Mar 6, 2004

I went with several girlfriends last night to see "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights". They filmed it in Puerto Rico, and the whole time I was sitting there watching it it just reminded me how much I loved Puerto Rico, and how much I loved to dance. I am by no means a dancer; I took lessons for 6 years as a child (mostly tap and some tap/jazz) but I have always wanted to learn latin ballroom dancing and flamenco.

I had forgotten what it was that I loved about latin culture; the music, the warmth, even the unspoken sensuality. I don't mean sexuality; I mean sensuality. It's just in their blood and in their culture. Their language is warm and inviting. I had forgotten how much I loved Spanish.

I then started thinking about how much I loved the ocean. I guess growing up in the midwest did that:) Don't get me wrong, Wisconsin is beautiful, and seeing the rolling hills filled with colorful trees during autumn is a most breathtaking sight. I also absolutely love the mountains -- despite some of the things I disliked about Utah, the mountains were the main attractor for me. Gosh, how I loved camping in those mountains! How I loved driving up there and feeling so close to God! But then I think about the sea. I lived in a port city in Spain for 18 months and I loved having the ocean right there. I loved it in Puerto Rico, and when I was in North Carolina, I fell in love with Jacksonville. This is very unusual for me, because usually I end up comparing where I am to the beauty I have seen elsewhere. Plus, I never thought I'd like the south. Ok, North Carolina isn't the deep south, but there was something about the place. Not everyone had southern accents -- it was a good mix. The racial mix was great. There was also something about seeing so many churches! Most of them were Baptist churches, but being around people who were so God-fearing was a delight. People up north just don't take religion as seriously. Plus when I went to Top Sail beach and just walked about a mile along it, and listened to those waves....seeing the ocean...I thanked the Lord for the beauty of this Earth. But then again the beautiful drive to Raleigh reminded me very much of Wisconsin. There was just something about it.

I also went to the chapel and sat down for awhile praying and reading my scriptures. I didn't talk to anyone, other than a woman who was cleaning the place and greeted me, but I didn't go there to talk to anyone. I just wanted so much to be in a holy place. The spirit was strong there in that chapel. The chapel reminded me very much of the one I grew up in -- in Wausau. The darker wood and smaller chapel reminded me of home. I really miss that feeling in my ward, because we don't meet in a chapel. But anyway, I felt the spirit so strongly and as I sat there looking up front....praying....well, that was when peace first settled in my heart.

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