Sunday, May 27, 2012

UTAH - Part 1

My trip to UT has been absolutely A-mazing so far. I didn't realize how much I needed a break and time away from D.C. I do love it there, and feel very much at home with such great friends... but coming to UT has been comparable to a ten year college reunion for me (explained below) and it has been so much better than expected!

I arrived late on Tuesday night and went straight to my hotel... with only one stop for dinner at Beto's! When I saw it, I just had to stop. It wasn't the same one we would always go to for late night dinner's in Provo, but that didn't matter. I was overwhelmed by the menu choices... and I was so hungry... so that didn't help. I have a special place in my heart for Mexican food... and you just can't get it on the east coast like you can on the west coast!

So, after much deliberation I ordered and made my way to my hotel. I was very pleasantly surprised with my hotel as well! My dad let me use some of his hotel points, so I went online and chose a hotel that was centrally located to everywhere I wanted to go. BUT, the hotel has a free full breakfast and dinner every day! It also has cookies and fruit available all day long. My room had a full kitchen (large fridge/stove, etc), and an outer "living room" with a big screen TV and then a separate bedroom with another TV. It has been heavenly! And, the staff is SO nice! OH - and we get to use a local gym for free as well. All of this combine to make me very happy :)

Wednesday I decided to head to Provo. The weather was going to be a bit iffy some of the other days and I didn't want to be walking around BYU in the rain. Just driving down I-15 brought back so many memories. I kind of went down memory lane as I arrived in Provo. I first stopped at the Provo River trail where Maylene, Nancy and I would go roller -blading and have some of our famous "boy" talks. It is so pretty back there. Maylene and Nancy were so much better at roller-blading than I was. I am surprised I never hurt myself, but I was also pretty slow. They were so nice to slow down for me!
The trail starts off right by this farm with horses... and ducks to the right in the pond. So pretty!
 From there I drove through downtown Provo where we would always go to Los Hermanos and some of the other restaurants. I had heard about the Covey Center for the Arts and decided to stop in as well. They had a beautiful exhibit of scenes from all over UT. I had to take a picture of a few of them because they were breathtaking. 

From there it was a drive down 500 East so I could go see Liberty Square. I wish Nancy or Maylene, or one of the girls from "32", had been there because I just wanted to spout out all these crazy memories I had from the time we lived there. I walked through "Jamestown" to see the pool and looked up at the window where we spent so much time sitting on the couch, talking, and looking out at everyone at the pool. I also walked over to the famous "Wash Hut" for old times sake. Still there :)
 Then it was off to campus. I went around basically the entire outside of it. There has been a lot of construction and improvements made, but it still is the same beautiful BYU campus that I remember. I was hoping to see a specific art exhibit at the BYU Museum of art, but sadly the one I wanted to see had left a few days before I arrived. They had two other cool ones though, which I also enjoyed. I walked through the Wilk and visited the food court where I used to work... and then F.A.R.M.S. Oh - and I stopped by the Tanner Bldg where I used to work at the Market Place cafe, but it looks like it's no longer there anymore. It was a beautiful day outside and a very fun visit.
 A view of the "Y" from BYU campus

I had a little extra time so I drove up by the "Y" and decided to go for a quick hike! It's pretty steep! Steeper than I remembered it being, but the view is incredible as you look down on BYU and the valley.

Looking a little red in that picture!
I then went to the BYU creamery for a famous mint brownie and to Helaman Halls for another trip down memory lane. I will forever be a "Hinckley Honey!"

From there I drove out to I-15 through Orem and headed to Nancy's! I haven't seen her in probably 4 years, but it was like I saw her yesterday! I was there for about two hours and got to meet her beautiful little girls, while she and I caught up on just about everything! Wednesday was SUCH a fabulous day!

Even though the weather called for rain, Thursday was beautiful. I had planned to meet a friend at Thanksgiving Point and walk around, but she was running late so I took the opportunity to just stroll a bit and read out on the beautiful lawn. I had been to some of the buildings at Thanksgiving Point a few times while I attended BYU, but I had never walked through their gardens. They have some 55 acres of land and 15 different "scenes" in them. But, before even walking outside, they currently have this beautiful art display of pictures of the Savior, his disciples and other gospel-related art work. They were beautiful and I could have stayed in there for a long time if the sun and fresh air weren't calling my name. I walked for a bit, read for a bit, and just soaked in the Vitamin D from the sun. The "scenes" in their gardens are beautiful, but I think my favorite one was the one with ten or so smaller statues or depictions of scenes from the Savior's life. They each had a quote or saying from the scriptures below them and they really touched me. I envisioned myself living in the time of the Savior and tried to think of how I would act or what I would have done. I hoped that I would have listened to him and spent time with him. 
 This was a carousel scene they had. I thought it was so pretty and unique!

