip driving around the beautiful country. Everywhere we went you could just look off to the side of the road and see old, ancient, crumbling buildings. Some were churches, some castles, others watch towers, some bridges and some were old cathedrals or monasteries. Oh it was so amazing to see so much history. We didn’t get a chance to talk to many of the locals, but the ones that we did get to talk to were incredible. You could tell they were all very proud of the country and their heritage. While we were there for only 6 short days, we did get to learn a little history about Ireland. One day while we were there, we toured an old 18th century house. It was interested to learn about the history of the wealthy vs. the unwealthy of the area. The servants were not treated very well. They were not allowed to be seen by anyone of their masters. Ever. And when the potato famine occurred, the landowners sent their servants to America because it was cheaper for them to do that then it was for them to keep them on their land. We also went to a potato famine and learned more about that terrible time in Ireland. We also learned about all the famous symbols that you see in Ireland. For example, my favorite symbol is the Claddagh. It is a heart, with a drown on top and two hand on each side. The heart stands for love, the hands stand for friendship, and the crown stands for loyalty. Claddagh rings are still often used as promise rings. I also learned a little bit about the high crosses, some of the churches, and a bit about an ancient burial sight called Knowth. The site pre-dates the Stonehenge and the pyramids. At the sight, on the winter solstice, or the longest day of the year, the light of the sunset creeps across the ground and illuminates the chamber, which is really cool. There were also lots of other little burial mounds across the area. It was quite neat. One of my favorite parts, though was seeing the green rolling hills around the area from the top of the mound. Actually, at one of the sights, the largest mound used to be the cite of several cities throughout the years. Apparently, across thousands of years, the cite was used for various purposes depending on the era. I thought that was cool. No one quite knows what the cite was originally used for.

 

The Castles: We got to stay in 5 different castles. A couple of the castles we stayed in were complete let downs. The first one we stayed in one of the “cottages” of the castles. Which sounds super romantic. Except that it really really wasn’t. It was a complete let down. I felt like we were sleeping in the attic of a cheap house. Ha ha. But I was tired enough that it didn’t matter too much. And the next castle more than made up for it. It was a 5-star place and you could tell. The bathroom floor was heated! It was super nice. The next place we stayed in was also nice. Not quite as big, but still beautiful. And it was fun to walk around and see the old suits of armor, tapestries and furniture. The last castle we stayed in… I am not sure how it was ever considered to be a castle. It definitely seemed more like a crappy hotel that was trying to be modern and trendy. But overall, we had a good time. We didn’t spend a ton of time in the hotels anyways, because we totally wanted to explore Ireland.

It was amazing! It rained the ENTIRE time and it was so windy that I often felt like I was going to blow off the side of cliffs. It even hailed a couple times and it was FREEZING. We stuck out like sore thumbs in our bright American colors and weird accents and mannerisms. We didn’t know how things worked half the time. We got lost about every twenty minutes. We never truly got used to driving down the wrong side of the road (the car has dents to prove it… oops). We loved the culture. We had a blast! I would go back in a heartbeat =]

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A typical Irish road.

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Old 18th century mansion

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Giant’s Causeway

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Giant’s Causeway

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The Cliffs of Moher

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Enchanted forest!

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Book of Kells

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The Burren

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I love this more than words can say.

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I came across an article that sums up how I feel about missions exactly. These are all thoughts that have come to my mind, and I am glad that there is someone out there who is eloquent enough to put it into such precise words:
(Link can be found here: http://averagedayofaginger.blogspot.com/2014/07/10-things-girls-who-arent-serving.html?m=1)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

10 Things Girls Who Aren’t Serving Missions Want You To Know
Nobody panic, I’m not becoming the spokesperson for girls who aren’t serving missions. This may also apply to young men who aren’t serving! And maybe not every girl feels like this. But I’ve been in situations where I’ve seen girls struggle with the decision about a mission for reasons that they shouldn’t have to worry about. I’m not insecure in my decision, nor am I angry or offended. I’ve just seen so many girls, myself included, become discouraged because of these issues. Some say they don’t see the judgment happening, or that I shouldn’t have to address it. But it’s out there, and I feel like it needs to be addressed, if only so people can understand what it feels like. Also, I know that not everyone assumes things about girls going on missions, some people are very open and happy with anyone’s decision. This is just my rambling to those who I have come in contact with who don’t understand some of these things, and I want to clarify.

