Watching the Sun Rise

It is an incredible thing, sitting in this trailer in the parking lot south of campus, watching the sun rise over the mountains.

Wednesday through Friday mornings, I wake up at 5AM and get to work at a snack trailer south of campus at 5:30AM. I open the  by 6:30AM. The sky is light, but living on the west side of the Wasatch Mountains, there is still no sun in the sky at that time.

Even though it is summer, it is still chilly in the early mornings. So, I sit on my stool with a jacket, and watch the road in front of me for signs of sun.

Soon, sunlight prevails on the asphalt, chasing shadow closer and closer to me. It only takes a few minutes and I am always antsy with anticipation.

BOOM! Sunlight pervades into the trailer, beaming down right on me. I can escape from the jacket and become revitalized as I am warmed by the rays.

Looking at the Y Mount and the pass between the mountains takes my breath away every single time. The sparkling sun climbing over the peak, the glittery rays poking through the pass, the inviting illumination it gives the Y.
What an incredible sight.

Reasons I Like, No, LOVE, Pride and Prejudice

First, as a disclaimer: although I may claim that I love Jane Austin, I really am only familiar with two works: Pride and Prejudice (which I have seen and read) and Sense and Sensibility (which I have only seen).

Pride and Prejudice has caught my heart and mind for years. I know it is a cliche to say that every girl can relate to Elizabeth Bennet and wants a Darcy. However, I only find myself relating very little to Elizabeth…and I don’t want a Darcy. I’d much rather have a Bingley. But, here is my reasons why I love the characters:

Elizabeth: I admire her wit, her yearning of knowledge, her stubbornness, and her ideals. However, I feel I only relate to her in her love of reading, enjoying nature.
Jane: I admire her grace, her natural beauty and humility, her modesty. I feel that I am like her in her self-consciousness. I mean, it took me forever to admit that I loved, let alone liked, Justin.
Mary: Her need to do well and show it, her lack of talent in things she would like to share, her awkwardness in many social situations. I feel the same many times.
Lydia and Kitty: They are flirtatious and immature and feel they have a right to things…I would like to say that I don’t carry those traits, but I am sure there are those who would disagree…

Darcy: I really admire his intelligence (and his fortune…that’s always a plus), and I do admire how much he loves and protects his sister. However, I feel he is too proud, too cold, too judgmental. I wouldn’t really want a Darcy.
Bingley: Is just all-around adorable! I love him to death! Such a sweet-heart! He is honest and shows his feelings. He goes after what he wants. He can sometimes be a dork. I love dorks. I’m marrying one!

There have been many renditions of Pride and Prejudice. Here are my favorite three:

Mormon Pride and Prejudice

Hahahahahahaahaha! Where to start! Well, this is the Mormon version of Pride and Prejudice. It is hilarious, and has so many innuendos to Mormon culture. However, sometimes it can be a bit too silly or comical. And the despair scene when Elizabeth and Jane have lost a man or been disappointed by a man…hilarious to the point of rolling on the floor! I totally relate to it! But, it’s always good to add in either a Pride and Prejudice marathon or a Mormon movie marathon.

Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightley 

Where do I start?!? I am actually quite jealous that my sister owns the movie, and not me. But, I do own the soundtrack. It is astounding, breathtaking. I could listen to it for hours and let it take my imagination away. I also just love Kiera Knightely–I think she does a magnificent job with Elizabeth Bennet. It is also pretty cool that I’ve been to the same manor that includes the bridge and pavilion that Elizabeth runs to when she is depressed in the rain. I love looking at the countryside. I just love the whole filmography of the movie.

Bride and Prejudice

Who wouldn’t enjoy this movie? Bollywood works with British Films works with Hollywood! So freaking awesome is so many ways! I also really like this specific Darcy–he seems more human than the others, more self-conscious. I also like the colors, and the SONGS! Oh the Songs! Here are my two favorites:

No Life, Without Wife
Dealing with the idea of marrying Mr. Kohli (Collins) is weird to the Bakshi sisters.
Take Me to Love

This is when Darcy and Lalita fall in love. But, what makes it better is running in fountains of water, and the beach scene in which surfers, lifeguards, even a black Gospel choir join in the song. 

