Sunday, October 9, 2011

An Amazingly Uplifting Weekend!

This is my weekend recap. Just as a warning, it's going to be long. :)

My friend Rochelle told Trulie and I about a conference (Silicon Valley LDS Education Conference) for mid-singles (ages 25-39) that was going to be in the Bay Area and so we decided to go. It was kind of expensive and so I was a little hesitant at first because sometimes I have a hard time at big things like this, but I decided to try to overcome that and so I signed up. 

The three of us took off work early on Friday (yay!) and drove down to San Francisco where we stayed with Rochelle's twin sister, Jessica. This is part of the view from her balcony:

Isn't it great?  And the weather was PERFECT this weekend!
We quickly got ready and drove down to Palo Alto to the Computer History Museum. It was such a cool venue for the conference!

Friday night was a mixer and "cocktail party." We wondered if the catering company had ever done a non-alcoholic party. :) It was fun and the museum opened up their exhibit hall for us so that we could look through it. While I was, I found this:

Awesome right? I mean, who WOULDN'T want a Slide Rule Tie Pin?!

The exhibit hall was cool and I learned some interesting things about computers. But I'm sure that if I were more into computers, the exhibit would have much more enthralling. :) There were those there that were and they were super excited about it. It was pretty funny to hear them talk about the different things.

About 11:15pm we left the party and went to an after-party that was above a pub in Redwood City. I was starting to get a cold and so I was really tired and not super into it, but Rochelle and Jessica seemed to have a great time. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had been feeling better. It seemed like everyone there was pretty chill and not super into themselves and trying to impress other people. I loved that!

On our way back to the car, we found a bridal boutique that was selling this:

I think I found my wedding dress people!

Trulie and I made it back to the house about 12:30pm and I crashed and by 7:30am Saturday morning, we were already out the door to the conference workshops.
It was gloriously foggy when we left! I love fog! It makes me think of Christmas.
The workshops were inspiring. The speakers were all great and one of my favorite stories was one that one of the ladies gave about her son and gaining the right perspective on life. She talked about how she realized that her son was pilfering different items around the house and she was concerned that he was becoming a juvenile delinquent. At some point she asked him were something was and found out that it was at his command center. She then showed a picture of his "fort" and it had all sorts of "goodies" in it. For a 12 year old boy it would have been fantastic! Then she showed the next picture of where the command center was--on her roof. It was so awesome. I give her kid lots of credit for creativity! She also said that he used a jigsaw to cut brass knuckles out of one of her cutting boards. Hahaha!! The lesson she was teaching us was that she needed to change her perspective of her son. He wasn't a juvenile delinquent, but a creative genius that needed to have his pursuits guided in the right direction. Such an awesome workshop!
And I was so proud of myself because I went to most of them by myself and so I made a point to meet at least one person in each workshop and have a conversation with them. And I did. :) Yay! Go me! :)
In between a couple of workshops, I found this precious gem. Isn't she the most adorable thing you've ever seen? She rivals my own Nana on a cuteness scale.

After the workshops, the four of us were so tired that we spent the first hour of our dinner break in a park taking naps. It was wonderful. Then we had an adventure looking for an Italian restaurant that we wanted to try. Dinner was great and we had fun discussing the workshops and the guys we had met. :)

We finished dinner before we needed to get back and so we drove around and found the Google headquarters while singing to Selena Gomez. It was great! Then we found giant plastic food sculptures in front of one of the Google buildings. And this happened:

It's true. I do love my Android. :) I wish the other pictures I had taken had turned out better, but it was dark and my phone's flash can only do so much. :)
When I was finished goofing around, we went back to the Museum and spent the night:
Learning how to make Frushi (fruit sushi):
This is what I made. It looked so beautiful! :)
Jessica and Rochelle with their frushi spreads.
Rochelle can now add "Frushi making skills" next to "computer hacking skills" on her resume!
Learning to give hand massages. I was too busy getting my hand massaged by Trulie to get any pictures. :) Ahhhhmazing!

Decorating Cupcakes (mine was pumpkin with cream cheese-cinnamon frosting):
Doesn't that look divine? I enjoyed every single bite! (and a plus: I didn't get sick!)
Learning Bollywood:

Dancing our hearts out!
One of the photographers got a fun group picture of Trulie, Me, Rochelle, and our friend Charity that also went down for the weekend:
It was super fun and we were beat by the time the night was over. Thankfully we got to sleep in the next morning.

Church on Sunday was my absolute favorite part. We left later than I would have liked, but it worked out perfectly. We got seats in the third row in the middle. It was a two-hour Sacrament meeting with a light luncheon afterwards and was the final part of the conference. Seriously, it was the perfect end.

