Monday, June 29, 2009

The Moth

As I suspected, this week was not incredibly memorable. So, I will start with a brief description of my roommates and what life is like at Raintree. Alec (Elder’s Quorum President) and Mitch (1st counselor) served in the same mission and were companions that really got along and had great success. They became best friends and are now roommates and both teachers at the MTC. They are both really cool, but they aren’t around a lot. A possible reason is that they are both engaged and getting married in the next month or so. Mitch’s younger brother has been staying at my apartment this past week for BYU football and he is a good guy—it has been fun getting to know him. My other roommate is Alex and he is a really nice guy who has been really friendly and helpful, helping to show me around church and then helping me find my way to ward prayer. All in all they are all really friendly and nice and I’m privileged to have such good roommates.

As for life at Raintree, I’m finding it a lot more…liberal…than Wyview. It doesn’t seem as if the students here care as much about the rules as those at Wyview. My roommates have had people stay over past curfew without my permission, fireworks go off every night, etc. (I should have taken it as a sign when I first entered the apartment and there was a large cardboard cutout of President Obama). I have been learning to deal with these few minor issues. The hardest part of the whole experience is that my roommates don’t seem to like A/C so the apartment is always unbearably hot and my bed is uncomfortable, making it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. But, I have been learning to adjust and things are getting better each day. My ward seems like a lot of fun—there aren’t that many people in the ward. I have enjoyed many of the talks and lessons that I have heard both Sundays I have attended, including lessons from both Alec and Mitch in Elder’s quorum.

Kind of a funny story is that I woke up on Sunday morning and Mitch was on his way out the door. He asked me if I knew where the church was and I said I had no idea. So he proceeded to give me rough directions to the church building. I expected that the church building would be close and easy to find, so I didn’t pay as much attention to his directions as I should have. So, as I was driving, I quickly found myself lost. But, I struggled to remember Mitch’s directions and was able to find my way there (surprised to travel past University Mall since I didn’t realize it would be that far). The only problem was that there are two church buildings in that parking lot, so I wasn’t sure which was the right building. So I kept going back and forth between buildings for some clue as to which was the right ward. My first clue was when I saw only couples with young children going into one building—I figured my ward must be in the other building. Luckily, as I was going down the hall of that building, Alec was walking in the other direction and told me where the chapel was where my ward meets.

Besides that, this week has been mainly focused on work. I am learning what it’s like to work full time and it was a little difficult to adjust to. But, I feel that I’m now getting the hang of it and I’m starting to actually enjoy my schedule. This is my schedule: I get up at 6:00am, leave my apartment at 7:30am and walk to work (in order to get some exercise) and then I work until my lunch break at noon where I eat lunch (shocking, I know) and read a couple chapters out of the current book I’m reading. Then I go back to work until 5 and then walk home. It isn’t too terribly exciting, but I’m learning to enjoy parts of it (like listening to a great album during my walk to work and back and being able to read my book).

Speaking of great albums, one came out this week! It is called Black Clouds and Silver Linings and it is by Dream Theater—one of my all time favorite bands. This is one of the best albums they have created, I love every bit of it, and it has been awesome getting into this week. I broke my walking habit on Tuesday, and actually drove my car to work so that I could go and purchase this CD during my break. I was smiling as I drove back to work, playing the CD loud in my car. It was a great moment of the week. I’m so excited because I get to see them live at the end of August, and I’m hoping they will play some songs from this album.

Besides my regular schedule, nothing else terribly interesting happened. I got to watch a great movie with Kevin called Big Fish. I love that movie a lot and I was very pleased that Kevin enjoyed it as well. It is important for me to be able to have these little breaks throughout the week in order to do something fun, so I was grateful for that chance to hang out with Kevin.

