Sunday, May 23, 2010

Life Outside the Bubble

I am happy to report that I am loving life on the East Coast.
First of all, my job is good. I'm mostly working in the lab doing product development and making up samples to send to customers. The company I work for, Dairiconcepts, makes cheese and cream ingredients that go to other companies who then use it in finish products (like hot pockets and that kind of thing.) They use enzymes and other techniques to make their cheese products super strong (up to 10x the strength of normal cheese). The guys I work with are pretty relaxed and easy going. One of them has actually asked me a lot of questions about the church and my mission. It's been nice to have missionary opportunities.

Secondly I am so lucky to have my cousin and his family live about 20 minutes away. They have totally opened up their home to me and I've spent quite a bit of time with them. Clayton is finishing up his third year of medical school and he and his wife Katie have 3 little kids. They are so fun to hang out with, and it's been kind of cool to have an inside look into marriage and family life. It's good to have a realistic view of what it's like instead of this undefined "happily ever after" thing. Clay and Katie are such a good example of a good couple and great parents. I feel really at home with them, so I've managed not to get lonely yet.

Since I am doing brave things like moving across the country I've decided to continue my adventure outside my comfort zone. I wouldn't say I'm shy, but I'm a bit of a home body and I don't really like hanging out with big groups of people, especially when I don't know anyone very well. When I first got here people were telling me about the ysa trip to Kirtland, Ohio at the end of May. It sounded cool, but I didn't think I'd actually go because I don't know anyone and you also had to make your own hotel arrangements and it sounded like most people had already booked their rooms. I asked around and found a room that had an extra spot, but I still felt kind of nervous about going on such a big trip where I didn't know anyone. Luckily I made a friend at institute this week so I was able to convince myself to go. She just got home from her mission a month ago and doesn't really know anyone either. Her mom signed her up for this trip before she got home. It worked out perfectly. I just feel a connection with returned sister missionaries. I think it will be a really cool trip. We leave Friday and come back Sunday night. John Bytheway is the guest speaker so it should be a blast.
Then this weekend I also went out with a random group of ysas. I was really tempted to just stay home and watch a movie, or go to my cousins, but I decided I need to get out and actually live my life. So I drove down to York (a city about 30 minutes south of Harrisburg- it reminded me a little of the Bronx) and met up with a small group to eat dinner and go swing dancing. Not very many people came, and 2 of the 3 other girls there are still in high school (yeah I feel old) but I still had a really good time and was glad that I went. It was funny though, because I'm definitely not used to going to dances or anything where the majority of people are non-members. This one guy at the dance place asked me to dance 2 dances and then invited me to another swing dance party this week in a bar/club in Harrisburg. I found it kind of amusing, like something from a movie where a guy hits on a girl and invites her to some party. I declined (well, I told him I'd look it up on facebook...right). He was probably one of the best looking guys there, but that's not saying much. Even if it was saying something, I still would never get THAT far out of my comfort zone- it's dangerous out there!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Home Sweet Home

The "living room"

My walk-in closet. It connects off the bathroom and also has a door into the hallway in the kitchen.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


So yesterday I woke up at 4:15 am, drove to the airport, boarded a plain and flew across the country by myself. I felt very brave, very adult-like. I had a layover in Detroit and managed to find my gate, which not only was different than the one on the ticket, but was on the complete other side of the airport. It was a very long walk, especially considering my 20 lb. bag I brought as a carry-on. My suitcase weighed 50 lbs. exactly and to avoid paying an extra $35 to check another bag, I opted to put all my heavy things in a carry-on. I didn't think it would be that bad, but remind me to take a carry-on with wheels next time!
Everything went pretty smoothly, and my plane even got to Detroit almost half an hour early. However, in Detroit Delta was having some serious problems and I ended up getting to Harrisburg an hour late. Apparently our plane was in a "weight critical condition", which sounds kind of scary. They had to kick a couple people off the plane. So it took about half an hour for them to sort all that out, and then we were on the runway about another half an hour waiting for the control tower to give us a new route or something.
Eventually I made it to PA and my bosses were there waiting. They were much younger than I expected. They both seem really nice and fun. It should be a good summer. I'm looking forward to starting at my new job on Monday.
I was dropped off at my hotel-that's right, I'm spending three months in a hotel- and that included maid service and a continental breakfast. It's a pretty nice set up. I have a tiny little kitchen (which unfortunately doesn't have an oven, I guess I'll be having a lot of microwave dinners), a big closet, colorful walls, a cool green chair, a queen size bed, a bathroom all to myself... it will be nice, if not a little lonely. I have never lived alone before. I'm interested to see what it will be like. So far it's very quiet and very...clean.
Once I got up to my room I started unpacking a little, then realized I was starving. The most decent thing I had eaten that day was a bagel at 6 am and a couple of pop-tarts in the airport. Those pretzels they served on the plane didn't do much to satisfy my hunger. So I headed to Target (the company gave me a $50 gift card there). I was pleased to find that it was pretty close to the hotel, and I managed to get there without getting lost (they had a little direction card at the front desk, which obviously helped). It's hard going grocery shopping from scratch. Hopefully I bought things that will go together and make a meal. I ended up spending $90 (not just on food- I had to buy some hangers, shampoo, nylons etc.) so I was grateful that the gift card covered over half of it. When I got back to the hotel I was determined to make it up to my room on the fourth floor in one trip. I'm not sure it was worth it- I mean I had $90 worth of stuff. Opening doors and hitting elevators wasn't an easy task. I wish I could have seen how ridiculous I looked.
I thought getting up so early would help cure me of jet lag, but I didn't feel tired. I watched 27 Dresses (which was the last movie I saw before my mission) on TV 'til late and though I still didn't feel very tired I got in bed and tried to sleep. Maybe it's just hard to sleep in a new place alone... especially a hotel room. Despite the woman at the front desk telling me the fourth floor is the quietest there sure seemed to be a lot of people walking around in the hallway last night.
As I knelt down to pray last night I found myself feeling very grateful for the gospel. It is such a constant in my life, and it is comforting to know that I am not alone. I'm no further away from Heavenly Father here than I was at home in Utah. I got a blessing from my dad the night before I left and it really pointed out the importance of the Spirit. It really is such a comforting reassurance to know that the Spirit is always with me to guide me. It makes me feel safe. I can't imagine living my life without it. It was also nice to open up my Book of Mormon and read from the same spot as I had left off the night before, even though my surroundings were so different. Maybe that seems strange, but it's just nice to have an anchor like that in my life. I'm excited to go to church tomorrow.
My camera battery is charging, but I'll take some pictures and post them tomorrow.