17th Century Swag

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Our Love Story: Courtship & Proposal!

(Part I: How we met here)

So I was leaving Maryland in a stranger's truck while Jason waited for a tow truck to take his totaled car to the junkyard. I arrived at the airport, grateful for the man -- we called him Obama man because of his bumper sticker -- who came to the rescue so I could make my flight back to Arizona, but wishing Obama man would magically transform into my man, Jason. As I got out of Obama man's truck, I figured I should send Jason a text to let him know I hadn't been abducted, but I realized after searching all the obvious places that I must have left my phone in Jason's totaled car! I knew it was on silent, and I knew he was probably worried, but I had a plane to catch! I rushed through security and had a moment to borrow a nice lady's phone to call my mom, who had Jason's number (I didn't have it memorized yet) so she could let him know I was alive.

Once I was back in Arizona, I looked forward to the following week when Jason would come visit for a few days before we drove up to school together. The hours felt like days (pathetic, I know) and the days felt like weeks until I could see him again! We skyped each evening, and one night I coyly held up a sticky-note sign that said "I miss you." That night, Jason changed his flight and came to Arizona a couple days ahead of schedule.

I planned a week of Arizona fun to show Jason what the wild wild west was really about! We hiked, ate at Rustler's Roost, swam, went to the lake, went scorpion hunting... etc.

One evening, we were sitting on the edge of a dock at Tempe Town Lake, and as we talked and looked up at the stars I had an undeniable feeling that this relationship was going somewhere. I thought about the coming school year, and knew that continuing to date Jason was a good thing.

We spent fall semester going on morning jogs, hiking, getting lots of shaved ice, going on late night walks, filming stories for my reporting classes, and falling in love. I still wasn't sure if I was supposed to marry Jason, but when I prayed I felt like I should keep seeing him, so I did. A lot!

One thing that really helped our relationship was getting yoga memberships. There's nothing like seeing your man in warrior one.

Jason was (and still is!) very creative with his dates, and one night he pulled up with a love sack strapped to the top of my car. I had a feeling this guy would be a hilariously fun person to spend the rest of my life with.

Another time, I went out to my car after a long day of reporting and there were rose petals sprinkled all over the seats, and this note:

SWOON! We had been dating for four months, and Jason wanted to do something special so we picked up our favorite treat, an apple pie caramel apple from rocky mountain, and took the moonlight ski lift at sundance.

It wasn't long before we were talking about marriage, but I still hadn't received "the answer" on whether or not Jason was the one for me. But I felt comfortable moving forward, with the faith that soon I would know for sure.

Jason's cute parents and my parents came for General Conference in October, and I think it was pretty obvious that we were falling in love. We made plans for the holidays, and Jason came to Arizona for Thanksgiving and the beginning of Christmas break, then I met up with him in Houston at his brother's place for Christmas Day and New Years!

Jason got me a beautiful crystal bracelet and a sushi making set, and I got him a University of North Carolina lacrosse jacket (he played there before transferring to BYU) and gave him a video I had secretly made for him with the help of my roommate, Lizzy. We were so in love and I couldn't imagine my life without Jason.

New Year's Day I left for Washington, DC to meet up with my family to see my dad be sworn into the senate. Jason was staying in Houston, and I would meet him back in Provo once school started again. I said goodbye to Jason at the airport and once I boarded the plane, I took this photo because the lady in front of me reeked of a brand new spray tan:

Once we got in the air I remember looking down and thinking dramatically, "The love of my life is down there just driving home from the airport, and I already miss him."

(Little did I know, Jason was rushing back to his brother's house, packing up his stuff, then racing back to the airport and nearly missing his plane to surprise me in DC!)

The next morning, I woke up with my family in DC and got ready for our first tour of the day at the National Archives. We had some extended family in town, so we had a special tour organized to see some of the secret vaults. Once we were there, we rode up a small elevator and came out into a tiny hallway that lead to one of the vaults. The tour guide motioned to the door as she said, "Behind this door we will see a rare, Native American artifact." I thought that was a little unusual, since I thought we were there to see some church history documents, and then she knocked on the door and who opened it but my handsome man! I literally could not believe it was him and my face ran through about ten different emotions before I finally realized it really was Jason standing in front of me and I ran into his arms and cried tears of joy (along with most of the workers). I couldn't even pay attention during the presentation because I was so excited he was there with me! 

