Thursday, July 12, 2018

Summer Lovin'

some summer thoughts 

june was not too hot here. it was so lovely. but july is OPPRESIVELY HOT HERE AND I KIND OF AM DYING. SEND HELP.

sam and i got an ice cream maker for our wedding and it has been so fun to have people over to make ice cream and try different flavors. the only sad thing is that now i have eaten so much ice cream that i sometimes get sick while eating it. i can’t eat sweets like i did when i was 19. which, objectively, is probably a good thing, i gueeessss, but it's a crying shame, really. also, feeling sick doesn’t really stop me. that simple chocolate ice cream is just so good.

in addition to ice cream, i want popsicles all the time.

another reason june was beautiful was because of fireflies! they are everywhere here and i loved going out and catching them. or getting back home late after grocery shopping or something and then dashing off to catch them. sam thinks i'm a little strange. but i still do it. 

i caved in a bought a jumpsuit. i never thought i would. but something about being on the east coast has made me crave one the way i crave cherry limeade or snoasis sno-cones (the best sno-cones IN THE WORLD), on hot summer days—sometimes it is the only thing that will hit the spot. and. it surprisingly has! i love my jumpsuit and i want to wear it all the time.

walks by the canal with sam are lovely. 

just being with sam is lovely. 

i'm taking a "french for reading" course this summer. it's going all right. but i feel now that the shaky foundation i formed at the beginning/middle of the course is coming back to haunt me. ah well. at least it's a start in learning this language. c'est la vie.

there is something very freeing about summertime--it's just nice knowing that i don't have the same work obligations that i do in the fall. perhaps it's a false sense of security . . . but we all need breaks. i'm grateful for mine. 

Sunday, July 8, 2018

A Mini Hermitage in DC

A couple of weeks ago, Sam and I went down to DC so we could see family and friends, so Sam could get the rest of his things, and so I could see the Hillwood Museum.

The Hillwood Museum holds a remarkable collection of Russian art, collected by Marjorie Post. Marjorie was the heiress of the Post-General Mills fortune, an art collector, and the wife of the second U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union. She lived in the USSR during the 1930s--so the height of Stalin's power--and at a time when the Purges were happening and when Stalin was trying to get rid of/sell a lot of religious and Romonov art. So, Marjorie Post bought a lot of Russian art and brought it back to the States, and in later years expanded her collection. 

[It basically looks like a mini Hermitage.]

[Opulence. I has it.]

[A breakfast room that I actually would enjoy. It seems kinda nice, having breakfast in a gazebo.]

[So many books]

[I loved, loved, loved this picture and its frame and would definitely be happy to hang it in my house.]

[The gardens]

[Some of my favorite flowers]

[Part of the Japanese gardens]

[This was probably my favorite part of the grounds]

[And look! A Sam!]

[An American dacha in D.C.]

[So. many. orchids.]

As you can see, it's quite the museum. And quite the grounds. And quite the find in D.C. 

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Nothin' Like Summer in the City

Sam and I have gone into both NYC and Philadelphia in the past month. It makes for a fun weekend outing, and it’s been fun to see different parts of the cities that we haven’t noticed before.

It’s also nice to start liking some cities a bit more *cough cough* New York *cough cough*

I don’t know why I’ve never really connected with New York City. It seems like it’s the ultimate love of every basic white girl, and I fit the mold of a basic white girl most days. But not when it comes to New York City.

Maybe because it’s too big and crowded. And smelly in the summer. And how I really cannot figure out the Subway system for the life of me.

But this time with Sam it was better. Why? I think because 1) we had a very specific plan, 2) when we got tired, we went home, and 3) I was with Sam. It makes a difference.

Highlights of this NYC trip?

Walking along the High Line and along the Brooklyn Bridge. I’d never been outside of Manhattan before, so it was good to venture to another borough.

Sam also made his debut as an Instagram husband.

[He is taking these selfies because I can apparently only take good selfies of myself.]

[And he also took this one. Because he will be taking pictures of me to put on my Instagram account for a very, very, very long time. A true sign of modern love, right?]

