17 August 2008

Paderborn JAE Tagung 2008 (Cough, Cough) Summary

It's easier to put the pictures in a separate post, and not all of them have been sent to me yet anyway. So this post is the written, not-so-short summary of the 2008 YSA Convention in Paderborn/Geseke/Eringerfeld.

What a fabulous week! There was one really big downer and a couple of disappointments, but overall, the convention was awesome.

On Monday, I was late getting to the train station, but luckily Inka and I found each other. The train ride there was fun, she even did some acrobatics from the amazingly high hand grips. When we got to our last stop, it took over an hour for the shuttle to come, and there was no more food, so we had a hungry night. I was glad to find out I was assigned my own room. There was a Western dance, with bull riding and sheriff pins. One hilarious guy had a little gun he shot off as he tried the bull riding. I bragged to a lot of people about my sister being the bull-riding queen at her husband's work party. I was re-acquainted with Aaron, a guy who knew Elder Turville really well during his mission. I had thought he was married already, so that was weird. He is a fabulous person who looks kind of like my dad. We talked for several hours and finally said goodnight earlier than most people, around 2.

Each morning, there was a spiritual thought, and each evening there was a fireside. At one fireside, the Grasslis told us about how Sister Grassli is always late and how she backed into the garage door once on the way to a meeting. When she went in and told Elder Grassli, he hit his fist on the desk, which surprised her because of his usual patience. Then he said, "I didn't say anything the first two times, did I?" Ha ha. There were a few Americans there, but I didn't really get to know them as I was having too much fun doing other things. The food was just awful. We had desert once, they ran out one time, the vegetables were always old and mushy, the fruit tea was gross, and they didn't always have all food groups. We were always hungry a few hours after dinner, and going to bed so late just made us more starving. The only thing I enjoyed was breakfast each day, where I could have a crumbly roll with cherry jam. Although I signed up to be in a room with Jessi, I got to be alone. Sweet! Without an alarm, I still somehow woke up on time each morning. The rooms were kind of gross, but livable. The showers were way cold. One morning, I couldn't breathe under the water, and then in the next stall, I heard, "Ahhh! Ah-ha! Haaaa! Ahh!" Susi heard me laughing at her and she started laughing too.

Tuesday, I attended a class by Alan Keele, a German History professor at BYU. He speaks wonderful German and he talked about the three young Mormon men who set up the resistance movement against Hitler in Hamburg. I (like the Gestapo) couldn't believe that such a young man (Helmuth Hübener) was alone in his protests. He was the youngest opponent of Hitler to be put to death. His story is quite interesting and the film (Truth and Conviction) we watched was great. The dance that night was the white and black dance. I knew it was ridiculous, but I spent forty minutes debating what I should wear. I hadn't planned on this dance and wanted my black and white things for other stuff. I finally just changed plans and went. Again, I went to bed extremely late after playing kicker with Aaron and two other girls.

Wednesday, I went to a leadership for women class given by Sister Grassli. She has an impressive resume within the Church and had some good points, but I felt like she was a little too positive about things. She talked about how she told a woman about the hierarchy of the Church and how she couldn't call her stake president for her, but she never told how the woman felt about it or what happened afterwards. Maybe it looked like she was being a good leader, but did the woman think that? I guess that doesn't always matter. Good leaders are not always loved leaders. Her one example of being criticized was of one of her leaders calling to tell her she needed to sit on the stand from then on. But what about criticism from someone she was leading? Anyway, then Alan Keele gave another class about the Gospel in German film, which was quite interesting. The film we watched parts of had that crazy guy in jail in the movie Nosferatu. Then I went waterskiing, an experience I couldn't believe. First of all, it was in a mini-lake and we had neoprene wetsuits because the water was so cold. Secondly and most amazingly, there were no boats! Nope, just cables wired above the lake, with connected handles that go around and around!!! I managed to get up on the third try after it stopped raining. Each try is crazy hard because you have to swim to the side and walk back to the starting point. I'm so glad I didn't crash on the other side of the lake. Yes, this was a BAD idea for the carpal tunnel I've been suffering from lately, but I figure that can heal later . . . when will I get another chance to water ski in Germany? And included with something I already paid for? I gave our bus driver a contact card. After that, we had game night. I would have just gone to bed a lot earlier if I had known what we would be doing, but with only 7 people left in our group after other people left, I would have felt too guilty. There were some fun activities, like shoving 300 straws into someone's mouth, making two human pyramids, inserting a piece of uncooked spaghetti into a piece of long, uncooked macaroni, and racing tricycles. Then I got Clemens and Aaron to watch for some meteors with me. Aaron kept getting distracted, talking about other things and looking at other stuff, so he only saw one the whole convention. There weren't that many, but the very first one I saw was very bright. I was surprised that there weren't more stars; we were in a relatively small town that didn't even have its own train stop.