After the tour finished, we headed to the capitol building to do my favorite activity in all of DC, climbing the dome! We climbed up all the stairs with my parents, Aunt Kaija, Aunt Suzy, Uncle Kevin and Grandma Flake. When we finally got to the top, Jason and I were looking out at the beautiful view while everyone but Suzy and Kevin slipped back inside. We were hugging for a while and Jason looked down at me and said, "Well..." and reached into his pocket! I couldn't believe it. I had seen enough movies to know what that meant! He knelt down and told me beautiful things about how much he cared for me and how he wanted to be with me forever. Then, he asked me the question every girl dreams of hearing, "Alexis Lanae Flake, will you marry me?"

But this part was not like the movies. It was not quite how I imagined, mostly because I realized in the moment that I still hadn't received my answer of whether or not I was supposed to marry this dude! What the heck! And here I was, at the top of the capitol building with him on one knee and a very, very important question hanging in the air. As Jason describes it, I looked up into the sky (I remember this moment well, I was letting God know that he could shine down a spotlight or something on Jason to let me know that he was the one) then my face dropped and I paused for what probably felt like 25 minutes to him. I could tell he was getting a little nervous, and as I waited for an answer to come, I felt a quiet calm come over me and the words filled my mind, "It's your choice." That was all I needed to know. I knew I wanted to be with Jason.


It would have been a long jump down if I had said no.

To be continued!

Friday, September 26, 2014

My Learning List

Let me start first with a story...

At the end of July my family and I were in Snowflake 
for the pioneer day/Flake family reunion celebration.
One evening we were sitting in Grandma Flake's living room
and I spotted a BYU Education Week guide by the fireplace and started thumbing through it.
I had never had the desire to attend Education Week,
but for the first time in my life I wasn't in school
and I was overcome with a deep desire to go!

Ever since I graduated from BYU, I felt like a piece of me was missing
and that a big chapter of my life had come to a close.
I loved going to school. Like so much I get kind of weepy thinking about it.
And going from being a full-time student my entire life,
to being a full-time worker was not an easy adjustment for me!

I picked up the Education Week guide and began reading.
As I thumbed through its pages I saw classes on communication,
creativity, ballroom dancing (ha!), home organization, strengthening marriage, 
building families, finance, nutrition, gardening, literature...
I could go on and on!
I was so enthralled with this idea of getting to pick the topics that interested me and
 spending a whole week attending classes.
I was convinced I would return home a new woman,
and that I would finally feel like I had filled in the empty space I felt since graduating.
All in just one week!

So I brought my idea to Jason,
and he readily agreed that I should go to Education Week!
For about 30 minutes I was so excited,
until it hit me that the timing of this really stunk.
I would need to take a week off of work during a very important time,
and that meant less time off with Jason during the holidays.
Was that really what I wanted? Was there another way I could accomplish this?

Yes! It hit me.
I have a computer. I have books. And I have people who know about all of these things!
Once I realized that I had everything I needed to learn about whatever I wanted,
I made a list.
What did I want to learn about?
This is what I came up with:

mending clothes
running for an hour straight
cutting Jason's hair

I know some of those things don't seem life changing,
but guys, here's the amazing part.
I wrote all these things down in my journal,
and ONE MONTH later,
I realized that I had begun or completed everything (except sewing, oops)
on the list!
I didn't even plan or schedule it all out,
I just wrote the things down,
then found myself doing them.

But actually, it didn't happen that easily...
First I had to eliminate something,
to free up the time to do these things.
Do you know what it was?
You guessed it. Social media.
For two weeks, I deleted instagram from my phone,
and only checked facebook every couple of days to manage video inquiries.
I discovered that I had a lot more free time than I had even hoped!
And it felt so good to know at the end of the day that I had used
the time I had been given in a way I was proud of.
During that period of social media deprivation,
I found that I not only improved myself,
but also engaged more with others through service.
I know that because I wasn't filling all my "in-between" moments with instagram,
I was able to receive more inspiration on what I could do to help others.

So now, I've thought of a few more things I want to do and learn about!
Here is my updated list:

maintain my garden
keep reading good books
learn to mend clothes
practice cutting Jason's hair (if he'll let me!)
try out one new recipe a week
take dance lessons with Jason
(so we can be that cute old couple out on the dance floor!)
spend more time on the piano

So let's get out there and do it guys!
Let's use the time we've been given more deliberately.
Let's learn about all those things we wish we knew how to do.
Let's then use those things we learn to serve others.

