Monday, January 31, 2011


Well, that's it. Those are all the friends I have. Peace out.


Okay, not really.

I have a hard time ending things. I love writing stories, but I find it very difficult to end them because I don't know how to appropriately do it. I think maybe because I am still in the middle of my own story, or maybe even just in the first few chapters (nothing too exciting has happened so far), and since I haven't experienced a good ending I am not sure how best to write one. 

You know as well as I do that there are a lot of other friends that I have that I haven't mentioned here on this little blog - lets face it, you live for 27 years and you meet a lot of people. But I just don't have time, or the energy, and, let's face it again, I am kinda lazy. And if I didn't mention you on here then don't be offended, I really do love you, but I just am lame and left you out cause I suck I guess.

I think the main thing that I want to conclude with is that I am really grateful that I have had the chance to meet and get to know all the friends that I have talked about here, and all the friends that I haven't had the chance to mention on here. I am really one lucky girl. I know that I have been lucky my whole life to have the opportunities that I have had to meet the people that I have met in my life. I am very lucky that I had such a good string of roommates my whole life as well.And I know that the list will just continue as I keep on going in my life.

I have no idea what will happen next. I don't have everything all planned out (fooled you didn't I? You thought I had it all figured out). I don't even have the next step planned. I don't know what I am going to do after this job or this city or this apartment. I don't know where I will be 10 years from now, or 5 years from now, or even next month for that matter. There is one thing that I do know though - it will be awesome. Partly because I will make it that way - I have talked about how I learned from a lot of my friends the importance of a good attitude - but also because there are a lot of great people out there that I haven't met yet. At least, I assume there are, I can't be POSITIVE because I haven't actually met them. haha.

I am going to recap the things I have learned from my friends. I learned to walk and talk. I learned to stay cool in a crisis. I learned to love other people, even when they aren't perfect. I learned that family is important. I learned the importance of picking my battles, and how to pick the right ones. I learned how to be kind and yet firm. I learned that it is better to be truthful and trusting. I learned that all kinds of friendships can occur, seemingly out of nowhere. I learned that connections can happen anywhere - it really is a small world. I learned that attitude is really important. I learned that all people have redeeming qualities, and that everyone deserves a second chance. I learned that I can get along with a large variety of people. I learned that I LIKE getting along with a variety of people. I learned that different people can teach me new things about themselves and about myself. I learned that I have things in common with lots of people, but I am also have huge differences from a lot of people - and both of those things are good. I learned that the differences between people is what makes things fun. I learned to always be myself and to not care what other people think - if they don't like me for who I am then I shouldn't want to be friends with them anyway. I learned that it can be fun to go out of your comfort zone. I learned that things that were once out of your comfort zone can actually, over time, become part of your comfort zone. I learned that it can take time to find out who you really are, and that is okay, you can still make great friends on your way. I have learned that crying isn't weak. I learned that as much as I want to, I can't manage other people's feelings. I learned that I am never too old to have fun. I learned that I am not too fat to have fun either. I learned that talking things through is a good idea, even though it can be difficult to do sometimes. I learned to not be afraid of what other people think, but to go for what I want, even if it seems hard or scary. I learned that asking guys out on dates isn't the end of the world. I learned it is good to be yourself. I learned that sharing different opinions isn't always a bad thing. I learned that it is okay to make the decision that is best for yourself and not think about other people; it is okay to be selfish once in a while. I learned that keeping in touch with friends is important. I learned that making more money doesn't always make you happier, but it CAN. I learned that sometimes it is just time to move ont. I learned that sometimes things can go fast, but that is okay. I learned that sometimes you need to leap before you look. I learned that when you are in a new place you need to make the most of it and explore. I learned that hard work can be rewarding. I learned that everyone has some sort of redeeming quality, and usually, it isn't that hard to find. I learned to love others and to show that in whatever way possible, because you never know how you are affecting someone else's day, or month, or life. I learned that love at first kiss can happen. I learned you can be comfortable with someone instantly. I learned that weight loss happens in real life, and not just on tv or in the movies. I learned that true happiness can come from a short courtship and engagement. I learned that it is possible to hang out with an engaged couple without feeling like a third wheel (I know, amazing right?) I learned that you can be happy for someone else and sad for you all at the same time. I learned that you can recover from heart-break. I learned that sometimes what you think you want for your life isn't really what is best for your life. I learned that sometimes it is okay to take a break for a while to get back on your feet. I learned that it isn't weakness to admit that you aren't doing okay. I learned to not regret things that you didn't do, just to learn from them and make better mistakes in the future. I learned that it is okay to let someone in quickly. I learned to always be nice, no matter how frustrated you are. I learned to always be worried about other people's feelings. I learned to always be who I am, even if it is unexpected. I learned to look on the bright side. I learned to laugh and have fun. I learned that it is good to do things that scare the crap out of you (every once in a while at least). I learned that a broken heart can mend, and bounce back better than ever. I learned to be confident. I learned to be social and outgoing. I learned that it is good to approach someone you don't know and talk to them, because probably they are just as freaked out as you are. I learned it is never too late to fix your life - if you think something needs fixing, then work on it and it can be fixed, simple as that. I learned that good people can have crappy things happen to them, but you can still chose to be positive and grow out of those experiences. I learned that I am lovable and worth protecting. I learned that I am a good judge of character and I can make good decisions. I learned that a short fuse isn't good, and drinking just shortens it. I learned that out of adversity and out of hurt, we can be changed for the better.  I learned that we are all given gifts and talents and not to be embarrassed about sharing those gifts with other people. I learned that everyone has a different story to tell. I learned that creativity should always be expressed. I learned that positive reinforcement is good. I learned that I am a good listener and I am good at being there for others. I learned that even as a person changes over time, they are still always worth loving. I learned how to get along with people I didn't always see eye-to-eye with. I learned that sometimes kids, and people in general, can be mean, but that doesn't mean they are evil.

I want to thank all of you who are my friends. You mean a lot to me and so do the things that I have learned from you. Keep being awesome and teaching me things I need to know :D

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Most Important Friendship

So, I know you are all sitting there thinking that I have neglected to mention the most important friendship that I have ever had in my life - don't worry, I was just saving the best for last. I know that this is going to sound super corny, but I would have to say that the person who is my best friend, and always has been, is my Mom. (I told you it was corny).

Now, I am not just writing this post because I know she is one of the 3 people that read this blog (well, it might have been a bit more than three this month, but she has been one of the faithful 3). I am writing it because I mean it. I would have to say that my Mom is the best friend I have. I know that most people don't feel that way about their mother's and I feel like that makes me pretty darn lucky. I remember when I was in High School this kid Bill was throwing a huge keg party out at his place. I was standing in the hall talking to a bunch of the other girls about it and they were all saying things like "I told my mom I am staying at so-and-so's house" or "I told my mom that his parents would be there" and other such nonsense. I said "I told my Mom I was going to Bill's kegger." Every person in that conversation (and there were probably about 10 of them) gaped at me. One even asked me to repeat myself. It was weird to them - we were all underage and their parents wouldn't have let them go. They didn't understand that my Mom knew that I was almost an adult and that I was going to make my own decisions, and she knew that they would be good ones. She trusted me, and in turn, I told her the truth. Now, I realize that a lot of this was because of who I am as well as because of how awesome she is, but I think it is very telling of our relationship.

She is one of the most understanding people on the planet. I could tell her anything in the whole world and I feel like she would still love me - and not just because she has to. I guess she got practice being accepting after all the crazy crap that my brother did growing up. There is one thing that I hid from her for about 5 or 6 years while we were growing up - and when I did finally tell her it was a relief. The thing is that I hadn't just been hiding it from her, I had been hiding it from everyone. But when I did finally break down and tell someone, she was the second person I told (JR was the first person actually - but he kinda had to wrench it out of me).

Not only do I feel like I can trust her with anything, but she is also someone that I want to emulate. I have been told before that I look a lot like my Mom (which is totally true), but I hope the resemblance goes deeper than that. She is not only understanding to me, and my brothers, but to everyone. She is caring towards all people and she can make rational decisions in a crisis (I guess that is why she is a good nurse).

She is also one of the smartest people I know. She went to nursing school when I was 14 years old and she graduated from Nursing School the year that my older brother graduated from High School - and even though she went to school 5 days a week driving an hour each way, and she worked almost every single weekend for the entire 2 1/2 years, she still managed to get really good grades. I was so proud of her for that and I regret that I didn't do as well in my college career so that I could make her as proud (not that I did terrible, but compared to her I did - and her circumstances were way tougher than mine). Of course, she never judged me for it, she is still proud of me anyway.

From her I learned everything - from my first steps and first words (thank goodness she taught me my first words - where would we all be if I couldn't talk?) to how to stay cool in a crisis. I learned to love other people, even when they aren't perfect, because they never are. I learned that family is important. I learned the importance of picking my battles, and how to pick the right ones. I learned how to be kind and yet firm. I learned that it is better to be truthful and trusting.

Other Oregon Friends

So, other than the ones I have already mentioned, I have also met a ton of other great people here in Oregon.