Thursday, I played in the football tournament. I got kicked out of my team because the guys were too cool for me. So, I was in the mostly-girls team, meaning they were getting scared and hitting the ball with their hands. Okay, so that's a little mean. We did okay and it was beautiful to play in the sunshine. In between games, I studied for the Literature GRE (thanks for the book, Kelli). Then I went to a class about having a fulfilled life. This couple just talked about marriage and I wasn't convinced. Other people loved it, but I just felt troubled. I want a very equal marriage. I just don't see how that is possible. There's a way. First I have to find someone I'm willing to marry who's also willing to marry me. Then we'll see what we can do. On my way to the volleyball tournament, I stopped in at the empty cafeteria to see if I could play the piano. They let me play the Minute Waltz. Awesome, even though I've been wearing my wrist brace most of time, it went okay. Volleyball, however, was not so hot. I ended up on a team with two very serious Austrian or Swiss volleyball players who were not impressed with me. It really bugged me to be the person they were covering. Having coached the Young Women, I know how that goes. Then I ran into Lydia after walking past masses of couples cuddling (okay, maybe four). She said, "Michelle, there's love everywhere, but we don't have any! When will we find someone? Do you want to go swimming with me?" So I went. Then I helped my friend Janett get ready. We had to do her hair with only a few clips and a few bobby pins because my waver didn't like the adaptor I borrowed (it wasn't a converter and the 220 power made it start smoking). Then I was left with ten minutes to get ready and five bobby pins. What to do? I definitely did not look my best and I was late for dinner, meaning I couldn't find a seat by my best friends, but luckily Marcel is pretty funny. Dinner was horrible and there wasn't enough lemon pudding. I ended up eating mostly ice cream and crepes. There was a great program that Jessi was in, then we got to dancing. A lot of people complimented my dress (thanks, Tanya!). Dancing was awesome. I finally danced with Kenneth, and it was the most fun I've had yet!!! He dances so fast and he does some awesome steps. We were sweating so hard when we were done crashing into couples in the way. Time flew by.

Friday, I went to a rock climbing place that puts Black Diamond to shame. We did this thing up in the air where we made our way around on things just attached with loose rope. Cool. Then afterwards I was able to hang by pegs and move one side up at a time. I was the only girl who was able to do it, and only David could also do it (he also weighs nothing). Again, this activity was bad for the wrist. I talked to an employee there who also studies literature. I gave her a contact card before we left. When we got back, I thought I had time for lunch before the canoeing, but it turned out that the same bus was going to canoeing and I missed it. Then the cafeteria had no more food for us even though there were still 45 minutes before it was over, so I had a piece of old bread. I went to another of Sister Grassli's classes, "Preparation to Raise Children." I guess it would be helpful if she had first gone over how to gain the desire to have children. Again, something I'll deal with when I get closer. I played in the second half of the volleyball tournament and got a "you are really athletic" from one of the volleyball players. Sweet! We almost won the whole thing. That night, the dance was sports-clothes themed, which came a little late in the week, I thought, since my sports clothes were all sweaty. Since I had already waited twice to see if I could play the piano on the stage, Kenneth and I went up there before the dance started, but there were microphones inside, so we started to move them when this man came. He was so mean that I wanted to cry. He yelled at us and told us how he never wanted to do the convention and how he hates JAEs and that we do whatever we want and we ruined everything. I apologized and asked what I could do, but he was just ready to kill us. Afterwards, I had to go jogging because that and several other things had me stressed. I was wearing my cherry shoes and I ran straight through a dirt field bordered by two forests. Then I just laid in the dirt, looking up at the sky, listening to my iPod. (First some The Long Winters, then Third Eye Blind, and finally MoTab.) My shoes filled with dirt, I finally went back to the dance and tried my hand at the heavy hammer thing. I could see what others were doing wrong with their swing, but I didn't have what it needed. After the dance, Aaron and I were starving but no one who had a car wanted to go get food. We found a piano and I accompanied him on his violin. That was awesome. Around 2:30, finding no food and being kicked out of the music room, I went to bed.

Saturday, the Vokalis Chor sang for us and then we had a testimony meeting. I bore mine and really enjoyed the meeting. While I was sitting on the stage waiting for my turn, I realized I wasn't sure what the past tense of "to lead" was, "gelitten" or "geleitet." Jessi told me "geleitet," but then I heard others saying "gelitten," so I got scared. Luckily, I stuck to "geleitet." "Gelitten" turns out to be "to suffer from something." Jessi made me go to lunch with her and her date. I talked to his friend, who told me about his work. Then I asked if he would be there next year, and he said he might be married by then. I asked him if he had a girlfriend, to which he answered no. I then asked how old he was, and he didn't answer. I laughed and said, "You're really old!" No answer. Good luck, Buddy. The train back was fun. We got six of us on a weekend ticket, so it was only 11 Euros per person. We slept and joked and ate Schnitzel that was supposed to go on the bread we'd already eaten.

There are some mini conventions coming up that I'll be headed to, such as one at the Frankfurt Temple. Next year's super-convention will be close to Berlin. I'm already excited and I hope this time I can be a counselor at EFY the week before!


  1. Wow Michelle! What a neat week...it sounds like you had a blast! :) ...now it's time to catch up on your sleep! :)

  2. Great commentary! Sorry the guy was so rude, honestly, he needs to find something else to do that he enjoys.