Thursday, April 24, 2008

Start of summer va-ca (well, vacation not so much)

Okay, time to update...

So I've been home about (pause as I look at the calendar) 2 weeks now. It's been crazy. My first Sunday home, I picked up a friend from the airport who came to visit me. Why is this new? She came all the way from Russia to see me! Well, that's somewhat of an exaggeration as Rimma, my friend, was actually in Washington, D.C. for an international law competition. Her Russian team placed 9th out of 200 countries. Ha, and we make fun of the Russians.

It was actually a small miracle that we got together. We got to be close friends in high school; she was a foreign exchange student living with a really good friend of mine. Our family shared Christmas with her because her host family had other plans (weird, I know). Our friendship has been a miracle. Well, I've known about her trip for a few months and she asked me to meet her halfway to D.C. That was a no-can-do thing because it would be either a plane ticket or a down payment on a car. I know, I know, sounds a bit selfish of me, right? Well, luckily, she's already a lawyer and could afford the $300 plane ticket to Rapid City, South Dakota.

We had a blast! We ran up and down the Black Hills, stopping at the tourist traps such as Deadwood and Lead (mining and gambling communities) and of course we couldn't leave out Mt. Rushmore. We saw the Herbie car in Deadwood's Hollywood Hotel. We cozied up to Wild Bill Hickok and mourned his premature death during a game of cards. We goggled at the largest gold mine in the world (according to the visitors' center informational video). We explored the Journey Museum, tried on cowboy hats and mounted horse saddles.

Rimma's biggest amazement was the fact that the snow scattered across parts of the Rapid City area didn't melt. However, chocolate candy and crayons melted, but not the snow (granted, the candy and crayons were in the car...). She loved seeing our guinea pigs, Mixie and Tedi, and took in the wonder of our ever-present Native American culture here in South Dakota. What I love about Rimma is her child-like wonder at the simple things. We also enjoyed as a family good discussions on politics and economics and religion.

My favorite part about the trip consists of two things: one was when we attended the baptism of a little Chinese lady. It was a wonderful, powerful experience. The other was after institute when the sister missionaries handed her a Russian Book of Mormon. Of course she can read English very well, but how many of us can understand Isaiah in our native tongue of English? So I hope that with the things we talked about and the things she felt, something will happen in the future.

Well, things quieted down after Rimma left. Actually, things stayed pretty noisy (you would know if you knew my family and my crazy sisters! Okay, I'm crazy too!), but we've all been involved in our different activities. I've been working for the nicest lady in the world, Ramona Policky, who has me doing odds and ends for her until my internship starts May 6. Oh, did I mention that my best friend, Sierra, works with me too? We both agree that we have the best job ever.

Speaking of my internship, my "boss" (I think that's who it is) told me that instead of doing copy editing and layout/page design like we originally planned, I would be a reporter for the first month, working Tuesday through Saturday. I was a little disappointed; I really liked the first idea. But this is where I can overcome challenges thrown at me. I've been looking for story opportunities, and doing so has me pretty much scared out of my mind. But I can handle it. I've done worse, I'm sure.

I had an interesting experience last night: as a favor to my dad, I spoke with about 20 young men at their mid-week church activity. The subject was career exploration and planning for college. Trust me, it was interesting. Not the PowerPoint (those are never interesting, I wish I had made it up though. Except the laptop we were using screwed up the visuals...). The young men had some interesting comments — I think someone mentioned he wanted to be a ballerina, another said a professional hobo. But for the most part, they were basically attentive; I tried spicing things up by showing them a couple of videos that my roommates and I had done to show them college isn't completely a waste of time (ha, ha). I had never really done any sort of speaking/presentation with high school aged guys in a long time, so I think it was dry, and lacked punch. If I have another chance, I have been well prepared (and warned).

Well, this summer should prove exciting. Heck, if you're in a single's branch, only Spanish soap operas have more drama than that!

Stay tuned for more (and frequent) updates!