At my job I became friends with this guy named Paul - he is funny and very addicted to running. He would ride his bike to work even though it would take him an hour. Then there was Jon - he would take whatever challenge came at us with a smile on his face, telling us to calm down. Skyla was always very precise. These people have all moved on to bigger and better things. I also met Whitney, who still currently works with me. She and I have similar opinions about a lot of things and we have been working together so long that we can practically read each others minds. We can finish each others sentences and determine what the other person is thinking when she can't articulate clearly. We work together seamlessly and even when we are stressed out we manage to have fun (at least for the most part). We both try very hard to make sure the other person isn't put out or stressed out too much, and that is one of the main reasons we work well together. If one of us was a giver all the time and the other was a taker, it wouldn't work, but luckily that isn't the case.

I have also met other great people at church. There is Cec and Laura who I love to get together with and talk about fangirl stuff and watch silly shows and movies and just laugh and laugh and laugh. I feel like I could tell those girls anything and they would never judge me about it - at least not to my face. They always have my best interests at heart and they never hesitate to give me advice, and more importantly, confirmation, when I need it. I also have gotten to know Rachel, Molly and Joanna pretty well - they are in our Relief Society presidency. We have meetings every Sunday morning, and as much as we get important stuff done at these meetings, we also have bonded. I also got to know the old RS presidency really well - Jenny and Heidi are great girls.

I have met so many great people here in Oregon that it would be impossible to go through and list everyone, just like it was impossible to do about all my friends in Utah. I think the important thing to know is that I value the friendships I have had with all of these people - no matter how well I know them, or how little, and no matter how strong or weak those friendship bonds are, I enjoy every moment spent with those other people. From every person that I come across in my life I have learned something - either about myself or about human nature in general.

I learned that all kinds of friendships can occur, seemingly out of nowhere. I learned that connections can happen anywhere - it really is a small world. I learned that an important part of having a good time somewhere or with someone, is the attitude you approach that event with. If you go somewhere expecting it to suck, it probably will; whereas if you go expecting it to be fun, you can usually salvage something from the event. I learned that sometimes, you have to learn the same lesson more than once for it to really stick. I learned that all people have redeeming qualities, and that everyone deserves a second chance.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Oregon Roomies

While living with Julie there were a lot of other people who moved in and out - that tends to happen when you live with one person for more than 3 years but the other room in the house is available for rent. When I first moved in a girl named Lindsay lived there. She was from Utah and was a bit of a rebel as far as LDS standards go, but she was still super fun to live with (although she would not respond to her alarm in the morning and it would just beep and beep and beep - haha). She moved out not too long after I moved in because of differences in opinion from Julie, who is a bit stricter than Lindsey was, so I didn't live with her long, but it was fun while it lasted.

After Linds moved out we had a couple of months with no one there, and then that summer Julie's sister was doing an internship at Intel and she stayed with us. She was one of the sweetest, most soft spoken people you would ever meet. She spent a lot of time reading so we would often talk about books and the things we liked to read. She wasn't there for long, but she was fun to live with and have book conversations with. She left to go back to school at the end of Aug/beginning of Sept. By October (the wedding of our friends Lex and Barlow - mentioned below) she was engaged to a guy named Tyler. They are now happily married and living in Utah (I think).

After Laurie left this girl named Lex moved back in. I say 'back' because she had lived with Julie before, but she was in PA school so she left to go on rotations so she had to move out. When she moved back with us it was for a short period of time between her graduation from school and her wedding in October. I met her on the camping trip as well, but because of her rotations she wasn't around very often so I didn't get to know her as well as Julie, Jasmine and Mark. She was dating (and eventually married) this guy named Barlow who was my HT (and was also on the fated camping trip) so I got to know him pretty well, which was fun. We all took a road trip to Utah for their wedding in October - it is always fun to see two people you are good friends with get married to each other :D

After she moved out, Jasmine moved in for a while, which I mentioned the other day. That was a great time, as I already mentioned.

After she left this girl named Adrianna moved in. She had met Julie's sister in Cali not too long beforehand, but was moving to Oregon because it is where her fiance was from, and it is where she was going to get married so she wanted to be here to plan the wedding and get to know his family better. Her fiance didn't live in the area the whole time she lived with me, so that was hard on her, but she had been with him for a long time so she managed. She was fun to live with as well. She was planning her wedding the whole time, but she would always come and ask me what I thought about this or that and tell me all about her plans. And we would make late night Krispy Kreme runs too, so that was good (okay, not a lot of those happened - but I remember them vividly).

After she got married and moved out this girl named Becca moved in. She was in our Ward and she had been good friends with Julie for quite a while, and I didn't know her well, but I knew her enough to know I liked her. Not long after Becca moved in Julie got engaged to her fiance, so we both then had to move out, so we didn't live together long. She plays the cello amazingly, so it was always fun to hear her practice - although she was careful not to let that happen too often, she was kinda shy about practicing in front of people (which is odd to me since she would perform in front of people). She was (and still is) dating this guy named Aaron and they are really cute together. I miss living with Becca.

After moving out of Julie's house I found a place with a girl named Jenn, back in the same apartment complex I had moved into when I first came to Oregon - of course it was cheaper since I would be sharing with someone and not having my own apartment. Jenn is an interesting person, because on the surface she seems very down to earth and professional, but once you get to know her she is so not that way. Not that she isn't down to earth or professional (although that is what I just said, right?) but rather that she is so much more crazy fun than I originally thought. We spent every night for probably the first month I lived here staying up late and talking and giggling (obviously this is what it really means to me to be friends with someone). We get along really well. She and I are the same in so many areas - and not all of them good. The way we deal with stress for example (by ignoring it) and all other sort of things. Our sense's of humor are very similar and we have similar dating histories (or lack's thereof) and she is just fun fun fun. I like Jenn a lot. Wow ... clearly I can't think of anything else good to say about her, but there is a ton of good stuff, believe me, I am just too out of it to list them all off right now.

I know that I have been lucky all through college, and even since then, to have good roommates. I have managed to get along well (or at least decently) with all of them. I have learned so many things from them. So many things that I have already mentioned that I have learned, and so many things that I have to re-learn. There are a lot of lessons that I have learned from my friends and roomies all throughout my life - some have stuck and some haven't. Some are still trying to wriggle their way in there. I learned that I can get along with a large variety of people. I learned that I LIKE getting along with a variety of people. I learned that different people can teach me new things about themselves and about myself. I learned that I have things in common with lots of people, but I am also have huge differences from a lot of people - and both of those things are good. I learned that the differences between people is what makes things fun.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


So, this is slightly out of order ... but then not really. So, I met Emily when I was at BYU. She worked with me at the 4am job. She was on the same crew as Christina, but we still got to know each other okay. And Emily was a pretty new freshman at the time, and still fresh out of high school. And Emily went to a pretty small high school out in the middle of nowhere and so she was a bit ... awkward. But we still totally bonded, because guess what? I am awkward too.

Now, I hate to say this, but I kinda can't remember what made us hang out first. I think that what happened was that she and I bonded at work over how we quoted the movie "She's the Man" all the time. Then, we saw that a new movie with Channing Tatum (who is the lead male in "She's the Man" and is so totally smoking hot!) was coming out called "Step Up" and we decided we needed to go to it together. I think maybe that we had watched "She's the Man" before this together. So when it was finally in the dollar theatre we walked up there and saw it together. And it was awesome. And then we walked home. Funny story though, when we were on our way to the theatre we saw this guy walking along carrying a set of bagpipes. We were in a very goofy mood so we stopped him and asked him to play a little diddy - and he DID! It was the most amazing thing ever. I think that to this day Emily wishes she had gotten that guy's phone number.

We would hang out every once in a while after that, but then she left to go to a semester abroad in England. And then I graduated and moved here. I didn't really give much thought to her on a day to day basis (that sounds mean, but you know what I mean) until one day in church, I looked over and who did I see? You guessed it - Emily! It shocked the heck out of me. I was so not expecting to see anyone that I knew from school there, but it was so delightful. It was amazing.

So we started hanging out in Oregon too. She was here because the semester abroad was pretty expensive and she had to spend time working again to make money to go to school some more, and her Dad lived in the area so she was staying with him. We spent a lot of time watching movies and doing things that I didn't do with my other friends while watching movies - like talking through the whole thing and then later, analyzing the crap out of them. It was always way fun. Then she eventually earned enough to go back to school, but whenever she comes back to visit the family or go to the dentist or whatever, she makes sure to visit me. In fact, a lot of the times she stays with me :D One of the things I love most about Emily is that she is never afraid to be herself. Ever. And since she has gone back to school this last time she has really figured out what she likes and who she is and she isn't afraid to be that. She is such a good friend, always there to offer advice and listen when I need it. Also, she lets me live vicariously through her adventures at BYU in the fun new dance crowd she is in.

From her I learned to always be myself and to not care what other people think - if they don't like me for who I am then I shouldn't want to be friends with them anyway. I learned that it can be fun to do something that you normally don't do and to go out of your comfort zone. I learned that things that were once out of your comfort zone can actually, over time, become part of your comfort zone. I learned that it can take time to find out who you really are, and that is okay, you can still make great friends on your way.


Now, I think a lot of this post is going to sound like a repeat of things I have already said, but that is just because Mark and Jasmine and I do a lot of stuff together. I met him the same way I met Jasmine, on the fated camping trip with Julie. I guess on the way back with Jasmine he commented that she seemed to really hit it off with me. I think he knew then that Jas and I would become good friends and he just accepted that and decided to like me as well haha.

