Ever want to read my life story in a nutshell? No? Well, you're gonna anyway. At the end of March we will be moving from Cincinnati to Gibert, AZ (suburb of Phoenix). We have lived in the Midwest for about 5 and a half years now. So I guess it is time for me to reflect this chapter on my life. Well I guess maybe I should reflect on all chapters thus far. I tend to define my chapters by the places I've lived. Here we go...
Spokane/Coeur d'Alene: I was born there, I grew up there. When people find out where I'm from, they generally think I'm crazy for ever leaving. I had it all. Lakes, trails, camping, forests, mountains, skiing, and more lakes. Growing up I always thought I would never leave the PNW. I knew I would leave CdA, only to go to maybe Seattle or Portland. I was oblivious to the rest of the world, but I wanted to see and do it all. I still miss a lot of people from there. Although, in high school I was voted most likely to leave and never come back. So far so good. As much as I loved the natural beauty of my home, I felt there was an invisible ceiling for me there that I needed to break through. On the night of my graduation, I was at the senior party until about 5:30am. I went home then caught a plane to Boise at 7:10am so I could start classes at 9am at Boise State University.
Boise (round 1): My year in Boise was a total waste of productivity, but I had a good time! After getting straight A's my summer semester, I pretty much flunked the next two semesters. I saw a lot of concerts. Met the Toadies, Sugar Ray, and Radiohead (twice). Like I said, I didn't get much done, but I made some lifelong friends in Paul Dickinson and Jen and Tac Anderson. It was time to get my life in order, time to go on a mission
Hamburg, Germany (and surrounding cities): This is where I went on my LDS mission. I have to admit, in the beginning, I approached it too much as an adventure than a mission. That quickly changed. I learned about religious and ethnic intolerance directed not only at myself, but those that I knew and taught. I became more sensitive to other peoples' perspectives and backgrounds. My eyes were opened to the hardships of individuals displaced because of civil war, genocide, and terrorism seeking political asylum from Africa and former Eastern Bloc countries. I learned a great deal about my own beliefs from an unexpected source: Muslims. I fell totally in love with the German people. They still carry a lot of emotional baggage from WWII, because the rest of Europe and the World won't let them live it down. They are a remarkably introspective people open to candid discussion. There is less of sense of avarice and more community connection there. I still maintain contact with my beloved German family Brigitte and Cloudy. Being a naive kid from N. Idaho, my mission changed every single aspect of my life including spiritual, philosophical, political, etc. My Heavenly Father knew that I needed to be there.
Boise (round 2): I started classes 2 days after I got back from Germany. I was very awkward (was I ever not) for the first several months. All sense of style was lost after wearing a suit for 2 years. I lived with my sister Ev during that time. However, it didn't take long for me to find the most special person of my life, Amber. We met in January of '99. We met in Provo, UT when I went with Ev to visit her friend Meredith (Mega-deth!). Meredith and Amber were roommates. It was a right time right place moment. I seriously didn't think I had a chance. Amber is much more refined and social than I am. Apparently, Amber saw that I had sweet guitar chops and we began a relationship. Eight months later we were married and she moved to Boise where I was still going to school.
At BSU my goal was to get into med school, but Paul turned me onto Nursing Anesthesia, because his dad was a Nurse Anesthetist. However, I was not feeling the motivation at BSU and Amber wanted to be closer to her family in Utah. I made a deal that I would only go if I was able to transfer to the University of Utah. BYU and the other schools didn't have a med school or their own hospital, so I felt they were useless. Luckily I was accepted to the U of U and off we went.
Utah: Can't say I really wanted to live in Utah, even being that I'm Mormon. Too homogeneous. However, transferring to the U of U was the best academic decision I ever made. It really provided the motivation, support, and resources I needed to advance. I scrapped the whole doctor bit after Chelsea was born in 2001. I wasn't willing to sacrifice time with her to stroke my ego. Instead I focused on what I needed to do to pursue my Master's to become a Nurse Anesthetist. That way, I get more time with Chelsea and get to essentially do what an Anesthesiologist does (of course for less pay, but I'm not complaining about how I'm compensated). During this time, we were living in Amber's parents basement. They were so tolerant of me and very supportive. Most in-laws wouldn't have put up with a wannabe-punker trying to make good like they did. We owe them big time. In 2003, I completed my Bachelor's in Nursing and Lauren was born that year. Although, in order to get into Anesthesia school Amber and I figured a move to the east would be best because that is where the highest concentration of schools are (particularly PA). So, as a whim, shot-in-the-dark, whatever you call it, we began looking to Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh: We moved there so I could work in an ICU which is requirement before anesthesia school. I could have done that anywhere in the country, but why Pittsburgh. Well, the first 2 months we were beginning to wonder. We just knew at the time it felt like the right thing to do. And it was. We ended up loving that city more that we ever could imagine. For the first time as a couple, we were away from both of our families. So, it was a time of growing for us as a couple. And it was fun. I worked with some brilliant nurses and doctors. Our church ward was small and so much like a family. We still try to visit as often as we can. Pittsburgh has the qualities that I'd like to have: hardworking, non-pretentious, family oriented, and very hospitable. Love that town. However, we had to leave because I was accepted to the University of Cincinnati for anesthesia training. I miss driving through the Fort Pitt tunnel to see Pittsburgh before me (one of my favorite things in the world).
Cincinnati: On our move to Cincinnati, we expected it to be a lot like Pittsburgh. It wasn't. We were closer to Dixie and we learned that racism still festers. Cincinnati has its history of it. Also, we weren't as welcomed here as we were in Pittsburgh. So, I just stuck my nose into my studies. Eventually, we found a nice part of town to live in and things became more tolerable. We are surrounded my awesome family restaurants and shops and more diverse ideas and background. Amber was pregnant with Sydney when we moved to Hyde Park in Cincinnati. That way she was only 2 blocks from her favorite Thai restaurant. After graduating in 2007, I decided to stay a year here to work. I will really miss the job I have right now. I really like the people I work with and I get to spend a lot of time with the fam. Hopefully my new job in Gilbert will be just as fun. Living in Hyde Park, sure we could stay. However, it is time to go home to family. Especially since Amber's dad died about a year and a half ago. We miss him severely.
So this is an end to a chapter for us. I have always been surrounded by wonderful and supportive friends. For that I am grateful. I am a product of many places and experiences. Time to turn the page.