I want to tell you a story.
But first, let me tell you a couple of things. First, God is Great. Great as in Expansive, All-Knowing, Inspiring, and above all, Loving. Second, He loves me very much. These two things I know without a shadow of a doubt.
After my study abroad in Nanjing, my heart was slightly broken. I had just left a place that had been the Dream and Home of my soul. I had left the people I love, and some of the best friends of my life. And I had returned to Provo, Utah. Not a bad place, but definitely not Home. I was far less than excited to be back.
I drove down to pick up my brother, Ben, from his apartment in Provo, see my old roommates, and to sign a contract for my own new apartment. I went to Heather Cove Condos and signed my forms, received a little silver key, and then went to venture into my new apartment. An apartment I knew nothing about. I didn't know my roommates names, let alone having ever met them. I didn't know how many roommates I would have. Or how many bedrooms there weree. Or how many bathrooms. So why did I sign a contract for an apartment I knew nothing about, you may ask?
In China I had NO IDEA where I was going to live when I returned to Provo. Thinking of leaving Nanjing was heartbreaking so I kind of tried not to think about it too much. I prayed every night, though, that Heavenly Father would help me to find an apartment with roommates who would love me, and who I would love. Help me to find a place where I could be happy, even if I could never be as happy as I was in China (since I thought I would NEVER be as happy as I was in China). When it got down to the crunch time, I explained to my brother via email my problem. He asked around in his ward, and discovered two different places I could live. I chose Heather Cove, and emailed the management and got signed up for apartment 15. A bit later Ben emailed me back explaining that the girls in 15 actually wanted their OTHER friend to move in, so could I trade spots with her? Sounds fine, right? I didn't know the girls in 15. I didn't know the girls in the other apartment. So why must I live in 15? I didn't know why, but I wanted to stick with 15. So I did. I told Ben I wouldn't trade, knowing that my decision might very well make my new roommate my new enemies. Sticky situation.
Flash forward to right after I signed my contract at Heather Cove Condos. I made Ben come with me to venture into my new apartment. The door was locked, so I let myself in (slightly awkward, spying into strangers' apartment). With some jiggling the door opened, and I walked into the kitchen. Decent, nothing spectacular. But in my heart I KNEW that this was where I was supposed to be. Like when you watch a sunset, or you lay down in your comfortable bed at night and feel absolutely content--that is the feeling I had in my heart. Home.
After a few weeks of Christmas break at my parents' house, I moved into my new apartment. I was pretty darn excited, since my first encounter with the apartment was so positive.
None of my roommates were back yet. In fact, they wouldn't be back for another 2-3 days. My roommate's (Emma) stuff filled the entire room--whole closet, whole dresser, under my bed, whole desk, so I only had the top of my bed to pile my stuff on. Meaning I had nowhere to sleep, so I slept on the couch. No-one in the ward was back yet so I spent New Year's Eve watching a movie with Ben. Then, at 11:30, I went home, since there was nothing worth waiting for. When I was getting ready for bed I got a gushing bloody nose that lasted for about 20 minutes, and that is how the New Year began. Not a very good omen. I was sure I was doomed. And I cried.
First time I met Maddie I was terrified. "I hope she likes me! Put on a good impression!" I thought. She basically only said hi to me, and then went off to talk to some boys. First impression of her--cute, tall, very sociable with boys.
First impression of Kelsi--strong-willed, don't-get-on-her-bad-side-or-else-I'll-die, and dependent.
The plot thickens. My roommate Emma wanted to move, and Maddie and Kelsi still wanted their other friend (Lauren) to move in. With a great deal of finageling, TWO WEEKS INTO THE SEMESTER, a miracle occured and Emma was able to move out, leaving space for Lauren to move in.
First impression of Lauren--fashionable, pretty, she'll-probably-never-like-me.
Maddie, Kelsi, and Lauren were all really tight, like super super good friends. And I wasn't. But I tried. I stayed up late talking with them to try and become a part of them. I laughed at their jokes when I really didn't think they were that funny. When they fell over on the floor laughing so hard, I laid on the floor and forced myself to laugh. I wanted to fit in.
And eventually, I was sometimes the one making them laugh. And I finally understood their humor, so my laughs were sincere. And I was staying up late because I wanted to--because I didn't want to miss any of the fun!
We stayed up until 2 in the morning most nights, just playing and laughing. We watched movies together all the time, instead of doing homework. We slept in on Saturdays, watched a movie until 12, and then cleaned for a bit and played the rest of the day. We ran the Dirty Dash, dyed Easter Eggs, hiked, dressed up John Wayne, stole a toaster, dyed hair, cried, laughed until we cried, found our natural laughs, and had so much fantastic fun. After a while, Lauren moved out, and Beth moved in, and the fun continued. Chick-flicks, chocolate gorging, long walks, tie-dye, and more pranks.
And without knowing it, I'd become closer to the girls of Heather Cove 15 than I'd ever been to anyone else in my entire life. And I'd found my home.
I cannot tell you how amazing my roommates are. Or how they make me want to be better. Or how I look forward to coming home each day just so I can talk to them. Or how they make me laugh, just by the intonation of their voice. Pretty much they are the best people I know. And I don't think I've ever been happier.
Who knew heaven could be in Provo, Utah? I found it in Heather Cove 15. Not because of the apartment, but because of the angels there.
I know Heavenly Father lined this all up perfectly, because there were so many small miracles that brought me here and made everything perfect. I have developed emotionally, spiritually, and socially such a great deal here. I am more myself than I ever have been. And I am surrounded by people who love me, and who I love.
God is Great. He loves me so much.
Thank you Heavenly Father, for sending me to Heather Cove 15.