With him I have also done a lot of things such as go to Disney World twice, go on lots of road trips, watched tons of movies and tv shows, gone out to eat a lot (probably too much lol). Everything that you do with your good friends. Also, he and I have very similar sense's of humor (sense of humor's?) and we watched a lot of the same stuff growing up so that always makes hanging out fun. He is also a computer genius and is always very willing to help out when I have problems in that area, which is way nice.

Like most guys, I think he has a hard time expressing his emotions (who am I kidding? I am totally the same way!) but he shows that he cares by the things he does. You can see the concern on his face (either that or it is confusion lol) when there is something worrisome going on. I will always be grateful for him being there during the crappy moments. Like when I was in a wreck last November, he saved the day so many times. It is moments and days like that that remind me why he is such a good friend. It is times like that that make up for all the times he acts totally weird or jerky or intentionally tries to piss me off (for some reason he thinks it is so funny).

With Mark, just like with Jasmine, I think I don't tell him often enough how great I think he is. I get into this trap in my life of just assuming that the people I love know that I love them (I know it, so obviously they do too, right?) and I don't say anything. Also, I think that  it is hard when you see someone on a somewhat day-to-day basis. Are you just going to be like 'how was your day? mine was super long. PS you are awesome"? Probably not. It just doesn't go with the flow of conversation. So thanks Mark, for being so awesome so often. And thanks to all my friends who have been following along so far. We are nearing the end. Aren't you excited? I know I am!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


On the camping trip with Julie, another one of the people that I met was named Jasmine. She told me later that when I walked up to the campsite saying "Hi guys!" all cheery and familiar her first thought was "who is this girl that knows everyone but me? and why don't I know her?" She didn't realize I was faking it at the time, but she figured it out pretty quick when I had to learn everyone's name except for Julie. Over the next couple of days Jasmine and I got to know each other a little bit, and by the end of the camping trip we had stacked a bunch of half-blown-up air mattresses and one of us would lay on them and the other would jump on the other side, popping the other person off. It was a very fun time :D

After that we sorta hung out together a little but here and there, and said hi to each other in church, but we didn't really start hanging out until Halloween of that year. There was a party that we weren't planning on going to, but this other girl Chelsea who we knew convinced us to go with her. So we all dressed in dark clothes and put on heavy makeup and we used some wire to put in fake piercings and we were dressed as crazy goth rocker girls. After that Jasmine started coming over to hang out, her and this guy Mark came over all the time and we would play Guitar Hero. Julie and Mark and Jasmine were planning a trip to Disney World in December of that year, but as we bonded more and became better friends they postponed their trip until January so I could go with them.

Since then Jasmine and I have had tons of sleepovers and told each other almost everything we could ever tell each other. We talk about the silliest, stupidist, most random things ever and we laugh and laugh and laugh all the time. We have been on vacations and to concerts and on road-trips and had tons of adventures together. Pretty much any situation you could come up with, we have a funny/crazy/sad/interesting story that fits the situation. We do what I always do to bond with my friends - stay up late and girl talk and watch shows.

We have had our tough times too, but those times have made our friendship stronger. You know how it is with life, good things happen, but bad things happen too, and you can't have one without the other. Jasmine left for school for a spring term at BYU-I, but it wasn't really right for her, so she didn't stay. After that we lived together, and then because of financial issues she moved elsewhere. She has also had a crazy set of health troubles that seem like they keep coming one after another. But even with all that going on she recently finished beauty school and is the most amazing hair stylist a girl could ask for. Not to mention she helps me wax when I feel so inclined (which isn't super often, but it does happen). When it comes to having the strength to power through something, she definitely has it.

She is a good friend (and a goo friend lol) and we have shared a lot. She is one of the few people that have seen me cry and has lived to tell the tale. Haha. But really, for those who don't know me very well, I am not a big crier, but it has been known to happen. I have even gotten through those times with here there beside me.

From her I have learned that crying isn't weak, but sometimes it can be a great release. I learned that as much as I want to, I can't manage other people's feelings, and that is totally okay, and I need to accept that. I learned that I am never too old to have fun. I learned that I am not too fat to have fun either - I have too often let that hold me back. I learned that talking things through is a good idea, even though it can be difficult to do sometimes. I learned that there is always fun to be had, even if all we are doing is sitting around watching shows we have seen before and telling stories we have heard before as well. Jasmine is a really awesome person (and I know I don't tell her that often enough) who I am so glad I met. Thanks again Julie ;)

Monday, January 24, 2011


So, after the interns left I finally got up the courage to go to church all by myself (I only skipped a few Sundays ... maybe 4). So by the end of September I went to church and I even convinced myself to go to family home evening (which is a where the people in my Ward get together and do activities and other things to get to know each other better - people who are married would have this with their spouses and children, but since we are all Young Single Adults we just hang out together). So I was sitting there alone at FHE, wishing I knew someone and trying to get up the courage to talk to someone, when what do I know, this girl I was sitting next to started talking to me. Her name was Sandy and she was super nice (I know, you are confused, because the title of this post is not Sandy - I am getting there, I promise).  Part way into my conversation with Sandy another girl who knew Sandy came over and started talking to us, and her name was (you guessed it) Julie. We all talked for a bit and Julie and I found out that we had both gone to BYU and graduated not too long previous, so we had that in common. She then said to Sandy "We are going camping on the long weekend, do you want to come?" and Sandy said "I can't, I have to work, but my sister might want to go." Julie said, "Okay," then she turned to me and said "do you like camping?" I was shocked. She had known me for about 5 minutes and she was inviting me camping? But, I had told myself I was going to get more involved and actually do something so I said "sure!"

Well, I hummed and hawed over going on that trip. I didn't know anyone going except for Julie - I didn't even know if it was going to be co-ed or not. Also, I had to work on the Saturday so I was going up a day later than everyone else except for Sandy's sister, who I was going to ride up with. So I met with Jill (Sandy's sister) and she was a little more reserved than I was expecting, so I was nervous that everyone else who was going to be there was going to be as well. But I decided that I was going to make the best of it, anyone can do anything for 2 days, right? So we get to the campsite and I just walked up to where Julie was with the other people and said "hi guys!" Luckily, everyone was super nice. I met some of my best friends (who I will talk about later) on that camping trip.

I was so grateful to Julie for inviting me on that trip. She didn't have to, she barely knew me and really all she knew about me was that I went to BYU. She and I became pretty good friends because of that. A few months later I ended up deciding that I was paying too much in rent and Julie happened to own a house that she was renting out extra rooms in and she let me move in - that was in November of that same year. I lived in Julie's house for about 3 years. That was the longest time that I had lived anywhere since high school, and it was good. I have only recently moved out of there (about 4 months ago) because she got married.

In the meantime we spent a lot of time together. We went on a lot of camping trips, 2 vacations to Disney World, we had birthday parties, a couple trips to Vancouver, several canoeing trips and all sorts of other fun stuff. We had a lot of the same friends, so hanging out was always easy. Julie always impressed me because she was never afraid to do what she wanted to or thought she needed. Or at least, she never acted scared, even if she told me later that she was actually scared. She would invite people for cheesecake night, or game night, she was super brave and asked guys on dates all the time.

She taught me to not be afraid of what other people think, but to go for what I want, even if it seems hard or scary. She taught me that asking guys out on dates isn't the end of the world - but rather, it can be quite invigorating. She taught me that it is good to be yourself and that you don't have to be the same as everyone else. She taught me that sharing a different opinion isn't always a bad thing, but among friends, it's actually good.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


So when I got my job here in Oregon I started in June of '07, and there was a brand new set of interns. I didn't really know anyone in the area so I just hung out with them most of the time and didn't worry too much about making friends. But, as internships tend to do, it ended and they all left. So I was alone. Except for one person. The previous year, when my internship ended, one of the guys, Chris, had gotten a job there. So of course, when I returned he was still there. For the entire summer of '07, and then for the first couple months after that, he was one of the only people I knew (other than the interns that left). He was my saving grace that first couple months after the interns left. It was hard for me to go to a Ward where I didn't know anyone and so I was really crappy at going, and when I did go I didn't really talk to anyone.

Even after I ended up making friends, Chris was still there to talk to about work stuff and just whatever. Chris is one of the least judgmental people I have ever had the pleasure to be around. He was always around to listen whenever I wanted to complain about work, or about my friends, or my family, or whatever.  He and I never stayed up late watching shows or chatting, but we spent a lot of time at work hanging out and chatting :D

The thing I liked most about Chris was that he knew what my college experience was like, because he also went to BYU and so his was quite similar. And he knew what my work life was like, and not just from me telling him. It is different for some reason when someone has been there with you and knows what the work situation is like as opposed to what its like when you just tell them about it. And so I could tell him pretty much anything, or complain about anything, and he would totally get it. And he never judged me for making different kinds of decisions than he did. And he never looked down on me for it either (or at least he never made it seem like he did). And although he had different beliefs than me, he made sure to never rag on me for that or try to make me feel stupid or bad for it either.

After we worked together for however long he got pretty sick, and that sickness was intensified by his stress, and at a job like mine, stress levels are often high. So he got a new job. A better job. Which was awesome for him. But for me, it was so sad. I knew I would miss him a lot. Why did the new job he got have to be all the way across the country? Stupid. Of course, I never blamed him for doing it (although I coveted it a little bit) and I have to say were the situations reversed I would have done the same thing.

