Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me….

Huh. I wrote a blog last year of the same title. It seems like a lot has stayed the same over the last year, but at the same time, so much is different. The layout of my blog has changed, as has the theme and the tone of the posts I write. Intriguing. This has indeed been a year of ups and downs, a lot of firsts, and a lot of blessed experiences. Let’s outline them. Since October 14, 2008…..

I joined an actual singles (non-student single) ward. It is in the Sugarhouse Stake. While I still feel a little bit awkward and haven’t made a lot of friends in the ward, I also am still certain that it is the place where I belong. I’ve recently gotten to know my bishop a little bit better, and I think he may be one of the reasons that I made this switch.

I successfully registered, trained for, and completed my first triathlon. I met my goals of not coming in last, not dying, and finishing the whole course. Word.
I visited the British Virgin Islands and had my first (and I’m assuming last) experience traveling across international borders alone with a small child who is not my own… I would absolutely not recommend this unless you are interested in having to plead the small child’s case with the United States customs officials (which is especially difficult when the small child is standing next to you shouting over and over again “that’s not my mom…. She took me away from my dad!”).
I pulled more all-nighters this year than I have in all of my previous years combined…
One of which was a double all-nighter on a 48 hour road trip to Denver to get my passport for the aforementioned trip to the British Virgin Islands.

I completed my first professional internship with the Utah Foster Care Foundation. I spent my time interviewing potential foster parents and helping to recruit more potential foster families. That experience has given me the desire to become a foster parent myself one day. You should look into it too.
I became a college graduate, earning my bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Utah.
After graduation, reality hit me, and I let the feelings of anxiety and depression that accompanied reality get the best of me for several weeks. In an attempt to recover from that…
I promptly retreated back to my safety net and spent my summer teaching swimming lessons to underprivileged boys as part of the Fresh Air Fund in New York City. During the summer I:
  • Hitchhiked for the first time in my life.
  • Had to get tested for HIV after an unpleasant experience with a used heroin needle.
  • Stayed in a hostel that I’m pretty sure the movie “Hostel” was based on.
  • Became addicted to peanut butter M&Ms.
  • Paid $75 for an order of chicken wings.
  • Had my first experience with a truly psychotic child.
  • Completely lost my ability to hold back tears in front of other people.
  • Came in contact with one little boy who I’m fairly certain has changed my life forever.
  • Came in contact with one adult boy who I’m fairly certain has changed my life forever.
  • Taught genealogy to people as part of a street fair in Harlem. Thanks to the Harlem 1st Ward.

I came home from summer back to reality. But this time reality didn’t knock the crap out of me.

After a few weeks of looking I found two jobs, both of which I love but in very different ways.

  • One is as a program assistant for the Girl Scouts of Utah. I am working on a grant that will enable me to teach leadership skills through service learning to girls in rural areas throughout Utah.
  • The other is as a youth advocate for Salt Lake City School District. I am teaching leadership skills through service learning to children in urban areas. Imagine that.

After working for a few weeks, I took yet another road trip across the country to help Becky and Adam relocate to Virginia. I felt like I got to know my 4 year old nephew Jack a lot, which made it harder to say goodbye to him. And Becky and Adam, you know. I spent 16 hours in a car by myself, which I hadn’t done before. It was AMAZING driving through these lonely 2 lane highways in Kentucky. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

Life is good, isn’t it? I can’t help but think of how much has changed in a year, yet how much is still the same. I live in the same house, I’ve made some new friends, and lost track of a few old ones, but I still cherish all of them. Hannah Montana still gets the best of both worlds, the church is still true, Jesus still lives, and families can still be together forever.

Yup. Good times.


suzanne said...

Happy Birthday. Sounds like you definitely have had your share of adventures this year.

JacksGram said...

Yeah Lizzy!!! Happy b'day to you! That was a very wonderful and insightful blog.
Love you lots!

Becky said...

that was a good post. Nice summary of life up to now. I hope this next year holds some new exciting surprises and even more wonderful adventures (and a few more trips to Virginia :))