I guess I’ll end this post with the most meaningful part of my week, which is what happened yesterday (Sunday). I learned two things in Sacrament meeting that I really needed to learn: Hope and Humility. I believe these are two things I truly need to work on and I’m going to focus on them for the next few weeks. I am often pessimistic and think the worst will happen in every situation. I also tend to get depressed about the flaws that I have and think that there isn’t any possible way I can overcome them. If I have hope, I can conquer these negative feelings and be able to improve and think of things in a more positive light. Regarding humility, I am prideful because I’m constantly concerned about what people think about me and I often don’t do things that I should because I’m afraid I’ll embarrass myself in some way. I need to not be this way, and stop caring so much about what other people think of me, and worry more about how I think about myself and if I am doing what God wants me to do.

I also had a talk with my roommate and Elder’s quorum president and decided as I talked to him that I need to be more consistent regarding scripture study and prayer. So, I am challenging myself to have meaningful scripture study every day (I’ve decided to do this as soon as I get home from work) and to pray every morning and night. I think that this will help me feel the influence of the Spirit more throughout my day and week, which is something I’ve desperately needed. I really want to change, and I know it is going to be a struggle at times when I want to do something else rather than completing my goal, but overcoming the temptations will make me that much stronger.

This brings to mind a quote from an episode of Lost that I watched last night. The episode was called “The Moth” and it is one of my all time favorite episodes. In the episode Charlie is attempting to quit his drug habit with the assistance of a man named John Locke. Locke takes Charlie’s drugs away, but the withdrawal symptoms are too much for Charlie, so he comes to Locke to ask for his drugs back. Locke refuses and says that he’ll give them back only after Charlie asks for them back for a third time. Charlie comes back a second time, his withdrawal symptoms getting worse and Locke takes the opportunity to teach Charlie a valuable lesson by using an example of a moth. Here are the exact words from the episode that Locke says (since they do a better job of explaining it than I ever could):

“That's a moth cocoon. It's ironic, butterflies get all the attention; but moths -- they spin silk, they're stronger, they're faster…You see this little hole? This moth's just about to emerge. It's in there right now, struggling. It's digging its way through the thick hide of the cocoon. Now, I could help it, take my knife, gently widen the opening, and the moth would be free. But it would be too weak to survive. The struggle is nature's way of strengthening it.”

This is exactly how I feel right now about my new goals. It may be a struggle at times, but the struggle will be a way of strengthening me so that I am stronger the next time I am faced with a trial or goal. Charlie is able to take this message to heart and ends up asking for the drugs a third time in order to throw them in the fire. His struggle with drug addiction has been difficult, but being able to overcome it makes him a stronger person. I hope that in a month or so I’ll be able to be a stronger person as well, made strong by struggling to complete a goal and succeeding.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Getting Unsettled and Resettled

This past week mainly involved finals and moving. Nothing too incredibly exciting. On Monday I attended my last class of the Spring semester and it was largely…uninteresting. Afterwards I attended the final FHE of the semester and it went pretty well. We decided to have it outside at a nearby picnic bench and we played clue while shielding ourselves from flying volleyballs (a group of people were playing volleyball right next to us). Since there were so many people in our group, we had to team up to play clue. Me and Rob were Mr. Green, and unfortunately we didn’t win, but we got close. It was that terrible Ms. Scarlet—she’s trouble if you ask me. After that we had brownies where a member of our group decided to eat her brownie by putting her face in the pan and eating it straight out of the pan. A guy walked up after seeing this and ended up doing the same thing (with permission of course). I was just glad to have grabbed my brownie before this craziness started.

Studying for finals went pretty well. I did really well on my finals—the best scores I’ve gotten on any test this semester. For Psych 306 I got a perfect score on the multiple choice section, so it’ll all come down to the essay portion to determine if I get an A in the class. In my other Psychology class I got a solid B on the final (which was good for me since I’ve been averaging high C’s and low B’s on the tests thus far in the course). That leaves me with a B in the class, and I will take it. It was a little disappointing of a test because I felt really good about it as I was taking it and felt like I deserved an A. Oh well, it was not meant to be. Also, I had an embarrassing moment in the testing center right before I started this final. I got into the test-taking room and it was completely packed with students taking finals. So, I waited a bit until someone got up from the seat, and I went to go take his seat. As I am squeezing between rows of seats I hear a small scream of pain and stop to notice that a girl’s hair is stuck in one of my shirt buttons. I tried to gently pull her hair out, but I’m sure it was painful and damaging to her hair. It was not a great start to taking that test; maybe my negative feelings of embarrassment affected my test score.