The thing I still like about Chris is that whenever he comes in to town he always makes sure to see me. And if it has been a long time since that happened he will call or email or chat with me somehow. And when that does happen, it is like he never left. I fill him in on what has been going on with me, and he fills me in on whats going on with him, and we just chat like we just saw each other the day before.

From him I learned not to judge, but just to accept others as they are. I learned that it is okay to make the decision that is best for yourself and not think about other people; it is okay to be selfish once in a while. I learned that keeping in touch with friends is important. I learned that sometimes, if you don't keep in touch perfectly, that is okay, you just need to pick up where you left off. I learned that making more money doesn't always make you happier. But I also learned that it CAN make you happier. I learned that sometimes it is just time to move on, and sometimes, it is hard to figure out that time, but sometimes you just have to go for it. I learned that sometimes things can go fast, but that is okay. I learned that sometimes you need to leap before you look.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Internship

So, the last summer that I was in college I did an internship at OHSU in Oregon. It was kinda a whirlwind - I wasn't sure I was going to go until pretty close to the time that we had to leave for the trip, so I didn't have a long time to sell my housing contract and pack all the things I was going to take, and store all the things I was going to leave (it was convenient that my grandparents had a big old garage I could store stuff in instead of paying for a storage unit). And then it was off to Oregon!

I didn't know much about the other people who were going - I had only met them for a while in a class that was only day a week for 2 hours, so forgive me for not knowing them. And then, there was one guy who was coming who I didn't know at all because he was never in the class. That summer was crazy. We all came in a huge 15 passenger van that was supplied by the school, and to drive said van you had to take a 'van driving class'. Basically it was just a little thing you sit through that reminds you that big vehicles drive differently than small ones and how when you are in a giant van people will probably try to get in front of you a lot. Anyway, we drove here all in one day and my turn to drive was near the end - so my first time driving in Portland over all the crazy bridges and stuff on all the one way streets was in a huge 15 passenger van. Yay me :-/

That night we stayed in a hotel and then bright and early the next morning we made a quick stop at our new place of work for a while and then we went over to try to make sure we could check into our apartments and unpack and all that. Then we had to go grocery and other stuff shopping - couldn't live without things like shower curtains and the like. It was a long day to start off a long summer. The first week we had a ton of training and that kinda stuff, and then it was pure craziness. We worked 10 long days on, and then 4 short days off, and then 10 on, and 4 off etc etc. You can imagine our enjoyment.

The group was made up of 3 girls and 3 boys. It was me and Leslie, and Jen for girls, and then the boys were Chris and Stuart and Nate. It was originally planned that we would just have the girls live together and the boys all live together, but it didn't turn out quite like that. Jen is originally from the area so she just stayed with her family instead of making anyone have to share a bedroom. Nate had family here as well, I think it was his sister and brother-in-law, so he stayed with them most of the time (although he had his own car, as did Jen, so they both were nice enough to give us rides so we didn't have to take the giant van everywhere!).

Luckily we did manage to get to do a lot of the things that make Portland area so great - we went to the coast, and to Powell's, and to a dragon boat festival, and all sorts of other fun things like that. We also spent a lot of time in our apartments sleeping. Leslie and I made a fort out of the furniture in the living room and left it there for a couple of weeks, and even slept in it at times, which was fun. Jen's family had an extra tv so she lent it to us with some bunny ears so that we could watch tv once in a while (even though it ended up being kinda fuzzy). The boys had a tv too, and an x-box, so we ended up becoming big proprietors of the nearby Blockbuster (which is closed now :( so sad) and watched a lot of movies. We had a whole Alien and Predator and then AVP marathon. Luckily, we didn't stay up too late watching these shows - we were so tired all the time that by 8pm it was already late for us.

I got to know those kids pretty good. We went to the local Ward, but we didn't want to get to know anyone because we didn't really have time and we also knew we weren't staying for very long so we didn't want to get attached. So the 6 of us became good friends - and the 4 of us (not including Jen and Nate) became even closer. We enjoyed our time as much as we possibly could and it was like ... the summer of being super involved with only ourselves. Haha. I liked it a lot but I was definitely glad to get back to normal life when the summer came to an end. (why I came back is still a mystery lol).

From the interns I learned that having a crazy schedule can still be fun as long as you are with the right people and you have a positive attitude. I learned that when you are in a new place you need to make the most of it and explore. I learned that Oregon can get really hot (I guess I didn't learn that from the people so much as the time with the people). I learned that hard work can be rewarding. I learned that different people have different talents - and some people don't have a talent for crazy intense research. I learned also that people can adapt, even if intense research isn't your forte, you can still do good at it. I learned that it is always fun to have a new adventure as long as you have a positive attitude. Mostly, I think a positive attitude is important here eh?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Other Roomies, Friends From School

I could spend weeks and weeks talking about all the amazing people I got to meet and spend time with while I was in college, but I think that we would all get sick of that, so I am just going to do this last college related post. Over the time I was in school at BYU I had the opportunity to have 12 roommates (more than that if you count the people that I lived with when I was doing an internship in Oregon and even more if you count my grandparents! lol) All of them were great to me and great for me. I couldn't have asked for a better experience in school (well, I guess I could ask for it if I want, but that would just be selfish and I probably wouldn't get it anyway).

While living with Christina the first time we also lived with 2 girls named Laura and Jill who were fun to hang out with. We went around one day taking 'glamour pics' of us around the property, as if we were doing advertising for the complex. After those girls moved out we lived with a girl named Kristin who was in school to be a dental hygienist and even though she was engaged she would stay up late at night with us playing guitar and singing and girl talking. Then we lived with Mel and this other girl I can't remember the name of (but I think it might have been Jessica). She had a lot of legal type troubles and although we barely saw her, she was always really nice and I hope she got it all worked out. Also, for a few months we lived with a girl named Krystle who was also a female engineer and she was so fun and awesome. We took a road trip to Vegas to go bungee jumping together.

While living with Chels and Connie we also had one other housemate named Jan. She wasn't around a lot either, she was always off hanging out with her guy friend that she wasn't dating (but who she later got married to), but when she was around, we always had fun! After Chels got married she left and 2 girls moved in upstairs named Katie and Kelli. They were these young, cute, blond cheerleader type girls, and although I never would have thought I would get along with people like that, I had tons of fun with them too.

When Christina and I moved back in together, we only had one other roommate, and her name was Bethany (I called her Bethy). She moved in with us because her fiance was in our Ward and she wanted to live close to him. She was amazing! We would spend lots of time staying up way too late talking and having fun. Her fiance spent an inordinate amount of time at our apt as well, but since I was so used to this from all the other roomies I had had, I didn't mind in the least. In fact, he became a great friend as well. He was in the same major as me so I would often try to give him hints and tips (although, I don't know how useful that was).

I also met tons of amazing people in my Wards and at my job. At work I met David, the boy I was 'engaged' to (the Pope was going to marry us). I also met Anthony, the guy that I 'stalked' because of his beautiful eyes. I met Taylor, Anthony's friend and our friend as well. I met Melsa and Sally and Rachel and Brette and Holly who were always a blast to vacuum with and have breakfast with at 7am! Melsa and Sally especially because they would regale us with stories of how things are done down south - believe me, they are done weirdly. I also met my boss Dave who was more like an older brother to me than a boss (except an older brother that I didn't actually have to grow up with). I could always tell him what was going on and I knew he had my best interests at heart when he offered advice. I also met Christina's boss, Lynn, who was the kind of person I always imagined would be the perfect father. We called each other 'best friend' all the time and could have serious and silly conversations any time we wanted. In my Wards I met the Cougars hockey team (well a few of them anyway) and they were always fun to hang out with because it was like getting a glimpse into what I imagine a gang would be like (but a little less violent). I met lots of other boys I had crushes on (and got crushed by lol) and girls I could confide in and girl talk with. I met Rachel who made me an angry chick music CD. I met Taylor, who knew I was friends with Rachel and would come hang out just so he could talk about her. I met Katie who is an amazing singer (and strangely enough, lives near me here and I saw her once at a dinner I was serving for). I met so many other great people, and I wouldn't change it for the world. I even met great people in my classes (amazing, I know, since I did major in Neuroscience) like Jaclyn and Brett and Jenni and Brandon.

From all these people that I met in school I learned so much. I learned how to get along well with a variety of people. I learned how to spend my time efficiently. I also learned how to waste my time! I learned that I can have a good time almost anywhere and doing anything, as long as I put my mind to it. I learned that I am a good roommate, and I learned that there is such a thing as a bad roommate (luckily, not from personal experience, but rather from stories shared with me from others). I learned that studying it important, but so is having fun. I learned that everyone has some sort of redeeming quality, and usually, it isn't that hard to find. I learned to love others and to show that in whatever way possible, because you never know how you are affecting someone else's day, or month, or life.

*Edit - I can't believe I almost forgot about her. I suck. 


So, when I first started school at BYU I was planning to be a film major. That winter and spring I signed up for a bunch of film classes and I met a bunch of really talented people (which is part of what made me realize I wasn't really cut out for it, because I didn't think I could compete). One of the people I met in these classes was a girl named Connie who was from Germany. She was one of the only people that I hit it off with in those classes and we would sit together in the big lecture sections and we would do projects together and stuff like that.

