Monday, September 15, 2014

a trip to my other home.

first i just want to say that i'm really sorry that this is basically just a play by play recap of my trip. i don't even know how to write a blog any other way. i'll work on it, i promise.

insert amazing transition here.

four blessed years ago, i had just made the drive to indiana for my first year of college. not a bone in my body ever wanted to live in indiana for a single minute past college. i thought marion was small and boring. it didn't have a target or a panera. my friends were hundreds of miles away. i could never imagine myself living there. i wasn't even sure why other people lived there. 

isn't it funny how things change. 

now, of course, i'd move there in a heartbeat. it still doesn't have a target or a panera, but those things are only a few miles away. i don't think its all that small anymore. i don't find it boring. so many friends are there. large pieces of my heart stayed within the lines of grant county. 

dev and stephen's wedding provided the perfect excuse to go back for a visit. i mean if i can't live there, i'm at least going to visit every chance i get. i posted the picture of the state sign on instagram with a caption expressing my deep joy to finally be back in this glorious state. several people were confused by that. i guess most people don't think indiana, the crossroads of america, have anything to offer, but they would be wrong.

so saturday morning, i hitched a ride back with chloë and james. it was a fabulous 3 hours with lots of talking, a really good podcast, some chipotle, and a stop in ft wayne to shop. bless.

once in upland, i was finally reunited with my one true love, max. or #hitinydog as he is known to many. max is one of two dogs on the entire planet who i will let into my bed. he joined me off and on for a nap or two. and he made the best reading buddy.

james grilled us hotdogs for dinner and we ate them on their magical front porch. i can't remember the last time i ate a hotdog. i'd say its probably been at leaaaast 6 -8 years. but i ate 2 and it was sort of really delicious. throw some spicy mustard on a hotdog and its amazing. who knew.

the next day was chlo + james' wedding anniversary, so i left them to have breakfast at the guys house. we had delicious pancakes, eggs and cat mugs. a recipe for perfection. me and kelly had a little afternoon snuggle session while the boys played chess (???) and we dreamt up instagram hashtags. thats the truth.

kel, luke and i also took a little trip to my favorite starbucks on the planet. we squeezed into a truck that i'm pretty sure is only meant for 2 people, but you know it just felt right. as we were leaving, luke rolled down his window and said, "oh i bet you don't want the window down because you did your hair." i had not done my hair that morning. in fact i had just rolled right out of bed. but thank you for noticing. what a compliment! you are the winner, luke.

later i headed back to chloë and james' to hang out before church. i snuggled with max, we watched tv and had tea. chloë has really spoiled me with all the british treats she feeds me. british cookies from waitrose, delicious chocolate and gummies. america needs to get her act together and offer something of this caliber. and of course chloë makes the best tea.

and then the moment i had been waiting for all week. all summer really. i walked back into this church. the one with the beautiful wood ceilings and the tall cross and the walls that i helped to paint. the one that holds my friends each sunday and is a part of so many of my best memories. the one i've laughed in and cried in and met Jesus in over and over again. there is no place i'd rather be on a sunday night.

kristen, nate and i matched, so i demanded a picture. i also got to wear a name tag again. i don't know why i love this so much, but i do. every time i see a name tag like these a think of kingdom life, even though i've worn name tags like these dozens of other places. i always save the ones from church. because i'm a hoarder. and entirely too sentimental.

AND I GOT TO SQUEEZE THIS FACE AGAIN. elizabeth and i met last year in a class we took together at church. i introduced myself to her and ashley afterwards. they asked me where i lived and it turns out they lived across the hall, two doors down from me. i was a loser senior and didn't know anyone in my hall. except them. my precious girls. i spent dozens of early mornings with this girl in mcconn and lots of nights laying in her bed. her, ashley and i drove back and forth to upland all together more times than i can count. most of those drives i would force them to listen to whatever new songs i had found that week, and i would go on and on and on about whatever was in my brain. they are the best listeners. i could learn a thing or two about that from these girls. they're wise and kind and so full of love. i'm sure its not hard for you to imagine my delight in seeing them again.