After that, more craziness ensued as I had to pack my things and clean my apartment before mandatory move out time of Friday morning at 10. To start off our apartment cleaning session, Ogden and I went and got Papa John’s pizza. Then, we cleaned for several hours that night. I felt really bad for my roommate David. He was busy until 10pm checking other people out of their apartments since he is the R.A. and then he still had a final to complete that was due at midnight! So, he didn’t get to cleaning until really late and he ended up having to stay up almost the whole night. I did my cleaning and went to bed around 2:00 only to get up at 6:00 the next day to finish packing my car and my cleaning duties. It was a tiring process, but I was happy with the job I did at the end of it all. I was sad to leave my roommates—along with my best friend Kevin and my first college roommate Steven, these are the best roommates I have ever had. It is a shame that it had to be for the shortest semester I’ve ever had at BYU. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll see them around.

Friday was an interesting day because I was homeless. My new apartment wasn’t available to be moved in to until Saturday morning at 10AM. Luckily, I have a great friend named Kevin who was willing to let me stay over at his house (with his parent’s approval of course). The only problem was that Kevin worked until 10PM that night, so I had to find things to do until 10PM that night. I worked at my job until about 1:30 and then left to catch a movie called Year One. It was pretty entertaining, but not a movie I would recommend or see again. After this, I decided to visit Wyview again in order to do some laundry. After dropping off my laundry, I went and saw another movie called Land of the Lost. In my opinion, this was even worse than Year One. I think that may be because there was a smaller crowd that did not laugh at all during the jokes. After this, I decided to grab some dinner at Five Guys and then go change my laundry out at the Wyview Laundromat. While I was waiting for my clothes to dry, I ate my dinner and read my book.

After drying, I folded my clothes and then got in my car and drove to FYE. Since I had some time, I went through all the CDs in the store just to see if I’d come across anything interesting. I didn’t—In fact the most interesting thing about it was probably the fact that the music playing in the store constantly skipped the whole time I was there. I also found a good deal I couldn’t pass up—buy one get one free for season 1 and 2 of Arrested Development! Sweet! After that I went to Deseret Book and waited in the car for Kevin to get off work and followed him to his house where I slept that night. It was an interesting day.

Saturday morning I left Kevin’s house and moved in to my new apartment. The odd part about moving in was that I was not completely sure what room was mine. There was one room that was obviously occupied, so I knew that couldn’t be it. Then there was a room that was mostly empty except for several books on the bookshelf. Then, there was a third room with the door closed. I was worried that my roommate might be sleeping in the closed door room, so I just decided to go for the mostly empty room which ended up being the right choice. My roommates are really cool, they happen to be the Elder’s Quorum President, 1st Counselor and Ward Clerk in the ward, so I’m pretty spiritually covered in this new apartment. Saturday was mainly spent moving things in my new apartment and relaxing from the difficult week.

And, I think I’m going to end here because this entry is getting really long and I anticipate that the next week is going to be fairly uneventful, so I’ll leave the events of Sunday for next week’s entry. So, I’m doing well, just getting settled in my new living arrangement. And that is all for this week. Until next time—peace out!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Adventures of the Week

Hmm…what happened this past week? After the excitement of the last two weeks (my cousin’s wedding and Kevin’s birthday) this week was fairly laid back and normal, which I was actually grateful for. Last Monday, I was in charge of Family Home Evening (my FHE “wife” was too busy with school to be there) and I think it went well. My roommate, David, really came through with the lesson—he truly did a great job. After that, I didn’t have an activity planned, so I just left it open for us all to discuss what we would like to do. We decided to play four square, which actually ended up being a lot of fun! I don’t think I’ve played four square since elementary school! The only sad part about the whole experience was that I had to leave early to meet with my partner to prepare a presentation we would be giving the next day.

