Sunday, September 30, 2012

September Has Been...

September has been extremely busy with school starting, Caitlin starting a new job, and getting to know a new part of the United States. Here are a few other things that September has been:

It has been a time to eat Ben & Jerry's in Vermont (where it is actually made).

It has been a time for a new house. We found a great duplex to live in while in New England that is fully furnished. Although it isn't decorated how we would've done it, we are appreciative of the furnishings.

If you come and visit this will be your room. 

It has been a time for bike rides down old country roads. We don't know what happened to the picture, but we had to post our only bike riding picture.

It has been a time of enjoying the outdoors and playing in trees.

It has been a time of exploring downtown Brattleboro, Vermont. Seriously the town is so similar to Portland, Asheville, Austin, and Seattle. We're a little out of our element, but we're loving it.

It has been a time for sitting on graffiti.

It has been a time for exploring Kringle Candle, one of the largest candle factories in Wester Massachusetts, and Bernardston's claim to fame.

It's been a time for exploring Boston.

It has been a time of pirate tour guides.

It's been a time of catching up with some great BYU-Idaho friends and eating cannolis. 

It has been a time for admiring the Boston temple.

It has been a time for soaking up the sun at Walden Pond.

It has been a time for creepy fog during the early hours.

It has been a time for apple orchards and fall festivals. 

It has been a time of huge, creepy spiders in the sink.

And it has been a time to take picture in the fall foliage after church.

September has treated us well. School has been insane with reading and other work. Caitlin got a job at the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital. I got a job on campus working in the Experiment in International Living office (basically a really cool study abroad type office). We have been working with the missionaries, which we NEVER got to do in Idaho or Utah. And we're finally starting to feel like this is home. It may take a little while longer before we realize that we live in New England, but with autumn festivities starting, and the holidays right around the corner, we feel like we are accepting this as home.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Week in Vermont!

After 10 days on the road we finally made it to Vermont. Now if you read the title of this blog it says, a week in Vermont. Most of you, if you have been reading this blog, know that we just moved to Vermont so why only a week? Well that is really quite simply answered: we didn't actually move to Vermont. That was just a fallacy. We moved to New England. :) 

I am attending grad school in Vermont, but the house that we found is actually just across the border (like three houses away) in Massachusetts. So when we got to Vermont, we actually only lived there for a week until our actual house was ready for us to move into. 

We stayed in the Newfane House, a BEAUTIFUL vacation rental in Newfane, Vermont. It is about 30 minutes north of Brattleboro where my school is, and we loved being able to stay in such a beautiful home for our first week in New England. It was like a second honeymoon really. We were completely secluded from everyone, had no cell phone reception, and could spend tons of time with each other (with the exception of school). 

We stayed on the third level of the house which has two bedrooms and a great deck with patio furniture and a grill. We loved that!

The little town of Newfane doesn't have much to offer (besides solitude) but we did find this park bench made of stone that was dedicated to the man who founded the town while we were out on our Sunday walk.

Caitlin made use of nearly every surface in the house by taking naps in the most irregular positions. I don't know how she gets comfortable while all balled up like a cat, but she makes it work. 
We really loved staying at the Newfane House for a week, it was really a blessing for us and a great way to get acclimated to the New England lifestyle. Now we are having a plethora of adventures in Bernardston (pronounced Burn-ud-ston), Massachusetts and exploring everything New England has to offer. We'll talk more about our adventures real soon, I'm sure.

Day 9: Palmyra, Print Shop, & Sister Missionaries

Our last stop before Vermont was Palmyra, New York. This is where the prophet Joseph Smith grew up and began the restoration of the gospel. It is a special place to both Caitlin and I. This is where I started to realize that Caitlin was the girl that I was going to marry, even if it took another month for me to really figure it out. Caitlin had a few spiritual experiences 10 years ago when she first visited Palmyra and we were both elated to return and feel the spirit there again.

We started off our visit at the LDS church visitor's center. We met a great sister missionary, Hermana Torres from Nicaragua/Canada. She was so great and really took an interest in our lives. She almost convinced Caitlin and I to go to Nicaragua for my practicum. We're still looking into a few places though. :) She took us around the visitor's center and explained a few of the sights that we could visit while in Palmyra. She was very personable and a very spiritual sister missionary.

After visiting with Hermana Torres for a little bit we went to the Hill Cumorah where they hold the Hill Cumorah Pageant every year. It has a monument built in dedication of the Book of Mormon and the angel Moroni.

We then went over to the publication site of the first Book of Mormon. We had a great Australian sister missionary who gave us a tour of the building and helped liken everything we learned there to our own lives. She was so great with the analogies. 

After visiting the Book of Mormon publication site, we went to the Smith farm and to the sacred grove. The sister missionary that helped us there was Sister Amberlee Lovell, a girl that both Caitlin and I knew from BYU-Idaho. She was so happy to see us and it was so great to hear the facts about the Smith family from someone we knew. She was a great tour guide and was able to provide an equal amount of facts and testimony. 

We loved spending time in the sacred grove as well. It is such a peaceful place and we walked around for nearly an hour. We spent a few minutes reading through Joseph Smith History where he tells the story of the First Vision.

After spending some time in the sacred grove we had about an hour and a half to "kill" before we attended the temple, so we had a little lunch outside of the Smith farm and took pictures making faces.

We knew that we wouldn't be able to attend the temple a lot while in New England (the closest temple is Boston which is about 2.5 hours away) so we made it a priority to attend the temple on our road trip. The Palmyra temple is beautiful and actually has a clear window that faces the sacred grove. It is behind us in this picture.

Our last stop in Palmyra was the Whitmer Farm. This is where the church was officially organized. The sister missionaries that helped us here gave us an overview of the vision of the church, both in the time of Christ and now. They did an amazing job at answering our questions and teaching us doctrine. We loved the sister missionaries all over Palmyra. They were for sure the best sisters that we encountered on our trip (although all the sisters were great).

And there it is - our road trip is nearly over. The only thing left to do is get to Vermont - which is about 5 hours from Palmyra. But just wait until you hear about the adventures we are having here. :)