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Monday, February 15, 2016

Grandpa's Trusty Old Tractor

Growing up in Southern California, of course the only things I really knew were the beach, traffic on the 405, and weekend adventures to Disneyland. But throughout my childhood, my most favorable moments were always the family trips to Arkansas to visit my grandpa. I couldn't wait to see grandpaHe was the hardest working man I'd ever known and someone I wholeheartedly looked up to. Watching him feed the cows and work the land was always such a treasured experience for me. 

By the time I reached my senior year in high school, I realized that Los Angeles wasn't for me. I constantly found myself listening to The Dixie Chicks and daydreaming about what it would be like to live in the country. I didn't exactly know why I wanted to leave California, I just knew something better was waiting for me elsewhere. Years later, I finally made the decision to stop daydreaming about the country and to make living there a reality. And so in the Fall of 2012, I made the move. I started off living with my grandpa. He taught me how to operate the tractor, I taught him how to operate his iPad. He made me watch old westerns, I made him watch Say Yes To The Dress. We were the best of buds. 

Soon after, I met my now-fiancĂ© Levi (pictured above). It didn't take long for Levi to learn that my grandpa was one of the coolest old guys around, so coming out to the farm became one of Levi's favorite weekend activities. The three of us had a great couple of years together, until my grandpa was suddenly diagnosed with esophageal cancer. The news hit us hard. Nothing quite prepares you for the moment you learn that your loved one has cancer. My grandpa opted out of doing chemo and radiation, and decided to just do surgery instead. The surgery seemed successful and the doctors were confident that they had gotten the entire tumor. But about a year later, the cancer had come back. This time in full force. Once my grandpa became too weak to do everyday life, Levi and I took charge and did what we could to make him comfortable at home and take care of the land. Once his passing came, I knew I had to be strong and that everything was about to change.

While my time in Arkansas hasn't gone as planned, I know with every part of me that the universe put me here for a reason. I came here to spend the last couple of years with my grandpa that he had left on this earth, I just didn't know it at the time. I came here to takeover this farm and have the opportunity to turn it into something great. Something that would make my grandpa proud. And I came here because if I hadn't made the move, I wouldn't have met my fiancĂ©. My experience in Arkansas has taught me a lot of things, but it has constantly reminded me that life is a series of everything happens for a reason moments, and that with grandpa's trusty old tractor, anything is possible.

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