30 things. actually, 10. part 1.

30 Things:

So.. I think I must be bored lately. (Not having a steady job and being a newlywed with your husband on the other side of the world and no money to go out nor friends who are very available to see you will do that to a person.) Not only have I finally decided to take on a “Photo-a-Day” project for July on Instagram.. (username: aubreyhavea) but I also found this on a random blog. The instructions here, are that I’m supposed to post something about myself each day, according to the following list of questions.  The idea is to record different parts of my personality for my posterity, and I guess you get to know me better by default. This could potentially be very hilarious, emotional, and/or TMI. Sorry in advance, kiddos! And it’s also suggested that this list would make a fun date night?

BUUUUUT we all know how awesome I am at daily posts on my blog. ha.

laughable.

so I’ma do this in one big she-bam. because I’m in the mood. answers will be kept brief. and future great-grandchildren… y’welcome.

k. here we go.

THE LIST:

1. List 20 random facts about yourself.

  • I hate every kind of cheese. literally. yes.. even the cheese you were just about to ask me if I hate.
  • my first time out of the country ever was going to New Zealand. by myself.
  • I once put $500 worth of damage in a car with my hip, attempting to close the door.
  • I sang my first solo in sacrament meeting when I was 3 years old.
  • I said my first word when I was 5 months old.
  • cold cereal is my favorite snack. and daily breakfast. I feel wrong without it.
  • I can’t waterski to save my life.
  • I got my first kiss in high school over Spring Break in St. George. it was super lame.
  • I once ripped a huge hole in the butt of my jeans while climbing over a fence at a concert.. and I just wore them like that all day. I still have those pants.
  • I hate feet. that includes foot massages. no thank you.
  • I always have lip gloss. Victoria Secret Beauty Rush. always. I even sleep in it.
  • I still play the piano and sing, but growing up I also took lessons for the ukelele and the viola for brief periods of time
  • I once kayaked surrounded a pod of dolphins after snorkeling in a bay in Hawaii.
  • I own over 70 pairs of shoes.
  • the summer after high school, I was a cook at Domino’s Pizza.. and I could even toss the dough up in the air and spread it with my fists, like a pro.
  • I can wiggle my ears and do tricks with my lips, but I can’t, for the life of me, flare my nostrils.
  • my right foot is about a half size smaller than my left foot.
  • I am a closet Disney buff. and I have never been stumped in Disney trivia.
  • I’m fascinated by morbid TV shows like Criminal Minds.
  • I’m only 27.. but I’ve already had 14 jobs since I was 14.

2. Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and explain how they became fears.

  • SHARKS. I could not be more terrified of them. I don’t know how it developed. I remember having nightmares about them as a child.. but now, as an adult, I have a full-on phobia. I have a panic attack and cry at the shark encounter at Sea World. I have nightmares from just the previews of shark horror movies. I even cried watching a TV show about them with husband in Tonga because I went into a panic attack. I don’t think he fully grasped my true terror before.. but he believes me now, when I say I’m terrified.
  • divorce and/or ending up alone. I think this is common. and this is depressing.. but.. does it really need further explanation? I am so lucky to have parents who are still so in love.. so I’m grateful for the hope that it can actually last.. despite what I see happening so often these days. (p.s. not concerned about my marriage. we’re fine. it’s just always a scary thought.)
  • losing everything.
sheesh. this question is a downer. NEXT.
3. Describe your relationship with your parents.

it’s wonderful. I couldn’t ask for better parents. they would do anything for me, and I am so undeserving. I’m a lot like my dad and we like to crack jokes back and forth and tease each other.. and my mom and I tend to have deeper conversations. they are just seriously the best. I’m so blessed.

4. List 10 things you would tell your 16 year-old self, if you could.

woof. where do I start?

