Monday, January 30, 2012

Key West

A couple of pics from Key West for my non-facebook account holding friends and family:
This was my view from the race, so pretty! 

Me & Marianne post race 
I have been to the southernmost point of the continental USA

Key West was such a cute little place. We loved the colonial architecture and laid back vibes. It was definitely nice to get out of fast paced miami for a minute. It feels like a little community frozen in time. There was a random parade that we were fortunate enough to catch, key lime pie dipped in chocolate on a stick, hot tubbing, beach laying, pool-going, racing. Our only regret is that we didn't get to snorkel... which is what most people go to key west for. Guess that just means we'll have to go back! 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pathway to Dental School (part 2)

Moving to Miami proved tougher than anticipated. Probably because we hadn't actually anticipated it. We drove our air condition-less jeep from Salt Lake to my parents house in Oklahoma in mid August. It was in a word, miserable. We wore our swim suits and bought a hand held fan that you spray water on yourself with. We determined that we simply did not think the jeep would survive the 44 hour trek across the country, so we left it at my parents house and bought a used car from my dad's dealership.

I've always been a big fan of the Wizard of Oz. And i felt much like Dorothy when we arrived in Miami. "Danny, I have a feeling we're not in UT anymore." We started out trying to find housing by frequenting McDonalds (bc they have free wifi) and looking up stuff on craigslist. Upon determining that the majority of posts on craigslist here come from scammers in Africa, and the ones who weren't scammers were in neighborhoods where I was quite confident were the scenes of violent crimes, we felt considerably defeated.

We kept checking in and out of the same hotel-- a hotel where the front desk clerk sets behind a desk that is covered in bullet proof glass (thats how you know your in a sketch area) but at least made friends with the guy after one week of staying there. We would drive around Miami all day looking for "for rent" signs in areas that didn't seem to sketchy. We just weren't having any luck. Everything in safe areas was way out of our price range and everything in our price range seemed markedly sketchy in one way or another.

And on the seventh day the clouds opened up and we found a place to live. And it was magical. Right in our price range, right on the beach, in an amazing neighborhood and it even had a stove. (a lot of places we looked at didn't even have stoves. What the freak) Danny started school, classes were tough. He studied/studies ALL the time. Basically every waking second. Before Christmas break I think he only went to the beach like 3 times... and its right across the street.

We kept wondering if all of this work would pay off. Our greatest fear was that we would have worked so hard at school, have all of these unanticipated student loans, and that it still wouldn't be good enough. We thought our stress level with our first dental application was high... this was way worse. It has been so nice having friends here in our ward going through exactly what we are going through. It's hard to understand the anxiety if you haven't suffered through it.

August and September flew by. October 1st arrived. Then the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th. Still no phone call from Roseman inviting him to a mandatory interview. October was a month on pins and needles. Sometime in the middle of the month, Roseman called and invited Danny! He had his interview towards the end of the month, and then the waiting really began. The soonest we would hear if he was accepted was Dec 1st. November breezed by, Danny was busy studying at school and I was busy working and studying for the LSAT. Nov 31st We got a phone call from Roseman, just not the call we wanted. They wanted Danny to send in his transcripts from the end of the semester which wouldn't be available until January, which meant he wouldn't know if he was accepted or not until at least some time in January. So while everyone else was getting accepted Dec 1st... we still had more waiting to do.

We felt pretty down. Barry's curriculum had been a lot tougher than Danny had anticipated and his grades weren't right where he wanted them. He was worried that his transcipt wouldn't impress Roseman enough. So our anxiety was high, but we hadn't given up hope. So the next round of acceptances would go out sometime in mid January, we would just have to hold out until then.

In mid January we got yet another phone call from Roseman, surely a phone call meant they were accepting him! Rejections come by form of letter. We would know, we've had many. But alas, the phone call was another request-- this time for two new letters of recommendation from Dannys professors at Barry. It felt like a punch in the stomach in some ways. At least they hadn't said no... but letters of recommendation can be tricky things to get out of professors who have 1000 other students requesting the very same thing.

Amazingly, two of Danny's professors agreed. One even had it done the very same day. The other one did it within a few days. We were so grateful because some classmates of Danny's have been waiting on their letters from their teachers for months now. We submitted the letters and assumed we would hear something maybe in late Febuary or early March.

The next morning, I went with Danny to campus so I could study for the LSAT (our airconditioning had broken and it was way too hot in our apartment to concentrate). He went into class, and I sat in some chairs just outside it to study. The class had a break, and Danny came out but was looking through his phone. He said nothing to me. I thought that was weird and just kept staring at him while his classmates were all out of the class talking. His face went pretty serious and he bee lined towards the doors to go outside. I just kept staring. I waited for what felt like hours. Finally he came back through the doors with his face all flushed and the biggest grin you can extract from his face. Also he was holding a thumbs up.