It's a beautiful life, isn't it?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Our Love Story: How we met!

Don't you just love love stories? I know I do!
Well, let me tell you, there's nothing quite like your own love story.

That being said, here is the story of how I met Jason William Arias.
This will be long, but I hope I'm not spoiling anything by tell you it has a happy ending!

The Story: How we met

Winter semester of my junior year at BYU, I realized I needed to start planning my internship for the broadcasting program I was in. I considered a couple different news stations, but mostly I was deciding between one in Washington DC and one in New York. New York definitely seemed more glamorous, but I kept feeling like I needed to go to DC, so I coordinated an internship with Good Morning America in their Washington office. I would be in the Washington Seminar program and one of my very good friends Anneliese Mecham would be my roommate. It was going to be a fabulous summer!

Once my plans were set, I headed off to South Africa with the Young Ambassadors, and after a month of serving and performing I felt pretty strongly that I wanted to serve a mission. I prayed about it one night at a stranger's house in Port Elizabeth, S.A. and felt an overwhelming feeling that I needed to prepare to go. I was turning 21 in a few weeks, and figured if I still felt strongly about a mission, I could start the process when I got back to BYU in the fall, but in the meantime I needed to focus on my internship in DC.

I arrived in Washington, DC with such an excitement for the beautiful, unique summer I was about to have. I was living right in the city close to the fabulous food and shopping of Georgetown, and could hardly wait to go out and explore! DC has always been one of my favorite places, and between being born there and going back 2-4 times a year since age 9, I felt pretty comfortable roaming the streets and stumbling upon landmarks I'd never found before. I worked a different schedule than most of my fellow interns who worked on the hill, so I had a few hours in the morning to myself and I had no problem exploring on my own or popping into my dad's senate office and following him around.

One afternoon I was at Six Flags in Maryland with some friends and I got a text from my friend Melanie who I hadn't seen in a while. She said there was a boy named Jason Arias who was living with her in-laws in Maryland and was also a BYU student out in DC for an internship. Melanie's family was in town from Arizona and that morning they had met Jason at breakfast, and after hearing Jason say that he thought it would be neat to be in the Palmyra Pageant with his whole family someday -- something Melanie's family had done -- Melanie's mom Becky thought he needed to go out with me. Apparently I send out serious vibes that I want to participate in the Palmyra Pageant with my entire family someday as well.

After hearing more about this Jason Arias over the next couple of days, I was becoming quite anxious for him to ask me out! He was from Boston, captain of the lacrosse team, and from what I (my mom) found on google, he had dark curly hair and was Javert in Les Mis at his high school. An athletic thespian? What a catch!

So he finally called me while I was on a date at the white house picnic. I felt the call come in and then felt the extra buzz of a voicemail. It had to be him! And it was. He left two messages because the first on got cut off when he got on the metro. Slightly awkward/totally adorable. He introduced himself and requested that I call him back, but when I was finally able to later that evening he didn't answer! So I went to sleep with butterflies in my stomach and the excitement of a possible summer romance in the city.

The next morning, I was at work when my mom texted me saying she had an extra ticket to my dad's congressional baseball game that evening. It's a hilarious annual tradition where the republicans and democrats face off in nationals stadium. They all wear the official uniform from their home state and even have baseball cards with their committees on them, ha! Since Anneliese and my friend Richard were already going to be there, it crossed my mind to bring Jason, the boy I had never met. I brushed it aside, but then thought about it again a few moments later and decided, hey, if this is going to go anywhere, I might as well just have my family meet him and weigh in on the whole situation! Brilliant. So I sent him a text (I didn't want to call him again and seem like a freaky stalker girl since he hadn't returned my call from the night before... so a text to this stranger seemed more casual) asking him if he would like to come to my dad's baseball game that evening at nationals stadium. He said yes!

So after work, I threw on my Jeff Flake for Senate shirt and walked a block to the farragut north metro stop. We decided beforehand that we would meet under the giant American flag. I arrived on time, waiting anxiously to see the handsome dark-haired guy I had imagined. He came around the corner in khakis, a white button up shirt, a navy blue blazer and a big smile on his face. He was so tall, dark and handsome. This guy was super cute!

