Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Month of Change

Well I've finally made it to Mississippi! And boy was I in shock once I got here...it's very different from what I am used to in Seattle, but of course, I did expect that. The drive here was very long and mostly uneventful and boring. Chica (my cat) hated all of it, but I couldn't get her to take any drugs, so she just had to deal with it...by the last and longest day, I think she was finally used to riding in the car and barely yowled at all.

I left Seattle, WA on Thursday, September 2 and drove to Oregon. I stayed there two nights with my Dad and Joni, and then left for Spokane, WA to see the Willson's!!! I really loved Spokane...it's very open and beautiful! From Spokane I drove to Burley, ID and stayed with my Great-Aunt and Uncle on Sunday night. I had a pretty long drive the next day and was going through Wyoming (which I was not looking forward to at all - BORING!), so I left Idaho at 5am - yuk! I was so tired, but I loved that I was able to watch the sunrise!

I drove through the northeast corner of Utah before entering Wyoming. I had it all calculated - 400 miles and 5 hours to get through Wyoming. It was so long and boring...there is absolutely nothing in Wyoming. I am sorry to those of you who love and/or live in Wyoming, but I've decided that it's not for me. And then, about 20 miles from the Nebraska border, my car broke down! Did I mention that I hate Wyoming?? My intended destination for that night was another 2.5 hours away and I was stuck in the middle of nowhere. I called my sister-in-law, Lisa and also Debbie Engle (who I was supposed to be staying with) to let her know I wasn't going to make it, and I cried a lot. I got out of my car and looked under the hood, not that I knew what I was looking for. I knelt on the side of the highway and prayed and cried some more. A state trooper pulled up and called a tow truck for me. While I was waiting for the tow truck, Lisa and her Dad made plans to come get me and tow my car out to Iowa/Missouri so he could fix whatever was wrong (we were pretty sure it was my alternator). The only problem was that they were a good eight hours away, but I had very little money left and had no way to get anywhere from where I broke down. And then Debbie called me back and told me that she and her husband, Dennis, were going to come get me instead - turns out Dennis is a mechanic!

I feel I should include the story of how I know Debbie and Dennis. Back in my ward in Seattle, a missionary by the name of Elder Deines was serving. I found out that he is from Nebraska and I also knew that I would be needing to stop somewhere in Nebraska on my road trip to Mississippi, so I asked him where would be a good place to stay. He gave me the name of a place, but then a few days later told me that I should just stay with his grandparents and that they loved the idea. So I got in touch with his grandma (Debbie) and made plans to stop in Grant. So I had never actually met them and they did not know me either...but they came to my rescue anyway! They brought an extra battery so that we could get my car back to their house. We had to stop twice to recharge the battery, but we made it! The next morning we were able to find an alternator for only $50 and I was back on the road by 4pm! I hadn't actually lost any time...I made it to Jeff and Lisa's house in Northwest Missouri late Tuesday night. The next day was my last and longest day of driving, but I finally made it to Mississippi late on Wednesday, September 8th.

I drove straight to the house of the family I would be a live-in nanny for in Foxworth, MS. They live out in the country, it's very dark at night and they're surrounded by forest...I was so afraid I was going to get lost because I couldn't see the street signs and I had no service on my phone. I felt very isolated when I first arrived. Needless to say, it's very different than what I am used to. I never thought I'd actually miss the city! But I am enjoying myself and still getting used to being in a completely new and different place.

The family that I nanny for has six kids between the ages of 2 and 11 and so it gets pretty crazy and loud around here - it's definitely a challenge. I was with them for about a week and a half when I found out that the father (who works on an oil rig) was going to be laid off...I found this out Sunday. So - less than two weeks in Mississippi and I am now unemployed and homeless. I have been getting so much help and support from my church though. I have found a place to stay temporarily and will be looking for a job this week. I actually have an interview on Thursday with a mom in Hattiesburg. She has a seven-year-old daughter and is going to have a baby in about four weeks. I am hoping this will go well...it is not a live-in, so I will have to find a place to live. I think I'm going to try to find some girls in the area who need an extra roommate - Hattiesburg is the home of USM, so there will be lots of people my age and more affordable housing.

