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About five years ago, Lindsey and I attended an information meeting at the stake center about some of the church schools including Brigham Young University where Kelly and I met, BYU-Idaho, BYU-Hawaii, and LDS Business College. The representative made a few jokes about Idaho and their famous potatoes and the overall impression from that school in particular struck a chord with Lindsey. She made up her mind that is where she wanted to attend, regardless of my hopes and dreams for her to attend the Y. In fact, I even registered her for a summer camp session of EFY (Especially for Youth) a couple of summers ago because I knew she would fall in love with the BYU campus if I sent her there to check it out. She did like it, but her heart has always been set on BYU-Idaho, where she was accepted and just began classes for the fall semester. Here's my darling daughter outside her dorm at Chapman Hall on move-in day in Rexburg, Idaho. We flew in from Austin early that morning, hiked forever through multiple terminals in Salt Lake City, then caught the little plane to Idaho Falls, one of the smallest airports I've ever been to. We rented a car, then drove directly to the campus and went through the various checkpoints to get to her room and meet her roommates for the first time. There were a variety of volunteers guiding us through this big moment, and I captured one of the stops here.
This was my first time in Rexburg and I was surprised that it was such a small, rural town. Campus was right near the temple, which was a helpful landmark to find your way around.
Since the town was so small, a month before we went, most of the hotels were sold out when I was making reservations, so I booked the first night in Idaho Falls. After getting Lindsey moved in, I stayed by myself at a Fairfield Inn & Suites where originally I had hoped that Lindsey would stay with me, so I booked the room for two beds. However, Lindsey and her five roommates instantly bonded and she didn't want to leave them. Poor Mom. I was excited though, and would much rather see her not want to leave her new roommates, than to want to leave with me. That was a good sign. In the meantime, I snapped a few photos of the hotel, which was conveniently located right near the airport and close to the highway to get to Rexburg. I loved the freshly baked homemade peanut butter cookies and cold milk that the front desk offered me at check-in. That certainly helped confort my loneliness from dropping my girl off to college.
Even more impressive than the cookies late the night before when I checked in, was the incredible complimentary breakfast, that included homemade waffles, plus really delicious biscuits and gravy. Sadly, I was checking out of the Fairfield and would drive down the road for the next two nights in Rexburg. Oh well, I'd be closer to campus at least.
Here she is! Getting settled into her dorm room, here's my freshman perched on top of her bed. We made a couple of trips to Walmart to get hangers, pillows, snacks, necklace holders, cork board, and all kinds of other necessities for college life survival.
There's always fun and excitement at the dorms with friends coming and going to say hello. Here is Justice, then Chanda (one of Lindsey's lovely and sweet new roommates) and a freshman guy hanging around before everyone gets busy with classes.
Here is Whitney from Nevada, Lindsey's actual roommate that she shares a room with.
Here is Kallie, one of the five girls who live in the Chapman Hall aparment dorm with Lindsey. She is from Colorado and shares a room with Chanda.
Whitney and Lindsey are enjoying their well organized room. What a huge relief it is for me that Lindsey was fortunate to end up with such wonderful young women to spend her first semester of college living with. I would have freaked out if she had been stuck with some difficult ones.
So, we parted ways for another night, and I checked in to the Springhill Inn & Suites in Rexburg, fairly near BYU-I. Coincidentally, I just read an article about a good deed that happened at that very hotel, a story of honesty and integrity that I admired. Click here if you want to see how a hotel worker turned in a lot of money left behind by a guest. The ungrateful recipient didn't bother to leave a reward. Jerk.
The reason I am posting these pictures is to remember how well I liked this place and will most likely stay here again when I go back to Idaho, in case you're wondering.
The Marriott brand hotels seem to consistently be the cleanest, most enjoyable hotels I've stayed in. This one was no exception, although they did not serve freshly baked cookies at night, which the Fairfield in Idaho Falls had. My unquenchable sweet tooth has a particular weakness for baked goods.
One night when Lindsey and her friends were busy with orientation activities with their I-team, I did some shopping at Deseret Book and ate dinner at one of the few restaurants in town, a so-so place called Bajio Grill. Afterwards, I saw this man leaving the parking lot and asked if I could take a picture of his license plate because I knew Lindsey would like it. Spud King is what it's abbreviated for, and to those who may not know that that means, a spud is the nickname of a potato. Idaho is very proud of their potato growing, and here I was, meeting a genuine spud farmer. We talked for a moment about how challenging it is to grow potatoes and talked about how the harvest time was coming in a couple of weeks. He told me how a potato plant looks a lot like a tomato plant and grows to be three or four feet high. I had no idea what it would even look like. The only thing I knew is that potatoes come from the ground. He was either intrigued or annoyed by my interest in his career, but I was curious. Besides, how often will I get to meet and greet potato farmer? Exactly.
On my last day there, we took a drive to Rigby/Ririe to go see Kelly's 92-year-old grandma, who lives about 20 minutes from Lindsey's dorm. We passed by a few potato storage buildings and I explained to Lindsey how they keep the spuds in these cool underground-like sheds.
It was cold and rainy, so we didn't get out of the car to take the best shots.
Potato brokers, services, all things potato, are everyday sights in Idaho apparently.
You can kind of see how quaint the campus looks with the Rexburg temple in the background here in the middle of nowhere.
It was 47 degrees F outside and Lindsey was freezing. I reminded my little Taiwan-Texan daughter that this was Idaho's summer weather still and she had no idea what cold even was yet. My poor daughter! She is going to freeze there!
The fact that my limited time with my daughter was winding down, was getting more difficult as the day went on, knowing that I would be heading back to Taiwan and leaving her in Idaho until mid-December. The damp, dreary weather seemed appropriate.
Her dorm is part of Pioneer Halls.
This is the Idaho Falls temple in the background, not too far from the airport.
We love our American flags.
On the last night I was there, I got pictures of Lindsey and three of her roommates, plus one, Macy, who lives next door. Macy is on the far left. Next there are Kallie and Lindsey, then Paige and Kara, both from California and so super sweet. Chanda and Whitney were out and about at the time. I really do like each of her roommates and couldn't be more happy for Lindsey. She got so lucky.
The white walls were so bare, so I bought this tree picture in the background and named it the Tree of Knowledge which they really liked. This purchase was from one of my three Walmart shopping sprees. There aren't a lot of options in Rexburg.
Such gorgeous girls they are! Now for their kissy poses.
Good-bye to my girl. I love you, Lindsey! I'm going to miss you so much, but I know you're having the time of your life! Be smart! We will reunite in Texas during the Christmas holidays.
I was fine until I hugged her one last time and she said, "Don't cry, Mom." Too late.


