700 miles

I visited Utah at the beginning of April because my quota was so low this year and we missed each other. 

All that's pictured below is everything I have to show for it. I even brought my actual camera with me but it was never touched except to move around in the trunk so other things could fit. 

Most of what we saw though was the car. We were in it 50% of the time. As soon as I landed in Salt Lake City, I picked it up, and drove down to Herriman to see Britt. She had just gotten released from the hospital after being treated for a rare virus called Guillain Barre Syndrome where your immune system attacks your nerves and makes you weak and includes a lot of pain making it difficult to breath and can potentially cause paralysis. It was a surreal couple of weeks to understand that she could barely walk or hold her phone. She's in physical therapy and still recovering now, gaining strength. I was really grateful I could visit her and be with her. 

After Britt went to physical therapy, I drove down to Provo to see Matt and get some much needed sustenance. Per Anne Parkes suggestion, we ended up at one of the best places I've eaten in Provo: Cubby's. It also included our first set of pictures (only taken because they were suggested by AP).  

We then drove to my friend Chloe's house who just had little baby Caiden a couple weeks before. Matt got addicted to the show Prison Break while holding the baby. 

From there we went up to Salt Lake City again to meet with Matt's friend Adam and his girlfriend Jasmine for dinner. By the time that was over, I was extremely tired. So we drove back to Britt's for the night and got some much needed sleep. And that was just day one! 


Day two was even more driving. But it was worth it! And it started with that cute little card below from Matt.

We drove from Herriman to Provo to pick up some things and then from there to Rexburg, Idaho. We made a couple stops along the way: Smith & Edwards per Matt's request, and an old friend of mine who lives in Idaho. Smith & Edwards was kind of a bust. They have some cool army things outside like the tank, and some neat things inside as well, but it's mostly an ACE hardware store. 

We made it to Rexburg about 6pm, and I finally had the opportunity to meet Livy and Clara — Matt's nieces. Clara's not even a year old and Livy's just over two years old. A huge reason for coming to Utah was so that Matt and I could be there for Adam — his brother's — graduation from BYU-I. Adam and his wife Kayla are the only immediate family I hadn't met, so it was really wonderful to be able to be there for this amazing day. Adam is such an extremely hard worker in going to school, working and providing for his wife and their two kids. And Kayla is such a great mom. I loved spending time with them. It was also the first time that I've been with Matt's immediate family all at once: his mom, dad and three brothers. I even got to meet Kayla's family! It was kind of a big reunion. 

We were able to get to the ceremony, braving the cold that it was in April (people in Idaho must have really thick skin) and take our seats. It was interesting thinking back to when I graduated from UCLA and how different the perspectives and messages were. Since BYU-Idaho is owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints there was more of a focus on God, the eternal perspective, there was a prayer to begin the graduation, and a prayer to end the graduation (like most private religious schools might include I would imagine). I would have had such a different experience going to a school that made God part of every day education and life. Don't get me wrong — I absolutely loved UCLA and it was definitely where I needed to be, but it was just interesting thinking how apart in my mind those two things were — religion and education — when I was studying there and just beginning my relationship with God, and how integrated God is in my life now.

Afterwards, we hung out with everyone at Adam and Kayla's cute apartment before going to the hotel with Matt's parents and getting some much needed sleep. I let Matt have the comfier bed. 

smith and edwards

Saturday included a good breakfast in the morning with everyone, a trip to Walmart (what trip to Rexburg would not be complete without one?) and then another drive back to Utah. We stopped along the way to see another friend — of Matt's this time. 

We didn't make it to Salt Lake City until almost 7pm. We were so hungry. And I was really in the mood for some J Dawgs. So we were both really excited to find out that there was, in fact, a J Dawgs in Salt Lake City! We went there as it started to rain. And then walked to City Center to browse the Deseret bookstore before driving back to Herriman in one of the scariest drives I might have ever driven.

We had about three miles left before we were at Britt's house, when it started snowing so badly and right at us, that I could not see a thing. I couldn't see if there was a car in front of me, where the lane was, whether I was going off the road. We had to turn the headlights off, but then it was obviously dark. So we drove really slow, and eventually Matt took over because I didn't trust my ability to get us there. I said a prayer as we drove, and felt so much peace after that I knew it would be OK. Sure enough, we made it and we were so relieved that we settled in and watched Prison Break with Britt and Scott. 

I had been pretty disappointed that Matt and I came just a little too late the night before to see Kalai. He had been at Britt's cousins while she was recovering and Scott was working, so he came home after I saw her Thursday. Sunday morning though we got to hang out. It had snowed so much the night before that there was a solid layer of pure white all over the ground outside. I thought it would be a bonding moment for Kalai and I to go outside and feel the powder. I was wrong. He started crying. I felt so bad. I should have known that just like his parents, he was not a snow baby. It took awhile for him to trust me again... if you're reading this in the future Kalai, just know I had the best intentions!

It's so incredible to see how much he's grown too. He's not walking yet, but he's so close. He's definitely getting around and has his own way of crawling. I just love him so much. 

Matt and I really wanted to have more time and go down to Provo that last day, but we ran out, and ended up having to drive from Herriman to Matt's uncle's house — past Salt Lake City — so he could meet with his family before they left. 

As I was taking the car back to the rental place, I estimated how many miles we drove and it was truly about 700. I then understood why we were so tired haha. 

After going through security, I spotted the one place I didn't get to eat at but wanted to: Cafe Rio. And because of that decision, I ran into my friend Vera who had the same food craving as me! It was a nice way to end the trip. Especially because she was picking up my roommates car from the airport in Nashville and that included Vera's first limo ride to the Parking Spot. Apparently they use the limo sparingly, but it exists! And it was so late, and there wasn't anyone else but us, so we were able to live that luxury life for a split second. It felt pretty good.


Matt and I both tend to put way too many things in one day, but there's just so many people we want to be able to spend time with, and things we want to see. Utah was sort of a blur because of that, but it was also really fulfilling and we cut a lot out when it just didn't work within the time we had. I'm so glad Matt likes to do a lot of things like I do, is curious about different places, is so happy to meet people he doesn't know, and does things like open the door for me, or fills up the gas when we need it — even if I'm in the drivers seat. He's my favorite choice.