Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pomp and Circumstance

As I removed the packaging of my cap and gown, I felt completely inadequate. Questions raced through my mind.

Am I old enough to be doing this?
Did I put in enough effort?
Do I really deserve this?
Am I prepared to face reality?
What is next?

As I reflected back on the last few years spent at the University of Utah I remember living in my first apartment, away from home and taking my first semester of upper-division course work. I took 18 credit hours and needless to say, I was burnt out by the end. Therefore, I took a semester off and traveled. The next fall semester I had a broken leg and could not have made it through without the help of family and friends. I moved out again and I lived on Capitol Hill for spring and had one of the best semesters of my life. I was truly on my own and the moments spent during that semester were some of the best. I wonder how different my college career would have been had I made an effort to not only work hard, but have fun like I did during spring. The next fall was my last semester at the U and proved difficult mentally, physically and emotionally.

I grew in many different ways from each segment of my life. I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity I had to even gain a bachelors degree. Although I wish at times that life and careers were not based so harshly on status and degrees, but rather on experiences and individualism. I would have spent more time traveling, listening, meeting, experiencing, searching and being then I did frustrated, stressed, exhausted and emotional. I truly feel that I have gained more of an education through my travels, internships, humanitarian work and human interaction then I have through classes, studying and tests. I will credit schooling for many advances in my life as well. I am in no way belittling the importance of education, I just feel that I learn differently then others.

So here I am, diploma in hand and ready to finally gain the education I have been longing for... watch out world!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

RESULTS!






Now you finally get to see the faces behind all of the amazing work that is done at RESULTS. It was truly heartbreaking to leave. The people I worked with were so passionate, hard working and dedicated to incredible causes. I will always remember what I learned from them.

Grand Finale





Monday, April 27, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Big Read!



Did you know that 1 in 4 women can't read this? I've decided to get involved in a campaign to help change this.

Take a look at the Global Campaign for Education's Big Read. They've got stories from Nelson Mandela, Alice Walker, Desmond Tutu and others. And it's designed to help make sure everyone has the chance to learn.

Check it out: www.campaignforeducation.org/bigread

Please read the book and share it with all of your friends, family and co-workers! The stories are an inspiration and signing your name on the petition will help in holding Obama to his promise of creating a Global Education Fund.

I just met Queen Ranya of Jordan and Congresswoman Nita Lowey during a press conference in support of the Big Read. However, the people who were most inspiring were the children that so bravely stood before a crowded room of cameras and tape recorders and told their stories of triumph over forced labor in developing countries. One girl was enslaved and a rock quarry until she was given the chance to gain an education. Her name is Develi and she is only 10 years old but one of the most powerful advocates for universal primary education. It's amazing to think that only 4 years ago, she didn't even know what fruit looked or tasted like, and now she is Washington D.C. speaking with Royalty, Heads of State and press from around the world. I was speechless and completely overwhelmed by the end of the press conference.

So go to their website, read the stories, be inspired and join in the fight for global education! You WILL make a difference.

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world - Mandela

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Viva la AFRICA!




Forget a job...

I'm going to Africa!!

I will be traveling through Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo for two months and I AM SO EXCITED!!! I can't even contain my smiles.

I will be working, traveling, safari-ing and exploring such amazing countries that I have ALWAYS wanted to visit!

Oh and just found out that, that I have a job and place to live in DC for when I get back! It's amazing how things just fall into place...I love life!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

T Minus 7

7 Days left.

Have I found a job? Nope

Have I done everything I ever wanted to do in this city? Pretty much, except for spend quality time in the National Gallery, which I will get to this weekend.

Am I ready to go back to Utah? If it's warm, yes. Other than that, No.

Do I have any summer plans? Many, but I can't figure out which ones to do.

Do I have money to fund these summer plans? Nope

What is the first plan on the list? Take a roady with my brother to the Mexico/Texas border...random...Better brush up on my spanglish!

Am I graduating on May 8th? YES! FINALLY!

Have I sent out my announcements like a responsible graduate should? Nope

Am I instead wasting my time planning an epic "senior sluff" day? Sure am! (I don't care if that's a high school tradition)


So basically, I'm graduating. Jobless. And moving back in with my parents. Ridiculous, I know. Maybe some miracle will happen these next seven days!Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My Birthday Brotha!



