Chapter 31: Wonder Woman and Ramadan

Hello all! So these last couple weeks have been very full and exciting weeks. Mostly because of the landmark events that took place. First, we saw Wonder Woman!!! It was incredible to see a movie where not only was the main superhero a woman who kicked butt just as hard as any male hero but she was surrounded by other awesome female characters. It was also so cool to see a movie Heather worked on on the big screen. In film there's a test that is used as an indicator for the active presence of women in films and other fiction, and to call attention to gender inequality in fiction. It's called the Bechdal test and consists of four questions:

  1. Does the film feature at least two women or girls?
  2. Do they talk to each other?
  3. Do they talk about something other than a man or boy?
  4. Are they named?

Wonder Woman passed the test with flying colours. Literally, the first 45 minutes was just powerful female characters. The movie starts with a shot of Diana (Wonder Woman) as a child sneaking into a training ground of Amazons training for battle. Often times in film when there is a woman fighting she is choreographed to look delicate and pretty in her fighting and this was not the case for any of the Amazon choreography. At one point I got a little teary eyed. She was also sensitive and strong emotionally, morally and compassionate too. Walking out of the theatre we all felt that this was a ground breaking movie that stands as a landmark for future movies with female heroes. Heather read an article on the effect this movie is having on young girls shared by a elementary school teacher. In it she talked about how all the girls in her class said they wanted to be Wonder Woman and when they couldn't decide which one of them was gonna be her they decided to all just be amazons to save the world with truth and love! It's hasn't been two weeks since the movie came out and it's already having this effect on young girls. We definitely would recommend seeing it if you haven't already.

Last Wednesday the youth in our ward had a talent show for their mutual activity and Heather and Amber decided to participate. For those of you who don't know, Heather grew up doing Highland and Irish dancing and so did Amber. They decided that they wanted to dust off their hard shoes and pull together something for the talent show. They decided this on Monday and by Wednesday they had a choreographed dance and they did an amazing job! Irish dancing being a percussive dance just sounds incredible, especially when performed with hard shoes and it was so cool seeing how good the two of them were even after years of not dancing. The rest of the talent show was fun - there were magic tricks, dances, songs performed and I pulled out my Golum monologue for good measure.

Last weekend we hosted a interfaith break the fast/Iftar dinner at our chapel with a local Muslim congregation. We were one of four groups of LDS and Muslim congregations that got together to share this experience along with our different perspectives of fasting and its benefits from either faith. For those of you who are unaware, those of the Muslim faith are currently observing Ramadan during which they fast every day for a month from sun up till sun down. The meal that they have to break their fast at the end of the day is called the Iftar. A member of our public affairs committee was organizing the Iftar with Sarif, the representative of the Muslim congregation, but couldn't pull it together last minute due to conflicting plans so she asked if we we could take it on and Heather and I were happy to oblige. From what I understand this is the second annual break the fast dinners in our area so we're very excited to have been a part of it.

The dinner was held at our chapel and we began the evening by giving our new friends a tour of the building. We talked about the sacrament and about Christ and the different classes and activities that take place in the building. Then we gathered in the gym and sat intermingled at the different tables and we began the Iftar. It started with a prayer which was presented in the form of a song and it was beautiful. We had a speaker from both parties talk about the reasons and beliefs behind fasting and it was very surprising to discover that we fast for pretty much the same reason. There is a strong focus on the spiritual and putting off the natural habits and desires and an emphasis on clothing and feeding the poor and less fortunate and they spend more time at the mosque than at any other time of the year.

The dinner was delicious. Nearly all of it was brought by their congregation. While we ate we shared personal stories and got to know each other better. We learned that a large majority of the congregation is from Turkey and a lot of them are teachers because of how much of a focus their culture places on education and learning. I got to bring my camera and document the event. We also brought our photobooth set up so everyone could take photos with their new friends. At the close of the night we gave them hydrangeas as parting favours. The hydrangea, as Heather has discovered, symbolizes openness and we thought what better gift to represent the evening. It was a wonderful experience and we all left with a resolve to have events like this more frequently so we don't have to wait till next year's Ramadan.

Until next week. - Steven


Chapter 28: Sushi and Scruples

We made California Rolls Wednesday, which was super fun! I got home as just as Steven finished getting together all the ingredients, so I put together the rolls! Not a skill I had until I dated Steven. Actually, I just remembered how I learned to make sushi! Steven and I were friends, starting to maybe date? It was a confusing time. One day we stopped by his parents house to grab something and it was right at dinner time. His mom, dad and sister were all making themselves sushi and invited us to join. I really hadn't eaten sushi many times at this point, and wasn't sure if I liked it or not, so I was pretty uncomfortable. Steven just dove in though! I stood there awkwardly while everyone was busily making their own rolls. I had NO IDEA how to do it, and Steven must have been so hungry he didn't notice how confused I was. Finally Stevens mom explained what to do, and I set about slowly making a roll. It was pretty terribly constructed, and took me so long I got much less food than the others haha. It was so funny to remember that memory and how awkward and out of place I felt. It feels like a lifetime ago, and like Steven and I are completely different people than we were then! He is so loving and conscious of me. I'm much more blunt and straightforward with him, I just couldn't see that same situation arising these days.  

