Friday, December 9, 2011

DC Stole My Heart

*I should have posted this a long time ago*

On September 26, 2011 my friend Alician, her two sisters, and I made our way to Washington DC. We caught a red eye flight at 1130. I couldn't sleep so instead I watched the map on the tv to see where we were in the US. It was actually really interesting and kind of fun. We hung out in the JFK airport for five hours and then flew into Dulles. From there we went to get our rental. We walked into Hertz (never rent from them, ever) and the Indian guy (they were all from India) started helping us. The total he gave us was $500 more than we had been told earlier. It was hot and muggy and when I saw the total it made me feel worse than I already did. I turned to Alician and said I didn't feel well. She told me to not say that and that we were almost done. I asked the guy if that was everything and took a step back. The next thing I remember is Alician asking me if I was ok and several foreign guys standing over me. I. Passed. Out. Literally. Tami and Holly (the two sisters) helped me to a couch and someone called the paramedics. They got there and asked what happened. Apparently I fell straight back. Everyone said it was just like in the cartoons when they're as stiff as a board and just keel over. My head hit the metal barrier and then the floor. I had a pretty good goose egg. The paramedic told me that if I hadn't hit the barrier and, I'm not kidding, if my hair hadn't been so thick, yeah she said that, that I probably would have split my head open. They asked if I needed to go to the ER but I refused. I wasn't about to spend money getting my goose egg looked at. Needless to say it was the perfect way to start our vacation. We took the car, which they "upgraded" because they felt bad. We hated the car and I would not pay the amount they were asking for. So we took Katie's (Alician's cousin we were staying with) cousin back with us to tell them exactly what we thought. She managed to bring our total down to $60 and then we gave the car back. We went to three different rental agencies before we ended up at Enterprise, who I absolutely love! They gave us a great car for a 1/3 of the price any other agency would give us. That day we went to bed at 830. I was an emotional wreck because of my adventure at Hertz. We started our vacation the next day. We spent all of Wednesday and Thursday in the Smithsonian at the American History, the Natural History, and the Air and Space museums. All of the exhibits were incredible. P.S. we rode the metro as much as we could. On Friday we toured the White House, which was incredible. They only do tours through the bottom half of the east wing. BUT, Holly and I went through together and our tour consisted of us, ten or eleven other civilians and guys from the Naval Academy. Uhm. Yes. I never was one for guys in uniform but I have been converted. Wow. That is all I have to say. So we saw all the "color" rooms. Seriously they all had the name of colors: the red room, the green room, the blue room and so on. The rooms were beautiful and there were so many artifacts from presidents as early as John Adams. When we got outside we were looking at the White House and I realized how small it actually is. The movies make it seem so big but it really isn't. We also toured the Library of Congress, where I saw Jefferson's Library, which I want. I've always loved Jefferson and now I love his library too. We toured the Capitol as well. Did you know that the room where all the great debates were held in the early years of the Capitol has such great acoustics that if one is whispering on one side of the room, the other side of the room can hear it, and it sounds like they aren't whispering at all? It was cuhrazy! They call it the whispering gallery. On Saturday we spent the morning weeding Katie's yard and the afternoon at Mount Vernon (George Washington's home). His home is so beautiful and the grounds are incredible. Washington had a great view of the Potomac. I could spend days on his land. We wandered around until almost closing time. Then we went to the four-level Pentagon City Mall. It was there that I was hit on by a 40-year-old man. What?! Yeah he told me that if I wasn't a tourist he'd ask me out. I was like uhm no sir. You will not. Gag. I'm sorry to say that we missed the Saturday sessions of Conference. We wouldn't have done that if technology wasn't so wonderful. On Sunday we watched conference and took Katie's three-year-old to the "Castle" aka the DC Temple. Aidan is one of the funniest little kids I've ever met. He has a father in the sky, but it isn't Heavenly Father. It is, in fact, Darth Vader. He called on him one night to get me "unstuck" from the carpet. When we took Aidan to the Temple I asked what the place was. He replied "A CASTLE!" Then I