P to the H to the P

Here's what you've all been waiting for, aye?
My Pearl Harbor Project recaps!
About a month after the fact, I finally have time to sit down and collect my thoughts on everything. So here we go chilluns. Bare with me.

DAY UNO- Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

     We all met in the band room at 7:00 a.m. sharp, early that morning. Everyone was so quiet and anxious, but you could tell we were all unified in purpose. The buses arrived and we departed to the airport in Salt Lake City. Going to check in and going through security kind of took a long time, but eventually we all got through to our gate where we waited for 2 hours until loading. Once loading began, the excitement rose and we filed onto plane, finding our seats which were arranged by who we were rooming with. So I was privileged to sit by my roomies - Wendy Nelson, Hannah Johansen, and Mallory Jones. Party.
      I hadn't been on a plane since I was 10, so I was surprised and excited to find how planes have changed since then. I sat in the middle seat of the middle section so I couldn't see anything outside the window and sleeping was very difficult, but it was still enjoyable. Each seat had a TV in the back so you could watch whichever movie you wanted, listen to any music, or play any game. It was kool!
     Anyways, 6 hours later, we finally landed in the Honolulu, Hawaii airport where they gave us all REAL FLOWER LEI'S! I felt so legit. Immediately we all felt the heat and humidity, but we loved it! We then made our way to our fancy hotel that gave us delicious free cookies. We checked in to our rooms and settled in for a bit, and then we had an opportunity that I have never experienced in my 4 years of being in the band:

free time

you laugh, but it's true. Free time is something that has never been done in the Timpview Band. We were given about 4 hours that first wednesday night to roam Waikiki and do whatever our little tourist hearts so desired. So a group of us chose to find the famous "International Market". We took a few wrong turns and got lost along the way thanks to tour guide Bao, but eventually we found it in all it's international glory. The best thing about the market is that you can bargain! You have not shopped until you have bargained at the market. I wasn't the best at first, but by the end of the week, I was making deals like Let's Make A Deal. Now I get sad here in Utah when I can't bargain. Reality hurts sometimes.
Once we made our way through the salesmen, the market led us to the beach (okay, okay, we got lost. AGAIN.) and we sat in the warm water for as long as we had time for until it was time for lights out.
Let us just come to a consensus that the first day was a great start to our week :)

soooo...I know you're sick of PHP pictures, but for those of you who care, these are my favorites from day uno.

Me and Miriam showing off our tickets to Hawaii

Emileigh and I blocking the jetbridge so that we might gain evidence of our trip.

Sandwiched between too supermodels.

I love this.
I miss this.
I want this.

"We're in Hawaii" faces.
(Plus real flower lei's)

The things you might see on the streets of Waikiki

Our group on the beach.
(Fun fact: this picture was taken by a sober man)


One flew over the cuckoo's nest

The family is silently driving through the deserted, snowy Sunday morning roads. The radio is on in the background.

Radio announcer: Studies show that 1 in every 4 people have a mental disorder.
Andy: Chances are someone in this car is crazy
Nicole: Nose goes.
(Mother is the only one who doesn't put her finger to her nose and everyone looks at her)
Andy: Moms crazy.

I love my family.


Our very own Russian

Last night was a very good night for our family. 
Elder Bradyn Ray returned from his full time mission in Yekaterinberg, Russia. 
And being one of his few cousins, I decided to support the young lad and see him walk out of an airport terminal. And let me tell you, it was a cool experience.

Most of our close family was there - the oldest being my grandma and the youngest being my 4 year old cousin who didn't remember him. There we were, holding some large sign in Russian that we couldn't understand, waiting at the end of the escalator hallway. Nobody wanted to talk to one another in fear of turning our head in answer and missing his entrance. We were all excited and on edge, but I was glad to be there. He's our first full time missionary in the fam and we couldn't be prouder. And as I was standing back in the midst of all the happy reunion, I reminisced on my brother, Kevin's return.....

If you don't know my brother Kevin's story, feel free to ask me sometime, but it's a little long for this post. All you need to know is he has health problems that almost stopped him from serving his mission, health problems that have almost cost him his life. Eventually he did get his mission call and left for Seattle, Washington a year and 3 months ago. He was told not to tract, but that didn't stop my determined brother from preaching the Lord's Gospel. However, that was to become his downfall and his health problems reoccurred, threatening his life and sending him yet again into the hospital. 

I remember the day very clearly. I got home from school. A normal day for me. Except the aura in my house wasn't the same. I know when something's up. My mom didn't ask me how school was. So I dropped my stuff off in the front room, ran up to my bedroom and sat down on my bed. My mom walked in. No smile was upon her face. 
"Nicole, Kevin's in the hospital again."
The world stopped again. My heart dropped. It does that a lot.
There are only a few things that make tears come out of my eyes, and Kevin in the hospital is an immediate one. Within two seconds I was up from my bed and in my sobbing mother's arms. I felt just as scared as I felt when this happened in 8th grade. 

Confusion. Fear. Anger. 
Sadness. Helplessness. Emptiness.
absolutely nothing.
those are just a few of the things that happen to your body.

The next day I was a zombie. I didn't know and still don't know how to react to these types of things. The only people that knew something was wrong were my best friends and they comforted me. I got home from school and again I was made command central. Information was ran through me and both my parents were constantly on the phone getting updates and whatnot. Kevin was to come home that night by airplane with an escort. I don't remember why, but I was told not to come to the airport. Maybe I didn't want to see him like that. Either way, I was given the job of making a makeshift welcome home poster with the materials we had within 2 hours. I did my job to try and make him feel happier. But the second he slowly staggered in with support from my dad and brother, suit and name tag still on, not able to talk, I lost it and went upstairs to bed. 

he wanted to serve a mission so freaking bad. He was out for 2 months total. and then was sent home. 
he was crushed. crushed. He wanted to be normal for once - do something everyone else does. And he only got a little taste of what it was like. It makes me cry even just writing about it. But that's Kevin and he's always been that way. The trooper who doesn't give up on anything and never asks "why me?". This was the only time I've seen his spirits crushed. But the next day he was already trying to make progress and improvements in his recovery. It was a long process though, shorter than last time, but still long. It was hard to adjust to him being at home again. 
but that's life
and we cherish every day we have with him.


Your time will come if you wait for it.

I'm baaaaaaaaccckk.
from Hawaii that is.
Expect some Hawaii posts soon. I gots to decompress  and collect my thoughts first.

Anyways, the day we arrived home from lovely Waikiki, I, well, slept. duh. And then I was forced to once again resume the constant struggle with college applications. I finally finished my BYU application and now I can relax, right? Well not really. Now I'm just stressing even more about when I will find out. People, I'm FREAKING OUT.

And the ironic part? In my essay, I put that I had learned to trust and accept the will of my Heavenly Father.
Now I feel like a liar. Because, yes, I will be very angry if I don't get in. And I'll be all confused, wondering why it wasn't for me. No the whole trust part isn't really true. Whoops.

But it helps me listen to my mom talk about her experiences with my dad and our family in the air force. She always tells me that she never knew why Heavenly Father sent our family the places we went. Sometimes they didn't even realize why they went somewhere for 10 years down the road. Most of the time it was for Kevin's medical needs, which always seemed miraculous. But every place had a special purpose for our family, including me. I know I'm supposed to be here in Utah, right now. I wouldn't want to be any other place than working with a marching band from Timpview High School right now. And it wouldn't have been possible without this seemingly horrible move to Utah.

I guess my whole point of this post is that, I may be mad at first, but 10 years down the road, I will be grateful for whatever has happened in my life. So I say,
bring it on