Moving to Pullman, WA

20 hours of driving in two days is no fun, unless it’s in a dragster. This past week I, along with Chris, moved my entire life from Orange, California to Pullman, Washington. Last weekend Chris and I (okay, mostly Chris…) loaded the gorgeous trailer with my belongings in about five hours. It was hot and sticky in California and made the physical labor just no fun. Luckily I had done most of the packing before Chris arrived making our (okay, his…) job easier. The trailer held all my stuff perfectly with room to spare. However, it was significantly heavier than when loaded with the car. We had to do some rearranging to make sure the weight was balanced properly. Though overall, the trailer took on the job with grace. Chris also made a great decision with the truck he purchased to tow the trailer with. Anything less powerful and it wouldn’t have been able to pull the weighed down trailer.

On Monday morning we set out on our long drive to the Northwest. Our goal for the firstimg_3533-web-edit.jpg day was a 10 hour drive to Winnemucca, Nevada. Chris started our before me, as I had a few errands to run before I left town, and made great time in the trailer. It was not until late in the afternoon that I finally caught up with him and the trailer. The first photo I took during our drive on the first day. I had a close call or two while trying to take this picture, but it turned out great. I guess my driving skills came in handy there. Hopefully they hold up on the strip. We then were stuck in some construction in Nevada, a couple of hours from our hotel. Luckily it was another great photo opportunity. If you look closely at the second photo, you can see my “Crew Chief” at the wheel! We finally made it to Winnemucca and I have never been so exhausted in my life. The morning wake up call came way too soon and my rear end was not pleased about another 10 hour day of driving. The second day was just as long, except this drive consisted of a windy, narrow road through Rattlesnake Pass. Our handy-dandy GPS’s had it out for us and took us through quite a ridiculous drive. Over the two day period I drove through California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Washington. Crazy drive, huh? The final leg of our trip was through Rattlesnake and proved to be a challenge for Chris and the heavy trailer. However, we both made it to Pullman safe and sound.

Wednesday we moved everything into the apartment. And when I say “we” I mean Chris,img_3534-web-edit.jpg Stephen (my brother) and I watched the two college basketball players from the University of Idaho carry my stuff up three flights of stairs. Chris and I were both terrified of the thought of the third story apartment and decided to call a moving company to hire two helpers. The men who showed up were both close to 7’ tall and could lift anything handed to them. They carried heavy boxes (that Chris couldn’t even slide across the floor) up three stories like they were feathers. They unloaded the entire trailer in an hour and forty-five minutes. Chris and I were just dumbfounded. I have decided that I will never again move without movers. It made a painful situation significantly less unbearable. Thursday Chris headed home to Woodinville and Deb, my mom, joined me in Pullman for the decorating portion of the adventure. We spent Thursday through Sunday putting the apartment together. It ended up looking great and I am excited to have a new place to live!

I am currently in my parents’ house in Woodinville, where I will spent the next two months. It’s always good to come home for a while. Friday Chris and I will be heading out to Bremerton Raceways for a Test and Tune. Stay tuned for an update!

Goodbyes

There is nothing harder than saying ‘goodbye’ to the people that mean to the most to you.img_3513-web-edit.jpg The weekend marks the end of the my time in California. Not only have these past four years been about college, but they have been about friends, experiences, and overcoming obstacles. I have learned more than I could ever put into words and the people I have met have forever changed me.

As I have previously mentioned, Chapman was an experience of a lifetime. I loved every moment of the classes I took, the friends I made and the leadership positions I took on. The professors and faculty at Chapman are caring and supportive. I feel prepared to enter the ‘real world’ with my degree in hand. Thank you to everyone at Chapman that took a part in making me who I am today.

Although many of you may have plenty of negative affirmations associated with sororitiesimg_0567-web-edit.jpg and fraternities, I truly believe that my experience in Phi Sigma Sigma offered me opportunities unlike any other. The sorority offered me a chance to meet an array of people so diverse, passionate and intelligent. Getting along with 100 people so different than you is a difficult feat and I believe that it has made me appreciate who I am and who I surround myself with. The leadership positions that are accessible to members gave me a once in a lifetime opportunity to take hold of the leader I always knew I could be. Being president was not easy, I would never say it was. In fact, I believe that experience was the toughest obstacle (other than my mother’s cancer diagnosis, of course) I have yet to experience. However, as many say, “What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger;” and I wholeheartedly believe that. I graduated from the sorority with more life experience than Iimg_3401-web-edit.jpg ever could have imagined when I signed my bid card in the fall of 2004. Thank you Phi Sig for everything that you have given me.

My friends have made this time in California just as memorable as any other experience. I cannot express how amazing my friends are. They are my strength in times of need and my humor in times of happiness. I want to offer a special ‘thank you’ to Ashley, Becky, AJ, KR, Kara, Anz, and Rachel. You have changed my life and offered me inspiration for my future. I love you all and will miss you dearly.

