Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fun and Games

Well, there's no more dodging reality for me. It has been nearly two months since our return to the homeland, my string of vacations has come to a close, my taste buds have acclimated to all the comfort foods I'd been craving, and so I find myself here, wondering where the momentum will take me next. For now, I will call this place my home. My bags are unpacked, though my bed is unmade, and I will try my best to fight that nagging feeling of remaining yet unsettled.

(This is the view from our back windows. Yes, I feel a little like Belle proclaiming, "I want much more than this provincial life!" as she rushes beyond her cottage into a gorgeous, pristine wilderness. Unless, of course, that was all a mirage. Too bad I cannot claim such an excuse.)

As for my eight-city tour, we best address it in pieces. Part one of the anthology: A trek to the Salt Lake Valley.

There are many feats my predecessors have accomplished that, rather than give me courage and determination to achieve the same, make me more desirous than ever to pursue the lazy alternative. Our trek-to-Utah transportation is an example. I know many parents and children alike have survived twelve-hour road trips in broad daylight. To them, I say what many say (with mild sarcasm) about my natural childbirth philosophies: "Good for you!"

Meaning, I was simply unwilling to make the voyage during the kids' wakeful hours. Yes, this is selfish, considering that I was also unwilling to take a turn in the drivers' seat. However, after inhaling a few highly caffeinated beverages, JJ and Kyle were feeling pretty enthusiastic about our journey. Speaking of which, they also found an endless supply of sweet tunes on the radio and chatted like school boys about this or that rev or solo, while the rest of us slumbered peacefully in the back of the van.

(Yes, we took Mom and Dad's van, since our car window decided to choose the day before our departure to roll down and refuse to roll back up. I really thought Mish and Carol's carboard/duct tape replacement window was ingenious, but Kyle and Dad had to be all particular about how it was violating silly little things like laws and visibility and safety and stuff.)

Sure, the boys were exhausted after an "all-nighter," but in exchange, I was not burdened with the stress of entertaining the kids (who had not yet conceded that in this country, carseat safety restraints are unavoidable), and thus was able to be a nice person that day. We were welcomed warmly by our good friends the Williams', whose cheery basement apartment served us well as a temporary abode. Marilyn is a natural Mom and Grandma and was so accomodating that it almost seemed like she liked cooking for and cleaning up after us. Ellie affectionately calls her "Grandma Mare" and proudly reported that she has THREE Grandmas. (aka spoiled)

We were also fortunate enough to catch my old roommate Cathi and her husband Bryce before they moved to Maryland. We dined at Cafe Rio with them and Kallista and Dave and were able to chat and reminisce for a few hours. I have to say that, considering how young I was when I was married, I sure have a lot of fond memories of being a single at BYU, many of which I owe to that year I spent living with Cathi and Michelle. Even now nothing makes me giggle like our quote wall.

We also spent a few days in Salt Lake with Chris and Emily, and the six of us couldn't get over how easy and positive our conversations and activities were in an American setting. Plus, Emily was agreeable enough to accompany me through my first post-China, All-American shopping tour at an outdoor mall. I could hardly get over how appealing western fashion is.

(Chris thankfully took about 10,000 more pictures than us and I just received a cd of them today, so better pictorial highlights will be coming soon.)

Of course, the primary justification for our visit was to attend our bosom friend Mary's wedding in Bountiful. Being with my two Mee-haws (Sara and Mary) was wonderful, and I was relieved and grateful that I approve of yet another one of my friends' husbands (though he didn't even ask my permission before proposing to her-- what is this generation coming to?).

Not to mention that Sara and I got to brush up on our expert floral designing skills. We took the BYU course together back in the day, and though narrowly securing our desired letter grades, we simply had a creative touch that can't be measured or quantified. Illustration #1: we did all the bouquets and flower arrangements for the wedding.

Illustration #2: Mary's parents handed us two delicious but hiddeous cheesecakes, victims of several fissures. Through utilization of the exotic Japanese Ikebana techniques, we turned the cracked cakes and leftover daisies into a tranquil exhibit of harmony between earth and the heavens. Anyone who sees it as more messy and artistically indecisive probably just doesn't understand Japanese culture the way Sara and I do.

Meanwhile, Ellie was attempting to secure an American BFF. She had her eyes set on Amy, a five-year-old, who nurtured her like a good older sister until the other five-year-olds grew weary of the tag-along. They dumped Ellie on us several times before we realized she was being intentionally ditched, not just getting lost. It was Ellie's first real taste of social rejection.

Love hurts.
It was a beautiful wedding, of course, and we were so grateful that Mary postponed the date until after our return so we could make it. ;-) In return, I decided to make myself an honorary member of her wedding party and dressed the same as all of Mary's relatives. She was too nice to tell me that she'd cc-ed me on that memo for the sake of the itinerary it included, not the wardrobe instructions.

With JJ safely and securely back in his Provo apartment, you may be wondering how we traversed the wilderness back to Sacramento. Stay tuned for part two of the post-China adventures anthology: The Crowded Anniversary Suite.


Anonymous said...

Sweet pics. Thanks for coming! If a wedding is what it takes to be able to see you, I'm willing to do it again-with the same guy of course.

Bryce said...

Great post, Tiff! At this point, I totally can't figure out whose posts, yours or Kyle's is more fun to read. Forget Target, you guys should blog for food!

sara said...

Very creative. I must say, just seeing that cake again helped me find my "chi" once again and I feel more balanced and relaxed. So glad your vacations are done so you can update your blog again.