"better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self." -- cyril connolly
one year ago, we rolled into town, 30 minutes before the housing office closed, and got our keys. we walked up to our apartment. tayte laid on the floor (it was very open), and i realized how homesick i was. then we went down to our huge, completely full moving truck and started moving boxes, and i realized how sick sick i was. (okay, i wasn't that sick--just dizzy. but i was worried that i would pass out) thankfully tayte had met a guy during interviews that offered to help us move in, so he and tayte moved the rest of our stuff upstairs (why do we have so much stuff??). after it was all upstairs, tayte drove to the ghetto to get wendys, and i fell asleep on the carpet. when he came back, we dried the sweat off our leather couches, ate dinner, then went to sleep.
and here we are, one year later. i mean, it definitely feels like we've been here longer, but we've been through a lot. we've tried all the "typical st. louis things." we've travelled. we got a cat. we bought a house. we've mopped up the water that leaks into our basement when there are freak rainstorms. we bought a rug. we've had house guests. we've done yard work. and we went to ikea.
we've really enjoyed living in st. louis. to be honest, there are times when i'm a little afraid because of stuff that goes on around us. and sometimes i really hate living so far away from family because we miss out on a lot of things. and these summers are literally the worst. but at the end of the day, we have each other, and i know we're supposed to be here.
and that's all that matters.
there was at least one morning where The Kitty let me sleep peacefully. she even came and snuggled by me. ok it was exactly one morning. all the other mornings, she's decided that it's time to make all the noise she can. so she chases those stupid little plastic balls with the bells inside or she chases her tail while on her cat tower so she falls off or she comes up and meows in my face and when she decides that i'm going to ignore her, she toots in my face as she walks away. (that last one doesn't make any noise, but it's still detrimental to my senses.)
long story short: after letting the dog out, i spend a couple hours going in and out of sleep, all thanks to The Kitty, before my sweet husband comes to me, belting a random song at the top of his lungs and sits on me. #charming
yesterday morning, i vaguely remember hearing louisa struggling in her litter box. (i should probably give a bit of background: louisa's litter box has a cover on it, which she takes full advantage of. she wipes her paws all along every side after she poops, like a lady.) i'm not even sure struggling is the right word. i could just hear banging and other weird noises. but it didn't really bother me, because i saw her a few seconds later doing her little booty scoot across my carpet, like a lady. i also have a vague recollection of her pawing and clawing at the carpet right where she had scooted her little booty. i was kind of concerned, but that lasted for about 3 seconds before i fell asleep.
tayte came out and serenaded me and then went to take a shower, and i fell back asleep.
i woke up to him yelling "why is there poop all over the floor??"
i'll leave it up to your imagination as to what happened next. (in case you don't have an imagination, here's what happened: there was poop all over the floor and we had to clean it up.)
i'm pretty sure at some point, tayte picked her up (or at least would have) and yelled "ICH. SPRECHE. KEIN. DEUTSCH." you see, he is still obsessed with all things german, and believes that she will listen to him yell in german (because if you aren't yelling, are you even speaking german?). she doesn't. but probably because the above phrase literally means "i speak no german." #aforeffort
i can't think of any other things that have happened. except louisa just caught sight of some birds outside and she's doing her chattering thing. man i love that little thing.
i’m in denial, actually.
buuut i guess now would be the proper time for our quarterly updates.
he is still the forever-a-student breadwinner. he is trying to figure out his lab situation, but he rocks his classes without blinking an eye. his hair is in the awkward can’t-quite-put-it-behind-his-ears-and-is-always-in-his-eyes phase. he also can’t handle the fly-aways. in a severely flabbergasted state, he turned to me and said “i think i should just go get it cut.” like the supporting wife i am, i reminded him of my insane ability to convince anyone to do anything (i never ditched a college class alone). i asked which side of the issue he was leaning towards (pro-choice or pro-length)…and we still have a man-bun-in-the-works situation over here. (yes, you read that correctly. i convinced him to keep growing it out. i don’t know why i did that. i hadn’t had my breakfast yet) but long hair or not, he’s still pretty good lookin!