Fast-forward a few years. I changed my major to Neuroscience, I lived with Christina for a year, had this awesome time. Then I move into a house down the road. I mentioned that I lived with 3 other girls in that house. Guess who one of them is? (other than Chels since I just told you about her). That's right, it was Connie. It was so amazing to me that of all the people I would meet and see again and accidentally move in with from those old classes it would be her. I had really liked her and I was sad that I had lost contact with her, so finding out that she was a roommate was one of the happiest surprises I had had in my entire life. It was amazing that I was moving into a house and a new Ward where I didn't know anyone, and then 'SURPRISE!' I did know someone. She had changed her major to communication and so didn't see many of the old crowd either.

At the time I lived with her she was dating this guy named Armando. He was from Mexico and was this short little curly haired guy, who was just awesome. They were the perfect little non-American couple and I loved them together. The thing was that Armando lived in a really crappy place up north of campus (I think) and so they never went to his house, and he practically lived at our place. I almost never saw Connie without Armando, which is why Chels and I started calling them Carmando. :D

They were so fun to live with. Very laid back and fun to hang out with. They had been together for a long time (as far as I knew) and so they weren't like some newly dating couple that were super awkward to hang out with (I have been lucky to not have to deal with that). They always were watching fun Indie or foreign films and inviting us to join and they always cooked together and were just great. They moved to Germany after they both graduated and are now married and have the cutest little chubby cheeked daughter who just melts my heart every single time I see a picture of her (yeah, it needs to be melted, because otherwise it is just made completely of ice!)

From them I learned that a green-card marriage isn't all that matters (no one in that relationship ended up with a green card!).I learned that it really can be a small world, and having people you knew before come back into your life in a surprise way can be really fun. I learned that height isn't everything (Connie is taller than Armando). I learned that you don't have to get married within a year of meeting someone to be happy. I learned to be accepting of others, even if their background isn't the same as yours.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chels/Ry (and Marcus!)

So, during the time that Christina and I decided we had spent a lot of time together and that we should live separate for a while I moved into a house just down the street from where we had lived before. I found the place by looking online at the BYU approved housing website and checking the places out. I knew that I wanted a private room and I thought it would be fun to live in a house instead of an apartment, but those things were my only criteria. I looked at several and most of them were so old they were kinda scary, or they were just really small and crowded or the room was too tiny. And then I looked at this one, and it was so cute and fun, and the land-lady was super sweet, and it just felt perfect and right. So I signed the lease and prepared to move in. The house had 3 private rooms and one that was intended to be a shared loft space, but no one else ever signed up for that room and so she had it to herself and there were just 4 of us in the house.

I met the girl who stayed in the loft-space (I say that loosely, it was more of just a giant upstairs), Chelsea, the day I moved in and we clicked right away. I felt like I had known her my entire life and that we had always been the best of friends. She was super fun and cute and perky. I envied the way she always had energy to go to work and to the gym and then come home and do fun things like cute crafts or paint the kitchen or whatever. And she even had time to flirt with boys. I looked at her and I saw this girl that I really wanted to be like. To top it all off, she was one of the most beautiful girls I had ever met in real life. We had an easy natural relationship - we would hang out together when we wanted to and needed to, but we were always free to do things without each other and the other person would never feel left out of offended or anything. It was a great roommate and friend situation. We went to a Ward activity in October and she and I started talking to a couple of guys who lived down the road. She knew them a little bit, since one of them used to be her home teacher (in our church we have people who are assigned to come to your home once every month and give you a little spiritual lesson and help you with anything you might need), and she was flirting it up with him hardcore. The two guys were named Ryan (the ex-HT) and Marcus (who was his roomie). Somehow Chels and Ryan got into a game of kissing chicken and neither pulled back and so they kissed (I think - either that or it was a dare). That was the start of them dating. They had a whirlwind romance - and all throughout it the four of us would hang out (don't worry, Chels and Ry had their alone time as well).

They were soon engaged an to be married in May. The winter semester was a fun time. Chels wasn't in school at the time, and was working full-time, regular hours from 9-5. Ry had a job that he worked from 2pm-10pm (he might have been taking classes too - I don't recall because I suck). I had work from 4am until 730am, then classes in the morning but then I was off by about noon on most days. Ry and I would usually go to lunch (Marcus would go with us on his days off). Then Ry would leave for work and I would do homework or whatever, and then Chels would get home an I would hang out with her for a while. Then I would go to bed and Ry would get off work and they would hang out. We jokingly referred to me as 'the other woman' because often I would spend as much time with him as Chels. And since we went to lunch all the time it was almost like dates. Except he was totally and completely in love with her and so it was never actually a worry, but it was funny. That year was amazing. We all had so much fun together doing all sorts of crazy things. I went to a bridal show with Chels once, but future brides got in free and I wasn't one, so I lied and said I was engaged to Marcus so that I didn't have to pay.

From them I learned that love at first kiss can happen. lol. I learned you can be comfortable with someone instantly. I learned that beautiful girls can be nice and fun and crafty as well. I learned more than I ever thought I would know about computers and video games. I learned to appreciate indie films and art. I learned that weight loss happens in real life, and not just on tv or in the movies. I learned that true happiness can come from a short courtship and engagement. I learned that it is possible to hang out with an engaged couple without feeling like a third wheel (I know, amazing right?) These are some of my favourite people as well. I would live close to them again if I could. Even though I live so far away from them I am continually inspired by how crafty and amazing (and beautiful - but she can't help that ;)) Chels is and it makes me want to become more like her.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


So I met Matty not too long after meeting Shara and Melanie and Christina. He started working the same 4am job as we were (lets face it, that is how I made all my friends for a long time there!). This was after the Zach and Dan era (as Christina so kindly reminded me about - I can't believe I forgot about Zach! oops). Matt was always very perky in the mornings and he would sing showtunes really loud in the middle of the empty, echoey building and everyone would sing along. It was always way fun (we all always were singing - it was the only way to stay awake haha). It is funny, because I don't really remember how we started hanging out either. I do remember that every time he saw me he would sing "Mandi, there's a minister handy" and I just kept telling him I had no idea what that was from. I was also friends with this guy named David (he and I were pretend engaged haha) and Matty and Dave were super good friends. Anyway, Matty finally said - we are going to watch "White Christmas together!" (which is what that song was from if you didn't know). We decided to have some sort of really good spanish food (I think) and watch that movie and invite everyone we knew to a little shindig in the lobby of mine and Christina's apartment building. Then we just started hanging out. It also helped that Matty and Christina's then boyfriend Steve got along really well and we would all hang out together.

We did things like go on roadtrips together - we went to California, which is where Matty had gone on his mission, and we got to go to Disneyland and we got to see a lot of things that Matty had done on his mission and meet people that he had met there. We stayed at the house of one couple and the wife had us draw a picture of a tree a person and a house and then she could look at the picture and tell us a bunch of stuff about ourselves which was way cool. We had put the camera on the dash and pretended we were getting in an accident and then later, the roads were kinda snowy and we actually did spin out on the road and hit the guardrail. We were so lucky that we spun when we did because the guardrail had just started so we didn't fly off the road into the ditch. Also, we were lucky that there was no one else around to run into. Of course, that didn't stop us from taking more road-trips. Matty was having a hard time that semester and just wanted to get away, so one time he was planning to go visit some family in Canada for a long weekend and asked if I wanted to come. So I did and surprised my Mom which was fun. We also went just up to visit his family in Montana which was way fun too. I probably wouldn't have done quite so much with him, but I was totally in love with him at the time, but I never knew how to say anything or do anything about it. So I just went on roadtrips with him and got on his cell phone family plan with him and treated him as a good friend. I remember on one of our roadtrips he mentioned something about his first kiss and I asked him about it and he said he didn't want to talk about it. I said okay and just let it go, I didn't pry very often (that was Christina's job, but she wasn't there). He said it was very astute of me to realize that he wouldn't be okay with prying and to just let it go.It made me happy that even though he didn't share the details with me, he gave me a compliment like that.

As I mentioned, he had a hard time that semester and by the end he had pretty much sucked it up at all his classes and just needed a break. He knew a guy from Virginia from his mission, and although that guy was still on the mission, Matty went out there to stay with his family (I think he knew them, although I could be totally wrong here) probably in either April or June of that year. Before he left Christina told me I should just kiss him, so that I wouldn't regret not doing it. I said no because I am weird. She then said she would pay me $20. I still said no, that would be weird. Then our bosses and co-workers all caught wind of this and said they would chip in on the 'kiss Matty' fund - I think the total ended up being around $75! I even told him about it and he said that he'd do it if I split the money with him. I never did it. I wanted him to kiss me because he WANTED to, not because he was getting money out of it. I regret not ever telling him I liked him, but I don't regret turning down the money for the kiss.

We stayed in touch quite a bit after he left - we still had a cell phone bill to pay together - and by October of that same year he came back to Provo to visit and for a mission reunion and he brought a girl with him that he was engaged to that he wanted me to meet. It hurt me a lot that he was engaged but at the same time I was so happy for him and glad that he was happy. He never ended up marrying that girl, and I am not really sure why. I think he might have mentioned what happened in passing, but we didn't talk a whole lot after that. I was too hurt and didn't know what to say, and he had his new life with his new friends over in Virginia. Not that we never talked, but we were just never close like we had been.

