Friday, August 23, 2013

Pack Rat

This is more or less what my room looks like right now. But more clothes. Lots of books and clothes EVERYWHERE. ANd it's amazing what comes up when you Google Image search "pile of stuff"
Moving is always an interesting process. And it is a process. One of self-discovery actually.

Right now I'm in the middle of switching bedrooms in my house. This, of course, forced me to go through all the stuff that I have just laying around. Stuff I'd forgotten that I had. Stuff I knew I had, but didn't know where. I found tickets and a program in an old bag from 6 years ago when I went to the Cedar City Shakespeare Festival with the Honors Program and the girls who are now some of my best friends. I found my tap shoes, both the really beat up ones from when I did Millie senior year of high school and the nicer ones I got my second semester of tap here. I found Russia/mission memorabilia, probably over a hundred essays and literature tests, and pictures from various years. I realized just how many books I have--and how much EVERYTHING I have. It really is quite amazing to think, "Okay, I am just one person. And I have been collecting this stuff essentially for 24 years, but mostly just the past 6. AND I HAVE THIS MUCH STUFF! I can only imagine how much stuff my parents have! (Approximate answer: multiply that by 10 people and an extra 15-20 years)."

I really hate packing things up, but really, I don't even have to pack up this time, and going through things stimulates the whole process of rediscovery and remembering who you have been and who you are. Which is probably why it's so hard for me to throw things away. Because things, or more appropriately the people and experiences the objects represent to me, become a part of my life and my soul and me so deeply and so quickly. I love looking back and reminiscing and seeing how far I've come. It's an odd feeling to look at something you know was very important to you 3 years ago and now the only thing that is tempting you to keep it is that you're partially sad it's not important to you anymore. But moving on is good. And not everything needs to be like that, either. There's also something very special about the feeling seeing a picture of you and your best friend at the Boise Zoo in 4th Grade, and smiling because that picture was taken 15 years ago and you're still best friends and the only thing that's changed is . . . well, not much in a lot of the important aspects. :) It's made me really grateful for this little moving experience, especially coming to the end of my college career.

And you know what, as long as I don't turn into one of those creepy hoarder people (which there is no way, don't worry, I've seen way too many real-life examples), I love being kind of a pack rat. Because it's been a good 6 years. It's been a good 15 years. Heck, it's been a great 24 years here on this Earth so far. And I have a room and soul full of heartfelt junk to prove it. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Worth It

From here
At this point in my life, I have experienced probably almost any travel nightmare you can think of. From lost luggage, to long long lines at passport control; from late flights and missed connections to those flights that are completely cancelled and push all your plans back a day. I've had short 45 minute flights, and long overseas flights. I've had all-day and cross-country car trips with sick siblings. I've traveled while sick, while on my period, while hungry. I've had the unknown: not really knowing where you're going or having anyway to contact anyone. I've traveled with friends and family and little kids and all alone. I've had lodging situations not work out as planned, luggage break, and credit cards not work. And, for the most part, I am pretty good at keeping my head in those situations. But whether or not it's a good day or a bad day, it's always stressful. Today was no exception. After 5 hours of unproductive, not-my-fault waiting, the only thing to do was change my tickets to tomorrow and return to town. Through a not-so-small string of small miracles, Tracy and I met up again, and went to go drown our travel sorrows in ice cream, free wifi, and the fairytale charm of Wroclaw.

But even with all the times I pulled my sunglasses on today to hide the oncoming tears (I was running off of 4 hours of sleep and 3 months of traveling), once everything worked out and I found Tracy again, it was like, "How lucky am I? Flight cancelled. I have to spend one more day in Europe with one of my best friends. #firstworldproblems." And not only that, but I started to reflect on why I love traveling. I have to stay, when standing in that line for 2 hours, I often wondered, "Why do I do this?" And then I thought of the feeling I get when I'm landing in a new place--the decision has been made, and there are so many new opportunities ahead. I thought of the people I meet and spend time with--whether it's the friends I'm traveling with, or a cute Polish girl I talk with in Starbucks for about an hour about feminism and God and fashion and life. I thought of the different spirit that each city or place I've traveled to has, and what it's like to discover that and to discover a part of yourself there too. You always discover a part of yourself; at least I do. That's why I love traveling. I find myself scattered across the world in hundreds of different pieces. I learn about others, and in them and their cultures and their cityscapes, I find myself. No matter where I go, there is something to learn and to love. And you always change, become a little bit different after each day you really live out there in the world.

So despite all the hours of lines and the horror stories and the cankles that come from sitting on oversea flights and the stress and the tears and the expenses and how much I hate packing--the answer to a travel opportunity is always (at least in my heart) a resounding YES. There is a time to go home, and that has come, but you always know when it's time. And the travel experience just wouldn't be as meaningful without the real life to go home and apply it to.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Last Night

It's always hard to find words when something so magical is ending. My summer this year has been much different than the 2 previous ones. It's very hard to believe that in just a day (plus a few hours for time differences) I will be back in America. But more later. Time to go enjoy the last little bit.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Not-Pretentious Miracle of my Life

I wish I could talk about all the miracles that have happened to me this weekend since leaving Moscow. But I'm actually supposed to be writing a paper right now, so I'll keep in short.

  • A lovely guard in the luggage storage room at the Kiev airport, who thought I was actually from Moscow at first, chatted my ear off, made sure I knew where I was going, and told me how to be safe. 
  • Being in the temple. And with Habibullina, no less. In Kiev.
  • Understanding a temple session in Ukrainian and doing parts of it in Russian too.
  • Church with a lot of senior couple missionaries.
  • Miraculously making my 2nd flight to Wroclaw. Really, if you knew the whole story, it's such a huge birthday miracle.
  • Being in the fairy-tale city that is Wroclaw with one of my favorite people Tracy Allen.
  • Finally being 24. My body has finally caught up to my brain and soul on this one. It's weird. I have definitely thought I was 24 for a while now.
And here I am, sitting at a Starbucks, looking out onto the Rinok in Wroclaw, listening to Polish (so it's not Russian, but it's Slavic and everything Slavic just makes me so happy) reading a bunch of lit and historical crit on feminism in 19th-century Russia and writing a paper on how Turgenev's Fathers and Children shows the necessity of women in rebuilding society and making social change. And it's so beautiful and I can't believe that I have been so blessed. Last night Tracy and I were talking about how sometimes we are afraid to sound pretentious when we talk about our lives. Because we really like to do things that are usually associated with being pretentious. But we take them and make them more real and down-to-earth and not pretentious. At least I hope so. 

My life is unreal, guys. So, so blessed. This summer has really helped me reinforce the fact that my whole life and everything that has happened to me is one big miracle from Heavenly Father. Miracles miracles miracles.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Last Day

Well, it's come around again. My last day in Moscow. As I've already said many times, it's less sad this time around. There have certainly been a lot less tears. I am kind of hoping that I do cry on the plane tomorrow. The ever-emotional part of me is feeling like I will have lost some of my attachment to Moscow and Russia if I don't cry. But really, I'm feeling fine. This morning I got up feeling ready to hop on a plane. I am ready. I am ready to go to the temple. I am ready to see my roommates and other friends and be in my cute little Lookout House and be with my family and get back to a normal life.

My plans for the day involve me going to work to pick up a present they have for me (they are really so nice, I have felt so needed and appreciated the past little while), dropping something off at the Central building, eating a last Russian meal at Teremok, and then wandering around center. I really want to see Red Square at night, because I love that place. I love this entire city.