you know that should-be adage “you buy your children toys and they play with the boxes?” yeah well…story of our lives. sometimes i’m afraid people will show up unannounced and think that we are the laziest, sloppiest people ever because there’s trash on the floor. i swear it’s just for the kitty. she loves plastic grocery sacks and paper bags and bread ties and boxes and 2-liter soda bottles… (i mean, we do clean it up. we just throw our garbage on the floor first and let her play with it, then it goes in the garbage can) we’ve also recently discovered her mean streak, but i still think she’s the cutest “little” (the vet told me she’s fat) thing.
i was recently called to be the YW president in our branch. it’s been a crazy few weeks, especially since it feels like it’s been a lot longer than that. people keep telling me that i’m doing a great job, so i must be good at pretending! my testimony has grown so much as i’ve seen the Lord’s hand in things that i’ve done or said as part of this calling. it is so true that He qualifies those He calls! i also have begun reading again. i reread all the harry potter books because i’d never read the seventh, and i wanted to do it right. turns out i had never read the sixth either. i set a new years resolution to read more and even printed out a book list to give me ideas. i guess i thought that i had to do it all within the first month or so, because i feel like i’ve been frantically reading through books. but it’s been awesome. i love reading and the library is my enabler.
over all, nothing has really changed. tayte and i still like each other, and The Entitled One still loves her cat tower and tolerates us. i love my little family.
oh and if you’re wondering if we do march madness…ha. do we. we each have 3 brackets (serious, based on mascot, based on colors/logo). we only really care about the “serious” bracket, but we still count the others. and last we updated, we were tied. (spoiler alert: tayte had michigan state going all the way. silly tayte)
“grandma always made you feel she had been waiting to see just you all day and now the day was complete.” – marcy demaree
the sunday before we flew to utah (january 3rd), we visited grandma bonnie (mom’s mom) in the hospital. her health had been slowly declining over the past months, and she was in the hospital. she didn’t say much. as we visited with mary (mom’s sister), i sat there and just held her hand. she would squeeze my hand occasionally, and when we left, she thanked me for coming to see her. she told me she loved me.
two weeks ago this monday, i got a call from my dad, giving me an update on grandma bonnie. she had been in the hospital for quite a while at this point, and she had been through a roller coaster, health wise.
he was calling to let me know that she had made the decision that it was time for her to go Home.
he wasn’t sure how much longer she would last, but it could be quite a few days, and that i should start planning to come to arizona for the funeral. my mom was fairly confident that the funeral wouldn’t be for a couple weekends, but i had a feeling it would come a lot sooner than she was expecting. (on an unrelated note, i had to speak in church that upcoming sunday)
i was given the opportunity to talk to grandma on the phone one last time that night. i was able to tell her again how much i loved her and thank her for her amazing example and let her know how much i’d miss her. i got to hear her tell me she loved me one last time. i told her to give grandpa a big hug for me, and she reassured me that she definitely would.
as i hung up the phone, there were tears streaming down my face. tayte came and held me as i cried, and The Kitty just meowed for more food. we talked about how much of a blessing this was. she was in so much pain, and her sweetheart had been gone for so many years, but now she would be free—free to hug her parents, free to dance and laugh with grandpa, and free to get right back to work, sharing her testimony with those on the other side.
it was so fun to be in town for the FUNeral. it was basically a big party that lasted for 3 days straight. for the family reunion that was in november, i compiled a list of all of grandma’s posterity, and there are 253 of us and counting! and almost all of us were there. the funeral was a perfect commemoration of the woman that she was.
as i listened to all the different memories being shared, i kept thinking about all the ones i had with grandma. i kept getting the feeling that i should write them down before i forget, and i figured some others might want to read them. so here we go.
this is my own tribute to my grandmother, bonnie. (caution: it’s
first and foremost, she was there. she was at my wedding, she was at my bridal shower, she was there when i went through the temple for the first time, she was there when i got baptized, and i’m pretty sure she was at 98% of my birthday parties growing up. it meant so much to me to have her there, supporting me, at all those important (and less important) events in my life. as time went by, it became harder for her to get out and go places, making her appearances that much more special.
and then there are the traditions that i wasn’t always excited about (#teenagers), but grew to love. memorial day, when she would share a few words, we would clean off a few headstones, and we would try to find all our family. then she would treat us to breakfast at JB’s. (note: this changed to golden corral, but i haven’t ever been in town since that change took place.)