10 Things Girls Who Aren’t Serving Missions Want You To Know

1. We still love the Gospel. Yes, that’s right! Just because we aren’t dedicating a year and a half of our lives to solely preach the Gospel, doesn’t mean we aren’t dedicating every day of our lives to the Lord. We are looking for ways to help, serve, teach, and minister every single day. Even though we don’t wear a badge on our chest, we all have “badges painted on our heart” as Elder Nelson would say.

2. When you go on about how attractive sister missionaries are, how you’ll only marry an RM, and how much of a better mom a girl is who has served a mission, it can hurt our feelings. You probably don’t mean it to be offensive, but it is. We look at the path we’ve chosen as inferior in your eyes. We see our future children and wonder if you’re right about their mother and how less spiritual she’ll be. We wonder if we should go and serve solely because it will make us more attractive to you. We think our personal scripture study, the fulfilling of our callings, our desire to serve others, our teaching and helping those around us, isn’t enough. We’ll still be great wives and mothers, promise!

3. We appreciate it when you recognize those of us who haven’t served missions in your lessons/talks. We love missionary work. Honestly we do. What we don’t love, is feeling that we missed out on the only right option by choosing not to serve. The Church’s focus IS missionary work, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a full-time mission. We love hearing about how to serve as a member and how to be an example to those around you no matter where you live. We’re not crazy about lessons detailing how every, single person should serve a mission, it’s always the best option, you’ll never be close to the spirit like you will be on a mission, asking people if they have a mission story they’d like to share, or saying “If you’ve served a mission, you understand this…” This can also offend guys who were worthy to serve, and weren’t able to.

4. We’ve prayed about our decision. I was a little taken back when a member of my ward asked me if I’d prayed about my decision to not serve. That’s a very personal, and very frustrating thing to be asked. So let me just put all your minds at ease, we’ve prayed about it. Or we’re praying about it. We’re going to be obedient to the answer we’ve been given, and hopefully that’s acceptable in your eyes.

5. We aren’t all looking to get married. Sometimes it seems there are two options; go on a mission or get married. Some of us aren’t doing either. Sure, we’re open to the idea of marriage, but we didn’t stay home from missions to get married right away. Some of us are focusing on school, careers, church service, and some of us were just plain told not to serve a mission and we’re making it our goal to be a tool in Heavenly Father’s hands, wherever he needs us. I’ll go where you want me to go, oh Lord…even if that means staying right here.

6. No two of us are the same. We have different goals, different reasons for not serving. Some sisters don’t have the desire to serve, and that’s ok! Some do have the desire, and couldn’t go for medical or other reasons, and that’s ok too! Some of us have the desire to serve, and through personal revelation realized that serving a mission was not part of our plan. And that’s ok too! Some of us are older, some of us are younger, it doesn’t matter! We’re all different, we all love the Gospel, and we’re all striving to be our best selves.

7. We appreciate when you’re proud of our accomplishments. Sometimes it’s hard to watch you get so excited when someone is submitting their mission papers, gets their call, or is heading out, and not be as excited for the good things we’re accomplishing. Sometimes, we feel like the things we’re doing aren’t important or wonderful. Help us see that going to school, getting that job, acing a test, or taking time out to help others, is exciting and important too.

8. We’re proud of our fellow sisters. We applaud them and their diligence, we appreciate them and we love them. We want to help the missionaries and show our support for them. We value their service as our sisters and we want them to accomplish great things. Our choosing not to go has no reflection on sister missionary service, or women’s place in the church for that matter.

9. We are busy. We probably aren’t busy in the same way full-time missionaries are, but we are busy! We’re going to school or working, serving in church callings, helping our families and friends, taking time for personal worship, reading, learning, growing, helping, teaching and a million other things!

10. We need your love! Sometimes it’s easy to feel down, beaten, and inferior. We appreciate every single person who lifts us up, makes us smile, and helps us realize we aren’t alone. And we love you right back!

I found my current theme song!

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“Stupid Me”

Oh oh oh, oh oh, oh oh…

Stupid me, I don’t know how to slow down
Felt your touch and now I want it all now
Waiting by the phone begging for a call now
Centuries go by, and still there’s no sound

Why do you play with my heart, why do do do you?
When you know that I see right through through through you?

But if you don’t love me the way I love you
And if you don’t want me the way I want you
And if you don’t need me the way I need you
I just got one thing to say to you
Stupid you

Stupid you, you don’t know how to act right
Gave you the best sleep you ever had in your life
And all you had to do was kiss me goodnight
I swear to you a man like me you won’t find

So why do you play with my heart, why do do do you?
When you know that I see right through through through you?

