Last Sunday was my favorite day of the summer. Now that we’re in Rochester we’re really close to the Canadian border, and closer to Toronto than we probably ever will be again. Jeff served his mission in Toronto, and I’ve heard all about it. We couldn’t pass up this chance to go. We made it a day trip, from 7:00 AM – 2:00 AM. I loved every second of it. Toronto is an amazing city, I wish we could have spent a week there.
What you don’t know… Toronto is the most culturally diverse city in North America. Every culture, country and religion you can think of is represented here. In Jeff’s mission there were Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, Portuguese, Filipino, and English speaking elders. Jeff spoke English, but had to learn Farsi (Persian) for part of his mission. 49% of Toronto residents were not born in Canada, and 25% of Canada’s population lives in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). It sits on the Northern shore of Lake Ontario, and it’s such a cool city. Here are some highlights of our day there in chronological order:
Beeches Ward: This was the ward in downtown Toronto that Jeff served in for about 9 months. I requested we go here cuz I’d heard so many funny stories about this ward. We arrived just in time for their 11:00 Sacrament Meeting. Everyone was so nice, and then next thing I know there’s a 4′ 00” Filipino woman hugging me at my waist.
Her name was Norma, and she probably fed Jeff 100’s of spring rolls while he served there. The biggest surprise was when the Bishop, who was conducting, asked Jeff and I to bare our testimonies. Ha! It was great. My favorite part is where the church where they meet – it’s an old car lot building. Amazing, right?
Bum? As we were driving to catch the end of another ward in Don Valley, Jeff all of a sudden starts yelling out the window over another lane of stopped cars at bum named Peter.
Jeff: “Peter! Peter!”
Peter looks into the car over me at Jeff.
Jeff: “I’m one of the Mormon missionaries.”
Peter: “Where’s Elder Peterson?!”
Jeff: “That’s me!”
Peter: “Whoa Man! Hi! It’s a small world!”
The light changed, and we drove away. I wish I had a picture of Peter, but I was too caught up in the weirdness of the moment. I guess Jeff brought Peter food a few times while he served there.
Don Valley: We caught the end of another ward, and I met more people who loved Jeff. The sweetest bishop and his family, an intellectual in gym shorts and a Nike t-shirt named Tim Hoxa, and Barb. Barb has been a great friend to Jeff on and off of the mission. She’s stayed with his family and I’d heard all about her, and it was so fun to meet her finally.
City Drive & Persian Food: I was amazed at how Jeff knew just where to go, where to turn, knew all of the public transportation routes. I got a great tour through all of downtown Toronto by car, and later by foot.
University of Toronto was gorgeous, with beautiful old buildings. There was great shopping, and so many places I’d love to spend more time – like the a museum all about shoes, isn’t that neat? And, before all of that we stopped at this little Persian shop and got this food… I wish I could remember what it’s called. But it’s a soupy mixture of pork, split peas, a reddish sauce, and french fries that you eat over rice. It was different, but good.
Taste of the Danforth: There’s a street called Danforth in Toronto, and at one end of it is where a lot of the Greeks live. Once a year they have this festival called Taste of the Danforth and there’s a big street fair featuring great Greek food. We met up with Barb and ate at a place called Astoria. I loved the Tzatziki sauce and the Pitas, and Barb’s company. Oh, and the neighborhood was darling up in this area. I would live there in a heartbeat. Neat old houses, everyone looking different, and they’d been kept up so nicely. So much personality there.
Toronto on Foot: After this, we headed down town on the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission).
We waked down Yonge street, Bloor street, past some places that were evidence of Toronto’s liberalness. We only wish we’d come during pride week… Ha! Not really though. There were darling shops everywhere, and just a cool vibe in the city. It was so funny to think of Jeff walking down the street in a suit and tie there, ha! He was enjoying his time being a normal citizen and not a missionary.
BAY: Jeff, my whole life, has always called me “Bay.”
It comes from my Aunt Suzi who used to call me “Hay Bay Woman” and now it’s just “Bay.” She and Jeff are the only ones who’ve kept it up. Anyway, there are a million things in Toronto called Bay – Bay Street, Bay Station, Bay this, Bay that… Ha! I told Jeff it was a subliminal message his whole mission. We were definitely meant to be. Ha!
Lake Ontario: We eventually made our way down to Lake Ontario by streetcar.
We sat on the beach, skipped rocks, and just relaxed after all of our walking. We watched some boy slacklining, bought some chocolates from a girl selling them for Sunday School, and decided we’d better get going because it was getting dark.
Rain, Rain, and Streetcars: We caught a streetcar back up to a street that I can’t remember the name of now. 1/2 way through we transferred onto another car, but had to wait in a phone booth because by this time it was pouring.