From him I learned that you shouldn't pretend to be someone you aren't just to impress someone. I learned that you can be happy for someone else and sad for you all at the same time. I learned that you can recover from heart-break. I learned that road trips can be a total blast as long as you have a positive outlook. I learned that sometimes what you think you want for your life isn't really what is best for your life. I learned that sometimes it is okay to take a break for a while to get back on your feet. I learned that it isn't weakness to admit that you aren't doing okay. I learned to not regret things that you didn't do, just to learn from them and make better mistakes in the future.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Melanie and Shara

Well, I am combining these two girls into one post for one reason - not because they aren't both super important in my life, because they are, but because the way that I became friends with both of them is the same to me. You see, Christina worked at the 4am job before I ever did (obviously since she got me the job) and she met all these really awesome people, Melanie and Shara included. And then when I started hanging out with her she introduced me to all these awesome people, Melanie and Shara included, and they just treated me like we had known each other forever, which was awesome. Really, I don't remember actually meeting either girl. I remember meeting Christina, and then after we started hanging out, I was suddenly friends with all these people and I am not sure how that happened - but I loved it! I went from not really knowing anyone at BYU to feeling like I was suddenly part of this amazing group of people. And it rocked my socks off.

Melanie is a tall, blonde, beautiful girl who I am so lucky to have had the time to hang out with. I lived with her for a summer and that summer was amazing! She didn't work the 4am job anymore when I started there, and then not too long later she graduated and moved back to her home town (which I think was in Nevada although ... I might just be sucking here). Then after realizing that she wasn't supposed to be there, she moved back to Provo and lived with Christina and I. It was great. It was only us in the apartment for a while and we had so much fun together all the time. We watched shows all night and invited boys over and we girl talked and just had a blast. Melanie was gone for a chunk of time there because she went on a trip to Italy. She loves traveling and every year she saved as much as she could so that she could take a huge epic trip somewhere. She was always talking about where she was going to go next - what the next stamp in her passport was going to be. We always talked about going on a trip together but that never really happened (which was sad - we still all need to go to Ireland together!). After I lived here for a few years, and Melanie had moved to Texas, her and few friends decided they wanted to come to the Pacific NorthWest so they could check out the area, and go see Forks Washington, and just experience a different climate for a while, so she came to visit me. That was so much fun for me. I didn't get to go to Forks with them (sad for me) but they stayed around the area a few days and we went to see Multnomah Falls, and I tried to take them to Powell's (giant bookstore in downtown Portland) but I got lost because I suck, although driving around was still fun, and just hang out with them in general. Melanie recently got married to man she met since living in Texas and every time I see pictures of them she looks so ridiculously happy that I can't help but smile.

Shara has always been the sweetest girl ever. She is so accepting and loving of everyone and always sees the positive. She takes care of people all the time, even if they probably would be better off not being taken care of. She was one of the two girl engineering majors I knew in college (and I sure knew a lot of male engineering majors though!) but she was so nice and so personable that you would never have guessed that's what she was (I know it sounds terrible, but usually there is a certain personality that engineers have, and she doesn't). She ended up going to Africa (I think) for a project with her department in the final year of college. And she brought me back some shells she got there. It was so sweet. She always made me laugh because she was the cutest, nicest girl you could ever meet, and every time that she even thought a guy might be interested in her she would say "I am afraid he likes me". We would always ask what was wrong with that and she would say "I don't know" but I think it was just that she was so worried about hurting someone's feelings that if she wasn't sure she was interested she would get worried for them. She got married to a man who is perfect for her and they live in Washington now (I am so so so embarrassed to say that I have never been to visit them). I know she had some problems with her shoulder causing her pain for quite a while there, but when I talked to her about she was just so positive. She would say things like "It hurt so bad and I couldn't even move my entire arm for a few months because it hurt so much, but it's okay, I got through it and we are good". To me, her attitude is so inspiring.

I learned from them that it is okay to let someone in quickly. I learned to always be nice, no matter how frustrated you are. I learned to always be worried about other people's feelings. I learned to always be who I am, even if it is unexpected. I learned to look on the bright side. I learned to laugh and have fun. I love both of these girls a ton (and am now thinking about how long it's been since I talked to them ... I think I need to give them both a call!)

Sunday, January 16, 2011


When I first started going to BYU I was intending to be a film major. I wanted to be an actress in film and so I figured 'I have the talent for acting, I need to learn about the business'. Yeah, that idea fell apart pretty quickly. I was overwhelmed by the talent of everyone else and I am not really one for trying to sell myself all the time. I am not 'arty'. Also, I realized that to work in that industry you don't really need a degree in it, so I decided to change. I went through the catalog and found all the majors I thought would be interesting. I then took an intro class for each one and picked my favourite. I ended up enjoying Neuroscience the most and so that was my decision. As much as I loved Neuro I had always had a love for writing, so although I had a new major I was still taking writing classes (of course, film classes dropped off the face of my planet). So it was Fall semester in 2003 and I was taking a creative writing class. The only version that I could fit into my schedule was at 8 in the morning. I rode the bus, so I made sure to always take the early bus so I wouldn't be late - of course that meant I was EARLY. I wasn't the only one who was early - there was this one girl who always came early. But not only was she early, she was also ridiculously perky. Here I was, trying to sleep on the desk for the last few minutes possible, and she would breeze in, smiling away and saying 'Hi everyone! how are you?' I thought it was a little irritating. After getting to know her a little better over the semester I found out that she was that stinking perky because she worked at 4 in the morning.

The next semester rolled around and I was in a Biology class, and who do I see in the same class - annoying perky girl (Christina). We were both so glad to see at least one person we knew, so we started sitting together. Then we found out that we both had no class right before, so we would hang out in that time. We totally hit it off and became really good friends. I mentioned that I was looking for a job, and she told me they had openings at her job (yeah, the 4am one). I got hired and started right away. It was so early that I had to ride a bike down to the school because the buses don't go that early. Then, as the end of the semester rolled around we decided we should live together. And we realized our majors were very similar so we signed up for all of our classes together. We had a great time for about a year like this - maybe not quite that long. We eventually realized that was too much of each other, so we moved to different places and by that time she had changed her major so we weren't in all the same classes together. We still worked together though. We lived together again after that for my last semester in school and then a few months after I graduated while I was figuring out what to do with my life.

That is the living together history. But we did so much fun stuff together. We went sky diving and bungee jumping together. We did the FuddRucker Challenge together. We went on road-trips to Disneyland and to Vegas. We stayed up until ridiculous hours girl talking. This is the only girl that I have ever shared a room with (I am not counting sleepovers and stuff). She is an amazing person and I am so lucky that even though we didn't start hanging out while we were both in that English class that we had another chance in Bio.

I don't think I can ever word strongly enough how much I love Christina. She is one of my best friends in the world. We can go for a long time without seeing each other, and then when we do, it is just as comfortable and normal as ever. We always talked about how when we got married we would have to make sure our husband's liked each other because the poor guys would have to be spending a lot of time together (still working on that one hon but I just can't find a guy that likes Matt - haha jk).

From her I learned that it is fun to do things that you don't feel comfortable doing. I learned that it is good to do things that scare the crap out of you (every once in a while at least). I learned that a broken heart can mend, and bounce back better than ever. I learned to be confident. I learned to be social and outgoing. I learned that doing things when I don't want to can still be fun. I learned how to be a good friend. I learned that talking it over can solve a lot of problems. I learned that it is better to just come out and say something uncomfortable instead of beating around the bush (I still have to work on that though). I learned so much from her and I still constantly do. She is definitely one of my favourite people ever. :D


I think that I need to mention here, before I continue going on talking about all the amazing people I met in school, one more 'friend for life' that I was blessed with, that really made a difference in my college life - my cousin Jenni. Well, my whole family in general made a huge difference. I was very lucky that I accidentally decided to go to school in the same state, and within hours of, 5 of my mothers siblings and their spouses and children. That means that aside from just my grandparents living in the area, I also had 8 aunts and uncles who lived close, as well as 20-30 (depending on the specific time) first cousins nearby. This was a huge blessing for me since I didn't know anyone and I had a hard time making friends at first. It was also great because I got to know so many of my family members that I barely knew due to us living in a totally different country, a little bit better.

My grandparents have lived in the house they live in for a long time (I want to say going on like 40 years, although that might just be me exaggerating - I am not sure). About 15 years ago they went on an LDS mission to Tonga. Just before they went they decided to add on to their house by building a top floor*. It wasn't a top floor that was going to be part of the house, but rather, a separate apartment that they could rent out. After returning from their mission they moved back into the house and pretty much ever since have been renting out the other apartment to family members who either need help financially, or just those who want to live there at the time, or for whatever reason. When I lived with my grandparents, my Aunt Jeannie lived upstairs with her daughter Jenni, and Jenni's daughter as well. Jenni was in school at the time and her mom helped a lot with babysitting when she could and it was convenient for them to all live together.

Since I didn't have friends from school, and since Jenni lived right upstairs from me, we started hanging out. I am not sure what sparked it at first. I think maybe the fact that we both really enjoy reading books and talking about books and watching movies and talking about them, and writing things and then talking about them. Also, we both are into the whole sci-fi/fantasy thing which always seems to bond people. I didn't mind that I didn't have friends from school for so long because I would come home and then just go upstairs and hang out with Jenni. She and I would watch all sorts of dumb shows together, and go to movies all the time, and just hang out in general.

