back in provo, i met ammon hepworth, a friend of nate and julia’s who had recently returned from a mission. sarah my nemelka called me one evening to say that brandon had just proposed. school started and i enjoyed my classes: hist 400 (family and law in american history), hist 378 (history of the american family), hum 202 (arts in western culture), rel c 261 (introduction to lds family history), and hist 421 (england language handwriting and documents). the first round of tests went well, and i got above 90% in all subjects. family history was, as you can see, my main focus and passion; i made a lot of discoveries and met a lot of new people because of it. ammon helped me build my first snowman; he taught me how to tie my shoes; and he took me on a thoroughly enjoyable lunch date. while cooking dinner one night i turned on the wrong burner, and melted a spatula. despite what seemed to be developing with ammon (we even had a dtr—ammon started it), i began falling in love with jarom.
ryan came back from australia! at his request i found an apartment for him, which turned out to be a great place. jarom sent me a valentine’s day letter, mostly in korean. i took a road trip to san diego with julia, nate, ammon, tracy, and julia’s roommates; it was incredibly fun, although sunday night i got quite a fever. after returning to provo my condition worsened, and i soon figured out i had the flu. it turned into bronchitis. just when i thought things were clearing up, i was brilliant enough to hyperventilate … though i didn’t realize that’s what i was doing. we all kind of panicked at the time, and julia and kim took me to the emergency room. the doctor gave me a paper bag to breathe into.
whether it was my waning interest in family history or something else altogether, i decided to switch to an english major. now i realize that’s where i should have been all along. the weather was gorgeous for a lot of march, and nate let me borrow his sister’s bike. we went on several lovely rides. ryan and i started plotting how to take over the world, he made his famous steaks for me, and he and stephanie and i wrote the first edition of the fresco daily report. after the new year’s eve incident had made enough stir, i had my hair bleached. the stylist also gave me highlights and lowlights, thus entering a new term into my vocabulary. lowlights? i didn’t know. one of my cousins was going through the temple, so i went with some other relatives to be there for the weekend in twin falls. nate and i went to a peter brineholt concert with kim and tracy for preference.
kim’s cousin alicia invited us to go marshmallow slingshotting with her friend paul. he said that it worked better if the marshmallows weren’t fresh—but he had let them dry out for several weeks, and they shattered when you fired them at the ground. it led to some welts and long-lasting bruises. another nephew was born: david brian lewis. ryan became my official storyteller, entertaining me for hours. i spent easter at my aunt’s house in salt lake. my cousin jennifer came to visit byu with some of her friends who planned on attending the following fall semester; it was great fun to get to know her a bit, and i looked forward to spending time with her once she moved to provo. my dad drove out to utah at the end of the month, and, like always, we went back to california together.
i started working full-time (right away) at mha associates, a digital imaging company here in fairfield. the hours were rough: the workday began at 6am. since it wasn’t too far away, and i didn’t have a car, i got a nice red bike (with a basket) to ride to and from work. being at home, where there were so many pieces of the past i had with jarom, i was full of regret for the way i had handled things. and full of tenderhearted feelings towards him. other than sending off his one-year package, i have no idea what else happened.
i went to visit brother and sister hillery. it wasn’t a bad visit, but i left feeling somewhat less than optimistic about a relationship developing between jarom and me. ryan and i spent hours (literally) talking on the phone, at all hours of the day. we started writing the falconer tangent story (it’s my turn right now), which tests my writing skills to the limit. it is, however, one of the most fun things i’ve ever done in terms of writing. my brother geoffrey found out that he might get a position as a teacher at the defense language institute in monterey. kimberlee and i planned a trip for me to come visit her in july.
well, i said we planned it, and lo and behold, it happened. i spent a week with kim in tennessee, and we did a lot of fun stuff. the humidity, though! definitely a different way of living altogether. nothing much exciting happened for my birthday. kimberlee bought me a pair of genuine cowboy boots and ryan wrote a perfectly lovely story for me. he also offered to fly out to california at the end of august so i wouldn’t have to drive back to utah alone. sarah finally accepted brandon’s proposal, and they set their wedding date for october.
finally bought a car! a 1991 dodge shadow, turquoise, name of gabe. trying to fit all my stuff in it was a challenge. ryan and i had a fairly safe drive to utah, if you ignore the fact that i got pulled over in nevada. oops. i spent a few days in salt lake before heading down to provo, and dragging all my stuff from the car up to my new apartment. my new roommates, other than kimberlee, were beth chon (from baltimore) and melissa morgan (from the d.c. area). ryan got accepted to utah state, and we all had a night filled with card games and some sort of food and late-night television before he moved up to logan.
again, i loved my classes: rel c 351 (the gospel & world religions), engl 364 (literature of the american west), phscs 100 (fundamentals of physics, not my favorite), engl 293 (american literature), and engl 251 (fundamentals of interpretation & criticism). jennifer was living in dt, and we had a jolly good time getting to be friends. i started my dinner parties. kim’s cousin alicia’s friend paul invited us to spend a weekend at his cabin; the colors of the trees in fall and the glory of the star-filled sky at night was absolutely breathtaking. quentin, ah, remember quentin? he lived about two blocks away, and kim and i got to be great friends with him. those random ice cream runs were the best. i also met aubrey ferrin, who had been a long-time friend of sarah nemelka; we were kindred spirits from the start.
i started working for a woman named ann gonzales in mapleton. she has twin daughters, kay and karen, who are 28 and have cerebral palsy. since the time they were 12 she’s had “trainers” who work with the girls during the day: take them out to go bowling or see a movie, do activities at home, feed them lunch, etc. ann needed someone in the evenings to feed the girls dinner so she could get other things done. i positively adored this job, as the girls were the sweetest i had ever known (though karen could be a real pill), and ann was wonderful. aubrey and i went to sarah’s wedding, which was gorgeously beautiful. i started having problems with my right ear. towards the end of the month i got a letter from jarom in which he made somewhat clearer his feelings towards me, and i floated through the rest of october.
more ear trouble, which escalated until i ended up in the emergency room early one morning. with the stress of health and school combined i felt overwhelmed; i made the decision mid-month to withdraw from my classes and come home at the end of the semester. everyone was very supportive. kimberlee came to fairfield with me at thanksgiving; we got to see brian’s family, as well as geoffrey and garrett, who were visiting from hawaii. kim and i went to a movie with quentin and then the three of us took a trip to san francisco the next day. quentin was our tour guide. i had mentioned to kimberlee that i thought quentin might be interested in her, and that sure started something!
by the end of the week after thanksgiving, kim and quentin were “an item.” i attended my first volleyball tournament when ryan came to play at uvsc. interesting stuff. the following weekend was a ballet west performance of nutcracker that i went to with quentin, kimberlee, and daniel, who knew the aten family because he’d served his mission in the fairfield stake. before the ballet we had a steak dinner, with asparagus and egypt potatoes (ask me the story). the next day i hosted an open house, sort of a goodbye to mika, at which there were approximately 100 dozen cookies, plus fudge, mints, and caramels (all homemade). it was good to see friends before i left. back in california, i resumed my job at mhaa, tried to get back on a normal sleeping schedule, and decided to write a book. ryan and i made a deal that we’d both finish our books by my birthday next year (and he’d better keep his word!). geoffrey’s family moved to california at the very end of 2004. happy new year’s!