10 August 2011


six things i learned on this trip:

1. even if you have some doubts about how things will pan out in certain scenarios, that does NOT mean you don't try at all.

here's the deal... i knew in the very beginning - months ago - that personalities would clash and tensions would rise at certain moments of the trip between sam, diana, and me.  though we're alike enough to get along well and be great friends, we're a lot different when it comes to other things.  knowing this, i could have opted out of the trip.  but i didn't, and i'm glad.  not just because i had amazing experiences on this trip, but because i feel that when everything is said and done, we're all so much better friends now.

i'm a total believer in the notion that in order to realize the potential in relationships and friendships, there needs to be disagreements and tensions.  once those bumps are overcome, you come together and grow from it all.  and, it makes the good moments so much better.  i love sam and diana with all my heart, and i'm so grateful that they put up with me and that we were able to do this together.

2. i am not moving to portland.  right now.

i loved the city, don't get me wrong.  it's beautiful, it's feels safe and there are so many things to do there.  i feel that one day, a long time from now, i could move to the portland area and raise a family and feel totally good about it.  but as long as i'm still single, it's definitely a no-go.  why?

because there are only hipsters there!

in my book, there are two kinds of hipsters.  there are the obvious ones - covered in tattoos, wearing their trendy uo clothes, riding their fixies, heads one third shaved, listening to obscure music.  and then there are the more subtle ones, the hipsters who aren't outwardly obvious hipsters, but they believe in all of the core hipsters values (in my observation, these hidden hipsters are often young parents).

anyway, i was overwhelmed at the makeup of this city.  everyone looked the same, and i thought i was going to suffocate.  i can handle being around a handful of hipsters on campus and in english classes during the semester, and i admittedly have enough hipster-ish qualities to get along with them and other hipster-ish people of the like.  but i can't make that jump into a hipster-only community right now.  non merci.

3. i'm good at driving.  for long periods of time, that is.

before this trip, the longest i had ever driven in one sitting was about two hours.  but i discovered that as long as i've got my tunes + talk radio and a comfortable pair of sunglasses, driving for six hours isn't so terrible.

4. the effects of bike crashes last longer than you think.

two and a half weeks later, i'm happy to say it's not such an eyesore anymore.  but there's still a giant shadow on my arm and every so often i'll hit it again and it hurts.  i messed up my hip or something when i crashed too, and if i stand in place for too long at work, it will get super stiff and painful.

but the worst part is my poor bike.  the grip tape is dirty and rubbed away on one side.  the tires are dirty, the frame is scratched and scuffed, the seat isn't as tight as i would like it to be.  i gave it some lovin' yesterday and cleaned it up as best as i could, but you can never get white back to being white once it's dirty.

5. headgear always saves the day.

haven't washed your hair in several days?  have a forehead plagued with several mosquito bites?  there's headgear for that (there's a slogan for a future business venture for ya).

6. this world is beautiful, and we are so lucky to be able to live here.

there were moments all throughout the trip where i had that feeling you get when you realize that you are totally and completely in love with someone - all you do is think about that person and you could spend the rest of your days enjoying that person's company and doing nothing else because what's there when you're together is perfect and good enough.

and each time, that feeling came when we were out loving the weather/scenery/beautiful places of our trip.  there's something about being outside and in the natural world, away from all of the craziness and stresses that makes life so wonderful.  and like a total english geek, i kept thinking of the second chapter from thoreau's walden, where he talks about nature and "simplicity simplicity simplicity!"  it's such an idyllic and romantic state to be in - when you're just in nature and doing nothing but enjoying yourself and everything around you.

thoughts are more clear and pure in nature, i believe it.  there was one moment for me on the trip when i was sitting on a rock looking out at crater lake and the thought popped into my head: Heavenly Father is so good to me.  at first, that was such a strange thought for me to have.  it's not like i ever doubted or struggled with that truth before, and i wasn't looking for some confirmation of it at that time.  regardless of why or how it happened, it did.  and it's true.  Heavenly Father is good to me, and he's good to all of us.  He's blessed us with beautiful places to live in and enjoy, and people to enjoy those places with.

i feel so lucky to have been able to take this trip, and i wish everyone could do the same and have the same experiences i did.  and you can!  like i said before, arizona is a beautiful place too, and if you're looking to commune with nature and feel some good feelings, that can happen here.  so do it.  you'll love it.

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