First, I did a report on Mozart's "The Magic Flute", which changed my life. I discovered that I love all things opera. I owe it all to Jasie Stokes--my humanities inspiration. Jasie, I hope you read this. The Magic Flute is a ballad opera, meaning it is half sung, and half spoken. There is a scene in the opera between Papageno and Papagena--who are obviously soul mates. They meet after having been under the assumption that they would never see each other again. If there is such a thing as love in the world, I hope I find someone who I can have this kind of love with. Here is a clip from the scene(for a more extensive clip, go here):
They are singing about having tons and tons and tons of babies--but in the most sincere and lovely way. It makes me smile each and every time I watch it. I've been known to laugh in the library while viewing it. The point of opera is not to take everything at face value, the point is to see the vision of the piece and fill in the inadequacies caused by the difficulty of the medium. Imagine the love!
Other events of significance this week were General Conference and Mission Reunion. The mission reunion was awkward but oddly fun. I felt like I was saying, "hey, wow, it's you! how have you been? OK, bye, see you later" over and over again. I feel like adulthood is like having the replay button stuck, but being too lazy to pull it back out and progress with the normal sequence of things. It is so much easier to get stuck in the same conversations and situations.
General Conference was great for so many reasons. I spent the weekend at the Sheffield's home (eating good food, enjoying good company, and observing a good family) and spent 2 sessions at the conference center in Salt Lake. I searched out a German sister missionary on Temple Square and spoke with her for a little while. Conference was great, and I enjoyed the eloquent sermons of Elders Uchtdorf and Bednar. Talk about beautiful rhetoric.
The only disappointment of the weekend came as trouble arose around my veritable "man-bag" with the Conference Center security staff. I entered the double wide doors of the conference center saturday evening for Priesthood Session and was greeted by a friendly, old man at the security checkpoint. I motioned to my bag, and he made the gesture for me to give him the satchel. I handed it over and he said, "What do you have in your purse?" I replied "nothing", and was busy explaining that it was a sidebag, when he passed it to the next lady in security who exclaimed, "Oh my, this is a lovely purse, where'd you get it?" I once again started to clarify, but was interrupted as the last lady in the checkout line received the bag from the previous lady and subsequently handed it back to me, while lamenting, "You don't see many purses like this anymore." It was like a gatling gun of inadvertent gender-insults.
If the abuse had stopped there, wounds would have healed and confidence persevered. On Sunday however, a friend and I returned to the conference center for the culminating Sunday afternoon session. Upon reaching the security checkpoint at a new door, with new personnel, I was ready with rebuttals for any verbose "purse" comments. Unfortunately for my confidence, I heard a lady screaming to the patrons in line, "No bags through these doors. Switch lines!" I was so close to the door that I figured I would smooth talk my way in. I got to the front, the guy looked at my bag and I asked, "Can you make an exception for me?" He seemed to think for a second and smugly replied, "We can't take any bags here. But purses are allowed." He said, "If it is a purse, it's allowed in." A beat. He continued, "Is it a purse?" You'll note my internal battle at this point. I said, "It's a purse. Let me in." The bag went through the line, the high school boys laughed and I was on my way to enjoy a spiritually uplifting session of conference on my newfound humble footing.