Friday, July 11, 2008

Refreshing Indeed!

One of the downsides of moving is leaving friends behind when you go from one place to another. While I have not legally "moved" since we moved to this house in 1983 (when I was all of 10 months old), with my mission and then my time at BYU-Idaho I have moved several times, so I still have friends in those areas and others as many have moved elsewhere. The benefit is that I have friends in many places that I want to visit, but the drawback is that I rarely get to see my friends and end up falling out of touch with them. Thankfully I have things like this blog, Facebook, MySpace, e-mail, and cell phones to keep in touch more than I would've been able to do a few years ago, but nothing beats face-to-face contact or at least a phone call. I've also complained to those closest to me that many times I feel like the only reason I have kept in touch with a lot of my friends is because I contact them but rarely the other way around. I have a select few friends that actually contact me out of the blue just to touch base; usually I'm the one that makes the contact. Of course it's not always like that, but too often that's how it seems.

Well, these last two weeks I've gotten some pleasant surprises. First, I got a call from my friend Elisa (Reyes) Burchett just seeing how I was doing and to tell me she is expecting! Elisa and I have been friends since 7th grade and still keep in touch pretty regularly even though we seem to go months in between contacts. Her and husband Todd don't live too far away either, so I've been able to visit them a few times already!

Next I got a phone call last Monday from my friend Lindsey (Smith) Fairbanks who was passing through the area with her new husband Dan (they make a great couple, by the way) on a large Eastern trip as they begin heading back to Utah. Lindsey moved here to Kent just before the start of our junior years in high school back in 1998 (we graduated in 2000) plus we went to church together. I hadn't really talked to her much since we went to a Utah Jazz-Cleveland Cavaliers game in Salt Lake City on Valentine's Day in 2007 other than a few text messages here and there and her wedding announcement, so it was quite an unexpected surprise to hear from her. We met for dinner on Tuesday at El Campasino in Stow (a Mexican place) and had a great time catching up, though I should've taken more time to actually talk to her husband and get to know him. I've noticed with a lot of my friends that get married, when I visit with them the spouse tends to get left out a bit since the things we talk about are things the spouse has little or no connection to. In this case, all the memories associated with Roosevelt and the Rootstown ward were things Dan, who grew up in Salt Lake City, had no connection to. We did discover that Lindsey's older sister Emily knows and graduated in the same class at Springville High School in Utah as current ward members (and my friends!) Nate and Susan (Olson) Jeppson, who moved from Salt Lake to Kent last year. Nate was called as bishop when I was called as executive secretary about a month ago (plus he's our home teacher) and Susan is the chorister in Primary (I am the pianist), so I have been able to work with both of them a lot and have come to really enjoy them (plus I love their kids!). What a cool family! When Lindsey and her family moved to Kent in 1998 they had come from Springville. Small world! Even more connection is that Lindsey has been living in the Sugar House area of Salt Lake (where her husband Dan is from) and the Jeppsons moved to Kent from Sugar House. Whooooooooa.

After meeting with Lindsey and Dan I was talking with my mom about how much I appreciated hearing from friends like that and being able to see them. I LOVE to visit with my extended family and old friends but almost always I am the one who does the traveling, some close, some not-so-close. Don't get me wrong; I do enjoy traveling, but it is rare that I have had a friend visit me here in Kent and it is nice to host once and awhile. Well, I was talking and she said it was "refreshing" and I said "refreshing indeed!".

Just when I was about to write this post last night, I got an e-mail from one of my most consistent and best friends, Michelle, and then an unexpected phone call from Andrea Sampsel, whom I and many others simply know as "Dre". I hadn't talked to Dre in who knows how long. She's been out in Las Vegas getting her masters at UNLV and working, so it was really great to hear from her again. The only downside was that her phone died while we were talking. Dang batteries! It's always good to hear from Michelle. She is one of my few friends who consistently contacts me by phone or e-mail (we always have long e-mails and phone conversations), plus she visits whenever she can. Of course I visit her whenever I can and have been able to make two visits since she settled in the Toledo area. Both Michelle and Dre attended Kent State with me the first time I was at KSU in 2000-2001. We were all part of an amazing Institute of Religion program and Latter-day Saint Student Association (LDSSA), which was headed by Lindsey Smith's dad Harold.

Let's not forget some new friends that I am making here as part of the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program at Kent State. I finished the first five-week session (Summer I) yesterday, so summer classes are halfway over. I start the next session on Monday and have two professors who both taught at Roosevelt when I was there. Finally, the benefits of growing up in Kent! The cohort I am part of (same group of students for all our classes) is an amazing group. We're all so different, yet we all get along so well and enjoy being around each other. After our last class on Thursday, nine of us (there are 12 total) went to lunch at Rays Place in downtown Kent. We had so much fun just talking and celebrating the end of the term, plus I ended up getting a free lunch after my order wasn't placed right. Everyone had gotten their food and I hadn't, but thankfully Mari, one of my classmates, had a freakin boatload of fries that I helped eat. I'm laid back enough that it didn't really bother me (I was ready to pay), so getting it free was quite the bonus. The place was packed and loud and seemed a bit understaffed, so I wasn't upset at all that it had been missed. Things like that happen sometimes and I'd hope for the same patience and understanding if I were in his (the waiter's) shoes. In another small world case, I found out one of my classmates, Carolyne, knows some people (the Dutsons) I know from church things as they went to high school together near Alliance, Ohio. The Dutsons are in the Alliance Ward (congregation), which is a neighboring ward to my ward (Rootstown) and is part of the same stake (group of wards). Back to the MAT, it went pretty well and overall I was very happy with myself and my professors. Dr. Bruce especially made us all laugh a lot and is one of the best professors I have had in college. Too bad he's headed for a new position at the University at Buffalo (part of the State University of New York or SUNY)! Now, on to Summer III...

1 comment:

Lindsey said...

It was fun to get together and catch up. Dan didn't mind being left out a little, it's good for him sometimes. :)