But, on our way the streetcar driver announced that it would be turning shortly and we would all have to get out and wait in the rain! Thank goodness I had packed an umbrella in my purse, but it didn’t do much good. We waited and waited, finally one drove up, and turned early again. So we continued waiting. Eventually one came and we made our way back to the Danforth Station where we ran and caught a bus which took us back to the car-lot church where the Subaru waiting for us.
Back to Rochester we go: We began to make our way out of Toronto, stopped for gas and some pizza that Jeff loved from Mama’s Pizza (I’m still partial to Tom’s in NYC, but it was great anyway).
To bid us goodbye to this great city, we watched a huge bolt of lightning strike the CN tower. I had never seen anything struck by lightning before, so it was a neat sight. We had flashes of incredible lightning to guide us across the border and all the way home. What a day!
I just have to say that my favorite part of everything was just seeing this place where Jeff had spent such a significant part of his life, seeing how much the people loved him, and seeing him feel at home in such a big city. I feel like I know a part of him that I didn’t before. It’s great. It was a delightful day, and again, the highlight of my summer. I can’t wait to get back!
Yes, Rochester. When did that come into the mix? Well, while I was in Atlanta working for Twelve Timbers. Jeff’s state schedule went more like this: Nashville, Erie (Pennsylvania), Rochester. I spent my time in Utah while Jeff was in Erie for 2 weeks… there’s so much more to this story, but it’s not worth all the explanation. Here are some important things I learned/did in my travels across the country.
1. How to change a flat tire. At 2 AM I arrived at SLC International Airport with Sheralyn Bagley and we found a flat tire. After a series of events in the wonderful non-humid Utah air we successfully changed the tire by ourselves, (with a little help from a great graveyard parking lot worker) and we arrived home at 7:00 AM after driving through the night on our doughnut tire.
2. Better use of Skymiles. Rather than change your flight a few times over – and pay through the nose (hilarious Comcast commercial by the way) just cancel your flight and buy one with Skymiles. You can choose multiple destinations which got me from Atlanta to Utah, and then back to Nashville on one ticket. Thanks to Lenita Thompson.
3. Use your contacts. (Hello Potential Employers) Since I’m coming back to Salt Lake in about 3 weeks, I’ve been on the job prowl for the past few weeks – and working on my resume and website (haileydel.com) for weeks before that. Thanks to Jeff Sheets – the ultimate contact – I have made some good inroads at some great Salt Lake agencies.
4. Nothing beats Lake Powell. I made it home in time to go on the yearly Powell trip with my family and the Bagleys. It will forever be my favorite vacation. Even though it would have been 1000’s of times better if Jeff could have been there, and sometimes I was anxious to get back because that meant I was closer to seeing him, I still loved the trip. Oh, and wakeboarding is like riding a bike, I’m still not too bad.
5. “I am a true adult.” Or so my mom says now that I have driven across the country all alone. I made the 13 hour drive from Nashville to Rochester all by myself. I did it in two days, and am quite proud of myself. I usually can hardly drive a few hours without getting tired, but I barely blinked the whole time.
6. Man’s best friend. I really bonded with our family dog Nixie while at home. I slept downstairs in Houston’s room (since Jeff and I now have all of my furniture) and it gets lonely down there! For my last few nights at home, Nixie shared the bed with me, and made me feel safe downstairs. It’s funny how when they are around it’s almost the same as having another person with you.
7. 22 days is a long time. That was my total time spent away from Jeff. My mom and dad in their whole married life have never spent that much time apart, and I hope we never have to do it again. It’s funny how used I am to sleeping next to him, and so frustrating when I can’t take care of him. When I told Jeff that I was so excited to cook for him when I got back, he said, “Are you my wife?” Ha ha, I’m liking cooking more and more – which brings me to. . .
8. Gas vs. Electric. There is a difference between electric and gas ovens – well, of course! I should have known. I made homemade BBQ Chicken Pizzas for my family (dough and everything) while I was home, but they didn’t quite cook the same as our Nashville oven.
9. Love a good book. I haven’t read nearly as much as I should have lately. I read Kite Runner while I was home and now have started into Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms. I highly recommend Kite Runner, and so far, A Farewell to Arms too.
10. Billy, maybe it wasn’t meant to be. Or maybe it was. My good friend Billy Reano (great blogger, breano.blogspot.com) has been yearning to come to my hometown Richfield the whole 2 years we spent in the Ad program at BYU, but alas we graduated and it never happened. Not because I didn’t want to, but if you ever went through the Ad program/creative track, you’d understand. So, when we moved to Nashville, 1 hour from Billy’s hometown, it seemed that we’d see his home before he ever saw ours. As I was home, and Jeff already in PA, Billy told me his vacation dates to come home, but of course – here I am in Rochester. Sorry again Billy.
