Wednesday, March 25, 2009

the wind blows sweetly there

i'm finally feeling better - like i crawled out of a cave somewhere. i'm not feeling great, but better, and i figured i better write about my awesome utah trip i got back from over a week ago. so here it is, folks:
on march fourteenth, i walked onto an airplane and traveled back in time.

back three months ago, to january temperatures. (az's january temperatures. i know it was warm in utah, but i was freezing.)

back one year ago, to the days of living at village with beth, emmalee, lisa (who was only at this reunion in spirit), dre, and dice (the thugs) and all the fun times we had making fun of our home teachers and other various crazy people.
(this is an old picture of me and dre dawg. it's got me thinking about long hair again...)

back seven or eight years ago, to those younger days in my old home ward and the people there who all watched and helped me grow up. they are good people, and it was good to see them.

back over ten years ago, to the good old days of family reunions. we haven't had one for probably at least ten years, and i saw cousins i probably haven't seen for that long. what fun times.

i got to go home for my little bro's farewell - he went into the mtc exactly one week ago to spend three months before he heads way down south to argentina. he did an awesome job on his talk - he was the kind of public speaker i wish i was: calm, self-assured, natural. he brought everyone to tears and made everyone laugh in the same ten minute talk, which is something i don't think i have ever accomplished (my mom doesn't count, she cries at everything.)
all in all, a very successful trip. i saw people i love, (although i did miss some. sorry guys! i'll plan better next time), got to eat at tucano's, wrestle with the dogs, and hang out with my little bro before he leaves for two years, besides all that time travelling i already mentioned. what more could you ask for?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

are you well

i had all of these grand ideas for a great post about my trip to utah this past weekend. i still will post something about it, but not yet.

you see, every time i go up there, my little brother ragan gets me sick. i don't know what his deal is, but he's always sick when i go up there, and for some reason i always catch it. this time around, i feel like i'm on my deathbed. my flight home tuesday night made me think of "lost" (since i've been watching that show, i can't help but think of it when i fly.) i was already feeling miserable enough that night that i thought if the plane crashed, at least i wouldn't have to deal with getting any worse... the plane didn't crash, and i got worse. a lot worse.

i went to get checked this morning and found out i have strep, a sinus infection, and an ear infection. i guess it is go big or go home, right? luckily i have all these days off so i can just rest. that is what i have been doing. resting and drinking juice. so stay tuned - when i feel alive again i'll post that awesome utah post i've been planning.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

i wish i was an ocean

today i was doing a little spring cleaning and came across a lotion that i bought a long long time ago. to be exact, i bought it two years and eight months ago. you may be wondering why i remember the day i purchased this lotion. i will tell you. (i'm about to wax poetic. stick with me.)

bath and body works doesn't even sell this particular lotion anymore - i just checked. it is lychee flavor, and one whiff sends me back two years and nine months ago, to hefei, china (or somewhere thereabouts,) to a small house with no front door, a light bulb on a string, a well in the front yard, and a wood burning stove in the kitchen with one woman cooking and one woman fueling the fire from the pile of sticks next to her. it takes me back to that house, where a feast was prepared for two girls who didn't speak much chinese by people who didn't speak any english.

in the weeks before we ventured out into the country, on our almost daily trips to the grocery store across the street from the school, we had started coming across a strange... something. this something grew on branches and looked like an armored strawberry. we were all curious about them, but no one was brave enough to buy them and try them, so we just passed by that large bin that was always surrounded by chinese people. then came the day we went out to the country.

i'm ashamed that i don't know more about this trip lisa and i went on. the language barrier that was always present when we traveled anywhere in china was never more evident to me than that day. the only other english speaker on that trip with us was our eight year old student tom, in his second semester of the english program. he helped when he could, but his vocabulary was not appropriate for the situation. he knew enough to accomplish "grandmother" and "grandfather," but our classes up to that point hadn't prepared him for an experience like that. tom's parent's didn't speak any english at all, and his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, spoke even less. we pointed, gestured, smiled, and laughed a lot.

