Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Honeymooning in Hawaii

Andrew and I flew out from Washington the Sunday after the wedding. We were heading to Hawaii, and I can't tell you just how excited I was. I had never been to Hawaii; I had never been outside the continental U.S. I love going places I've never been before.

What I didn't enjoy, however, was the flight. Six hours is a long time to be cooped up in an airplane. And as we landed on Maui, it got really bumpy, and my motion sickness started acting up. But then we landed, and we went into the airport, which was open to the warm, beautiful breezes on the island. Coming from freezing cold Utah (where a blizzard was hitting), Maui truly was paradise.

We picked up our rental car and headed to the hotel. Andrew had a really good time driving the Mustang he rented—though it would have been more fun if the speed limits had gone higher than 45 mph.

When we got to the resort, we told the lady at the front desk that it was our honeymoon, and she gave us an awesome deal on a room with a beach view. I would say this was worth the extra money:

It was gorgeous. I couldn't stop just . . . looking. I couldn't believe how beautiful it was. And the weather was just perfect. Mid- to upper-70s during the day. It cooled off a little at night, and it was crazy windy a good portion of the time, but it was still wonderful compared to what we left. We couldn't help but laugh at people who complained about it being cold.

The trip was truly amazing. We ate out a bazillion times and simply relaxed and enjoyed the weather and being on the beach. We went snorkeling, which was really hard for me at first. I'm not a huge fan of deep water and I'm not a strong swimmer, and I couldn't wrap my brain around putting my face underwater and still being able to breathe. But once I finally mastered only breathing through my mouth, I got more comfortable and was able to go out quite a ways. It's amazing how from above the water, you can't see what's swimming right beneath your feet.

We went on a dinner cruise one night, and while it was fun, we felt seriously out of place. We were probably the youngest people on the boat, and I can almost guarantee that we were the only ones not drinking alcohol. The servers didn't exactly give us great service, but the food was delicious, and we saw a couple of whales. Andrew had fun taking pictures of me and teaching me about the different lenses (since there wasn't a whole lot else to do).

One of my favorite things that we did was go to the luau that our resort put on. We almost didn't do a luau because they are definitely not cheap, but I'm so glad we decided to do it. The food was so good (especially the kalua pig), and the show was pretty awesome too. And we got leis!

This is my excited face.

Before the food and the show, we had the chance to wander around and look at booths that vendors had set up. We bought a carved tiki from the man that carved this turtle. 

Andrew tried on a lava lava and got close enough to get a good shot of them pulling the pig out of the imu (the pit they cook it in).

And then we watched the sunset before they served dinner.

The coolest part of the show by far was the fire thrower. He was pretty dang awesome.

But my favorite part of the luau was when the host made all the newlywed men get up and do a hula for their brides. It was pretty hilarious. Andrew and I were sitting next to an Australian couple that was also on their honeymoon, so she and I had a good laugh as we watched our husbands attempt to hula.

One of my other favorite outings on the trip was the whale-watching cruise. February is prime whale-watching season in Maui. We had seen brief glimpses of them all week. We even saw a couple on the drive from the airport to the hotel. But that was nothing like the cruise. We watched a competition pod of six or seven hump-backed whales form, and it was . . . amazing. I don't know how else to describe it. They were trumpeting at each other and doing head lunges. They're incredible animals. And so huge. Holy cow. Andrew tried valiantly to get good pictures, but they're hard to capture.

We also wandered around Old Lahaina Town, which was full of shops and places to eat. There was this awesome park created under the branches and shoots of a giant banyan tree. It was so cool. We also got hour-long, full-body massages, which was fantastic. I was so relaxed. We walked on the beach a lot, and that led us to the Whaler's Village, which was a high-end mall. We found some cool stores, including one that sold items made of koa wood, which is one of the most beautiful woods I've ever seen. We found a few good souvenirs to bring home.

We spent our last night walking along the beach and watching the sunset. Our resort was right next to some cliffs, and every night at sunset, a torch bearer would light all the torches along the beach, climb the cliffs, and dive off them. 

We came across an Asian family, and the dad was taking pictures of his two adorable little girls. Andrew offered to take a picture of the whole family, and he in turn offered to take some pictures of us. Like Andrew, he knew his way around a camera.

And then, we flew home. I was sad to leave because it was such an incredible trip, but I was also excited for Andrew and I to start our real life as a married couple. Which, incidentally, has been a pretty good life so far. Though there would definitely be room for a trip back to Hawaii. I absolutely loved it.

(As a side note, being married to a photographer is a pretty sweet deal. I have a feeling I'll enjoy that perk every time we go on vacation. Andrew took and edited all of these photos [except the few where he handed me the camera so we could have some pictures of him too].)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Washington and the Open House

Wow, it's been awhile since I've blogged. I meant to blog about the open house weeks ago, but things happened and blogging just wasn't my top priority.

The Thursday after the wedding, Andrew and I and his parents flew to Tacoma for the open house. My parents were incredibly kind and drove up so they had a way to get our gifts back to Utah. We got in a little late Thursday night, so Andrew and I checked in to our hotel room and basically just went to sleep.

