Monday, September 26, 2011

Whirlwind Weekend

I spent the weekend at home in Salt Lake. I have to thank Catherine for having her wedding so I was able to go home for a quick minute and see everyone! I am so happy that I was able to be home for Catherine's wedding. I have always seen her as my third sister, she has been apart of all the major events in my life and many of the little moments. She is the best in every way and I can always count on her. Her wedding was perfect and so much fun! I can't wait for her to be in New York and just a few hours away from me!

On Saturday we went for a bike ride to Hennefer. You are probably asking yourself where that is because I had no idea either but it is by Echo Lake. 2 hours and 26 miles later I had a bruised bum, kinked neck, and my exercise done for the day. Kacey and I are not the biggest bikers so we definitely slowed our expert parents down but it was fun to be together. And the leaves were BEAUTIFUL.

The rest of the day was spent reuniting with friends and having a nice home cooked dinner with the family. I was able to catch up with everyone. After dinner I met my friends down at Hires for a treat. It was so much fun to hear about what everyone has been up to over the past month. After that Lizzy and I went hot-tubbing while a few others came to visit.

Sunday morning came quickly and before I knew it I was on a plane back home. The visit was short and sweet and well worth the trip. I was happy to see my friends and family but I was excited to get back to my new home in DC and in my routine. Thanks for a great weekend Utah!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

It was an early morning on the bus going to Philadelphia. 30 kids at 7 in the morning stuck on a bus is not the best combination but everyone was surprisingly chipper. We arrived in Philadelphia around 9:00 and headed to the Constitution Convention Center. I was inaugurated as President, hung out with the signers of the constitution, and signed the constitution.

You may call me Madam President

Hanging with Benjamin Franklin

After the constitution we headed to the Liberty Bell. It was pretty cool to see the object that has been our symbol for independence and freedom for over 200 years. It was actually Constitution day on Saturday so it ended up being the perfect day to see all of these sites.

Then we headed to Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed. It was pretty amazing to be in the same place that our Founding Fathers were in.
Where the Declaration and Constitution were signed

Where Franklin's home was

After Independence Hall we were set free to experience the city on our own. We all immediately went to get Philly cheesesteaks for lunch. We went to these two different places that were rivals and are across the street from each other. Half ate at one while the other half ate at the other. Then we walked around the city and found the LOVE statue.

By 4:00 we were definitely ready to head home. It had been a long 2 days. We jumped on the bus and had a good 3 hour drive home. The BYU vs. Utah game started right when we were going home. It was me and one other kid, Trevor, rooting for the U and we definitely picked the right team!

 The Liberty Bell was cracked when it was first shipped to the US so another one had to be made that was cracked years later when they were trying to fix it and so it was retired.

The Battle of Valley Forge

In every history class I have taken my teacher always referred to the winter at Valley Forge as the Battle at Valley Forge. Well this weekend I learned that I had been taught wrong. There was never a battle at Valley Forge just a cold, miserable 6 month winter the troops had to suffer through. But it was because they suffered through that winter that America won the revolutionary war. This weekend our group traveled to Valley forge and then to Philadelphia for a little history lesson. On Friday night we stayed at these dorms called the Freedom Foundation. It felt like we were back in junior high at youth conference. After settling in we took a tour of Valley Forge.

Utah Medal of Honor statue

Martha and George

Our tour guide

Barack Obama followed us to Valley Forge

George Washington touched this banister

After our tour we had the one and only Thomas Jefferson come speak to us. Yes, it was a man that dressed and acted exactly like Jefferson. At the beginning I felt like it was going to be really corny but I was completely enthralled. He does this professionally all over the country and is supposedly one of the best at what he does. I learned a lot about the Constitution and Declaration of Independence and these men that made it all happen. They learned to compromise and work together even though many of them had very different thoughts and opinions. It was my favorite part of the day.

We woke up bright and early at 7:00 am and headed off to Philadelphia for the day...

 Thomas Jefferson was in France when the Constitution was written.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Rooftop Party, A Campaign, A Memorial

This weekend was filled with lots of different activities. Since it was the 10th anniversary of 9/11 the city was having memorials, programs, and different exhibits going on. But before we got to the 9/11 part of the weekend we had a few other events to attend.
Friday night we went to a birthday party for my friend Matt Holton on the roof of his apartment building. We felt pretty cool about the whole situation. The view was beautiful since you could see DC all lit up. I actually ran into a few people I knew from home which is always fun and we met a few new friends through out the night.
Kristen and I with our Root beers

