I will be telling a story on The Porch Thursday evening in Provo. If you're interested in joining us, you can find tickets and information here. If you do come, be sure to say hi and compliment my hair and outfit.

I was just thinking about how one year ago this month I flew from Palau to the United States of God Bless America for a quick trip to interview with the law firm at which I now work. My suit didn't quite fit because of all of the Palau weight that I had gained so I didn't button up my pants. I used my belt to hide this fact.

I was tired from the 36 hours of travel and the 17-hour time difference I experienced having come from Palau. I was cold and my skin was drying out faster than all of the moisturizers in the world could possibly combat.

I was nervous when I landed in the United States of God Bless America. I didn't know whether this very expensive trip I had just taken was a good idea. I didn't know whether interviewing at a law firm that didn't even tell me it had a position available was worth all of the cost and effort to haul myself to the other side of the planet. It felt like a huge risk and I was afraid that nothing would work out and that I would return from Palau several months later unemployed and directionless.

I walked into the law firm offices and met some nice people. Some really really nice people, who talked with me and asked me questions about myself. I felt sheepish and intimidated as I answered these questions, which were posed by folks who seemed so much smarter and accomplished and charismatic than I was. And I worried that even if they did end up having a position become available, they would never see me as someone who could possibly be a good fit in their high-powered, fast-paced, ultra-pressured world where everyone always seems to know exactly what to say and how to act.

Those people didn't see me the way I feared they might. And a couple of them went out of their way to find a way to make room for me at the firm. I was floored, and excited, to find this out.

Here I am, one year later, and six months into this job, and I'm feeling a little reflective thinking back to that first meeting when I was too fat to button up my pants. And I'm feeling a little nostalgic and a lot grateful that I get to spend my day, every day, associating with some of the kindest and brightest, who have befriended me, mentored me, and made me feel like I can fit in with people who always seem to know exactly what to say and how to act.

There's a stigma and stereotype about lawyers. Something about how dishonest they are. Selfish. Adversarial at all costs. I suppose that for many people this is very true. But I have to tell you, the folks I spend my nine-to-five with do a pretty good job at debunking those labels. And I'm grateful for those people. Because once again I've encountered some strangers and become much better for it.

Also, it's nice to be able to button up my pants again.

~It Just Gets Stranger