Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Finding Newberry Academy...

This morning I got up. Harper, my new cat, was sleeping under my bed. I ate breakfast and took a deep breath. Today was third time's the charm. Time to go to church and start making friends. After I showered, Harper came out of hiding and attentively rubbed against my leg the entire time I was straightening my hair. She didn't want me to leave when I closed the door to head off to the train.

It was sprinkling when I left my apartment. By the time I got to the train it was full on raining. At an unfamiliar stop I moved west, grateful that I'd lived in Utah so long that I figured out how to have a sense of direction. The rain poured harder the more I walked. So much for straightening my hair. Moisture is my hair's enemy. Of course, I walked to far and had to pull up the church's address on my phone, attempting to locate Willow St. It was nowhere to be found. I was about ready to get back on the train, get my car, and drive back for sacrament meeting. Instead, I headed south on Orchard St praying I would find Newberry Academy, the school where church is held. I chose the right street. A white sign with the familiar Church logo welcomed me to my destination. Hooray!

Inside I found a family ward meeting in the school auditorium and heard voices upstairs that sounded like they might be coming from young single adults. As I walked down the hallway, my ankle gave out as it sometimes does, and I fell flat on my knees. More than anything I was scared someone had seen me. It would be such a perfect story if they typical.

Without drawing any attention to my little stumble I made it upstairs and found Relief Society. We meet in the school library. I sat in a row by myself but one of the girls quickly came over and introduced herself. She was super nice and we chatted for awhile. During our lesson Tiff, our teacher, had us talk to the people next to us to get to know each other. Sandy and Mariah, seated behind me, enthusiastically asked, "Can we meet you?". We chatted for several minutes. They were very friendly and smiley. Sandy is a flight attendant for SkyWest and Mariah is a fashion writer. Since I'm the new girl they found out more about me than I found out about them, but it felt good to connect with people.

One of the girls sitting in front of me, Katie, instantly befriended me. After Relief Society she let me be her shadow and went around introducing me to people. By the time we were ready to go to sacrament meeting I actually new the names of some people and Katie and I exchanged phone numbers. I also met my branch president. He seems really personable and nice. After church I met up with two of the girls I had met at the social activity for new members a few weeks ago. They introduced me to there other roommate and we all walked to the train together.

My first day of church in Chicago couldn't have been better. I can't wait to get to know the branch members and really make some friends. No more being alone in the big city!

Photo of Newberry Academy by John Knox

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