August 31, 2014

Things We've Learned Since Moving To Eugene

We have quickly learned many things about Oregon more specifically about Eugene that we had wished we had known before we had moved. Hopefully if you find yourself moving to Eugene you can learn from our experience thus far.
  1. You don't have to pay sales tax in Oregon, this is a nice perk.
  2. The con to not paying sales tax is that you pay 9% income tax.
  3. Not sure if this is a pro or a con, but you can't pump your own gas. Still getting use to this.
  4. People tend to be very friendly drivers. They drive the speed limit and they know what a blinker is.
  5. The roads are not in a grid system like Utah--GPS would be helpful.
  6. There are lots of trees everywhere! Everything grows in Eugene except for my aloe plant, it has recently taken a turn for the worst.
  7. Nose rings, tattoos, and dreadlocks are all the rage here.
  8. People seem pretty relaxed about--well, everything.
  9. Beer and pubs are a huge deal to most locals--many people brew their own drinks.
  10. There is a strange law that allows women to go around in public topless-- haven't experienced this one yet and hope not too.
  11. There is a thing called "Country Fair" that happens every July--avoid it like the plague. It is basically an excuse for people to run around half naked and hopped up on drugs. (We were warned about this the first day we arrived).
  12. There are A LOT of hippies. The first day I saw hippies I was driving down the road and they were dancing on the corner, holding signs that said smile, and making peace signs. And as you may have guessed they had dreadlocks. All I could do was laugh to myself.
  13. Saturday market is a place to go to buy over priced "organic" produce. Not a place to go to buy food, but if you're in to people watching you should hit it up.
  14. Don't eat at the Cornucopia they will serve your bloody burgers--I learned this from experience.
  15. The only good (by good I mean tasty) place we have found to eat is Voodoo Doughnuts--mmm doughnuts.
  16. Running is huge here. They call it "Track Town" for a reason.
  17. Eugene is close to hiking, fishing, camping, and the ocean--it's great if you like to be outdoors.
  18. You cannot get plastic grocery sacks at any stores in Eugene, it is illegal. You either have to bring your own bag or pay $0.05 for each paper bag. This makes grocery shopping difficult at times.
  19. There is a strange thing called bottle collection. Anytime you buy any sort of bottle or beverage you are charged an additional $0.05 for each bottle. If you save your bottles and take them to a bottle collection location you can get your money back. Be careful when using the collection machine or you might crush your hand.
  20. Be prepared to pay to go to the parks--so far it has been $4.00 each time we have gone.
  21. Jerry's is like Home Depot on steroids, it's great!
  22. Blackberries grow like weeds and make for some great jam.
  23. Very large (by large I mean 2-3 inches in diameter) poisonous spiders abound--we have found our fair share.
  24. Moss grows on everything from roofs, to cars, to cement. It comes off when pressure washed.
  25. Most people let their lawns die in the summer--it's the norm.
  26. Thrift stores are everywhere-- love this!
  27. Everyone is quackers about the Ducks.
  28. Rush hour consists of 3 minutes of slow traffic and 15 minutes (aka 7 miles) is far away.
  29. In regards living space everything is smaller, pay more get less.
  30. People are very very friendly.
  31. Farmer-plaid, suspenders and beards are always in style. We call it the lumberjack look.
To sum it up expect the unexpected when in Eugene, pretty much everything goes. We have experienced our fair share of culture shock but things are good. So far we are loving this new adventure in life called Eugene, Oregon!

August 27, 2014

Adventures In Moving

On June 1st we drove from Orem, Utah to Ontario, Oregon (this ended up being an all day drive). When we were about an hour away from Boise we drove in to a windstorm. The wind was so strong that we had to significantly slow down on the freeway. By the time we arrived at our hotel, we were both ready to crash--long road trips can do that to a person.

The next morning we work up and continued on our journey to Eugene. We drove through the Great Basin for what felt like an eternity (there was not much to look at). We did find some canabalistic rodents that would eat their dead friends off the highway, it was kind of funny to watch.