  • you will barely even hang out or have contact with your friends from high school when this is over. stop worrying so much about their approval.
  • LOVE yourself. you are okay.. really. comparing yourself to those girls will only make you insecure and hate everything that makes you you.
  • you aren’t going to marry your “high school sweetheart.” you won’t even have a high school sweetheart. none of these boys will even be in your life in 5 years. they aren’t worth your wishes and energy and tears and boy crazy thoughts.
  • this rad little Subaru… will hold lots of memories. and it will teach you about how to deal with old breaking down cars. love her.
  • these are the dates and times of your forthcoming speeding tickets and accidents, and here’s how to avoid them. (this will save you a buttload of cash.)
  • you won’t get asked to prom. please prepare yourself starting now so it doesn’t break your heart later.
  • start working harder now to take care of yourself and be healthy and fit; it will make you feel better about yourself now, and it will make life a whole lot easier for you later.
  • you will bloom after high school. college will be about a million times better for you. you’re one of those people who gets better with age.
  • at your high school, almost all the kids are excellent, driven, and talented. this is a vanilla group where you won’t get a chance to stand out much. this doesn’t fit you very well.. just remember, it doesn’t make you less talented if you don’t make it into a group or organization. don’t lose faith in your talents. you are still special. you are still good. (and don’t bother so much with choir. maybe go for moonlight singers instead.)
  • focus your career preparation, starting now, on art, photography, and design. you already know how much you love those things. you’re good at them. don’t get side-tracked thinking you won’t be able to have a career in them. (you’ll like your Psychology studies, but trust me.. you’ll end up not wanting to work in that field when push comes to shove.) follow your passions.

5. What are the 5 things that make you most happy right now?

  • my husband
  • my camera
  • music
  • the gospel
  • my family

6. What is the hardest thing you have ever experienced?

actually… honestly… I think right now may be (at least one of) the hardest things I’ve ever experienced. I must say.. I never thought I’d be 27 and married, but with my husband across the world — not knowing when I’ll see him again, living in my parents basement, with a job that’s falling through — searching hopelessly for solid employment, unable to afford anything — even my bills for the month, and awkwardly stuck in limbo between a single and married social life, with no friends around to hang out with.. feeling pretty alone, with no control over or knowledge of what’s going to happen in the future.

I have to say.. whatever lesson I’m supposed to be learning now.. is a very hard one.

but let’s not turn this into a pity party. woop woop!

7. What is your dream job, and why?

honestly… growing up my whole life, I always wanted to be a superstar singer. that would be my dream come true.

but my other passion is what I’m more actively pursuing… and that is art, photography, and graphic design. if I can get a stable career in that field, I will be one happy camper.

8. What are 5 passions you have?

  • anything artistic/creative – especially: photography, drawing, design, poetry
  • music – the window to my soul
  • the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or rather, the doctrines of the gospel that it teaches me, especially about my relationship with my Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ
  • dancing – I do it on a daily basis. I can’t help but move when I hear that beat.
  • people – they fascinate me. I love to be around them, to watch them, to draw them, to photograph them, to study their behavior, to be influenced by them, to learn about them.. etc.

9. List 10 people who have influenced you and describe how.

in no particular order…

  • I’ll start with the obvious: my parents. they have shaped me into the person I am. they have been the most stable, driving influence I’ve had in my life. I will be eternally grateful.
  • my grandparents (I realize I’m grouping here. but they can be counted as one.) both sets, on mom’s and dad’s sides are the most extraordinary people that I’ve met.. and they would certainly claim otherwise. but they humbly and quietly and steadfastly go about doing good. they are loving and kind and always looking to serve. they have raised righteous families and created a legacy of humble, hard-working excellence.. and I couldn’t be more lucky to have them.
  • my aunt Tiffany. she is only 9 years older than me, and she was my hero growing up. I worshipped the ground she walked on and hung on her every word. she is like the big sister I never had. I always wanted to be beautiful and awesome like her.
  • my siblings. as a group. each for different reasons. I am extremely close with them.. they are my friends, not just my brothers and sisters (including my new sister-in-law, Kristi). even though they are younger than I am, they consistently teach me with their examples. they are all better than I am.. I have been raised in a family of spiritual giants. I don’t know how I got here. but I am privileged. and especially now, I am more grateful than ever for them. they are my closest friends.
  • my cousin Amberlee. through all of the friends I’ve had in my life, she has been the stable friendship that I grew up with since before either of us can remember. we’ve had more sleepovers at each other’s houses than either of us can count.. she put up with all my crazy over-imaginative antics, and even though we are opposites in personality.. I will always adore her.
  • my best friend Cambria. we grew up around the corner from each other, but she is 2 years older than me, so we never knew we were destined to be best friends until I moved back home from Utah State and we discovered that we were so similar it blew our minds. she helped me learn how to just.. be happy.. even in the face of trouble. she was the one who never turned down a crazy adventure with me. and I can’t even begin to count all of the greatest memories we’ve made together. so epic.
  • my high school best friend, Kathryn. so many good times.. she helped me learn how to take care of myself, how to do my hair and makeup, how to feel pretty.. she opened me up to new experiences in life that taught me and shaped me as a person. she even fostered my love for rap and hip hop. and she made me feel loved and included.. which was exactly what I needed as an insecure teenager.
  • you knew this was coming.. but, of course, my husband, Mote. he is the love of my life.. I had to go all the way to Tonga to find him. (I always loved poly men, but I never thought I’d have to look quite that far.) I can’t believe I found someone so much like me in so many ways.. someone who can be my best friend and my husband at the same time. he makes me feel loved and special and good about myself.. he’s funny and handsome and talented and smart and chill.. he brings out my desire to be better.. and I get to be with him for eternity. suckas!!
  • my favorite mission companion, Audrey (Nonoa). my sista from anotha mista. from day one in the MTC it was a special bond. we went through the ups and downs of our entire missions together, we spent a transfer over Christmas together, and then we finished it off together, the way we started. she is the perfect example of Christlike love and selfless service. I have never met someone more capable of such great love for so many people. she is one of my all-time favorite people ever.
  • I’m gonna do one more group.. this one is my aunts and uncles in general. I have grown up with an extremely close relationship with my extended family. we gathered for weekly Sunday dinners, and I cherish all the time spent with my aunts and uncles, on both sides, during my life. I am the favorite brunt of all their jokes and target of all their teasing.. but I dish it right back to them. (in particular, Danny on Mom’s side and John on Dad’s side.) but I think it is largely attributed to them that I’ve always had such great relationships with adults as I’ve grown up. I will always be so grateful for them.
  • honorable mentions: Andrew McMahon, Zooey Deschanel, Coach Downs, Marjorie Pay Hinckley, Pres and Sis Colton – who should actually be on the list and not just honorable mention, Chris Farley, Ryan Reynolds, Bishop Solt, countless friends, Batman.