Quotes I Love

“Your mother insists on your marrying Mr. Collins. so from this day onward, you must be a stranger from one of your parents. your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, but I will never see you again if you do.” – Mr. Bennet
“What are men compared to rocks and mountains.” – Mary Bennet
Darcy: How are you this evening, my dear?
Elizabeth:  Very well…although I wish you would not call em “my dear.”
Darcy: Why?
Elizabeth: Because that is what my father always call my mother when he is cross about something.
Darcy: What endearments am I allowed?
Elizabeth: Well let me think…”Lizzy” for every day, “My Pearl” for Sundays, and…”Goddess Divine”…but only on very special occasions.
Darcy: And…what should I call you when I am cross? Mrs. Darcy…?
Elizabeth: No! No…You may only call me “Mrs. Darcy” when you are completely and perfectly and incandescently happy. 
Darcy: Then, how are you this evening…Mrs. Darcy?
“You know what they say: no life without wife.” –Mr. Kohli
“Not all of us can afford to be a romantic like you, Lalita. I’m afraid to let my prince charming walk past me.” –Chandra (Charlotte)

The Dreaded PRAXIS

Every new teacher has to take the Dreaded PRAXIS exam!!!!
These are multiple choice question tests that score your knowledge on a certain subject. They are scored out of 200 and each subject has a minimum point that you must pass. You must pass these exams to receive your teaching licence. The main point of these exams is to make sure that teachers actually know and understand the subject they will be teaching.
I had to take 2 exams:
1) World and U.S. History Content Knowledge Test (Content knowledge on history…what happened when, why did this happen, etc)
2) English Language, Literature, and Composition: Content Knowledge Test (content knowledge on literature, authors, understanding text, language and linguistics, composition and rhetoric, as well as pedagogical questions on how to handle students questions/samples and how to teach these)
As you can see, I was very nervous about the English one. History is my major and I was pretty confident in answering questions about history. But, the English one required so much knowledge! I was so nervous.

But…today, I came home to a folder in the mail.
Inside was a Certificate of Excellence….

                      For English!

It states: ETS Recognition of Excellence presented to Tayler Christiansen, In acknowledgement of your outstanding score on the Praxis Series: English Language, Literature, and Composition: Content Knowledge on April 28, 2012. Your exceptional performance earned a score that ranks within the top 15% of all test takers who took this assessment in previous years. This achievement indicates a high level of proficiency in an area critical for professional educators. Congratulations!
My scores: 
History 173/200
English: 193/200

Needless to say, I am soooo stoked!!!!

His Story

Hopefully you all read Tayler’s account before mine.  I will have you know that my account is the most ‘accurate’ depiction of our romantic journey.

I first met Tayler at our apartment complex.  She was passing by the hallway to drop something off to someone.  My first initial thoughts were along the lines of, “Pretty girl, red hair, volleyball shirt”.  I felt bold and decided to ask across the hall “Hey, is that just a shirt, or do you actually play volleyball?”, to which she responded, “I played in high school” and left.  *This is very similar to Tayler’s account, however, I had to remind her that this interaction took place.  A while ago she asked me what my first impression of her was, I told her this story, and she had no recollection that it even happened.*  But alas, I digress.

My second encounter with the red-haired beauty was at our ward’s opening social.  Just a large get-together with the people in our apartment complex.  There was food (1 reason why I came), sports and games (another reason why I came), and a likely chance of pretty girls (probably the biggest reason why I came.)  I had seen her across the field a couple of times, but never made an attempt to get her attention.  I figured she wouldn’t remember me, and based on her reaction to my previous attempt at a conversation, she likely wasn’t interested or already had a boyfriend.  Regardless, I noticed her.  My roommates and I were looking to recruit some females to play for our Co-ed Intramural Kickball team.  We were very competitive, and were scouting for athletic women to invite to play.  During the scouting process, I began to play volleyball, my favorite sport.  I noticed the red-haired beauty come and play.  *Contrary to Tayler’s account, I recall we were on different teams, not the same team.  This allowed me to get a better look at her and to try to impress her with my volleyball skills.*  Following the social, my roommates asked her and her roommate Danielle to join our kickball team and they accepted.  I was excited to have her on the team, plus, it allowed me access to her house to “talk about kickball business”, and I took full advantage of this.

