Sunday, December 27, 2009

There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays

It's been a mad scramble as we've tried to see everyone we could while in the States...On Monday we were in Utah, Tuesday Texas, Friday Iowa and Saturday Missouri...

We had dinner with Ken and Mo, and met new baby Charlie

We had a Christmas party at Kyle and Andrea's house, which included a white elephant gift exchange

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We met with my old friend Maren and her husband Scott. Really the first time we've hung out since Jacob Lake. We ate at One World Everybody Eats which serves organic food and you choose how much you pay for the meal, then walked Temple Square.

Beautiful Salt Lake Temple

Two girls from home with their babies. Olivia, Jennifer's oldest, is so funny. She was scared of me because I didn't have a baby, but warmed up to me after a while. Maleah has a baby girl named Makani. It's so strange to see friends with babies.

We had sushi with Jared and Sarah

We went to Texas Roadhouse with Jefferson and Erica. Felt like home!

The happy couple, Kenny and Iva

I had to give a speech at the wedding. First time I've ever cried out of happiness :)

Santa and Mrs. Claus came to the Hansen Christmas party! They were larger than life and sang Christmas carols!

Grandma loved her scarf from Barcelona

We sang Christmas carols and visited with Mrs. King, our high school choir teacher. That's her CUTE niece who I could hang out with all day :)

Jacob, Kai, and Jack bonded over Nintendo

Our Christmas tree with the typical amount of presents underneath. Jacob knocked the tree over this year, it was funny!

Jack, the whirling dervish
At the Christmas music party. I performed O Holy Night after a bit of social pressure, Kai did God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Jack jammed on his sax, and there was paper plate smashing to the Hallelujah Chorus and bell ringing one person to a note for Joy to the World. Afterwards, Jacob recited poetry in French. Kai called it "the elitist music party"

Christmas goodies at the Hillers

Grandpa Hiller is something else. Here is an exchange that happened the day after Christmas. Jacob and I were sleeping on the floor. It was nine am. Grandpa woke us up, saying we had to get to work.
Grandpa: You didn't have to work in Utah, and at your parents house you didn't have to work, but HERE you will work!
Me: (sleepily) Well, I cooked dinner at my parent's house.
Grandpa: (suspiciously) What did you make?
Me: Fish and vegetables.
Grandpa: Hmph. Store-bought fish?
Me: Did you want me to go catch fish in the middle of winter?
Grandpa: Well, that's what I did. Back in Minnesota, we'd cut a hole in the ice...

I got up.

Kate's boyfriend Bart is actually from Southlake, Texas! What a small world. Would've been funny if I'd wore my letter jacket to Christmas this year...he would've recognized it! We played Grandpa's rummy.

Al and Laura and Cindy. Cindy and I had each other for the gift exchange. I gave her a Moroccan pillow, she gave me a Hopi necklace, vase, and candy for Jacob :)

We didn't get to spend as much time with anyone as we would have liked to, but it was great to see all of them! We got lots of travel-helpful things for Christmas, such as an ebook reader, world phones, travel compartments for my computer and makeup, a scanner for business receipts, etc. We are now preparing for our next world trip... ASIA.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Flash Flood

We are in Utah for my friend's wedding and to spend time with family. It is so nice to be around people we've known longer than 3 weeks. My super nice uncle, Uncle Kevin, lent us his Saturn to use for an entire month. Our adventures have followed us here, however. In an ironic twist, in the nicest place, possibly, that we have stayed in our travels, our hotel flooded. The fourth floor collapsed; incredibly, no one was hurt. A frozen water pipe had burst.

Jacob was gone to lunch with Dan Todd, his former business partner, and I had just gotten up and was on the computer when I heard a sound like it was raining inside the hotel. I thought it strange, but figured they were cleaning something and continued working until the ceiling started to drip. Then, I still thought it was just our room, and before I left I had to make myself presentable. I got dressed and put on some makeup. It was a surprise when I opened the door and saw the hall flooded with water about two inches deep. I asked a hotel manager down the hall what was going on. His only answer was, "Everything is under control!"

I went back to my computer and continued to work, tucking in my chair away from the growing puddle of water. I didn't want to wait outside in the cold for Jacob, who had the car. Fortunately, he showed up just as the firemen were insisting that we all exit.

We came back in the dead of night, snuck into the building with the electricity all turned off, and reclaimed our possessions. We are now staying at the Provo Travelodge until further notice...

And we just found out today we will not be moving back there. We are now at the Amenities Inn in Provo. Also, I have gotten food poisoning twice since coming here! Both times it was from over-processed cheese pizzas. One from Freschetta's, the other from Sbarros. I am really grossed out by fast food now. Utah has proved to be our craziest adventure yet.

As a side note...I have started working out at the gym and I love it. I even went the other day when Jacob didn't go. Weird. I have read up on how nothing can replace weight lifting for your long-term health, but I have used the fact that I often walk for 3 hours a day as no need to lift weights, and when I had a membership at Gold's Gym I didn't really get into it because I found the weight machines intimidating.

I had this strange perception that girls only go to the gym because they think they're fat, and that working out will make you look masculine. With those myths dispelled, and with the realization that working out can help my posture, I am motivated and excited to work out.

It's funny because the gym was the only time Jacob and I were we're going to be together about 24/7. Good thing we enjoy each other's company :)
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