Thursday, May 10, 2012

Did done gradjiyated

The lack of blogging activity over the past three weeks hasn't been because of lack of activity.

The same week as my Daily Herald finale, BYU had its graduation ceremonies. Even though Erin and I both graduated in December, we wanted to participate in the ceremonies. We were in town anyway, staying in Provo while I worked and while we decided where we would be heading after leaving Provo. And, even though we already had our diplomas framed and everything, it was still nice to have some more formal recognition.

Both of our families came to Utah to see us and celebrate with us. On Thursday we had commencement, which was a gathering in the Marriott Center for all of the graduates. Elder Dallin H. Oaks spoke. Then on Friday we divided by colleges for our individual convocations. Even though Erin graduated with a major in family studies, she joined me at my communications convocation. I loved having her with me (and I'm sure our families appreciated not having to go to two convocations!).

The convocation was nice too. I thought the speeches by Ray Beckham, Briana Carr and Christine Clark were great and inspirational.

I just had two complaints about convocation:

1) When Erin's name was called, it was mispronounced. Even with phonetic instructions on the name card, it was messed up.

And, 2) there was no recognition of the existence of The Daily Universe. I'm not saying The Daily Universe is the end all be all of the BYU Department of Communications. But I never understood why the newspaper is treated like an afterthought when it should be treated like a flagship. I'm sure most of the parents and alumni there remember The Daily Universe from their BYU days, more than the Ad Lab or BYU Eleven News. (Maybe I'm just jealous that I didn't get to speak at convocation, haha.) Anyway, it brought up some of the emotions I had when I wrote this post back in January.

But, all in all, it was fun to be a part of graduation.

Thanks to Beth Mathews for taking pictures!

This one is a meme waiting to happen.
So that was just one big event in our family that week. We also moved out of our apartment, which was a bigger task than I imagined. We did it in stages, which was nice. We moved some big stuff a month earlier, most of our stuff when Erin's dad and brothers and their big muscles were in town, and the rest of it when it was time for the landlord to prepare the place for new tenants.

But at the same time, it seemed like it would never end. I was working, and so I didn't actually do a whole lot of packing or cleaning. Which makes Erin the hero for getting all of it done.

What we came up with for our plan to transition from Provo to Iowa City was to store most of our things at Erin's grandparents' place in West Valley. And then we stayed there for about a week and a half, while I worked at my other job making money right up until the bitter end of living in Utah, and while Erin waited for Jamie's homecoming from her mission in Peru.

Then, we drove from West Valley to Erin's family's house in Tomball, Texas. This will be "base camp" for a couple of months. We still haven't been to Iowa to look for a place to live, and it will be easier to do that from here, where we don't pay rent and where I don't have to ask for time off work. Plus, between Erin and I we have three siblings graduating from either high school or college, and it will be nice to not have to ask for three weekends off in June. I don't highly recommend unemployment, but it does make your schedule more flexible!

Like we did last summer, we accomplished yet another successful Despain Family Road Trip. (We will have photos on our family blog soon, but I'll post a few here.)

After going to church with our ward in Provo one last time, we spent Sunday night at a hotel in Page, AZ. We first tried getting there via Highway 14 from Cedar City, but it was closed for some reason. So we instead got there with Highways 59 and 389 through Tocquerville and Hurricane, and still got there before midnight (thanks to Arizona's opting out of Daylight Savings Time). We're pros.

From there we went to the Grand Canyon and spent the morning and early afternoon there.

We wanted to get to Four Corners Monument before it closed, but we weren't sure if we would make it. From the park we had more than 200 miles to go, not on a freeway, and only about 3 1/2 hours to do it. But due to my expert driving, we made it just in time. The lady at the gate even let us in for free since they were almost closed. It meant we didn't get any Navajo tacos or fry bread, but we did get some pictures of us standing in Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico at the same time. And we got to our motel in Cortez, CO, nice and early.

The next morning we went to Mesa Verde National Park. I was excited about this one, because finally I was taking the well-traveled Erin to somewhere she hadn't been before. For those of you who haven't been there or haven't heard of it, the national park preserves cliff dwellings built by the Anasazi Indians about 800 years ago. You can hike to some of them, but all the stairs and ladders would have been too much for Allisyn. So we went on a driving tour that had some good views.

We spent that night at a motel in Tucumcari, NM. Then, yesterday was spent just driving. We went through Amarillo, Fort Worth and Dallas on our way to Tomball.

In about a week, Erin and I will fly to Iowa and spend a few days there getting to know Iowa City, and we hope to find our new home while we're there. We plan on moving to Iowa with another road trip sometime in July.

And that's our summer so far.

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