Thursday, March 9, 2017

International Women's Day 2017

Yesterday was International Women's Day! It's one of my favorite Soviet holidays which has turned into a worldwide holiday, and I just like it because it reminds me of the great, strong, inspiring women in my life who remind me that I was born to build.

But it also always, always, always reminds me of Ukraine, as that was the first place where I really celebrated it.

So this year to celebrate, I decided to throw a borscht party with some of my friends. A couple of weeks ago, I found out that a few other girls I know also loved Eastern Europe (one girl volunteered at an orphanage in Moscow years ago and the other girl had a sister who was a volunteer in Russia), and we wanted to get together and eat yummy Russian and Ukrainian food. I suggested March 8th, because International Women's Day is always a great reason to have a party.

And it was just really, really fun. There was a lot of good food: Ukrainian and Russian chocolates, juice (the kompote Chella brought was a.ma.zing.), pretzels, cookies, waffle wafers, and, of course, borscht.

[Ukrainian candies!]

[This is my favorite Ukrainian candy. It's just sooo yummy.]

[I was really proud of this batch of borscht. It was really good.]

Those who had lived in Eastern Europe/had ties to it spent a lot of time reminiscing and telling stories (as well as just basking in nostalgia--one of my favorite things was when people who had lived in Eastern Europe came in, their eyes got big with delight and memory when they saw the goodies on the counter). But it was also great because it was just fun. We were all friends there, so even people who had no ties to Eastern Europe really enjoyed just spending time with friends and trying new things and hearing stories about Ukraine, Russia, and the Baltics. (At least, I think they enjoyed hearing stories. They were nice to listen to them, haha.)

[So. much. food.]


[Friends.]


But in general, there was just a really good vibe.

(Which was improved by Russian music, haha. Because who doesn't like a good, catchy song with Russia's Zac Efron? Watch this video. No really. Just watch it. It is hilarious. And even if you don't speak Russian, it's just a fun song. And it makes me realllllly want to go back to Moscow.)




Anyway, it was just a lovely way to celebrate women, friends, and Eastern Europe.




Women's Day 2015 
Women's Day 2014 
(Apparently I didn't blog about it in 2016, but I know that I celebrated it by remembering Sojourner Truth and eating blini. So. It was a pretty good day.)

Monday, March 6, 2017

Farmers' Market, SLC

Sometimes I go to farmers' markets and take pictures. And eat all the cheese. And find out about amazing chocolate shops in downtown SLC.


[Winter apples.]

[And so much honey.]

[And allllll the cheese. So much cheese. It was delicious.]


[Farmers' Market Wisdom: "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."--Abraham Lincoln.] 



Three times a bridesmaid



What gets posted on Instagram.

Reality. 

[em and nate.]

It's not every day that your best-daughter-sister-kindred-soul-friend gets married to the love of her life.

[Em and Nate. Such a happy, happy day. 
Also. Side note. HOW DID I NOT NOTICE UNTIL THEIR WEDDING DAY THAT IF YOU SAY "EM AND NATE" REALLY FAST IT SOUNDS LIKE "EMANATE"? BECAUSE IT DOES. anyway. moving on.]


I met Em in Ukraine. I was her "trainer," which means that she came to me fresh out of the Missionary Training Center to the far corners of Kharkov, Ukraine, and I, well, tried to help her get adjusted to LDS missionary work in Ukraine. It was one of those very fast friendships, and a friendship that I needed so very, very much at the time (and a friendship that has grown and progressed--and one that I still need today). I am so grateful for all she taught me in Ukraine, but especially about the healing power of love. 

[In Kharkov.]

[In Donetsk.]

I'm also so grateful that she asked if we could be roommates when she got back from Ukraine. That transition back from a mission is never easy (and neither, shockingly enough, is the world of Provo, Utah), but again, I sure am grateful for all I have learned from this woman as we have navigated the radical uncertainty of our changing lives and trying to handle the complex world of adult relations. 



From brownie batter to Ukrainian pizza; bedrooms with fridges in them to cinder block walls; Provo Sunday walks and Oxford FaceTime chats; tears and hopes and GREs and grad school and heartbreak and lovers . . . just, thank you, Em. For being there. And for letting me be there for you. 

[Oh, happy day.]

Love you forever. Cчастья вам. Happiness to you and your love.

#allthehearteyes

*My family has been teasing me about that hashtag for weeks now. So I figured I'd use it again, because, why ever not?*

A couple of weeks ago (man, I am failing at this blogging thing lately), Sam came to visit. It was great having him in town and since he has no qualms about me posting his face on my blog, here you go: 


[Yep. I know. You are allowed to comment on how cute we are.]

And, like I said, it was great having him in town. Long-distance can be hard, but it sure does make these trips to see each other worth it. And just plain fun. (If you want more of my thoughts about long-distance dating, you can ask me in person. It's something that I never thought I'd do, but it's working well so far. So we'll keep going. :)) 


Also, Salt Lake (or anywhere, for that matter) is much more fun when you have someone to explore it with: 

[Some views near Ensign Peak.]

[SLC Library]

[Cathedral of the Madeleine.]

[Yayyyyyyy.] 

Anyway. Grateful for this man in my life, and very grateful that he came to visit. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

done with my graceless heart

What I'm listening to right now: 

Oh haiiii, friends. 

Posts about Em's wedding and Sam's visit coming up soon, I promise. 

Also, I finalllllly heard back from all of the schools I applied to for History PhD programs! I have a few options and you know that I will agonize/am already agonizing about the decision, haha. But I am happy to have four really good options to choose from.* (And I will let my adoring fans know where I end up choosing, don't you fret.) 

But in the meantime, just enjoy this pretty picture: 

/via/

*I realize that people will want to know what schools I'm choosing from. They are the University of Missouri, Boston University, the University of Maryland, and Princeton. I'll be doing campus visits next month. Exciting times. :) 

Monday, February 13, 2017

When a thing is wick, it will grow

Winter's on the wing.

Reasons why:

--It's been an average of about 53 degrees the past couple of weeks.

--The snow has melted in the valley, although it's still beautiful and white on the mountains.



[Mount Olympus is strikingly beautiful. I seriously cannot get over it.]


--The lack of snow and the absence of cold has meant that I can run outside again . . .

--Which means that I accidentally tripped and bruised my entire shin. Oops. But it's on the mend.

[Oops. But like I said, it's on the mend. And now I have this beautiful bruise on my shin. It's very impressive.]

--It is just "well with my soul" right now. Just this contented happy core. Despite uncertainty and trying to figure out life plans (or even summer plans), I am grateful for this peace. 

--I saw The Secret Garden this weekend with Em. The Secret Garden is one of my favorite stories, and one of my favorite musicals, as the music is hauntingly beautiful and hopeful. (Although it's hard to choose favorites, I'd have to say that "Wick" and "Hold On" are definitely up there.) It also reminds me of Ukraine--of the need to hold on and the promise that spring will come. And, perhaps it goes without saying, but it reminds me of England (which I am so homesick for this week). In any event, it was wonderful to watch one of my favorite musicals, with Em, one of my favorite people.

[Hanging out with Em means shake dates. Has to happen.]

[Selfie time our turn. With bad high school auditorium lighting. Whatevs. Also, can we just talk about how weird it was being back at my high school? Sooooo weird.]

[Typical.]

[Just love this woman so dang much.]

There is spring in the air; change in the air. There is a hope that comes with children's tales, reconciliation, and second chances, of renewed friendships and remembered miracles. Spring always comes. Sometimes all we have to do is hold on. And I'm grateful for people that remind me of that, in the good times and the bad times.