26 July 2013

A Few Perks of Living in Utah

1. Being able to watch all 52 firework shows in the Salt Lake Valley at once from the steps of the Capitol Building on Pioneer day.

2. Incredible sweeping panoramas of the valley at night. 

3. Trains that take you and your bike 100 miles to visit your friends at BYU in Provo.

4. An H&M store right next to Temple Square.

5. A small plethora of public transit in the city.

6. The Wasatch Mountains.

(And the fact that the building on the left is where I'll be living in 28 days.)

7. A really beautiful downtown streetscape at night.

Utah is a cool place. Well, at least Salt Lake City is. The rest is alright, I guess. Suburbia doesn't exactly float my boat. So here is a picture of Aerielle and me drinking a Cheerwine in the city looking awesome. Because selfies make the world go round.

Also: Utah has a handful of stores that are just play on LDS phrases. Us Mormons have a song called, "Called to Serve" about missionary work and spreading the gospel. So naturally, someone came up with the name of the store below. 

25 July 2013

Leaning on the Metropolitan Side of Things

Starting out with a picture unrelated to my post title, once again.

This is Aerielle on a Skype chat with her new family in Barcelona, Spain! She is planning on nannying there in the fall. They are a very nice family.

Onto more of the bulk of this post. This summer, I've found my self spending more time than ever in downtown Salt Lake City. I mean, its not like you haven't seen this recently in my other posts between going to the library or up to the University of Utah, but I go there for a variety of reasons now, often times out of sheer boredom. 

For example, last Saturday I went with Aerielle and a few of her family members down to Galivan Plaza to watch some country/blues guy play guitar. He was freaking amazing. But it was also a chance for me to just wander a little in that part of the city.

This was the view from the parking deck into the Galivan Center.

Another view, across main street over to the Hotel Monaco and 222 South Main.

I just love the juxtaposition of styles and that beautiful western sun set light.

Aerielle and I, taking a selfie as is typical for such an event. She looks darling as usual.

Then on Tuesday, dad and I took Frontrunner and Trax down to the Galivan Center again, this time to watch the Wasatch Jazz Project preform. It is a 19 piece Jazz Orchestra that preforms on the plaza ever Tuesday evening 7:30-9:00 all through July and August. They were honestly fantastic.

Also of note, starting half an hour before each performance at 7:00, they have dancing lessons from beginner to intermediate. They had a big dance floor out, and the audience made great use of it during each song. I love living next to a city just for the reasons that we get fantastic things like a jazz orchestra to listen to on a regular basis, for free no less!

Another thing that has caught my attention as of recently.....
I drew this house during the performance, and I was vaguely being inspired by the Andorran Embassy to Brussels. This is a somewhat big two story mansion with 5 bedrooms and 5 and 1/2 baths, with a two story vaulted library and ballroom. 

I really haven't drawn a house in a while, and it occurred to me that I have really come far in my drawing style and creativity. So compare my previous house I drew this week to a house of a similar style I drew back in October of 2011.

I suppose practice really does make perfect! 

Also, also: This is the best thing ever. This is my RideClear pass from UTA, which basically allows me to ride all public transit along the Wasatch Front free till the end of July. All in the name of clean air! 

I love you guys, and I will see you later.

24 July 2013

Outdoor Exploration at Western Crossroads

Without any regard to the title of this post, one of my more recent possessions in the past week is this lovely keyboard piano from my darling parents! I asked for this for a graduation present, since in college I won't have immediate access to a piano, and this has a lovely pair of headphones that comes with it. Needless to say, I've been playing my soul out on it at 1:00 am and letting my parents rest in pleasant slumber.

The next few photos really just capture the various activities that I've been doing for the past little while. Since I have been somewhat slacking in post regularity, I've split the last two weeks into two post for you to see what I've been doing.

A while ago, my dear mother and I took a short trip up to one of my favorite waterfalls here in Centerville!

She is basically the cutest and prettiest thing ever.

Then my dear friend Kennedy and I took a nice trip up to the Bountiful Temple to do Baptisms for the Dead, and I couldn't help but notice how beautiful the Japanese Maples looked against the House of the Lord.