I stood up. I instantly started bawling despite all the people around. I wanted to like scream and jump up and down but had to contain myself. Everyone was looking at us. We just hugged tightly and then I felt awkward with everyone looking so I suggested we take it outside where we continued to hug and jump up and down and freak out.

We can't believe the application process is over! It's been going on ever since I've known Danny, and I am HAPPY to announce that it has come to an end, and my husby is IN dental school! I'm so proud of Danny for perservering through all of that madness and never giving up on his dream. He has a real fear of rejection, so for him to continously subject himself to rejection, thrice over, was a real feat. He could easily have  gotten a job with his byu's business degree instead of sticking out the process, but he had a dream and a goal and he went for it and he did it and all of his hard work paid off.

The end. That was really long so if you read the whole thing you get a high five.

Pathway to Dental School (part 1)

Michael Scott:Sounds like a good dentist. What's his name?
[long pause]
Dwight Schrute:... Crentist.
Michael Scott:Your dentist's name is Crentist.
Dwight Schrute:Yeah.
Michael Scott:Hmm... Sounds a lot like 'dentist.'
Dwight Schrute:Maybe that's why he became a dentist.

I met Danny back in 2007. I thought two things about him the night we met 1) that I was going to marry him and 2) that he should be a dentist because he has perfect teeth. And it came to pass that we got married. And it also came to pass that Danny is a dentist!! Kind of! He starts dental school at Roseman University in South Jordan Utah in August. It has been a rather long journey getting into dental school, but we are both pleased with the way things have worked out.

Danny applied to a few dental schools in 2008, when we were dating and getting a little serious. That summer, he studied every morning and then worked stacking boxes every evening. I had a little freetime so I would record my voice into mp3 form of the book he was studying for the DAT so that he could listen to the files while he was working. I would randomly shout or say hey! are you listening! in my recordings so as to encourage his paying attention. He took the DAT and did well (a 19) which is an average score that should get ya into dental school.

This kid was busy. If he wasn't working to save money, he was studying for either his classes or the DAT. He was also training hard for a triathlon (which he got 2nd place in). As a girlfriend, I felt somewhat neglected and a little unsure of what his future plans with me entailed until one day upon pointing out to him that he was not in the business of having fun, he made it astutely clear that he was doing all these things for me, so we could have a future together.

He ended up not completing his application because he wouldn't be able to finish up his classes at byu in time. So, he was planning to reapply the next year (2009)... but decided to take more science classes to boost his gpa and then we got married!  We set off on our honeymoon cruise, moved to DC for the summer, did another year at BYU.

2010, Danny started his second application. And I learned what a painful process dental school applications are. That entire summer was dedicated to researching schools, writing a personal statement, getting transcripts together, answering crazy questions about mandexterity skills, and studying for the DAT like a crazy man.  I worked in down town salt lake  while Danny studied every day to retake that DAT (entrance exam for dental school). The level of stress in our household was a little high with every waking moment being focused on dental school. There were days where I had to convince Danny to brush his teeth because he didn't want to because it made him think about dental school.

At this point, it was September which means Danny's application was a little late getting turned in. Unless you have a perfect DAT score, perfect GPA, and a perfect resume, a late application is like dental application death, but we moved forward with the process. We kept kind of wondering if we were on the right path, if there was some other career route we should take. But Danny knew he wanted to be a dentist. We discussed every profession under the sun. The night before the DAT, Danny's buddy Scott came over and gave him a blessing. In it, he mentioned something about the results of his DAT score would let him know if he was on the right path.

D woke up the next morning and took his exam. I was biting my fingernails all day at work wondering how it was going. I was like, well, if it doesn't go well, we know there is just some other path we're suppose to go down and everything will be fine. I just felt worried because I knew how much Danny wanted dental school. That afternoon, I got a phone call from a downer sounding Dan. But then he was like I got a 21! or 20! (i can't remember, danny, please correct me!) Either way it was a great score, one that would get him into dental school.

Time progressed, and he hadn't received any interview invitations. The level of stress continued to escalate. One day, trying to be a good wife, I took matters into my own hands. I called the dean of admissions at Roseman (which was not technically a school yet, it was still being built). We had a nice 1.5 hour chat about Sir Daniel Masters which resulted in an informal interview for Danny! The dean also invited me to the interview which was funny.

We got busy with our final semester at BYU and tried to distract ourselves from the fact that D hadn't received any other interview invitations, nor a phone call dec 1st letting him know he was accepted at Roseman. We were graduating in Dec and trying to figure out what was next for us. We'd had a thought about going to China, but it seemed a little crazy because if D was invited to interviews while we were out there, it would literally cost us a fortune to send him from China. When we weighed his chances of getting in with a late application, it didn't make sense for us to set around waiting in utah. So we packed our bags and headed to China in January! It was a quick decision, but one that we are infinetly happy we made.