Finally, my time at Temple Beth El has made such a large impact on my life. This is aimg_3469-web-edit.jpg special preschool that is unlike any other. The teachers are so dedicated, the parents are so supportive, and the children are the most joyful part of my day. I always knew I wanted to work with children, but these children are awe-inspiring. Not only are they intelligent, they are well-mannered, caring, and overwhelming passionate in their love for each other. Throughout my year at TBE, I have worked with many students with special needs and I cannot tell you how they have changed my view on life. Their unquestionable ability to accept anyone and everyone and their diligence in overcoming obstacles that they neverimg_3515-web-edit.jpg asked for are enough to inspire me to be a better person. Along with these students, the rest of my class at TBE have loved me unconditionally and probably taught me more than they could ever know. A three-year-old has a passion for life and laughter that can mend any wound. These children will forever be in my heart. Jodi and Dani, don’t think I forgot about you. The two of you keep me grounded and remind me daily how much I have to be thankful for. You are both the teachers that I inspire to be. Your love for education, as well as the children is moving. Thank you for everything you do and for putting up me with me all this time!

California is a time and place in my life that I will remember forever. Thank you for everything that has been a part of this time, you mean to world to me.

Graduation

Saturday was the big day! I finally graduated with my BA in Psychology from Chapman University. I have worked hard for four long years for this moment and I cannot believecimg2330-web-edit.jpg that it finally came. I have also spent the past two years compiling research for my thesis on adolescent bullying and aggression. The research I found was intriguing and I ended up with quite a work of art. Hopefully others, other than my father, will find the 46 pages of my thesis to be just as interesting. I intend to continue in this area of research at WSU in the fall in the Human Development department.

My parents, brothers, grandparents, and uncle flew in for the weekend of celebration. Unfortunately, I spent all of last week trying to complete the last of my academic work as an undergraduate. Swamped with five finals, a thesis and planning a grad party, I was a little overwhelmed. After I managed to complete everything, my family had arrived. We went out for a celebratory dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Irvine, my favorite restaurant. It was a great chance to catch up on our daily lives and talk politics – a must for a Williams family gathering. After a night of wonderful food and great company, it was early to bed for me. The 5am wake up call for graduation came way too fast. img_0685-web-edit.jpgBy the time the entire family was seated, I was checked in and an astounding amount of pictures were taken, the weather had caught up with us. At 8am, right before the ceremony was supposed to start, the temperature was nearing 85 degrees. The moment was so special and except for the extreme heat and the black robe, I enjoyed it very much! Spending time with my friends in the Psychology section and making that all-important walk across the stage were moments I will cherish forever. The ceremony lasted about 2 and a half hours. At the end of the ceremony, the temperature had risen to unbelievable heights. My family voted on clean clothes and a shower for all.

The Williams Family, fresh and clean, met up with my and two of my good friends at myimg_3439-web-edit.jpg grad party in Irvine. Ashley and Rachel, two of my best friends from college, joined me in throwing a grad party in celebration of our commencement. This party was so much fun and a great opportunity to spend time with the people who mean the most to us. There was great food (thanks Moose!), a champagne toast from our parents, and all of our close friends. What more could you ask for? After our amazing party and some goodbyes to my grandparents and my uncle, I was ready to collapse. That was by far the most exhausting day I have had in a long time. I have never slept to soundly in my entire life. The next day, my parents and brothers met me at Hof’s Hut, our breakfast location of choice, for a delicious meal. We then lounged around my apartment until it was time for their flight. I could not have asked for a better weekend with my family. It was such a special moment for me and I am so thankful to everyone that contributed! Finally, I owe a huge thank you to my parents who havecimg2355-web-edit.jpg supported emotionally and academically. I cannot tell you how many papers my dad has edited or how long he spent reviewing the math section of the GRE with me. And my mom was there for every moment of frustration with professors, friends and co-workers. They not only supported me financially throughout my time at Chapman, they are my rock, my pillar and everything I need to be successful in life. Thanks mom and dad!

Now begins my new life. I am currently working at the preschool until school lets out on June 13th. However, I only work three days a week because of my previous school schedule. That allows more than enough time to relax from my stressful semester, tie up lose ends and pack up my entire apartment. After June 13th, Chris, my brother and I will pile all of my belongings into the racing trailer (all finished by then!) and head to Pullman, Washington! A couple of days will be spent setting up my new life in the Pacific Northwest. Once everything is together, I will head back to Woodinville (only a 5 hour drive…) to live at home for the summer. Then I can begin my racing! Chris and I have many test and tunes, and hopefully a few races planned for the summer. Stay tuned for racing updates!