The presentation was on Purdah and it was for my Psychology of Gender class. It ended up being a really interesting topic to study, and perhaps a little too broad because we had trouble compacting all the material we learned into a 15 minute presentation. I think we even went over a little during our presentation, giving the following group less time for their presentation. I am naturally shy, so it is not easy for me to stand in front of the class and give a presentation, but I think it went rather well. I was able to articulate everything that I had prepared and the teacher even commented afterwards that it was a good presentation. She also said, “I don’t mean to embarrass you, Nathan, but it’s nice to finally hear you talk!” I wasn’t sure if I should take that as a compliment or an insult…

On Thursday in the same class we had a party of sorts where various class members brought treats for the class to share. I discovered something I really like—blueberry bagels! Somebody brought a huge box of bagels and they were fantastic, along with blueberry flavored cream cheese. We also discussed what we enjoyed most about the class and the teacher pointed me out again by saying “You always have such good ideas in your papers I wish you would speak up more in class.” Once again, I wasn’t sure how to take that comment, I guess I should just be glad that she thinks I have good ideas. I finally spoke up by mentioning what I learned from the class. I said that I learned that it is ok for people to not completely conform to the gender roles that are present in society. I have some qualities that could be considered feminine (shyness, sensitive, not a big sports fan), and there is nothing wrong with that as long as I’m comfortable with who I am.

The only other notable thing that comes to mind about this past week is that I went and saw the new Pixar movie, Up, twice—once with Kevin, and then again with both Kevin and Erin. It is one of my new favorite movies, and is now definitely my favorite Pixar movie. It has a perfect blend between comedy and emotion. It is a movie that makes you laugh out loud at one moment and then cry the next. I love a movie (or a show) that can bring such emotions out of me.

SPOILER ALERT!—I’m going to discuss important plot points for the movie, if you haven’t seen it, I advise you to skip to the next paragraph.
I was so touched by the message in “Up”, I feel this entry would be incomplete without at least a paragraph explaining why it touched me. So, please stop reading this paragraph if you haven’t seen “Up”! The main character of the movie is Carl Fredrickson, and his life from a small boy to an old man is shown in the first 15 minutes or so of the movie. He meets a girl, they get married, and they have a shared goal of someday traveling to a place called Paradise Falls in South America. She has an adventure book that shows pictures of this exotic location and a section that is left open for pictures and notes of the adventures they will have. Well, life gets in the way and they end up not being able to go on this trip to South America as planned, and she ends up dying. So, Carl decides to go on the trip anyways in her honor. He attaches thousands of balloons to his house and flies there in an attempt to try to place his house right on the top of Paradise Falls as is shown in the Adventure Book. Well, Carl ends up just short of this location and feels a failure, and ends up looking at the Adventure Book, feeling sad about not fulfilling his promise to his wife about going to Paradise Falls. Well, as he is looking through the book he discovers there are already pictures in the section that was for the adventures they would have. These pictures are of him and his wife and all the things they did in their time together. At the end is a note that says, “Thanks for the adventure, now go have one of your own.” This part touches me because it shows that it is not important what the adventure is, but who you have it with. It is the personal relationships that we form that really matter in life, not going to some exotic location. Life is already an adventure, and what truly matters it who you share it with, not what you do. This was a profound lesson to me and taught me that I can have an exciting and fulfilling life here and now without travelling to exotic locations.

On Saturday night I attended the final activity for my ward, which was food from a place called Costa Vida (I think) and a talent show. The talent show was great and it made me realize that I’ll miss this ward even though I’ve only been in it for about 2 months. The highlights to me were a guy singing a Russian folk song and a great piano piece—Reverie by Debussy. It was a fun night, but I wasn’t able to stay too long because I had to meet up with Kevin and Erin to go see Up. The next day on Sunday, I really enjoyed church and was happy to be able to get all my home teaching done after church. I ended up giving the lesson at these home teaching appointments at the last minute, and I think it went well. I taught about prayer and related a story from my mission that really was a testimony builder of prayer for me. At night we had our final ward prayer, which was a little sad, and then I went to bed.