Well, that’s pretty much it for now. 10 is a good place to stop. Wow! I learned a lot more than I thought… Ha! Well, I’m back in Rochester refreshed and ready to brave the last few weeks of the summer and the long drive home. But, I have a great Manhattan-esque apartment to look forward to in downtown Salt Lake, a trip to Hawaii, Jeff has school, and crossing my fingers, a great job at a Salt Lake agency.
Hello world! Here I am, finally, writing from Nashville. Since my last blogging splurge there’s lots to update on. We’ll see what I can do. I’ll categorize this to help you read it better, and if you don’t want to read it all, you’ll get the jist.
Our trip here was great – we did it in two days, and it wasn’t bad at all. I was expecting to hate the car by the end, but nope. People’s accents vary here. Sometimes I can hardly understand what’s being said, and other times it’s like I’m talking to someone in Utah. You never really realize what a desert Utah is until you are somewhere that’s not. Nashville is one of the greenest places I’ve been, and it’s gorgeous! Even the ghetto parts of town that I’ve seen, still have a charm to them because it’s so green. We live in an extra pretty place too.
To get to our apartments you have to drive across a dam on the edge of Percy Priest Lake. I’m always bugged when we are driving by on a beautiful day because the water is perfect glass and no one is wakeboarding – just fishing. Hopefully that’s just because it’s not super hot yet. I tried to get my parents to drive the boat out, but after they drove my Honda Civic out, I wouldn’t have them do that again. Yes, they are such nice parents. They drove my car out a few days after we left and I kept driving with them to Louisville (my mom’s birthplace randomly enough) where they did a wholesale show for their business.
While I was there my mom and I had a few hours to shop. First, we went to a huge antique mall – where I bought this old, vintage suitcase. Isn’t it cool? Anyway, I’m going to keep looking for old suitcases throughout the summer so I can have a little collection to stack in our apartment when we get home. They have such a charm to them. Plus, the antique stores out here are so much neater than in Utah. I guess people have lived in the East just a little bit longer than they have in the West, and hence – they have neater older stuff.
The second store we went to was probably the coolest store I have been to in my life – seriously. It was called Architechtural Salvage something… Anyway, all this store consisted of were old doors, mantles, windows, ballisters, railings, and anything else you can think of from old buildings. There were some of the neatest things. That had everything down to the hardware from wherever these old buildings were. I always tell Jeff that I want to buy and old house and restore it, rather than build a new house (if and when we ever get to that point). But, Jeff isn’t quite down with that idea, so I’ll compromise by taking a trip back to Louisville and shipping out neat doors, and a unique mantle and a bunch of different ballisters. Wouldn’t it be so neat to have a whole railing on the side of your stairs made out of different antique ballisters? I should have taken pictures. They also had anything from the outdoors too, like huge iron gates from old southern mansions, and small iron fences. It was so neat. Sorry, most of this probably isn’t as interesting to you as it is to me. Read about my obsession with HGTV, and it will make more sense. I have this secret ambition to someday have my own interior design firm…someday.
QUILTING, COOKING, & WORKING:
Anyway, back to life now. Jeff’s just been working since we got here, and I work part-time. All I do is secretarial stuff a few times a week, so I have lots of free time on my hands – which is something I am NOT used to. I can’t tell you how relieved I felt after graduation. I had never felt that way before – no stress, no pressure. It’s an amazing feeling. Anyway, so I finally have time to do things I’ve wanted to forever. Like… learn how to quilt. My grandma Holt gave me a sewing machine for my High School graduation, and for my college graduation equipped me with everything I need to being quilting. And, I haven’t wasted any time. Here are pictures of my finished product – not too bad, right?
Jeff and I went to Richfield last night, for just a short trip. We put new tires on the Civ, which was pretty much our whole reason for going. I realized that most people don’t really know a whole lot about where I’m from. So, that’s what this post is for. Jeff and I met here, in Richfield, UT in third grade in Ashman Elementary – our mascot was the Eagles (see the purple star). Jeff moved before high school. I went to High School in Richfield (the red star). I danced on the Azurette drill team for three years and then was a proud RHS cheerleader my senior year. Jeff played Football and Tennis, and was president of the Chess club. We always stayed in touch be reunited for good after Jeff’s mission to Toronto.
Now, a little more about Richfield. Just to give you a better of the idea of the size, Richfield has one McDonalds, 4 stoplights (2 are more recent), our high school is 2A, and I had about 140 people in my graduating class. Some of our recent developments include a Wal-Mart, Home Depot, a Rice King Chinese buffet, and a couple new hotels. Oh, FYI, Pepperbellys is my dad’s Mexican/American restaurant. My little brother and I washed dishes there when we were little – we had a good time.
