I know a lot of people who hated high school. Like, seriously hated it. I'm not saying I want to go back and do it again (that would be a definite NO), but I actually had a pretty stellar high school experience. That's probably why I decided to become a high school teacher, because I was blessed with so many exceptional ones (and the occasional dud, too, but who doesn't have those?). I also had a great group of friends. Here are some shots of some of us at graduation ten years ago:
Sadie Hawkins our junior year:
People always find it odd to hear that I am still in close contact with a lot of the friends I had in high school. I guess that is pretty abnormal. I attribute it to how awesome we all are. Of course we're going to defy all odds and still love each other ten years later!
My high school reunion was this summer, and I didn't go. This was because 1) the preparation for the event seemed mediocre at best, judging from the updates I was getting via the facebook page, 2) I had no money to make the trip out there, and 3) we came up with a way better plan B.
My friend, Emily, served an eighteen month mission for our church in Brazil, and she was still there when the reunion happened in Moses Lake. I was talking to Callie on the phone one day, and it came up that neither of us was planning on attending our ten year reunion. I mentioned that it would have been sad to go without Emily there, anyway. She mentioned that she was planning on trying to make it to Emily's homecoming in October, and that we should all try to get together at some point in the coming year. That got me thinking: why not try to make it to Emily's homecoming, too?
I immediately called my friend, Lacey, who happens to live a few miles away from me in North Carolina, despite the fact that we initially became friends while sitting next to each other in a kindergarten classroom in Washington State (AMAZING, right?). She also happens to have an awesome brother who works for Southwest Airlines. He hooked us up with buddy passes, and we made plans to secretly fly to Washington without Emily knowing, while Callie made her own secret plans to drive from Utah. Luckily for us, a few of our other friends still happen to live in the area where we grew up, so we were able to have an awesome girls' weekend once we got there.
I stayed with my Grandpa Jensen, who has just started taking piano lessons. He's 78, and learning to play piano. Isn't that awesome?! HE CAN PLAY WITH TWO HANDS! I am so proud.
Lacey, her brother, and I got into Spokane by early afternoon. That night, we pulled off the ultimate surprise. Here we are on Thursday night, after surprising Emily at our favorite restaurant, Inca. Such. Amazing. Mexican. Food. Oh, the arroz con pollo . . . just thinking about it makes my mouth water. We were all just sitting at a table, waiting for Emily to show up with her mom. Her sister was in on it, too. When I saw her walk in, I waved, and she waved back, but I could tell she had no idea who I was. Then, it registered that I was there, that Lacey was there, that Callie was there, and so on. It was awesome.
We are all laughing hysterically in this shot, because Callie and Emily's moms were having such a hard time figuring out how to work each of our cameras.
On Friday, I knew my grandpa would be working at the temple all day. Callie, Emily, and I made the drive to Tri-Cities and did a session, which was awesome.
Afterwards, we met up with my Aunt and Uncle, who were great enough to drive from Prosser, where they live, to see me. We feasted at Olive Garden on soup, salad, and bread sticks. So yummy!
Then, Callie and I dropped Emily off at her house, since she had to work, and we went on a driving tour of Moses Lake, which I'm not going to lie . . . took less than 30 minutes. I made Callie stop the car to get a picture of me with this tumbleweed. I couldn't believe she didn't want a photo taken with a Moses Lake tumbleweed! She was completely uninterested, and wouldn't even get out of the car to take the picture! She snapped this from the driver's side, out the passenger window:
This is when things took a disappointing turn. The highlight of the entire trip was supposed to be going to our Alma mater's football game. I had even spent some time rekindling the memory of various cheers to bust out while watching from the stands. (Chiefs! Don't take no UH! JIVE! Chiefs! We are alive!) I even tried to remember the fight song, but I kept getting it mixed up with the BYU fight song, and eventually gave up. Anyway, devastation struck, when Callie and I showed up at the 6th Ward potato bar, only to have Sister Bergeson tell us that the game had been rescheduled as an away game. In Wenatchee. Thanks for updating the high school website, folks! There went that! So, we made new plans. Which is more difficult than it may sound when you are visiting Moses Lake, Washington. It's not the most happening spot. We went to Shari's for dessert, then hit up the local bowling alley. Luckily for us, it was black light bowling night!!! Even though the parking lot was packed with cars, they were all casino customers apparently, because we were one of the only groups in the bowling alley.
Sunday was Emily's homecoming talk in the 8th ward, so we went and listened to her speak. She did a beautiful job. I am so proud of her. I know she touched so many lives in positive ways while she was serving in Brazil.
Lena and Crystal's awesome kids were there. I wish we lived closer, so Kaden could be their buddy. They have great personalities and are a lot of fun.
Here they are jumping:
We left at 3 a.m. on Monday morning. Needless to say, we were looking hot. I would not have wanted to be stuck in an airport for a million hours with anyone but Lacey. I love that girl. We got stuck in Las Vegas (the consequence of flying on a buddy pass), but we still made it home in time for Chad to go to work Tuesday morning. Here we are, starting to show the effects of being in an airport for too long:
One of my biggest hopes for Kaden is that he chooses good friends. I know mine have certainly played an important role in who I am today. Having worked with adolescents for the last several years, it's become more and more apparent that who your friends are really does determine a lot. Peers can be a tremendous influence on a teenager for good or for bad. I was so blessed to have such wonderful friends while I was growing up. I am still so thankful for each of them.
I am so glad I had this chance to go spend time with family and friends. A big thanks goes to my mother-in-law who came to Raleigh and watched Kaden on Thursday and Friday, and to Chad who also had to play mommy and daddy for an entire weekend to a pretty crazy toddler. It meant so much to me that they were willing to do that to give me an awesome weekend away.