4.28.2008

Return home

My little Scottie is all grown up and on a mission. I flew home last weekend for his farewell and it was awesome. First of all, I love being at home. The weekend wasn't the most convenient (smack dab in the middle of finals week) but it was a welcome break from school, work and the general anxiety that lies in Utah valley. I love flying into Sea-Tac airport. If you're lucky, before the plane lands in Tacoma it sweeps past the airport and arcs above the mountains, the Puget Sound and the beautiful Seattle skyline and you get a green tinged preview of real Northwest beauty. I've flown into that airport, I couldn't even count how many times and I'm still amazed at just how beautiful it is there.


There's something about being at home that just sucks your energy right out of you. Plush leather couches in the living room didn't help and I spent a lot of the weekend tiiirrreeed. My cute mom made orchestrated the food and let me be lazy.

I got to play with Brian and Heather's baby Lucy, who is cute as a button and always looks just a little bit worried.


Scottie's friend are like my little brothers for the amount of time they've spent at our house growing up. Though most of them are nonmembers, they all came to church and family dinner. It's very sweet how upset they are he's gone. Here, Danny, Greg and Patrick

Brian just made up this logic game, a big hit even in its infancy. My 3 brothers, looking cooler than everyone else in the room


My favorite part was the farewell because the family sang (of course) our family song "Love is Spoken Here". Brian came up with a new third verse that goes:
A marvelous work is about to come forth
In these latter-days
I have been called to declare the Lords work
And proclaim his ways.
I have been taught in the walls of my home
My testimony dear,
I will teach that Love is spoken here.

We added the verse into the mix and it was a hit, as always. I love when my family sings together.

I just love being home! The next time I go back will probably be for Gabe and Kelsey's wedding (which I finally got to hear some details about this weekend) in August. And I can't wait!

It was a perfect weekend,

4.24.2008

Winter semester warms to a close

What most universities call Spring semester, BYU calls Winter semester. It is a fitting title, as the weather has remained mostly chilly and snow-flecked to the bitter end. And it's finally almost over. The last few weeks have shown great promise of a quick warm-up to a hot hot summer and I, for one, am thrilled. It's about time to put my new favorite winter white wool coat away and pull out the trusty flip flips (I forgot how amazing sandals feel on a warm day! I hate socks.). Moreover, there's nothing like impending warmth, the close of a hearty finals week, and yet another romantic bust to reevaluate my life thus far as a returned sister missionary. So let's recap...

School--> I'm 100% a nerd when it comes to my classes. It's almost as if college students aren't supposed to love classes as much as I do. Not that I haven't had my fair share of dull lecture or unfair grades, but I genuinely enjoy all the classes I took this semester.
  • Climatology. (Geography 304) - My teacher is President Monson's son (so we get lots of random 'My dad is the prophet and the apostles are my friends' rambling anecdotes) and though he talks like he is bored with himself, there is something really exciting about seriously understanding weather and the source of these mid-latitudinal cyclonic storms that keep ruining my springtime
  • Political Geography (341) - Dr. Timothy is a squatty little man who get really "tickled" by border disputes and the forming of the nation state (his "quotes" not mine) and made learning about them equally as fascinating. Did you know that the US-Canadian border is one of the most heavily fortified in the world? They've got lasers, people. Lasers!
  • GIS (Geographic Information Systems, 212) - It's computer maps. Not my most interesting lectures, but I can do some pretty cool stuff with mapping software!
  • International Health -- 20+ quasi-hippie returned sister missionary do-gooders all in one class makes an interesting mix. I have to admit, people like me are sometimes really obnoxious. Opinionated, altruistic, self-righteous. Oh shut up already! This was probably my favorite class of the semester. Great teacher, interesting assignments and a promising network.
  • World Religions- I finally have some insight on why some of the people I taught in Thailand had such a challenging learning curve. Turns out Therevada Buddhists are one of the only religions that really have little concept of a higher being. Ah, right. It's all making sense. My professor was the Coolest. A Lutheran minister for 20 years before his conversion, he drove cab for three years before being offered a job as professor of religion at BYU. His motto: "Mormons don't have a corner on truth." We may have the fulness of the gospel but that does not discredit all the good there is in all the other religions.
  • Aerobics - I hate exercise. Everyone knows it. But aerobics is SO MUCH FUN
In summary: school is a blast and as often as I claim I'm dropping out of school, I'm excited that I'm just watching friends graduate and move on with their lives, and I'm still here.