I have to admit that most of the time growing up in Richfield, having moved there when I was 9 from Sandy, Ut, I kind of grew up just wanting to leave. And, I did – if only to Provo. (Provo is about two hours north of Richfield.) But, this last summer when I came back from a summer in NYC I found a new love for this sweet place. It smallness for once seemed beautiful, instead of annoying. So, that’s my personal shout out to the hometown.
Okay everyone, above where you are reading right now over by the “Home” and “About” link. You will then see a link called “Hailey’s Thoughts.” So, I like updating all about the happenings in our lives, etc., but let’s be honest, it gets a little boring after a while. One of my favorite blogs to read is Billy Reano’s – Like Seinfeld, it is a blog about NOTHING, but is so FUNNY! If you haven’t visited it yet, you need to. (He’s in my blogroll.) Anyway, on the “Hailey’s Thought’s” page, I’ll talk about things that matter to me, and that I care about, that I think are interesting/inspiring/exciting, etc. – which a lot of other people may not think are so interesting/inspiring/exciting. Anyway, that’s my announcement for now! Are you impressed at my recent commitment to blogging? I am!
So, Jeff and I spent this weekend in Moab at a Platinum company retreat. We went bowling, jeeping, ate good food, stayed in a gorgeous lodge, heard from a great speaker – Matt Townsend, – and played bunko. We had a great time all for $0 – thanks to Platinum! I have to say that the highlight of the trip was Jeeping. Jeff and I had never been before, so it was a new experience. I was beyond scared as our pea-green Jeep Wrangler started on the trail “Hell’s Revenge” and to each side of the slickrock we were driving up was at least a 40 foot drop off that just kept getting taller. It didn’t help that our first-time driver, Adam Cox, said within the first :30 seconds of our drive, “I am so petrified, right now.” I wish you could hear him say it. But, off we were.
Our jeep was the daily dose of the excursion’s excitement. To say the least, we came pretty close to quite a bad fall that would have left us “bloodied” if not dead. We (Adam, Tyrel, Jeff & I) were following right along, and decided to go up a little cliff, about 6 feet tall, but pretty steep. We started up, and from the beginning I was nervous. As we came closer to pushing over, we were struggling, so our driver pushed the gas, more and more, turned the wheel, so we started bunny hopping sideways across the cliff.
At this point I was just closing my eyes, holding on to Jeff, waiting for it to be over. Tyrel was yelling, “STOP, STOP, STOP!” I looked out the right window to see the ground only inches away. Eventually, Adam stopped, and our jeep teetered back to stability as everyone ran towards us to help it stabilize. All of that happened within a matter of seconds… and as we rolled back I was so relieved. I was especially relieved when I realized that only 20 feet behind us was a 75 foot drop-off, and had we rolled, well, yeah… Chance, one of the Platinum owner’s who has jeeped his whole life validated the critical situation, and then Jared, another owner, walked over to Jeff and I later to see what “death” and “fear” looked like, ha! It was all a blur to me, thank goodness. We went on the rest of the day driving away, but a little more cautious from then on. It was more fun to just watch all of the other crazy boys, and not be the one inside the jeep.
By the end of the day we were exhausted, had some extra charges when we returned our jeep to the rental place (broken axle, dented bumper, to name a few…) But I loved the whole “Jeepin'” experience. Jeff and I spent Saturday in trainings which were very worthwhile, and then we made it home by 9:30 Saturday night. I came back refreshed, and Jeff I think is more motivated than ever to sell. Tonight I realized that we have less than a month before we leave for Nashville! Wow – where did that come from? I’m fine it came so fast, because I’m excited! Until then – go do something new and that scares you! Hopefully you’ll feel as rejuvenated as I did!
Hello world. After an obvious failure of my new years resolution to blog, I’m trying again. I went up to the state capitol yesterday (three days before the legislative session is over) to tag along with Jeff, and see exactly what he does. I had blast. There was so much energy “on the hill.” I met Jeff’s representative, Mike Noel on “the floor” while bills were being debated. After a bill passes, representatives took different turns introducing important people who were visiting that day, like the new President of UVU, the longest serving legislator in Utah history, and the Bonneville 5th grade class sitting in the gallery. Amidst these introductions, Representative Noel introduced me as well, ha! I was surprised/embarrassed. It was fun though. Come to find out, last night a general reminder email was sent out to all of the representatives that only immediate family and friends are allowed on the floor. Ha! Too funny. But, I had a good time, and it was just nice to see Jeff in the middle of the day – that’s been a rarity the past few weeks. Of course, everyone loves Jeff, and I can already see his political career taking shape. It will be very passionate, and very conservative. I guess there’s a tradition the last night of the legislature that they stay on the floor until midnight – which I think is cool. I may even drive back up to Salt Lake to enjoy the party, or maybe I’ll stay home and try to get a lot finished with Jeff gone. I think I prefer the earlier, carefree, hang out rather than the driven, accomplish a lot, no break evening. What do you think?