...that he listens to me when I'm sad. And when I tell him that I am afraid to chase my dreams, he tells me that I can do it, even if I am doing it on my own. And when I question myself, he reminds me that I endured a heck of a lot to be where I am, and that I shouldn't short change myself just because I'm down. And when I tell him about how disappointed I am or how lonely I feel or how much pressure I'm under or how I am so afraid to be left behind, he doesn't talk about rainbows or butterflies to make me feel better. He says: "I know you are." And sometimes, that is better then unicorns and fluffy animals. Sometimes, having someone just understand and then stand by protectively while I feel that way is better then anything else. And then he tells me he will be out here in a couple weeks and he'll take me to see the Tetons and Yellowstone and he'll give me a great big hug and tell me: "I know you are."
Cazz and I; we used to go for long drives on afternoons when the sun was bright and the wind was warm. And as I walked into my apartment today after a long day of being inside of an office, all's I could think of was how much I missed hot piece of metal of mine and the sheer sense of freedom that he gave me when I rolled down my windows, turned up the music and took a left instead of a right. Flat fields and clear skies and being one with the golden fields colored by September. I long for that. Yearn for it. It is when I feel the most peace and the most alive, all in one moment.
Today, Paige called me and told me that she wanted to go for a drive, because it was so stinking beautiful out.
And within three minutes she was at my apartment, and we had the windows rolled down and there was no destination, although we eventually ended up at the haunted swings in the back fields of Idaho. It's a single solitary patch of grass, surrounded by trees and two old wooden swings hanging from a rusted frame. And Paige and I sat and swung life away and let the Indian sun warm our backs and we talked about boys and first kisses and futures and how glorious these kinds of days are, when the wind is warm and the sun is slowly setting. And even though I had homework and Paige had a sore throat, it didn't matter. For a few minutes, there wasn't a single care in the world.
I really like the way Idaho makes me feel sometimes.
I'm busy and stressed and my soggy chemo brain is trying to retain so much,
but when I'm sitting in the middle of these vast potato fields, with a good friend and the sun,
'That's what stories are for. Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can't remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story."
first of all, I love Fridays. It means no homework pressure when I come home, it means a quiet afternoon at the office, and it means staying up late and sleeping in.
Yesterday was Friday. and I did not love it one bit yesterday morning.
You see, the internet was being dumb, my tummy was being dumb, my chemo brain was being dumb (which means I forgot what I did with my debit card within five minutes) and my attitude was being dumb.
But then, I went to work, and Sam was nice to me. And Symone found my credit card and then brought me Costa Vida. And I had mail waiting for me when I came home, including a super cute thank you card from my primary class I taught this summer, and a few more pages and pictures to add to the greatest story ever told. And then, last night, Symone and I went out with Mark, Jaron and Jared. We drove around in Mark's ancient Volvo and went out to the back fields of Rexburg and star gazed and relived all of our favorite memories together from fall 2008. We talked about banana bombs and Yellowstone and dying Mark's sideburns pink and driving out to the civil defense caves at 1 in the morning. We laughed a lot. I saw a shooting star and we sang to Forever the Sickest Kids on the way home. It was a perfect night with old friends and memories to keep me warm. I was happy.
My brother opens his mission call tonight.
My world is changing, but it is still very much the same.
And I'm happy.
Internet issues, you drive me insane. Especially since I am paying more than anyone else to live in Rexburg. Fine, don't give me cable. Fine, don't give me a mail room, a lounge, a study room, a work out room. but really. If you are going to charge me 1300 dollars for the semester, at least give me some internet. Please and thank you.
IN: Thai Food. USPS. Crock Pots. Glee. Post Modern Literature. Heels. Lists. Photos. Cookies at the Crossroads. Acapella. Waterfall Braids. MIKA. Kindles. Costa Vida. Fall. Hot Cocoa. Chapstick. Lotion. Nicki Minaj.
OUT: Rent. Loans. Anything money related. Online Classes. Textbooks. Toes. Shoes without arch support. Hair dye. Frozen meals. Cable. Planners. Mailboxes. White Boards. Sharpies. Thumb tacks. Jenzabars. Eyebrows.
Um, remember how I am totally in love with BYU's Vocal Point? I've seen them live twice since going to school here, and both shows have literally taken my breath away. And nowww they are on The Sing Off! Check out their sheer awesomeness and talent
Tomorrow is the start of making goals, organizing myself and owning this semester. I am pumped.
Things have been crazy for me. I've had an interesting and overall weird week; adjusting to being back, to not having Cazz, to not living with Misao or the Klenotiches, and to having a bunch of old faces back in the burg. And, I've been terribly homesick for New England, my family and Zion's Camp. It's amazing how hard it is to adjust to living a life of service for four months straight, and then having to go back to the real world. I bet it's just a tiny bit of what a full-time missionary feels like when they get back.