We decided to stop and get some lunch in Burns, Oregon. Since their weren't many places to eat we opted to get some food at the Safeway deli--this was a very bad decision. About 40 minutes later Andy and I both learned that we had eaten some bad food. Nothing like getting food poisoning in the middle of no where-- I'm not even kidding when I say there was one rest area during a 3 hour stretch of our drive and no where else to stop in between. The food was so bad that I was sick for 3-4 days.

We arrived in Eugene on the evening of June 2nd and the first thing we did was go to check out our new place. As soon as we opened the front door I was devastated by what I saw and smelt. I was ready to cry and began to question our decision in moving. Our place smelled strongly of weed. There were huge scratches in the hardwood floors (we had been told that these would be taken care of before we moved in). There was dog hair everywhere and the place was covered in spiderwebs. There was black mold and grass growing in the widows. The grass outside was a foot and a half tall. The place was a MESS! How could I move into a place like this? This place looked nothing like the pictures we had seen. I was devastated. I felt cheated and robbed. We opted to say in a hotel that night since the property management company was closed for the evening.

The next morning my step mom (Julie) and little brother Russell flew in to help us--and I am so grateful they were able to come. We showed them our place and headed straight to the property management company. The property management company was friendly and said they would get people over that day to come and clean and mow they grass. They told us it should not be in the state that it was.

The rest of the day was spent setting up our utilities, contacting our new bishop, setting up our new bank account, and unloading our stuff. A crew came by and took care of the grass but the cleaning crew was no where to be seen.

There was so much dog hair in the place that my throat started tightening (I'm allergic to dogs). Between my allergies and the food poisoning I wasn't able to unload many boxes.--As you may have guessed we stayed in the hotel again.

The next day Andy and I decided to pressure was the outside of the house, the garage, and the driveway. The house was covered in bird poop, the garage was full of cobwebs, and the driveway had a lot of moss growing on it. As we were in the middle of pressure washing a lady walked up to me and asked if we lived in our place and I told her we had just moved in the day before. She said that she had orders to clean it and I invited her and her crew right in. Their were 4 gals in total who came to clean and they cleaned for about 4 hours (16 hours in total between the 4 of them). They cleaned as much as they could around all of boxes but were only able to do so much. I told them I was grateful that they had come because with my allergies there was no way I could have cleaned all of that.

We stayed in our new place that night. Andy went to work the next morning and I went with him to help setup his desk. After his stuff was situation we came home to continue unpacking.

Moving is a BIG job, especially if you are moving into an unexpectedly dirty place. As you could probably imagine I spent most of the next month cleaning (really deep cleaning) and unpacking all day, everyday while Andy was at work. I still have a few more areas of the house to tackle in regards to the deep cleaning but I'm almost there. It will be a happy day when everything is clean and in its proper place.

Until next time...

August 25, 2014

Peace Out Utah!

On May 30th and 31st some friends and family helped us pack up our apartment, loaded all of our belongings into a 26' long Uhaul, and deep clean our apartment. The landlords came and did our final inspection and we said our good byes. I found myself sitting in the front of the Uhaul with tears in my eyes as we pulled away.

I have mixed feelings about Utah and about leaving the place I called home for the last few years. I went to college in Utah, this was my first time being completely on my own. I have fond memories of my roommates (Breann, Mindy, Becca, and Nancy). I remember sharing the gospel with the sweetest girl from China, it was the highlight of my freshman year in college. I struggled for the first time in my life academically, BYU is a very tough school. I met many wonderful people and made lots of friends during my time in Utah who touched my life for the better. I met my husband. I learned to drive a tractor (yeah, I'm kind of proud of that since I grew up in the city). I was part of a great ward (Cherry Hill 7th). I had a job that I loved, where I was surrounded by people whose presence I enjoyed. I had mountains in my backyard that I could go hike and climb at my leisure and had a near death experience on the top of Mt. Timp. I had a gym and exercise classes that loved to go to. Being able to go to the temple at a moments notice was also something I thoroughly enjoyed.