the next day, i said goodbye to james and chloë and upland and headed to marion. there weren't very many people on campus when i was there since school hadn't started, but i did run into my friend jenn a couple times, and i got to have the shortest coffee date ever with ashley. 30 minutes was not long enough. any amount of time with her is suuuuuuch a blessing, but i could have used at least 3 more hours.

that night i stayed with my bestie for the restie, amanda. she is an RA this year. i helped her with her decorations and did handstands on the walls and played my music too loud. i've been running around with this girl since she was in 3rd grade, so it makes me teary to think about how much we've both grown up since then. she is my person and i love her forever.

tuesday, mary drove to marion and we had lunch with our friend who is going to zambia for the semester. we also managed to get free coffee from our former place of employment, mcconn. thanks seth! then i had to say goodbye to mandy and one of us cried. it wasn't me. i hate it when she does that because then i cry. rude.

mary and i drove to indy where we had the best tacos on the entire planet at bakersfield. i dream about these tacos daily. they're that amazing. we went there last semester and i've been thinking about them ever since. i've wanted to go back so bad and she made it happen. i love her. i wrote about all the reasons why in here.

the next day was my birthday, so mary took me out for a delicious breakfast, and then we went to a local coffee shop that had the best sweet iced tea i've ever had. i bought some so i can make my own because woah. it was good.

and then i pierced my nose. i was really scared. i have the pain tolerance of a small child. i told the tattoo covered woman this and she laughed. she told me it felt like plucking your eyebrows or waxing them. "just like pulling a hair out, really!" WHATEVER. i've only plucked my eyebrows three times in my whole life and i've never had them waxed (blonde hair thankyouverymuch) so this comparison didn't really help. also IT HURT WAY WORSE THAN THAT so um, no it doesn't feel like plucking your eyebrows. again, WHATEVER.

she marked my nose to show me where it would go. i looked at it and said, "yeah i guess go ahead and poke a hole there." mary held my hand and i cried a little. i mean she just shoved the needle right through my nostril!

my favorite part of the whole experience was when i told her i was a nanny in california. our conversation went as follows:
tattooed woman: "oh california! cool! how big is the family?"
me: they have five ki-"
tattooed woman: "f***ing grosssssss!"

you know, cussing gross isn't exactly how i'd put it, but yes, i guess 5 kids is a lot? it made me laugh.

so there's a hole in my nose now. with a shiny metal thing in it. i went straight to a hoop because i guess i just think i'm cooler than i really am.

after that we had to go to the airport. that was a terribly sad moment. but i was grateful for the time i had with this precious friend of mine. we are nose ring twins now. if only i could get my hair as big as hers, we could be real twins. a girl can dream.

the cornfields of indiana always do so much good to my heart. its probably less about the cornfields and more about the people who exist in between them. but regardless, indiana is a place i'll love forever.

california is slowing making its way into my heart, but it'll be a tough competition to beat out kansas and indiana.

and don't worry grant county, i'll be back.

Friday, September 12, 2014

a michigan wedding.

i have been trying to write this blog for 5 days. give me a round of applause if i ever finish it.

last fall i made a beautiful new friend named devon. in january, her boyfriend stephen asked me to be a part of an elaborate surprise proposal for her. and a few weeks ago, i got to be a part of the wedding. never ever in those first few weeks of our friendship did i think that less than a year later i would be standing up in her wedding.

praise the Lord i was able to fly from california to michigan a few days before the wedding. i had to leave for the airport super early on wednesday morning, but i made it to grand rapids just in time for the bachelorette party. 

have you ever been belly dancing? dev's best friend from high school planned the party and she signed us all up for a 90minute belly dancing class. i was really nervous about it, but it ended up being really fun. our teacher was incredibly nice and we just had fun laughing with each other and of course at each other. i have to admit, my favorite part of the class was the first 10 minutes when we did stretches to john mayer music with the lights dimmed. oh john. i love you.