I would go over to her house and discuss with her kickball information, they would host group movie nights to which my roommates and I would join in on, we even joined together and started a dinner group (which my roommates accused me of coming up with for the sole purpose of spending more time with Tayler….guilty).  One time while I was over, she and her roommates started chatting a bunch about who knows what, and eventually the conversation lead to talking about relationships.  Tayler was very adamant about not having one.  She had had too many bad experiences and was no going to even think about dating until after she graduated.  My heart sank, here I was getting to know this physically and personalty-wise attractive woman, and she wasn’t going to go any further than friends.  Somehow, I didn’t believe it.  There was something about her that made me believe that she didn’t really believe that.  So I tried to call her out on it.
Tayler: I’m through with boys, if one comes my way, I’ll just ignore his advanced and focus on finishing my degree.
Justin: So, your telling me that if some Knight in Shining Armor comes to your door and whisks you off your feet, you’ll just ask him to put you down and close the door?
Tayler: Justin, are you trying to imply something?
Her roommates roared with laughter.  She caught me.  *For a moment, I hadn’t a witty comeback, until one came.  Tayler cleverly omitted this from her account*
Justin: That depends Tayler, do you want me to imply something?
She blushed.  Roommates laughed again.  Caught her.  She was in denial.  But I was in a standstill.  Aside from Tayler, there was another girl that I really liked, and now I had to figure out what to do.

The decision would have been easy if Tayler had just cooperated with her feelings.  Instead, on the various walks and every date we went on, she kept bringing up how she didn’t want a relationship.  Initially, I thought ‘Then why even go on a date with me?’ but i had to remember she wasnt being entirely truthful with herself.  However, the more she resisted, the more I thought about this other girl.  I didn’t feel the same way about her as I did Tayler though.  Man was I confused.  Finally, I issued myself an Ultimatum.  I was going to go hang out with this other girl, and depending on how she treated me, I would finally figure out what to do.  In the next interaction with the other girl, she really didn’t pay me much attention, and that was that.  Time to win over Tayler.

After hanging about a bunch, I invited her over to watch some funny youtube videos.  Roommates were gone, and it was just the two of us on the couch, watchin’ videos on my laptop.  We were sitting pretty close.  The entire night my mind argued with itself about what to do.  Finally, after about an hour and a half of slowly inching to wards to her, I held it.  Within the next 10 seconds, my roomates busted open the door, I dropped her hand, and felt scared for my life.  I can’t go back now.  She can’t just be a friend on my kickball team that I hang out with anymore.  I walked her home, again holding her hand.  I asked her if I was going too fast, or if we should be doing this at all (especially with her whole no relationship thing.  I was kind of destroying that idea).  She said she was fine with it.  The next day we watched General Conference together.  As the day progressed, we grew closer together.  One of the talks (cant remember who) but it focused on faith, and how we should have faith in our actions and not be afraid to do what we feel we should.  The only way it could have been more obvious is if the speaker announced over the pulpit that Justin Morrell should stop thinking and date Tayler Christiansen.  My arm went around her shoulders, she leaned into me, and it was all over.  We when left, I asked her what she thought about us dating.  She asked me the same thing.  I told her I would like to date her.  *Her response was something along the lines of “Its about time, I’ve been waiting for a few weeks”.*

I had never felt about a girl the same way I felt about Tayler.  I didn’t get bored with her around.  She was very independent, very well grounded, realistic, and the list goes on.  However, now the war in my head continued.  Do I marry this girl?

I could tell it was on her mind when she asked me to come home with her to meet her family over Christmas break.  I agreed to go, but I was scared.  I was seriously thinking about marrying this girl.  I loved her (*btw, it took her almost a month to say it back*), I loved her family, and they seemed to like me.  The members of my family that she had met liked her.  I started thinking about my future plans and planning them with her around.  What was I doing?  I was so confused.  I loved her and wanted to be with her, but I didn’t want to make that step in my life just yet.  Now I was the one in denial.

It took me a good 3 months of conversations with roommates, friends, family, her, her family, and myself to figure out anything.  I wanted her to meet my family before I did anything, but as plans unraveling, it seemed that God and life had a different plan for me.

I went and bought the ring we had looked it months prior, set up the proposal, and dove right in.

And this, ladies and gentleman, is my side of the story.

Her Story

I’ve promised the story of how Justin and I came to love each other. I will tell my side of the story and then Justin will tell his.

A guy had broken my heart during the summer. He basically told me I wasn’t worth trying to make a relationship work out. I was devastated. I was through with men…at least for my last year of school.

One day, right before the semester started, I had to give something to a friend who lived in the apartments. I was in a hurry. So, I went, in my volleyball t-shirt and jeans…There were people in the lobby and a random boy asked me if I was just wearing a volleyball t-shirt or if I actually played volleyball. I quickly said, “I played in high school.” Then went on my hurried way.

The opening social came around and I played volleyball. There was a boy who had played volleyball before who played on my team. Just as my roommate, Danielle, and I were leaving, he and his roommate asked if we wanted to be on their Intramural Kickball team. We said, “Yes.” I thought to myself–it’ll be fun playing kickball with Danielle.