We had some friends over for a games night Friday night which was really nice. We made a few pizzas, and they brought icecream :) We played our favorite strange party game "scruples" The version we own is from 1986, and it definetly shows its age. Not in looks (its in pristine condition) but in content. The game is great for getting to know people better. You have an answer card in your hand and 5 question cards. You choose the question card to ask anyone playing, but you need them to give the answer that matches what is on the answer card in your hand (yes/no/depends). The questions are things like "if your son became a stripper, would you continue to let him live at home?" "the old lady selling you her house is asking for less than her house is worth, do you tell her?" or "you leave water running while staying at a friends house and flood the bathroom. Do you offer to help pay for repairs?"

It was funny to see what different people were comfortable with and what others weren't! The game doesn't sound nearly as fun as it is when you describe it, but trust me its awesome. I did hooooribly at it, but still had a lot of fun.

I had my first full Saturday off in like a month!

It was my favourite day of the week, because Steven and I got to spend all day together. We didn't do anything very interesting honestly, like we ran errands, went to the doctors office, stuff like that. But It was so nice to spend all day together.

Saturday evening was stake conference. They spoke mostly about how to make the Sabbath day a delight. My Sabbath is far from delightful these days, so That's what we will need to work on over the next weeks. We are toying with the idea of doing these posts Monday night rather than Sunday since we always end up staying up so late Sundays. We will see if this helps over the next few weeks or if we end up just forgetting to post haha. its a pretty real possibility!



Chapter 19: Barbegazi and the rest

Honestly, we completely forgot to make a post last week. Sorry y'all! We'll do our best to get this working again. So last week was pretty tame, the most exciting thing being Barbegazi. The word Barbegazi refers to a mythical french and Swiss creature and the words Barbegazi come from is something like "barbe gelée" or "frozen beard". Its like a bearded man/Sasquatch on skis? ...That's also blue? ...Clearly we were confused about it haha. So its pretty much just a winter activity festival. We heard about it the day before we went, and thought it could be fun. Turns out, it was a super high budget event that had only a fraction of the expected attendance, so that was awesome! Short lines, and lots to do. There was a McDonalds cart giving out free hot chocolate, big fire pits, arm wrestling stations, wood cutting competitions, tree tossing, and lastly and most importantly... an obstacle race! The best part? IT WAS ALL FREE.

Steven and I went with Amber and Devin, and the boys were just so jazzed about it. Stevens got a video to put here about it, it was a blast. Amber and I felt we were best serving as camera people, because of how slick the icy snow was. The boys got kinda banged up, and Steven got a bloody nose, but it was worth it.

We went and saw a couple movies the past two weeks, which always makes for a good week. Steven found that he loves quinoa salads, and consequentially we ate a ton of quinoa haha. I like them too, but Steven was suuuper excited, because those are the sorts of things adults get excited about I suppose. quinoa. salads. Steven has been killing it at work lately. He works for a company that kind of loans him out to other companies they have under their wing. Most of them have loved his work, and been really easy for him to access what they want. But there was one company, which was a little trickier. This week they pitched an ad campaign and Steven delivered some videos to them for it and they lost it! it was an amazing response and he was so proud. He feels like hes getting the hang of their style now and what they like with their branding which is really rewarding!

In other news, this Saturday we spent a few hours watching a live stream of the Women's March on Washington. When we first tuned in, there was a man speaking and my first thought was "of course. women's march, and yet a man is the speaker. of course." but after he finished speaking, a woman got up, and She was intelligent, powerful, and articulate. Then another woman got up, and she too was formidable. Then another, and another. after about an hour and a dozen women and three men, I thought, "This is how men feel, like ALL of the time." I got really emotional and felt a commitment to be one of those women. I want to be one of those women in my community, in my work and in my church. At work, there are more women than I expected, and more women in positions of power than I expected. I have been working on a show that has powerful women in it. It has been a thrill and a blessing to be able to look up to such women and know that I don't need to be the first. I can walk the path that many have blazed for me.

Speaking of work, This has been a wonderful two weeks. I have finally feel like I have settled into a pattern. I was feeling like I could take on more work, so I asked for more. I was given a little, and a little more and then all at once my work load was doubled, but I held up under it! I hope I can make myself indispensable by the end of the year. I want to be the person, that when something needs to be done, and done right, you ask Heather to do it.

I don't usually come up with resolutions per se, but I for the past few years I have picked a word to focus on trying to live better through that year. Last year I wanted to be more Engaged in my endeavours, the year before I wanted to be more Disciplined. This year, my word is Commitment. Working on my commitment to my relationships with the people I love, being more committed to excellence, more committed to the things I love and making time for them. I love this practice of choosing a word because at different times in the year it means different things to me. For instance, I chose the word Engaged last year, because I wanted to work on how I scattered I was feeling. I wanted to be more engaged at work, and later in the year when Steven proposed that word took on a very different meaning. That's the most obvious example but the word does gain meaning through this year and I highly recommend it. I would love to hear if you have any words you would like to choose to focus on this year!