visit someone’s blog EVERY day just to see that they hadn’t updated??? And then you get frustrated because they haven’t updated??? I do that pretty often, yet I am guilty of it myself! Oops! 🙂
So the rest of my time in Brazil went really well. Rio Branco was probably my favorite town that we visited the whole time in Brazil which is good because I have to go back 2 more times this year!
The day before I came home, I went on a tour of Chapada dos Guimaraes, a small town near Cuiaba with some BEAUTIFUL cliffs and water. It was just me and the guide which was cool because we went at our pace – didn’t have to wait for anyone to catch up or be worried about staying with the group. We went hiking to the top of this mountain which was AMAZING (though my thighs were sore for the next 4 days!) and also went snorkeling in a river which was really cool, too. The current was so strong that you didn’t really have to swim and there were a bunch of fish (not tropical or anything, but still it was really cool), so that was a fun adventure.
Since then, I have been to New Jersey/Philadelphia for Eastern Regional Youth Conference where I won 2 prizes – for sign a song and speech – and I now go to the National conference in November in Grand Rapids…who wants to go to Michigan in November??? Crazy people. Anyway, my friend Jenica lives in Grand Rapids and I haven’t seen her since December 2006 (though she’s coming for the wedding), so it’ll be good to see her again!
Last weekend Elvis and I went to Ocean City, MD to celebrate 1 year of living together. It was a lot of fun. The water was SOOO cold, but we did a lot of mini golfing which Elvis loved and we found a good bar/seafood place that was really cool and basically just relaxed and enjoyed each others’ company!
This weekend we’re going home to my parents’ place to do some wedding planning stuff, the following weekend my parents are coming down here to celebrate Mother’s day, the next weekend I’m here and the next week I might be in Brazil again! Crazy!!!! C’est la vie! Guess I better start studying my Portuguese again! 😛
So last week I made an almost spur-of-the-moment decision to go to PA State Grange Session. So I left my house super early on Saturday morning and drove to Lancaster. Instead of showing up and being bored on Saturday morning, I picked up Philip and we went to meet Lauren at the Cherry Crest Farm Corn Maze. This maze is HUGE. 5 1/2 acres. It took us an hour and a half to get through, gathering almost all of the puzzle pieces (which help you to build the map and find your way out. We ate some food and then had to run so that Philip would get back in time for the beginning of session and the youth officers drill. While they were doing boring resolution work, I decided that I would sign a song in the competition the next day, so I worked on learning my song. I had already learned how to sign “We Shall Be Free” by Garth Brooks several months ago, so I decided that I would do that at Session, since I hadn’t done it there before. (I had never seen that video before I linked it in here and I literally got chills watching it! There’s also a part where a woman signs “The earth doesn’t belong to us, we belong to the earth” which I thought was pretty cool!)
The youth officers did their marching drill and closing which was pretty cool, then Philip, Mom, Dad and I went out for dinner at some Amish place. Afterwards we went to the talent competition and saw Zech sing his song – and win!
Then there was the youth “party” and what a party it was. With a full selection of fruits, vegetables, coffee and tea, the party got started on the right foot. Soon the older people all went to bed, and a handful of us were left sitting around the hotel lobby talking about the future and reminiscing about Grange memories. My head finally hit a pillow around 2:30am only to be awakened at 6:30. I got up and got a shower, then introduced Mom and Dad to Panera before going to church service.
Church was okay. Nothing Earth shattering. Then Philip and I made a Staples run (to get my CDs and lyrics that I needed for the sign-a-song competition), went to the Jr. Degree (good job guys!) and to the Youth Luncheon which was NOT worth $15. Right about 1:30 I decided I would give a prepared speech in the public speaking competition which started at 2. (Thank goodness for wireless internet!) So I researched and wrote a speech and outline as well as registered for both competitions in the half hour that followed. I ended up winning both competitions and now go to the regional competition in New Jersey to compete in April. These are the same competitions I used to do with some regularity and then I dropped off the face of the earth. (This became more apparent to me as at least 5 people came up to me and asked if I’m now living state-side again. It seems as though I haven’t been to a state-wide Grange function since I left to go to Ecuador!)
Got back to College Park around 7:30pm, watched Bailando Por un Sueno and fell asleep on the couch. This week is full of workshop planning for the workshop in Costa Rica next week. Trying to finalize the participants list and get people plane tickets. Basically just going CRAZY! 🙂
Pictures to come soon!