"So Small" - Carrie Underwood
This post has been started and left unfinished so many times in the past week.
Like, last week, when I snuck quietly out of bed to write, only to find myself wanting to be tucked right back under the covers close to my husband.
Or like last Friday, when I sat in a Cincinnati airport restaurant, sipping a celebratory diet coke,
waiting for my lunch...
waiting for my lunch...
When all of the sudden, my boring layover became not so boring
with an hour long evacuation due to nearby tornadoes.
It was my first time flying alone.
When Steve and I said our goodbyes at the security gate, I was whimpering like a baby.
It wasn't being far away from one another I was scared of.
Or the flight that frightened me.
I'm horrible when it comes to directions.
And I guess the fear and "what if" of it all was...
What if I don't find my way?
Steve and I waved to each other as I made my way through the long line. Within ten minutes, I was calling him with good news. He was right. It would be way easier than I thought. It wouldn't be as confusing as I imagined.
And, I would find my way.
The evacuation didn't startle me too much. They assured us we were safe. Of course, I wondered what I'd do if my flight was canceled. And was worried because my phone cut out in the midst of my frantic phone calls to Steve and my friend.
After all, I was so close to truly taking on this adventure...
About to do something crazy...
I was hours away from flying across the country to meet my friend, Aleisha, in Utah.
I met her here.
In this sweet little blog land.
We clicked. We shared stories. We shared laughs.
We emailed. We texted. We chatted on the phone. We skyped (another first for me).
We talked about meeting and how totally awesome it would be, even if it seemed like we were just daydreaming.
We squealed like little girls, when Steve found a great deal on a last minute flight.
And on Friday night, after one hell of a day, as I was coming down the escalator...
There at the bottom, was Aleisha. Full of life. Spunky and beautiful,
with her homemade "Welcome to Utah, Tacohead" sign.
She skipped and danced her way towards me.
She proudly held up her sign as everyone watched us laugh and scream.
I snapped a quick photo of the amazingly sweet and hilarious sign that she and her daugher, Lilly, made - complete with an animal print cutout of Utah and a lounging cartoon taco.
And then we hugged and jumped and screamed some more.
We didn't care how obnoxious we looked.
It was such a rush...
A *Wow...I'm really here...this is really happening.*
Before we left, a man in a suit, with a thick accent asked us how long it has been since we've seen each other.
His face and reply when I said, "never" is one we will always remember.
There's so much I want to write about...
All that I learned...
All that I saw...
All that I loved...
I loved her idea of getting Taco Bell at 1 in the morning for 2 $5 boxes...
Sitting at her kitchen table talking as if we'd known each other for years.
Meeting her sweet and funny husband who introduced me to THIS video.
I loved the mountains. No, I'm in love with them.
The snow. The feeling of being somewhere so different but feeling so comfortable.
I loved the gorgeous drive to Park City.
I loved her sweet babes, Lilly, and Camren.
Lilly asked if I would sit next to her each time we were in the car. How could I say no?
She loves having her picture taken. She's my kinda gal. This is 1 out of 283.
She is a fan of funny faces.
Reminds me of a mini Mira Sorvino.
And she can rap for 20 minutes straight about mountains, wiggling and pretty hair.
I loved Park City and all it had to offer.
I couldn't stop proclaiming my love for it.
I loved the colorful line of endless shops and restaurants.
I don't love yetis. But, I loved this shirt.
Buffalo loves Aleisha.
I loved our soup and salad lunch at this cute Western spot.
I love this picture.
and this one...
And, yep, definitely this one.
I loved their tiny pup, Sally. She was a sweetheart and full of pep.
I wanted to stuff her in my bag and take her home with me.
Hello, from Utah, peeps!
I loved visiting Sweet Afton's.
And being surrounded with sugary treats in the company of these two ladies.
I loved their wall of buckets
filled with bright and pretty taffy. With flavors like,
chocolate chip cookie
and pina colada.
I loved watching Lilly make the most of her 5 bucks.
I loved our girls' night in Gardner Village.
The way the sky lit up with all the white lights.
The fresh air and mountains by our side.
The perfect shop we found to ohh and ahh over things for a good hour.
I loved these three guys...
who quacked their way on over to us.
I wanted to take them home with me too.
I loved Smashburger.
It was everything Aleisha said it would be.
The rosemary fries. The awesome burger with extra pickles. The fizzy soda.
I love this girl.
I loved letting time get away from us as we chatted away, sharing loud and animated stories.
I loved the charming cupcake shop she introduced me to.
With a name like, "The Sweet Toothfairy,"
I knew I'd fall instantly in love.
Whatcha eyein' up there, Aleisha?
I loved the brotherly and sisterly love between these two.
I loved our trip into Salt Lake City.
All the detail and beauty in the buildings...
The blue skies and warm weather...
The churches and temple were stunning.
So much that you couldn't help but just stand and stare.
I love these people.
They showed me more than they know.
They showed me more than they know.
I love that Lilly asked to hold hands.
And how she refused to let go the whole day.
I loved the Cathedral of the Madeline.
It was breathtaking.
And it was 4 o'clock when we decided to crash the beginning of mass.
Looking through the glass doors weren't good enough for us.
Aleisha walked us right on and in. And in seconds, bajillions of people were kneeling in prayer while we stood and clung to one another, nervously laughing and sweating.
Was it worth it?
My sneaky photo turned out to be one of the ceiling, so I improvised with a few more sneaky shots.
I loved our long and scenic drive to Logan to visit Aleisha's family.
My eyes were glued to every bit of it.\
I loved Aleisha's parents...so welcoming and kind. They were funny and witty and awesome.
Her Mom put out chocolate chip pumpkin bread during dinner and her dad made us brownie sundaes.
(and her dad is hot.)
That's to make you laugh, Aleisha! LOL
I loved staying up until 2/2:30 talking and laughing.
And still, waking up rested.
I loved Utah.
But, not as much as I love this girl.
We didn't love saying goodbye.
We were doing fine until a sweet girl asked if we wanted a picture.
We hugged tightly one more time, crying and waving as I walked towards the security line.
I wiped my tears, looked back and smiled.
I was wiping different tears than the ones I did just three days prior in Philadelphia.
I wasn't scared. There wasn't an ounce of fear.
I found my way.
And damn, am I ever so grateful I did.
I gazed out the window as the plane took off and felt such a rush again.
Such satisfaction. Such emotion. Such thanks.
These past few years have been full of surprises. Welcomed or not.
This was such a truly beautiful experience. An opportunity I'm so happy I took.
If I've learned one thing in this life...
It's that love does make you do crazy things.
Crazy is good.
Crazy isn't as crazy as you think it is.
Crazy got me to where I am at this very moment.
And I'm so happy I'm here.
I could say I left my heart in Utah. I could say I left it so many places. Your heart can be so many places at once. That's the beauty in it all...
The beauty of finding your way.
With writing that, my next post is already brewing.
I got off the plane to this guy.
He made me cry.
(is it me, or am I always crying?!)
And, I came home to this guy standing proudly by the door.
Ready to greet me.
Ready for treats.
After a very late dinner with Steve,
I sunk into my favorite spot on the couch and
lit my "Welcome to Utah candle" from Aleisha.
Muffin and I watched it flicker and light up the dark corner.
I looked through my photos and gave thanks one more time before I said good night.
I will leave with these two words...as they mean so much to me at this very time in my life.
I picked up this piece in that "ohh and ahh" shop in Utah.
My next post might be a doozy. :)