Heidi said…
What a huge milestone! I remember my mom dropping me off at college and her crying too even though I was only going to be 40 minutes away ;-)
Casa de Mask said…
Oh, Kelly...this post so took me back to the fall of 1990 when my mom flew with me to Rexburg to help me get set up as a freshman at BYU-Idaho (then Ricks College). What an exciting time for your sweet daughter, but man-oh-man, I know it has to be bittersweet for you. I remember my mom telling me how she just cried the entire drive back to Idaho Falls to catch her plane. :-)

The Christmas holidays will be here before you know it and you guys will all be reunited in no time!!
Lonna said…
Kelly you are such a wonderful mother, I was thinking about my mom and I hauling in loads of things that I would never use to my first college apartment too. How cute.

I am totally emotional reading this post. Lindsay is so grown up and what a great girl she is you have every right to be so proud of her. Maybe by the time you all get together for the holidays she will realize the true nature of the weather in Rexburg.
Homemade peanut butter cookies as a welcome, yes please. That does sound lovely, I'm glad you were so well taken care of in Idaho.
Cassie said…
Reading this made me realize even more how unusual Rexburg is the first time you come! How is Lindsay liking it up here? If she ever needs anything let me know, even though she doesn't know me, I would love to help out any way I can!
Bobbi said…
Kelly, how tough for you, especially knowing you were going to leave for so far away, Thankfully December is not far away. It is a thrilling time for Lindsay, but hard on the mom. As Heidi said, I cried dropping her off in Provo! But it is the emotional milestone factor, not just the separation itself. Hang in there!
Jess said…
What room is she in? I lived in Chapman Hall.. 234! :)
Kelly said…
Jessica, I've thought about you--not having the best experience ever there--and have hoped for better results for Lindsey. So far, so good. I had heard this from Lorraine too about when Christine went, that it was more similar to your freshman year. Lindsey really seems to be doing well and the roommate situation can make all the difference in the world. She is in 460 Chapman, by the way.
~ Tina said…
wow... that makes me cry.

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