 In April, we received a call from Roseman inviting Danny to a formal interview. (thank goodness for google voice, seriously). Danny called them and explained we were in China and wouldn't be back until mid July. They obliged him with an interview when we returned and put him on the waiting list there in the mean time. We had previously talked a lot about what we would do if D didn't get in that year. Because D was set on being a dentist, it would have to involve something that would look good on his future dental application. I researched a few pre-dental masters degree programs and came across Barry University (which is where we are now, in miami fl). It seemed like a respectable program, and their rate of students who get accepted to dental school post graduation looked grand. So we applied.

In May, we were actually at our school teaching in China and Dan found out that he was accepted to Barry so it was nice to have a plan B. In June, we reapplied for dental school (third times a charm, right?) so we spent anytime not traveling or teaching working on D's personal statement and other application parts. This time, we only applied to Roseman since Danny had already been advised by the dean to go ahead and do so. And just to be clear, this was an application for admittance in 2012, after he would have finished the program at Barry.

In July we got home from China, and the next day he went in for his interview (the interview was to be accepted in 2011). He said it went well, but his waitlist status didn't change. We spent two weeks hanging out at Danny's parents house in limbo mode, not knowing if we were moving to Miami or if he would be able to start dental school. We left for a trip to Lake Powell. We got home on a Sunday, hadn't heard anything from Roseman (school there had already started) while we were at lake powell, so we left for miami on Monday.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wednesdays Work Out: Ten Twenty

Had a fun workout yesterday that I feel inclined to share.

5 minute warm up (walk in place, jog in place, jumping jacks + 2 minutes stretching)
20 push ups
10 pull ups (you can stand on a chair to make it easier if needed)
20 leaping squats (do a squat, and then jump up and come back down into your squat) 
10 chin ups 
20 jumps [as high as you can, bring your knees up to your chest]
10 pull ups with your arms really far apart from each other
20 hops on one foot each, so 40 total
20 bicycles
20 scissor kicks
20 leg pushes 

repeat cycle 6 times, or until too pooped to continue.
Cool down for 5 minutes (stretch legs & back)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Key West 13 Miler... Playlist Revealed

Had a blast running the Key West half with my friend Marianne this weekend. It was the least amount I've trained for a race, so I was a little nervous. I came in 8th in my division, which may not be impressive to you true runners out there, but I was impressed with myself. 

I attribute any success I had to this play list:
Rihanna: You Da One
C+C Music Factory: Everybody Dance Now
Michael Jackson: ABC
Brandon Flowers: The Clock was Tickin
Gwyneth Paltrow: Forget You (Glee CLo cover)
Dog Days Are Over: Glee cast
Heads Up: Karen O and the Kids
I just realized I switched titles with authors after Forget You. Too lazy to fix it. Moving on. 
From Now On: The Features 
Neighbors: Theophilus London
Sister Rosetta: Noisettes
Chicago: Sufjan Stevens
Paper Planes: MIA 
Empire State of Mind: Jay Z
Love on Top; Beyonce
Will You Be There: Michael Jackson (aka the Free Willy theme song. For the record, this came on when I saw the finish line in sight, it was truly magical. And by truly magical, I mean I may have teared up when it happened. No judgments please) 
Umbrella: Rhianna 
Girls and Boys: Love you Long Time

So it was really more like a dance party for me. If you have the means, I highly recommend any of the above songs if you need a little motivation for your work outs or if you are feeling party central-esk.

Non dance party items also on my playlist:
Lykke Li: Possibility 
Cat Power: I Found a Reason 
A few recordings by Ira Glass 
Man in the Mirror: Michael Jackson 
Volcano: Damien Rice
Blood Bank: Bon Iver

And when I say I had a dance party during the race.. I really mean it. I was snapping and skipping and moving to the beat. Anyone can run a half! Just treat it like a dance party.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Things to Accomplish Before Death

I would like to achieve all but not limited to the following:

Publish a book
Start a family band (come on family! think of it! J on drums, B on bass, Derek + 2 Dannys guitar, Cheesh vocals/tamborine, P on the keyboard, Arch photog/videog/design, me vocals/harmonica, E lyricist, Jess violin)
Probably the longest dream of mine... I would like to run up the hill that Fraulein Maria (yes I had to look up how to spell that) does on Sound of Music. I would obvi have to sing "the hills are alive" simultaneously.
I would like to graduate law school some time.
Start a business or two
Run the Boston marathon

And now back to studying because yes, I am retaking the LSAT. I did good the first time, but not great. Want to improve my scholarship offers. Cheers. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Robynn + Joe

Meet our aunt and uncle, Robynn and Joe.
First, I would like to point out that upon googling Robynn Masters you will find a host of this lady's achievements including but not limited to a million top places in swimming, biking, and triathlon races, various successes in the real estate business, and did I mention she is a Hawaii iron man triathlete? (Danny pointed out to me that she was first out of the water). Good grief!
Joe is an avid biker, aviation specialist, and dog enthusiast. He has recently combined the majority of his passions into one in an investment of a third house van that is complete with an indoor bike rack (that holds multiple bikes, which he built himself) couch, reclining seats, storage, and enough space to fit everyone and their dog. (Literally, all 3 of their dogs)
Anyway, an impressive couple that is for sure..

