standards set you free

Alex and I went to Crimson Nights at the University of Utah Friday night.

Needless to say, it wasn't a BYU sponsored party. Not that I was expecting anything like that, but I hope you get where I'm coming from.

Students who attend the U were able to get in free, and with a student ID, students from other colleges got in for $5. The person running the booth took one look at my BYU ID and snickered, get ready to have the time of your life, with a sick grin on his face. I shrugged it off and met Alex inside the doors. Once we were together, two girls came up to us and with chipper voices asked, do you guys want some free condoms? they're from the wellness committee. I kind of stared at them and then to Alex, and we shook our heads and kept walking. I think I had to pick my jaw up from the floor. At that point, I was starting to get the feeling that this party would be like nothing I had ever experienced.

Attending high school in Utah County didn't bring much diversity into my life. For the most part, everyone had the same view on modesty, life, and more specifically, religion. The school had strict rules regarding dress and grooming and conduct at the school. Being around people that upheld the same standards as myself made me feel relaxed and safe; knowing that my friends wouldn't participate in activities such as drinking, smoking, swearing, and immoral behavior, and trusting that they would dress in a way that showed respect to their bodies was a comfort in my life.

As I got ready to attend BYU, I started to see such standards concerning language and dress and additional things included in the Honor Code at BYU as stupid and kind of useless (don't kill me). I thought knee length shorts and shirts with sleeves were excessively modest. In all honestly, I thought that going to BYU and adhering to the honor code was going to be restrictive, obnoxious, and ridiculously hard, even though I had previously had such a great experience with high standards.

We walked around the inside portion of the party and headed out onto the terrace. There wasn't a crazy amount of people there because the party had only started 45 minutes earlier, but we could already tell that the individuals at the party had a different set of standards than ourselves. The girls were wearing very skimpy articles of clothing that wouldn't have passed as a sufficient amount of fabric for little girls. They were all laughing really loudly and talking to cute guys who were obviously very interested in these women. I wondered why all the slutty girls got all the attention from the cute guys, and then I realized that I didn't want attention from these guys if that's all they cared about. We got offered condoms again.

Inside, the dance/rave was going on strong. As expected, there was a huge mosh pit pressing up against the fence at the front, but to my surprise, there was a lot of grinding and dirty dancing all over the board. We kind of stood in the middle of the floor with people all around us dancing and moving to the beat of the music and felt extremely awkward. It was too bad because the DJ was pretty good, and I couldn't enjoy it because the atmosphere was so degrading.

After listening to the music for a while and being the only ones not dancing, we headed back outside. The first individuals we see are all smoking. Looking out over the grounds, people were just swarming around all the booths and activities going on.

In the large crowd of people two guys started talking to us. It came up that I was attending BYU (because I said that I don't drink) and one of the guys laughed in my face. He called to his friend and pointed to me saying, she's going to BYU!, with a jeering tone in his voice. His friend taunted back, that's bullsh!t. We were stuck next to them until Alex pushed me out of the crowd. I was getting a little heated because I really don't appreciate it when people attacked me, but I'm glad that Alex didn't let me stay in that situation for long.

But you know what? I was proud to say that I was going to BYU. Because going to BYU entails that you keep a specific set of standards for yourself, and people know that. The party as a whole was a complete eye opener to life outside of the bubble of Utah County. This was a stone hard smack in the face with the reasons you need an honor code. Dressing modestly shows that you respect your body and don't feel the need to show it to everyone you come in contact with. Choosing to abstain from participating in drug and alcohol use shows that you understand the consequences of these things to your body. Keeping yourself morally clean until marriage shows that you respect yourself and know how precious a gift your virtue is (even if it sounds nerdy that way). And using clean, appropriate language shows how vast your vocabulary can be without being crude.

Essentially, after this party I felt sorry for all those who had to go to feel cmplete. And don't get me wrong, I don't feel above them at all. The whole party was a mess of stupid behavior that really wasn't fun at all. And I believe that people were just acting like they were having fun in order to fill a void. I wish they knew that you can have fun without the help of such worldly things.

Here's a list of some of the fun things I love to do without the help of drugs, alcohol, swearing, immoral behavior, and that can be done while being dressed modestly. So pretty much fun things you can do that are in line with the honor code. What a coincidence!
1. Hiking hiking hiking
2. Go to Comedy Sportz, a Divine Comedy show, or see a screening of Studio C
3. Host a random party to celebrate something. Oh, it's national vanilla ice cream day? Throw an ice cream sundae party!
4. Bake cookies and take them to people
5. Golfing, bowling, classic skating,
6. Free concerts (like the one this friday with Kaskade)
7. Camping: in a tent, hammock, or under the stars
8. Have a huge bonfire
9. Swing dancing in Salt Lake City
10. Set up a huge game of capture the flag

See how happy you can be with standards?


