our next travel adventure

Next week, Chris and I get to go to Japan! We've been planning this trip since before we got married and now that it's finally happening, it's a little surreal. We'll be there for a total of four weeks and as of right now, we are going to nine different areas. Most are in northern Japan, on the island of Hokkaido, which is where we both served missions for our church. Me 18 months, Chris 2 years. We bought rail passes since we'll be taking the train from one end of Japan to the other and then all over Hokkaido (it's cheaper than low-cost airfare). We are spending time in Fukuyama (which is where my family lives), Yokohama (which is where Chris' distant relatives live), Hakodate, Sapporo, Asahikawa, Kushiro, Shiner, Atsubetsu, and Obihiro.

I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for being able to go. We won't be fine dining or staying in five star hotels but we won't be eating granola bars the entire time either. We enjoy traveling but this trip has multiple purposes. It's our honeymoon, a visit to introduce Chris to my extended family, and a visit to our mission area all rolled into one. It's extra convenient that we were in the same mission :) Overall, we feel pretty lucky.

As I've been planning where to go and who to stay with, memories of my time there have been coming back. Precious experiences, personal growth, and incredible people, all things I'm looking forward to sharing with Chris.

Since we drove to Washington instead of flying, we were able to bring a few things back, like a box of my stuff, which had all of my memory cards! We spent hours going through all of the pictures, laughing and reminiscing the entire time (a year and a half leaves you with a lot of pictures..). Definitely not my best looking years but here are a few fun pictures from the last time I was in Hokkaido :)

And in case I didn't make this clear enough, I'm so so excited to go again!

^^Look! A picture of husband that I didn't even realize I had! 


on the road trip home

The first two pictures basically sum up our crazy drive to Washington two weeks ago. The first photo was taken exactly twenty-four hours after we started the trip at a roadside rest stop in Boise, Idaho at six am after we had slept for a few hours. It was one of those "this is so crazy I'm going to take a picture to remember it!" moments haha.

The second photo was taken at 11:30 pm the night before at the best Wendy's I've ever been to. Maybe it was because it had been a really, really long day, or maybe everything was just warmed to perfection, but everything tasted great. Oh and the car? What an expensive car for newlyweds you say? It's a rental. Our car gave out after three hours of driving so after a reasonable meltdown and a becoming an adult moment of "What do we do?!", we waited another three hours for Chris' dad to come rescue us. We partied on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere Idaho by taking videos (video coming sometime. Maybe.) and introducing Chris to the movie 17 Again.

When my father-in-law arrived, he used some webbing, duct tape, and wire to hook up our little car to his truck. The look on my face was probably hilarious but inside I was terrified. You know when you go tubing and the boat makes a sharp turn? That's what I was imagining would happen to our car, while in traffic. Thankfully, both Chris and his dad knew better than I did and we made it back to Salt Lake City safely! A rental car, too much money, dinner, and two and a half hours later, we were back on the road.
Although the whole breakdown was an unpleasant surprise, the rental car was amazing. It drove like high speed butter the entire way and was comfortable enough to sleep in (at least for me haha). We stopped in Boise for a few hours of sleep after our second start and then made it to my parents' house in time for our family party, which was the entire reason for the trip. The normal thirteen hour trip turned into a thirty hour one but we made it safely!

We were too preoccupied taking videos of every little thing, so we hardly got any photos. But here are a few we took:

The famous Kettle scramble and a third of a demolished muffin. We didn't get to go when we were in town in December so Chris had been talking about this for weeks leading up to the trip. This was the half order we split and we still had tons of leftovers. In the few minutes of picture taking, Chris flipped the mugs over to make the table setting look better but when we got offered coffee four times, I had him flip them upside down again haha. Always a fun place to go when we are in town.

A pretty place I used to go with my family in the summer and run my cross country races in the fall during high school. A totally different kind of beauty than what I find in Utah (although Utah's beauty has found a big spot in my heart).

One of the quilts my talented mom is making out of my grandpa's clothes! This was the "show and tell" part of our family get together.

there's something so therapeutic about walking along the beach and good conversation. I spent a few hours on this rocky beach with my aunt (while Chris went golfing with my dad) and it just felt good.
We were missing a few family members (like my brothers!) but time with family is always well spent. I like this crazy family of mine. 

Even though getting there was a little rough, overall it was a great trip. Chris and I ate mountains of homemade gyoza, we went to the Seattle Art Museum with my mom, ate fish&chips, and stopped in Portland to spend time with Chris' brother. 
I want to make a special note on how positive Chris was throughout our car ordeal. Obviously, there were times we both got frustrated but he was a huge help as we both tried really hard to stay optimistic. Our little car suffered damage that wasn't worth repairing so we are now car-less. We've had to borrow cars and bum rides off of friends but on the bright side, now every outing is going to be a bike date! We'll get a car again but for now, we're sticking with bikes. So if you see us riding around Provo, wave! :)


our first video!

chris and i went on a spontaneous bike ride date around provo a few days ago. we aren't planning on staying in provo after we graduate but we really enjoy living here right now! it was a gorgeous evening so we tried out our new camera and made our first video!

**when we made this, we still had a car but now we don't. so this whole bike ride thing is going to become the norm around here.