(Sung in the style of the Yahoo! search engine jingle.)

That's where we went this weekend! Brock and I finally met our internship coordinator, Brother Kelly, along with his wife and family and all the other interns. Early Saturday morning, we all loaded into a 15-passenger van and headed off for the wild blue yonder!

Nauvoo is about five hours away from Chicago, which isn't too bad. On the way, Brother Kelly even treated us all to lunch at Wendy's, which was really nice of him! Once we got there, we explored the visitor's center for a little while (which smelt like an old folk's home...I wouldn't mention this unless it smelt really bad!) and then parted ways for about an hour. Brock and I stopped by the printing office, gun shop, and John Taylor's home for quick tours. Can I just say that getting tours from senior missionaries is probably one of my favorite things ever? So cute :)

The printing office was really cool and man did it make me happy not to have been a 19th-century newspaper maker! Talk about tedious. Back then, newspapers came out only once a week...perfectly understandable once you see the process of how they were put together!

The gun shop was . . . well, gun-ish? I dunno. We mostly went in there for Brock's sake! :) I'm not exactly a gun aficionado, so I couldn't really tell you what I saw, but I did learn that John Browning, a Nauvooan, was basically responsible for inventing modern guns and even the semi-automatic that they use in war today!

John Taylor's home was also cool, but the best part was a story we learned about a little wooden rocking horse in one of the children's rooms. John Taylor had hand-carved this rocking horse for his little boy, and his little boy loved it. When all the Mormons were forced to leave Nauvoo with little notice, the rocking horse got left behind. The little boy cried and cried, but wouldn't tell anybody what was wrong. A few hours later, he finally confessed why he'd been crying and John Taylor left that very night to go back to Nauvoo to retrieve the rocking horse. This, of course, was risking his life because people were out to get him, but he did it anyway because he loved his little boy that much. Isn't that sweet?!

After these tours, Brock and I headed back to the visitor's center to see a play that was put on by young service missionaries: "High Hopes and River Boats." It was basically a story of how life was in Nauvoo "back in the day." At 75 minutes long, it dragged on for about a half-hour longer than it should have! They did a pretty good job with it, but I'm not gonna lie: it was hokey. :)

We went "downtown" (more like downboonies!) and checked into our hotel, where Brock and I found out that we were going to be sharing a room with Brother and Sister Kelly. Niiiiiice :) haha. After check-in, we all kind of parted ways again and explored what the city had to offer! I had the most INTENSE craving for Oreos for some reason (please don't be pregnant! please don't be pregnant!) so the very first thing Brock and I did was find a gas station to satiate that!
We moseyed downtown a bit and wandered into a gift store, where I bought myself a small souvenir (a sun stone like the ones they have on the Nauvoo temple). Then we saw a fudge shop where we just had to sample a Mississippi mud bar (milk chocolate fudge + pecans + marshmallows). It was pretty mediocre, to be honest, but c' many times are you gonna be able to eat a Mississippi mud bar near the bank of the Mississippi?! Carpe diem, people!!

For dinner, we ate sandwiches at a local bakery, which had the most delectable-looking peanut butter cream cheese brownies on display! Yet after my Oreo/mud bar indulgence, there's no way I could have justified that! Even though I wanted to really, really bad. Brock promised me we would get one the next day, which didn't end up happening :( Also, we wanted to make it to a temple session but missed the last one of the day. So we're planning another day trip out to Nauvoo (this time just by ourselves) to do a session and GET THAT BROWNIE!! :)

We all met up after dinner to see another show: "Rendezvous in Nauvoo." It's the play that the senior missionaries put on at the end of the day, and it was quite possible the CUTEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN. The only thing cuter than old people is watching old people sing, dance and act! Seriously adorable :) I would so love to serve a mission in Nauvoo with Brock someday just so we could be in that show!

Then: the Nauvoo pageant! I know what you're thinking: that's a lot of shows! And it was, but it was awesome!! They had a little fair going on before the show which we had some time to tinker around at. They had a dance floor with circle dances going on, a live band providing the music, and other activities like log-sawing, the stick-pull game, and more. So fun! Lots of people were dressed up in period clothes, which was super cute and it really did feel like we were back in the old days what with everybody having good clean fun :)

The pageant itself was incredible. Such a testimony strengthener of the Restoration! Every Mormon should make an effort to see it at some point in their lives. I had never been to a Mormon pageant before, and wow do we know how to put on a good show! Not only was the production itself amazing, but the Spirit there was so strong (it helped that the pageant took place on a hill with the Nauvoo temple directly in the background!). Coming out of the pageant, I couldn't help but feel so grateful for the unthinkable sacrifices the early Saints made so that the Church could keep on growing. We are all forever indebted to them. It would do us well to pause to remember these courageous folk more than once a year on July 24th. I always groaned when somebody started reading "boring pioneer stories" in sacrament meeting, but this past weekend in Nauvoo completely changed my view on that. Pioneers were the bomb and there is so much that can be gained by learning about their challenges and the faith that got them through it all.

After the pageant we all headed back to the hotel, but I had a hankering for something sweet so Brock and I walked downtown to get some frozen custard :) We waited and waited in line, I ordered my custard, and then saw a teeny tiny sign on the cash register that said "NO CARDS." And we had no cash on us! Maybe they should think about making that sign, oh, I dunno, a little BIGGER and placing it somewhere where people can actually see it before ordering their food! Just a thought. Anyway, the lady there was really nice and was like "Oh, you don't have any cash? Are you going to sacrament meeting tomorrow at 8am? Just pay me then!"

Only in Nauvoo :)

As we shared our custard, Brock and I walked down to the Nauvoo temple, which was all lit up and pretty. I love temples. It's impossible to not feel the Spirit when you're one temple grounds, and the Nauvoo temple seems even more special because there is such a history to the area. I remember going to Nauvoo when I was little--really little, like probably 8 years old--and the only thing I remember is being freaked out that all these mayflies got into the house we were staying at (mayflies are scary and nasty!!!). But going there now, being all ma-toor and what not, I was sincerely struck by the special Spirit that is there. It doesn't feel like anywhere else I've ever been. It's more still. More peaceful. More in tune with holier things. That's probably how the Earth will feel when it receives its paradisical glory. I can't wait.


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