Sunday, September 6, 2009

Visit to Utah

I got to spend a couple crazy busy weeks in Utah before I left for Africa. The first week was spent at a training for the curriculum I’ll be teaching at the MWB school. It was nice to be able to get a little more information about what I’ll be doing for the next year of my life.

While I was in Utah I got to spend time with people that I just love and adore. Below is a play by play of the two weeks while I was there:

Day 1 Monday -

I stayed at Ben and Breezy’s house while I was there. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of them but I do have one of the room I stayed in. Breezy had a little basket of goodies for me. She’s such a sweetheart and so nice to let me stay in her home. I loved it.

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Day 2 Tuesday -

Nothing better than dinner and a movie with my dear friend Bryce Glover.

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Day 3 Wednesday -

Cafe Rio with Cindy Sullivan. I love this girl. It was so much fun to reconnect with her. She’s so good to me and I love our conversations. Not to mention the great food of my favorite place to eat.

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While Cindy and I were chatting, some kids at another table kept saying my name. I turned around and lo and behold was one of my most favorite students of all time, David Skanchy. Seriously, this kid was the greatest. He could get me laughing so that I was in tears and would have to leave the room. He would do the craziest things. One day he got the whole entire class to hide outside. I was a bit confused why I didn’t have any students five minutes after the bell rang. I heard some snickering outside my window and sure enough the whole class was out there with their ring leader, David Skanchy. I didn’t think I would ever see him again and it was such a tender mercy running into him. We reminisced about the good ‘ol days when he was in my class. Once again, I laughed that gut belly laugh as he told me story after story of what actually happened in our math class. It’s a good thing he’s so smart because I don’t think I taught him a thing but we sure had fun.

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After dinner I drove to P-town to visit my dear friend Becky. I met her in Africa three summers ago and she has been a loyal close friend ever since. She’s such a blessing in my life. I will miss our frequent chats about every detail of our lives.

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Day 4 Thursday -

Reunion with Sparkle Motion. During my stay in Utah I was fortunate to live at “the party house”. Every year at the talent show, the girls of the party house would put together a dance to a different era. The fourth year was the big reunion tour with a mix of the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. I have many fond and wonderful memories of these amazing women. Those in Arkansas, Florida, and Boston were missed at our little parte’. I will cherish all their friendships forever.

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Day 5 Friday -

Started the morning off with a sunrise hike to Sunset Peak with my most favorite of all students, Tess Collett. She shares my same passion of the great outdoors and it was so nice to be able to spend some time with her. I sure do love that girl. I can’t wait for her to come see me in Africa.

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Instead of going to my training I went home and slept for a few hours. I went to the training for an hour and then ditched to go and see these little ones.

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Aren’t they the most adorable kids ever. I just love them to bits and pieces. I miss them and wish I lived closer.

Day 6 Saturday -

Today I climbed my most favorite mountain of all mountains: Timpanogas. I grew up in the shadow of this mountain and so I feel like it’s mine. I’ve hiked it almost every summer since I was eleven and didn’t want to pass up another opportunity. The weather wasn’t the greatest but I loved every minute of it.

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After the hike I had a little high school get together. It’s always so good to spend time with dear friends who’ve known me since I was in Kindergarten.

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Day 7 Sunday -

Extended family reunion. I emailed Camille a few weeks before I came to Utah and told her I wanted to get the family together. That’s all I had to do and suddenly we had ourselves a party with family that I hadn’t seen for years. It was so good to catch up and see what’s going on with everyone. Thanks Camille and Dorothy for putting this together. It was fantastic.

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Day 8 Monday -

Seven Peaks with Megan, Josh, and Zack. It was so nice to spend time with the niece and nephews and soak up some rays. I’m not sure Josh and Zack will ever forgive me for trying to force them on the slides. One of these days they’ll understand the beauty of speed and water but until then the wave pool and lazy river it is. No complaints from me. I loved every minute of it.