But if you don’t love me the way I love you
And if you don’t want me the way I want you
And if you don’t need me the way I need you
I just got one thing to say to you
Stupid you

So why do you play with my heart, why do do do you?
When you know that I see right through through through you?

So if you don’t love me the way I love you
And if you don’t want me the way I want you
Then if you don’t need me the way I need you
I just got one thing to say to you
Stupid you, ey
Stupid you, oh oh oh

Stupid me for falling for you
Stupid me for falling for you

The Most Memorable Camping Trip– Ever.

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A few months ago I was browsing some online coupons and I found one for a voucher that would help me fulfill one of my life long dreams— skydiving. I quickly bought a couple and started my plan to experience this once-in-a-life free-fall experience.

The venue for skydiving was Canyonlands. A beautiful national park in Southern Utah. I had never been there, so I decided to make it more than a skydiving trip. I wanted to also make it a camping trip. I invited some friends to come along. I could not have picked the best group of people to go with me. 

Once our group was established, planning quickly ensued. We planned for one night, with delicious tinfoil dinners, for 60 degrees hiking weather, and chilly, but doable nights. 

Very little went to according to plan— hence the most memorable camping trip. If everything goes according to plan, little details get forgotten. However… these moments MADE the trip. 

We originally planned to leave at 5:40 a.m. (yikes… who willingly gets up that early!?) We gathered then took forever to get everything on the road. I forgot some stuff at the store… S forgot some stuff at his house… and K showed up 15 minutes late. An hour later, we were finally on our way in an incredibly cramped car. We picked up E and squished him in. It snowed on the way there. But we were optimistic that weather would be good down south. We had checked the forecast, after all. 

We got to the park mid morning and with a great amount of luck, secured a campsite inside the park. We set up camp right away so we could start hiking. It was quite chilly and windy. We wanted to get our blood pumping to warm up. We were slightly worried about the tents blowing away, so we put giant rocks inside and set off. The day was full of fun times, amazing sights, and insightful conversations (it was also full of a lot of cramping for me, sharp winds, and slightly cold temperatures… which really sucked, but made for more memories). 

We got back to camp that evening… and that is where everything started to go UNaccording to plan. One tent had collapsed and the other had moved a substantial amount due to the 1,000,000 mph winds. No worries, though. A little tape (borrowed from a camping neighbor) did the trick for a broken tent pole and relocating to a slightly less windy area did the trick for wandering tents. We made a crazy wildfire that kicked up a lot of ash and sparks everytime a gust of wind came, but eventually we had our tinfoil dinners cooking away. After 30 minutes, we checked one dinner and it was still undercooked. SO we put it back on. But burned it… our 1/2 pound delightful dinners turned into whatever-meat-and-potatoes-you-could-salvage dinners. it mattered not, because we had lots of donuts, apples, and string cheese to eat. We ran out of firewood shortly after dark, so we decided to retire to bed early. K and I in one tent, and E and S in the other. K and I were excited to go to bed early… yet it turned out to be a bad idea. I could NOT fall asleep. We were cold, uncompfy, and I was wired. Finally, we fell alseep. Only to wake up an 10:30. We chatted for a minute. Then fell back to sleep. Only to wake up at 11:30.  We giggled about things and chatted for a minute. Then fell back to sleep. Only to wake up at 12:30. We whined about the atrocious wind that was eating our tent, giggled about things, and chatted for a minute. Then fell back to sleep. Only to wake up at 1:30. We observed that our bodies were not as young as they once were and could not handle the hard ground as well as they used to, we whined about the wind that was devouring out tent, we giggled about things, and chatted for a minute. Then fell back to sleep. For a blissful 3 hours straight. Only to wake up at 4:30… We pondered at the precipitation falling on our tent, wondered aghast at the snow that was falling, we observed that our bodies were not as young as they once were and could not handle the hard ground as well as they used to, whined about the atrocious wind that was eating our tent, giggled about things, and chatted for a minute. We wondered if it might not be a bad idea to pack up right then since we weren’t sleeping anyways and we were freezing. We decided to go back to sleep. Only to wake up at 5:30. When I looked outside the tent, I was in shock. Three inches of snow had accumulated in that last hour. Ahhhh!! Definitely NOT in the forecast. K and I could not stop laughing. We had to make a plan of action before getting out of our warm sleeping bags. As soon as I opened the tent, S got a snapshot of my reaction to seeing the snow. He captured how I truly feel about snow. 

