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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Please excuse my extensive absence

I've had a rough past few weeks. It's not been easy, and it isn't getting any easier; however, this past weekend was amazing. So, before I catch up on my life the past few weeks, I'll tell y'all about my awesome weekend.

It starts last Friday (June 29). Right as I clocked out at work, Joey, one of the other YSA Reps in my Stake, called me and asked me if I was going to go to the South Florida YSA Conference. I told him I couldn't afford it and that it was already too late for me to request the weekend off. He told me He'd spot me the fee, and told me to just go ask for the weekend off. I kept refusing, but he is as stubborn as I am, and he hadn't been working all day.  Well, I asked JR if I could take off the weekend, and he said yeah. Well, I told Joey, and registered for conference.

So Conference. It's a 95-110 minute drive from Daytona to the Deseret Ranch. (The Church owns this ranch- it's the largest cattle ranch east of the Mississippi River and one of the largest in the US) We made it in 70.

Friday, when we arrived, I noticed something that I had expected but hadn't fully realized: I didn't really know anyone, and most everyone there was from a very different culture than I'm from; everyone I could see was Hispanic. (Let it be known I'm not a racist, but previous experience had told me I usually don't mesh well with Hispanic culture.) Well, I registered, set up my little section of the cabin, ate dinner and hung out before the dance. I chatted with a few people, mostly those I knew already like Caroline. During the dance, I mostly sat and talked with Will (My group leader, with whom I would become great friends), Danny/Elaina and John. Near the end of the dance my social anxieties were killing me, so I decided to hit the showers before everyone else and call it a night. (Please note I did dance a few songs.)

Saturday, I woke up annoyed. Someone in my cabin snored at around 90db all night. It wasn't pleasant. I decided to just stay awake after only 3 hours of sleep. Joey joined me a few minutes later. Soon John, Richard, Joey and I were moving tables and helping set up for breakfast. After breakfast, we broke off into our groups. First, we introduced ourselves, and discussed our skit for that night. Then we had our fist class. It was about communication and resolving issues. Kinda. The second class started with an old EFY game: Everyone grabs hands with two random people, and then you have to untangle yourselves. Well, this game actually went pretty well. I grabbed hands with two people close to me, so I was untangled after about 2 minutes; The remaining 20 minutes was spent trying to help everyone else untangle. (One of the people I was holding on to was Elaina, Danny's GF. Later I walked up to him and said "I got to hold hands with your girl for like 20 minutes dude!) After we got untangled, we read the vision of The Tree of Life and discussed it.  After that we had a little bit of free time and lunch, followed by more free time. We (my group) then painted the dinning pavilion After were finished painting, before our last class, one girl in my group, Shoushig, who is training to sing Opera, had a funny conversation with me:

"You listen to a lot of Country, don't you?"
 "No, not really. I listen to Southern Rock, but not Honky-Tonk western, no."
"Oh. You look like you would. What music do you listen to?"
"Uhm, Blues, Jazz, Classical..."
"You don't listen to Classical"
"Yes I Do."
"Who's your Favorite composer?"
"What did you expect, Beethoven?"

Don't judge a book by it's cover, people. I was raised on Classical music.

Our last class was at the COPE course. Everything went pretty smooth, except for the last trust fall. The kid was so scared to fall that he actually couldn't' bring him self to do it. When he eventually did, he fell sideways, directly at Elaina. Bless her heart, she tried to catch him by herself. She didn't even slow him down. (He's at least TWICE her weight.) After all the fun and spirit of classes, we had free time. I had planned on going to the waterside. I ended up throwing a football with Sunny. We talked and threw the football for the entire free time. After dinner, our group got together and planned our skit. Then all four groups did the skits and we had a great time. We ended the night with a small fire and EFY games. I showed Sunny a Lindsey Stirling video and a couple of Rifftrax videos.

Sunday was to cool. After breakfast we had a sacrament meeting and and testimony meeting. Then we had a group picture and said our goodbyes.

Something amazing happened though. When I arrived, I felt out of place and uncomfortable. When I left, I felt like I was leaving my family. I was leaving behind people the I genuinely loved. It amazed me- everyone there just welcomed me in and befriended me. There were no strangers in that group. Facebook says that as of right now, I've added 23 friends this week. All but one of them are from this conference. A few of the people I never even talked to. I'm so glad I got to go. Between everything that I learned, felt, and experienced, this was the best thing to happen to me in years. Joey and I are planning to head down to Miami before he leaves on his mission. I can't wait. I wanna see these people again.


  1. That's so awesome. I've never been to a big YSA conference besides stake conference. It's not quite the same, but I feel similar with my ward this semester. I totally felt like a kindergartner playing relief society president, no idea what the crap I was doing, hoping to not mess up at the beginning of the semester. Now at the end, I feel like the ward is my family and my best friends. I'm really really sad to leave it. I'll miss a lot of people.

  2. Great post, glad someone blogged about it. I had a great time too and have over 50 new friends on Facebook. Will go again next year if they have it there. Aracely and the others did a great job organizing it.