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Day 9 Tuesday -

There’s nothing better than a picnic up Provo Canyon, near bridle falls with kids I love and adore and a wonderful brother. Miriam and Aaron were at Youth Conference and were greatly missed.

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Becks came over for a sleepover. I just love that girl.

Day 10 Wednesday -

I got to see my sweet little companion, Madeline Geyers Flinders, again. She was my last companion and I only got to be with her for six weeks but it was a memorable six weeks. Lots of fun but mostly we just worked our butts off. She has four adorable children and is married to a wonderful man. I’m so glad she’s in Utah now so I can visit on occasion.

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I also got to see Tess again. Her sister works for Great Harvest so she got me free goodies. She’s just so good to me. I wish I could just take her with me everywhere.

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Later in the afternoon the Mike and Stacie Raddatz clan and I headed up Little Cottonwood Canyon to go camping. I was so happy to spend some quality time with these kids. We told stories, went on adventures to the water, ate real good food, roasted marshmallows and made smores until I was sick. Mike and Mia entertained us by catching the mice that were running around camp. We also got to see a meteor shower. At midnight Bud, Mia, Mike, and I were all laying on the ground with Mike’s pillows (he brought like ten) watching the shooting stars. It was a little piece of heaven. Sure do love my family.

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Day 11 Thursday -

We got back pretty early from our campout and I took a nap. I was exhausted and it was a much needed break from all the playing. After the nap I went and saw good ol’ Shera, one of my dearest companions. I had such good companions on the mish. I’m super fortunate.

Nikki and I laughed for an entire two months. There were very few prayers that we made it through without busting a gut. This girl’s hilarious. One little story about this gem: One day we were riding home on our bikes and all of a sudden Nikki starts pulling up her dress, pulled down her nylons, and then proceeded to pull down her garments and give me a full on moon, all while she was riding her bike in broad day light. Who is this girl? She’s such a blessing in my life. Long live Xena, Shera, Iceman, and Heman. Looking forward to having my mansion right next to hers.

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Day 12 Friday -

This morning I got to have breakfast with Smorley Morley. Paul’s been around for years and being with him always feels like coming home. We sat at the good ‘ol Ihop for hours just chattin’ about life. I sure do love that boy. It’s always good to spend time with him.

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I also stopped by J&M and M&S again for a final goodbye.

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Day 12 continued and Day 13 Friday and Saturday: King’s Peak -

I’m trying to get ready to hike Kilimanjaro so I called up my dear friend Scotty and asked him if he’d like to hike the highest peak in Utah with me. Of course he agreed because how can you refuse an invitation like that? Unfortunately, our luck wasn’t so great.

We left SLC at about five which put us at the trailhead at nine. By this point it was pouring down rain and neither of us wanted to set up the tent so we just slept in the car…not the greatest beginning to our little adventure.

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The weather wasn’t much better the following morning. As a matter of fact, it was foggy and rainy for most of the morning.

At one point it started hailing and we had to stop so Scott could put on his “rain poncho”.

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An hour or so later it started thundering and lighting and the hail turned to snow.

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At this point everyone is turning around. Scott and I had a hard time deciding what we should do but felt it was best to let go of some pride, follow the crowd, and turn around without the success of a summit.

Here I am admitting defeat:

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A few hours after that we got this:

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A beautiful blue sky with a bright shining happy sun. Such is life. The hike down was harder than the hike up and my knees were killing me. We were happy to finally see the cars after more than 12 hrs and 23 miles of hiking.

Day 14 Sunday -

Bud took me to the airport and I said farewell to Utah for another year.


Christy Wheeler said...

WOW! Wowwy wow wow. Someone has had quite the adventurous summer!! I can barely keep up reading about it. I am so happy that you are having such a good time. Good luck with everything in Africa!

Brenna said...

Wish I could have been in Utah to see you and wish you luck. Ps... I'm in Alabama. Way less cool than Arkansas. :P

And... I miss you too!