Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Paradise: Hawaii or Antarctica?

Ryan and I had the opportunity to go to Hawaii on our honeymoon, and it was HEAVEN! We saw so many gorgeous places, and just fell in love with it to the point that we decided someday we WILL live there! We got to go to the black sand beaches on the Big Island, got a private tour of a lava tube hundreds of feet under the ground, stayed on the North Shore of Oahu and went to the Polynesian Cultural Center, went surfing, etc, etc. But my favorite part was hearing the ocean, walking on the beach, and just being in the warm air. This is what it looked like:






It was PARADISE, and I was sad to leave. When we got home, Ryan took me to live with him in Park City (or rather a place right down the road called Deer Mountain). Now, it is beautiful, and I was quite enjoying it...until winter came. Currently, instead of palm trees and ocean and blue skies...I see this when I look out the window:





Yes, all that loveliness is complements of the wonderful storm we got yesterday. Ryan and I had lunch together in Salt Lake and it was not snowing, but we knew that it was supposed to start. I told him that I will be hibernating for the rest of the winter. In my closet. If anyone is looking for me, that's where I'll be. Feel free to slide some food under the door.
Funny thing is, this IS paradise to most of the people who live here in Park City, or who are here on vacation. Nothing but smiles around here when there's a blizzard. I can say for sure that I was NOT smiling as I came up Parley's Canyon last night in the middle of the storm! Then again, that's something I have not done before-braved a snowstorm like that all on my own. I was actually very proud to have gotten myself home in one piece. I think I feel a little more confident about driving in the snow now.
Sometimes I wonder how I could have spent my whole life in Utah and never really have gotten used to the snow. I'm really not a cold weather person! I can't say that I'm an avid skiier (my numerous falls down the bunny slopes of Deer Valley last year will atest to that), or snowboarder, or even a faithful tubing hill patron. I guess our own paradises are not meant to be where we actually live. All those people from various places around the world come to Park City to find their paradises, and I migrate south to find mine. Or would if I could, anyway. At the same time, this is definitely home, and I know that as much as I dislike the cold weather, I will miss the snow if we ever leave here and move to Death Valley or the Amazon jungle or...Texas or something. I do have to admit that the snow is beautiful, and Christmas just isn't the same without it.
Ok, Ok! I DO love Utah! ...maybe I won't hibernate the WHOLE winter.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Sundays on Deer Mountain




Today is November 26, 2006. Ryan and I are sitting on our gray couch waiting for the burnt chocolate chip cookies we forgot to take out of the oven to cool. We're not simply hanging out together as we might have been doing one, two or three years ago. We're not pretending that we're over each other, and that we're just best friends. We're not even boyfriend and girlfriend anymore. WE'RE ACTUALLY MARRIED!!! Yeah. And it's about time. Married life is great. Sundays in married life are great! Being part of a Spanish branch was not really something we had planned on when we were planning our wedding day and life thereafter. It was something we recognized as an option, and it is something that has become a great opportunity. It reminds me of the first 18 years of my life as a member of a Spanish ward and all the quirky things that come with that experience. It reminds me of the small branches I served with in Brazil and the wonderful people. And it reminds me that although we are in Utah, there is much work to be done! We have been able to get more involved with missionary work than we would have been had we been attending the English ward, and it's great!
Right after church today we made some visits with the three sister missionaries in our ward, the ward mission leader and his two small children. On the way I tried to do some teaching and converting of my own, as I tried to explain to the mission leader's six-year-old son that BYU IS in fact better than that "red team" that he roots for. We visited a part member family, and the sisters tried to give a message while all the couple's grandchildren bounced around on the couches, random people showed up at the door, and the phone rang incessantly. Deja vu! I seem to remember trying to teach a certain man about the Book of Mormon while his two sons were using his head for target practice. It can be quite a challenge!
As we drove home, we made plans to have hot dogs for dinner. It was then that I discovered that Ryan doesn't know just how wonderful a hot dog can be. A hot dog from heaven would be put together as follows: two hot dogs, each wrapped in a piece of bacon, placed in an extra fluffy, extra deep bun with only a slit in the top (not the sides, so that LOTS of stuff can be put inside without dripping out). Then it would be topped with beans, cheese sauce, pico de gallo, green salsa, mayonnaise, and a little ketchup. Yes, these kinds of hot dogs really do exist. At the street vendors in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico! I promised Ryan I would take him there someday to have a taste! For now, we contented ourselves with hot dogs on the George Foreman topped with strips of cheddar cheese and salsa made by gringos. They weren't half bad!
But the best part of this Sunday was just hanging out with my husband, eating half burnt cookies, and realizing that I am a very lucky girl.