Sometimes when I tell people that I didn't do the whole living in the dorms thing, and I didn't even live anywhere near campus at all my first year and half in school they are like 'oh, that must have sucked'. And, for some reasons I agree. I had to ride the bus to school and that always sucked since it took like 20 mins, but I got to know the area by doing that. I couldn't just pop over to campus when I wanted because it was so far. I didn't have roommates to be automatic friends with. But, it was also awesome because of the time I got to spend with my grandparents, who are amazing people. And it was awesome because of the opportunity it afforded me to get to know Jenni better, and her daughter and her mother, and a bunch of other family members of mine.

I learned the importance of family. I learned that weird isn't always bad - in fact, it can be really good. I learned that in my family, I am actually not as odd as I am to people I am not related to (haha). I learned that family members can be your friends in a real way (I was friends with my brothers, but they were still my brothers so it wasn't the same). I maintain that Jenni and I are friends first, and cousins second. I also learned that red-heads aren't ALL bad ;)

*The sequence of events here might be a bit incorrect, at the time I was like 10-12 and we lived really far away.

The Beg Off

So, it is late (yeah, it is almost 2am, what of it?) and I totally have to go to work in the morning and it has been a long long long day. So this is me, begging off doing a post for today (but this little paragraph will count) and promising two for tomorrow in return. Don't worry, they will be good. At least, I think they will be :D

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Lisa and Amy

So, as I mentioned in the previous post, I was lucky in my first Ward in college to meet some really awesome people. I started school in January, which I think can often be a bit tricky since the general student usually starts in September and by the time January rolls around everyone else already has their schedules kinda worked out (even if classes change, it still kinda stays the same) and then they also have their friendships worked out. The first day in my first Ward I arrived super early. As I mentioned I was living with my Grandparents and they believe in going really early to stuff and since they dropped me off I was kinda on their schedule. So I got there probably 20-25 minutes early and just went and sat in the chapel all by myself. I didn't know the Bishop or any of the people there - I didn't even know who was supposed to be in my Ward and who was in the Ward that met previously in the same building. I was just sitting there, freaking out internally but trying to appear calm, when a girl walked in and came right over to me and asked if she could sit by me. She then proceeded to ask if I was new, and I said I was, and she introduced herself as Lisa. At that moment she was my favourite person ever. I think that I didn't do as good of a job of looking calm as I thought and she could tell I was totally freaked out. From then on she was super sweet to me, inviting me to any events she was taking part in or going to without even a second thought. She was one of my only friends that first semester and term (at BYU winter semester is Jan through April, and then Spring term is May and June). I spent a lot of time just adjusting my class schedule and the new area so I didn't do a lot of things with her, but the fact that she invited me meant so much. I went home for the Summer term (July and August). When I left she had just met this boy and when I returned she had just recently married him. I was so glad that she was happy and they were super cute together (I had seen them interact a few times before I left), but I was also sad that one of my only friends wasn't in my Ward any longer.

So again, in September, I got a ride from my Grandparents really early for church up to that building, and I went and sat by myself in a pew. It was totally deja vu, but that didn't make it any less overwhelming. Nor did the fact that I had already been in that Ward for 6 entire months, because still, I didn't really know anyone. Again, I was lucky, and again a girl walked right in and asked if she could sit by me. She introduced herself as Amy and she did almost the same thing Lisa had - she took me under her wing, so to speak. She invited me to all sorts of things she was doing - parties and just to hang out at her house. She was an amazing girl. She treated me as if we had known each other our whole lives. She would come get me in her car and we would drive around with the heat and the music blasting, but with the sunroof open. We would go drive up the side of the mountain to what she called 'her spot' and then we would sit and talk about our lives and why we were the way we were and all those things. She met a guy at her Institute class at UVSC (I think that is where she met him) and asked him to this dance that was one of those girls choice dances. She set up a 'date' for me too and I think it was with her cousin Matt who I had met a few times before and got along with quite well. Her date (his name was Matthew as well which was a bit odd) ended up being the man of her dreams - or at least close enough - and by the time the summer rolled around again I was leaving just in time to miss her wedding. I was sad to miss it, but I was so glad she found someone she could be happy with. She was an amazing girl with such a great outlook on life and she really deserved to be with such a great guy. I then hadn't heard from her or seen her in a very long time, but in the last year or so I decided to see if she was on facebook (luckily I remembered her email address and her new last name - which for some reason I can't seem to do with Lisa) and of course she was. It was so good to reconnect with her. She is still an amazing person and although she has had many tough times she still has such a great outlook and is always working on improving it.

From these girls I learned that it is good to approach someone you don't know and talk to them, because probably they are just as freaked out as you are. I also learned that inviting people to things is a good idea because you can't get to know someone very well by only seeing them once a week for a few hours. I learned that positivity is good. I learned it is never too late to fix your life - if you think something needs fixing, then work on it and it can be fixed, simple as that. I learned that good people can have crappy things happen to them, but you can still chose to be positive and grow out of those experiences. Even if I never was able to communicate with either of these girls again, both have made such a strong impact on my life in a good way that I will never forget either of them. And I am glad for the internet and for facebook because that means that I can communicate with them again. :D

Friday, January 14, 2011

The End of Times Brings the Beginning of Other Times

So obviously, finishing High School is an end of an era for most people. It is when you have to face the fact that you are growing up and either take it in stride, or try to hide out in your parent's basement. With me, as I mentioned previously, I took it in stride. Well, I went to University. I worked at a local gas station (in the town that the High School was in) from graduation until I started school in Jan of 2002. And ho boy, was it a change.

I mentioned before that the town I grew up in had only about 250-300 people in it - 261 according to the 2007 census (which I guess technically makes it a village, eh?) The town I went to Jr. High in has a population of about 350. The town I went to High School in has a population of almost 2000 people. The distance between my hometown and my High School town is about 40 km (which is about 23 miles for you American reading this post). I am only re-iterating the above information so that you will understand the full impact of me saying that the University I went to, Brigham Young University in Provo Utah, has about 30,000 undgraduate students alone. Then you add to that the number of Graduate students and teachers and all that and you have a very VERY different setting than what I was used to.

It may seem odd to some of you who know me well, but I had a really hard time making friends at first. Part of the problem was that for the first little while (it was the first year and a half I think) I lived with my Grandparents so I didn't have the benefit of having roommates and an entire apartment complex all around me. My Grandparents live right on the Provo/Orem border, technically in Orem, so my Ward was a Young Single Adult Ward, which meant we had students from BYU and the local college, UVSC, as well as other people who were older and had bought houses in the area and those who still lived with their parents - most of these people were very secure in the friendships they had with others and they didn't think to include the new girl in things. Not that I was intentionally left out, I just didn't know anyone well and I didn't go out of my way to talk to anyone, so they never got the chance. I was definitely very shy for the first little while there. I met kids in my classes at school, but again, I never really went to hang out with them or anything like that. I wasn't used to having to become the kind of friends that hang out together with people that I hadn't known for a really long time. Even the people in High School that were 'newer' to me because they lived further away, I had still kinda known forever from competing in sports and things like that. So believe me when I say that meeting new people and putting myself out there was really hard for me. Mostly because I didn't have the experience and I was totally unsure of myself. 

I got lucky and met a few great girls in my first Ward and in my first classes. And then I had a lucky break in meeting one of my best friends ever. I will go into more specifics about those instances later, but for now I just want to say that going to University very quickly helped me see that although I am generally an outgoing person, I definitely have a shy side. Especially when I am unsure of myself and at the time I was completely unsure of everything - I didn't know my way around, I wasn't used to the measurement system, I wasn't used to the weather, I wasn't used to the mountains, I wasn't used to University level classes (having to study turned out to be really crappy) - and all that un-surety made me want to finish school with my head down - not needing to get to know anyone or have a life at all. I would do what I needed and I would be done with it. I am glad that that attitude didn't stick! I met so many great friends in school and I had so many great experiences. Aren't you excited to learn more about them? ;) Come back tomorrow then!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The End of High School/Friends For Life

As High School came to an end I would have to say I had a lot of friends and a lot of great experiences with those friends, and even some not so great experiences as well (you can't have one without the other). I think that this is the time that I need to mention 2 specific friends that I have had for a long long long long long time. My whole life, in fact (well, one was my whole life and one was his whole life). If you haven't guessed it by now, I am talking about my brothers.

So, I have 2 brothers. My older brother, JR, is a year and a half older than me, and living in a small town like we do we ended up having the same friends and going to the same events and even being in the same classes sometimes in elementary school (they would often combine classes due to a lack of teachers). As I have mentioned, my friends have often had crushes on him which has always irked me - I hate the feeling of being used for that, but of course that is not his fault.

JR is, in a word, charismatic. Everybody likes him. I remember when I first started in High School I would go to a new class with a new teacher and they would read my name off the roll and then they would groan, and tell me they hoped I studied more than he did, but they would also grin and tell me how much they loved him. Teachers would tell me this. It is the same reason that most of my friends had a crush on him. You can't help but like him ... when he wants you to. Of course, he can flip it and reverse it if he wants, and make you hate him with just a look or a word. He has this ability to almost control the feelings of others, if that makes sense. And I love him for it. And I hate him for it. I always hated that people would love him for no reason. I hated that they would love him when really they had every reason NOT to love him. There was one girl in my High School who referred to him as her 'future husband' even though he was almost always mean to her and treated her like crap. But I loved him because I knew (and I still know) how good he can be. How much he can care about other people, especially those he loves, and the (sometimes ridiculous) lengths he will go to to protect those people.

