God, friends, and music...a beautiful thing! Lauren and I have been enjoying a lot of these things since last Wednesday, when Lauren, Sarah, and I traveled to Salt Lake City to reprise our adventures of two years ago and continue our Suzuki teacher training for violin. We traveled by car, plane, bus, and train to arrive at our hotel just outside of the city with a sigh of relief and an excitement to be back. Back to the city guarded by mountains, warmed by the bright sun, and refreshed by an occasional rain. Back to the school where 800 people from Singapore, Argentina, Costa Rica, China, Canada, and all over the USA converge for 11 days to learn, teach, play, perform, and meet new people.
We got in so late, we ended up ordering from Five Guy's Burgers and Fries online and then picking up our greasy (but delicious) meal in the nick of time before closing.
Of course, we are in the heart of Mormon country, and two years ago, God gave us several opportunities to witness to our unsaved classmates. This year, however, we have already met many, many Christians (though none from around here), and God has given us opportunities to have serious discussions on Mormonism, standards of Godly music, and homeschooling.
We have been studying on the Holy Spirit in the morning before heading to class, and the Holy Spirit has guided our time together to reveal some amazing new concepts. We'll definitely be planning a blog post on that in the future!
Two years ago, we realized what a challenge it was cooking for only three people with none of the customary staples like salt and pepper, flour, milk, or sugar. This year, however, we organized a meal plan and went shopping, and we have been eating quite well!
One evening, we took an excursion to this fabulous theme restaurant we had heard good things about. We invited Marissa, a homeschooled Christian Texan who plays the cello, to come along with us, and we had a fabulous time watching a diving show, taking in the Indiana-Jones-type atmosphere, and enjoying delicious Mexican desserts.
Sunday afternoon, we took the opportunity to explore SLC more, and we had the privilege of going to a Bible exhibit at the University of Utah. It was exciting to see a Geneva Bible from the 16th century, a King James Bible from the 17th century, a page from the Gutenberg Bible, and a variety of other ancient manuscripts and translations. This was an incredible chance to learn more about God's preservation and protection of His Word!
A tea shop sounded perfect to us, and the minute we walked in and were greeted by a waiter with an authentic British accent, we knew we had come to the right place. Our pasties and loose cherry blossom tea were perfection--every bit as lovely as the ones you can get in London!
This week, we have long hours of classes and observations, intermixed with some incredible concerts. Monday night, we watched Jenny Oaks Baker perform Legende by Wienawski, selections from Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty, and Rimsy-Korsakov's Scheherezade, as well as stunning arrangements of Disney's most beautiful pieces, such as Beauty and the Beast, and A Whole New World.
We're all looking forward to learning more, meeting new people and continuing old relationships, and coming home better teachers, musicians, and friends with a renewed desire to serve God through our music.
Many pictures taken by Sarah, who blogs at The Lord's Lass.