I will start with a quick recap of life since college started. My choice to apply to BYU Hawaii was not really the plan until my senior year of high school. I always wanted to go to Provo, especially since both of my best friends were already there. That year (in the middle of volleyball season) my parents (sort of forcefully) invited me to go to Education Week at BYU. I didnt want to go because I had a big tournament that weekend, but my parents told me to pray about it, so I did. Obviously, the answer I received was to go, so I did. It didnt take me
long upon arriving on the campus to sense that this was not the place for me. I realized that maybe I was supposed to be there that week to realize that I better start seriously thinking about other options for school. I knew I wanted to be at a church school still so that left me with Idaho and Hawaii...come on now, is that really a question?? haha...and that leads me to the next big chapter of my life :)
All those people who told me to enjoy high school because they will be the best years of my life lied to me! haha I think what they meant was to enjoy it, because it will be the last time I really get to be carefree, a kid. I understand that now. Sounds cheesy I know, but my first two years at BYU Hawaii were really magical to put it into words! The combination of the beautiful scenery, the fun people, and the strong spirit on campus made the whole experience indescribable! In short I fell in love...with Hawaii. One day, my friends and I were taking the bus up to Waimea Bay and there was an old man sitting across from us. Every time I round the corner where North Shore begins my heart beats faster and I smile because its so breath taking-like I said, Im in love with the place ;) So the older man looks at me and says, "Your sweetheart must love you!" My friends and I were all a little confused (considering I had no "sweet heart"-haha thanks for bringing it up sir!) Noticing that I was a little lost he went on to say that I must have a sweetheart because I look so in love hehe. "No sir, I just love this place!"
My first year there in the dorms were so fun! I loved living on campus, although I wasnt thrilled about being forced to at first. I made so many great friends there, and it was a blast having so many girls to get ready for dates and dances with! We all shared clothes and jewelry, did each others hair and make-up...what more could a girl ask for?? Did I also mention we were in walking distance from the beach? That part wasnt bad either ;) I think my room mate Becca and I made it to the beach every single day the first couple months at least! We only went there to study of course...
So life went on, school got harder, daily beach trips became less frequent, boys became drama, etc. There came a time when I needed to choose a major (and stick to it), but that isnt something a 19 year old girl should have to decide! So I took a year off to save money, figure things out, clear my head...which leads me to my next adventures!
Arizona, Vegas, Texas, Utah, Cali, GREECE!!
2010 has been a busy year for me! During Christmas break I decided that since I was taking a break from school, I would move to AZ to work and have a new adventure while I figured things out. My good friend from Hawaii flew over from Cali to TX to drive to AZ with me. Nothing like a fun road trip with good company! In AZ I lived with some very kind family friends for a few months and then stayed with my grandparents for a month or so. While I was there, I found a job as a nanny for a couple different families, and both of them had a set of twins! (Did I mention the family I was living with had twins also??) I was afraid the Lord was preparing me for quadruplets one day or something! I guess we will still have to see about that one haha...Anyway, one of the families had a brilliant little 5 yr old girl and boy/girl two month old twins when I first started with them. The dad was Caucasian and the mother was half black half Taiwanese. She was seriously gorgeous, and so were her kids! I totally fell in love with those kids and still miss and think about them all the time. It was a great opportunity to be part of a family of another faith and see what their home was like. I gained so much respect for the faith of Mei (the mom) and the way she lived her life despite her challenges. I learned yet again, that you never know what someone may be going through despite what it seems on the outside. The other family was also an inspiration to me. The mother was a Neonatal specialist and very very brilliant. I thought it was cool that she made so much money, yet she was always thrifty (coupons, sales, older model mini van, etc) and spending her money on things that mattered most in the long run: her kids activities, family vacations, things that will last forever, even if only in memory. From both of these families I learned more about what kind of person I want to be, and also that faiths other than mine also have much to offer.