10. Describe your most embarrasing moment.

pff. it’s hard for me to pick a “most” embarrassing moment. but one that still brings me to the point of blushing and shutting my eyes when I think about it was thanks for my dear, sweet friend, Cambria. we were at a young single adult regional conference. we went to the treats room to get food and mingle afterwards. I saw a boy I’d had a crush on in high school across the room. I had taken him to the Christmas dance and he was the first boy I’d ever held hands with. I whispered that and pointed him out to Cam as we roamed the room. I avoided him. but a little while later, we made contact and began talking. suddenly, Cam walks up to us and blurts out, “hi first boy that Aubrey ever held hands with!” my jaw dropped and I could have died. right there.. as if I had raved about this experience and never gotten over it since high school and she had been dying to meet him all this time. when in actuality, I had never even mentioned him to her before today. he chuckled and said, “I hope I wasn’t the last..” at this point I was simply gasp-laughing.. mouth still open.. unable to respond out of embarrassment, but she continues with, “oh no. she’s held hands with LOTS of boys since then. not that… she’s a floozy or anything…”
and that’s when I had to cut it off. I had never felt so humiliated. like I’d been ruminating on this high school crush all these years and still held on to a few seconds of hand-holding like it was the greatest moment of my life. I pretty much felt like driving straight to a cave and moving in.
such a special day!

okay. so I lied. this thing is WAY too much to tackle in one post. just those 10 questions were exhausting. I think I’ll break this up into 3. so here’s 10. now it’s bedtime.

nighty night boys and girls.

here’s a sneak preview of the questions still to come.

to be continued… 

11. Describe 10 pet peeves you have.

12. Describe a typical day in your current life.

13. Describe 5 weaknesses you have.

14. Describe 5 strengths you have.

15. If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

16. What are your 5 greatest accomplishments?

17. What is the thing you most wish you were great at?

18. What has been the most difficult thing you have had to forgive?

19. If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?

20. Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood.

21. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and what would you do with it first?

22. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years?

23. List your top 5 hobbies and why you love them.

24. Describe your family dynamic of your childhood vs. your family dynamic now.

25. If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be and what would you eat?

26. What popular notion do you think the world has most wrong?

27. What is your favorite part of your body and why?

28. What is your love language?

29. What do you think people misundertand most about you?

30. List 10 things you would hope to be remembered for.

goodbye solteria

well.. it looks like the last time I posted about the biggest event of my life.. it was 39 days away. now.. it’s 3 days away.

yep.

3 days till I’m Mrs. Havea. and it’s hitting me hard. and my head has just exploded onto the wall behind me.

sick.

just kidding. everything about my head is still intact. except for the fact that I feel like I’m having an out-of-body experience and I can’t believe I leave to go to TONGA tomorrow to go get married to a guy I’ve been in a long-distance relationship with for over a year.. with whom I served a mission, but barely knew at the time, and never imagined would end up being my husband.. ever.

WHO AM I?

this is seriously surreal. and you guys..

