Sunday, July 18, 2010

Home of the Free, because of the Brave

I have been able to go to some truly incredible places in my life! My whole life, my parents raised me to be patriotic and respect the flag and what it stands for etc. But through some of my trips, this "American Pride" has grown in me more and more as I have seen things like Pearl Harbor, Ground Zero, The White House, allll the war memorials in D.C. But nothing more than living in China for those four months.

1 night in China during one of our many "boardtalks" we talked about how great America is and how lucky we are, how good we have things...... Ironically enough, that same night I checked my email to find a letter from Ash saying that Jake was going to be deploying. June 25th was the long awaited and dreaded day.

To make a long story short, it was exactly what we expected it to be: hard and awful. He flew out at night so all day it was in the back of my mind, yet everything still seemed normal for the most part. Before we left for the base, my mom pulls a flag out of the garage and tells him that she wants him to put it up in the front yard and "It will stay there until YOU come home and take it out."...while crying of course. I'm pretty sure it was my mom's way of saying stay safe and make it back. This is when I started thinking "Well this is kinda weird."

We stopped for dinner on the way up and still just normal minus the fact that he was in full military uniform. Once we got to the base, we went through security and started to help unload a little bit. I looked around and saw HUNDREDS of uniformed men and woman with their kids and spouses, greeting other military friends, carrying their packs and loading trucks when I suddenly had a huge lump in my throat and it hit me that this was finally actually happening.

I didn't want to make things harder for Ash so I refused to let myself think about it and my welled up tears quickly disappeared. Thank heavens! We hung out and snacked and took pictures for a couple hours. The Deseret News had interviewed "The Brandt Boys" before because there are 3 of them going at the same time and in there he said how they seemed more like a 3 man comedy troop than 3 men heading out to war and he was exactly right! The whole time we were in the hanger I was amazed at their attitudes and how chill and relaxed they were.

Ricky (practically the 4th brother) was on the first plane and the other 3 were on the second. At this point I was still okay and things were back to seeming surreal. I went up to the front to get some pictures for Britt and I see this dad (one of mannnnny) hugging his 2 little boys, all three of them crying. I focused on pictures the same time that the dad wiped his eyes and walked away. Immediatly the younger of the brothers started to chase after him a little bit, sobbing! I will never forget his voice when he said "Daddy don't go!" Almost just as quick, the older brother was at his side, put his arm around him (still crying also) and said "It's okay buddy he'll be back!" I LOST IT!

After we said bye to Jake we stood and watched them do final formation. Earlier, Jake had ranted for 20 minutes how he was upset that you never got a second hug like they do in the movies. So NATURALLY, after their formation he was able to hurry over to get one last hug and a couple seconds with Ash. It was awesome! Then they started to line up to get on the plane so the sisters stood on the chairs watching and taking pictures until we lost sight of him. He text Ash saying what window he was in so we waved and yelled with everybody else as the plane taxied away behind their police escort. Walking out to the parking lot Brittany and I talked about how "God Bless the USA" was stuck in our head all night. The plane took off right as we were getting into all our cars.

Thanks for everything you're doing Jake, Joe, Rich, Ricky and all of Unit 141 and other soliders! Good luck and STAY SAFE!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sweet Home...Provo Utah

"I'm happy in New York Jake! But then I come down here...and this fits too!" "Well who says you can't have roots AND wings?"

These are the wise word spoken on one of my all time favorite movies: Sweet Home Alabama! It's at the point where Reese is trying to decide whether she wants to stay with her new life in New York after going home to Alabama and realizing how much she loves it there too. Let's just say...I know exactly how she feels!

Since January I have had some extremely hard months. I've tried to decide if they fall into that "hardest of my life" category but for story sake let's just stick with plain difficult. At one point back in the end of February/end of March I was so ready to pack up and head out of this town and never look back. I suddenly wanted nothing to do with ANYBODY down here and wanted to erase everything that happened in those 3 months since being home. Things were done, words were said and feelings were hurt. It was then that I got this little idea "Well what if it's time to move somewhere else."

I went through so many options that I even considered going to Ukraine, back to China or possibly even a little adventure in Puerto Rico. All of these sounded AMAZING, exciting, new and just fun which is exactly what I wanted. But unfortunatly none of them felt even remotely right for me. "Life" got better and I stopped wishing my semester away and had a BLAST! I got to be really good friends with some new people and learned a lot about myself again. My Ukraine, China and Puerto Ricos dreams were put on a back burner as just fun thoughts but nothing serious.

Even though the city thoughts went away, I still wasn't able to shake the feeling that maybe it was time for somewhere new again. I begin to think of more logical, responsible ideas like Logan, Provo or maybe even California. Loooooooong story short I realized that it's time to go home for a little bit. I've missed out on A LOT of both family and friend things and that made me super sad the other night. My little brother is starting his mission papers and I don't want to miss out on his last few months here.

Soooooo Provo it is! It's going to be so weird to go back to being an official resident there again. I have no life in Provo outside of what it was in high school so I'm way pumped to see what this brings me! I can't wait to get to hang out with old friends again and definetly meet some new ones too.

If I could run the world.....everybody from Provo, St. George, China crew, Price and everybody else that meant something to me would all live in one big town together! That way I never missed anybody and had the people I love around me all the time instead of ALWAYS being away from somebody. Because I think that missing somebody is the worst feeling ever!

On to my last 3 weeks in Geezy. Yeah I bawled :) Definetly another adventure but also going to be a bittersweet one!