I spent the last 10 days of my life in Utah. It was not the worst idea. Not at all. I was actually surprised by how much I loved being back. The girl that can't stop traveling and couldn't wait to move out of Utah found it oddly refreshing to be back. I found myself noticing how pretty the mountains are when they're dusted with snow. I love the tangible feeling of "home" that lingers when I drive around that little town. And to top it all off, ALL of my siblings made it to Utah county for a few days. The last time all of my siblings were together was at my graduation in May...for like 24 hours before I moved to Uganda. haha I have the greatest siblings on the planet. We love each other.
My schedule was crazy train. I tried to meet up with as many friends as I could. Much to my family's dismay, I love catching up with my friends when I come home. It was especially nice this time because I'm a very social lass, so being out here in Virginia starting completely from scratch in the friend department has been new. So it was nice to go home and realize that I do have a lot of friends and I'm not a loner just because I live in a new state and watch someone else's infant all day. haha
Some highlights and random details:
- My cute niece Abby was blessed. I met her for the first time over the break. She's so tiny and perfect. I'm obsessed with her.
- Kim and I worked out to Jillian videos which do nothing less than please.
- Christmas day was magical--as always. I still wake up in the night like an anxious little kid. I love watching people open gifts that you've been thinking about and conjuring up for a month. My sister made me a collage of some my Africa pictures. Thoughtful.blogspot.com. And my parents are always outrageously sweet and thoughtful. It was a perfect holiday--like it is every year.
- We saw Les Miserables and I'm pretty sure I have feelings for the gent that plays Marius but who doesn't after seeing that film?!
- We hit up the new outlet mall--not a disappointment. Bless the soul that thought a J.Crew outlet was a good idea.
- My grandmother passed away the day after Christmas--on her birthday. Her funeral was beautiful and I loved learning more about her life, being inspired by her service, adventurous spirit and commitment to the gospel. She was a wonderful woman and raised some amazing children.
- Card game night--the best! When all of my siblings lived in Utah, we had a Sunday game night tradition. I loved it! I think part of the reason that I started a game night up in Logan was because I missed playing games regularly.
- My nieces and nephews ARE the cutest little beings on the planet. You might think that yours are...but maybe that means you haven't met mine. I'm completely infatuated with them. They're darling to look at, sweet to talk to and hilarious to play with. Aannddd their faces insist that I kiss them...all the time. My siblings make cute babies. Exhibit A:
I've been kind of sickly the last few days. The flights back to Virginia were comedic because if I wasn't drowsily reading a Nicholas Sparks book, I was very berry unconscious. My flight from California to Virginia was my favorite. There was a father-son duo sitting next to me that had me entranced.
Ever since my Parisian excursion of 2007, I'm fascinated and in love with darling, involved fathers. It was weird to me, in Paris, that when you went to the park you would see families there. Not the kids by themselves, not the kids and the mom, not the kids and the nanny, but entire families--with the dads. I feel like you never see that in America...but maybe that's just my observation. Even on my layover in Paris from Uganda, Kelsey and I grabbed a pastry for breakfast and went and sat at a playground to eat. There were several fathers there playing with their kids. They weren't texting or watching videos online, they were up playing on the playground with their kids. It was the cutest thing to me.
So this father on the flight hit a soft spot. He was busy writing on his yellow notepad brainstorming ideas for work, but whenever his 8 year-old son would inquire what he was doing, the father demonstrated no level of inconvenience. He would put his pen down and explain in an enthusiastic, yet simple way what he was doing. He read a book with him, pointed out landmarks outside as we were close to landing, and asked him if he was excited to start school tomorrow. "That's exciting for you huh? Which guys are you excited to see?" The son lists a few names and the father comments that one of them doesn't come out for baseball. He mumbled something about needing to talk to the boy about that. "Which girls are you excited to see?" The son pressed his feet against the seat in front of him, moaning that he'd have to answer. "Ah, dad." They talked about his upcoming birthday party. And all throughout the flight (at least when I was alert) his father would occasionally put his arm around the son and kiss him on the forehead.
I loved it. It made me miss Paris. It was a lovely Christmas break. I miss everyone already but am happy and excited for the new year and new opportunities, adventures, challenges, friends and lessons that will accompany it. Happy New Year dear ones.