I could not be more excited!! and more.. every possible emotion all at the same time!

I just wanted to do one last post as a single woman.. and when I return, I’ll do my best to give a juicy marriage update full of Tonga details and photos. mmkay? I have promised that to so many people that I feel pretty hugely obligated.

anyway, I love him. a lot.

he’s perfect for me.. in our imperfect way. and my favorite part about this whole thing.. is how excited he is. it’s seriously the cutest, happiest, most wonderful thing that’s ever happened in my life. I’ve waited a long time for him..

and I truly have no idea how this wedding is really gonna go down, but I get to be married to Mote, so it’s gonna be okay.

so.

I’m gonna go to sleep now, so I can wake up and church it up, celebrate my AMAZING mom (seriously.. what would I do without her? she is flying across the world w/me tomorrow to happily support me marrying a man she has never met.. mom of the year), talk to my Isaac brother (who gets home from missionary-ing in Brazil in 3 weeks!!!!) and then get on a plane and fly across the ocean to see my other half.

I’ll catch you guys on the flip side of single!

(that’s the married side, right? ..k.)

ofa

it was 13 days after V-day.. but a package finally arrived from New Zealand today. with my Valentine’s gift from M. and it made me smile through my whole body.. the way a junior high girl does when her crush talks to her.

I’m silly like that.

sue me for being a romantic..

but the card turned me into a puddle.

he did well. here’s the front of it. the message he **wrote inside was the best part.. but that’s just for me.

 

I know.

take a moment and sigh wistfully…

and he got me a beautiful Tongan necklace with matching earrings and a photo album.

he’s cute.

 

so, moving to the next item..

I figured I would intro my news with something romantic to get you in the mood.

ready?

okay.

it’s official. my ticket is booked and I am going here in 2.5 months..

yes. those are the beaches and palms and crystal blue waters of Nuku’Alofa Tonga.. where M is from. why am I going there, you ask?

oh you know…

to get married. 

May 18th is the day.

and here’s the deal.. in the LDS church handbook, one of the stipulations that allows couples to be sealed in the temple less than a year from their wedding date is when the country they are marrying in does not recognize temple marriage as legal. that is the case in Tonga, and you have to be married civilly first and THEN get sealed. so I talked to my bishop, and (especially since Mote’s family aren’t members, aside from his youngest brother who is on a mission in SLC) he said the point of the rule is not to dilute the sacredness of the temple sealing, but since we have to be married civilly first anyway, it’s not different to be sealed there vs being sealed here with all of my family present in the temple with us. (so his family can participate in the part they care about and mine can be there for the part that’s important to them)

so this is my convoluted way of telling you that we are going to be married on the beach in Tonga on May 18th, and then we will be sealed here when he comes to the states in the fall once his green card paperwork processes.

YAY!!!

but you guys… do you realize what this means??

I’m going to be a WIFE in 2.5 months.. Mrs. Havea.

whoa.

after all these disasters.. after all of these obstacles… it’s finally set, and it’s finally happening.

and we will appreciate each other so much more after the struggle and effort we’ve had to put forth to stay together and make this work. it’s been just a month shy of a year of across-the-world dating.. and I’m ready to not be across-the-world anymore.

now.. after all this happy news, there is some sucky ace stickiness.. a new hurdle that’s been placed in my path.. (because just when I think we’ve figured it out, something else hits us in between the eyeballs and laughs at us. we can’t catch a break.)

as of last week, with notice of only a few hours, I lost my source of income. I still technically have a job teaching college, and I tutor English a couple of hours a week; but due to low enrollment in the billing and coding program, I don’t have a class to teach this module. this presents a grave problem when you are attempting to pay your bills AND save up for an international wedding while somehow being able to support your husband when he moves across the world to you. and normally I would be ok to search for a job like a typical person.. except I’m mid-semester, which means my schedule is slightly weird, and I also am leaving to Tonga for 3 weeks in May. that’s always a fun thing to have to tell a brand new employer.. “oh by the way, I know you just hired me, but I’m just gonna head out of the country for 3 weeks, aight? cool. deuces!”

so let’s just say there have been many tears and hours of lost sleep trying to figure out what to do. I’m trying to have blind faith that the Lord will provide, but it’s reallllly tough to understand the timing of this one. and to top it off, he’s not working this week either, until his company gets another job.. so we’re both awesomely unemployed at the mo. my faith has had to be tested over and over again over the past few months, so it must have needed some heavy strengthening. I’m not sure what will happen, but I hope I can find a solution soon. and of course church this past Sunday was all about fear vs faith. I need to hand my fears over to the Lord and have faith that my efforts will be rewarded with blessings. (not a strong suit for my independent personality)

one bright spot in all this, though, has been the support and love and help of friends and family.