also, every year we went caroling with grandma. she would make all these treats, and we would walk around her neighborhood, caroling and giving treats to her neighbors. she loved everyone, and she enjoyed serving them. then, after caroling was over, she would pull us into the house, one family at a time, and give us money. of course, once we got married, we were booted out of that system. (which still doesn’t make sense to me…)
there are also those random memories that will always make me laugh:
—while talking to her about getting her books so she could reteach herself math, she asked me how i like the “common core.” i told her my honest opinion: it’s not perfect and it has some advantages, but they tell me to teach it so i do. she looked me square in the face and said “that’s what the nazis said.”
—a year or so ago, i was visiting her, and the topic turned to me having children. she told me about one of her sisters that got married and started having kids right away and then suddenly wasn’t able to have anymore later in life. she said her sister was so grateful, because “you just never know…” #subtle
—i was eating lunch with her one day, back when i was probably 10, and she was asking me if there was anything i didn’t like. as any respectable 10-year-old, i didn’t like tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, peas, etc. she was so surprised and cut off my list with a “well! you just don’t like anything, do you?”
—my cousin stacie and i were driving with her one day (we were probably 12 or so), and we were just laughing at every little thing she said. she was probably so annoyed at us. she turned down one road because she thought the distance would be shorter and that we’d save some gas. as it turned out, we had to come all the way back and go a different way. as we were driving back, she muttered “well, we didn’t save any gas…”
—she came to visit us in puerto rico. we decided to drive somewhere, and one of the senior couples wanted to go with us. so bret and i drove one car, and grandma rode with them in the other. i realized that they were going to go one way, but that i knew another way. i can still remember the look on grandma’s face as we drove past them: absolute horror as she flipped her head violently back and forth. she was so concerned for our safety.
grandma’s house. for starters, i don’t think i walked into her house through the front door until i was at least 15. we always went in through the garage, to the back patio, and in the front door. i would always look to my right and see her backyard that stretched all the way to university. there was that ridiculously old swing set, with the rubber handles that had once been taped but were now just sticky. there were all her trees that we would pick fruit from. there was her big walk-in freezer that i was always afraid to get locked into.
once inside, you were in the Deer Head room. there were 3 deer heads on the back wall, and i was always a little scared to go back there by myself if it was dark. she kept the toys in that room. my favorite part was that door to the kitchen that whenever we played, had the top half open. that’s also the room where she kept her gong. if i’m not mistaken, that’s also where she had a picture of john wayne. #heartthrob
there was the Back Back Room, now known as her Genealogy Room. it had her big computer and all the books and stuff. when i was younger, i saw a big, nasty cockroach, dead on the floor. i tried to never go back there ever again.
there was the kitchen, with the jar of ginger snaps. my dad would always take a few, but we never found out if they were crunchy because they were ginger snaps, or if they were crunchy because they were old.
there was her family room, with that high shelf that went all the way around that was filled with trinkets from her different travels. that’s where the Liahona was. this room was where she kept all the christmas cards and family pictures throughout the years. it was also in this room that i watched all the shirley temple movies, as well as the court jester and the kid from brooklyn. there was the globe, where every time we visited, we would give it a good spin and put our finger on it. wherever our finger was when the globe stopped was where we would serve our mission. … we got a lot of calls to preach the gospel to the sharks.
then there was the Doll Area. grandma collected dolls, and she had a big glass case of them. she also had quite a few American Girl dolls, complete with tons of accessories. i loved playing back there.
then there was her living room. her baby grand was there, along with that huge russian stacking doll that was missing the second-to-last piece because it got vacuumed up. during christmas time, that room was filled with nativities. i loved looking at them all.
grandma was also very thoughtful. she thought about us and what we liked and tried to give us gifts based on that. one year, bret got a drumset, i got a flute from china, and my mom got a coin purse.
there was another year that my mom opened her gift from grandma, and it was a tassel. and we had no idea what to do with it. but we knew she would come over later, so we had to put it out somewhere! someone suggested that we put it on the christmas tree, and i’m pretty sure it either ended up there or on the back of a chair. (note: you can use tassels to tie back drapes.)