Another year has passed and the list of unforgettable memories made with my brother Cameron grows longer each day. Since I am far from home and have little resources to teleport myself back to Utah for a day, I won’t be able to celebrate with him. However, to make up for it, I have made a list of reasons why Cameron is such a great brother…
Cameron:
- taught me how to be a “cool girl” that all guys would want supposedly
- drove me to school everyday and didn’t avoid me in the hallway
- took my girl friends and I boating all the time
- went backpacking with me through Europe
- took me on a sibling date to Betos so we could people watch
- stuck with me through my “ bratty little sister” stage
- taught me all the tricks to becoming a teachers favorite student
- shared his favorite basketball shorts with me when I had a broken leg
- is my right-hand man in the “ Lets see how easily we can peg mom’s ‘fun meter’"game
- let me hang out with his friends and come with them on weekend trips
- taught me how to carve on a longboard and helped me up after I sprained my ankle doing so
- taught me how to relax and take life as it comes
- is genuine and kind
- makes me laugh
- comes home late at night and will talk with me to until the early morning hours about anything and everything
- calls me for no reason
- listens to me when I need a listening ear
- brings the most comfort then any other person by always being there for me
- is the greatest example of spirituality, devotion and faith in my life
- is my best friend

So here is to you, Cameron, on your big day. Thank you for your laughter, enthusiasm, dedication and most importantly, your friendship. I don’t know where I would be without you. You have helped me to grow in every aspect of my life and you have lead me to be who I am today. This is only the beginning… Happy Birthday! I love you bro!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Icing on the cake










The past three months of living in D.C. have been a whirlwind of emotions, experiences, triumphs and trials. Through a collection of these vast experiences I have grown in every aspect of my life. Because of this semester I have been able to make some of the best friends I know, gain immense work experience and let my passions guide me.

One of the best friends I have made is Shannon Crowley. She has been my saving grace throughout the trials I have endured these past few months. She has provided physical escape by letting us use her heavenly lake house and emotional escape when I was in need of a listening ear. Shannon and her family opened their homes and hearts to us and for that I am profoundly humbled and grateful.

This weekend was the highlight of my DC experience; the “icing on the cake” if you will. It was a much needed escape to nature, away from the hustle of city life.

Friday: After a long day of work and seminars, with the sun shining brightly I practically ran home with excitement. Becky, Laurie, Julie and I loaded the back of Shannon’s car and we were off to the serenity of Lake Anna! Good music, dance parties, Chipotle and grocery shopping took place en route and finally we arrived. The welcoming sight of the lake house as the moon reflected on the mirrored lake could not have come at a better time. We watched a movie and flopped ourselves onto the soft pillow top mattresses for a restful slumber.

Saturday: Waking up to the scent of homemade Belgium waffles added to the excitement as I hurried and changed straight into my swimming suit… I was going wakeboarding and I was going to be ready at any moments notice. Laurie told me this was the happiest she had ever seen me in the morning. ( Note: in case you didn’t know, I am NOT a morning person) We had a delightful breakfast of waffles and fruit, after which we watched the first session of general conference. After that Shannon and Becky made homemade pizza for lunch and then we were off for a cruise on the boat!

Sitting in the open bow, the wind blowing through my hair, natural beauty surrounding me and friends laughter serenading the journey… nothing could tear me down from that moment. We took a short cruise around the lake but had to be back shortly thereafter for the next session of conference. During this session we each made Easter baskets out of balloons, string and sugar water which turned out absolutely adorable.

After the next session, Becky, Laurie and Julie wanted to go running while Shannon and I wanted to go boating. We went our separate ways. Shannon knew exactly where to take me for the perfect run on perfect glass. The sun was setting on the horizon as it reflected on the silently still water. My first run of the wakeboarding season was epic. I drove the boat after as Shannon had her moment of bliss wakeboarding. We both were like kids on Christmas day after and even though we were freezing, the smiles never left our faces.

We pulled up to the dock just as dark set in and we quickly built a fire for our “hobo dinners” and s’mores. As we sat around the fire, we reflected on our favorite memories and watched as our hardships and trials burned to ash in the wildfire of our lives.

Sunday: Ableskeevers filled with dulce de leche was my morning greeting. We watched general conference and cleaned up the house a bit. Between sessions we took our last boat ride around the lake and had a thrilling time. We listened to one last session of conference and after some cleaning and washing we were on our way back to the hurried city. It was so hard for me to leave. Lake Anna truly is a sanctuary for the soul and has provided countless memories that will stay in my mind and heart forever.

Popcorn Poppin'










The cherry blossoms have arrived and are in full bloom! The beautiful trees are so magnificent and make springtime so much more wonderful. I was able to sneak away a bit early from work and see the blossoms during their "peak" which is when they are in full bloom and the views were spectacular. It was magical to wander through groves of pink blossoms and as the smell of their sweet nectar surrounded me.

Birthday Fun!




Not too long ago was my friend Sherrie's birthday so we all went out to celebrate! We took stroll to Adams Morgan and ended up at an amazing Ethiopian restaurant. For those of you who have never had Ethiopian food you MUST try it as least once in your life. For one thing, it tastes fantastic and for another, you get to eat from giant communal bowl with your hands! Who doesn't love finger food?

After dinner we wandered Adams Morgan for a bit and checked out some international shops; which I LOVED. Then we went home and I made her a rice krispie cake that didn't turn out. How can anyone mess up rice krispie treats?! This experience just proves my expertise in the kitchen perfectly. Good thing it tasted better then it looked...