I am so blessed for the people I have in my life. they are proof that Heavenly Father must love me a whole lot.

woo!

okay. this post turned into something much more complicated and detailed and overshare-y than I intended it to be. apologies, friends!

but thanks for making it this far if you stayed with me.

the bottom line is.. I am so excited that I finally get to marry my best friend. 🙂

cuz it’s about freakin time!

 

** sidenote: I observed tonight that his handwriting is just as good as (and very similar to) mine. and I pride myself on my handwriting skillzz. meant to be?

hey MLK, I have a dream too..

it’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. an advocate for tolerance and equality.. a truly great historical figure in standing up for humanity. I have always held a deep and resounding respect for his impact on society in America and the voice he gave to black Americans everywhere that still echoes today.. the voice that now represents equality for all races. I love his ideals and his oft-quoted line, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

well, MLK… I have a dream too. I daily realize that, despite everyone’s best wishes and delusions, racism is not dead in our world. it is alive and well. and though white people have always been viewed as the big bad perpetrators.. it comes from all sides. I am not excusing my race, because our actions throughout history have been atrocious.. and many attitudes against white people stem from actions long sustained throughout history. but I frequently feel discriminated against.. by those who are not of my race (or, in another can of worms, who are not of my gender).. when I have not been the one to commit a wrong against an individual or an overall race.

I work with a very diverse population of students, which brings a lot of exposure to different challenges and beliefs and points of view. I also have a diverse group of friends that come from different places and ideas. and I follow many people of various backgrounds on Twitter. my timeline is always full of the strangest mixture of comments and pictures and articles. but the most interesting and sad comments to me are the blanket statements and judgments and stereotypes and categorizations and especially the elitist attitudes based on race, religion, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, and social status.

this has always been my soapbox issue — my biggest pet peeve. passing judgment on another person just because they fit into a certain “category” in our minds is absolutely ridiculous.. but it is, admittedly, human nature. basic psychology: our brains process information in the form of snap judgment in order to allow us to function efficiently. yet I still hate it. obviously everyone does it to an extent.. it’s nearly inevitable. but blatant prejudice against a certain group of people for no legitimate reason is unacceptable to me.

why do we have to talk about someone as “the black dude,” or “the poly girl,” or “the Mexican,” or “the gay guy,” or… you knew it was coming… “the white girl?” in most cases, what does that have to do with anything? does that characteristic honestly affect the story that you’re telling or the comment that you’re making? it really can’t just be “the guy,” or “the girl?” or.. if you’re gonna get really crazy.. his/her name?

it doesn’t take long reading my blog to realize that I’m engaged to someone of a different race and culture and ethnic background. he is brown and I am white.. and you can imagine the emphasis that basic difference between us places on race in our relationship. within his culture there is a word to describe my race: palangi. it is not necessarily an offensive word.. it just means a white person. but when anyone in his life talks to him about me, without fail, I am “the palangi.” I’ll always be his “palangi fiancee” or his “palangi wife.” I can’t just be his wife.. they usually don’t even know or call me by my name. my race will forever be my identifier.

now please don’t think I am writing this to bash any one particular culture or to point fingers… I completely love my fiancee and his family and his culture. I am merely using it as an example of a little thing that can have an impact on how how someone feels. and to go a step further, I have even been dumped for being white in a past relationship. it’s not awesome to be dumped by the person you care about for something you can do absolutely nothing about. regardless of the way I feel on the inside, the closest I can ever come to a different skin color is looking like a Cheeto with a Snooki spray tan. and recent events in my life in the past few months have stirred up pain from that past event (in my dating life, not with Snooki) which have hit pretty close to home.

the bottom line is… we are humans. we are brothers and sisters because we’re all members of the human race.
when did it become more important to match skin tones and cultural traditions than it did to love and accept people?
why do we find it necessary to perpetuate attitudes and judgments that injure those around us and blind us to the point of possibly preventing some of the greatest friends/relationships we could have in our lives?

I ask these questions to myself as well, because I am by no means perfect. I am guilty too. but if I reflect, personally, my diverse group of friends has been a huge blessing to me, and so educational. stepping outside my bubble to look through different windows and realize that other thought patterns, other ways of life, and other approaches to dealing with people can be just as good, or better, than my own, has shaped me as a person.

also, I know I have a good life. I haven’t lived in extreme struggle or hunger or terror, but I come from my own set of challenges that maybe another person wouldn’t be aware of. I am still a human being too. being white doesn’t make me bad or inherently spoiled or unable to understand someone. I have a long way to go and much to learn, but I’m determined not to do it with biased blinders on.