there were six girl cousins all born in the same year, me being the youngest. grandma made us all matching dresses and we had our picture taken. that’s one of my fondest memories…even though rachel was so sick and i only have one picture where she isn’t making a sick face. …and even though grandpa told me i didn’t have to wear my socks if i didn’t want to, and when i didn’t, my mom got super upset at me.
whenever i went to visit grandma, i always tried to wear my hair down and curly, because she loved it. she would always tell me how beautiful my curly hair was. (now, this may seem like i had selfish motives. which i kinda did. anyone with curly hair knows that you’ll take all the compliments you can get.) she gave me one of her precious dolls that she thought looked like me, thanks to all the curls.
my favorite thing about this remarkable woman was that she loved me. she had 10 children, 10 in-laws, 64 other grandchildren, 123 (and counting) great-grandchildren, and so many more…but she always took the time (sometimes it was 30 seconds, sometimes it was 30 minutes), to talk to me. to ask me how i was doing, to tell me she was glad to see me, to tell me that she loved me. amidst all the chaos of having an enormous family, i never once felt lost in a crowd. i knew i was so important to her (even though i apparently hated everything she grew in her garden).
this woman led an incredible life. she made lots of caramel, served lots of people, and touched lots of lives. i am so grateful that my life was one of those. she left behind an amazing legacy of hard work, love, family, service, living the Gospel, and enduring to the end. i hope to one day be at least half the woman that she was.
i love you, grandma. #missingthebun
“racquetball is the only sport where simultaneously you can be looking at the ball…and it’ll hit you in the back of the head at 90 miles an hour.” – brian regan
i’m a dog person. i’ve always wanted a puppy, and i never wanted a cat. mostly because i hated cats. but we had some friends that got a kitten, and she was pretty cute, and they convinced us to at least consider getting a cat.
so we considered it. we thought about it. we talked about it. and one day, i was bored so i pulled up the humane society website and looked at the kittens they had for adoption. i fell in love and we went the next day and adopted a kitten.
quick note: it had to be a kitten. i had to get it when it was cute and irresistible and watch it grow, or i would have hated it.
we struggled to find a name for her, but we finally settled on one: louisa. louisa is a german name, and we’re currently obsessed with germany (on account of tayte’s internship and my favorite book being the book thief). louisa is also the feminine form of the name louis, and we happen to be living in st. louis. it’s perfect, really.
because i’m currently obsessed with her, i’m gonna tell you all about her. it’s my right as a new parent. now, please refrain from saying things like “that’s a cat thing” or “my kids do that” or “sounds like my husband.” just let me have this one.
she was born on july 4, 2015, and she’s a domestic, short-haired, white and red tabby. she purrs constantly; as in, her body is constantly vibrating, except for when she’s fast asleep. she has an insatiable curiosity and better hearing than me (that’s saying something—just ask my former students). even if she’s fast asleep, she’ll jerk awake whenever the door to our complex downstairs opens. she loves playing with whatever is behind the oven, but she hates the water that gets sprayed in her face every time she does. she is constantly testing her own limits (as well as ours) and she learns new things every day—mostly she just finds new things she can jump onto or get into. even though i’m annoyed, i’m proud of her for trying new things, even when she misjudges and lands on her face or hits a leg as she falls. all i know is that if i were to get hit as hard as she does going as fast as she does, i would be out for the count. she’s one tough kitty.
she loves pens. she likes pencils too, but mostly pens. she likes to push them around on tables, and then push them off. we’ve learned that no matter where she is in the apartment or what she’s doing, if we click a pen she will literally come running. she’ll wait until we throw it (and we actually have to throw it. we can’t fake it like we would with a dog—she’ll just stare at us until we actually throw it), then she’ll attack it, picking it up in her paws and biting it. she’s kind of a spaz. we should probably be more afraid that she’ll poke her eye out one day, but it’s so entertaining. downside: we’ve lost so many pens to the under-the-couch, out-of-the-cat’s-reach area. we were skyping my mom and brother today, and my brother got a pen and clicked it, and she instantly perked up and started looking for it, just like she does here. she kept walking at the computer screen and looking behind it (she’s only a baby, we can’t expect her to understand technology), looking for the pen she heard.
