First of all, we did spend some time before the reunion in Portland. We saw some (not enough) of the sights and enjoyed the perfect weather (very welcome halfway through a Florida summer). We also got to see one of my mission companions, Janae, who lives a couple hours away. Oh, and just being on the "Left Coast" felt so good. People spoke many languages and had many skin tones, we watched a cooking demo where the chef highlighted ways to substitute sugar for agave (in case we were unenlightened about agave's natural superiority), and I didn't see a single Bible or anti-abortion billboard.
And then there was the reunion. It was so great to see my siblings (it was the first time in a long time all 4 of us were together), my dad (Maggie was unable to join him - we missed her), my aunts and uncles, my grandfather, my cousins and their kids (most of whom I met for the first time) and to hang out. The whole thing was very laid back and unstructured and far too short.
The kids had a blast, and it was so great to see them playing with their cousins and running around like wild hooligans just like we did when we were kids. I'm so grateful we have these reunions, and also for all the people who worked so hard to put it together. Can't wait for the next one!