I have a dream, too, Mr. King, that someday people of other races and cultures will judge ME not by the color of my skin, but by the content of my character.. as I try to do the same for those I encounter.

and may that dream of yours continue to be carried forward until it finally becomes a reality, because.. essentially, the point of this post is..
racism sucks.

the end.

“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”

so… the last time we spoke, life was good. or so I thought..

but it’s funny how, just when you think things are going right, they have a way of flipping upside down on you. completely. like boom, bye bye.

in a period of about 3 weeks, the following happened:

  • my wedding has been postponed indefinitely due to personal family things that won’t be shared here
  • as a result, you can imagine the hellish strain/stress it has put on my relationship with my fiance and both of us individually.. again, too personal to elaborate here
  • my place of employment decided they are closing the program that I’ve been teaching for the past couple of years and switching me over to another program, thereby switching my schedule
  • because my schedule was changed, it made it impossible for me to continue going to school according to the schedule I had planned
  • as a result, I had to drop all of my classes and try to scrounge up a couple of last-minute evening classes so I could continue school at all
  • and to top it all off, my car got hit the in the parking lot at work, which started out as a hit-and-run, but thanks to a witness, we were able to track down the driver (now whether or not I can get the insurance to call me back about the claim is another question)

so.. maybe you can understand why my heart has been heavy as of late. I am suddenly left with nothing stable in my life to hold onto except family and friends.

(although, M has asked me to make a trip to Tonga in the spring to spend time with his family, so that would be a little bright spot in everything, if it works.)

but the only explanation I can imagine for all of this is that the Lord has a different plan for me than I had.. and his timing is not mine. honestly, at this point, I have no idea what is going to happen or how things are going to work out.. and I don’t know why my entire world has been yanked out from under me.

the feeling I keep getting when praying for peace and answers is that I just need to be patient, have faith, and wait on the Lord. that is easier said than done, but I have little to no control anyway, so I’ve come to the point of being okay with however this works out. (despite what I wish.)

never thought I’d wish I could just go back to the “simplicity” of just having problems with immigration laws and who to hire as a wedding photographer..

anyway, I just thought I should at least make some type of announcement that my wedding will no longer be happening on April 5th.. and if it does happen, it most likely won’t be happening in New Zealand after all.

we’ll see how this goes.. prayers and positive vibes appreciated.

and while I greatly appreciate the outpouring of love and support, I don’t really want to talk about all the little gory details of our private struggles with everyone, and having to hash through all of it over and over with different people’s opinions doesn’t help me. love in the form of distractions is much better. 

(also, maybe it was a bad idea to watch 2 hours of “Say Yes to the Dress” till it brought me to tears tonight? haha. I’m… super pathetic. don’t judge!)

here’s a quote from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland that is striking a chord with me tonight:

“Fighting through darkness and despair and pleading for the light is what opened this dispensation. It is what keeps it going, and it is what will keep you going…

I acknowledge the reality of opposition and adversity, but I bear witness of the God of glory, of the redeeming Son of God, of light and hope and a bright future. I promise you that God lives and loves you, each one of you, and that He has set bounds and limits to the opposing powers of darkness. I testify that Jesus is the Christ, the victor over death and hell and the fallen one who schemes there. The gospel of Jesus Christ is true, and it has been restored.

‘Fear ye not.’ And when the second and third and fourth blows come, ‘fear ye not. … The Lord shall fight for you.’ 16 Cast not away therefore your confidence.”

loves. ❤

the big news

my apologies to Lori, but I’d like to interrupt this inconsistent stream of one New Zealand travel log to actually post my big news on my blog.. because it’s consuming my life, so I figure it’s pretty much the biggest thing that’s ever happened to me.
actually.. I don’t figure. I know it is.

are you ready?

okay.

I’M GETTING MARRIED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

everyone in my close association is already aware of this fact, but YOU.. internets.. might not be! so in the interest of information, here is my happiness being shared with the world!

and here is our save-the-date:

and because I enjoy using my blog as something of a journal for later in life.. here are the FAQ’s about our relationship:

Is he from New Zealand?
No, he is from Tonga. He lives in New Zealand with his brother and is working there.

How did you meet a Tongan in New Zealand?
We served together on our missions. No, we never really served around each other so we did not know each other well on the mission. We only met a couple of times at zone conferences and then reconnected 3 years later and it turns out that he is the man of my dreams. I visited him in New Zealand last month. We have been together for 7 months now, and will have been dating for a year by the time we get married.