some of the girls had an in with the owner of a dessert bar in downtown grand rapids, so we headed there after our dance lesson even though all i wanted was a cheeseburger. they had seriously delicious desserts. cookies and milk! chocolate cake! other things i don't remember! (i still wanted a cheeseburger, but mcdonalds was closed.)

we slept in the next morning. enjoyed dev's grandma's perfect screened in porch (with a view of the lake!), and headed to starbucks for drinks and a copy of a british folk cd which features chloë's brother. #5 if you're interested. 

the best part about weddings, if you ask me, is that they are basically reunions. all the friends from indiana started showing up on thursday, and boy was i happy to see them. i mean look at these stunners!

thursday was the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner. i got yelled at several times at the rehearsal for not exactly paying attention and talking too much. but i mean, can you blame me? wouldn't you want to talk to all your people you haven't seen in months? the rehearsal was a fiesta pool party which was both delicious and a blast.

dev was a genius and had all the girls stay at her grandma's house (the wedding was in the backyard). this meant we had several late nights on the most comfortable bed ever, catching up and laughing and soaking each other up.  hannah, emily and i stayed with dev at her house while she wrote her vows the night before the wedding. i have been to one other wedding where i stayed with the bride on her last night as a single lady, and i have to tell you, it might be my favorite part of the whole wedding. it always feels like such an honor. its just you and your closest gals. no fuss. just a sweet few moments together before everything changes the next day.

we decorated for the wedding the morning of, which i thought was going to be terrible, but it was actually so fun! even the guys helped. plus it isn't that hard to make a location like this look beautiful. and boy did it turn out beautiful.

chloë and james officiated the wedding. chloë wore the most stunning dress from london. and she did my makeup. thanks again, chlo. i heart you. 

and as if there weren't already enough friends involved in this wedding, even the photographers were good friends of mine. bless. miranda fuchs was the main photog and alicia wines second shot with her. (click their names to take you to their facebook photo pages.)

this massage chair was in our room. i spent every spare minute in it.

let us take a minute to talk about the flowers. are they not incredibly beautiful? i will let you in on a secret, dev and her mom made them. from paper. can you even believe it!? i love flowers. they're one of my favorite parts of a wedding. and these ones were SO beautiful. some of my favorites. ever. 

if you know dev, you know that she does just about whatever she wants. she does not care if people think she is crazy. example: she would often scream my name down the mallway in the student center at school. i would cower in embarrassment, shushing her as she came running down the mallway laughing and shouting. so, when dev told me she was going to cut her hair AT HER WEDDING i wasn't surprised. when she said she was going to cut it TWICE, i still wasn't surprised. 

so, despite my many many protests, she cut her beautiful long, thick, luscious curls into a bob between the ceremony and the reception. i took a selfie with a piece of her hair. it was just so beautiful! but the bob was adorable. and then after the reception, before they left for the night, she cut it into a pixie. i don't have a picture of that. but she's crazy and i love her. you do you, dev. never stop.

and then, as if the day had not been fun enough, the entire bridal party took a yacht to the reception. because God bless america if you don't take a yacht to the reception, you're doing it wrong. it was so much fun. this whole bridal party was so. much. fun. 

don't you even worry, we toasted with sparkling cider. and then we danced so wild that we had to take our hair down. texas sized hair forever and ever amen. i've never danced so hard at a wedding, but i was just really feeling it that night. they didn't even play the wobble, which is my go to dance song, but there were so many friends there and the boys were dancing so wacky and i just went with it. i threw caution to the wind and i danced my hair out.

they left for the night through a tunnel of sparklers and i said goodbye to stephen and dev for who knows how long. 

it was a beautiful day. i mean truly so perfect in so many ways. i laughed and cried and danced and soaked every moment in. someone get married again quick. lets do this reunion thing all over again. 

and don't worry, the fun doesn't stop there! i followed most of these people back to indiana to spend more time with them. but you'll have to wait until the next post for that. hopefully it doesn't take me a whole week to write it.