At the same time leaving Utah is sort of a relief for me. One of the hardest trials in my life came about while living in Utah, I don't want to go into the details but we will leave it at- people can be really cruel. This trial is still something I am trying to work through and wrap my head around. Being away from everything and everyone involved is definitely a blessing. I don't miss all of the crazy drivers (yes, I did just go there). Blinkers exist for a reason and they don't mean speed up and don't let me in. I also enjoy being outside of the Utah "bubble." The bubble can be a good thing but at the same time it doesn't allow room for differing opinions and opinions are something I value.

One chapter in my life is closing but a new story is beginning. Stay tuned for our adventures in Oregon.

Zumba, Zumba & More Zumba

My last week in Utah, was spent doing A LOT of Zumba. I went to my Zumba class on Tuesday thinking that that would be my last class. I said my good byes and took some photos. Just as I was getting ready to leave, my instructor (Shelly) said, "You're going to be here Thursday, right?" I told her I would try but I couldn't make any promises since we were moving and still had a lot of packing to do. She asked what my favorite Zumba song was and said she would play it for me on Thursday. In case your wondering my favorite song is Sadi Gali by Lehmber Hussainpuri-- it's pretty awesome!
This is photo was taken after our hour long workout, someone didn't think to take a photo before class.
Wednesday night was my last night attending a Young Women's activity with my girls and you're never going to guess what our activity was....If you guessed Zumba, you're right. We had a sister in our ward and her son (who is a certified Zumba instructor) come and teach the girls Zumba. Neither of them had actually taught a class before, so it was a little interesting. They asked me to teach some basic Salsa moves to the girls since they had never had to teach those to anyone before (my ballroom dance class in high school paid off).
My girls and fellow leaders!

It was sad saying bye to my girls, I may have cried just a little. I don't usually get very emotional but I have a hard time saying good bye. I miss each of you very much. You all have a piece of my heart. Thank you so much for letting me learn and grow with you!

As luck would have it, I was able to sneak out on Thursday night to go to my last (for reals this time) Zumba class. Most of the other Young Women leaders/friends in the ward came to Zumba too, it was a welcomed surprise! When my favorite song came on Shelly announced that it was my last class and asked me to come forward to help lead Sadi Gali. Thanks for letting me help lead Shelly, it was fun and I really enjoyed myself!

Since we moved, I have been looking for a new Zumba class to attend but I haven't found one yet that is as fun and intense as Shelly's. Maybe I need to get certified to teach...hmm...If I ever end up back in Utah, you know where to find me.

**Totally just started crying because I miss my Zumba class and my Young Women***

August 15, 2014

For The Love Of Zumba!

Sometimes things in life don't go as planned and sometimes life is just hard. When life throws you a curve ball what do you do? I exercise. Running, spinning, swimming, weight lifting, dancing, soccer-- you name it and I'm there.

Awhile back life threw me a curve ball and as you probably guessed, I started dancing. More specifically I started doing Zumba. I found an instructor that I loved and started attending her classes twice a week. There were days that I was tired (working full time can do that to you) but I had committed to myself that I was going to go, so I would get myself up off the couch and out the door to class. Each class I attended I would give 110%.

I think Steve Prefontaine said it best, "To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift."  (This is  one of my all time favorite quotes and worthy of its own post sometime in the future). What is the point of exercising if your not going to give it your all? Right?

The first few Zumba classes I went to I felt kind of dumb. I didn't know what I was doing and I lacked coordination. My friend Fenima told me that I had to go to at least 3 classes, after 3 classes I was hooked.

I'm not ashamed to admit those first few classes really did a number on me, talk about delayed onset muscle soreness (it's a real thing I promise--I'm a science nerd). I would hobble into work and my co-workers would ask what I had done and I would smile and say Zumba. *Note some of my co-workers and their wives started coming to Zumba with me. Zumba is contagious!

After each class I felt at peace with life and with the curve ball that had been thrown my way. I am a firm believer that exercise is a great way to relieve stress and clear your head (I learned this running track and cross country in high school). Between healthy eating and doing Zumba I lost fat, built muscle, and gained more self confidence.

If you have never done Zumba before you should try it. Remember, you have to go at least 3 times before you decide you don't like it. If your self conscious about dancing in front of people you can always attend a black light Zumba class, they are a lot of fun! Did I mention that I love Zumba and that it is a lot of fun? I really do love it!