Admist all of the craziness, I have found so many blessings and tender mercies that have made my life so beautiful while going through this transition period.
1. My new roommates. I'm such huge fans of them! My room roommate, Sarah, is so great! We've only been together a week and I already feel like we've known each other for a long time. And I really love Whitney, who has a similar sense of humor as me. Kristen is so stylish and we like all of the same music and places, so we always have something to talk about. McKell is such a sweetheart and Summer has an awesome movie collection. I feel welcome here and like I belong to a little family.
2. My Alumni Office team. I love the girls I work with and I get along with all of them. It's so refreshing to go to work and not feel left out or like everyone is in a clique. We all went out to Craigo's this last week and we had SO MUCH FUN! We laughed a ton and Sam and I ate so much wing pizza, we were bursting at the seams. My boss is so kind and generous and I am so grateful to have a job on campus and to have friends in the office.
3. My Idaho family, especially Misao. Being reunited with Symone has been one of the best things to happen to me since I've been back. Seriously, that girl understands me better than I understand myself. A typical conversation goes like this:
Me: "Well, I was thinking that we could do the...you know...place that i like...food?"
Misao: "Sure, we can go after class. But I have to get one of those pshh...pshh...things."
Me: "Right, we can pick one up at Walmart."
We don't have to speak in complete sentences or even in real words to know exactly what the other one is saying. It's so great. And I'm so grateful that she takes care of me and gives me a reality check and my twin.
4. The Patriots won today. and Mom watched the game on NESN with me on the phone and she gave me a play by play account during the fourth quarter.
5. Only the best letter I've ever received in the last five months from my best friend, who I am so proud of.
6. Being able to walk to campus without having any pain or limping. I've never felt better.
7. Long conversations with Julianna and plans to go to Boise to see Jillise
I'm very blessed and I'm very happy to be here. I'm still adjusting to a lot, but it'll smooth out soon.
but instead, I'm just going to hunker down with a movie that makes me feel better and hope that tomorrow is easier. I knew it would be different and it would take time for me to adapt, so I just need to accept it and do my best.
I decided I wanted to make real meals this semester. And on top of that, I decided I wanted to master the crock pot. There is just something so appealing to the thought of putting a whole bunch of ingredients in a pot in the morning, turning it on and then going to class and work and coming home eight hours later and it being ready to eat! This morning, I chopped up potatoes, onions and carrots and dumped them all in the crock pot on top of a roast, added some seasoning and turned it on low. When I come home from work, I hopefully will have a yummy pot roast ready to go!
As I was chopping up my onion today, my eyes started to sting and burn and water up. Of course, I thought, I'm chopping onions. But after I had put everything in the pot and had sat down to work on some homework, my eyes were still full of tears. It's like I needed to chop an onion to get the anxiety that's been building up to finally release. This has been an emotionally overloaded week. I'm just not sure what to do with myself anymore. Don't get me wrong, I'm super happy to be back and I know I'm needed here. But it doesn't make the overload of emotions any less.
But I know it will all calm down in a little bit. I'll get into the swing of things and the mail will come and everything will be okay. I'm in love with Rexburg.
my life would be so much easier if the mailman was nice to me and brought me a letter. All of the anxiety and anxiousness I've been carrying around since last Wednesday would lift off my shoulders, no matter what said letter would tell me. I would just know. And knowing would be so much better then wondering and waiting.
But, I'm doing okay. This summer has taught me how to live for myself and shown me that I don't need a letter every week to be happy. 'Cause I don't. I'm happy on my own, and I love that.
Well, things are finally starting to settle after the most insane weekend of my life. Having two roommates get into a serious car accident is just not the way to start off a brand new semester. It's scary and stressful and downright sad. Luckily, things are starting to look up for them and are starting to improve.
I realized, as we drove down to the hospital Saturday night, that there is a reason why I needed to be back here, and why I needed to be in this apartment with these two girls, along with my roommates Sarah and Whitney. As we drove down to IF, I knew that the first thing we needed to do was pray. And the second thing was to call our bishop and put the situation in the hands of a priesthood holder. I think that my time in the hospital over the last five years of my life has taught me how to calmly approach these kinds of situations-even if I am freaking out internally. That skill really helped us on Saturday and Sunday. I was needed here. There are no coincidences. I have learned that a lot this summer and continue to learn it while I'm back here. There are absolutely no coincidences. I am always where I need to be and I am always surrounded by the people who I need to be by. And missionaries are always sent to where they are needed most.
I love my new apartment. It is so nice. I will give you all a tour in the coming days, but I love the change of scenery. I love where I am located according to campus. And I love that I am so close to so many friends. I love my roommates Sarah and Whitney-Saturday night really brought us together. I love being back at work. I love spending time with the girls I work with and becoming friends with them and not just co-workers. Sunday night, I had a girls night with Sam and Rachel and we watched a movie and ate "glazed cake" (a complete and total delicious accident on Sam's half). We laughed a lot. It was a much needed pick me up.