K and I quickly got our belongings to the car then made the long trek through the snow to the outhouse bathroom. It is not a fun experience to go to the bathroom in the freezing cold… where the wind can come up through the toilet to bite your bum. When we got back form the bathroom, the boys had already packed up our tents. How kind of them! On the way to the airport, we talked to the skydiving people who informed us that skydiving had been cancelled. Which was unfortunate because I was really looking forward to it, but fortunate because I did NOT want to skydive in the snow. 

 

Needless to say, it was a very memorable camping trip. We were not prepared to rough it in the snow, but we bonded and made memories that none of us will ever forget. =]

 

Aside

Man! This year has been so full of changes! And I have loved it so much! Here are some lists that I have put together to help represent my year

In 2013 I had a blast traveling the country.

1. St. George (twice)

Early in the year, I went to St. George a couple times with my aunt and uncle. It was a relief to escape the bitter winter cold of Salt Lake and bask in the sun in St. George. We did a lot of four-wheeling, swimming and chilling.

2. Boise, ID

In March, I went to Boise to watch my first ever real concert: Carrie Underwood. I have one of the bestest friends you could ever ask for. She invited me up and we had an AMAZING time jamming to Carrie songs (and others…). I wish she didn’t live so far away!

3. Southern CA

In April, I went to the west coast. Southern California is probably as close to heaven that you can get on this. At least, the closest that I have experienced so far. My friend and I traveled through many cities ti my car started to break down. We went to Sandiego, Carlsbad, Laguna Beach, Ventura, and Huntington Beach. If I could live on the beach, I totally would.

4. Las Vegas

In May, I went to Las Vegas for the first time ever. I went for a friend’s wedding and did some sightseeing while I was there. I absolutely loved all the lights of the city.

5. Dallas, TX

In July I drove with my dearest friend to Texas to help her and her husband move. Man, what an adventure! Dallas is also a really fascinating city. I could definitely learn to love Texas. We went to 6 Flags over Texas while I was there. I am so ridiculously in love with roller coasters.

6. Atlanta, GA

In October, I went to Atlanta, Georgia for an Expeditionary Learning Conference. I learned a lot of really amazing things there. I spent most of the time indoors, learning, but I did get to go out to eat at some pretty awesome places! I also went to the artin Luther King Jr. memorial. That was pretty educational. I also got to meet up with a friend that I used to work with at BYU there. She moved out there after graduating and I missed her terribly. What a coincidence that I got to meet up with her while I was there!

7. Parker, CO

I have also gotten to go to CO 3-4 times this year. I love my family! We do such silly things when we are together.

In 2013, I also experienced many things for the first time:

1. Got a job

I have a real job for the first time ever! I have a real career. I teach first grade in a charter school in Kearns, UT and I am absolutely ADORE it. I only make slightly more than minimum wage, but it is so much more fun (and sometimes much more challenging) than any hourly wage job.

2. Got a car

I bought my first brand-new car too! I love it. It is a 2013 Honda Civic. She is a beautiful car. I am not a fan of the monthly bill, but it is so worth it to know that I won’t be breaking down on the way to work!

3. Got an apartment

I also got my first real apartment. For some reason, getting an apartment in Provo doesn’t really seem to count. Everything is pretty much handed to you in Provo. I had to buy my own furniture for the first time! I bought my first couch, table and chairs, mattress, dresser, desk, etc.!  I truly feel like a grownup now!

2013 also helped me cross off a few things on my bucket list.

1. Go to Josh Groban Concert

I have wanted to see Josh Groban live for as long as I can remember. I am so in love with Josh Groban’s voice and have been since I was like 13. I own every song and know most of them by heart. I am incredibly star-struck when it comes to him. When he was about to get on the stage, I started hyperventilating! Probably a little TMI, but I just wanted to convey the excitement I felt when I finally got to see him with my own eyes and hear his music with no filter. He was AMAZING

2. Shake hands with a General Authority

My bishop is Elder Richard G. Scott’s nephew and the apostle randomly came to my ward one time. It was amazing to feel the spirit so near when I shook his hand =]

3. Graduate from college

In April I officially walked and graduated from Brigham Young University. My family came down form CO to support me. What a freeing and exhilarating feeling to finally be done with college (at least for now)

In 2013, I have lived in three cities:

1. West Jordan, UT

My aunt and uncle were kind enough to let me live with them for almost a year. I really enjoyed living there.

