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!