In case you think Zumba is just a sissy dance class, it's not. We workout our abs, arms, and legs. Typically we do quite a few squats too! Zumba is not just for girls either my Dad and husband have both attended classes with me.

If you live in Orem and want to go get a really good Zumba workout let me know and I will tell you where to go.

Here's to Zumba!

August 14, 2014

To Kill A Mockingbird

When I was a sophomore in high school my English teacher had us read To Kill A Mocking Bird. I really enjoyed reading it with my class and learning about all of the symbolism in the story. It really was a great read.

I recently reread To Kill A Mockingbird (Sadly I forgot a lot of the story line, hence the need to reread it). I have to say that I love this book as much as I loved it in high school.

One night I even convinced Andy to watch the old black and white version of the movie with me (after I finished the book of course). Andy isn't much of a reader but he really enjoyed the movie and the storyline.

If you have never read To Kill A Mockingbird you really should, you won't regret it!

*On a side note, I have 6 more books to read to accomplish my goal of reading 12 books this year. I'm half way there! Thanks Jenni for inspiring me to read more!

August 13, 2014

Dance Festival

Every year at Cherry Hill Elementary the school puts on a dance festival. Each grade level learns a dance to a popular song and dresses up to perform it at the end of the school year. This year I was able to go with my friend Fenima and watch two of her cute kids (Malachi and Jessa perform). Jessa was so cute! She danced to the theme song from Wreck It Ralph and Malachi danced to What Does The Fox Say? I have to say, Malachi is an awesome dancer! Thanks for letting me join you guys. I had a blast!

August 12, 2014

Hiking Squaw Peak

When you are going throughout your day do you ever stop and take a minute to look at the world around you? Do you ever look at the highest point wherever you are and say to yourself, "I'm going to climb that."? Maybe I'm weird, but this is something I do all the time. If there is a mountain to be climbed, I want to climb it.

Living in Utah I found myself surrounded by mountains and I wanted to climb all of them. Unfortunately, due to weather and a move coming up this didn't happen. However, Andy and I were able to get out there and climb Squaw Peak on May 24th (the weekend before we moved).

Having never hiked Squaw Peak before we weren't quite sure where the trail head was. We parked in the wrong parking lot and hiked an extra half a mile or so in search of the trail. Don't worry though, we found it. We always do.

Andy starting out on the trail.

Round trip the hike was 7-8 miles long and it was a steep one. We had our trekking poles with us and we were both really grateful that we brought them; they were put to good use. The hike up was beautiful! We hiked though trees and meadows and crossed over a stream several times.
Close to the top.

The closer we got to the top, the deader it looked.

For some reason the bumble bees were attracted to Andy and one would come and fly in circles around Andy's feet. He would step on it or hit it until it died with his trekking pole and a few minutes later another one would come. Each time a bee would come, we would stop so he could kill it. The killing of the bees really slowed us down. For those who don't know I am terrified of bees so this was a scary hike for me in that regard.
The view from the top was amazing!

The view from the top was amazing! You can see the Provo Temple, Mt. Nebo (still need to climb this one, it still had too much snow on it), Mt. Timpanogos, and Eagle Mountain.

Looking down the cliff face almost makes one dizzy. It's kind of crazy to think that we climbed that much in elevation over the course of just a few miles.
Andy feeling proud that we made it to the top.

We did it!

I love this photo because you can see my arm muscles that's a first.

We didn't stay on the summit for very long because the sun was starting to set and we didn't want to encounter any animals on our way down (bears and cougars). I'm so glad we had our trekking poles for the hike down; my legs were shaking on the way down with the poles. I can only imagine how bad they would have shook without them.

We hiked part of the way out with our headlamps. As we hit a part of the trail that we gravel I couldn't help but notice shiny green eyes in the rocks. I quickly discovered that these green eyes belonged to hobo spiders. I was amazed how many spiders there were, they were kind of creepy. **Note to self** Don't go walking on this trail in sandals.

We both really enjoyed ourselves. This is one hike I would definitely do again!

*There is something about doing something that seems impossible and daunting to me that I love-- maybe that is where my love of hiking comes from. Or maybe it is just that I enjoy being in nature and taking in the world around me. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by so many beautiful places that God created for me to enjoy.

