First off, I have Rebecca with me again! We were separated for far too long, but once we were reunited, it felt like we had never been apart... Although her Jerusalem trip has changed her in more ways than one. Firstly, she has stylish new clothes, like scarves, earrings, and genie pants (more about those in a moment). Secondly, she knows more random trivia about the Bible than any of my seminary teachers, and probably more than Ken Jennings! Thirdly, she has had several moments where, just for a second, she forgets that she isn't in Jerusalem anymore. My favorite of these moments: We're downstairs in the kitchen when we hear some sort of vaguely operatic wailing. After a couple of seconds, I realize that it's Rowan singing in the shower, but Rebecca, looking more than a little alarmed, says, "Is that the call to prayer?!"
The first weekend after I got home, Rachel was charge of organizing the stake dance. The theme was Your Favorite Book, so everyone came dressed as a book character. Rebecca and I volunteered to be chaperones because we are such great big sisters (and because we were more than a little desperate for any social interaction). Rebecca brought home two pairs of genie pants from Jerusalem, so naturally we had to wear them. We never quite nailed down what book characters we were: pirates from Treasure Island, gypsies from Hunchback of Notre Dame, Arabian princesses... clearly we had options.
I discovered a sad, unfortunate truth at this dance. Today's youth don't know how to dance! I thank my lucky stars that Mom enrolled me in that hip hop class in eighth grade. Not because it taught me how to dance. I am at peace with the fact that I will never be able to pop, lock, or drop it like it's hot. Neither can I move like Jagger. My hips may lie every now and then, and I'm pretty sure the club can handle me. I rarely have the magic in me, and even when I do, I can't turn tracks into gold. No, I didn't learn how to dance in my hip hop class, but I did learn how to not care about how I looked while dancing! You would too if you were a pale, awkwardly tall, gangly teenage girl dancing in front of floor-to-ceiling mirrors for an hour each week! I think Rebecca, Rachel, and I danced more than all the other kids combined. Now that I think about it, our weirdness might have made some of them a little uncomfortable... Oh well! When a DJ plays Waka Waka, I can't be held responsible for my actions (or the action of my hips!).
However, evidence indicates that not everyone was made too uncomfortable by our moves. I was asked to slow dance not once, but twice! Both lads were 15, short, and beautifully awkward. I don't know if they realized (until after I informed them) that I was actually a chaperone. But if they were surprised, they played it off well.
It was only after this dance ended that I could really appreciate how great our dance parties back at school were. As soon as the Christmas lights were turned on, the dance floor (our sitting room) turned into a no-judgment zone, and we just went where the music took us! At one point in our final dance party of the year, we had "dance like you're from a different country" time--I riverdanced to my heart's content, Brooke became a Bollywood star, and we may or may not have witnessed some African tribal dancing as well. I can say with confidence that one of the greatest challenges I will face on my mission will be the lack of dance parties.
Granny's visit during the first week after my return also made Virginia just that much better! Granny Kate is probably the coolest member of our family, all things considered. Not only does she travel the most, but she also knows the most interesting things and says them in the best ways. I think she could make a fortune as a radio show host, but she'd probably prefer being a narrator for an audio book or a BBC documentary! A couple of our favorite Grannyisms:
(Describing her experience in the car as Rowan was putting on his rather rank shinguards before his soccer game) "Well you see, the smell has only just begun to assail my nostrils."
"I love sheep. They seem to take themselves so seriously, and it makes me want to to take the mickey out of them."
(While discussing the effect of society's overuse of curse words) "People might as well be saying 'Rhubarb, rhubarb' the way they use them now!"
And some of her favorite words: "Dreich" (used to describe rainy, miserable weather). "Clever." "Daft." "Bother." And my personal favorite: "Botheration" (used when you are more than normally bothered.)
There are many other simple pleasures that nowhere else could provide. The smell of honeysuckle from my backyard, the sound of jets taking off at Langley, the sight of the handy dandy Toyota Camry in the driveway (I like to call him Ol' Reliable on account of him being so reliable)... I have my own room with my own bookshelf with all my own books. I've had enough time to listen to all of the new music I got from my roommates this semester. And I've been able to spend time with my family, which is really what it's all about. I've even had time to learn a new word!
Bowdlerize /'bodlǝ riz/ verb: To remove or edit passages (in a play, novel, etc.) prudishly considered immodest or salacious. (This practice got its name from Thomas Bowdler (d. 1825), who is known for producing a "cleaned up" edition of Shakespeare's plays.]
Example: Utah radio stations are infamous for their tendency to enthusiastically bowdlerize every song they play.