asked who he was going to take there someday. "A PRINCESS! ZOE IS MY PRINCESS!" He's a doll and a monster all in the same tiny person. The triplets were adorable too. One of them acted comatose every time I held him. I would sit him up to burp him and he'd flop his head down to his stomach. He must have been in a ball in the womb because he was always doing that. On Monday we went to the Spy Museum, which was AWESOME! We spent two and a half hours there. I couldn't believe the stuff they had there. There were all sorts of weapons, like tiny finger guns and darts with poison in them. I can't even remember a lot of the stuff because there was so much to take in. We learned how to identify spies though. And everywhere we went after that we'd say "Oh he's a spy. He's gotta be a spy." The museum does cause a little paranoia. We did most of the memorials that afternoon, including the Washington, WW II and Lincoln memorials. I loved the Lincoln memorial. I could probably spend hours there. It's just so incredible. Tuesday was our last day before we left for home again. We started out with the Holocaust museum. But I have to tell you, the Arnold girls like to walk a lot slower than I can handle so I was frequently ahead of them. On the way to the museum that day there were Navy personel (sp?) carrying stuff to a van. I was walking past one and he kept smiling at me, which I was totally ok with. He was extremely attractive. I turned around when I got past, partly to wait for Alician and Holly, and partly to see if my senses were correct. They were and he was still watching me. If I had known what was acceptable I might have given him my number=) Almost immediately after I turned around another attractive officer walked toward me. As he got closer he said "Oh. Hey." You'd have to hear me say it but it wasn't like a friendly "Oh hey." It was totally a "can I have yo numbah oh hey" He passed me and I turned to look at Alician. Both her and Holly's jaws had dropped and they were staring at me. I started giggling and couldn't stop. They just kept saying oh my gosh. How does that happen to you Jill?! I'm. Not. Cocky. I promise ;)The Holocaust museum was...sobering. They had lots of artifacts from Auschwitz and other camps. There were very graphic videos of actual occurences in the camps. We saw propoganda used to brainwash Germany during Hitler's reign and tactics used against the people. The things that made me stop and think the most were the railcar and tracks used to carry thousands of the "Imperfect race" to their deaths and the piles of shoes. The railcar was just tiny and there were hundreds crammed into them every journey. I stood in that railcar for quite a while just thinking, realizing that where I stood is exactly where hundreds had stood, not knowing that soon they would be nothing but smoke in the dirty air of Germany. Sorry to be so morbid but it is true. It amazes me that one man can have that much power over millions. The other thing that bothered me was the shoes. It wasn't the actual shoes that really bothered me either. However, the shoes were very real. There were several pairs that were turned over so the heels were showing. The heels were worn down where pressure of that person's foot had been. That made the shoes more realistic. However, it was the smell of the shoes that got to me. You wouldn't think that the smell of leather could make a person nauseous but it does. That smell lingers in the air of the shoe hall. That smell made the Holocaust real for me. They weren't just shoes. They were shoes that people, innocent people, had worn in the railcars that took them to Concentration Camps. They were shoes that gave someone an identity, an identity that was taken away from them. The smell of feet and leather was almost too much. I think that was one of the best things we did the whole trip. It was a good experience to have. After the Holocaust museum we went to the Jefferson memorial, which is another memorial I could spend all day at. It's so peaceful there. And I love Jefferson. Truly. We spent a while there and then made our way to Arlington Cemetery. Alician was wary of going but I was adamant. We had to go there. We stayed to watch the Changing of the Guard. Along with the Holocaust museum it was one of the most moving things I've ever experienced. My dad asked me if I could only go back to one place in DC where would it be. Almost hands down it would be Arlington. You would not believe how quiet it is there. It's almost as if one is compelled to be quiet and reverent. Even the little kids there were not saying a word. It was quite the experience and I won't forget it. We left the next day. I'm not kidding I am seriously considering moving there. It's one of the most incredible places I've ever been.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

