Sunday, January 30, 2011

Elder Cook

Somehow, I've been inspired and supported by Elder Cook. He has really motivated me in my research. Last General Conference he gave this talk Let There Be Light! I loved how he talked about the community and the need for good people to speak up and be heard. I felt like he was talking directly to me. At the time, I'd been working on my first article for my dissertation on caring and caring communities. Publishing an article is no easy task. I felt discouraged by all the feedback I was getting from my committee and I felt like the process was very difficult for me. Then, when I heard this talk, it just helped give me the extra energy I needed to continue. This talk helped me realize how important my message was and how important it was for me to get it published and out for others to read. My article has now been submitted and is in review. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will be accepted for publication.

Well, that is not all about Elder Cook. Last Sunday, my first Sunday here, I was told that Stake Conference was going to be today and that Elder Cook would be speaking. I was also told to get to the stake building early so I could ensure a good seat for myself. I did just that and I learned so much from Elder Cook. He talked about the man who had faith but pleaded with the Lord to "help thou my unbelief". He talked about the woman with the issue of blood, my favorite story in the scriptures. But beyond his message, I felt great comfort to see someone I recognized from my past. Funny that it would be Elder Cook, but in a sea of new faces and new places and cold weather, I have learned to value anything that feels remotely familiar. Just seeing Elder Cook and feeling the spirit he brought to the meeting reminded me of all the General Conference meetings I've been to and the Christmas devotionals in which I've also been able to partake of that same spirit. However, on this occasion, I did not take that spirit or that familiarity for granted. I was so happy and comforted to feel the way I've felt so many times back home. Here is a picture I took of Elder Cook after he shook my hand. I didn't have the courage to ask him for a picture with me. Maybe next time...

The Arthur Sackler Gallery

Another museum we went to, right next to the Smithsonian Castle is the Arthur Sackler Gallery. Here we saw Chinese, Iranian, Persian and Japaneses art pieces. Very beautiful art. I learned that the the Chinese flowers in pictures are symbolic and have meanings depending on the type of flower. Here is a piece we saw at that museum:

The Smithsonian Castle

Yup. I've been to a castle. Now I can say I've been in a castle. This building is a fun museum full of interesting facts. In here, we found a Visitors Information Center so it was a really good choice for a place to start our explorations. We met some great people at this museum who took our picture. My favorite was this Gibson guitar that looks so new but it's pretty old, one of the first made. It reminded me of my guitar playing adventure back home. I gotta get myself a guitar...

Riding The Fast Train

It's fun riding the metro. Or as my friend's 3 year old nephew would say "the fast train". It's fun to buy a ticket and think that you can go anywhere downtown DC and not get lost or have to worry about parking. You can also go people watching and trust me... it's fun to people watch on the metro because there are some really interesting people in the world. Here I am with my friend Chrissy. We decided to go for another trip downtown and explore. The metro here is great because you can always tell which one you should get on by reading the posts at the stations. Here you can buy a ticket at these machines:

Monday, January 24, 2011

The United States Botanic Garden

Well... now I can say I've been to the United States Botanic Garden. I went with my friend Chrissy and her little 3 year old nephew (who is super cute). We were adventurous and took the metro. It was only the second time I'd been on the metro, and it was really fun. It increased my confidence knowing that I can't really get lost on the DC metro since there's only one stop that takes me home. There are some interesting people who ride the metro. The walk to the metro was freezing. Colder than Utah cold, but when we finally made it to the Botanic Garden, it was a dream come true. It is an indoor garden and the minute you step in, you feel like you're in the tropics down in some South American jungle minus the animals. Here are some pictures of the outside...

And a picture of me in the inside. Can you see me in there? I'm right in the center there.

Beautiful flowers...

Driving in DC

Driving in DC... Well, let's see...what can I's just CRAZY out here. The streets for one aren't the nicely organized coordinates that Utah goes by. I have no idea how people got around in this place before GPS. Every street is different and sometimes one street has more than one name and there are small streets and curvy streets everywhere! It's just one crazy street mess. Then, the people here are not very patient with newcomers. I haven't had any major incidents yet, but I've quickly learned that DC people are busy busy people. What's even scarier is that I'm soon to be one of them:)

Sending My Car Out to DC

My poor little car. I sent it out to DC on this truck. I just have to say that it was expensive and when my car got there I had to take it in to the shop because the engine kept on stalling. We're doing alright now. If I only my car could talk... I wonder what it would say...