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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Next Steps

The time of wrapping up my college career and transitioning into summer was a time of fun, love, tears, and excitement. My finals went pretty smoothly, beside hearing that Bryan would be getting his leave cut short (meaning he would be unable to see me play any games at Nationals and we would be unable to visit his family in Texas for a week), and a really big International Law paper, I only had one big in class final and I was done! I had a lot of things other than finals to juggle, so getting that out of the way meant I could focus my attention on packing, Bryan coming, graduation, moving, home, nationals, and my summer job.

The Thursday I left for SF I couldn't have been more excited. Bryan would be flying in friday morning and I wanted to spend a little time with Natalie before I'd have to head back up to Humboldt. I arrived and met up with Natalie after she got out of class. It was nice because she was finally able to give me a full tour of SF states campus (all the times I've visited, it's been closed). That school is huge! They have so many food options, study areas, and a brand new library that is insanely cool. Natalie and I got to sit and share a bomb sandwich while sharing what the last couple months had looked like. Upon retuning back to her place we hung out until a few long time friends arrived for an early Thai dinner and drinks at one of Natalie's favorite Irish Pubs. The dinner great because I got to catch up with some old friends I hadn't seen in awhile and share about how wonderful it would be to have Bryan in the states for a visit. Come to find out the pub we were hanging out at after dinner is a favorite hang out of a local Ultimate pick up league, and I ended up in the pub surrounded by frisbee players, twas awesome. I went to bed that night very content and excited to pick my babes up at the airport in the morning. 

Waiting for someone at the airport is probably one of my least favorite things about traveling. The anticipation just gets me so anxious but the final outcome is always well worth the wait. When Bryan came out of the arrivals gate I had my arms wrapped around him before he even could put his bags down. It was actually pretty funny because in order to get his hands free to hug me back he just dropped his bags with a loud bang. We walked back to the car holding hands while he shared some of the adventures he'd had while coming to SF. Celebrating our 6th months by being in the states together for the first time was really pretty incredible. After leaving the airport we picked up Natalie from SF state and had a really lovely lunch where I was mentally pinching myself that some of my best friends in the world were finally meeting. 

The road trip back up to Humboldt was a highlight of Bryan's time here. Road tripping with that kid is just so amazing. After showing him around the Marine Headlands and snapping a picture together with the Golden Gate bridge in the background, we headed for the Redwoods. Photo opps included stopping at a Redwood grove so Bryan could hug a tree and a random toilet in a field, which has been there for as long as I can remember and I've never had a chance to stop at. We rolled into town in the late evening and headed to meet up with my dad, brothers, and my aunt. Their camp was right next to a Mexican restaurant, so after some hugs, and some introductions, we were inside sipping margarita's and cracking jokes. Bryan took all this like a champ because honestly my family tree is filled with a bunch of nuts. After hanging out with those crazy cats we went and met my mom, brother's girlfriend, and her little boys over at their camp, which they had just arrived too. It was a little late but I was grateful that Bryan and my mom were finally able to meet. Just seeing them hug was just another reminder that it wasn't a dream, Bryan was actually with me in California meeting my whole family. 

Everyone was up bright and early on Saturday in order to rally at my apartment and head over to campus. It was a beautiful morning and walking with my family onto campus, holding Bryan's hand, was really pretty incredible. The Redwood bowl was clean and bright, all set up for the ceremony, and as I headed off to the gym in my black robe, I don't think it had sunk in that I was graduating college. After congratulating some friends and familiar faces, we lined up, the music began and we were off into the middle of the stadium. Our ceremony was actually very pleasant. After getting past how early it was, one realized that the temperature was perfect. We also had less people in the early morning graduation, and one less speaker, making ours, faster and cooler than the later graduation ceremonies. I was at a back row so I was able to look back at see my family socializing, crying, and cheering, the whole time. After the ceremony it was smiles, flowers, hugs, and family pictures. I was so happy and ready to spend the rest of the afternoon with my family. We all headed to town to check out the local farmers market and art fair, while grabbing tasty dishes from local eateries. We spread blankets on the grass and soaked up the sun while listening to folk bands and drum circles. That afternoon Bryan even surprised me with flowers he had ordered from a local flower shop after I awoke from a nap! That's the second time since we've been dating that I've woken up to flowers. He even got my mom flowers for Mother's day!

For dinner we had a pot luck style get together at my mom's camp site, complete with frisbee and s'mores! Having my whole family, my boyfriend, and some of my best friends I've made in Humboldt, Irene and Jessica, all together in one place was an incredible blessing and I felt so very loved. A highlight of the night was probably, after seeing Bryan carrying me over his shoulder, my dad coming up and throw Bryan up over his shoulder. I laughed so hard. Probably made my life! After saying goodbyes for the night we visited another grad get together of a friend before hitting the hay.

Sunday was mother's day!!! And I got to spend the morning with all my siblings and my mom all together at Samoa Cookhouse. This place is legit. An old logging cabin, it has huge halls filled with long tables. The food is served family style and it's all you can eat! I was proud of all my siblings coming together for Mother's day and grateful things had worked out as well as they had. In the afternoon Bryan and I took a hike with my sister and her family, before they hit the road for home and Bryan and I headed to church. I had been really looking forward to having Bryan come to my church, Catalyst, for a long time. I was also singing that week, so I got to watch him be his incredible helpful self while doing preservice band practice. Since it was Mother's day, Bethany, our pastor Jason's wife, talked about the feminine attributes of God. It was lovely.

Now, I've already told Bryan this, but having him around to help me move was SO GREAT. He is the most encouraging, helpful, guy I know and he made the move go so smoothly. Between packing and frisbee workouts/practices, we managed to head up to Fern Canyon. One of my favorite places in Humboldt, one can just imagine dinosaurs roaming around and Ewoks living in the trees. Super beautiful. Like I said road trips with Bryan are amazing, and the highway 1 of the North Coast can't be beat. That Monday night we even went out to a fancy Italian restaurant before catching the Avengers. What a great film! I'm so grateful that Bryan doesn't mind that I ask questions, because there were definitely times I wasn't sure what was going on. I like super hero stuffs but I don't follow the craze. 

Tuesday was more packing, an incredible lunch at my favorite crepe place (They serve their hot chocolate in bowls!!!) before heading south to go shooting in Ferndale with My roommate Corie and her fiancee Dakota. Now that was cool! Some great bonding time and a chance for two of my good friends to meet Bryan. If I end up in Texas, I look forward to spending more time with those two! After a track workout in the evening with my team, Bryan and I had dinner with my small group leaders, John and Betty. It was another great moments where people I care about got to meet the man I'm incredibly in love with, it was a short dinner (John is a cop, so he had to head off to work) but it was sweet. 

In the morning Bryan and I packed up my kitchen, loaded my car, strapped my bike to the top, dropped off my keys and hit the road. With such great company the drive went by fast, we even got so into talking that we forgot to stop for dinner in Chico. We did manage to stop on one of my favorite stretches of road, during my favorite time of day in the summer (just before sunset), and breath in the warm summer air. I love that part of the drive, I almost always stop, and having Bryan there with me was almost too good to be true. I can't think of a better way to kick off summer than rolling into Grass Valley with him by my side. 


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