2. Provo, UT

Provo has some really cheap apartments in the summer, so that is where I headed for a few months. It was nice living closer to my sisters. It was also nice not having a job. I just goofed off pretty much all summer

3. Sandy, UT

I currently live in my favorite place yet. I love it in Sandy and hope to live there for a while longer =]

In conclusion, 2013 has been a great year. I am kind of sad to see it go… but I look forward to what 2014 may bring!

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Dusting My Light

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Never ever NEVER watch mormon messages if you do not want to bawl your eyeballs clean out. I have seen a few mormon messages here and there, but for some reason I have not taken the time to watch them on my own. I am really glad that I decided to do so today. My perspective on life changed again as it often does as I learn new things. This time, I wanted to write down how my perspective has changed.

I have been getting too lazy to take the time to smell the roses in life. I am so grateful for everything that I have. And that is what I would like to dedicate this post to: How blessed my life is. 

Often, it is so easy to think about how hard life can be. Many times, I don’t even have to try to think of things that are going wrong. I get so caught up in the daily things of life and that can really wear me down. How am I going to afford my life? Why am I still single? Why did my car have to break down? Why can’t I have this, why can’t this be this way…. etc. etc. How selfish of me! What if instead of focusing on how awful my life is, I focus on how I can help others improve their lives? I know the topic of service has been visited a bajillion times by those with more authority than me. I honestly have no idea how I can say this in a way that is life-changing, or even meaningful. However, I feel the need to say what I have felt in my heart today (cheesy sounding, I know…) I have a renewed desire to change my life so that I can better reflect Christ’s light that I have allowed to become slightly dusty within me. It is time for me to polish the light and turn it on in full. No more darkness. I want to be the light that can help remind others to remove the dust covering their own lights.

The dust of life can be caused by trials or heartache. It can be caused by laziness, when we decide not to do what it takes to keep our light burning (reading the scriptures, going to church, etc.) In my case, it was simply that I forgot I needed to clean it. In order to remove the grime covering my own light, I think that it is important to remember why I am here on this earth and how blessed I am.

My whole life is centered around my biggest blessing. When everything seems to be going wrong, there is really only one thing that can really keep me on my feet. I would be lost without the gospel of Jesus Christ. The knowledge that He is there is all I need. He has never left my side and never will leave my side. He has sent me to this earth to be tested, but he gave me the tools that I need to succeed. He sent me to the best family in the world. I was born into the gospel and grew up knowing things that people search a lifetime to learn. I know where I am going. When I get lost, I need only pray and read the scriptures and I will get back on track. I am grateful that I have an ultimate goal. I CAN return to live with Him someday. And be with those I love for forever. In order to this, all I need to do is be more like my Savior. Each time I try to become more like my savior, the light of Christ that is in me burns a little brighter, and I can feel him guiding me. He will guide to those who need my help. Even if I need only smile at someone to make them remember their light, or reach out a hand of friendship, I will do what I can to help others.

 We need Your love | via Tumblr

A grown-up nightmare

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I had a really awful dream last night. I had a dream that I went on vacation somewhere and the day after I got back, I went to work. It started out as a fairly normal day at work. Until I my boss handed me a job application and told me to start filling it out. I knew it was for a teaching position for next year. I was slightly confused because I thought that I’d already accepted the offer for the job. I started to fill out the application anyway, but started to feel very frustrated because the packet was more than 50 pages long. It was a beast of an application. After 15 minutes or so, I’d only filled out a few pages, but my boss came back to take it away. As he left the room about ten people filed into the room. It all of a sudden dawned on me that this was the school board and they were all there to interview me. I was terrified. They all sat down and started looking at me expectantly. Apparently I was supposed to have come up with a presentation telling them why I was best for the job. I looked at them all and froze. The. I looked down at myself… I was wearing a t-shirt and short jean shorts, as if I’d dressed that morning thinking that I was still on vacation. I was mortified. I apologized profusely for my appearance. Many in the board just nodded their heads with a pitying smile. It was awful. Then I started to stammer and I tried to explain that I didn’t know what to say because I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. They all just looked at me and I know they could sense my nerves and embarrassment. Ugh. I started to say my name and a little but about me, all the while, one-by-one they started to get up and leave, ready to hear the next interviewee. I knew I’d blown it once I realized they were leaving after only having been there for two minutes. Oh my gosh… It was an awful feeling. The job that I thought I already had was all of a sudden torn away  from me by my own stupidity and lack of preparation. 

