Dear Christmas Tree,
Yes, I realize that it is a month and a half into the new year and you are still up with all your lovely ornaments adorning you. What can I say? Things have been awfully crazy and busy. But more than that, I must say that I enjoy seeing you each day. I promise to let you rest for the year soon...
Okay, it is a little embarrassing that we still have ALL of our Christmas decorations, but I honestly haven't cared until this week. I like seeing the Christmas tree. It reminds me of Ty and I’s first Christmas as a married couple. It was definitely one that we will not forget. Months previous I had implored our principal and district HR director to let me have the day before a vacation off so we could fly home to Utah. Now, this is something normally unheard of in our district, but because it was going to cost us $400 more to fly out on Friday rather than Thursday, they took pity on us. My sub was arranged (thanks Molly!) and we were getting all ready to leave when a storm rolled in Wednesday night. The wind was 30-40 mph in some places with heavy snowfall, creating blizzard conditions. Some places in western Wisconsin got 18 inches of snow! Because of the storm, we had a snow day on Thursday! Wahoo! It was awesome!..until we got a text message that morning saying that our flight had been cancelled. Ty immediately called the airline and tried to get a different flight. We got a flight out for Saturday night but the airline said we could try to get on a different flight if we wanted to.
We immediately finished packing and left in the pouring rain (it rained more than snowed in Milwaukee). To make this situation more complicated, we realized the night before that for some reason my ticket to Utah was in my married name and my return ticket was in my maiden name. The problem was…I hadn’t gone to get my new license with my married name on it yet. Zaogao (Chinese for “dang”—literally means messy cake). I grabbed all the important documentation and we headed for the DMV near the airport. The man helping us was impressed with all the paperwork I provided and was about to give us clearance to continue...until he asked for proof of residency and we didn’t have it. Could this day get any crazier?! In a rush, we ran back out into the rain, drove a few miles down the road to the nearest library where I could print out my pay stubs and bank statement that showed our address. So, we walk into the library and ask if we can print something out and she said the printer was unavailable for another hour. SERIOUSLY!? We explained our situation and she said, “Oh my…ummm…there’s a printer upstairs you can use. Just tell them I said it was okay.” (insert angels singing here). We ran upstairs and spent 15 minutes printing off a pay stub and bank statement on a computer that I’m pretty sure was on Widows 1919.
We raced back to the DMV, got my new license, and then headed to the airport. We were there for almost four hours trying to get on any flight out of here that would eventually get us to Utah. No dice. But we were super blessed to get that flight out Saturday because we heard a lot of choice words and angry people grumbling about how they couldn’t get out until Christmas Eve. I am so grateful Ty felt he should call when he did!
We went to Settebello's to get our yummy gelato fix before we left! yumm!!!
Over the break, I had my first adventure in Cabella's. It was hilarious. All I could think about was Chuck Testa and his taxidermy. If you are wondering what I am talking about, check this out:
Christmas in Utah was wonderful!! It was so nice to be with family again and back in the state I love. It was tricky trying to balance families, especially now that they are an hour and fifteen minutes apart, but overall it worked out fine. We got to go through the temple with my beautiful sister Marissa who is now in the MTC going to the Taiwan Taichung mission! She will be the first 19-year-old sister missionary in Taiwan, and she is already super 有办法 (you banfa). Thank you all so much for the wonderful Christmas and for your generosity!
After a lovely week and a half, we came back to cold Wisconsin and have been enjoying -20 degree wind chills and lots of snow. School and work are as busy as ever, but I am learning how to deal with my stress so I don’t break out in shingles again!
So, it's actually been kind of nice seeing the Christmas tree every day, reminding Ty and I to laugh about our crazy first Christmas and to remember our wonderful family back at home. There’s something special about Christmas trees and how the sparkling lights and dancing ornaments whisper childhood Christmas memories.
In November, I began scouring Craig’s List for a cheap Christmas tree we could buy. I got pretty close to getting one when all of the sudden Ty started really discouraging me from doing it, saying something about how unsafe it is to buy stuff of Craig’s List or how they were too expensive. I was so confused because we had bought lots of stuff off it before and they were great prices, but I didn’t buy one. Then one night, Ty came home and called me out to the garage to look in his car. In the back, was this beautiful, new Christmas tree. My kind, generous little sister Kaytlen knew that I was wanting a tree and in the goodness of her heart, she and Matt decided to surprise us with one. They found a good Black Friday deal and got it for us. I was so touched. Words cannot describe the feelings in my heart and tears could not be held back. That was the true spirit of Christmas, and it came to me halfway across the country from my little sister. She is such a good example to me. I want to be like her when I grow up. I HAVE THE BEST SISTERS (including my sister-in-law!!) EVER!!!