The Pageant

Ever since I met Chris he has been raving about Arizona all its wonders--great weather, a paradise built in the middle of the desert, the nicest people in the world... and the Easter Pageant. I have always brushed his excitement for the pageant aside knowing how easily Chris is impressed. Example: "Oh my gosh.... this Hamburger Helper is amazing! I'm inviting the neighbors over."

I have to admit, it's usually a pretty big esteem booster when Chris is raving over something that involves me (even if it is a less-than-mediocre dinner). In the same breath, he does have a tendency to set an unrealistically high level of expectation, so when I went to the pageant this week I planned on being mildly disappointed. I was anything but.

Now it's my turn to rave as a proud Arizonan. The Easter Pageant is a performance hosted by the LDS church every year at the temple grounds. It is a massive production that is brought together by over 400 cast members and about 100 crew members. They spend months preparing for a handful of evening performances that show during the final weeks leading up to Easter.

The pageant is essentially a play about Christ's life. It begins from the time of his birth and ends with his crucifixion and resurrection. Everything was executed with perfection including the costuming, the choreography, the acting, and the singing.

Chris and I attended the pageant on Wednesday night, and because we only live two blocks from the temple we packed a blanket and walked to the grounds. By the time we arrived there were already thousands of people who had come early secure good seats, so we sat on the grassy hill in the back. I could hardly see the actors and knew I was missing some of the critical details that really made the performance, so I opted to go again Thursday. I was slightly fanatical and arrived two and a half hours early, but I got great seats and had an even more remarkable experience.

Now I can proudly rave about the pageant as being just as good as a Broadway, but free... and it makes you cry. Definitely worth the two and-a-half hour wait.

The masses grew....

and grew in anticipation of the show.

The beautiful statue of Christ in the public visitor center.

The meticulously well kept temple grounds.

A few cast members. (Guy on the right looks jolly)

This boy was carrying around the newest cast member (a two day old lambie). The baby had a very dramatic roll playing the first born sheep that Adam sacrificed. Although he went unscathed, when Adam held him up over the alter in a moc sacrifice, the audience could hear him crying "Baaaaaaah. Don't saaaaacrafice me." I don't think he was fully informed what the role would entail.

He was only one of many animals in the play. There were birds, ponies, mules, and sheep.

The grand finale.

He lives!



Chris recently got accepted to Asia's coveted Taida (National Taiwan University) this upcoming semester.

A little background for those of you who don't know Chris: he served his mission in Taiwan and has been studying Chinese and Communications at ASU. He joined Flagship, a government program designed for students who wish to excel in foreign languages the government considers valuable. The program works through various universities to provide these students the opportunity to study their second language in a completely submerged environment.

We will be leaving for Taiwan June 2nd and will come back home mid-August. After arriving home, Chris will only have a day or two to unpack and shake off the jet lag before he picks up classes back at ASU for fall semester.

To share more exciting news, in the fall of 2012 we will be studying abroad in China! Gulp.

This is the big whopper--nine months overseas. Chris will complete his education at the prestigious Nanjing University (a couple of hours West of Shanghai) and will then complete an internship in China (destination to be announced--we could go anywhere in the country).

Although my knowledge of the language is limited to feng shui, chow mein, and "I am his wife" I'm hoping that Taiwan will ease me into the Chinese culture (if that's possible). It is supposed to be far more westernized than China, and our first visit will be much shorter than the second.

Fortunately one of Chris' mission friends, Brittan, is also in the program and he and his wife Heather will be making both treks with us. It's really good to know I won't be the only clueless, shocked, disoriented, non-Chinese speaker wondering why the heck I boarded the plane. I will have an equally clueless, shocked and disoriented friend to bop around with. The blind leading the blind. It's a great plan.

Since Heather and I will essentially be on a two month all-inclusive vacation while our husbands are in school, we'll probably do some sightseeing, take a Chinese class, eat some really gross food, and get lost. A lot. I'm sure it will be very fun--especially since we won't have working cell phones. Mom. Dad. If a fleet of ninjas kidnap me, just know that I love you.

I have work to do! Passports to organize, visas to obtain, and a whole lot of packing.

Who better to adventure with?


The Great Explorers

The lovely Arizona winter is fading and summer is upon us again all too quickly. But before it got too hot, Chris and I took advantage of the great outdoors one last time with our good friends Jen and Dan. Our destination--the Salt River. Our original plan was to hike down to the Salt River dam... whichwe never found. However, the water was was low enough that we were able to hop rocks across the length of the river and poke around the cliffs on the other side. It was a most enjoyable morning until we returned to the city for a second lunch (most essential) and ended up recklessly loosing Snoopy in downtown Mesa. However, we have restored faith in our neighborhood. Everyone was pitching in to help us find our little beagle. Eventually we found him in an 85 year-olds back yard. Somehow she miraculously caught Mr. Mischief and was hanging onto him in hopes of being able to contact the owners.