Will you live in New Zealand?
Yes, the plan is for me to live with him in New Zealand until he gets his green card and we can come back to the states. The immigration lawyer I spoke with told me that the process usually takes 9 months to a year. However, that entire plan hinges on whether or not he gets his work permit in New Zealand to come through or not within the next couple of months. If he doesn’t get his work permit, we will still get married in NZ in April, but he will have to go back to Tonga soon after that. I will either go to Tonga or, more likely, come back to the states to work and establish a life here so he can join me as soon as possible. (yayyyyy immigration! *fail trombone*)

Why are you getting married in New Zealand instead of the states?
Because we have looked at all of the options for visas to get him here, from visitor’s visas to fiance visas to student visas, and all of those options are so expensive or time-consuming or difficult to get that it just isn’t going to work out that way. After much research and discussion, our option boiled down to getting married in New Zealand as the best (and only) way. I know… my life is REALLY rough. 🙂

Will you be having a reception in Utah?
We will be having an open house in Utah once we are able to get back to the states. Because it could be up to a year after the fact, we probably won’t call it a “reception,” but we will have some kind of event so everybody can meet him and celebrate with us.

Is your family going?
My parents are coming for sure and they are working on getting my siblings there if possible. We’ll see how costs work out with expensive plane tickets.

Can you work in New Zealand?
I can’t unless I get a work permit, which basically requires a job offer and a lot of paperwork and time waiting for immigration to approve it. I can if all that works out, but if not I’ll just be living with him there as a good little housewife.

How did the engagement happen?
The actual proposal and ring part won’t happen until a few weeks before the wedding when I can get back over there. We figured when we had our temple sealing officially booked then we were pretty much officially engaged and we better start announcing it. in other words, we are engaged by date. So the ring/proposal part is still to come.

and I love him.

now.. all this being said, I have a question. because I need some validation.

is it normal that I feel like I am losing it?
I mean..
back up the info truck.
I am going to school and working full-time, am still in the process of recovering from what we think was pneumonia, am planning an international wedding (i.e. about 100 times more stressful than planning a wedding where you actually live), planning a move across the world, and dealing with immigration. I am stressed and oversensitive and exhausted.
I have gathered from friends and family and hearsay that it’s normal for brides to be.. overwhelmed?
estressed?
cray cray?
when wedding planning…
but  I feel like I need to get my act together.
and I just want this semester to be over because my head’s totally somewhere else.
please tell me I’m normal.
..whatever that means.

okay, that’s all.

you may carry on with your lives having just been made a little happier by this bit of sunshine from my world.

guys.. I get to marry my hot Tongan husband in New Zealand!!! my dreams are coming true!
ahhhh!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂
pinch me!

actually, don’t. we’ll just pretend you did in case you wake me up from a really long detailed dream that I’d rather not be woken from. can’t be too careful.

the best 10 days of my life: New Zealand edition… days 1 and 2

wow. 16000+ views? I’m super flattered, interwebs. I guess I better post something worth reading since you keep coming back for more.

are you ready for this?
really, though?

I mean.. this literally changed pretty much everything about my life so I figure it’s pretty heavy.

yes?

okay, if you’re sure…

well, you’ve seen for months now that I’ve been mentioning my upcoming trip to New Zealand (here on out referred to as NZ) in October. and now it’s the end of October. that means I’ve been home for a little over a week now. (fail trombone.) 😦

why am I home, you ask?

I wish I knew the answer to that question.. because somehow trivial everyday life seems empty and meaningless post-NZ.

I know… “Aubrey, stop being so dramatic.”

but this is legit. you would feel empty and meaningless if your other half was on the other side of the world too.

so, since everyone asks, I’ll begin with the airport. let’s not even talk about the 24-32 hours of travel. suckfest 5000. fast forward to the good stuff. the NZ airport has a visitor area after you’ve already gone through baggage claim and customs and everything. they were SO slow getting everyone through, so apparently poor Mote was standing there waiting for me for more than 30 minutes. I walk out the doors and am instantly uncomfortable because they have it set up like a stage. the people waiting to pick up their respective passengers are all sitting on benches/chairs facing these electronic double doors that you walk out of by yourself because you just got through customs all by your lonesome.. you’ve been on 3 planes across the world for..years.. and lo and behold, errbody is staring at you.

hiiiiiiii…

so I’m attempting to scan the crowd for Mote’s face, but quickly moving to the side of the crowd so everyone will stop staring at ME.