We also went to the 9/11 Memorial Museum. It was very well worth our time and good to remember what happened that day and what came afterwards.

[I thought this work was particularly beautiful. They are squares of the blue of that September sky.]


Sam and I go into Philadelphia more than NYC—and I think that will mostly be the case while we live in Princeton, because we both like it better (we just—do), and Philadelphia is home to the nearest LDS temple for us.

Once when we were in Philly, we ran into an old friend in the Philly Temple (incredibly randomly), and he was really kind and took us to get food and ice cream afterwards. We went to an ice cream shop called The Franklin Fountain, and it had a really old-timey, soda shoppe (I feel I have to write it like that) feel. It felt just a bit like I had stepped into 1903, and that was fun.

[Isn't it cute?]

[So fun]

[Also, the ice cream came in Chinese food cartons, which was also fun. 10/10 would recommend.]

Philadelphia (II)

Sam and I also went down to Philadelphia last weekend to see his—ours! I keep forgetting that—sister-in-law. It was SO INCREDIBLY HOT. Like. What is this heat? What is this humidity? It made me feel a lot more connected to the signers of the Declaration and the Constitution, that’s for sure. Ugh. Philly in summer heat is miserable.

But art museums are not! Especially the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Love this museum.

[This was Sam's favorite picture]

[And I really liked this one.]

[This one always reminds me of an episode of "Arthur".]

[We tried to re-create some of our engagement photos.]

[I was also exhausted by the end of it all. And so of course I proceeded to take angsty selfies while waiting for the others to come out of the bathroom. I mean. Obviously.]

[And then a not-so-angsty but still v exhausted photo.]

[Outside of the Rodin Museum]

Do you know what is also not terrible? Fountains. You bet that we dipped our toes in.

Another great thing was the Reading Terminal Market, where we ate the most amazing grilled cheese sandwich and salted caramel doughnuts. Seriously. Still dreaming about them. (And unfortunately unphotographed, but they will always remain in my heart.)

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

5. пять. Five.

I know it's been awhile since I've posted. And I have a lot to post about! (The wedding, some weekend trips, summer in general, etc.) But I've needed some time to organize (and my summer French course is eating up a lot of my time), so the blog has gone on the backburner. I hope to change that soon. 

But I knew I had to post today, because today marks 5 years since I returned home from my mission to Donetsk, Ukraine. 

[Less than 24 hours before I left Ukraine.] 

I know I talk about my mission a lot. Like. A lot, a lot. But it truly was one of the most defining, transformative experiences of my life. The people I met, the lessons I learned, the way I learned to love dill and potatoes, the sticky summer heat, the frigid December temperatures, the way people let me into their homes and their hearts--how they shared their stories with me--how they taught me more about Heavenly Father and Jesus than I probably ever did . . . Ukraine has stuck to me. It's impossible to give her up, and I never could, even if I wanted to. 

Looking through these pictures, I realize that I don't have enough. There would never be enough to capture all of the experiences--good and bad--that I have. How can you capture the human condition? And how can you describe a mission? It seems almost impossible to try. 

But I do know that I never understood opposition as much as I did as when I was on my mission: I never felt more tired, I never felt more rejuvenated; I never felt more ugly, I never felt more beautiful; I never felt more full of compassion, I never felt more cynicism; I never felt closer to hell, I never felt closer to God. 

It's been five years, and Ukraine still haunts me, calls to me, reminds me of who I was and what I became, and of work still to do. 

And I have a feeling it will be the same fifty-five years from now. 

Saturday, May 12, 2018

May flowers

The last couple of weeks have been full of flowers. Flowers from my bridal shower, flowers on my runs, flowers all around campus. The world seems bright with color and it makes me very happy.

[Some bridal shower gifts. And that candle smells like Utah. But not like refineries. It smells like a ski lodge in Park City.]

[Azaleas! I think? We don't have these flowers in Utah, but they are so, so pretty.]

[We don't have this tree/these flowers, either. But I think it is a dogwood tree. In any event, it is so bright and beautiful right after the rain.]