The Best Surprise + Graduation

I had the best surprise of my life on Wednesday evening…

(note: all the non-blurry photos were taken by my incredibly talented Uncle!)

J and I had finished the journey back to Provo from Sandpoint that afternoon after we stayed the night with the Angells in Idaho Falls. We unloaded Emerson (J’s Subaru), I got ready while J cleaned and vacuumed, and Grandma made us a sandwich. This is an important detail, which you would agree with if you have ever eaten a sandwich made by Grandma. Then J dropped me off at the Frontrunner station and I was off north again to Salt Lake in order to present our final work to the church on locating and analyzing microfinance institutions! Here we are awaiting the beginning of the meeting.

That being done, we headed back on the train and I was looking forward to an evening of designing invitations for some friends.

The evening wore on, and Boricua asked if we could talk in half-an-hour. I, of course, was excited to talk to him, but the half-an-hour came and went! I decided he must have fallen asleep and called Grandma and Grandpa over so we could say prayer and go to bed. After prayer, Grandpa said he was going to keep working on indexing, which I thought was super weird because he always goes in to get his PJs on, and Grandma just kept fiddling around. J called and said she had found my iPhone charger and would bring it by, so I stayed up just a bit longer. When she rang the doorbell, I ran to get it, and when I opened it, there was Boricua! I couldn’t believe it was real.

The next morning I had to double check it all wasn’t a dream, and sure enough, here he was for my graduation!

So many weeks of counting down the days until I saw him, and the whole time my count was off. What a sweetie. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around how such an awesome guy fell in love with me.

The first day of graduation was for the whole university, and to be honest it was a little slow. I felt like cattle.

It was awesome though to be there with my cousin A, Uncle S, Grandma and Grandpa, and Nona and J. Now I finally understood why Grandma was so insistent that I walk at graduation - she knew that Boricua was flying in!


One of my favorite parts of graduation was when we got to clap for the people who have helped us get through college -  I definitely never would have made it if not for my family, and especially my grandparents! I have loved being so close to them and to my aunt, uncle, and cousin. I don’t know what I will do when someone’s birthday comes around and we have no Old Spaghetti Factory to go to, and no Texas sheet cake at Grandma and Grandpa’s!




Friday was the graduation ceremony done by individual departments. Being an International Relations major, I celebrated with the Kennedy Center. It was weird, because although that major is a combination of economics, political science, and a language, we did not get to graduate with fellow economics and political science majors, because they are in the school of family and social sciences.


One girl who did graduate with me was actually able to graduate earlier because she convinced the advisors to let her double major in econ and poli sci instead of completing international relations - that was actually faster… Needless to say, I am very happy to have finished my undergraduate degree.


At the Kennedy Center graduation we saw performances by Living Legends, which was really cool in such a stuffy setting! :)


The speakers were great, one was our valedictorian and the other an alumnus who has done a lot of amazing things. He gave me a lot of hope, both times he graduated (undergrad and grad) it was during a financial crisis.

Professor Stiles, my capstone professor, presented the international relations degrees and my Bishop happened to be the Director of the Kennedy Center, Jeff Ringer, who gave me my diploma. I most loved seeing Boricua there when I got off the stage - We want to be a team for good in this world.

 I loved the optimism that was felt throughout this set of graduation exercises, and I feel so grateful to have been able to study at a university surrounded by students and professors who really do believe we can be a force for good in the world - I feel prepared not to just get a job and fend for myself and my family, but to help others who haven’t had the same opportunities.

It takes people longer to graduate at BYU with a mission in between, and it was really cool to be graduating with my friend T who took introduction to international relations with Valerie Hudson with me in our first semester, Fall of 2008. He on a mission to India, me to Argentina, and when we were back we found ourselves in an excellent course on economic development taught by Professor Bogach. I went on an internship to Puerto Rico, he to D.C., and we found ourselves once again in the same class - our culminating capstone on international cooperation. Two theses later, there we were, in Spring of 2014, graduating. I am so happy for T as he heads to law school in Arizona, and excited to see where life takes Boricua and I as we get married and live in Puerto Rico. Hopefully working and grad school in D.C. are in the near future!

I’m excited to go out and do this, but I will miss BYU’s pristine campus, beautiful buildings like the JFSB and the Maeser, and lectures that challenge my perception. I will miss a campus full of clean and happy people, weekly WomanStats meetings, and walking in the shadow of the Wasatch front. I’ll miss skiing with J, running with E, and learning about Spanish linguistics. I already miss going to indie concerts in Salt Lake, weekend trips to Moab, and preparing for the Hunger Banquet with my friends in Students for International Development. I won’t miss the weeks of agony preparing for econ finals or the days on STATA working on another research project. I especially won’t miss having more books to read than there are hours in the day, and wanting to read them but not having time! But that’s about it. I’ll miss internships with the Ballard Center and being surrounded by fellow idealists, and I’ll miss the feeling at the beginning of a semester when you look at your schedule and can’t believe what you get to learn in the next few months! I am so grateful to have been able to study here.


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