I also made a couple of new best friends at church. Leona, is "Hapa" like me (picture below), except she is half Japanese. We look alike and it was fun to be the only tall, brown, "exotic sisters" anytime we went somewhere where the majority of girls were white (no offense to anyone ha). We roadtripped to Vegas from AZ for a fun weekend with my Lola and Lola. It was my first time there, and probably my last! I definitely understand why its called "Sin City" now haha. Camille was the other friend and she is also from my singles ward there. She is coming out to Europe to travel with me in a couple days!! I cant wait!
In May, I had a great opportunity to really get to know my step grandmother, Cathy. I fell in love with her, and was so glad I got to know her in that short while. I will always have great memories of Hallmark movie marathons and Blue Bell ice cream :) I will also never be able to watch the Phoenix Suns play with out thinking about her! Another favorite part of AZ was spending so much time with my Aunt Mandy and her family!! Such a sweet, happy bunch of people! One of my favorite families ever, actually. I consider them (Both my aunt and her girls) the sisters I never had :)
All the nannying in AZ inspired me to fulfill a life long dream of mine-to visit Italy and Greece! I found a summer job as an Au Pair in Greece and here I am! Between AZ and Greece, I was able to go home for a couple weeks to see my family and join them for a few days in Utah. Thank you Cutler for flying out just to hop in the car and drive all the way back home with me :) We had a good time-especially the part where I got pulled over by a State Trooper haha, luckily he was a nice guy! Thank goodness for Red Bull, sour Jolly Ranchers, and iPod adaptors. Utah was fun too, Montana did well at BYU football camp and I got to see some good friends and family I have missed. From there I was a bridesmaid in one of my best friends wedding in California.
She was a beautiful bride, and the wedding topped any bridal magazine wedding I have ever seen!! Such a fun couple....
(Here is a pic of some of the friends who made it from Hawaii for the wedding)
That same weekend, I left for Greece, which turned out to be an experience I couldnt have even imagined before I got here! First of all, did anyone know that some people really are as filthy rich as you see in the movies. Im talking personal drivers, nannys, maids, cooks, mansions, parties, Prada, Chanel, Juicy, yachts, summer houses, etc. And its not just this family, but ALL of their friends and extended family as well. Second, Greece really is as beautiful as you imagine it would be, maybe more. Third, America really is the promised land, and Im convinced nobody can truly appreciate it with out experiencing living else where first.
Greece really is so neat because it is SO rich in culture and tradition! This family I'm living with and working for is very interesting. While they have so much "help" the mom is really involved with the kids and loves them very much. She just doesnt have to do the dishes, laundry, diaper changing, you know, the dirty work. She plays with them, teaches them, disciplines them (sometimes haha) and all the fun stuff a mom wants to do. My job is to play with the kids, help them with their English, and help out with taking care of them. Fair enough.
I have been SO lucky to travel all over the country with them. To be honest, I didnt even know Greece was composed of so many different islands. I have now been to 5 different parts of Greece with them. We have been to different islands, stayed in fancy resorts (where I have my own room) and visited friends summer homes and yachts. I am still shocked at the lifestyle, I mean I am from Vidor, but its not like I grew up in poverty!! The only downside of the experience is that because I am surrounded by all these millionaires all the time, some of them think they are better than you because of their money. Not so much to me because I am American, but to their other help, they are very rude and degrading. Its very annoying to deal with, and its one of those situation where saying something about it isnt really going to help. However, that is something I am able to get over because I am only here for a couple months, I just feel sorry for the girls that are here for years. Another cool thing about the job is that I have met several other girls doing the same thing for other families from all over. New connections to the world! I love picking their brains and comparing lives. It has really been fascinating!
This whole experience has been really good for me. There have been temptations here I have never had to deal with before, and sometimes I only have myself and my faith to hold on to. They say you learn who you really are when no one is looking. Im human and have done things Im not so proud of, but so far I can say I am pretty proud of who I have found myself to be :)