I am in love with the two literary classes I am taking on campus and I already adore my professors. They are both so funny and will keep me on my toes and challenge the way I view things.
I love that I will be getting mail soon from someone who I love to pieces.
And I love Thai food Tuesdays with Paige and talking about China and making plans to make it happen.
i miss the Cazz machine more then anything else right now. it's been one of those weekends when all's I needed was the comfort of his steering wheel gripped in my hands and the sight of the hill flying by me as we costed down, leaving every heavy boulder behind me at the top and becoming free of the nightmares that haunt me every time i close my eyes.
I was thinking about writing this morning-catching everyone up about how incredible it's been to be back in Idaho and to be reunited with my Idaho Family. I have been on. the. go. ever since my feet touched the ground in Salt Lake. I've been reunited with Symone and Trish and Russel and the Klenotiches. I've been reunited with Brian, Mike, Benjamin, Mark, Jaron and Jared-all friends from my first semester who are back from their missions. I went back to work. I've made new friends. And I've become huge fans of my roommates already.
I was going to write about how happy I am and how everything looked so promising this semester.
And then tonight, I came home to my brand new apartment and to my brand new roommates. And we found out that two of them (who I already have become such big fans of) were in a terrible car accident, leaving one of them in the ICU and both of them probably out of school for the rest of the semester. We spent the evening running around, making phone calls, talking to our managers and sitting in the hospital until two in the morning. And all of a sudden; everything has lost it's sheen. Everything that was all bright and shinny...it's all dull and shades of grey now.
And I keep thinking: "How do i go to school on monday, when everything all of a sudden has been turned upside down?"
As pathetic as this might make me, I almost had a harder time saying goodbye to my car then I did to my dad. almost. Leaving Cazz left this knot in my stomach. Leaving my dad made the knot bigger and left tears in my eyes. I'm such a pansy.
This is a record. It's not 10:30 and I am all packed, checked in to my flight and tucked into my bed. My window is open and I have the comforting sound of an autumn drizzle seeping into my room. I can't believe I'm leaving for Idaho tomorrow. It's surreal. When I came home in April, it was 100% positive that I was going to be home until January. And when my knee healed faster then anyone anticipated, I was faced with one of the hardest choices I've had to make in a long time..whether to go back to school this fall or to stay snuggled in the security of oak and birch trees, here in New England.
I'm thinking about this summer and how incredibly different it turned out to be from what I was planning on it being. For one thing, Dustin's reassignment to this area blindsided me out of nowhere. Working at camp and serving with the Yorks and Bratts every day for 4 solid months was another thing I never saw coming. My primary class, teaching with the sister missionaries, getting incredibly close to my little sisters and of course, becoming an official five year survivor; all things I didn't expect. This summer was supposed to be about me and healing from my knee. I wasn't planning on doing anything else except focusing on myself. And boy oh boy, did this summer turn out to be the exact opposite. I have never worked harder or served more or had to rely on my faith more then I did this summer. I've never sacrificed so selflessly before. And the biggest thing is that I did it all by myself. No best friends or boyfriends this summer. It was just me and God. And I'm so glad it was, because I needed to learn some things.
I love New England. I love my home. I love that I was raised here and that I have that stubbornness that runs in the Northeasterner's blood. I love who it has helped shaped me into this summer.
I've never been this torn about leaving home. But I am tonight. I might even cry a little.
But I will also probably cry when I'm reunited with Symone tomorrow afternoon, so you know, it comes full circle in the end.
It's that time of the year again where I spend all day trying to cram my life in three suitcases while making sure they don't go over the allowed weight of 50 pounds. Does my room look like a tornado went through it? Yes. Do I know where anything is? of course not. Did I drive across the country in April with my whole life crammed into my back seat and now I have to figure out how to get it back to Idaho in an airplane? Without a doubt! Should I have started packing on Friday? Probably. Am I super busy today? Yep! I have to run errands, cook lunch for the Sister Missionaries, help my Aunt Kerry find some pictures and go say goodbye to the Yorks. Do I have to be at the airport at crazy early hour tomorrow morning? Yep. Have to leave the house between 4:45 and 5:00 AM. Did I sleep well last night? Nope, maybe three hours tops.
Am I so excited to go back to school? HECK YES! I'll just pull up my Bon Iver playlist and get to work.
I used to hate my scar. It was puckery and red and just downright ugly and it was a constant reminder about the (excuse my language) Hell I went through when I was 16. And I hated that I would never be able to escape it; that I would always be marked and reminded of the things I had lost and would never get back.