So This is What Happens in Singles Wards

I don't even know how to begin this. I've watched the popular LDS comedy "Singles Ward" a billion times. I've even encountered people who, I swear, were the awkward Darrells of the film. But until Monday I don't think I'd ever really been in a personal situation with one. My wards in college were fairly normal. Oh sure we had a few people that were...different. But they were nothing compared to Donald (who is not a duck). Let me break this down. I decided to finally start being more social and attend what I could of FHE on Monday. After the activity was over, he cornered me. Donald is new to the ward and likes to stare. A lot. I listened to him talk about wanting to be a fireman for about seven minutes before my brother finally saw my panicked face. I'd been trying to get my friend's attention for quite a while. Somehow Matthew ended up talking to Donald while I was with another friend. I went to tell him I was leaving. And that's when it all started.

*Matthew exits the scene*
Donald: Oh you're leaving?
Me: Yeah I am.
D: Do you have somewhere to be?
M: Well I have to run an errand and then I'm going home.
D: Oh. Well maybe I should ask you the question now that I was going to ask later.
(As he said this I started panicking. My exact thought was "Oh h no! This is not happening to me right now.)
M: Ok. (At this point another friend walked over and I had to shoo him away.)
D: Soooo...your brother tells me you don't date much.

PAUSE!!! Who in their right mind uses that as a pick-up line?! This was not going to be good.

M: Yeah...and?
D: Sooo, would you maybe make it a consideration? Or would you say respectfully no?

The kid doesn't even ask me on a proper date. What is going on here?

M: (Thinking fast) I'm really sorry but I'm going to have to (and I quoted him exactly) say respectfully no.
D: Oh ok. I understand if you aren't ready or don't feel like it. That's totally fine.
M: Yeah I'm just not interested. Sorry. Well, thanks for the offer. I'm going to go now. (I was trying to escape. And fast.)
D: I just want you to know that I'm a very respectable person and very respectful. I would never do anything to disrespect you or make you feel uncomfortable.
M: I understand. Thanks. I'm going to go now.

This is terrible of me but in my head all I could think was "Honey, I don't think you'd know how to disrespect me even if you tried."

So there you have it. That's my dating life in a nutshell.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Culture Shock

Dear Reader,
Have you ever been put in such an awkward situation that you are left dumbfounded? You don't have any words left in your mouth and your brain stops functioning? I think that happened to me yesterday. I work around a lot of Hispanic people. Hispanic men, to be exact. And one in particular has seemed to decide that I am to be the apple of his eye. Jorge has been saying hi to me every day since he met me. And yesterday, for the first time, he stood in my work space and talked to me, yes he talked and I politely nodded where necessary, for half an hour. After telling me that he is 32 years old and my rejecting him at least twice, he told me I was a BMW. What? Yeah he said that. "All these other girls here are Toyotas and Hondas. But are a BMW." "Well...uh...thank you? I guess..." I didn't know what to do. I watched as several of the guys I work with walked past...not seeming to catch my "Save me!" vibes. I explained to him that he's too old for me. I'm not interested...even though he tells me I'm beautiful every five minutes. Then he asked if he could touch my hair. "Bescuse me?!" "It's so curly though!" Apparently he's never seen curly red hair before. I refused and continued my duties. He had made up his mind though and wouldn't give up. After pleading with me to go to lunch, I agreed to let him meet me in the park today. I brought my own lunch. You know you would have too. I sat across from him and listened to him talk about bikes and Mexico (he came here 15 years ago...which would have made him 17 and me 8...isn't there something terribly wrong with this picture?) and actually let him touch my hair for 3.21 seconds. I know it was probably too nice of me but like I said, he was a persistent little bugger. Jorge told me after he gave me a hug...blech...that he would be back for one more week. Saints preserve us. Thankfully all my friends love me and are willing to protect me until he finally leaves. I've already decided that there will be no more lunch dates with Jorge. Viva la USA.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Death March

As this is my first time blogging, I ask that you all bear with me! I don't think I ever felt compelled to publicly write anything until yesterday...a day that will live in infamy, and the day that I decided on a title for said blog. I had never understood how crazy my dad was until then. He invited me to go with him and my three brothers on a hike. We got to the base of the mountain at 6 in the am. He then asked if I was ready to complete my first, and as I would soon find out, my last death march. Death march? You ask. Yes. And a death march it was, in every sense of the word. It started out bad. Really really bad. And it just got...well let's say it was a good time. After busting brush for an hour and a half, I sat down on a rock and cried. I was determined to make it though. We made it to Thurston's Peak three falls and a bloody nose later. I tell you this, dear reader, because I received a deeper understanding of my own Father in Heaven. I began to realize how much He cares for His children. Sometimes He has to push us along, applying constant pressure in order for us to make ourselves grow and move forward. Other times He pulls us up our own mountain in life. He wants what is best for us and knows that making us uncomfortable will force us to grow into our potential selves. Speaking of uncomfortable, I still am. This sunburn is heinous. Although I will never willingly do another Death March as long as I live, I am grateful for the lessons I learned while struggling to the top of that ridiculous peak.