Last Tuesday I ran into my good friend Trever on the way home from school. As we visited and caught up, I mentioned that that afternoon, my sister Janine and I were driving down to Cardston, on our way to Provo to visit friends and cousins at BYU. Trever's reaction to this news was typical, yet still amusing.
"Breed Em' Young University, eh? That sounds like fun, I look forward to receiving your wedding invite next week."
Contrary to these jibes (which I had been receiving for a week), I was not planning a four day trip to Utah to go on a hubby hunt. If I were I would arrange to stay longer. Neen and I had the idea to visit Utah this summer, when she was planning a reunion with her MTC friends. I was wanting to visit my cousins who had just started their first year there, so she suggested I come along the same weekend and we could drive down together.
We drove down as far as Grandma's house on Tuesday night, where we visited with our Cardston relatives. Early Wednesday morning we hit the road and twelve hours later reached the Utah valley. We were amused to see billboards for companies such as Utahweddings.com, and pass a truck with the company name "Redd Construction Co." written on it. Who knew it was going to be so easy to find our long lost relatives?
Janine and I spent the bulk of the week apart, her staying with an old mission companion, and me couch surfing from cousin to cousin. Out of the four nights I was in Utah, I slept in three different places. The first two I travelled from dorm hall to dorm hall to spend a night each with Rachel and Sydney, and the last two I went to stay with my Redd cousin, Monica, who lives off campus with a proper living room and couch.
Changing locations so often made for a crazy week, and by Sunday I was longing to go to sleep in my own bed in my own room where I didn't have to wait for others to get sleepy so I could use the couch, but it was well worth it to visit so many people I love and see their lives at By-Zoo. Here are just a few highlights of the trip.
Sydney, Rachel and I went to do baptisms at the Provo temple on Saturday. It was really busy and we spent over an hour waiting, but we all had a great spiritual experience and enjoyed the opportunity to give service. While waiting we all kept busy with the many church magazines and scriptures sitting in the pews, at least until they both got tired and took a brief nap on either of my shoulders.
Meeting Monica's boyfriend, Dave, who, get this, is from Magrath. She goes all the way to Provo for school, and we all worry that she will meet an American and never come home, and then she starts dating a boy from a town next door to her own home town.
On a break in classes, Rachel, Syd and I went to the art museum on campus, and had a great time admiring art both modern and religious. The highlight of the excursion was when we were critiquing a painting of Jesus bearing the cross and Sydney said, "I never thought that Jesus would have a hot body."
Because Calgary is lacking in good Mexican food, eating some in Utah became a requirement for the trip. Rachel, Sydney, Rico and I went to Cafe Rio, which is scrum-diddly-umptious. When in Utah, you MUST go to Cafe Rio.
On Saturday evening, Rach, Syd and I made a pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting. While I was quite distraught with the droopy look of our cake, it was still yummy, and I would definitely try it again when I can make it look pretty.
On Friday, Monica and I made a midnight ice cream run to the BYU creamery, which I found to be quite delicious. There that is enough about food.
I had the chance to meet a few of the mission buddies Janine has talked about for so long. It is kind of surreal to meet someone when you already know a lot about them, and have seen so many pictures of them. It is also peculiar to learn they have first names and are not actually called Elder Soandso all the time. The first such experience was when Janine introduced Syd and I to a group of them. As we approached I connected all their faces to the pictures I'd seen and was confident in who was who. Neen makes the introductions and says, "This is Ben, Tom, and Brad," and suddenly I have no idea who's who.
I went to Rachel's ward on Sunday, a congregation made up entirely of freshman. It was interesting to see how a group of 18 year olds can all step up and fill leadership roles so suddenly like that.
All in all, it was just wonderful to see my cousins, to spend time with them, and learn that BY-Zoo is not as crazy as everyone makes it out to me.