And that is pretty much it for the week! This week is going to be a little tough because I have to complete my finals and get moved out of my apartment and moved into a new apartment. I’m going to be homeless for a night because I have to move out of one apartment Friday at 10AM and can’t move into the new one until Saturday at 10AM. Luckily I have a great friend, Kevin, who is willing to let me stay over at his house that night so I should be fine. All in all it was a great week, and I look forward to the next one!

P.S. I forgot to mention the incredible performance show on Wednesday night of So You Think You Can Dance! I usually am not a huge dance fan, but I was blown away with many of the dances that night. I’m excited for the season! I also wanted to mention that I’m addicted to a new CD—It is called Frequency by IQ and I highly recommend it! Expect to see it reviewed soon in my other blog, “The Leviathan”. Ok, that is all. Have fun!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Kevin's Birthday!

What a great week it has been! It started on sort of a low note, though. Last Monday I had just gotten back from Arizona from the trip for my cousin’s wedding, and I had a big test to study for and take. After getting home from work at 12, I spent about 4 and a half hours studying Psychology of gender. Then, I went to go take the test at the testing center. This test involves writing 5 essays, and I only had 2 hours before the testing center closed at 7, so it was a stressful time getting it all done. I managed to finish all my essays, but I didn’t feel so confident about what I had written—I still have yet to see what I got on the test. When I got back home, I walked in on the middle of FHE and joined my FHE group for a game of Jenga. It was pretty impressive how high we were able to stack the blocks. We played a different version where each row has 5 blocks instead of 3 blocks, and I think it made it more fun. After FHE I just relaxed, satisfied that I had been able to get my test done in time.

After that, the week was pretty easy. I was pretty much just preparing for my trip with Kevin to Disneyland—making sure that all my homework was finished. The trip to Disneyland for Kevin’s birthday was great! It was an awesome opportunity to hang out with my best friend at his favorite place on earth and to be able to see my family. On Friday night we got to my house without any complications on the drive, and had my favorite meal and watched So You Think You Can Dance. I love these moments with my family where we just sit down and watch a show and interact and visit while the show is playing. After that, we went to bed so that we would be well rested for Disneyland the next day.

On Friday, Kevin’s birthday, we went to Disneyland in the morning and we were worried about the weather and that it might rain while we were at Disneyland. It even sprinkled a bit as we drove there. I was also a little worried about running into traffic and getting to Disneyland late. Luckily there wasn’t really any traffic and the weather cleared up and it ended up being a really nice day! The only thing was that the usual parking lot was full, so we were redirected to a different parking lot, which made me worried that it would be extremely crowded at Disneyland. This wasn’t true either, as all the lines we were in were really short. So, all in all, the conditions were perfect for a great Disneyland trip!

One of the funniest parts about the whole experience to me is that Kevin got in free for his birthday so he got a button that said his name and that it was his birthday. Because he had this button on, people constantly said “Happy Birthday, Kevin!” throughout the whole day. And, what was funny to me was that it wasn’t only people working at Disneyland, it was also normal customers saying it to him as well. It made me feel a little less special the whole day, but I’m glad for Kevin that he was able to get all the attention on his birthday. Another funny example of this is when we ate lunch at the Blue Bayou, our waiter would always refer to Kevin by his name and would just call me “you”. I enjoyed it all, I don’t like being the center of attention anyways.

One of the greatest surprises for Kevin was that the ride “Peter Pan’s Flight” was open, even though it was supposed to be closed. I joked around while we were in line that I was responsible for getting the ride open as a special gift for his birthday. I was really happy for him that he got to go on one of his favorite rides. We went on all the rides that we usually go on and they were all a lot of fun as they usually are. We had a really funny tour guide on the Jungle Cruise which made that ride memorable. That ride depends on how funny the tour guide is, so we got lucky on that one. Our lunch at the Blue Bayou was fantastic, I had one of the best steaks I have ever eaten. For dessert, they unfortunately didn’t have the pirate ship birthday cake that Kevin kept talking about, but they did have a cookie shaped like a pirate ship with ice cream—it was super good!