But that was when I was 16 and still coming to grips with cancer and the fact that I was fighting for my life every day. Now that I'm a tad bit older and I can see that cancer is one of the best things that has happened to me (although I never want to have to go through it again), I have learned to love and embrace my scar. It is a daily reminder that I can overcome anything placed in my way; that I was given this life because I am the only one strong enough to live it. It reminds me not to take things for granted; to take the time to walk down the drive way and get the mail because I can. Every time I look at those 16 inches of imperfect skin, I think about the people I love that are in my life because of that dumb tumor named Ricardo. It is my badge of courage. I have accepted that it will be there forever and I don't mind it anymore. And on some days, I actually love it.
Something that I had to learn to deal with since my first surgery was the awkward questions and looks that I would get. It's funny how bold people can be when they see something out of the ordinary. Or how ignorant. On an almost daily basis during the summer, I get the look up and down, the puzzled glance or a statement along the lines of: "Wow, that's a doozy! What did you do?" or "ACL injury, huh?" or "You are too young to have an injury like that" or my personal favorite: "It looks like you're dying."At first, it irritated me. Didn't people have the common decency to not ask about something so personal? Does it look like it was a simple ACL injury? Yes, I know I'm too young to have such a bad knee. DO I LOOK LIKE I'M DYING? Now, I just brush it off and skirt around it if I can. And since August 24th, I can now proudly and with great relief say: "No, I am not dying." Because, in fact, I am five years cancer free. And in the great cancer medical world, that is as closed to "cured" as I will ever get.
Can I tell you what it's like to be five years cancer free? It's like coming up for air after being underwater for too long. It's like waking up to the sunshine after a weeks worth of rain. It's like I can finally look forward for longer then five minutes without having to look over my shoulder to make sure something isn't creeping up on me. It's like the whole world has finally opened up before me, and it's brighter and more vivid and stunning then I've ever seen, because it is. I don't take things for granted like I used to. And my life is full of opportunities that I can finally take a hold of without anything holding me back because I'm not afraid to be away from Boston for long periods of time. I'm not afraid of losing my ability to breathe. I'm not afraid of my knee failing. I'm. not. afraid.
I guess I never was afraid of cancer coming back, because if I had to live with that kind of fear, I would have drowned. But I was afraid of having to put my life on hold in order to fight it again. But now I feel like I can finally live without that fear. I can make plans and follow through with them. I can even go to China.
So, no, man at the McDonalds in Raymond, I'm not dying! In fact, I am very, very much alive.
I believe in miracles. In second chances. In love. In God. In answered prayers. In life.
My blogging has lacked lately. I apologize, But, oh my gosh, the end of August has been absolute madness. And by madness, I mean, absolute insanity.
Not only did we have the last week of camp to run while mom was at work and the Bratt's were in Arizona, but we had a tropical storm come into New England that we had to prepare for. Zion's Camp, the Beach House and our own home all needed to be locked down and ready for torrential rains and high winds. My family was also on vacation for a week, and then started going back to school and work and I had a plethora of doctor's appointments, physical therapy and oh yeah, Juli was home so I spent a ton of time with her because we haven't been able to go on adventures in a long time.
And now, I'm in the middle of house sitting for my grandparents, spending the last weekend with my family and trying to pack my room back up to go back to school in two days. It's craziness. But I'm excited. I'm going to be back in school, back at work and back with my roommates and friends (old and new) in just a few short days. I'm highly looking forward to seeing Paige, Tara, Elysha and Sebastian, and of course Misao, the Klenotichs, Trish and Russell and baby Elliot! And above all else, I'm so thrilled that soon I'll be able to talk to my best friend and missionary and hear all about the incredible experiences he's having first hand and tell him about the amazing summer I've had serving at camp. September, you are looking pretty dang promising.
current guilty pleasure: Lucky charms
current color: Neutrals
current playlist: Nicki Minaj
current read:East of Eden
current drink: Barqs Rootbeer
current food:American Chop Suey (homemade by my mama bear)
current favorite show:Criminal Minds (LABOR DAY MARATHON, YES!)
current wish list:Kindle from Amazon
current needs: Money.
current triumphs:5 YEARS CANCER FREE!
current bane of my existence:packing
current celebrity crush: Orlando Bloom
current indulgence: Make up
current blessing: Rexburg, Idaho
current outfit: Grey shorts and Dustin's t-shirt
current excitement:REUNITED WITH SYMONE IN TWO DAYS
current mood:torn (don't want to leave my family, so pumped to see everyone in Idaho)
Fall is coming. I could smell it last night, as I curled up on the couch and looked over the lake and watched the sun sink over the tree line. I could feel it as I walked down my drive way, barefooted and serene to check the mail. I love autumn. I love the way the Earth feels and the way the air moves. Everything goes up in brilliant flames and burns in brilliant hues. And the seasons turn.