We hopped on the metro and chatted all the way to the stadium. Once we got there, we made our way down to my dad's cheering section, which consisted of my mom, my two youngest brothers, Anneliese, and sitting right behind them, my dad's entire staff. We sat right in the middle, with Anneliese on my right side, Jason on my left, and my mom sitting on Jason's other side. Let's just say a first date isn't really a first date when you're the only ones on a date! But hey, my mom got quite a bit of chatting time in with Jason (probably more than I did) and she was having a ball (and it doesn't hurt to have your date's mom on your side).

The game was good, but mostly I was worried about making sure my light orange pants weren't turning dark orange from sweat on the back of my legs -- it was SO hot! And Jason was probably dying in his work clothes. So there I was, at a baseball game with an adorable boy trying not to pass out from heat exhaustion in an embarrassing sweat puddle on the ground and wondering why I potentially ruined this first date with a hot family reunion/baseball game.

My fears were solidified when we walked back to the metro after getting a hot dog with Ron Paul, and before hopping on our different trains Jason gave me a quick hug and said, "Thanks for taking me, it was nice to meet you!" Nice to meet me?! In dating language that's code for see you never. But I didn't want that, I was hoping we would go out again and this time actually get to know each other! So I realized I needed to do something drastic. I needed to send a PDT (post date text), something I didn't traditionally do. But this situation needed repairing, and it needed to seem casual. So I sent him this picture:

and thanked him for coming and mentioned that it would be great to see him again! He replied back that he would let me know next time they blew up the big blob (cue heavyweights) at the lake in Maryland, and hopefully I could come to that. I replied that hopefully I would see him sooner than that. Bold, I know.

He took the hint, and asked me out for that evening! In a few words, it was the greatest date of my entire life. In a few more words, here's what happened.

I waited for him outside my apartment and saw him walking up in light red shorts and a navy checked shirt. He was such an east coast boy, which of course I loved! We walked to a restaurant in Georgetown called Clydes, which is a tavern-like place with dark wood and cool airplanes hanging from the ceilings. We sat at a table for two right by the big stone fireplace and talked so much the waitress had to come back probably four times for our order! He got fish and chips and I got steak and fries and when mine came out it was delicious looking, but covered in tiny parsley flakes that I knew would be a wonderful accessory to my teeth. Luckily, guardian angels must have known this was an important date and kept the parsley out of my teeth. One thing I distinctly remember from that dinner (aside from the parsley) was looking across the table at him and noticing how unexpectedly handsome he was. He was unlike anyone I had ever met before, yet we had so much in common. He told me about home and what it was like growing up in such a historic place, and I'm sure I asked him way too much about boarding school. What he didn't know was that secretly I had always wanted to marry a boy from the east who went to boarding school. There's just something so swoony about it!

After dinner, he had made plans for us to go to a piano bar, but I didn't really understand what that was and suggested we walk along the waterfront instead. He thought that sounded fun, and we were heading to the waterfront when the wind started blowing like crazy and we quickly saw the downpour of rain coming toward us! We took shelter in the closest covered patio. Jason walked over to a wooden chest, opened it up like he owned the place, and pulled out two seat cushions and placed them on top for us to sit on. We talked for hours in that little patio at the Four Seasons as the storm raged around us. It was like we were the only people on earth.

That date was the beginning of many more that summer in DC. Quickly, but naturally, we found ourselves seeing each other nearly every day. If I needed to work late, miraculously, so did Jason! And we would meet up for lunch or dinner between our offices (that were actually very close) and continue getting to know each other. Jason was so fascinating to me, and the more I learned about him, the more I wanted to know.

Most weekends were spent in Maryland, at the Richardson's -- the family Jason was staying with -- incredible place. They run after school programs and summer camps for kids so their properties are full of fun outdoorsy things to do! We spent many hours walking through the woods and laughing our heads of at silly things.

One of my favorite evenings was a simple one. We hopped on a quad and rode to the top of this little hill to watch the sunset. There's a magical window of about 10 minutes each evening where the sun is still glowing through the trees, but the fireflies are anxious to come out so they begin lighting up and you have the beauty of the sunset plus the magic of the fireflies! For an Arizona girl, fireflies are a huge novelty. Somehow, I must have known my heart was changing here so I snapped the above photo to try to document what was happening in my heart. The summer was almost over and I was falling for this boy named Jason Arias, and I had never been happier.

More to come soon!