I'm sorry - I've been slack with my posts the last few days - but I've been pretty busy :) I don't have too much time on the computer at the moment now either, but I'll try and quickly give you the outline (will have to supply photos and anecdotes later!).
Left Emily's house at 4am in the morning (triple yawn!), and caught the plane to Utah. Well, first it went to San Fran, where I wandered the airport for 4 hours before boarding the plane to Utah! The flight was half an hour late, but Peta was a patient and good soul, and waited for me to appear :) We had planned to go and meet Brodi and Mike at Temple Square to get our conference tickets, but with the plane being late, and with us loosing our parking ticket (which meant the grumpy guys at the booths wouldn't let us out of the carpark - long sad story that ended with us paying $28 and having to wait 20 minutes while they filled out a lengthy and surely redundant form) - we were too late and the ticket office was closed by the time we got to SLC. Sad!
But it was lovely to see Peta, and we had lovely time doing dinner and a movie. When I also ended up catching up with Derrick late Thursday night, which was really wonderful - so excellent to see these fabulous friends again, and I love that with everyone so far it's felt as if I just saw them last week - funny how that happens!
Peta, had to work, so Derrick picked me up at 11am, and we went to one of his classes on campus (didn't want to be a bad influence and let him skip it - lol!). I loved it. loved it, loved it. It was just an American Constitution class, but I really enjoyed it - I miss school so much! It really is my favourite environment to be in. It was wonderful to drive around provo and BYU a bit with Derrick too. You'll all be really glad to know that I didn't have the emotional breakdown I was slightly concerned about having :) He had a geology class after that, but I sent him off to that alone while I went to the BYU bookstore and caught up with an old professor. I'll have to catch a couple of the others next week too, because it would be great to see them. I really have a special spot in my heart for the campus and the life I had at BYU - I feel very grateful and very blessed to think I was given the opportunity to go to BYU. As bitter as everything felt when I left here, the majority of the five years here were wonderful wonderful, and I was really lucky to be able to come.
After his classes, we shot up to SLC to meet Brodi and Mike at the conference centre and get tickets for conference. Sidenote: really like Mike, and Brodi looks very happy. Once we'd got the tickets and hung out with them for a while, D and I headed over to his brother's house in SLC to hang out for a while and wait for the rest of his family to arrive - they were all coming in for the conference weekend. We ended up hanging out with them until about 11pm that night, and had a great time. I'd met some of his family before, and it was nice to meet and hang out with the rest of them. He has a very cute nephew (though I have to say that Jordan is EVEN cuter :)).
Jenny's plane got in very late Friday night so she was feeling jetlagged, and our plan to make it to SLC for the Saturday morning session didn't quite pan out. But we did make it up to SLC for lunch with our friends Kent and Ginger (who were in our ward when we all lived at Carriage Cove. They did SUCH a beautiful fancy lunch for us, and it was so exciting to see their beautiful new townhouse and catch up with them. They've just bought a baby grand piano, and I had a hard time dragging myself away from it to eat - I want one! really, really bad! :) Then we watched the Saturday afternoon session at their house.
After that, Peta and Jenny dropped me to Jessica's house in East Salt Lake. Had such a fantastic time hanging out with Jessica and her Mom (her dad was around after the priesthood session too!). I always loved spending time at their house when I was at BYU, and so it was another trip highlight. Jess is wonderful and just the same - really hoping she makes it out to Australia soon (hint hint! hehe!). The three of us made a bunch of homemade pizzas (15 I think?!) for people in their ward who are sick at the moment. We had a dough making assembly line in place and made a fabulous and giant mess - which just made the whole thing a lot more fun :) It had the added bonus of also being an activity I can use to help pass of some of that 'Good Works' personal progress! :) Once we'd finished the pizza making (which was exhausting but very successful), we watched an episode of Phsyc (is that what it's called Jessica?!) which was really funny, and ate sweedish fish and timtams :) Jess also gave me a rundown on the whole 'egg cracking competition' her family hold every easter - it's an excellent tradition, and I'm looking forward to making my family do it next year :) We went to bed at about 11:30 or so. Jessica gave me her bed in her room and went to sleep in the spare room downstairs! I felt really bad about that! But it was really really good of them - they were wonderful hosts and had a really really fun time.
I had to get up a little early to get ready for Peta and Jenny to pick me up from Jessica's at 8am on our way down to the conference session for the Sunday morning session of General Conference. We had tickets to both sessions of conference today - and I had such a wonderful wonderful wonderful time. We all know what a wonderful trip I've had, and how lucky I've been to see amazing people and do fabulous things, but I think today, sitting in Conference and just soaking up the Spirit - I hit the highlight of my trip to date. We were there for Music and the Spoken Word, and I felt so moved - I love love that choir. If I ever, for any reason found myself living in SLC, I'd go and jump through whatever hoops I needed to for a shot at joining that choir. It's a deep down dream of mine - although I never actually expect to fulfill it :) I tell myself it's okay, because I'll just join the choirs of angels on the other side when I get there - and surely that will be even better! Their final song in Music and the Spoken word was the Halleluijah Chorus. Just Magnificent. They had asked us prior to the start that we didn't stand, since 22,000 people standing would definitely ruin the live broadcast, but it wasn't easy to stay in my seat.
Then the conference started. I felt so humbled and so grateful to be there. I don't think you have to 'be there' to feel the spirit, and I'm grateful for modern media that lets us watch it at home. But there's still something special about being there with so many people, and see and hearing the prophets and apostles speaking to us all. I loved both sessions today, but my favourite was the second session - a couple of the talks in particular really touched me, and I was a little emotional at times. The intermediate hymn this afternoon was 'I know that my Redeemer Lives'. I was so excited to stand up and sing it with everybody. 22,000 people singing hymns together is incredible. I made it loudly and proudly through the first verse, and didn't manage to sing any further - I couldn't stop crying. The words were so beautiful and really touched on the thoughts and messages of the previous couple of speakers and the tenderness I was already feeling.
So yes - conference was absolutley fabulous. I'm still feeling a little emotional actually :) But excited at all of the new things I can be working on and improving over the next 6 months. The last several years I've found myself more and more keenly looking forward to April and October each year. I hope everyone has had the chance to see it, or will see in next week - it's absolutely not to be missed.
After conference this afternoon, we went straight to Sandy, where Peta, Jenny and I went to a dinner at one of the chapels there that Mike's Tongan family were holding for Brodi. It was a really nice evening, and we enjoyed. I felt right at home too, becuase it felt exactly like every ward activity we've had over the last couple of years :)
Well, that brings me to now. I'm very tired, and looking to get an early night tonight! I've looked terrible in the photos I've taken the last several days - I'm just so tired all the time :) Actually, I think I'm still a little bit jetlagged if that's possible! I struggle to make it through every day, and then suddenly wake up at 9pm each night - all ready to go out and do something! I should have taken sleeping tablets on the plane! (Don't worry, I've already bought some ready for the flight home! Jet lag - I've suddenly discovered - is dreadful!).
Okay, I'll check out for now. Love you all lots and lots, and am really missing my family tonight. I'm having a wonderful time, but wouldn't mind a family dinner and couple of hours of chit chat about conference and the neices and nephews. It's a shame we can't teleport! Then I could see friends here whenever I wanted, and pop home whenever I wanted too :)
Please keep your comments coming - I love to read them :)