she has a serious FOMO (fear of missing out). i can’t get anything done. even if she’s happily playing with something, she’ll saunter over and try to get in on whatever i’m doing. earlier today, i got her playing with a pen of her own, then tried to write some stuff down, but she saw me writing with a pen and came over to get it from me. if i’m on my computer, she’ll get in my face, or walk on the keyboard, or constantly
play with bite the cord. i can’t even distract her with a pen! if we’re sitting at the table eating, she’ll jump on our laps, (sometimes from lap to lap), and try to get on the table. if i’m standing at the table, working on something, she’ll jump on a chair and reach out her paw to get my leg (although that will probably stop, now that she knows she can get onto the table). anytime i walk anywhere, she runs as fast as she can in the exact direction i’m going, or at least in the direction she thinks i’m going. after accidentally kicking her in the face for the 12 billionth time, i’ve learned to take a step, then wait for a minute for her to whiz by. the other night, we were going to bed. tayte looked around for her, saw her all the way across the room, turned off the light, took two steps, and stepped on her.
her favorite things are naps, and they’re my favorite too, obviously. but lest you think that i wait for her to fall asleep then get all crazy and productive, let me set the record straight. when she gets tired, she’ll come and climb up in my lap, give herself a quick bath, then fall asleep. i know i should keep her up for as much of the day as possible so that she’ll sleep when we do, but i can’t bring myself to do it. she’s just so dang cute, sleeping there in my lap. so i just sleep with her. man. it’s therapeutic.
and oh how i love her little meow. i mean, sometimes when i hear it, i wish it weren’t 3 in the morning, but i still absolutely love it. it just tugs on my heartstrings in all kinds of ways. if we’re trying to lock her out of our room at night, her little meows break my heart. but if she just woke up from a nap and she looks up at me and meows, it melts my heart.
i’ve had some heartbreak recently, and there’s a little hole in my heart. at first, i thought this little kitty was starting to fill that hole, just a little. but today, i realized that she’s more like a band-aid on my heart. not the wimpy ones that lose their stick if you look at them too many times. more like the ones whose fibers meld themselves together and you can’t get the band-aid off.
ok bad analogy.
the point is, she is exactly what i needed. this little thing has helped me get over that last hurdle of pain, and i’m able to look to the future instead of dwelling on what could or should have been. it’s amazing that something so tiny has had such a profound impact on me. even though i can already sense her true cat coming out (meaning she is becoming indifferent to us at times), there are still those moments where she’ll come up to me (instead of tayte—she likes me more and we both know it) and meow to get my attention. she still wants me around, and she likes me. that’s my favorite part. i don’t think she likes us as much as we like her, but i don’t even care. i love this kitty.
the first few nights, we left our door open, so she could come and go as she pleased (don’t worry—we’re smarter now). there were multiple times when i would wake up to see her walking up to my face, meow-ing. and i was surprised to find myself smiling and legitimately, honestly happy to see her. i wasn’t even in the least bit annoyed that i was awake. and there were times when, as we all drifted off to sleep, tayte would be holding me, and i would be holding louisa, and i realized that i just love this little family of mine. for those 5 seconds of consciousness, i was so grateful for my loving husband and for this sweet little soul that has brought so much happiness to us.
so yeah. i guess you could say i’m a cat person now too.
“i don’t know that there are real ghosts and goblins, but there are always more trick-or-treaters than neighborhood kids.” – robert brault
with halloween coming up, i figured that a few confessions were in order.
here’s the thing: i HATE halloween.
i mean, yeah i love candy and trunk/trick-or-treating and my sister-in-law who was born on halloween and cute costumes and some parties and stuff. the cutesy part of halloween.
but i HATE halloween.
why? allow me to shed some light on the subject. (a million points to anyone that can name that reference without looking it up)
some of my earliest memories involve me waking up in the middle of the night, being scared, and not being able to sleep until i woke my mom up and had her come lay somewhere in my room, usually on the floor by my door. i always had to have my closet door shut when i went to sleep. one time, i woke up and thought there was a man in my room. i cried loudly until brad came in and turned on the light. turns out, it was just my lamp. i also went through a phase where i thought that captain hook would come into my room at night (thank you, hook), and if anything except my head was showing outside of the covers, he would cut it off.
