Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Oh, Hey There

Hiiiiiiiii. I know it's been a while. I shouldn't even be writing this now, because I am supposed to be writing a paper that is due in 23 hours and still needs another nine pages. However, I randomly remembered that I have a blog, so here's a brief life update on what has happened in the past three months since I've last blogged.

I wrote a thesis. It came in at about 30 pages long, changed direction about three or four times, and really muddled up my life for a long time. Even though it's been done for almost two weeks now, it still feels very surreal that I'm not working on it. It's not the paper that I'm most proud of as far as content and quality go, but I am proud that I made it through, especially since a lot of the grunt work of writing it came at very emotionally-taxing times for me.

I started--and completed, more or less--my last quarter of my Masters program. The paper mentioned above is my last paper--EVER. It's a little bittersweet, seeing how this means I probably won't be back in the classroom for a while, but honestly, it's time for me to let go of academia and move my life into the professional sphere. Grad school has kind of killed my love of school (for the moment?), which in turn caused an identity crisis because I didn't like school, and I am Rachel Ashby, who even am I if I don't like school? I'm very grateful that I did my program though, because I learned a lot about myself, moved to Chicago (which is a dream), and met some really great people.

Speaking of leaving school, tomorrow I'm done with work, and graduation is in 11 days, which means I'm now on the hunt for a job in Chicago. If you have any leads of really just about anything you think I might be interested in slash would pay me a reasonable amount of money + benefits, hook me up.

I'm also going to throw my book update in here, since books are related. I've only read 2 books: Letters to a Young Mormon (which I highly recommend, it was a beautiful and enlightening read) and All the Light We Cannot See (which is beautifully written and I have mixed feelings about). I won't be writing a blog post on either of these books, because it's been a very long time since I read either one of them, so consider this my mention of them. I got behind (2 books/months) on my reading because school and thesis and mostly a boy named Spencer, who--if you don't know about him already--you'll learn about shortly.

So yeah, outside of school I try to be a person. In the past three months, I've been visited by four of my best friends, I've walked hundreds of miles around Chicago. I've been to at least three museums, some multiple times. I've watched season 2 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, seasons 1-3 of Arrested Development, and quite a bit of some other TV shows.

I dealt with my grandmother's passing. The day the first full draft of my thesis was due, I learned that she was in the ICU and probably not going to make it through the night, which was in fact the case. I was in an emotionally catatonic state for the rest of the week and made a quick trip out to Utah for her funeral. It was a really rough week, but I made it through, thanks to my family, Spencer, and a renewed and strengthened testimony of the resurrection and eternal families. She was an amazing woman and I am so blessed to have her not only as my grandma forever, but also as a huge influence on my life.

In the past few weeks, I've made the transition from counselor in my branch's Relief Society presidency to President, so that has been an adventure. Our branch is small with a lot of heart, so I'm really looking forward to continuing to serve my sisters there.

Mostly, though, the biggest, most wonderful person/thing/event/distraction/blessing that has happened in the past few months is that I started dating my best friend. About a week before my last blog post, I started spending a lot of time talking to a kid in my branch on Facebook messenger, and we became best friends very quickly (it already helped that we had been casual church friends for like six months, but still). And about a week after my last blog post, we started dating. The past three months have been pure joy, at the risk of sounding sappy. Spencer has been by my side during all of the really hard and difficult things mentioned above, but he's also been at my side during all of the fun things like wading into freezing cold Lake Michigan, exploring the Loop, trying to try every single donut place in Chicago (which should get it's own blog post one day), meeting all my friends, and talking (whether in person or online) at literally every single hour of the day. I've never met anyone who thinks so much like me and is so similar to me, while still being so different and complementary. I'm so grateful for him. And yes, since we're together basically every single second that we are not in class or at work, it's his fault that I haven't been reading for fun or blogging. For lots of really cute pictures of us, check out my Instagram. Although, if you're reading this, you probably already knew all of this and have probably already seen all the cute pictures.

Other items of note: I mastered all of the fast raps in Hamilton, bought some furniture for cheap, tried to work out a few times.

Enough about the past, here's to the future! Here are some quick bullet points about what I'm looking foward to in the next three months--although I do hope that I blog again before that rolls around:

  • Finishing this paper and graduation
  • Meeting Spencer's family and visiting him in Utah a lot/his visits to Chicago (I am not looking forward to being apart from him for three months)
  • job  career
  • NYC with some of my best friends to hang out with them and see Hamilton
  • A month of yoga
  • Moving into my own apartment--no roommates, no furnishings, just me in a studio or one bedroom somewhere in Chicago