while standing in the kitchen, trying to indicate that we wanted to help cook if we could, tom's mother brought in some of those alien strawberries. she offered them to lisa and i first, and we shrugged and said no thanks. we didn't know how to eat them, and didn't know how to ask how to do it. thankfully, she didn't give up - she took one and demonstrated, and soon lisa and i were pros. eating those lychees was like popping little pieces of heaven into our mouths. so sweet and cool and light and refreshing, they were perfect for that hot day. especially since we couldn't drink any of the water, and the alcohol they provided for us was (hopefully politely) declined. we spent the rest of that day sitting on various makeshift benches or chairs around the house, eating lots of new things, some delicious, some slightly scary, (but not eating enough of them - we ruined our appetites with those lychees) and trying so hard to somehow communicate how thankful we were to those people for opening their house to us. we ended that trip by taking pictures and showing them on the little screen to everyone involved, and giving out hugs and "wo ai ni's."

for the rest of my life, i will look back on that experience with mixed feelings. almost three years later, i look back on it with regret - regret that i didn't do more to communicate, that i didn't know more chinese, that i didn't eat more, or teach them a game, or something. but i also think of it as one of the most perfect experiences i have ever had. it was the culmination of that five months of my life - the icing on the already pretty wonderful cake. i was able to experience something i know i probably never will be able to experience again. it was a once in a lifetime. now every time i open up that lychee lotion and take a little whiff, i am back in that small kitchen, next to those amazing women cooking a feast for two girls they had just met and couldn't even talk to. or i'm in that sunlit yard, washing my hands with well water pulled up for me by my sweet little student. and no matter what conveniences i am surrounded by, i always wish to be back for real, and not just in my memory.

Monday, March 9, 2009

i wonder why that is

my life, in numbers:

eleven - the number of jazz wins in their current streak. go jazz!! (number of times i have been able to watch those wins - five, i think. i've lost track, but they have all been delightful.)

forty - number of times i almost peed my pants laughing at jessi this weekend. she is so funny, but even more so when she is planning a birthday party, apparently. although i think some of the times she wasn't meaning to be funny... sorry jess!

nine - number of days off i have coming up in the next couple of weeks. there are pros and cons to this (mostly cons, i think), but i am very excited to get my backyard sunlit reading time in soon. soon, as in tomorrow, hopefully.

five - number of days until i get to go up to the freezing for my brother's farewell. i'm so excited, for multiple reasons. and i'm very proud of alex. (if anyone wants to hang out at some point, i will be available on monday, the sixteenth. i'm in high demand though, so get your requests in early.)
twenty million - number of engaged couples in my ward. it seems to be the place to be if you want to get married. (me being the exception, of course.)

thirty-ish - number of lovely new songs pandora played for me this week. that thing gets my vote for best invention ever. (most of the new songs were already on my ipod, just undiscovered by me. oh how i love my magic ipod!)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

waiting in the ether

nowhere smells better than arizona does right now. a magical scent has been released over the valley, and i am in love. it's like someone took the best smelling flower in the world, bottled up the heavenly aroma, duplicated it three million times, and then turned it loose. i think the bushes are celebrating because it is getting warmer and they are sharing all of their joy with us. i promise, it is unbelievable. as soon as i can i am going to take a blanket and my current favorite book out to the backyard and spend the day soaking it all in. feel free to join me.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

see you sometime

weekends are my favorite part of my life these days. for some reason, the regular weekday things just don't bother me on weekends, and i feel almost like a kid again - carefree and relaxed. sundays are especially that way, i think, until the evening when i realize that my wonderful carefree weekend is over and i have five more days to go until i get another one.

this weekend was an especially good one, because i discovered a new favorite movie. it came out a while ago, so i may be the last one on the boat, but we watched "expiration date" and i absolutely loved it. if any of you are looking for a new movie to watch, i highly recommend checking this one out. it was sweet and funny and unusual and thought-provoking, and the soundtrack was incredible. (anakin, i was looking for the trailer and saw some article that said it was playing at the london film festival. i got all excited to tell you to go see it, and then noticed that the article was from 2007... too bad you can't time travel.) here is the trailer for your viewing pleasure.

(sorry about the language... and i know it might look a little strange, but just trust me on this.)