i have a very vivid imagination. anyway. don’t think i hate halloween because i got scared as a child, because who didn’t? but i think i’m getting ahead of myself…
rewind all the way back to elementary school, maybe junior high. i was at natasha butler’s house, two doors down. we were having a halloween party. it was all fun and games (literally) until they announced the next activity: putting our hands in containers and guessing what the items were. i think we were choosing from a list, like a brain or intestines or eyeballs, etc. (of course, the food was just cold, wet spaghetti or peeled grapes, etc.) i started panicking. my heart started racing. i couldn’t do it. i wouldn’t do it. i told them that i wasn’t feeling too well, and i was worried about throwing up. natasha looked me in the eye and said, “tenery, it’s just food.” didn’t matter. i was too scared.
fast forward a bit (but not too much). i was at my brother’s house with my dad, and they decided to watch the fugitive. premise: harrison ford gets busted for killing his wife, but he claims that he was framed (i think.) the movie starts with his wife getting attacked, and then she calls the police and reports the attack. her voice was all scratchy, and it scared me so much i had to have my dad take me home! yes, you read that correctly. i got so scared by the sound of someone’s voice that i had to leave the room. (a couple months ago, i saw the fugitive on netflix, and decided that i needed to face my fears. i was home alone, and i started watching it…aaaand turned it off before she even started saying stuff. i was too scared)
fast forward just a couple years to j.r.’s birthday. we went laser tagging. i had never been before, but my brothers had raved about it, and i was so excited. we went into the room where they debrief you before you go get your vest. the walls were covered in the neon artwork that glowed with the black lights. there were all sorts of creatures and it freaked me out. i made craig take me out. he tried talking me back into going in, but i couldn’t. i was too scared.
note: i love laser tagging. it took some time, but i love it.
fast forward a few more years. i was at byu, and i got asked out on a date by one of my dad’s former assistants (not exactly crucial to the story, but a fun tidbit). we were going to frightmares at lagoon. if you don’t know, lagoon is an amusement park in utah. it’s a family place, so they can’t make frightmares too scary or creepy. they had a haunted maze thing. this was the first haunted anything i’d ever been in, and i was terrified. but here’s the thing: it really wasn’t even scary. it was just weird, like circus weird. the people that would jump out in a normal haunted house were just walking around. the lighting was weird, and i think there was a strobe light. seriously. not. even. scary. but i held on to my date like my life depended on it. because to me, it did. because i was so freaking scared.
fast forward a little more time. i was still at byu and craig called to invite me to go see a movie with him, dan, and justin. when i got in the car, justin told me they had changed their mind and we were going to a haunted house instead. i started panicking. my heart started racing. i told them that i refused and that they had to take me back home right. now. justin just laughed and laughed and kept saying it over and over. i looked at craig and demanded that he stop the car. i would walk home. he informed me that justin was full of it. we were indeed going to the movies. but man. i about had a heart-attack.
fast forward a couple more years. tayte’s brother invited us to go to lagoon with them. (his work was having some kind of summer work party.) we just hung out with kids, going on rides with them. one of my nephews informed me that his favorite ride was the haunted house ride. (not at all related to frightmares) i panicked a little bit. my heart rate picked up. i just kept telling myself that he’s 6, so how bad can it be? we went on that ride together, and you know? it really wasn’t that bad.
the other day, i saw that ellen had reposted a video of one of when she made one of her employees (a guy) accompany another employee (a girl) to a walking dead haunted house. the video was pretty funny because the guy was so scared and was hiding behind the girl almost the entire time, but i had to stop watching it because the movie was freaking me out.
i could go on and on and on, but i think you catch my drift. i get scared so easily. it’s kind of pathetic actually. i’ve seen like 4 “scary movies,” and i hated every second of them. a friend explained why i’m such a freaking scaredy-cat. i don’t know how legit this explanation is, but i’ve stuck with it. we have this switch in our brain that allows us to see stuff on tv or on movies and know that it isn’t real. my switch doesn’t work all that well. not that i watch stuff and think that ghosts are real or that my house is haunted or anything. it has something to do with my subconscious…
translation: i am a huge wuss.
i’m also super jumpy, which just makes things worse.
that’s why i hate halloween. i swear every decoration jumps out at you or cackles when you walk past it, and some people dress up as horrid, creepy things. because it’s what you do on halloween. i do recognize that there are plenty of cute and clever costumes and i’m excited to live somewhere where kids will come trick-or-treating so i can see their cute costumes. but still.