The perfect example is my first day of High School. We had to wait for the bus over at the post office because then on cold days we could go inside and not freeze, but it wasn't out of the way for the bus to get there and it was super close to our house. As we are waiting for it JR says to me "At school, we don't know each other. You don't talk to me. You don't talk about me. We aren't related." I agreed because a) I knew that it was totally ridiculous to think that anyone would not know, and b) I didn't really give a crap and I didn't want to ride on his popularity anyway. But then, at lunch, he comes and grabs me and drags me over to a big group of guys from his grade that are all just milling about and says "This is my sister Mandi, if you hurt her, I will hurt you" in a very threatening way. It was dumb, and probably pointless since I imagine I was not really the object of any of his friend's lusts, but it was also really sweet. When I was in kindergarten there were some grade 2 kids picking on me and even though he was only in grade 1 he stood up for me, because he loved me and didn't want to see me get hurt. And I love that about him.  And although he can, and often does, make bad decisions, and he does things I don't like, and gets mad at stupid things because of his temper, and he says things that are mean and he pulls my hair (okay, not so much anymore, but you get the picture) and even though there are times when I just HATE HIM, I always know that I love him.

I hope that all of you reading this now haven't fallen for him because he is currently in a long term relationship with his girlfriend and baby-mama Jessie. They have been together for about 7 or 8 years now and they have a 3 year old boy who is the most adorable little boy on the face of the planet (so far, until I have kids that is lol). She is like a sister to me and I love her a lot as well.

My younger brother, Dallas, is a different story. He is 4 years younger than me, so our interactions in school were kept to a minimum. He was in the same school as me for 2 years in elementary school, and then never again. His friends were never really the same as my friends, but instead they were the younger siblings of my friends. I regret to say that until we moved to the town we stayed in, I don't really have many memories of him. I knew he was there, I guess I just didn't really care (I know, I am so callous). Well, that and he was a baby and I was a self-centered 6 year old, so I think you have to give me a break. A few Christmas' ago I found a picture of me sitting on a tricycle in a pink dress and a crown, with Dallas in front of me, pulling me along with a rope tied to his waist. I asked Mom about it and she said that I was being a princess and he was the horse. She said he liked it. I laughed pretty hard at that one.

But that's the thing, Dallas has always been so sweet to me. While JR always tried to control my decisions, Dallas trusted my judgement and wanted to hear my opinions about things. He never felt like he had to be over-protective (at least not that he ever said to me) and I think that wasn't because he didn't care, but rather because he knew I was smart and would make good decisions about things so that I didn't get hurt (as much as a person can). And I know that if I ever was hurt and needed his help he would be right there for me, (as much as he can since he lives pretty far away) because that is the way he is, but he doesn't assume I need the help. I felt like my relationship with JR was always laid out pretty strictly as he was the 'protector' and I was the 'thing to be protected' and Dallas was more of an actual friend. Someone I could chat with for a long time without worry of judgment and without worrying that what I say is going to upset him into thinking he has to save me.

Once I did realize that my younger brother was more than just a little drooly baby and instead was a fun, interesting person with whom I could interact, and my brain decided to start forming memories of him, they are almost all good memories. I don't remember fighting with him much (although JR claims there was this one time I threw a tape measure at him and hit him square in the back, so I must have been angry, but I don't remember it). I know that he has a bad temper, just like JR, and I know that he has also made some bad choices here and there (because really, who hasn't) but despite those things he is one of the most awesome people I know. He truly cares about others in a way that is so hard to describe but it feels overwhelming. He doesn't have the same natural magnetism of JR, but he is darn close. Honestly, it could be the same and I just didn't notice it as much because of the age difference. I do know that he was always friends with everyone - he could be friends with the popular kids and the underdog and no one could ever peer pressure him into changing his mind about that. He had a tough reputation to live up to when he went to High School. JR was so scrappy and tough and yet lovable and obviously his younger brother was going to be tough too, and then to top it off he was taller and bigger than JR. Add that up and you end up with a lot of people thinking that they need to beat you in a fight. But he held his ground and never punched anyone (although he did punch that one kids truck and put a huge dent in it haha). And to top off the whole package of awesome, he always smelled so good (which might be why I love guys that smell good, because they remind me of the awesomeness of my bro).

Dallas is currently working a good job and living with his girlfriend of a couple years, Suzie, who is amazing. Although I have only really got to meet her and interact with her a couple of times due to me living so far away, I still feel like I have known her forever and I could tell her all my secrets. And I love that. And I love how much I can tell that they love each other.

I want to end this post by saying that I am lucky to have had some great built-in friends for my whole life. I have learned so much from them. Not just from stuff they have told me, but also from the way they interact with me and the way they interact with others. I have also learned from their mistakes. I have learned a lot about how men think and how they act. I learned that I am lovable and worth protecting. I learned that I am a good judge of character and I can make good decisions. I have learned that a short fuse isn't good, and drinking just shortens it. I learned that out of adversity and out of hurt, we can be changed for the better. I learned how to be likable to anyone (at least, I tried to pick up that skill, but I often think with them it is more of a natural talent). I have a different type of relationship with each of them - neither is better than the other, but rather, they are just different. And I am okay with that, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Well followers, and anyone else out there on the world wide web who stumbled upon this little blog here, I have a confession. It is late. And I am tired. And the next post I have planned is going to be long and kinda intense, so I am going to skip it for tonight and write it tomorrow. I hope it is worth the wait. If it makes you feel any better, I am tired because I stayed up too late with my friends. :D

Monday, January 10, 2011


Those were most of my close friends from Jr. High School. Again, I need to mention that we went to a small school, so everyone was 'friends' in a sense of the word, but not always the kind that hung out together. We would spend time together as needed on projects and we would all interact in class since we were so small.

Also, we had what we called 'Grade 9 Grad'. Since our Jr. High was in one town and then we all went to the next town over to go to High School, it was definitely a graduation. It was always a big deal to pick out our theme and decorate (the grade below always decorated for the graduating class which was fun) and to pick out our dresses and all those fun things.

I have mentioned Maryn a few times before in this blog, because she was another girl that I knew from church, but at the point where Jr. High ended I didn't know her SUPER well since I didn't go to church that much - but I still knew her from camp and stuff like that so we weren't totally unknown to each other. A bunch of the kids from the town where we would eventually go to High School were invited to our grade 9 grad celebration, and I remember that Maryn came with her boyfriend at the time, J. Now, this boy was quite ticklish and he was very fun to poke and I pretty much spent the night torturing the heck out of him. Later I found out that Maryn thought I was flirting with her boyfriend, much to my surprise. That's how you flirt? Wow. My obvious lack of interaction with boys who wasn't a brother or a friend of a brother was obvious.

Luckily, Maryn forgave me for the incident and we got to be good friends. We were more of 'acquaintances' (as much as you can be in a place that small) for the most part until the end of grade 10, when we were both on the rugby team together. All of my best friends - Renee, Lissa, Mel, etc - didn't play rugby, so I had to make some 'new' friends. I have never really been the kind of person who is a good runner, but I have always been pretty tough (growing up with my older brother kinda makes that happen, whether you like it or not) and I thought it was fun to be able to hit people without getting in trouble (maybe I had some aggression issues I had to get out? hmmm ...). Maryn played though, and that was awesome. We bonded a lot as team members when we would go to away games and during tournaments and stuff like that.

By the time graduation from High School began to roll around, I hadn't really thought about where I would go to school or what I was going to do afterwards. Maryn and I talked about it and she told me she was applying to church schools, and we decided it would be really fun to go to BYU together - so I applied to the church schools as well, but of course I am a procrastinator so my applications were submitted late. Maryn got a response first from BYU, and unfortunately she didn't get in, but she got in to BYU-Idaho. I got my letter from the Y-I first, and I was rejected. I was so sad - if I couldn't even get into the Y-I (which had just recently made the transition to a 4 year university) then I was never going to get into BYU Provo either. What was I thinking only applying to those schools and nothing else? Crap! I was pretty much panicking. But then, I got my letter from BYU Provo and to my surprise, I was accepted (but because of my late application I wasn't accepted until the winter semester)! Woo! I could go to college! I was sad I couldn't go with Maryn, but at least I had somewhere to go. And if she and I hadn't applied 'together' then I never would have applied at all and who knows where I would be now? Thanks Maryn!

Later on she moved to Provo so she could attend UVSC and work and just experience something new. We hung out quite a bit and it was always a blast - she is so much fun! While in Provo she met her husband and got married and all that fun stuff. They now have 2 kids and are happily supporting each other while her husband finishes school (at least, that's the impression I got from her Dad, who I saw at Christmas - he was very sad she couldn't be there). It is interesting to me because I know that Maryn had her period of time where she wasn't the best member of the church, just like I did, but she managed to grow and learn from those experiences and become the amazing person that she is now because of it. She taught me that people can change, and will change, and that we can definitely learn from our mistakes. She taught me to be forgiving of other people's mistakes as well, because just like I changed and became better, other people can too, and they deserve the chance to prove that.