This boy came over to tell us more details about the kickball team. We got to talking and realized he liked volleyball and played, and loved videogames. He got so excited when Danielle said she enjoyed Fire Emblem. I thought right then that I should try to hook them up. I also thought that these boys would become good friends.

Well, I learned his name was Justin and he continued coming over. There was one time that a bunch of us went to see X-Men: First Class at the dollar theatre. Justin was there. I wanted to sit by him–I thought another girl had a crush on him (when in fact it was his roommate) so I made sure to maneuver my way next to him. I also made him walk me home.

Another time he came over. We had some witty banter. I told him that I wasn’t looking for a relationship this year and I was giving up on guys.
He said, “So, what if a knight in shining armor comes to sweep you off your feet?”
I couldn’t resist: “Justin, are you implying something?”
First time I made him speechless.

He asked me on late night walks. Typically I didn’t stay up past 11pm. But, for him, I did. Again, I kept telling him I didn’t want to date anyone. But still, he was persistent. By this time, I was in denial. I liked him a lot.
We went on one date in which he took me to a cool little dive for some shakes. We played volleyball with our friends and spent most of the time flirting.
Then, homecoming came around. By this time, I was texting him and skyping him and Facebooking him all the time. He wanted to ask me on another date. However, the day he planned, a coworker had asked me out. I sadly told him so, but insisted that I could do it another day. I wanted to go out with Justin more than this coworker anyway. So, we did. Then, when this coworker tried to ask me again, coincidentally for the night of Homecoming, I freaked. I didn’t want to go to Homecoming with him. I mentioned this to Justin. He said, “Just tell him you are already going with me that night.”

We would hang out and watch Youtube videos. One night at Justin’s place, while doing this, he tried to hold my hand, but released it 10 seconds later as his roommate came in door. I was disappointed. But, he held it as he walked me home and I smiled.

But, the week before Homecoming was General Conference. I went to his apartment to watch it. And we cuddled. I decided that I did like Justin–a lot! After the first session of General Conference, as I was leaving to get lunch, Justin asked, “So…are we going out?”
I replied, “I don’t know. Are we?”
He said, “Would you like to go out?”
I accepted.

We started dating. I enjoyed his company and felt accepted by his roommates. I began to fall hard for him. So much in love, that I asked if he would come home with me for Christmas. He did…well, he came to California to spend a few days after Christmas with me. It was then I mentioned that I didn’t want to be with anyone else, ever. He said the same thing, but was more blunt and said he wanted to marry me.

So, when we came back to school for Winter Semester, I knew that marriage was in our future. However, when was the question. As January wove on, Justin said that he wanted to marry me, but wouldn’t propose until I met his parents after finals in April. And he wanted to take me home with him to Georgia. To be honest, I was sad…and anxious…and jealous of all my friends who were getting engaged like no tomorrow.

There had been a few times that I thought he would propose.
#1 Early December. We went to visit the Salt Lake Temple and see the Christmas lights. It was just us two and it was very fun and romantic. I knew of people who propose during these trips and almost expected it…until we saw a proposal happen in front of our eyes. My thoughts: Well, that guy stole Justin’s thunder so he won’t propose now even if he was going to.
#2 Christmas Break: Justin had built up my present to me so much, that I thought hard–maybe he would propose because he was teasing about not giving me clues. When he did pull out my gift…it was in a jewelry box. I thought: maybe…just maybe…but no, it was a necklace (a very beautiful necklace).
#3 February 10th–My 22nd Birthday: Justin took me to P.F. Chang’s. He looked very spiffy. I thought: Fancy restaurant, dressed up boyfriend, birthday…maybe ring? Nope. No ring. However, there was a glimmer of hope. We ordered Mongolian beef and it was cut…I don’t even remember the type of cut. But Justin was close to making a deal with me: If I could tell him the type of cut the beef was, after dinner he would go buy me a ring. Too bad I don’t know my meet cuts.

However, afterwards, before we said good-night, Justin told me we would go ring shopping in a week or so.

We went and it was fun. I knew I wanted entwining, a small diamond, and something simple. We looked at a few places, including Jared’s (TOO MUCH of everything for my taste) and it wasn’t till the last ring that I found something I actually loved.
Now we knew which ring I liked, but I would have to wait until April to get it.

Then, mid-March, we decide to do a picnic. Here is the Proposal Story. I was completely caught off-guard. I hadn’t met his parents, but here he was, on his knees, with my ring in his hand. It was the happiest day of my life. I was speechless, crying, smiling, laughing, shaking for hours on end.

And that is my side of the story.