my name is tenery campbell, and i hate halloween.
because i’m afraid of it.
after our awesome once-in-a-lifetime europe trip, we loaded all of our belongings into a big moving truck (a 16-footer, to be exact), secured our car onto the trailer behind it, and began the long drive to our new home: st. louis, missouri.
i was super worried about making that drive with that huge, over-20-feet load, especially since we were both dog-tired from our gallivanting and things. but it was a breeze. i mean, it still took 20ish hours, but we made it there safe and sound. we stopped for the night, and nobody broke into our truck or car (and if they did, we haven’t missed what they took). i stayed awake for pretty much the whole trip, which is a miracle. (i literally always fall asleep and stay that way for the majority of any long road trip. ask tayte.) i talked to tayte, gave him snacks, read him books, and made sure we found good music to play. tayte talked back, ate the snacks, and stayed awake the whole time. needless to say, we were very happy to finally get there and get out of the dang truck.
but then, we were in a new place, with a truckload full of stuff, and a second floor apartment. we started unloading, and i realized that i wasn’t feeling well and would get light-headed from just walking up those dang stairs (this isn’t a going-to-the-bathroom-to-get-out-of-doing-the-dishes moment. it was legit). i felt bad, but i knew that if i passed out, this would be a whole different situation, so tayte made me sit there, sipping water, because he would need me for the big stuff.
thankfully, tayte had a friend that he met when he came for interviews that he was messaging that had offered to come help us move in. he was a short skinny guy, but he and tayte were able to get everything up. we were so grateful to him, because we literally wouldn’t have been able to do it without him.
after all that, all that travel and all that stress and no sleep caught up with us. we both got sick. tayte started classes and rotations. he only has a couple classes each week, but that gives him lots of time to spend in the labs. he has to rotate in at least 3 labs before he can pick the one he wants to do the rest of his program in. he’s in his second lab now, and he really likes this one. but he’s really enjoying the research and he’s really enjoying his classes. he’s very dedicated and works hard and it pays off. he has done really well in them so far, and i’m very very proud of him.
as for me, i unpacked as much as i was going to (we won’t be here for very long, so there was no point in unpacking everything. most of it is still in boxes in our back room), and tried to get us all settled in this new place. then some health issues set in and i’ve pretty much been dealing with them since. so i’ve been keeping house and trying to get back on my feet. i’m doing fine, and i think i’m over it, but we’ll see.
about st. louis.
here’s the thing. this city is awesome. we really like it. we live pretty close to campus, and we live really close to a street called the loop. it’s kinda like center street in provo. it has some tasty restaurants and it has the st. louis walk of fame. it’s cool.
here’s the other thing. this city is great for families (shameless plug to get some visitors). we’ve been pretty touristy since we got here, and we’ve got a pretty good list of stuff to do if/when people come to visit. we’ve been to good restaurants, the zoo (free and awesome), the art museum (free and pretty cool), the science center (free and awesome), and the arch (not free but still awesome). there’s so much to see and do here, and we’ve been having a lot of fun.
we attend a branch with about 40 or 50 regulars. it’s the smallest branch we’ve ever lived in (except the one in jena, germany). the people are super nice and very welcoming. there’s a lot of work to do in the branch, and we’re excited to work hard until we move.
i think that about sums it up. i really want to be better at updating this because now, we’re so far away from everything and everyone we know, and i want to have a good record of our experiences.
i won’t do this every time i post anything, but i would like to chat a minute about tayte. we’ve had to rely on each other a lot since coming here, because we’re all we have. we are starting to make friends (we have another couple friend from our branch that we’d consider hanging out with), but we still do and go through everything together. we’ve already had some big trials in the last couple months, and being so far away from family made them worse. but he’s been my rock through them, and we’ve grown together. we’ve learned that no matter what happens, we have each other and that’s what matters. i swear i’m not quoting some country song—it’s the truth. we’re both so far from perfect, but we get a little closer each day. as i think back to even just 5 years ago, it’s obvious that i’m a better person because he’s in my life. tayte is my best friend, and i’m so grateful to have him for eternity.
all the sap. all the feels.