Kevin went on Splash Mountain four times while I waited outside since I’m not a fan of large dips on rides. I was glad that he was able to go on his new favorite ride and that I didn’t hold him back—especially on his birthday. I was a little sad that some of his favorite experiences from the trip were the few times I wasn’t there with him, but I really am glad he had such a great time and honestly I probably needed the rest since I am not as physically fit as Kevin. Even though the park didn’t seem so crowded due to shorter lines, the shops as we were leaving were incredibly crowded! I don’t handle big crowds very well, so I had to wait outside for part of the time while Kevin was in there shopping for souvenirs. I was a little sore walking out of Disneyland, but I really enjoyed the experience and more than anything I’m glad that Kevin was able to have fun on his birthday—that was my main goal going in, so, mission accomplished!

The next day I slept in (probably a little too much) and spent the day mostly with my family, since Kevin left to go see his family. I had a nice long talk with my mom (about my flaws and what I need to do to improve my life) and then I watched Bolt with my mom and sister. I picked up Kevin at the Troncales and we picked up Golden Spoon and had a nice little final talk with my mom that seemed to end up with us talking about the frustration of our former roommate. The next day, we had a nice drive back home, and were even able to stop at In-N-Out in St. George on the way back (man, I need to not talk about food so much!).

So, I think I’ll stop there for now. It was a fun trip and I’m glad that Kevin had a great time! I really enjoyed the trip, and even though it is difficult getting back into work and school, the trip was definitely worth it! We also have another trip planned at the end of July/beginning of August to see Rewiring Genesis and Spock’s Beard for my birthday, so that should be a lot of fun! I am happy and there are many things to look forward to. :D

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My Cousin's Wedding

This has actually been a pretty interesting week for a change! Mainly it involved attending my cousin’s wedding in Flagstaff, Arizona. But, more on that in a bit. First I want to talk about the days leading up to the wedding. The days before I left for the wedding were tough because I was trying hard to get everything done for school. The most difficult day was the day before I left—Thursday. I am to blame for this, though, because I should have done more work in the earlier days of the week so that it all didn’t fall on Thursday. Part of the reason was that I let my roommate borrow the fourth season of Lost since he wasn’t sure if he has seen all the episodes, and I find myself unable to resist watching Lost when it is on in the apartment. This has caused me to get to bed a lot later than I should and made the week more difficult than it should have been. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you look at it) my roommate has finished the fourth season, so it won’t be a temptation anymore.

Thursday, I had my class in the morning, and then work in the early afternoon. After work I went straight to Jiffy Lube to get an oil change so that my engine wouldn't burn up as I drove to Arizona. Then, I went home to study for a test I had to take that night. It was a very intense study session, involving doing nothing but focusing my attention on studying for about 4 hours straight (while doing my laundry at the same time). After studying, I went to go take the test on campus, and didn’t do as well as I was hoping. I think I was just tired and my head was swimming with all the knowledge I tried to cram that it was all jumbled up in my head. I learned from this that cramming for a test is never a good idea. After taking the test, I decided to take it easy for the rest of the night and had dinner at Sonic and hung out with Kevin for a while.

The next day (Friday) I began my journey to Arizona. I printed off the directions from MapQuest and they looked pretty long and complicated, which worried me. What I did to help keep me on track with the directions was to keep track of how many miles I had gone since the last change in direction, and I knew the next change would occur when I was approaching the amount of miles mapquest says that step would take. Well, I was approaching a turn, but I was still several miles off from where I should be when I approached this turn according to mapquest, so I kept going straight, passing the turn. When I went several miles over where I should be, I determined that I missed the turn and went back to where I should turn, and continued on my way. The drive from that point on was pretty tough. It was a one lane highway, so it was frustrating when I would end up behind a slow moving vehicle. The only way to pass is to go into the lane going the opposite way (which is scary) or to wait for a passing lane to appear (which sometimes doesn’t come for a while). So, it made for a pretty crazy drive, the cool part though was that I got to see a lot of beautiful scenery, including driving over a huge canyon that looked beautiful.

