Love this place and these people

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Here's the story...

After explaining my decision and future plans to the last 50 people who have asked one by one, I figured it would be easier to be able to refer everyone to a blog post that explains in detail my plan (or the lack thereof) for the future. So here it is.

First I need to explain that I realized before I graduated from BYU that accounting was really not my cup of tea. But after spending a significant amount of time and effort on a degree, I needed to give it a chance. I had goals that I made when I was in 9th grade, and by golly, I was going to be responsible and achieve them. Working at Deloitte was a great experience, the people were my favorite part. But when they brought me in to tell me they were making cuts in my group, I was more than happy to go my own way. I was done with corporate accounting and never wanted to do it again. Over the next 6 months of "Funemployment" I did a lot of thinking and talking with people about what I should do with my life. There were many suggestions, everything from Tour guide/travel agent to seminary teacher to counselor. I appreciate each suggestion and really did look into a few of them.

When I finally made it back to DC, I really felt like I still needed to be here even though I had been planning on leaving. So I found another job in accounting that I hoped I would like more. I avoided the large companies, certain that I would like working in a smaller environment with smaller clients. Because that's where I had always pictured myself some day. I also wanted to get experience doing individual and small corporation tax returns so that I would be able to help people I know. Well I got the experience and I learned a lot, including the fact that I will NEVER like the practice of accounting. I really enjoyed studying it and I have enjoyed teaching it for the last semester. But the actual practice of it bores me to tears. Those who had the opportunity to interact with me on a regular basis during busy season can testify that it was a rather rough time for me. One that I decided as soon as it was over, I would not be repeating if I could help it. So I started looking into other options.

And I found a dream job, with USAid. As a Junior Foreign Service Officer. I would be doing the finance track and living over seas and potentially learning new languages, for the next 20 years, dream come true. I applied and got an interview and had the best interview experience of my life. Became friends with the other candidates, felt good about all parts of the interview, and a few days later I got a call from the woman who interviewed me saying that it wasn't official but if my references checked out, HR would be calling with an offer. Holy Smokes!! Then came one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make. I REALLY wanted this job, but I wasn't supposed to take it. So I said no. Ouch. I've been a little bit mad and frustrated about it ever since. But mostly confused. I knew exactly what I DIDN'T want to do with my life, I thought I had figured out what I DID want to do, but then I wasn't SUPPOSED to do that. Seriously?

Soooo, that pretty much brings us up to where I've been for the past 6 months, in a state of confusion. I had to quit my job before another busy season, but where would I go next? Should I move, should I stay? I had considered everything, and decided to stay in DC. I was going to worm my way into international development somehow, but not as an accountant. With the help of friends and Craigslist, I lined up interviews. I had also been approached about doing recruiting and I was considering that a little bit.

Then one day last week I realized that I wasn't interested in doing any of the above. At least not right now. The thought of getting another desk job, be it in international development, recruiting or accounting still wasn't appealing to me. After talking to my dad, he is so wise, we came back to the tour guide thing, and I started looking into it. Afters a few hours I found this place www.backroads.com, (hiking, biking and multisport adventures) and they said they were hiring for their 2011 season!! And suddenly I was excited about a job again.

But, I still didn't take it very seriously. I sent the link to my sister Brianna who would also love to do something like this and is looking for a job. We talked about how great it would be and suddenly I really wanted to do it. So I called my dad again and asked him if he thought it was a crazy idea. He of course loved it. Thought it was the best idea ever. But the season doesn't start until April. How am I going to survive until then? I can't really afford to do that in DC. And this also isn't the place to be making connections in that industry. So the thought crossed my mind that I would need to move back to Utah. As I voiced it to my parents, it all just seemed to make sense. I think most people know how I feel about moving back to Utah, so the fact that this felt right, must mean it really is, because otherwise it never would have been an option. And from there everything happened really fast.

I was already going to be headed that way for the holidays and it didn't make sense to go out there then come back and then go back, so I decided to do it before Christmas. I had already given my 2 weeks notice at work, I called Brianna to ask her to fly out and drive across the country with me, and now I just have to figure out how I'm going to get all of my stuff out there, or get rid of it. The last week has been crazy and the next few days are going to be even more so. I'm excited, scared, happy, sad and a bunch of other things all at once. But at the end of the day, the most important thing is that it feels right. I have been praying for guidance for a long time. I never thought it would be to head to Utah, but I'm willing to give it a try. My dad said something about this being a step into the darkness, I said it was more like throwing myself off of a cliff into the darkness...

So there is my story. The adventure begins next week with our Southern Road Trip (North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas), then Cedar City for Christmas. And after that...your guess is as good as mine.

P.S. Christina decided she needed to document every single day of my last two weeks here. Here are some of the photos we've taken. Classic.

A Christmas Carol at Ford's Theater - So delightful.

The Nutcracker at Warner Theater - Beautiful. I still dream of being a ballerina.

Some typical dancing/craziness from Christina and I at the Scottish parade in Old Town.

Awesome face cupcakes I made while teaching someone about cake decorating.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

When you have a gratitude attitude...

It seems that every Sunday since general conference I have heard a talk or a lesson on gratitude. I'm sure this is due in part to the wonderful talk given by President Monson, The Divine Gift of Gratitude. Regardless of the reason, I am GRATEFUL for the reminder to be more GRATEFUL. I needed it. And so here are a few of the things I am most GRATEFUL for.

My family. All of them.
6 sisters, 3 brothers, 1 brother-in-law, 1 sister-in-law, 1 niece, 4 nephews, 1 mom and 1 dad. Love them.
Especially these two.
And these three.
And these two.
Could they be any cheesier? I am so grateful to have parents who are my best friends and who love and support me and are the best examples and want me to be happy more than anything.

