a collection of certainly special, uniquely unusual, and equally momentous thoughts: memoirs of me

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Who knew Sandusky, OH, could be this fun?

What happens when you mix adorable friends + a three day weekend + a road trip to Ohio + and a humongous amusement park filled with some of the biggest roller coasters in the world?

It equals one of the funnest weekends in the world.

This last weekend I went with:

Him (Chris B.)

and her (Kathryn)
and him (Chris M.)
and her (Kristi)
and her (Melanie)

We piled into two cars, drove all the way to Sandusky, OH, and spent two entire days at Cedar Point Amusement park.

I almost died and went to heaven it was so much fun.

Have I mentioned that Cedar Point has the 2nd tallest and 2nd fastest roller coaster in the world right now?

The Top Thrill Dragster goes 0-120 mph in 3.4 seconds and reaches 420 feet.

It was crazy fun.

And that was only the Dragster. My favorite coaster was called the Millenium Force which we ended up going on a total of 4 times. A huge climb, an even bigger drop and so many twists and turns to make anyone cry in delight.

All the lines allowed plenty of talking time with my new friends and by Saturday evening we were laughing, dancing, teasing, and crying from fun.

It’s time like these that I can’t believe I have the life I do. I get to associate with intelligent, witty, encouraging, good-influencing, adorable people that I grow to love so quickly.

Thanks friends for the magical and thrilling weekend. Let’s do it again soon eh?

Oh and next time remind me to leave my cell phone in the car so it doesn’t fall out of my pocket on the Millenium Force and fall to its death okay?

Yeah that really happened.

Oh how I love NYC

Have I mentioned that I’ve never had so much fun in my life?

The first couple months after moving here were rough, like moving to a brand new place always is. But then I made friends, and more friends, and more friends. I really started bonding with my roommates and loving them and doing more and more with them. I started feeling good and figuring out who I am in this big crazy town.

The adventures are endless here. Every day there’s some social activity going on. Every weekend people are going on trips to this place and that.

A couple weekends ago my roommates and I wanted to celebrate Katie Bell’s birthday and what better way to celebrate a girls birthday then a weekend trip to New York City? So that’s what we did.

Although I had been up to the city only a month before, this trip ended up being completely different with different sites and new delicious food.

We ate breakfast at Chelsea Market, which quickly became one of my favorite places ever. Not only was our panini-grilled cheese biscuit absolutely delicious but all the little shops selling different flavors of olive oil or sea salt, homemade jewelry and scarves, and homemade cupcakes, was all so fun to look at and dream of filling my future home with.

Other highlights included a quick trip to the Brooklyn flee market, a long stroll along 5th Avenue where I got my makeup done at Hendi Bendel, and seeing the Addams Family later that night.

However, the best part of the entire trip was a stop at Café Lalo, famously known as the café in You’ve Got Mail where Tom Hanks surprises Meg Ryan when she’s waiting for her online pen pal to show up. It’s the scene where she has the long stemmed rose and Pride and Prejudice waiting on the table. It was absolutely adorable and even quainter than in the movie. I ordered a crème brulee in a heart shaped ramekin. Our legs were tired, our feet achy, but sitting there in that fairy tale café with two gorgeous friends…it was one of those moments of bliss and happiness.

The only thing left to do on Sunday was go for a long walk through Central Park and with one more glance behind us we headed back to DC already planning our next trip to the Big Apple.

Have I mentioned that I’ve never had so much fun in my life?

Taye's Baptism

I had only been here maybe a week or so when I had the opportunity to go out with the sister missionaries for the first time. I was coming up on my two year anniversary of being home from my own mission and had been praying for a long time that when I moved here to DC I would be presented with missionary opportunities.

I walked to the church one weekday afternoon and could see a man standing in front of the chapel before I arrived. He was wearing a nice white collared shirt and nice dress slacks. His skin was as dark as a chocolate bar and as I came closer and introduced myself I immediately recognized his striking eyes.

That was the first time I met Taye (pronounce Ty).

Our lesson that afternoon with the missionaries was amazing. In fact, when it was all over and Taye left I turned to the sisters and said something like, “You’re kidding right? He’s golden!”

And he was.

Although he had his ups and downs, Taye was ready. He was one of those so ready for the gospel that when it was finally presented to him he just ate it up. And eat he did. He started reading the Book of Mormon immediately and didn’t stop. He understood the lessons and already knew how to pray. He didn’t have any problems with commandments like the Word of Wisdom or the Law of Chastity.

Several weeks later we had another lesson with Taye. This time we met him at a bus stop. It was near twilight and we had to teach fast so the sisters could get home in time for curfew. We sat on some cement steps right there in front of the bus stop and taught him from the scriptures. The wind was blowing softly. The sun was setting. The spirit was so strong. It took me right back to Texas and my own mission. I yearned to wear my nametag again, the one with my name right by Christ’s name. I yearned to feel the spirit that strong in my life again. I yearned for more opportunities to teach the gospel so I could feel like this more often. I yearned to be with my Latino people again and be speaking my language.

When the sisters told me that his baptism was scheduled for a Saturday morning at 9 am I groaned a little. The fact that the chapel was a half hour away didn’t help either.

I arrived a little late but got to hear the speaker end his talk. Taye was dressed in all white and seated up front. Within a couple minutes it was time for the baptismal ordinance. He followed the missionary into the water, put his arms in the right position, and we all listened to the prayer that was offered. He slid down into the water and rose……a clean man.

I felt that familiar pounding of my heart in my chest, the same pounding I felt every time I saw someone I taught on my mission get baptized. The spirit welled up inside me. The tears started to flow just like they always do for me at baptisms.

After Taye got redressed and the program started again the bishop of his new ward stood and welcomed the newest member, Bro. Akande. He presented Taye with his own quad set of scriptures, something that Taye’s wanted for some time. As Taye took the brand new scriptures and sat back down on his seat he buried his face in his hands and started to cry. Even with his dark skin I could see a glow about him. It was a moment of pure happiness.

It’s funny how sometimes the newest members of the church can have the biggest impact on me. It’s funny how they can be my greatest example of faith and courage and hope. But they are.

Taye has done more for me then I ever did for me. He taught me faith on a level I haven’t seen in a long time. He taught me persistence and hope and love and wisdom.

Welcome Bro. Taye Akande to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the only true and living church on the face of the earth. I know this decision of yours will be one of the most important of your entire lifetime. Welcome.