*I say "partially," because apparently there is a whole additional landmass connected to Wisconsin that claims it is Michigan as well, which I never realized till...*cough*...well, let's not get off topic, here...
My first academic year at University of Michigan has officially come to a close. What a fabulous year it has been! Living in a new place surrounded by new people has afforded me a lot of new and "first" opportunities. Here is a quick recap of a few of them, in some semblance of chronological order...
My first trip to a farmer's market.
My first firefly sightings! Pretty much the strangest, most phenomenally awesome little bugs on the planet.
My first Midwest Autumn. We may not have mountains, but the trees are incredibly gorgeous! The picture below is the view we have looking out the windows of the music building.
My first football game(s)! (Michigan vs. Purdue and Michigan vs. Ohio State)
Our stadium isn't called "The Big House" for no reason...it seats 109,901. To put this into perspective--the entire population of Ann Arbor is approximately 114,000. Below is a picture of people rushing the field after we won the Ohio State game--apparently we're big rivals or something? ;)
My first sushi. (me no like)
My first U of M parking ticket. Boooooo. I parked in visitor parking for 6 hours instead of 2, so I guess it was my own fault...
My first Thanksgiving away from home, which resulted in my first homemade cherry-cream pie and first homemade dinner rolls. My family sent me a package full of homemade goodies and adorable handmade cards from my siblings--I'll admit, it made me cry a little bit. I love living here in Michigan, but I also miss my family a lot.
On Thanksgiving Day, I got together with some fantastic friends and we had a delectable Thanksgiving meal. During the interim between dinner and dessert, we played some rather competitive Bingo, with white-elephant gifts as prizes. I won the first round's prize, which was a $15 Cold Stone gift card. The catch? It only had $2.47 left on it...
My first trip to the Detroit temple (which is actually in Bloomfield Hills). It is tiny compared to some of the temples in Utah--square footage of 10,700 compared to Salt Lake's 253,000.
My first Kitchen-Aid mixer! Santa loves me very, very much. :) And he knew the mixer would be a little bulky to carry back from Utah on a plane, so his elves sent it right to Ann Arbor.
My first (and hopefully last) car crash (which happened on my birthday, no less). In summary, black ice + freeway median = bad. Luckily, I was fine, and after two weeks at the body shop and a couple thousand dollars, my car was fine, too. (*gulp*...not looking forward to my next insurance bill)
My first Michigan winter. I survived. Haha. Ha. Let's be honest--there was only one day the entire "winter" that I actually regretted wearing flip flops, and that was just because of the biting wind. Maybe next year, Michigan, maybe next year.
My first Spring Break (at the university level, anyway). As much as we try at BYU to console ourselves about not having a Spring Break with the fact that we get out of school a week earlier than everyone else, now that I've lived both sides of it, I can definitely say that Spring Break wins, hands down. This year, my Spring Break happened to coincide perfectly with my brother returning from his mission. I got to fly to Utah and be at the airport with the rest of the family to welcome him home. Here's a picture of him with my very happy mother. :)
My first trip to New York City! I absolutely LOVE NYC. So full of energy and excitement and artistry, with so much juxtaposition of old and new.
My first road trip through Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Ohio has some pretty sweet rest stops. (No, I'm actually not joking.) And Pennsylvania is gorgeous!
My first limousine ride. One of the recent U of M doctoral grads was feeling like a high roller one night, so he rented a limo for us all to ride to dinner in style.
My first trip to the NYC temple (which I happened upon completely by accident...the temple really is right smack in the middle of the city, next to a dance studio and across the street from Lincoln Center!).
My first nearly $25 burger (and it was the size of a happy meal burger...which means every bite cost about 2 dollars. I console myself with the reminder that I ate it at a diner across from Carnegie Hall). Lesson: Food in New York is expensive.
My first taxi ride(s). If you so much as raise your water bottle to your mouth, three taxis will pull over thinking you just hailed them...
My first trip to Juilliard, where I not only attended class, but made my performance debut!
My first trip to Times Square.
My first walk through Central Park. Yep, it's huge.
My first time inside an Apple store. (This is the one you enter through the glass cube and then go underground.)
My first time shopping for diamonds at Tiffany's. (Okay, so I wasn't shopping with intent to buy...)
My first time visiting MOMA (Museum of Modern Art). I saw works by Monet, Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, Pollock, and everything in between.
My first tour of the Steinway factory. The picture below is of our tour guide (with the heaviest Brooklyn accent I will probably ever hear in my life...he told us to "deal with it," haha) explaining that one of the highest paid jobs in the factory is that of a "belly man," who puts the soundboards into the pianos.
My first solo subway ride. One night, I had to head back from Manhattan to our hotel in Queens on my own, so I got a map and figured out which lines I would need to take. I then put the map in my pocket so as not to look too much like a lone tourist, and before I knew it, tourists were asking me for directions. I was rather proud of myself for passing as a New Yorker.
And most recently, back in Michigan...
My first tornado warning! I was at my lesson when the tornado sirens started sounding. At first, we thought it was just a vocalist warming up across the hall... When we realized the sirens were real, however, I made my way home as quickly as possible (maybe not the smartest thing to do in hindsight?). At first, everything outside was deathly still and silent except for a weird, far-away roaring-wind kind of sound. The light outside had a strange, greenish tint to it. By the time I got off the bus and was nearing my apartment, however, the weather couldn't have been more different--rain dumping from the dark storm clouds (I took my flip flops off and basically waded home), thunder and lightning louder and starker than I've ever experienced, and the river next to my apartment completely flooding. The tornado ended up touching down in Dexter, about ten miles away from where I live.
And there you have it. I can't say this has been my first time neglecting my poor blog...nor probably will it be my last...in a nutshell, though, life is beautiful!!!