After my visit I headed to Erica's! She moved from Boston to American Fork last summer and I hadn't seen her new baby yet! It was so much fun to visit with her and to see how BIG Nora and Wells are well as to meet her new little one. So precious! Her kids were in and out the door playing with all their friends on their street and so Erica and I had a good chance to catch up!

From there is was a quick trip back to my hotel to get ready for dinner with Bree and Emmy!

The three of us had agreed we would meet for dinner around 7:30 after Bree got off work. By 7:10 I was texting Emmy to see if she knew where we were meeting and she said Bree was the one who was deciding... so finally I got a text from Bree around 7:15 saying she just got back to the club and would call me in a minute. Well, a minute turned in to 10.

I happened to be on my computer and got an email through Facebook from Bree saying she locked her keys, purse and phone in a room and there was no way to get it out! So, long story short, I left to go pick her up and we were off to meet Emmy! I am so glad I was here and able to do that for Bree. I don't know what she would have done. I don't have anyone's phone numbers memorized so I wouldn't know who to call if I was her!

We met and again it was like time had never passed. Emmy told us all about her recent dating/engagement and Bree an I shared our "fabulous" boy stories as well :) Ha ha ha... we had a good time! Yet again, I left feeling so grateful for such A-mazing friends I have. Even though the miles separate us, we have a friendship that will last the test of time (and distance!) and that really means a lot to me!

Friday was another day of more friends! I drove up to the Foothills to see Brooke and meet her adorable son, Clayton. I knew Brooke from Boston. We had worked together in our callings in our ward and I admire her in so many, many ways! And, yet again, as soon as we start talking, it's like we time and distance hadn't separated us at all! We walked Clayton to the park as we chatted and caught up on each other's stories.  It made me so happy to be able to talk to Brooke again and to hear that she's expecting another little one in October! 

From Brooke's I headed south to Draper... and up the mountain to Julie's! She was NOT kidding when she said she lived at the top of a mountain! Oh my goodness. If it hadn't been so cloudy, I would have wanted to stop along the way and take pictures as I climbed and climbed! 

It was another cherished opportunity to spend time with Julie and her three children as well! They are so cute and very well behaved! Luke is full of smiles and such a calm baby. I got to watch him for a bit while Julie ran to get Cambree. We read a couple of stories and had a good time. I even got took the chance to get a picture of him and his cute little BYU outfit!
Julie, Luke and Cambree (who is adorable as well!)
Haylee was still at school for most of the time I was there, but she came home in time for me to see her as well. She brought home all these things from first grade since school is ending next week and she was such a delight to get to meet!
Then, we asked Haylee to take a picture of Julie, Luke and I. She's quite knowledgeable with how to use the IPhone at such a young age :)

Again, I left Julie's feeling even more grateful for such amazing friends. All of my visits to these amazing women made me so happy! I felt like I was at my ten year college reunion and I got to see how the things we talked about till 4 AM when we were in high school and college (such as what our future husbands/families/and lives would be like)... have come true for all of them! They are amazing moms, doing their best to raise children in the gospel, and they have fabulous husbands to face the trials, challenges and joys of life with. I am SO happy for them... and for others who aren't in UT but are doing the same things in AZ, CA, GA, ID, MD and many other locations across the country!

PART 2... to come soon


Laura said...

Your travels in Provo bring back so many memories from my BYU days! It looks like it's as awesome as I remember... makes me homesick!

Drew and Jenny said...

yay for beto's! I think you were the one that introduced it to me on my first trip out to byu. glad you had so much fun walking down memory lane...

Maylene said...

Love the Wash Hut pictures! Seriously, it's funny how much fun it is to see a picture of someplace you used to go so often. Oh and the Jordan River Trail. I so miss running along that, well and roller blading :)