 
Right after the interview, I asked for the rest of the day off because I felt horrendous. I tried to tell my mom about it but she was too busy to listen to me. 
 
Needless to say, I was more than happy to wake up this morning. 

California Adventures… But here’s the catch

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This past week was my spring break. I was dead set on heading to California. Who doesn’t dream of warm, balmy beaches, and exciting city life during their spring break? So I decided to go. But here’s the catch: I could only recruit one person to join me. My friend, Eldon (who made a good travel buddy… the only problem is there is a stipulation of a boy and a girl traveling together) And although it made me nervous… the idea of CA was too strong to head the protests of my mother that it was not wise. This post is dedicated to the very interesting trip I had to Southern California. 

Eldon and I were planning on heading to San Diego, then take the beautiful Coastal Highway to San Francisco, stopping here and there at noteworthy places. 

Our First stop:

Day 1: SAN DIEGO

My heart is constantly singing out to San Diego. I love southern California, and I have been wanting to go back sooo bad! Just being in San Diego was amazing. We stayed in a Hostel that was right across the way from the beach. We also went to downtown San Diego, where we ate some Mexican food at Fred’s. We also went to Ghiradelli’s there. They have some DELICIOUS hot fudge. 
Sand Diego is great… But here’s the catch: It was quite chilly and windy and slightl rainy, so the beach was too cold, and I couldn’t even wear my shorts. I was also incredibly grumpy from the long car-ride and awful traffic, so it took me like an hour to really get into the spirit.We pulled into San Diego and all I wanted to do was drive back home. WEIRD. I did eventually warm up to the idea and by the time we got to downtown San Diego, I was happy. Another catch: I am grateful that I had a place to stay that night, but as it was my first time sleeping in a hostel, I got NO sleep. The bed was rock-hard and I was terrified that everyone was going to be watching me. I woke up every hour. Image

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Day 2: San Diego, Carlsbad, San Clamente, Laguna Beach, Hollywood, Ventura

Today was JAM-PACKED. And very full of things that have been on my California bucket list. Our first stop, was a visit to the San Diego temple. It is BEAUTIFUL. We walked around the temple and just took in its beauty. Apparently the temple used to be much whiter, but it caused accidents on the freeway, because it distracted people as they drove by. After numerous complaints, they dimmed it down. I did not know that. 
After our trip to the temple, we made a spontaneous trip to the beautiful flower park, The Flower Fields in Carlsbad. The flowers were beautiful! They had acres of rows upon rows of Ranunculus. They were in rows by color and they were so pretty! They also had roses, and poinsettias and a sweet pea maze! I just soaked in the beauty! Eldon wasn’t as thrilled, but I loved it!
Then we headed back on the road on our way to San Clamente. Eldon wanted to make this stop to pick some legendary Rainbow sandals. I was secretly wanting some but wasn’t planning on purchasing any, because they are expensive. When I found a pain on sale for $15, I was THRILLED. I got them and I don’t regret them at all.
After San Clamente, we headed on our way to Laguna Beach. We didn’t stop right on Laguna Beach, but we stopped at a beach less crowded and close by. It was BEAUTIFUL. It was very sunny and happy. The waves were a little too scary for me to play in, but we had a LOT of fun chasing the waves then running as fast as we could when they were coming after us. After about an hour on that beach, we headed through NASTY traffic toward Los Angeles. It took seriously forever. I was stressed the whole time, and I wasn’t even driving. Hollywood Boulevard was awesome though! Even though we didn’t really get to see the Hollywood sign, it was fun to see all the names on the stars. We also saw a break-dancing street show. Eldon made me donate $5, and when I did, they yelled out something along the lines of: “Hey, we got $5!” then the other said by who? and when he answered, he said this white chick!” I felt kinda like the minority there. Definitely more non-white people in CA, I discovered. After Hollywood, we decided to find a beach… we went to Ventura, where it was slightly chilly. We walked down Ventura pier in the sunset. It was beautiful. I discovered that I really like Ventura. It is like the farmlands of CA, but still beachy. It is paradise =]. That night we were planning on heading up to Santa Barbara to stay the night on a beach.

