Monday, February 20, 2012

oh, the life I live.

Hello everyone!

Goodness, it has been MONTHS. What a crazy, crazy time in life for me. I will do my best to provide highlights of the last few months, in a manageable length for you to read. Here goes!


- I had a chance to visit Derek for a short period of time in Portland, OR. It was a relaxing weekend to catch up, say "good-bye", visit old friends from High School & Gesundheit! Institute, explore at OMSI, etc. A very pleasant weekend!

Derek & I in Portland, OR 
-One of my best friends, Kate, came to visit me for a week in CO. I haven't seen Kate in over a year - we had a blast together. We went hiking, saw the zoo lights, went out downtown, etc. Always an enjoyable time with her! Such a sweet heart for flying out to come spend time with me... I am so lucky to have such a great friend. love love love love!

Miss Kate Malia! 
- And THENNNNNNN.... life changed. A lot!

Actually, while Kate was here visiting, I received a call from the Peace Corps. Long story short, they called to inform me that all of the trips to Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras had been canceled. They pulled all of the current volunteers out of El Salvador and Honduras as well, all due to safety concerns. I don't know the whole story, other than the fact that the Peace Corps hasn't deemed that area safe for Peace Corps service anymore. Needless to say, that came as quite a shock, because I was supposed to be leaving about two weeks later (Jan. 2).

I cried. I was mad. I panicked a little. But then, with help from friends and family, started to see the light in the situation. At least I wasn't being sent somewhere unsafe. Onward!

-Christmas with the family was just what I needed after a crazy life change! The whole family was together for the holidays, and of course, a family photo needs to be posted:

The whole fam 

-Well, hello 2012! 2012 brought a lot of big life decisions, all within the first week. I received my new assignment for the Peace Corps. I accepted my assignment to serve in BOTSWANA to work on an HIV/AIDS related project. It wasn't what I was expecting at all, but I am truly looking forward to moving to Africa. When I originally applied to the Peace Corps, I wanted to go to Africa, and somehow with the way life has worked out, this is where I have been called to be. I think this is truly what God has planned for me & hopefully third time is the charm, and I will actually be leaving! (Cross your fingers!)

New assignment for the Peace Corps 
- Now, along with the exciting news comes the heartbreaking, difficult news. Travel within the first six months with the Peace Corps is prohibited, and with me leaving in April, that means I can't travel until November. I am SO SAD to say that I will have to miss one of my best friends weddings. My college roommate, Mackenzie, is getting married in July & I already bought my bridesmaid dress with all of the girls. I was going to be able to make it back for her wedding with my original assignment, and now it isn't possible. My beautiful, graceful friend has accepted this, although neither of us are happy about it. I love her to pieces & this was definitely one of the most difficult pieces of "bad news" for me to accept. I love you Kenz, so so so much. We are trying to make the most of the time that we do have together while I am here!

Kenzie & I 
-Now, since I didn't leave in January, that left me with FUNEMPLOYMENT. Oh, joy. Finding a job was a nightmare, to say the least, and no one felt like hiring a recent college graduate with no intention of sticking around long term. Go figure, right? After applying for several jobs, I was offered two jobs on the same day. Hurray! I am now working for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion on the Anschutz Medical Campus. I did my internship with this office during my junior year of college & they really needed some temporary help (and I was thankful to take the job!). I am also watching my best friend's little sister after school-- she needs someone to help her with her homework and run her to after school activities. I am now busier than I ever knew I could be! I drive through rush hour, 45 miles to work each way, dress professionally & work with the little one at night. I was so spoiled with my nanny job during college! Goodness, welcome to big kid life, Tate. It's a lot of work! I love what I do, though, so that makes every mile and minute spent so very worth it.

-Wapiyapi Family Retreat! Since I never left in January, I was able to volunteer at the Wapiyapi Family Retreat again this year. It was soooo much fun! It is always a blessing to be able to spend time with the families from camp & I had the chance to be the photographer for the weekend. I took family photos & put together DVD's of the slideshow I made for the weekend. The kids never cease to amaze me & I was able to use some of the clowning skills I learned with Patch Adams this fall. My clown nose was quite popular with the kids, and even the adults. Those children hold such a special place in my heart!!! It was a blessing to be there.

Cute little one wearing my clown nose 
-Well, here we are in February! (how is it already president's day?!?) Time has been flying by. I am trying to cram in as much quality time with friends & family as possible. I am getting to the point where a lot of my time is accounted for before I leave, with friends coming to visit & such. I am really looking forward to visiting my oldest brother, niece & nephew in Vegas in March as well... Lots of crazy fun in the future!

I am thankful to be blessed with a supportive family who has graciously allowed me to live with them throughout the madness of my life lately. They have been nothing short of incredible. I love my friends & family so much. Thanks for all you do... all the words of encouragement, maintaining my optimism, and keeping a smile upon my face. I couldn't do any of this without all of you!

Love & Light,

P.S. I promise I will work at updating my blog more often!!!

P.P.S. I can't help it, I want to share more photos :o)

Visiting two wonderful girls! 
Time at the Aquarium with the Forrester family! 
Quality time with Lizzy Anne! 
Kenzie's Graduation Party! 
Tanner passed his test for student teaching next semester! 
The Classen Family successfully opened their first Max Muscle store !
Playing in Denver with some fantastic friends from camp! 
Family reunion in Akron, CO with the Van Winkle side
Kelsey & Mia in Fort Collins! 
My dear friend moved back to CA!