Airplanes in the Night Sky

 It's funny how you can spend 2 years apart but yet a couple weeks still feel like an eternity. 
I met Dallin when we were 17. He turned 18 a month later, and though I set my alarm to text him "Happy Birthday" at midnight, that was the first of 3 birthdays that I didn't get to see him in person.  So... I couldn't have been more ecstatic when his mom decided to fly him down to Arizona to celebrate his 21st at home.    

 I came to his house early to decorate his bedroom and hung out with his sisters, playing with the dogs and losing 4 rounds of Jenga till he showed up at 11. I realized we weren't in high school anymore when his family conned us into sharing a tight couch while we watched Suicide Squad all together.  That's ........ a first.

On Saturday, we made pizzas, swam {cause you know, it's still warm enough in Arizona in fall} and jumped on the trampoline with the kiddos.  I love the Samuelson clan.

 And then his AWESOME stepdad Jim took us flying.
There's something about cities from above.  When the night is dark but for the slivered moon, and the  metro lights twinkle like electrified gems, it's just serene.  I sat in the passenger seat and wore headphones, listening in on the air traffic radio as we took off.  The plane was so tiny that Jim literally pulled it manually out to the road.  Yet off we went, soaring so high that we could see Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe, Gilbert and even Tucson.  Brave Jim even allowed me to steer the plane for  a little!

Afterwards we visited high school friend Amanda, got kicked out of our parking place at the underpass by a cop {only after we ignored him for a solid minute because we thought he was the pesky teenaged boys from earlier}, and rummaged through a box of old things with his mama.
It took about ten separate attempts to say goodbye and then leave.... but yet, just like that, it was over, and he was headed back to Utah.  Till next time...  

Home Life

It's weird coming home after basically 2 years because nothing stays the same.
 I have 2 siblings on student council and another whose voice is dropping at a scary pace.  My dad has a new job, my mom's a beautiful & fit brunette, and my college-sophore sister is funner to be around than ever.

This week I have attended Eric's flag football game, Adam's homecoming football game, and a D-Backs game where I remembered that siblings always fight over ice cream, no matter the age.
I helped my mom put together the pre-homecoming luau dinner.  I run all her errands with her, and call her even more often than when I was in Hawaii.

I nannied for Dallin's family with his fun sisters and sweet animals, and I got hired to work full-time with LulaRoe.    
I have stayed up late every night because I can, and I have gone running in the morning.

I downloaded Instagram, deleted it cause it stressed me out, then I redownloaded it.
I have spent 2 hours at a time on the phone with the boy.

I picked up a pencil and started working on my novel again. I started driving again.  I met my brother's gorgeous girlfriend.  I have played shark-tag with cute kids and eaten so many milkshakes and listened to the same 20 pre-mission-favorite songs over and over and over again.  I went to the movie theaters twice in one day with my mom before coming home and watching the series finale of the show I'd been missing and cried my eyes out.   I caught up with my old-timers.

It's hard, adjusting.  But it's oh so good.

The Copy Cat City

Las Vegas -- a city of architectural dream.  Absurd in the day, glorious in the night -- a hodgepodge of style everywhere and every time.  We walked ten miles total in sandals, exploring each flashy resort and casino until we absolutely couldn't walk another step.    
People asked if Sin City it was a huge cultural shock for me. After all, I was just a missionary, right? But honestly, I'm just relieved that America doesn't have 70-feet-tall nude posters like those in Vienna. Man, those poor elders always complained about it to us sisters.  
 Highlights: getting to practice my German with foreign strangers....and totally running into one of the young members from the last ward I served in.  Like, what. It's such a small world.

I totally had Easter at his house when I was a missionary.


 It was't till the mission with our desperate attempts to make every free Monday epic that I realized how easy it is to let those beautiful sights close to home be taken for granted.  I met many Germans who raved about the gorgeous nature of southern Utah and Northern Arizona, yet I had never even visited Zion's!
So far Labor Day, Mom and I took the windy roads and explored.  After 2 year's of Europe and Hawaii's humidity, I was hit full blast by the dry heat, but it was so fun walking with my mother through the red sand lining the canyon bottom.  I think it's a fair shot to say she's my best friend.  We can talk about literally anything and everything.

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