September was a total whirlwind of exciting and stressful changes for JJ and I. I don’t even know if I can go back and explain how everything managed to fall into place like a life sized tetras puzzle, but it did. And I came out alive. And very much 23. It’s pretty ridiculous how moving a mere 9.5 miles south east has basically landed us in a whole new world. (cue Aladdin Soundtrack). We’ve left the land of gangsters and refugees for a whole new world of hipsters and scientologists. After much searching and scouring and praying, we finally found a nice little basement apartment in Sugarhouse just in the nick of time and the day after two other condos turned us down. It’s a small one bedroom- all utilities included with free internet and shared laundry, so we’re basically feeling like we struck gold – especially since this place is actually cheaper than our Rose park apartment. We are within walking distance to shopping, movie theaters, restaurants, and basically everything we could ever need (except of course the people we love back home in Virginia- that’s what Google hangouts are for). We are now completely unpacked and feeling like real people again. I will post photos once JJ hangs all our pictures and shelves and whatnot.
We prorated the last week of September’s rent, so we could move in early. Our old apartment had just been fumigated for bedbugs and we wanted to get out before they came back for more. Those little demons are out for blood! ( literally). We took every item of clothing, towel, and blanket in our house and bagged them up tightly in garbage sacks. Then JJ, bless his heart, took it all to a laundromat and did 13 loads of laundry on high heat to kill any remaining bugs or eggs. Luckily the top pillowy part of our bed zips off and can be put in a washing machine. Other than that top part, our mattress is made up of two air chambers, so we managed to salvage our bed. (Three cheers for the genius of Sleep number beds!) Of course there was a pen in one of JJ’s jacket pockets and so a lot of stuff got ruined including all of his ties and my winter coat. We also somehow managed to lose my two favorite pairs of jeans and my favorite cardigan, but it’s a small price to pay I suppose.
We were all moved in by the Thursday before my 23rd birthday- just in time for my mom to come visit. She took us out to dinner and helped us with some last minute cleaning of the old place and then we turned in our keys and drove away without a backward glance. Except for the occasional glance back in remembering our awesome Rose Park ward where we made friends with old ladies and both got to teach sunday school.
Saturday night, mom and I got to go the General Women’s conference because I managed to snag two tickets from my Relief Society president on our last Sunday in Rose Park. It was a bit unreal bustling through City Creek Mall on our way to the conference center in a giant herd of Mormon women. I have never seen so many chevron maxi skirts and pregnant ladies in one place, but it was definitely inspiring to hear the prophet speak.
The next morning, my mom and I drove down to Ferron to meet my newest baby cousin Macey Kolleen Christiansen. She was sooooo tiny and absolutely adorable. It’s always a good time seeing cousins and roaming the old stomping grounds. At church on Sunday I ran into my childhood best friend Natalie who I haven’t seen in over 3 years! I got to briefly meet her husband and it was good to catch up – even if it was just 10 minutes.
I told JJ that for my birthday all I wanted was to get my hair done and eat steak. Well JJ being the most thoughtful gift giver there ever was went above and beyond his duty. I got work off for my birthday, so I got to stay in Ferron for a few hours in the morning. I dropped off some cousins at school and then visited with my Granny Gibbons on the way out of town. I spent 3 hours of my birthday alone in a car driving through a windy canyon singing Taylor Swift at the top of my lungs and hey, I’m not complaining. I got my hair done and then JJ took me to Outback steakhouse for a juicy birthday steak and that was it. My birthday was complete. BUT WAIT. To my surprise, I walked through the front door of my new apartment, to stumble onto a pile of more presents!
I am not ashamed that I loved the new spiderman movie and to anyone who says it’s girly, well guess what? I AM a girl. Assorted colored sharpie pens and blank sketch books are basically sacred to me and, yes, he got me one of my favorite albums of all time on vinyl even though we don’t own a record player… (yet). On our very first date wandering around Lexington, Virginia after some penne alla vodka from Salerno, I kept absentmindedly humming “I walk the line.” Two weeks later on my 20th birthday, JJ got me this:
After that I pretty much assumed we would get married and collect vinyls together for our happily ever after… and it’s worked out nicely so far. My mom is back home in Virginia and it’s homecoming at SVU, which makes me feel a little homesick for college. Sometimes I feel a bit dysfunctional, but then I just read the news and remember that even when I burn frozen pizzas to indistinguishable ashes, I’ve still got more going for me than the non-existent United States government right now. I have a job, a clean apartment in a safe neighborhood, a blue eyed man, and 23 years worth of memories.
It’s easy to feel like the world is ending until you glance back in history and realize that people have pretty much been feeling this way ever since the beginning of time. (The dinosaurs may have been the only ones who had a reason to panic, but for the rest of us… time marches on.) There is nothing I can do about childish politics in Washington, but I can continue to live my life here on Highland Drive where the leaves are starting to turn yellow and it’s starting to smell like Autumn. If I could open my mouth wide enough for a marching band to march out, I’d have em strike up a tune telling the world to take a deep breath, because believe it or not,
the beat goes on.