Friday, August 28, 2009

Summer Thoughts

Seven days ago I was sitting at the Mexico-United States border, waiting for about three hot stinky hours to be let back into our country to embark on another great adventure: 2L.

It's strange to think the summer has ended. A few months ago I was emailing dozens of strangers, thousands of miles away, praying that one of them would be willing to let me come and live with them in Moscow. A short time later I was in a gorgeous city, visiting churches, praising street bands, eating vafly, and helping work through legal issues for a world-wide organization in multiple eastern European countries. Then it was off to Ukraine to see some people and places that I have missed for several years. Back in the states I started working on a treatise for practitioners providing information on religious litigation. The job search for next summer began and took me to Washington DC. Shortly afterwards it was off to Mexico to see Uncle Will for a little over a week. And now, 2L has begun.

This really was my greatest summer. I changed a lot and grew during these three or four months. I became more confident and sure than I've ever felt in my life. This summer put a lot of things in perspective for me; I've decided to not worry so much about so many things that aren't really important and start focusing on things that really are. I've decided to be more grateful and have more faith. I started the "charmed life" campaign a few months ago where anytime I start to feel stressed or overwhelmed I stop and say to myself, "you have a charmed life. Everything always works out the way it should." I then remind myself of all the reasons I have to be thankful for both the blessings and the trials. I encourage you all to adopt the campaign; it's worked wonders on my quality of life. While I think I have more now than ever before to feel anxious and worried about, I've never felt more positive in my adult life.

And now here we are; one week into school. One long long long week into school where I'm finding out what it means to overbook myself. And I'm really pretty happy.

~It Just Gets Stranger

Monday, August 10, 2009

Our Nation's Capital

After applying to some jobs in the Washington DC area for next summer I got an interview at a firm that I think would be my dream job. BYU had set up informational meetings with several firms and government offices during Monday and Tuesday last week as well so a group of my law school buddies and I made the trek east.

A few of us stayed with the parents of our friend Amanda (who was among the group going out there). On Saturday a bunch of us went kayaking on the Potomac river. Annette and I were in a two man kayak and were quite impressed with ourselves when we made it about 90 miles down the river with minimal effort in less than ten minutes (don't do the math please). Reality hit when we turned around and realized we had to go up stream the whole way back, which we did, unintentionally zigging and zagging back and forth the whole way. About every five minutes one of us would say in absolute despair, "Did we just lose ground? I swear we already passed that tree." Multiple times I layed down flat on the back of the kayak and waited for the buzzards to come get me. Annette didn't notice though because she was in the front paddling away. Come to think of it, my laying down several times may have been a big reason why it took us an eternity to make it back.

Saturday night we somehow all got roped into a group date, meeting at Amanda's parents house before it started, feeling like we were 16 all over again even though our average age was probably more like 28. We had a picnic and walked about 250 miles around several large monuments until we were all suffocating from the extreme humidity.

Sunday we did the church thing and met up with several friends.

Monday was our first day of meetings. It was our goal to go the whole day without getting drenched in sweat (because some of us had interviews the next day and only one suit). The meetings with the firms and the government offices were really interesting. Monday night we had a giant pool party with every breathing organism within a 100 mile radius.

Tuesday arrived and Annette and I camped out in a food court for a little over an hour before our interviews (we both had interviews at the same firm and they were back to back) drilling each other with intense interview questions. The interviews ended up being nothing like what we prepared for. They were very casual and comfortable and really an enjoyable experience. I absolutely love the firm and hope that it went well. And yes, I made it to the interview without getting sweaty! It's an August miracle.

After the interview Annette got us the hook-ups with a good friend of hers that works on Capital Hill. So we ran in our suits and in the heat from our interview to the Capital building to meet him where he took us on an amazing tour. We were able to go into rooms that are closed to the public. The building was absolutely gorgeous! If I can't get St. Basil's, I may buy the Capital for my summer home. We sat in Senate Chamber for a little while and watched two guys argue about spending 9 million dollars on getting wi-fi out to some farmers in Nebraska. Your government hard at work.

We finished the day with another meeting or two and then some more monuments before heading home and staying up way too late although I had an early flight the next day. I've got to say---I love DC!

The pictures below are from Annette (shocker: I was too lazy to bring my own camera).

Old Whitey (we're on a nick-name basis. Notice the man in black on the roof a little to the right of the center).
James, Annette, Me, Amanda in front of Lincoln (my favorite monument).
Bonnie, James, Amanda, Annette, and me. The Lincoln Memorial is off in the distance.
Me, Annette, Amanda, James, and Bonnie in front of the Washington Monument.
Elsa, Amanda, Me, James, Bonnie, Annette, and Matt in front of one of the DC firms we met with.
Me in front of the Capital Building. Sweaty.
This is Annette and I in front of a statue of Brigham Young in the capital building. Not really sure why Annette is touching his leg. I guess she feels close to him attending his school and all.
Me and Annette in the Capital Building.
In the Capital Building; this is where the Supreme Court used to meet a long long time ago. I know it's nerdy, but I was really excited to see this room.
Old Supreme Court room again; the three chairs closest to us are originals.
Annette and I just before our interviews on top of the old post office. That's Washington in the background.
Bonnie, Me, Annette, and Matt crammed in Annette's brother's car after kayaking. I'm sure we were smelling pretty good here.
Kayaking; Georgetown in the background. I'm not sure whether this was before or after I took a giant gulp of the tar black river. Just trying to feed my Russian parasite that I have named "Lohan."
Annette and I lookin' our best on the Potomac.

~It Just Gets Stranger