I don’t see him.

I move around to the back, scanning every face… no Mote.

I start to panic.

I am in NEW ZEALAND.. this is not a quick little jaunt for kicks.. this is a foreign country. what if he isn’t here?!

attempting to keep myself calm, I keep looking around and through the crowd.. standing awkwardly with my bags and hoping he will magically appear..

finally, I turn around.. and there he is. right behind me. we make eye contact and relief floods over me. I run at him and throw my arms around his neck and knock his hat off. he hugs me tight and I can already tell that I have found my new favorite spot to be in the world.. and he tells me that he took a potty break right when I came out, apparently, and didn’t know I was there.
(sidenote: in NZ they call it the “toilet,” not the bathroom. they’ll look at you weird if you call it the bathroom. luckily I already knew this. and also.. Mote is not from New Zealand. he is from Tonga. but he learned English in America, so he calls it the bathroom.)
anyway, we called the rental car company and walked to where we were supposed to meet them.. and that’s when he kissed me for the first time. it was over.

that night, we went back to his brother’s house.. I briefly met the fam (I think it was amusing that everybody seemed surprised about how “gorgeous” I was. like.. did you think I was gonna be ug? but still flattering.) and I showered real quick and we set back out for some dinner with his brother and his wife, Sieli. I, regrettably, was still not functioning on all cylinders and forgot my camera like a champ. no photos were taken. but we went to the Sky Tower in downtown Auckland for dinner and hung out there at the casino for a bit.. I realized, again, that I do not speak Tongan. so that was a feeling I became used to over the course of the week.. given that most of the people in his life DO speak it. he often would forget that I didn’t know what was going on and expect me to be ready for whatever we were doing.. and I would look lost.. and he would say, “oh!” and then laugh and explain. luckily, however, his bro and sis-in-law also speak English, so I could still communicate.

okay enough with verbose intros.

I know a lot of you already Facebook stalked, but the rest of you are probably here for this.. here come the pics! (I took 500+. I won’t be posting them all. sorry ’bout it.)

the next day we got up in the morning for the LDS General Conference. (in the states, it had been broadcast the week earlier, but since NZ is a day ahead, they wait a week to watch it because their Monday is our Sunday.) our first pic together:

after conference we chilled for a bit and then packed up some overnight bags and got on the road to Hamilton, a little over an hour away. (he lives in Auckland.) the whole drive was gorgeous because.. well.. NZ is GORGEOUS!!!!!!!!!!

seriously guys, interlude for a second for me to exclaim about the beauty: everywhere you look is pretty!! it was breathtaking. the views of the city.. the bay.. the lights.. the rolling hills of green.. (SO GREEN!!!) the foliage.. the everything! I was like, “really?!?!” okay. end of interlude.

so we meet up with my favorite comp from the mission and her husby there.. you may remember the famous Nonoa.. who I should now call Audrey because she is no longer a Nonoa, she is a Pere.. but whatevs. love her.

this photo was actually from the next day, but it fits the flow, so it’s going here.

we meet the sister missionaries, they hear about our mission connection.. the looks on their faces are priceless when Mote and I kiss before he went to the car to grab something and we were heading inside the visitor’s center. hahaha. like, looks of surprise and then, “met on the mission, eh????”
(don’t worry, world. we barely knew each other as missionaries. we only met once or twice at zone conferences. we never served around each other. we keep it approp. in this piece!!)

anyway, we tour the visitor’s center and see the temple and then head back to the Pere’s for some grub and the All Blacks/Argentina game.

oh wait, first we stopped to meet her darling mom and pretty much a thousand aunts and uncles and friends who were all preparing for a funeral.. none of whom I can even slightly remember. but they were all super nice. THEN the house for food and the game.

Mote taught me some rugby, since I was heretofore mostly clueless about that game. I knew I liked the men involved.. (like him.) but I have wayyyy more knowledge about american football than rugby. anyway, I learned stuff. this entire trip was rugby saturated because it was the rugby world cup while I was there. it was amazing to see all the entire country get so into it. flags and decorations and paint and decked out cars and signs EVERYWHERE!

I just noticed that I am the only one on a brown body. will someone giggle at the irony with me?
 the last two photos are also from the next day in Hamilton but I’m a rebel and I do what I want.

so… I abruptly just decided I’m gonna post about my trip in increments, because otherwise it will take me like 6 hours to write one post. that’s not happening. I have a midterm in the morning. so that concludes the first two days.

(I promise the next one will be real soon. don’t throw fruit.)