Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Spring, spring, spring

It's been a pretty cold spring in Utah. But then there are some absolutely glorious spring mornings.

[It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood]



[All of those tulips, though.]

[Oh haiiiiii.]

[And the lovely Jessica.]


[Perks of living in SLC--getting to attend Stake Conference in the Assembly Hall.]

[Consensus: more spring sunshine is always in style and always needed.]

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Five.


"Behold, and lo, I have much people in this place, in the regions round about; and an effectual door shall be opened in the regions round about in this eastern land. Therefore, I, the Lord, have suffered you to come unto this place; for thus it was expedient in me for the salvation of souls." 
--Doctrine and Covenants 100:3-4 


Five years ago I walked in Ukraine for the first time. Breathed it in. Spoke Russian with people who had never met an American in their lives. Saw grey doms and a great, blue Ukrainian sky. 



Ukraine changed my life. Forever. That mission to eastern Ukraine changed my life. Forever. Some experiences change your heart and make you deeper and braver than you could have ever imagined. My time in Ukraine was one of those experiences for me. A marker. "Pre-Ukraine," and "After-Ukraine." 



I will always feel like Ukraine gave me more than I could ever give back to her. In some ways, especially as a young idealist, it is disappointing. But perhaps that is the lesson. That people and places will always have more to give than you could ever give them. So you thank them for their goodness with love. All you can give is your heart and your love. Let everyone know that you love them, or that you are at least trying to. 



I truly believe that Ukraine gets some of the finest souls in the world to love her. I'm not saying that I'm one of the "finest souls in the world," as there are much finer souls that I know who have come to Ukraine and given more than I ever could. But I am grateful to have worked shoulder to shoulder with those people, and even more honored to have been allowed a glimpse into the lives and hearts of the incredible Ukrainian people. Five years later, and they will never leave my heart. And I refuse to throw that love--or this land--away. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Prince of Peace



[Road to Emmaus, by J. Kirk Richards]

"And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" (Luke 24:31-32, see v. 13-35)

Christ the Lord is risen today. He often walks with us and we do not recognize Him. But He lives and touches our hearts and changes our lives day by day, if we let Him. 

He lives. 

Happy Easter. 

That D.C. Life [take 2]

Dating someone in D.C. means that I get to visit him in D.C. Which is great on several levels, one of which is that I get to spend time in a city I am learning to love more.

[National Mall.]

Also, I lucked out and got to see the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin! You can't ever plan for them because they come at different times each spring, but I lucked out. Hurray! 





[I found this copse of trees not too far away from the Washington Monument. It was breezy and all of the petals were swirling in the wind and dancing around me and it was incredibly magical.]


[MLK monument.]

Another highlight of the trip was definitely the Kusama Infinity Mirrors exhibit at the Hirshhorn. It was so cool. Like. So cool. 

[All the lights. All the colors. Forever and ever. Tbh, this one kind of felt like a Vegas casino. I could only take so much. But still. Cool.]

[My favorite. Aftermath of the Obliteration of Eternity.]


[ALL OF THE POLKA DOTS.]

[No, but really. All of them. Including on a piano that actually plays.]

[Not quite sure what to do in this wonderland . . .]

[. . . but eventually coming to terms with it]

[Yayyyyy. And s/o to Sam for getting these tickets in the first place. Best date ever.]

Another fun thing about D.C. is that so many people go there--for travel, business, conferences, etc., that you never know who you might run into. So it was really fun to run into my friend Tim from Oxford and show him the sites while listening to LDS General Conference. 

[In front of the National Cathedral. Tim thought it was so cool that a cathedral like this existed outside of Europe.]

All in all, such a good trip with good people, good food, and good activities. It was the perfect way to end my mad sprint across the United States. 

[Also. All of these pictures are making me want to go back right now. Still waiting for a teleportation device to be invented. You'd think that we'd have one by now.] 

Cross-country college tour highlights

Oh haiiiii. I disappeared from my blog for awhile. Happens. Especially when real life gets in the way of this online diary. But whatevs. But when I get back on after a hiatus, it means that there is a lot to catch up on and that there will probably be a deluge of blog posts. #sorrynotsorry

Last month, I traveled to a lot of different schools to make a decision about grad school (and, as part of that blog post deluge, I do plan to write a "real talk" post about making the decision--I think we assume that decisions like where to go to grad school are obvious, but that's not always the case. Anyway. I will get on that soapbox a different day. Most likely.).

It was fun (but exhausting) to go around the country and visit different schools. The best part was seeing people across the country whom I love.

[Spring in Kansas. This whirlwind tour meant a whirlwind of different climates/weather--it was spring-like in Kansas and Missouri, winter in Boston, super rainy in Princeton, and then spring-like in D.C.]

[First day of spring, first sign of spring at Mizzou.]

[Jesse Hall]

[And again. With the columns which have been compared to the Death Star by KU fans.]

[Boston Public Library.]


[Stained glass at Boston University. 

[The Esplinade.]


[Best part of BU? Having Greer take me around and talking with her. This woman, though.]


[Nassau Hall, Princeton]

[Finally a sunny day after three days of pouring rain]


[I love it when stained glass shines like this on stone walls]

[My cousins have some pretty cute kids. And it's nice having family around the country.]

[Last but not least, Washington, D.C. And I'll post more pictures from this trip on a separate post because there were so many. Read: cherry blossoms.]


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.)