Thursday, May 14, 2009

Birthday (The Beatles)

As birthdays go, I think I had quite a good one this year. I took the weekend to drive down to Charleston - a beautiful historic city I'd never seen before - to hang out and catch up with a very good friend I met last year in London of all places. Now she's back in Florida and I'm bouncing back and forth for the last time between NC and Utah. I remember once listening to a talk by John Bytheway...probably my favourite speaker in the church on youth topics. That's not a tangent - the reason I recall it now is that he quoted one of the general authorities who asked the question, "what is a friend?" and then answered himself (and everyone in listening distance): "a friend is someone who makes it easier for you to live the Gospel of Christ." I've always liked that definition since I heard it, and Em is someone who I think fully encapsulates this idea.

The energy and enthusiasm she has about living a Gospel-centred life is contageous. I don't think I've ever known anyone else who so enjoys the idea of removing all of the negative influences in her life and living it the way her Heavenly Father wants her to. I think if I could be half that committed to improving my testimony and how I live it, I'd be in good shape! And of course, coupled with all of that, the thing that makes her a truly wonderful person is that she stays so humble about what progress she has made while being the first person to point out the progress her friends have made and the Christ-like attributes they've already cultivated. I think I could honestly wax eloquent on her virtues the day long: I'm incredibly impressed by her and was absolutely delighted to spend the weekend with her after a year apart.

Charleston itself was fantastic, with lots of sight-seeing (read: walking around until we felt partially crippled), shopping, and of course, the obligatory sussing-out of some gelato. Really, any opportunity to consume a cold, tasty, well-made gelato must not be turned down. When I spent 2 weeks in Italy I made it my mission to eat as much of the stuff as possible. I think I only learned enough Italian to make myself understood to the owners of Rome and Venice's many gelatarias. Far from being appaled at my sugar-rich and nutrient-poor diet whilst on spring break, my mother jealously listened to my accounts of all the different places and flavours I experienced when I traveled. When I told her about gelato in Charleston, her first response was to laugh and ask me teasingly, "you're just trying to rub it in now, aren't you?"

Of course, now the weekend is over and it's back to packing and getting ready for graduation as well as Krystle and Tim's wedding. I think I've thrown out or donated a good 25 pounds of junk I accumulated over the year. Papers, clothes I hardly ever wore or shrunk out of. I'd say "grew" out of, but since I haven't grown in 10 years, and I've gotten myself quite fit for graduation and my stint as a bridesmaid, "shrunk" is clearly the better vocabulary choice here. Hopefully this will prove good practise for fitting my painstakingly acquired collection of personal possessions into 2 suitcases and carry-ons for the journey Back to Blighty. Those handy little vacuum pack bags might just become life savers.

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