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 Timeline

January- both of us worked full time. turned in all our China paperwork. spent a week in a cabin at East Canyon, spent a couple of days in Oklahoma
February- left for China, traveled through Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Chongqing, Lia, Hua Yuan, and got well acquainted with our city of Xiushan. We spent a good amount of time bundled up in our bed in our apartment with no heater.
March- experienced my first Chinese illness (and it was a doozie!), traveled through Chengdu where we played with pandas and all the old people at the People's Park, got the hang of teaching
April- celebrated Easter with our students, traveled through Guilin, saw amazing rice terraces
May- traveled through Zhangjiajie, spent tons of time with our students
June- traveled through honeysuckle land, left our beloved xiushan, traveled through guilin, beijing, shanghai, koh tao, bangkok, monkey city, and some other cities i can't recall the names of
July- finished up our travels, flew back across the world to Utah
August- went to Lake Powell with Danny's fam, packed up the jeep, and began our trek across america for miami, bought a car, found an apartment, Danny started school, I started studying for the LSAT
September- a little beach time, a lot of study time. Made new pals, got settled in a little
October- played in some tropical storms, studied our brains out, dressed up chinese for halloween
November- studied some more, biked through the everglades, had our first family-less thanksgiving
December- studied more, took the LSAT, took finals, went to the Keys, Everglades, a million beaches, hosted Christmas with mom and dad brown and peps and archie, took a trip to utah

Happy New Year!

First,  I can't even believe all of the things that happened in 2011. Some of our favorites (or just big) moments:
- leaving Provo behind. Which was weird-- it's where we met, it's where the majority of our friends were, it's where essentially all of our memories together were. Despite it's bubble-ness, there are so  many memories from Prov that I will treasure forever-- hiking hot springs, driving around university, going to Smiths at 3am for frozen pizzas, hiking, snowboarding, or snow shoeing all through the mountains, running through the canyon, BYU, or just hanging with some of our pals, etc.
- moving to China-- everything with China happened so fast. We decided in mid December that we were going to go, turned in all of our paperwork, got our visas, and were gone within a month. I NEVER had a desire to go there, still can't believe I went there, and still talk about the experience almost every day. We LOVED every day in China and met so many lovely people, saw some amazing sites, taught some funny little Chinese kids. We can't wait to get back there.

- traveling through south Asia-- we got attacked by monkeys, visited several temples, snorkeled our brains out, sat on the beach, walked through some questionable areas, played with elephants and tigers, rode ATV's and scooters all over the place

- moving to Miami. We found out 2 days before we had to leave that we were moving to Miami. One of those days we were at Lake Powell and the other one we were driving home from Powell. We literally loaded up the car with everything that would fit, and hit the road. which leads me to...

- purchasing our first car. Which was also rather spontaneous and happened because we drove our non air conditioned black jeep from Utah to Oklahoma and just about died. We got to Oklahoma and bought the first car we could get our hands on (thanks again dad) and drove the rest of the way to miami in the pleasantries of the quiet air conditioned car. 

- taking the LSAT- can't believe thats over and can't believe I got through it. 

- our first thanksgiving without family, which went off without a hitch I am pleased to report. 

- turning 24 and 27. I'm sure when we are 40 we'll look back and think how young we were, but i still can't believe how old we are. I still feel like i'm 12. 

2011 was honestly one of the best years of my life. There were definitely hard times, but they were well balanced with lots of good times and so many experiences that helped us to grow. So here's to 2011! Way to go 2011. You were good to us. 
Happy New Year one and all!

Christmas Round 2 Everglades

The day after my parents + Archie arrived, we loaded up the cars and made our way down to the Everglades on our way to the Keys. We had the good fortune of spotting several manatees, alligators, crocodiles, poisonous trees, etc. Dad even bought a special hat.

Sanibel Sea Shells

Sunday night after our Christmas party we picked up Peps from the airport. We woke up Mon morning, hung on the beach. It was overcast, so we decided to drive the 3.5 hours across the panhandle to an island called Sanibel, famous for its abundance of delightful sea shells.
We collected more sea shells than any one family should. It was a good time digging through the sand. I made friends with an old guy who helped me spot some good ones. 

ThisOOur sand castle Christmas tree made of sand, sea weed, bottle caps, sea shells, and yes, jelly fish.