So I have great news! I'm going to survive. Last week I really didn't know if I would be happy at home for a long time, but I actually am. I still miss New Zealand and my mission a LOT, but I am realizing that I have a wonderful, wonderful family and great friends, even in this part of the world. Also, I love Christmas in the northern hemisphere. It has just felt so festive and great. I've done so many fun things this week.
It's hard to remember what happened every day though. But I do know that I've spent a lot of time talking with my family. Twice I went running to Grandma and Grandpa's (even in the mud and snow and ice) and then stayed and talked to them for an hour or so. Monday, I got my very own phone, which is a big step for me! I've done a lot of Christmas shopping, which is really exciting! I just love Christmas.
Tuesday I went visiting at the beloved Wells High School to see all my former teachers. It was so weird to be there but it was fun to catch up with them all, especially Mr. Noorda. I just keep feeling like I've jumped forward in time. Everyone is older and taller and so many of my BYU friends are getting married and everyone is just growing up. It's cool to see that though. Time always moves on and it's a good thing, because progress requires change. I also got to work with Dad on Tuesday. He has behavior clients in Elko and we visited one and took him on a walk to the park. He slid down the icy hill a million times while Dad and I just talked. If there's anyone in the world that I admire, it's my dad. He donated his kidney to my mom's uncle, Rick, a few weeks ago and it's a really big thing. He seems so little and frail all the time and he can't do a lot, which is very out of character for him, but he is so humble and hardworking and good. Then that night was a really fun Relief Society activity that my mom, Carolina, and I sang at. Also, Desi finally came home from college in time for the activity! It's been so, so good to have her home.
Wednesday and Thursday I worked for the Ruby Mountain Relay, my Dad's race business. I've been entering data into excel and we've been working on how we can advertise more for the relay. Desi and I have been doing it together. We also went through our BYU classes and I'm trying to switch into Family History with Desi. I hope I get in. Wednesday night was the FFA Christmas party and Thursday night we went to see the Great Basin Theater presenting "White Christmas". Friday night was the Starr Valley Christmas program and it was so fun to be there. That's when the whole valley (and some even farther than that) get together and all the kids put on the nativity and another funny Christmas play. My mom and aunt (being the saints that they are) direct it and then at the end Santa always comes and it's just great. Hyrum and I sang "Mary Did You Know?". I sure love singing and harmonizing. I need to get better at it!
Saturday night I saw my first post-mission movie theater movie. It was Rogue One, the new Star Wars. I've learned something about myself though. I'm terrible at watching movies. I always talk during the movie and I'm just really bad at knowing what's going on. Luckily I was sitting by dear Liberty and she helped me right out! Then we went to this new place, "Fiiz Drinks", which is apparently now the cool place to go. I got a root beer kind which was great because I haven't had root beer for 18 months.
Then today was such a great day. I got to substitute direct the ward choir and then it was my homecoming talk. I was really hoping it would be good and I'm so glad I was happy with it. The Holy Ghost helped me so much! Even last night preparing for it, I was just crying. I cried a LOT during it but that's ok. Also, Sister Welker (my dear, dear last companion)'s family came. I was already on the stand when they walked in. It was so good to see them and of course that made me cry more. After I spoke, I sang "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" and Liberty played for me so well! Then after church everyone came to our house to eat. My mom did such a good job being in charge of all of that. She is supermom, of course! But it was so fun to flit around and talk to everyone. Even two wonderful sister missionaries that served her about two years ago came back to hear me speak and see everyone.
It is so true that family is the BEST and most important thing in the world. Just like anything worth it, it takes a lot of work to have a successful family, but it is worth every bit of energy put into it! I just can see so clearly that all happiness comes from the gospel to families. The whole point of our life her is to qualify to live with our families forever. That's what I want. After everyone had gone today, my family sat around playing board games, reading Christmas stories, and making each other laugh. I'm so blessed to be with my very own family! Merry Christmas!
Sister Clarissa Johnson