My story starts way back in the far-off land of Provo, Utah. I was born there while my parents were both students at Brigham Young University. The first place I remember living was Ephraim, Utah, a little town in central Utah. I lived there until I was 4 when my family moved briefly to Colorado Springs, Colorado, and then to Keizer, Oregon where I grew up. I played baseball, soccer, and basketball as a kid. In high school I was pretty much your classic nerd - I was editor of the school paper, president of the debate club, and had braces pretty much the entire time. The only non-nerdy things about me in high school were that I worked in the summers on a farm moving irrigation pipe and did a lot of hiking and camping.
After high school I followed in my parents footsteps and went to BYU. After a semester there I was called on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to Joao Pessoa, Brazil. In case you don't know where that is, here's a little map:
View Nick's Mission in a larger map
My mission was hard, discouraging, hot (I served in one town that regularly hit 115 degrees), and one of the greatest experiences of my life. I learned that with God's help and a hefty dose of faith, I could do anything. I absolutely love the Brazilian people. Here's a picture of me in a church meeting in Brazil:
Yeah, it was tough place to serve a mission. I mean, just look at what I had to deal with everyday:
After my mission I went back to BYU where I met the lovely Rachel Sullivan. We lived in neighboring apartment buildings and before long my roommate was dating her roommate, so we saw each other pretty often. After a while I asked her out and she said yes. We had a couple dates but nothing too serious until she asked me to the winter formal dance. I took that to mean she was pretty interested and we had a great time, but afterward she seemed uninterested in me. I decided to get to the bottom of this mystery and just flat out tell her that I liked her and wanted to go out with her. When I did that she flat out shot me down. You could hear me crashing and burning for miles as she told me she thought of me as just a friend and the usual things girls say to try to let guys down easy. That wasn't what I had been going for but we were still friends and I started moving on. I took a few other girls out on dates and generally tried to get on with my life.
A couple months later, seemingly out of nowhere, Rachel started to get really flirty with me. I figured it was all in my head and ignored it. After a while she said we needed to talk and when we did she told me that she really did like me and wanted to date me. I was dumbfounded but I managed to say something eloquent and suave like "sure". The rest is history. We dated for about 8 months, were engaged for 5 more, and were married on April 28th, 2006 on a beautiful day in Portland, Oregon.
After getting married we lived in Provo for a year until we both graduated with our Bachelor's degrees, then we moved to Colorado for graduate school. I am currently working on my doctorate in Physics and Astronomy. If you care to learn any more about that you can check out my professional website. I love physics and astronomy and I love to teach, so my dream job is to be a professor of physics and astronomy someday.
Being married to Rachel has been absolutely wonderful. She brings so much joy into my life. I am pretty much as practical and nerdy a person as you've ever met. I have a system for sorting my shirts in my closet, I read physics textbooks for fun, and I can't do anything without making a spreadsheet to plan it out first. Rachel is spontaneous, fun-loving, and free-spirited. She helps me enjoy life.
When I'm not goofing around with Rachel or geeking out over the latest pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope, I like to read, water and snow ski, go hiking, and watch college football. I very much enjoy working with the Boy Scout Troop in our ward and can't wait until we have a little boy I can take on camp-outs and help with pinewood derby cars and merit badges.