I still cannot believe that it is almost Thanksgiving. What a fast year this has been. I honestly feel like it was just yesterday that Ryan and I were walking out of the temple just having been married. But, instead, that has been almost nine months since then and oh the adventures we have had.
I mean, seriously, since we have been married:
Ryan has graduated
Ryan has written a curriculum that he should be receiving awards for.
We have been to four countries.
I have been to Egypt! (LIFE GOAL)
I have been hired for a full time job for post-graduation (though I would love to start now and skip the rest of classes...)
Ryan has decided to get his Master's at BYU.
I graduate in only 5 more weeks (including Thanksgiving week which doesn't even count as school!)
We bought a new car
Ryan and I both had birthdays (24 and 23 respectively)
And at Thanksgiving, I finally get to meet my brother-in-law who gets back from serving an LDS mission to Kenya and Tanzania!
All in all, it has been a whirlwind. But it has been so much fun.
I guess all this reminiscing is just because my graduation is looming in the distance... 5 years and 2 majors later I will finally be done and I will not be going back to start another semester after Christmas. It is just an odd sense to have of not being a student anymore. But it is so much fun to think about.
I know Ryan and I are so excited to have some time where neither of us are in school and therefore can have some fun plans without homework getting in the way.
I went into my work this past Friday and I got introduced to the company that I will be working for. CityWorks is a great company that creates and runs GIS databases for cities to use to maintain infrastructure. I am so excited to be part of the training portion of this company and to get to help and teach people about how to best utilize our products. CityWorks is a great place to work for and the atmosphere reminds me of Pixar to some degree. It's a blue jean workplace so people feel comfortable and innovative and as I was meeting the programmers, they were in the hall hitting a golf ball around brainstorming on new pieces to put into the updated software. All in all, I am so blessed to have this job and to be part of their staff.
I also am getting nostalgic because it is the holiday season. I LOVE this time of year. Thanksgiving and Christmas are the best. The food, the smells, the family, the laughs. They are the best times to remember to be grateful and to give to those who are less fortunate than you are.
Ryan and I are guilty of being the people who start listening to Christmas music November 1st. We just think that the happiness and messages that are in the music can be applied to Thanksgiving as well.
Ryan and I have had an amazing opportunity to begin working with an investigator to the Church. Ryan met our friend (I won't say his name) when he went out with the Spanish speaking LDS missionaries. They met with this family and the young man was interested. He has had a hard life and needless to say, has done some bad things. But, he has a firm desire to know more and to change. We took him to church with us 2 weeks ago. It was his first time to a church EVER. It was his first time wearing a tie or Sunday clothes. He enjoyed the lessons and the atmosphere. He had a lot of questions and thankfully he was receptive to the answers. This past Sunday Ryan took him to our old single's ward. He loved being around people his own age and to be in a place where he could see people choosing to do good without being forced by parents or adults. He was shocked when a guy stood up and announced that their apartment would be watching Tangled that night and making cookies and that the ward was invited. Our friend was in shock that guys in college were watching Disney movies and making cookies. (Weird, but awesome in my mind.) Either way, our friend is moving forward. He is excited to do more things with the Church and I hope that he can stay on the path even during the hard times...
I hope that this season we can all share a little more and enjoy the little things more and more each day. Taking this time to remember those who are away from home and family because of work, military, missions and school. Inviting someone over who might otherwise spend their day alone and sharing with them. That's what this season is all about.
I think that was what I learned most from living in the Middle East this summer... That we are so lucky to have what we do. That here in America, it truly is a land where you can have your dreams of freedom and happiness come true. It humbled me to see circumstances of others, like the Coptic Christians in Trash City in Cairo. Or our friend Muhammad who left his family in Egypt to find work in a falafel shop in Amman. Those are people who changed my life. I miss them as if they were family.
Though there are people in this nation right now who are saying that America is rotten and corrupt and immoral, I still believe that, for the most part, we are just people trying to find success. We still believe that there is hope and opportunity. We still believe that hard work and innovation are what bring forth ideas and industries that change the world. We are a nation of entrepreneurs and mountain movers. Yes we make mistakes and blunders, but a true worker and American uses that as a springboard for greater chances. I still believe in America. And that is something to be proud of.
Again, I hope this Holiday season we can all choose to be a little more loving and caring. That we might find once again the meaning behind struggles and be lifted up in hope that it can and will all be made right because of God and His infinite love for us. I know that my Savior lives and that, through Him, all is well. I know that families can be together forever and that the temple is a house of God. I am so grateful for all that I have. Ryan and I have been truly blessed.