12 years ago today, I was sitting on an airplane at the Denver International Airport. I had just made the almost 24 hour journey from Recife, Brazil where I had spent the last 18 months of my life and was hoping desperately that everyone would get off the plane before I would have to. I wasn't sure if I was ready to re-enter into my old life. And I was also afraid that my family had not gotten the memo about when I would be landing and I didn't want to get off that plane and have no one there to greet me. This was before tighter security restrictions at the airport so I was hoping for a big reception right at the gate. Of course, there was a very polite gentleman who insisted that he get my bags for me in the overhead bin and that I exit the airplane ahead of him.
The last leg of the trip was from Chicago to Denver. During that flight there were so many emotions, so much anxiety. And as I walked towards the gate all of those emotions swelled up. Sometimes it amazes me how many emotions one person can carry in a single moment.
I walked through the gate, scanned the crowd of people and saw my mom. What a relief. After a hug to her, I look around and my 5-year old niece is waiting for me. I go over to her, kneel down on the ground and get one of the best hugs of my life. She was wearing a red cuordoroy jumper and purple tights, she had picked out that specific outfit to wear to the airport. The rest of my family was there except for my brother and wife who lived in Salt Lake. I landed early in the morning so we all went out to breakfast and then everyone went on to their day.
The only thing I wanted to do on the day I got home from my mission was to take my shoes off and walk around in the grass barefoot. There wasn't a lot of grass in Brazil and it wasn't the best idea to walk around barefoot. Guess what hits Denver that day? A huge spring snowstorm! So my barefoot grass walking dream was put on hold. It was still a great day....
So now it's 12 years later and while I am not where I thought I would be it has been a full 12 years.
The first year after returning, I had one of the best summers of my life spent with my mom, my sisters and their kids. Then I headed back to BYU where I had the best group of roommates. We had all just returned from our missions. It was a great year at school. I still love all you girls and I wish I still had pictures of the quote board. I graduated with my bachelors' degree in public relations. And I got engaged. It was an eventful year.
The engagement didn't work out but I started my career. Since then I have worked for Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Credit Union One and most recently CUNA Mutual Insurance Society. I also recently completed my MBA at Westminster College in SLC.
In 12 years I have lived in 9 different apartments or homes. I have lived in Denver, Provo, Orem, Holladay, West Jordan, Holladay (different place), Boise, Farmington, Holladay, Kearns and now I am back in Farmington. My two favorite places are Holladay and Farmington. I bought a house in Kearns and now I rent it out to tenants.
In 12 years I have traveled to South Africa, Hawaii, Long Beach (Washington), Portland, New York City, Los Angeles, Florida, Juneau (Alaska), Philadelphia, New Jersey, Germany, Prague, France, all over Wisconsin, Nauvoo, Carthage City, and probably other places that I can't remember.
After the engagement my relationships have been interesting to say the least. I have been pursued my old college sweetheart, the one that I think of as the one who got away, and some millionaire from the south who came out to Utah to take advantage of our fantastic snow. I have dated a "prince" from the UAB and have had so many first dates, I wouldn't even be able to remember them all. There's only been one serious relationship since the engagement and that one turned out to be just as disastrous as the engagement.
I have gotten to know hundreds of different people and have made some really close, good friends. All of my brothers and sisters have gotten married and I have 13 fabulous nieces and nephews with another one on the way in less than a month!
I have truly been blessed in my life with a wonderful family, great friends, steady, good-paying jobs. It has been a very full 12 years and I am looking forward to the next 12.