So that is where I'm at now...my time here so far has definitely been a roller coaster ride, but I am trying to stay positive and have faith in my Heavenly Father's plan for me. I know I'm here for a reason and I know that I will be supported through my trials and righteous endeavors. And no, I do not regret leaving Washington :)

"...for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day." (Alma 36:3)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Endings and New Beginnings

With me moving away from Seattle, I thought it was about time I updated this thing! This has definitely been a year of change, full of new experiences and life-changing decisions...and the year isn't even over yet. I really wanted to keep everyone informed on my new life in Mississippi, but before I get to that I should probably fill in the gaps since January.

After finishing up Baking and Pastries we moved on to Advanced Professional Culinary Arts. In this class we learned a lot about different cultures and their cuisines. It was a very interesting class and I wish we could have taken it slower...each day we were learning up to 10 new dishes! We ended this class with our Greek-themed capstone project. We planned and prepared a four-course meal and each student was allowed to invite two guests to come to the school during class time to enjoy our meal. Two of my good friends from my ward came - Kenley and Colin.

After APCA, everyone left school for their externships. I did my externship with Chef Detore at Emerald Cove Catering. It was so much fun, but also a lot of work. With my work schedule I was usually only able to come in the mornings for a few hours, so I did a lot of the preparatory work for events later in the day. They are located right next to the airport, so a lot of their events during the week are breakfasts and lunches for meetings and conferences at the airport. I was eventually able to work a few events at the airport and it was fun learning the presentation and service part of catering. And then I worked an 11-hour day one Friday...H&R Block was having an end-of-tax-season party. That was a long day and I just about died! There is a lot of standing and you don't really get breaks. Plus it's just stressful trying to make sure everything is put together and making sure you don't forget anything. It was crazy, but I enjoyed it a lot!

The graduation ceremony took place before we were done with our externships because the school only holds two graduations per year. So they just group all the classes together and have one big graduation. We were lucky that ours was happening right when we were finishing school. Some of the students had been finished with school since September! My mom and dad and Joni were all able to come into town for graduation, which happened on April 25th. And my good friends, who are like parents to me, Jeff and Daucie Willson, also came out to graduation. By this time everyone in my class was in the middle of their externships, and we hadn't seen each other in four weeks. So it was really great to see everyone again!

Two days after I finished my externship, I left for Missouri to visit my family in the Midwest. I finally got to meet my youngest niece, Payton!!! I was there for about two weeks; The second week I was there, my dad and Joni flew in. June 1st was Matthew's birthday and so we all drove up to visit with him and Christina and Xyrah. That was my dad and Joni's first time meeting Xyrah and Payton, so it was a special visit for them. I had a ton of fun out there and was really sad to come home. I'm usually a bit sad when I have to leave my family, but it's always nice coming home to your own things and sleeping in your own bed. This was the first time I really hated flying back into the city and I knew then that it was definitely time for me to move on to something new.

I spent the summer working part-time as an afternoon nanny and tried my hardest to enjoy the time I had left in Seattle. I didn't want to arrive in Mississippi and regret spending my summer just counting the days until I was going to move away. One of my favorite summer adventures was a road trip to the coast. My roommate and I both had July 5th off of work, so we made a very spontaneous trip out to Forks and La Push. It was a beautiful day and we really enjoyed the drive. We ate at the diner in town and drove around Forks a little, but we were mostly interested in going to the beach. We both submerged ourselves in the ocean and then the ocean punched me in the knee - it was freezing and I was in so much pain, but it was totally worth it! Go to my Facebook page for a video! The rest of the summer was spent with good friends and family, doing all kinds of fun stuff around the city.

On September 2nd I packed up my car and my cat and drove away from Seattle. I'm making quite a few stops on my way to Mississippi to see some of my close friends and family. My first stop was in Gladstone, OR (which is near Portland), where I visited with my great-aunt and uncle, Ramona and Dennis Dalling. We had chinese for dinner and this was my fortune: "You will make many changes before settling down happily." This makes me laugh because it's totally appropriate for me right now. Then I drove another hour and a half to my dad and Joni in Brownsville, OR where I am staying until Saturday morning. I will be attempting to keep this updated as I travel and start new adventures in Mississippi, so stay tuned :)