Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Heavy Dose of Nostalgia

Today my friend Heather got her mission call to Guatemala. It was really fun to she her excitement as she opened her call and read those famous few lines. I am so happy for her, but at the same time, I felt such a strong wave of nostalgia hit me that I was extremely overwhelmed. Then I got on my blog tonight and saw the post Mom did just before I returned home from Brasil-that was like a second dagger to the heart. I was doing better in recent months about not missing my mission, but now its as bad as ever. Let me just say that it was the best experience ever and means everything to me (I can say that since I am not married yet). When I look back at getting my call, it was like getting a call to the celestial kingdom. I had never heard of Salvador, I just knew that I was going to serve the Lord and I was going to a sweet tropical paradise. Up to this point in my life no words mean more to me than these: "You are hereby called to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You have been called to labor in the Brasil Salvador South Mission." Even now, I can barely type them without crying out of joy. I can't remember if we video taped when I opened my call, I don't think we did, and I am sad about that, but we have pictures and I have my memories. As you may recall when I got off the plane and reunited with all the family I was somewhat quiet. Looking back I realize that was because as happy as I was to be home and to see everyone, I was still trying to come to terms with the reality of everything that I had left behind, it meant so much to me. I testify that each mission call is given from the Lord through his servants. I felt it when I read mine, and I felt when Heather read hers today; what an incredible, sacred feeling.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Reflection on Life

This past week had me thinking a lot. I hadn't really stopped to think about how privileged I am to have the experience of spending a summer in DC. Mom reminded me that I am doing things that many people won't ever get to do in their lifetime. It has not all been about fun and games (though I have had my fair share!). I have also been able to have inspiring experiences in our nation's capital. Yes, our government is far from perfect, but I would argue that we do a pretty darn good job for the most part. On monday we had the opportunity to attend a Supreme Court session. It was, indeed, awesome in the "awe" sense of the word. Sitting inside a courtroom that seemed to resemble the temple in both architecture and solemnity, I felt honored to stand in respect for the eight justices as they entered the courtroom (justice Ginsberg was not present). Opinions were quickly read, cases involving patents, discrimination, among others, some lawyers were sworn in as new members of the bar, and the justices exited-all in a matter of no more than 25 minutes. It was pretty fast and I would have liked to see a session with arguments, but it was a great experience nonetheless.

We also had the chance to have Senator Bennett from Utah speak to us about health care and also attend a briefing from a chief-of-staff in the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. This is our government working first-hand and I have really enjoyed seeing that myself so far during my stay here. I have also come to learn that politics is not so black and white as I thought. It is about compromise, giving a little to get a little and taking one step at a time. And it really bothers me to hear people disparage politicians, especially the President. I am not happy we are involved in Iraq either, but when I hear people make degrading remarks, I lose respect for them. The men in power are all brilliant people, and it is not easy to make decisions that literally affect hundreds of millions of people and their future. Its really easy to sit back at home and gripe about the state of the country, but I find that few people have an answer or a plan. It has been refreshing to meet people who don't complain, but actually go out and strive to implement change through their actions.

A happy Father's Day to all.

Future Chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs?

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Two friends and I (J.D. and Jessie) decided to hit up Annapolis yesterday, or as cool people call it "Naptown". It is a pretty sweet town, mostly because the historicity but also because of the harbor. Our main plan was to go sailing, but there is obviously much more to do and see in the city besides sailing. J.D.'s mom happens to be a walking tour guide, so when she had a break from work, she came and gave us a little walking tour of the town and the Naval Academy. It was awesome mostly because she was dressed up colonial-style and stayed in character for most of the tour. Afterward, we caught the Schooner "Woodwind" and went for a 2-hour sailing trip on the Chesapeake Bay. We first considered manning our own vessel, but in retrospect it was probably a good thing we didn't; sailing is more difficult than I imagined. It was really nice once we got out on the Bay and the breeze gave us a break from the extremely hot and humid conditions of the day.

Our day wouldn't have been complete without seafood, so we took the bridge across the Bay and went to a restaurant for a crab feast. Crab is a lot of work for a little meat, but that's part of the experience of eating crab, and it was really good. On the way home we saw one of the craziest lighting storms I have seen in my life, we even stopped to record some of it. This area has been getting a lot of thunderstorms and tornados lately, I wasn't aware this weather was typical of the area. Definitely loved sailing though. Someday I will need to get my own boat.

Me contemplating life...

Our captain actually trusted us with the boat for few seconds.

Anchors away!