The BYU Chamber Orchestra went on tour to China (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Guanzhou...I think I spelled them right) for 2 1/2 weeks and I got to come home for a few hours. Then I got on another plane to New York for a chamber music festival for a week. After that, I got on a bus to Washington DC where I spent a couple of days visiting my aunt and her beautiful family. Now I'm back with my absolutely amazing husband who missed me probably about as much as I missed him. And that's a LOT.
Here are some pictures!
|Trying to do a jumping picture in the Forbidden City|
|Temple of Heaven|
|Bug Market...people actually ate that stuff. People that were not me.|
|Erica and I teaching the Hangzhou flutists in a masterclass!|
|Time Square! I never thought I would be able to see it!|
|This gorgeous girl was my roommate for the week. SO. MUCH. FUN.|
|Manhattan Temple! It was beautiful on the inside, too.|
|You can't really say you've had a New York cheesecake unless you've had it in New York. I got to check off a lot of things from the bucket list this month. :)|
I wish I had the time and energy to write down all of the things I saw and learned on my adventure. My DC pictures are still on my camera. Perhaps I'll upload those later. All I can say is that I am now a much more cultured and educated young woman. I feel so privileged to have seen what I've seen at such a young age. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be able to see this much. The only thing that would have made it better is if Matt could have been there with me. I had (and have) his undying love and support. I hope that I can make some of these trips again with him one day.
All being said, I am so grateful to be home. I am filled with a new happiness that I don't think I have ever felt before. Most of it came to me after going through the temple in Manhattan. I feel so blessed to be alive and to be a part of this beautiful world. I feel a strong desire to spread my happiness...to share it. I realize that I am so lucky to have the life that I do...and sometimes I wonder what I did to deserve all of this happiness. A lot of it comes from my amazing family, both my old family, and my new family that I have been so blessed to receive through marrying Matt. Everyone has been so wonderful to me, and I feel like I have a lot of people who care about me. Basically what I'm trying to say is that I'm grateful, and I feel like a changed woman. A more grateful woman. Never again will I complain about a gas station bathroom again. There are seats on the toilet! Never again will I complain about my cooking that might not go perfectly. It's AMERICAN FOOD! I am so grateful to be able to drink water out of the tap, to wash my clothes in a washer, to have my own space, to have a nice mattress that is soft, and to be able to brush my teeth from the water faucet in the bathroom! I am also so grateful that I have been able to meet so many amazing people and also to get to know some other amazing people better. I know I haven't been gone as long as missionaries, but I feel kind of like a returned missionary--grateful to be home, but filled with a new desire to help people. We'll see if I can accomplish this.
Even though I, as well as many of you, struggle with trials, some more than others, I know there is hope for all of us. There is so much to be happy about! We live in America! We are free to congregate in whatever religion we please! We are free to share our beliefs with others! We are free to criticize or praise our government in whatever way we wish! We have toilets and clean water to drink! We are so lucky...and that's my main message that I wanted to establish. I am now a much more grateful person.
I wish I could say more about how I feel, but I need to go. Thanks for reading!