OKAY, I need to get better at paring down my blog entries and getting to the point already. And more pictures.

For now, suffice it to say that the semester closed down quite nicely and I've got lots of missionary-inspired goals with a college girl twist.

Step one: Haircut. Kelsie went blonde last month, and it suits her. I ventured into the world of hair dye several years ago and vowed I would stay away (mostly because I'm too lazy for the upkeep), but reading the April Vogue over breakfast yesterday (It's the Renee Zelweger issue conveniently sitting around my apartment ) I decided that Kelsie and Beyonce are not the only ones with a future in honey-gold. So with mom's bottle blonde peer pressure (and financial backing) I'm finally ready for a new look. Thanks to Brooke for the salon recommendation and Haley the stylist for understanding color!



Next post: career, friends and summer plans. And PICTURES!

4.06.2008

Why being a missionary in Thailand kicks butt

I know everyone says that their mission is the best in the world. But how many of these hosers (not hoosiers, dad) can back up that claim? I'm confident that the Thailand, Bangkok mission kicks every other mission's behind. Need proof? Check out this video, the only one I made (for dad for father's day). Note that on my mission I enjoyed not only amazing cuisine, but interesting service projects (pictured: chopping up weeds from a guava island with a machete) , the cutest of cute chillins, and an elephant on my front porch. Not to mention all the people we taught!


video

Most of these pictures take place in Bang Khae, possibly my favorite area. I spent the majority of my mission in different areas in Bangkok. Bangkok is known worldwide for being a bit of Babylon. Now that I'm home, when I tell people that I served in Thailand I've found I get a smattering of responses. Thailand apparently has made its reputation in ways I never realized it deserved while I was there. Besides the obvious famous food (phad thai is always mispronounced by the way) and great beaches, people tend to ask me about the sex trade, AIDS and a black market for human organs. Go figure. Oh, and that Bangkok is the world capital for sex change operations. Didn't I tell you? BEST MISSION EVER. Anyway, Bang Khae was on the fringe of the city and felt a little more country bumpkin than the hustle and bustle of downtown.

I'm not quite sure how best to summarize the year and half I spent as a missionary. It is something I never thought I would do, something I sometimes questions that I could do, but I did it. And it was the best thing I've ever done with me life. Hands down.

And if you happen to want to see pictures, I have oodles of them. Let me know and I'll show you.

Rewind and summarize

The last real post I made was in May 2006. As promised, I went on a mission to Thailand (Thailand, not Taiwan). I spent 3 months in training and got to Thailand in late August.

Some news highlights during my 15 months there:
  • Government take over (Coup d'etat of 2006). Don't worry that the corrupt military ousted the corrupt Prime Minister less than three weeks after I got into country. Tanks hit the streets downtown and missionaries were forbidden from going outside (on a P-day no less!! We ordered KFC and played cards all day) more photos

  • New Years Bomb threats. I don't remember if anyone died or not, but all the countdowns were canceled. But since even my New Year's bedtime was 10:30, my celebration wasn't too ruined.


  • Celebration of King Nayluang's 60th anniversary of his ascension to the throne (2006) and his 80th birthday (2007). To celebrate everyone wore yellow on mondays (the national color) and there were full size lit homages to him everywhere. Everyone loves the King, myself included. He is the consummate renaissance man (he paints, he composes, he plays the sax!) and has shown how a moral leader can bring a country from the 3rd world into the second. He loves his people and has worked in humble circumstances among them. He is faithful to his wife. His life has been dedicated to improving Thailand, its economy, its stability, and its unity. And, back in his day, he was a hottie!

  • Why Thais love their King (worth a watch!)


  • I've succumbed...

    I'm horrible at keeping a journal. I have the greatest intentions to record my thoughts, feelings and experiences, but even greater rationalizations for why I don't. My reasons usually fall somewhere between lack of time and notebook lines being an odd width apart. Who wants to write when handwriting is all screwy because the notebook maker decided not to go with regular college rule? But in all honesty, my life is pretty sweet and deserves to be documented. Kelsie and others have raved about blogging and I remember now that great satisfaction of a new post. So I'm back. Back to the world of blogging. Although I have to say, I feel a bit out of place. All of the people whose blogs I read are couples and families. So here's a disclaimer: I have no husband, I have no babies, I have no upcoming plans to have either of these things. But have bits and pieces of adventures that maybe someone will read. enjoy!