But here’s the catch:  My car (which I have named Mike) was not doing so well. He made funny noises and refused to go into neutral when the clutch was pressed. So we made a decision to not continue onto Santa Barbara. Instead we made about 3 other decisions, all which did not work. First, it was decided to go to a different beach, closer to Ventura to sleep. However, after the 30 miute drive, we discovered we needed cash to camp. Which we did not have. So after several arguments, we made our second decision to go back to Ventura to pull out some cash. After it became apparent that we would not make it back to the campsite before the gates closed, we concluded to sleep in the car. I did not want to sleep on the side of a busy road, so we drove around for quite the little while to find a quiet side road. I should have remembered that there are none of those in Cali. We then decided to go to another park, so we drove about 20 minutes to get there…. but it was closed. So we drove around some more. Then we had the brilliant idea of going to the nearest LDS church and crashing in their parking lot. However… when we got there… there was a signing warning us that we would get towed if we slept there. By that point it was late, and we REALLY needed sleep… so we decided to stay there anyway. There were some other cars in the parking lot… some were probably missionary cars, others were parked closer to the building… by the morning half of them were gone. Which means several people saw our little CO car with the fogged windows. We’re glad they didn’t call the tow place! Apparently one man even came up to our car and looked at it… 

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Day 3: Huntington Beach

We wanted to spend one more day in Cali, even though Mike was fairing poorly. So, we went to Huntington Beach and spent about 4 hours there. It was heaven on earth. We got there at around 10 a.m. There were very few other people there. As the day wore on, more and more people showed and the beach got more and more crowded. But it was a BEAUTIFUL beach. The waves were PERFECT for playing in. And I also go to run down right on the edge of the ocean and it was awesome. Unfortunately, I forgot to put sunscreen on for 3 hours… so when I walked away from the beach I was quite sufficiently toasted red.

Then we headed back to UT. Our plan was to head to my grandparent’s place in Hurricane, then go to Zion National Park for a hike the next morning. When we got to my granparent’s house, we took a blessed shower and I slept on the most comfy bed I have ever been on.

But here’s the catch: on our way through Nevada, we got pulled over. Which really surprised us, because we were actually going pretty close to the speed limit. He got to our car and asked for license and registration, asked whose car it was, etc. Then, he told us that there are two reasons we got pulled over… (which confused me even more… I couldn’t think of one!). Apparently, we didn’t blink long enough before changing lanes. Dumb. Also, he informed us that it is illegal to have anything hanging from your rear-view mirror in Nevada. Stupidest law EVER. So, I had to take down my little moose necklace. Oh well.

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Day 4: St. George

Today was the perfect end to the trip. We had breakfast and chatted with my grandparents for a while. We talked about the past and present and family. Then Eldon and I headed on our way to Zion. However, part way up the canyon, we decided we didn’t want to pay the entrance fee. So, we went to my aunt and uncle’s house in Tocquerville. I got to hold my 6-month old cousin while Grandpa set up the ATV’s. Then we were on our way through a beautiful southern Utah wilderness that led to a beautiful waterfall. On our way up, we got stopped by construction. But, they moved the cement truck for us and we were on our way. The road was so beautiful. And not too treacherous. We ate lunch on the top of the falls and I was quite content. We also poured the fall’s water on our burned arms and face and it was fantastic. On our way back, we got stopped by construction again. A massive truck filled one way, and a giant pile of dirt filled another way. We were thinking we’d have to wait for a while til they moved the truck… but instead, they turned their giant backhoe and scooped up the hill for us, just so we could get back through. Ha ha. It was AWESOME. Then my aunt fed us DELICIOUS home-made chocolate cake. Then we went back, chatted with my fantastic grandparents for a little while longer. Then we were on the road.

But here’s the catch: a mean old truck spit a rock at us and cracked Mike’s windshield.

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Overall, it was a very interesting trip! I came home tanner, and I was able to cross several things off my bucket list! Hooray!

Sorry for another spinster post…

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This is why I detest dating

1.) There is always a second girl. Unfortunately I have always been that second girl

2.) You can never be friends.

3.) It’s never like the movies. Dating can never be romantic.

4.)  No one is like Mr. Knightly from Jane Austen’s Emma and therefore not worth dating.

5.) It’s awkward…

6.) I always like the wrong dude.

7.) The cute ones are already taken.

8.) When my friends start dating, they fall off the face of the planet.

9.) After you go on so many first dates… it gets kinda old.

10.) It never ends well…