I spent a whirlwind 6 days in the Salt Lake Valley last week, visiting friends, celebrating a wedding, and eating far too much food that was too good to pass up. It was exhilarating, exhausting, and everything I needed to kick off the new year. It was such a blessing to be reunited with several of my mission companions and others that I served with, as well as making new friends and meeting up with old ones.
I have to admit, I was a little skeptical about Utah – the last time I was traveled to the Salt Lake valley, I spent 11 days in “Spirit Prison” (the missionary training center) struggling with altitude sickness, stress, and navigating food allergies in a dining hall with limited options. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the MTC, but it wasn’t easy. So Utah left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth (also a brown taste, considering I’m an eastern girl and love my green mountains and trees, and Utah is quite brown).
I was pleasantly surprised! Apparently, Utah and I are a better match in the middle of winter than in late summer. It doesn’t hurt that it’s an entirely different kind of cold than New England, meaning the temperatures hovering around freezing most of the week meant it felt pretty mild – perfect for adventuring around the Salt Lake Valley!
On Friday and Saturday, the day was spent celebrating Cassidy’s pending nuptials with a bachelorette party at a local crepe joint in Provo, her sealing, and then the reception. I expected to be a little emotional, watching a mission companion I love dearly (I rarely meet someone who I click with as quickly as I did her) get married for time and eternity. I did pretty good, no tears, until I saw her brother step forward for a long, tearful hug. Anyone left in the room who witnessed the love radiating through the room with dry eyes had dry eyes no longer by that point.
Please ignore my crazy bangs and just appreciate the four of us mission-mates reunited for Cassidy’s bachelorette party.
Blurry, but priceless.
This is probably one of my favorite candids of Cass & her new husband, Spencer, came out of the temple.
Isn’t she stunning?
She & Spencer were married in the new Provo City Center temple, which is absolutely beautiful, inside and out. I love that after the old tabernacle burnt down, it was renovated and made into a second temple for the city.
It was also such a blessing to meet up with friends – it was just the pick-me-up I needed and such a perfect start to 2017. I got the chance to explore Provo and Salt Lake, although I slacked on taking digital pictures (got loads of polaroids! I will post them once they are scanned and uploaded).
Here are some of the highlights:
A session at the old Provo temple with Madeleine, one of my mission companions, which was double the experience because I never had the chance to attend the temple while at the MTC.
Exploring Center Street in Provo and Temple Square in Salt Lake with Ofa – isn’t she gorgeous? (And again, with my bangs)
Bookstores and bakeries galore!
I had heard about the Sweet Tooth Fairy bakery and how incredible their cupcakes are on social media, and was pleasantly surprised to find that they live up to their reputation! My red velvet cupcake I had on my cupcake date with Madeleine and Tessa was divine. And I probably spent a little too much money as I combed through Pioneer Book and Seagull Book in Provo. The perils of being a nerd.
These crepes made my soul so happy, I went twice. :)
It wasn’t a crazy fancy trip, nothing huge, but it was definitely a lot of fun. I feel like the majority of what makes travel exciting is people – reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. So ten points to Utah for being home to the majority of my friends!