One Year

It's been one year since we arrived in Portugal. And we celebrated by driving to Spain to attend the temple.

No, that wasn't really our plan, but that's how it worked out since our district temple trip was scheduled for this week. I still had vague ideas of eating out or doing something celebratory on the 4th for Independence Day and our anniversary, but in the end we were just too exhausted and/or sick.

I'm not usually one to notice opposition before attending the temple---I just go, but this trip... from the very beginning, there were signs that something was up.

After reservations being cancelled without reason, told there was no space, applications rejected, looking into camping areas, it almost looked like we wouldn't be able to go at all--there was no where for us to sleep! But finally Woo found us an Airbnb that was expensive and a tight fit, but had parking, was within a 30 min walk of the temple and most importantly, available.

It was a tough trip. I don't really feel like listing everything... there were the usual tough-trip-with-kids episodes: bloody noses, throw up, lack of sleep, cranky kids, etc. Also, Woo had asthma and a stomach bug (emergency pitstop on the side of the road?--yay!).

A good thing was that Ruby and Herbie got to do baptisms with the youth from our district and hang out with them most of the day. It seemed kind of like a youth conference. They loved it and they made new friends. But they only let Ruby and Herbie be baptized for 10 people at a time (and they had 120 names!)--they were never going to get through them...

That night, praying for revelation, I got: Even a hard temple trip with only a few names done is completely worth it. Any sacrifice is worth one person receiving the saving ordinances of Jesus Christ available only in His temples.

That was comforting, but did not make the trip easier. Highlights from the next day include me driving the van through crowded Madrid streets with the horn blaring constantly (and it was piercingly loud!). I guess you haven't lived until you have hundreds (or thousands?) of people stop everything they're doing to stare at you. I tried to make what I guessed was the universal sign for "I don't know what the heck's going on either" occasionally, but I'm not sure I was understood.

The horn problem was miraculously resolved when Woo next started the van; although, he knew how to handle it and Herbie too. And Moses said he did too, but he was in the van with me and never said a word... Maybe because Penelope was laughing and laughing and laughing the entire time. I couldn't quite do the same myself in the moment, but it did remind me that this was going to be a fun memory one day.

The good news was it prepared me to not be embarrassed at all when I fainted at the altar an hour later. Mostly, it was awesome to be lying on the floor of the temple, getting a break and everyone running to get me a water and mopping my face off with kleenex... we left for home soon after that.

Other events of the day: they did eventually let Ruby and Herbie finish all their names in a marathon last baptism session, and Woo and I, through a series of misdirections, accidentally found ourselves witnessing a live sealing of an older couple.

At first I felt like I was trespassing on some private, sacred moment when the groom was so clearly touched and appeared to be experiencing one of the happiest moments of his life, but in the end, I loved it. It was so sweet, and I was happy we could see it.

That's pretty much it, except that Madrid has a lot of ornamental plum trees and Moses and Linus found several little plums for us to eat. Linus' soccer ball popped. And Archie found a little Lamborghini buried in playground sand that he loved so much, but unfortunately (like seemingly all his toys) he lost, by dropping it through a fence and down a steep hill while staring at a swimming pool, just before we left.

And I think that's it. I'm looking forward to a lazy week next week. Hope your Fourth of July was great!