Also not too long ago, Aerielle and I went down to Salt Lake City to explore the International Peace Gardens along the Jordan River. She looks darling, as is always typical from such a lovely girl.

While there, we passed this stunning young lady in her QuinceaƱera dress taking photos in the garden. It was rather fantastic.

This was also my first time seeing the Jordan River up close! For reference to my non Utahns, the Jordan River basin drains about half of the Wasatch Front, which is where more than half of Utah's 2 million population lives. Honestly, it was kind of tiny and gross. It was a fourth the size of the Yadkin river, and probably would have been considered a large creek or stream back east.

But the gardens really were beautiful! They've been around for decades, but were especially worked on during the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics. They have small areas for most major and some minor countries and over all it is very well kept. Although, it was almost 105 degrees while we were there, and that alone made the trip a bit more unbearable than we would have liked.

Ta ta for now and I love you all!

05 July 2013

A Sweeter Fourth of July

That was probably the worst title I could think of. This fourth of July Aerielle and I went to Sugarhouse Park to watch the fireworks, and with that I was trying to think of some clever play on words for a title, and you get that. Truthfully, college is expensive and neither of us have spendable money at the moment, so there was no sweet food partaken by either of us.

We got to the park around 7:00 and the fireworks didn't start till around 10:00 so the majority of the time we were just sitting around entertaining ourselves. Like by noticing that both of us have very bad flip flop/sandal tan lines (mine is pictured above), or that you can tie grass together to make a crown!

The fourth of July was really fantastic, and it is sincerely one of my favorite holidays. 

Which brings us to the topic of my contemplations for this post! 

Sitting on the great lawn of Sugar House Park in the dark, watching all these beautiful pyrotechnics above my head and listening to quintessential American ballads, I knew that what I was feeling at that moment was patriotism.

Woah. What?

As a pretty fixated and unique oddball, I used to not feel at all patriotic. I lean towards feeling that America doesn't need the use of a large military and that unconditional loyalty is foolish. And I feel like in daily American culture, that is what patriotism looks like, saluting our troops and loving our country no matter what. That just really irked me growing up.

Granted, I am a child of the 2000's and 2010's. I really can't remember life before the internet and I've always felt much more of a global citizen than an American. I'm so grateful to have been educated to be globally aware, but in middle school, I quickly realized that when it came to how America was doing on a global scale, Sweden was healthier, Norway was smarter, Germany more industrious, France more cultured, China with a bigger economy and Saudi Arabia with more oil. The United States was not unconditionally "The Greatest Nation on Earth". We were ranked lesser to others, our economy and energy were controlled at the will of others and every time I heard that phrase I became uncomfortable.

Naturally, I translated that lack of comfort and trust to be a lack of undying patriotism.

I honestly held that conception for the longest time.

It wasn't until later that I really defined for my self what patriotism was. I thought about this a great deal through the beginning of my Senior year of high school. I am a very politically active person. I've worked on campaign trails as early as 8th grade and I try my best to be very informed about my views. So far, I've come to find that I lean pretty politically liberal. I get frustrated with the inefficiency of government and the fact that the government puts weapons above people in budgetary constraints. I get frustrated that American culture leans on the ideal image of thinness yet openly promotes a fast food life style. I get frustrated that we have been built on car culture, suburbia, gas gussling vehicles and that it has come to be expected that congress will run inefficiently. 

I think the moment it really hit me that I was patriotic is that I wanted so badly to make it better. So what that this is the status quo? I want to stick around and do my part in making it better. That is why I am politically active, and that is why I try to involve my self in a variety of organizations to support my causes. That is why I am a registered voter, that is why I take public transit, that is why I want to get a degree and that is why I email my legislators with regularity, and take chances to actually meet them. It is why I go to rallies, try to shop local and keep my self well versed in current events. 

I want to make our country a better place in ten, twenty or even thirty years.

Maybe I am crazy, but that is why I consider myself patriotic. I could not be more proud to call my self an American, and to say proudly to the world that I am doing my part to matter our country better.

I love you guys. 
Thanks for reading my rants.