And I cannot forget my grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins. I have A LOT of them. And they are all wonderful. I'm grateful that I have been to a family reunion almost every summer of my life, which helps us all stay close. Here are some little clips from our Minute to Win-It Games this summer. They are just too good not to share.

And of course, I can't forget good friends. I have been blessed with so many wonderful friends who love and support me and have really become my family. These two especially. I don't quite know what I'm going to do with out them.

And these men. Where would we be without their inspiring stories, leadership and examples?

And this truth. I am most, most grateful to be a member of this church and to know that it's true.

And this building.

And this beautiful city. I'm going to miss it.

The list could go on and on but I'll stop there and just say that I am very blessed and I'm GRATEFUL for all of the blessings I have.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Summer o' Fun #4 - Birthday, Amusement Parks, National Dance Day!!

Well here is the fourth and final installment, for a while! I know you're probably sick of reading all about my adventures, but I'm recording it for posterity's sake as well.

We went to one of the Smithsonian museums and we were trying to act out the artwork.

There was an entire room dedicated to peacocks. It was beautiful.And we wanted to pay tribute to it. hahahaI love Emily and Clark for their willingness to be a peacock!We went to the National Folklore festival that was on the National mall. I love DC for the fact that you can ditch work any day of the week and attend something wonderful!
Helped my friend Shandi make some Texas cookies...that Texas pride.
One of my favorite sister missionaries who went home a few weeks ago. She is GREAT!!
Dianna kicked off my birthday week by taking me to dinner and to this amazing little place called Artfully Chocolate. Truffles and every kind of chocolate you can imagine, but the best was their chocolate shakes made with real melted chocolate and syrups and other goodness. YUMMY!! My mouth waters just thinking about it.
Anyone who has talked to me about it knows that I refuse to work on my birthday. It's just not right. Maybe this stems from the fact that I never had to go to school on my birthday because it was in the summer. I don't know, but my goal is to be doing something more fun than working on my birthday. Last year I was in Guatemala eating the most amazing chicken nachos from Mono Loco. This year it fell on a Wednesday and I couldn't work a trip in, so I decided to take the day off and go to the closest amusement park, Kings Dominion. Several friends were kind enough to ditch work with me and made it one of the best birthdays I've ever had. Truly, I was queen for the day and it was fun! :) Especially my "birthday cake" which was a huge funnel cake with ice cream, strawberries and whipped cream on top. More deliciousness.

Then came my lovely little birthday gathering put together by my roommates. Christina made me the most AMAZING cheesecake! I am so grateful to have so many wonderful friends in my life. I really don't know how I'm so lucky.
So the last weekend in July was a CRAZY one!! To say the least. It started with Bree having some time off from work and wanting to do something fun. I was happy to take some time off to play and we decided to meet up in Hershey, PA to go to Hershey Park finally fulfilling a dream I have had since grade school. I'm actually not joking about that. There were these Hershey track meets at my elementary and if you won at school and then state you got to go to Hershey, PA for the nationals and you got to go to Hershey Park of course. I had some really talented friends who went a couple of years in a row, but I just wasn't that fast and couldn't jump that far. So I never got the chance to go. Until now!! I invited my friend Seth to come with us and we had a GREAT time!! I love amusement parks!!
When we decided to meet up in Hershey, we were just going to go back to MD that night and stay with Stacy and Aaron. But then we found out that Carrie Underwood was going to be on the Today show summer concert series on Friday morning. So of course we changed our plans and instead drove to NJ, arrived around 1:30am, slept for 3 hours, got up and drove into NY where we stood around for a while to see Carrie. But it was totally worth it!! Loved it all. The drive back to DC later that day was a bit rough, but we survived.
Next up in the weekend of fun was National Dance day. I hope you all know what I'm talking about, but if you don't, July 31, 2010 was declared National Dance Day by the U.S. government. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton made it official in the DC celebration on the National Mall by presenting some plaques or something to the one and only Nigel Lythgoe!! The TV show, So you Think You Can Dance, also had two of their choreographers (my favorites!!) Napoleon and Tabitha, choreograph a dance for the occasion that would be performed all over the country. We of course learned the dance and participated in the flash mob on the mall that day. It was EPIC!! There were also a lot of dance performances by local dance groups that were incredible. Russell, the winner of SYTYCD was there and gymnast Dominique Dawes. Sigh, it was a dream come true.

Christina was understandably excited about seeing Nigel in person!!
There were quite a few peeps there to celebrate!
Congresswoman, Russell, Nigel, Miss Dance USA, Dominique Dawes!!
My fellow dance day entusiasts!!
I have an obsession with The Legwarmers!! This is my third concert in less than a year, and I will probably go again in the next few months. I can't get enough. If anyone has a love for 80's tunes and awesome concerts, come out and visit and we will go!!

It's amazing what a crimper and a lot of hairspray can do for a girl!
Look how amazing these girls look!
Yes, I heart them.
Sigh, the love of my 80's life, Cru. We chatted with him again after the show. I'm officially a groupie.
Next was my roommate Lindsey's bday bash. And my dear cousin Adam and some friends came to visit. Well they weren't technically there to visit us, but we gave them food and shelter and they more than repaid us by being some of the best, most entertaining
house guests we've ever had. So much fun!

The Air Force memorial. Our Super Hero picture. Christina wasn't supposed to move...
Yes, we were laying on the sidewalk around the tidal basin at midnight on Sunday night, singing. A random couple who was out walking actually came and joined us for a minute.

Our dear friend Shannon turned the big 3-0 and we wanted to help her celebrate in style. She wanted to have a Mad Hatter tea party, so that's what we did. Together with her roommates, the whole thing was delightful. I had a great time creating a somewhat crazy cake. Lots of bright colors, etc.