Saturday morning I was up bright and early. Me and two other guys decided to volunteer for Mitt Romney's campaign. The two guys had been helping with it all summer and had found out they needed people to collect signatures in Delaware to get Mitt on the primary ballot. We took a two hour drive out to Delaware with 3 we'll say interesting individuals. We went to the Milford town festival and started asking people if they were registered republican voters. The responses went a little something like this:
         "Yes, how do we get those democrats out of there"
         "I am a felon and can't vote"
         "I am a democrat but wish I was republican"
         "You better wash your mouth out little lady for asking me that question"
         "I'm an independent"
         "Is he that mormon guy? I like Perry"
         "If I vote for anyone it's going to be him"
I met some very interesting individuals to say the least. They ranged from American flags on their t-shirts to covered in tattoos and smoking cigars. But the good news is we got enough signatures so the day was worth it!
They had all of these old fashioned cars lined up
The campaign crew

I could not have asked to be living in a better city than DC for the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Even though there was a terrorist threat happening all weekend everything went just fine and the city was filled with an amazing spirit. For class on Friday we ventured to the Pentagon to see the new memorial dedicated to the 184 lives lost in the plane that hit the pentagon and the pentagon itself. It was the perfect way to start off this emotional weekend. It was a beautiful memorial where each victim has been given a bench engraved with their name. I am always amazed at the people that come up with these memorials and how much symbolism goes into it.
One of the benches dedicated to a victim. Underneath is a reflecting pool of water
If the name is being read while you are facing the building it meant the victim was killed in the Pentagon, if your back was to the pentagon the victim was in the plane.
Outside the memorial

On Sunday after church a small group of us went to the Smithsonian. They have an exhibit that is part of the American History museum that is dedicated to 9/11 and artifacts recovered from the 3 sights of the attack. We weren't able to get into the exhibit today but we saw a movie they had put together that was clips of the coverage and people's stories from that day. The firefighter chief that was on location at the Twin Towers that day and to hear his story and the bravery of all those rescue and recovery teams that risked their lives to run into those buildings really touched me. It was a day full of spirit, hope, and recovery. We are so blessed to live in such an amazing country that grows and become unified in the face of such destruction.

I am grateful for all that this flag symbolizes.

  9/11 Never Forget.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

It Must Be Love

I went to New York City for the first time over Labor Day weekend. Even though I didn't see much of the actual city I loved what I did see. I met my parents, older sister Allie, my grandparents, aunt and little cousin for the US Open. Before we got to the tennis I took my parents and Allie to see Warhorse. A play that I had seen in London and had absolutely loved. My family loved it and I enjoyed it even more the second time. If you have the chance make sure to see this play!

We had tickets for the main Arthur Ashe stadium where Caroline Wosniacki, Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic would be playing. Subaru had given my dad some seats but we weren't quite sure where they were, well they ended up being on the fourth row! I was able to see my hero, Federer play right in front of me.
Roger Federer

We went back again the next day and saw even more great tennis. Tsonga and Verdasco, Mardy Fish, John Isner, and of course Andy Roddick. It is crazy how fast the time goes by when you are watching these matches. Before we knew it our days were gone and it was time to go home. Unfortunately, I forgot my phone the second day so my mom has all the great pictures on her phone.

Verdasco (He is really really cute)


And the number 1 in the world Djokovic

One of the best moments was on the second day when we were walking to Roddick's match and all of the sudden James Blake is standing in front of me. Luckily, we had just thought to buy a tennis ball and sharpie just in case we could get autographs so I got Blake's autograph. During Roddick's match I made my way down to the second row so I could try and get an autograph. When he finished he started walking off the court and then he veered right to where I was standing, signed my ball and then almost stole my pen! I was so happy because Allie's favorite player in the world is Andy Roddick so I was able to give her his autograph!
It was a wonderful weekend spent in NYC!

The Arthur Ashe stadium at the US Open is the largest outdoor tennis-only arena in the world

Moonlit Bike Ride

Last Thursday one of the girls in our group put together a full night of activities. Since we have class on Friday's and no work it makes Thursday feel like a weekend night. We started off at the Kennedy Center where they have free concerts every night at 6:00 365 days of the year. How great is that? We saw Eric Lindell and his band. They are from New Orleans and play R&B/soulful/jazz type of music. I actually really liked some of his songs. It didn't hurt that random people in the audience were breaking out full dance moves like the sprinkler.

My roommate Kristen, Me, and Elly

After the concert we headed to Chipotle for a little bite to eat and then a smaller group of us rented bikes for the night. We started in Georgetown and rode to the Lincoln Memorial all the way down the mall to the Washington memorial and then on to the Capitol through the White House and back to the good old Barlow Center where we live. It took us about 2 and a half hours because we kept stopping to take in the sights. If you ever come to Washington DC make sure to go see the memorials at night when they are all lit up. It was gorgeous!

Lincoln Memorial
Washington Memorial

Our Group

The Capitol
I didn't get a picture of the White House because the police were yelling at us to keep moving!

There are bells throughout every building linked to the Capitol that ring every time a vote is going through the House.