My second mistake occurred when I was in Flagstaff. I got really confused by the directions, which said to turn left onto I-40 Blvd. I never found that street, and I just kept going straight as highway 89 turned into Route 66. I was getting desperate when I noticed that the street I was on was Milton. I recognized that name from the directions, and was able to find my way to the hotel by skipping over the directions (about 5-6 steps) until it said to go onto Milton St. I was amazed that I ended up in the right place, even though I completely didn’t follow at least 5 steps on the direction sheet. I guess I’m just lucky! After the whole crazy drive, I met up with my family at a restaurant called Bunhuggers and we had a late lunch (I had an awesome patty melt and we all shared fries, onion rings, and fried zucchini). We then went to Target to pick up a few things, and went to the hotel to chill a little and then get ready for the rehearsal dinner for the wedding.

The rehearsal dinner was a lot of fun! There were tons of people there. I’m not a huge fan of being in the middle of huge crowds, but it was great to see a lot of family members that I don’t get to see too often. The food was really good, and I had some good moments talking with each of my family members (except perhaps my mom since she was so busy getting things set up). After the dinner, we basically went back to the hotel room and went to bed so that my mom, dad, and Alex could get up early to help set up the wedding reception.

In the morning, only Lauren and I stayed behind in the hotel room while the rest of the family left to set up the reception. After getting ready, Lauren and I left to go get a late breakfast, but all the restaurants seemed super crowded, so I just drove through McDonalds to get us lunch, since that is my sister’s favorite fast food place. On the way back to the hotel room, a huge storm started up and it even started hailing! My sister and I ran from the car into the hotel while being pelted by rather large hail. As we ate lunch in the hotel room, the rain and hail seemed to get more and more intense and there soon was also lightning and thunder! It was pretty intense, and we just sat in the room and watched a few episodes of Spongebob waiting for the rest of the family to come back.

Well, the rest of the family came back and they were stressed out (particularly my mom) because the reception was supposed to be outside in the backyard of this huge mansion, but due to the weather, they were going to have to move it inside the church where the ceremony was taking place. So, the work they did basically was all for nothing, and now there was going to be a mad dash to get everything set up in between the ceremony and the reception. So, we got ready, went to the ceremony, and it was great! One of the highlights for me was a slideshow put together by my uncle about Trevor and Jenelle, from childhood to current. It was really touching, and then the ceremony started and the pastor said some great things about the importance of marriage and what each partner needs to do to make a marriage work. It was great to see how in love my cousin and her husband are and to see their commitment to each other.

After the ceremony, we all pitched in to set up the reception. It was a lot of craziness, and I found it best to stay out of the way unless I was needed to grab something from the kitchen or help someone lift something. But, the set-up ended up being really nice with some great snacks set up including fruit, pasta salad, shrimp, and cheese and crackers. It was a small room to fit so many people, so there wasn’t really anywhere to sit inside, which made it a little uncomfortable, but it was great to be amongst family and to see everybody so happy for the joyous occasion. Instead of the traditional wedding cake, there were cupcakes, and they were really good! It was a really great reception. After helping to clean up when it was over, my family went to the hotel room to rest from the busy day. My dad got KFC and we ate while watching episodes of The Office. It was a great time as we all enjoyed each other’s company. I love being with my family!

The next morning, we all went to Coco’s for one last meal together and it was really great. I had an omelette that was really good, and we all had fun talking to each other. It was sad to say goodbye as we drove off in separate directions, but I will see them again this weekend, so it isn’t a very long goodbye. The drive home ended up being really easy, and I pretty much just went straight to bed when I got home so that I would be well rested for the day of studying that was to await me the next day. But, I’ll get to that next week…

So, all in all, it was a great weekend and an awesome opportunity to be able to see my family. I am really proud of my cousin and know that she has made the right choice in getting married. Trevor is a really great guy and him and Jenelle make an excellent couple. I know they will have a long bright future together.