August 11, 2014

Farewell Henry Schein

I'm not one who typically gets teary eyed but saying good bye does something to me. My last day working at Henry Schein was May 23rd and I had a hard time leaving and saying good bye. Henry Schein was my home away from home and my co-workers were like family. I learned a lot while I was there and I made a lot of memories.

On my last day me co-workers threw are barbeque for me and gave me a good bye card. As I was saying my good byes and packing out my stuff I started to cry and I cried a good portion of the way home. To my Henry Schein Family, thank you for everything! I miss you dearly! Please keep in touch!

*I'm getting teary eyed just writing this post.

August 10, 2014

Provo Recreation Center

I think it is safe to say I love swimming! I wouldn't classify myself as a great swimmer but I sure to love being in the water. Remember how back in December we went swimming at the Aquatics Center in Jackson? In case you missed that post, you can read it here. We had a great time swimming in Jackson and can't wait to go back.

When Provo built a new rec center complete with an aquatics center we were excited! We remembered how much fun we had in Jackson and couldn't wait to try out the new facility, this was something we had to do before we moved.

One Friday after work, we grabbed some dinner at Olive Garden and then headed to the pool. Sadly, the new facility wasn't as fun and we had hoped it would be. We went down the water slides to quickly discover there was a small space between each piece of the slide, it made for a painful ride and one time down was enough for each of us.

Next we decided to go swim some laps. I wanted swim and mile and  Andy said he would do it with me. We quickly discovered that the water was very cold. I kept sneezing because I was so cold. As you could probably guess, we didn't end up swimming our mile.

We spent some time in the lazy river but that water was pretty cold too and we could only handle the cold for so long. The majority of our time was spent in the hot tub trying to stay warm.

Swimming was a bit of a downer for us but we did enjoy spending time with each other. Hopefully we can get back to our favorite swimming hole in Jackson one of these days.

August 7, 2014

Our Dear Friends The Prices

Shortly after we moved Orem, the Price family moved into our ward and we quickly became friends with them. We spent a lot of time with the Price’s and their four kids. We laughed together, we cried together, we played together, and just had fun with them. Most Sunday nights were spent playing games together. It was in playing games with them that I developed a love for the game Risk—crazy I know.

Before we moved we were able to get once last game night in with Fenima and Malachi. Unfortunately, Scott wasn’t able to be there.

I am so grateful that the Price family came into our lives; they have truly been a blessing and joy to know. Andy and I both love this cute family and consider them part of our own family. We hope to be able to see them again sometime soon!

Here are a few throwback pictures when Fenima and I danced together for Indonesian Independence Day back in 2012.

August 4, 2014

Cafe Rio & Packing

On Friday May 9th we had planned to go on a date, unfortunately by the time we got home we were both exhausted. Instead of doing what we had planned, we decided to grab something to eat at Cafe Rio one last time (since they don't have them in Oregon). After eating we headed home to pack some boxes--packing boxes didn't make for a very exciting evening, such is life sometimes.

August 3, 2014

You Ask Why I Follow Jesus?

At church one Sunday the teacher handed us some bookmarks with the poem below on it. I really like this poem, the words resonated with me so I thought I would share it.

You Ask Why I Follow Jesus?

You ask why I follow Jesus?
Why I love him the way I do?
When the world's turned away from His teachings
And the people who serve Him are few.

It's not the rewards I'm after
Or the gifts that I hope to receive
It's the Presence that calls for commitment
It's the Spirit I trust and believe.

The Lord doesn't shelter His faithful
Or spare them all suffering and pain, 
Like everyone else I have burdens, 
And walk through my share of rain.

Yet He gives me a plan and a purpose,
And that joy only Christians have know,
I never know what comes tomorrow, 
But I do know I'm never alone.

It's the love always there when you need it;
It's the words that redeem and inspire,
It's the longing to ever be with Him
That burns in my heart like a fire.

So you ask why I love my Lord Jesus?
Well, friends, that's so easy to see,
But the one thing that fills me with wonder is
Why Jesus loves someone like me.