Wednesday, June 25, 2014

General Assembly 2014 -- Day 1

For me, today started yesterday.

I had a 7am flight out of Fort Lauderdale airport and the Super Shuttle was coming to pick me up at 4am. So OF COURSE I put off packing until the last minute and didn't even TRY to fall asleep until midnight. Even then, it just wasn't happening so I ate ice cream and watched Wayne's World and Heavy Metal.

By the time the Super Shuttle arrived, my eyes were heavy with sleep but no matter how sleepy I get, sleeping sitting up is a major struggle, particularly with my neck muscles. I drifted in and out of sleep for the two-hour flight to Washington, D.C. and then rushed to my gate to catch my connecting flight to Providence when who should I see but Standing On the Side of Love campaign manager Jennifer Toth! We chatted for a while and split a cab when we got to Providence. And then the sweating began.

Providence, you see, has a lot of hills. And, well, summer apparently means the same thing here as it does everywhere else because MAN is it hot and humid here. So I thought I was staying at RISD's "15 West" dorms (like they told me in my confirmation email...) but was told at check-in that I was booked at "Colonial House" instead. This was around noon. In the 15 or so minutes I spend wandering around the hilly wonderland of Providence, I became drenched in sweat and would continue to be until, like, 15 minutes ago when I took the mother of all cold showers. Because, spoiler alert: RISD dorms don't have A/C.

Anyway, once I found my dorm, I toweled off as best I could and set out to the convention center to catch Young Adult orientation. That was pretty cool. Didn't see as many old friends as I expected but there was a rousing Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament replete with cheering and chanting and hooting. After that I went and got registered and credentialed and all that good stuff and found some friends who were having drinks with the UU Seminarians Salon Facebook group. That was really great, talking to a few amazing seminarians (especially Rose and Schuyler) about our stories and our call to ministry and interesting papers we've written, all over beers and fries.

Then I went and checked in our very own UU Miami BANNER for the Banner Parade (yes, I FINALLY remembered to bring it this year) and then back to the room to towel off some more and then to Viva Mexico for some quick and cheap tacos before the Opening Celebration. I have to say, as much as I loved marching in the banner parade and as much of an honor as it was, and as wonderfully LONG as the parade was, I can't help feeling like I missed out on way too much of the Opening Celebration. Oh well, I got to see a good chunk of it and was especially blown away by the amazing display of lights and paper lanterns. BEAUTIFUL.

After that was the real highlight of the night. Took another long, sweaty walk over to First Unitarian Providence for the Young Adult Opening Worship featuring The Sanctuary Boston which was INCREDIBLE. These people have an amazing thing going, creating beautifully emotional, heartfelt, vulnerable, intensely musical and intensely meaningful worship. Absolutely blew me away. I can't wait for their workshop tomorrow when they'll teach us how they do it and how we can bring it back to our own congregations!

After that, walked back to my dorm, took the most EPIC cold shower of my life, and started typing this. Honestly, I might actually take another cold shower because it's still ridiculously stuffy in this room and that shower felt glorious. Yeah, I think I'll go do that right now. See you tomorrow, all! Blessed Be. <3 p="">

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