The first three talks were awesome. I especially liked the Stanford Ward's Bishop who talked about how he prays for the men of the church, especially those that will marry his 6 daughters. He suggested that we all pray for the men of the Church. Elder Robert Packer, our General Authority Seventy, also was there (he's the same guy that came and split our stake at the beginning of the year) and spoke in the meeting. I loved his talk. I think my favorite part was a story he told of a convert that he knew that told him that he wanted Satan to "bring it on!" because he could handle anything Satan brought if he had the Lord with him. Amen, brother! Amen!

As amazing as the rest of the conference was, my favorite part of the entire conference was easily Sister Beck's talk. I'm not sure how they were able to snag the General Relief Society President of the entire church to come to the conference, but they did and it was sooo good!

First her husband introduced her briefly and basically told us how wonderful she is and how he knew the moment that he saw her that she was the only girl he would be happy with and that he needed to get her before anyone else did. It was so adorable. It was so clear that he was still in love with her.

When he was finished, Sister Beck got up and stood next to her husband, and began talking about how when they engaged they didn't get to spend a lot of time together because they went to different universities. Sister Beck said that after they got married she had all these great plans about all the different things they could do together. She said that could read books, watch TV, see movies, go to concerts, and then she realized that they didn't have those things in common. She then said that they decided that they had the Gospel in common and that they could serve together and that they had a family in common. It was a sweet example about how as long as we have the most important things in common with our spouses, then the other things don't matter.

Sister Beck also talked about her dad and his experiences as a young Bishop. She said that he and his first wife had three little kids and then the fourth died, and a few months later his wife died. When he was the Bishop. She then stopped and looked at everyone and laughed. She said, "You guys try to be so secretive about your dating and keep a low profile. Try being a bishop and keeping your dating life secret." She was so funny. She then talked about how her mom was 30 when she met her dad. Her mom was single, successful, had multiple degrees, and had her own golf clubs and car. Something that didn't happen in the '50's. :) She said that when her mom met her dad, her mom said, "That's not for me." And her dad's response was, "Well it wasn't what I planned on either." SIX WEEKS later they were married! And her mom went on to have 7 kids in the next TEN years! Crazy. All I'm sayin' is that takes WAY more faith than I think I have. I loved the story and I love how she told it. It was very obvious that she loved her parents and her parents loved each other very much.

The other story that I got from her talk was an experience she had while visiting with Church leaders in another country. She said that conversation moved to talk about the singles in the area. Sister Beck said that she said as the talked, she saw the individual faces of the single sisters that she had met earlier standing behind the men she was meeting. And then she said that as she looked at the women's faces, she began to see the faces of the unborn children waiting to come to earth, waiting for people to get married and have children. She said that by not getting married and having children, their progression was stopped. She said that she began to see us as Heavenly Father must see us, as future parents-with our future children waiting to come to us.

Seriously, the room was so silent as Sister Beck described her experience. I've never heard a room so silent, especially when there are hundreds of people in it. I briefly looked around during her story and saw that everyone, guys included had tears streaming down their faces. It was touching and I felt what she was saying was true. As true as it was, it was heartwrenching. As one of Trulie's friends aptly put it later, "Why did she have to talk about the unborn babies?!" It did not make me feel better about being single. But it was amazing and inspiring. It made me want to get married even more!

After Sacrament Meeting, the four of us went up and got to meet Sister Beck (convenient since we got such great seats right in front!). It was sooo cool! I loved how sweet, kind, and friendly she was to everyone she met. After learning that she had stood at a podium and spoke for six hours on Saturday, and then for almost another hour on Sunday, I'm sure she was exhausted, but yet, she and her husband stayed and willingly met anyone who wanted to meet them. Love it! :)

After lunch, Jessica suggested that we head back to S.F. so we could watch the Blue Angels last show (it was Fleet Week at Treasure Island), which ended at 4. We took the wrong freeway (not my fault!) and finally got to the Bay Bridge (which crosses Treasure Island) at 3:30 and promptly got stuck in traffic. At least we saw the jets fly past a couple of times. Fog began to roll in and one of the guys we were supposed to meet there texted Jessica and said that the show was ending early. Bummer. So we dropped Jessica off at her house and we drove home.
These houses were around the corner from Jessica's. They were so cute with the flowers all around.
I love the streets of San Francisco!
I was surprised when we got back to my house that it only took us almost exactly 2 hours from downtown San Francisco and we got stuck in traffic a few times. Usually it takes 2 1/2 hours with traffic. So that was really nice because I was exhausted (we took my car so I drove--good news is that I got excellent gas mileage! 34mpg-which included lots of city driving!).

Overall, I was very impressed with the friendliness of everyone at the conference. No one seemed stuck up or obnoxious. For example, with in the first minute of us getting out of the car at the Museum Friday night, we met four people--before we had even walked into the building. So cool.

So that was my crazy, exciting weekend. Yay!!

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