On Friday morning, Andrew and I, my parents, and his parents drove to Seattle. I had never been to Washington before, and I'd always wanted to see Seattle, so I was pretty excited. We wandered around Pike Place Market and watched them throw some fish. We looked at all the little shops and ate some delicious Reuben sandwiches. We also saw the disgusting gum wall.

It's so gross. There are millions of pieces of chewed up gum, and it's everywhere.

I really liked Pike Place, but I think I would have liked it better if I had been adequately prepared for the weather. Andrew had told me that it would be decent weather, meaning rainy, but not too cold. Except that on Friday it was freezing and wet and all I had were some flats and no socks. We decided to pack more for Hawaii than for Washington, and that was a mistake. But I survived the cold and I did have a good time.

After Pike Place, we headed to the seafront and wandered through some more little shops. This wasn't so bad because they were all indoors, so I had a chance to warm up. Then we ate dinner at Ivar's, which was SO GOOD. Fresh seafood caught that day. It was delicious. I could have their clam chowder every day of my life, I swear.

Saturday was the day of the open house. It was that afternoon, so Andrew took the morning to show me around his hometown. I loved the look of Tacoma. There were no cookie-cutter houses, and every building had so much character. The architecture was awesome.

One of the coolest things he showed me, though, was Stadium High School.

It's the freaking awesome building they used for Padua High School in 10 Things I Hate About You. I can't believe this is actually a high school—it's huge. It's actually where Andrew's parents attended. I felt super weird taking this picture because there were a bunch of students across from me waiting to head out to an event of some kind. I felt like a major nerd, but oh well.

Andrew and I also went to the beach and wandered for a bit. It was a much nicer day than the day before, so it was much more enjoyable to be outside.

Then we headed to Andrew's parents' house, where we were having the open house. Andrew's mom had set up a huge spread of goodies to eat. People just came at their leisure, and I got to meet Andrew's extended family and a bunch of ward friends that he had grown up with. It was really nice to see a little glimpse of Andrew's growing up life. A lot of people came, and we spent time chatting with all of them and opening gifts.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip. I loved Washington, even with the cold weather. Though I would like to go back and visit when the weather is a bit warmer.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Holy Stress, Batman!

Well, I have now been a Health Catalyst employee for a week and a half. It's been pretty good, for the most part, except that I still don't know what my routine will be and what exactly I will be in charge of. I've been told over and over about how I'm supposed to be engaged and involved with the sales team, but how that is going to happen hasn't exactly been made clear. (It's also weird that I'm part of the sales team. Which is nearly all men. That's a definite change for me.)

Which is where the stress comes in. I hate starting new jobs specifically because I hate not knowing what I'm doing. I have such a hard time when I'm completely dependent on other people to tell me what I'm supposed to be doing every minute of every day. Being told to familiarize myself with a website when I don't know exactly what I'm supposed to be doing with said website makes things really difficult. At KLAS, I went to work every day knowing exactly what I would be doing. And if I ran out of editing, I knew three other things I could do to fill my time. At Health Catalyst, if I don't have content to edit or a proposal to work on, I'm sitting on my thumbs, trying to find new websites that can entertain me until I get something to work on.

I know this phase will end. I know this is just how it goes at a new job. I'm still trying to figure out what the company does and how I fit in, and I know that I went through this exact same phase at KLAS. I had the same frustrations and stresses when I started there over four years ago, but now all I can think about is how much I miss the familiarity.

Unfortunately, knowing that I will become familiar with Health Catalyst doesn't make the process of getting there any easier. It's been a stressful week and a half. Just ask Andrew about the (at least) three times I've broken down into tears at the prospect of going to work the next day. (To be fair, I warned him before I started that I would be a wreck for the first, oh, month or so.) I'm so thankful that Andrew's been so understanding. It is definitely nice to have such a supportive husband to come home to every night. I love him a ridiculous amount.

The good thing is that I think I'll like it at Health Catalyst. Eventually. The people have been super welcoming and nice, and the kitchen is fully stocked with candy, granola bars, caffeine, and other goodies. It's a great perk, especially when I forget a lunch and don't have to go out and spend money. However, it is terrible for my calorie counting. I have to exercise some serious restraint.

Speaking of calorie counting, they also gave me a FitBit, which is pretty cool. It tracks my steps, how many floors I've climbed, and how well I sleep. I've looked into getting one before, but I didn't want to spend the money, and now I don't have to! Woot! Even though I have been appalled at just how few steps I take some days.

Anyway, this is a long post that doesn't say much other than that I'm trying to get my feet under me. And on the days that I'm extra stressed and don't know what I'm doing, I just remind myself that this job is where I need to be right now. I know I was supposed to take this position because everything worked out too well for it not to be right. And I also know that in time, I will become as comfortable here as I was at KLAS. I just have to stick it out and take my time. Everything will work out great. Especially once we move and I no longer have this frigging nasty commute. (It's seriously awful. Rush-hour traffic is devil spawn.)

And because I worry that my text-only posts are super boring, here's a picture of my new work space. Because that's not boring at all, right?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Wedding Day: The Reception Part 2

And here is the last of the wedding photos series. I hope you've enjoyed looking at them, and if you want me to post any on Facebook, let me know.