I can remember the first Sunday in my Utah ward like it was yesterday. It was the middle of sacrament meeting, and all the youth went up to the stand to sing a song. They filled the whole stand. Like, the whole section of seats. I had never seen so many youth in a ward before. Later, I went to Sunday School and to my surprise, there were seven boys and one girl in my class. Whoa. So many people my age. It took a little while for me to warm up to them and them to warm up to me, but after that, we got closer and closer.

There have been many people our age move in and move out of our ward, and I think as a group we have tried our best to include everyone to the best of our abilities. On Sunday nights we started making cookies and taking them to people in the ward. Not only was this an awesome way to do service, but it gave us an excuse to hang out on Sundays and get to know more people. Hundreds of cookies have been made (with love) in my kitchen and hand delivered by us to the cute families in our ward.

As a group, we took part in everything we could together. After one of the stake basketball games one of the young men leaders called and said that a family needed help moving. We all gladly went over to help them move and we had so much fun talking and laughing while we were moving boxes. Whenever the ward went to the bishop's storehouse or the developmental center, we all encouraged each other to go, and we had a blast.

We didn't just hang out on Sundays, either. Crepe parties, beyblade parties, strawberries&cream parties, halo&pizza name it.

I've never been in such a tight knit ward that was genuinely friends with everyone.

Our group is going their separate ways. What started as just our Sunday school class grew to include three Sunday school classes and whoever wanted to join. Now, our friendship will span across cities, countries, and continents. Idaho, Texas, Peru, Trinidad, Utah County, and Portugal are where my heart will reside for the next two years. I don't think you understand how blessed I feel in being able to be a part of this ward.

a pete appreciation post

photos of pete without a shirt on 
(but really when does he ever wear a shirt)
 photos where he looks like a model
(because he is a retired model, you know)
and photos of pete just being pete

college food diary

Who says that college students starve? Tomato sandwich, mango squares, and edamame are all I need.

knocking on random doors

It's 11:15pm and two of my roommates and I are in our pajamas taking the unbelievable amount of trash we have accumulated out to the garbage cans. We come back inside and find four dandy looking guys and two cute girls standing at our door. They ask us, "hey, you're in the 52nd ward, right?" and we look at them and say yes, and they yell, "So are we!!" Apparently they had been knocking on random doors to see if people were in our ward. They asked us if we wanted to come along, and of course we had to, so we changed and came along for the ride.
At every door, one of the guys would ask and see if the girls were in our ward, and after a hesitant confirmation, we responded with a "hey we are too!" and asked if they wanted to join us in finding more people in our ward. I think we had 24 people in the last room time talking and getting to know each other.
I'm so grateful for crazy crap like this and college and the fact that the freshman ward doesn't seem scary now.

Sponateous trips

Kara texted me Friday and said that we should leave for Pioche, and so Sunday night we did. Five hours of driving with your best friend isn't even bad. It's actually really fun. Before this, I always imagined road trips with your friends as laughing and singing to music for long periods of time, which we did, but we also listened to church music, read some of the scriptures, talked about deep stuff, and sat in silence, and it wasn't even weird. Perks of being best friends, I guess. 

We got there Sunday night and pretty much just played cards with her grandparents, which was totally fun by the way.

 The next morning we got up a little early so we could go over to Cathedral Gorge to hike around a bit. Holy cow, it was just gorgeous. We spent two hours exploring every nook and cranny we could find and climbing every ledge we could get our hands on (that was safe, of course). The parking lot is at the top of the canyon and there are stairs leading down into the depths of the rock. We walked down, but decided to climb our way out of the canyon instead of taking the stairs. There was a cave/tunnel that we followed for a while, which lead us to some narrower rock formations, but we still managed to climb out. What an adventure. And what a beauty.

 We (I mean Kara) cleaned up so we could take some senior photos! That was the real reason Kara wanted to come down to Pioche; so she could have some pictures taken in her favorite place. Earlier that day, Kara was showing me the dainty little towns around Pioche, and we passed by a gorgeous patch of sunflowers literally on the side of the freeway. When we were taking pictures, we decided to go back and take some there, and I'm so glad we did. SO stunning. Wow. There are no words. (PS if you want to see more photos of Kara from this shoot, check this out)

We played cards again that night and headed back home the next morning. While we were there I felt like one of the grandkids just coming to visit grandma and grandpa in Pioche! Oh how I love the small town charm, as cliche as it sounds.

And oh how I love how we can decide to drive five hours away to take pictures and stay for three days. There's nothing better than that.