Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- 2010 was a rollercoaster ride of a year...  I had a blast and held on for dear life.  There's nothing like a few unpredictable loops to make things more exciting.  Over the course of the year, I managed to squeeze in some fun.  I took four trips to Utah (though they were mainly work related), four trips to Tennessee, headed overseas to Stockholm, and travelled up and down the east coast from Boston to Florida and everywhere in between.  While the year is ending with a bit of uncertainty as to what the new year holds for me, I remain optimistic that 2011 will be just as thrilling with more places to visit, more friends to see, and countless trips to the beach.  That pretty much sums up the equation to keeping me happy.      

Here's a look back at the 2010 with the Candrian family.  Enjoy!

I wish you a very happy 2011!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Finding the Words...

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- I've been thinking about this day a lot.  And I've been trying to come up with the right words that describe exactly how I feel.  I have mixed emotions. On one hand, I'm excited about what's next, because I love and crave new adventures.  But on the other hand, I'm absolutely dreading the day when Sen. Bennett's office doors close for good and our staff will have to say our goodbyes. It's just a few days away.  Mostly I think though, when it comes down to it, I just feel bummed.

While I like Washington, D.C. and all the history it has to offer, I've had a hard time loving it.  Brittany loved it here so much that I just figured I'd easily feel the same way too.  But I haven't.  With all the incredible monuments, and never ending historical sites, there's always something to see and do. Yet with all of those exciting things, the one thing that has made me completely happy and at ease here is my job.  I love going to work every day engaged in a good cause, working with people who know what I stand for, who have become my dear friends, and who "get it." I love my job because I represent a senator who is well-respected amongst his peers, completely honest to his belief system and represents Utah's values to the very core.  Simply put, I like going to work everyday because it feels like home.

Today my boss gave his farewell address to the Senate.  It was inspiring.  I was touched.  And there were tears.  More than fifty current and former staffers of Sen. Bennett came to listen.  We packed the Senate floor and gallery to show our support to our boss, the man we have all come to respect and admire more than anyone in our nation's capitol. Many of his colleagues from both sides of the isle sat in their desks and watched as well.  We all listened intently as he said his goodbyes and thanked his colleagues for their grace and friendship.

The content of his speech speaks volumes about the man's character. He called the Senate an "extraordinary place filled with extraordinary people." He said he learned over the years that there is a significant difference between Republicans and Democrats, but that both are necessary. "They're both right-- that's the thing I have come to understand here," he said. Republicans believe free markets will solve problems and Democrats believe that the government will, and both are right, but he explained that different circumstances necessitate different solutions. And then he said, "But let us understand in the debate, that as we go back and forth between these two concepts, that we do not question the motives or the patriotism of anyone on the other side or within our own caucuses."  Putting differences aside to accomplish what was best for America was the essence of his service.  You can tune in yourself to hear the rest... 

A few months ago I was trying to figure out the best way to wrap up my boss's legacy in a way that would be worth tackling and accurately capture what he's accomplished over his time in office.  Of course, as is customary of me, I decided to make a video, highlighting some of the things he has done over the last 18 years in the Senate, sort of like a little documentary. I decided that if it was going to paint the complete picture, then I needed to include his Senate colleagues in the video as well. I was overjoyed when nearly all of them I reached out to agreed, which was more than 30 Democrats and Republicans.  So, I set up shop in the Capitol one day, and they just kept pouring in.  I was incredibly impressed by their genuine thoughts and memories they shared of him, many who were touched by his tremendous example of what it's like to be a good Christian. It was clear, that he is incredibly admired and respected amongst his peers and has left a lasting impact.  I remember packing up my camcorder after my last interview in the Capitol building that day and walking away thinking, "This was the best day of work I have ever had." It was incredible.  I was blown away by the chance to interview some of the most powerful people in our country, and they were so willing to do it for my boss. And the video turned out alright too. (This is just the "mini" version)

Normally it bugs me when people publish their deepest feelings on a blog.  I always think, "Come on... save it for the journal!"  But, I just thought maybe someone else out there is feeling the same way. I can at least think of a few people.  And it's always nice to know someone can relate. When a chapter in our life ends, and we face the unknown, it has a way of bringing feelings close to the surface, and sometimes it feels therapeutic to share them.

So, what's next for me when Sen. Bennett's office closes for good next week?  I'm not sure yet.*  But whatever it is, I'm convinced it'll provide me with at least some level of satisfaction, just like being Sen. Bennett's press secretary has done. Every job I've had so far in my post-college life has boosted my character in some way, or strengthened talents I barely knew existed.  While part of my sense of "home" in Washington, D.C. will fade as I close the door to Dirksen 433 one last time next week, a new door will undoubtedly open that will provide new opportunities I never thought possible.  I love how it happens that way every time.  But for now, I'm grateful to have had this opportunity and I will always be proud to say I worked for Sen. Bennett.  My life has been forever enriched, even when it's hard to find the exact words to express it.

*In all seriousness though, I will hopefully have a job announcement in the next week or two. I'll keep you posted.