Monday, July 30, 2012

we're just big kids playing (break-up pt. 1)

so here's what i decided.
a break-up is going to be our best option.
i'm going to separate all these events so as to not overwhelm the trash out of you. 
there's a mound.
it's been a happening time in Costa Rica.
we went to efy. for big kids. no, we weren't counselors. it was literally for us. 
it was ridiculously fun!
we stayed at this school in Guapiles friday-sunday... 
...and slept on COTS (these things are GENIUS! can i have one for forever, like now please?!) in classrooms! super fun.
viva our group. 
we're cash!

while at the campamento we did all the normal efy things. including but not limited to...
sports. duh. games. of course.
inspiring, uplifting, edifying classes. clarooooooo!
(here we are identifying christlike attributes in the scriptures. not even touching the surface!)
service. obviously.
we made these cute little banquitos or little chairs for kids in orphanages around the country. not only was it fun and simple, but they turned out super cute!
final producto. ready to go.
dancing! we're doing the efy counselors dance and a couple others that we learned.
we had a large fogata!
our group (was the best) let off this SICK balloon thing. 
so cool!

on saturday night we got all pretty and went, escorted, to a gala
we had a banquet at a hotel and then had a huge dance...suuuuuuuper fun!
learning to dance like a latina has been such a riot for me. they sure do know how to dance! i have never been so sweaty nor have i had so much fun for so many hours straight before!
this was our goodbye party. 
all that was good and fine and dandy...
...but my favorite part was strengthening my testimony of the Savior with such amazing people.
my mind sometimes gets blown by how close you can get to people in such a short time. 
the campamento was a beautiful experience and we are soo glad we went. i loved it!

a few days later laura and i went white water river rafting--with permission! (we had to write a pleading email to our director at byu, but he totally conceded. hah! yes!!)
check out that waterfall!
it was...seriously? THE BEST. i absolutely fell in love with river rafting. can i please be a raft instructor like now? done. ah. 
we got rained on, fell out, jumped in the river, went under name it. it was a beautiful, watery, BLAST of a day!

and then we were transported to probably one of my favorite places yet--Puerto Viejo--on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. 
on the way there we saw on friends in the trees... (monkeys. no big.)
and we spent the night in a dream of a resort on a beach. wow.
my sister and i used to want one of these so bad for our beds!
little did we know they were nets to keep bugs out. 
ha ha
but they SUPER EFFECTIVE! i testify! and i still would enjoy having one!
the vista from our deck...
where i spent a nice chunk of time reading some good old c.s. lewis. cash.
we got a free drink when we checked in. as we sat at the bar drinking freaking milkshakes but we realized it didn't look like an activity a latter-day saint should be participating here i'm feelin sketchy.
in the morning we took a nice stroll through the jungle 
for a run on the beach and some reading. best activities.
and then we got picked up to SEA KAYAKING. are you hearing me? kayaking in the CARIBBEAN OCEAN. (remember that just the day before i fell in love with the raft and paddle situation? best way to spend the following day!) it was heaven! 
we kayaked in the ocean for awhile, and then we went up a freshwater river, just admiring the turtles and wildlife. ha ha. so calm and beautiful.
 pipa! aka coconut. super rico.
(by the way, on the cruise this cost, what? $2? $4? Well, here they cost the equivalent of TWENTY CENTS. ha ha. wow.) 
laura says this picture is the essence of me when i eat something i'm a huge fan of. ha ha.
i'm freaking out in this picture because it was seriously... sooooooooo good. cold cold cold ice cold coconut juice. then i scooped out the inside with my bare fingers and ate the flesh like a cavewoman. 
after the kayaking in the ocean/river, we went on a jungle hike:
totally sitting on a tree root. GIGANTIC!
after our little hike, we saw this through the trees.
we came out right alongside the ocean.
too bad--cliff jumping wasn't part of the excursion. :(
pacho, our master guide. 
(by the way, he told us he wants to go to california real bad. when i asked why he straight up told me for the marijuana. alrighty then.)
clay! i couldn't get over it!
got some caribbean food. ooooooooh yeah jamaican jerk chicken booooyah!
then we headed home...after yet another tropical beverage. starfruit. riiiico.
there are two of our latest adventures. 

look at those smiles. we are SO HAPPY.
(and look at that banana split! NO WONDER! hahaha!)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

“Ponder the path of thy feet."

this is a true story of a minor heart attack i had:

the other day, i was writing in my journal and stopped mid-sentence, almost dropped my pen, saw my jaw hit the ground, and felt my heart skip a beat as i realized...
it's already been six months.

(-->correction: i started this post weeks ago but couldn't bring myself to actually face the truth. and it has now been over seven months. and yes, i am still being evasive about it.)

but i feel like this transpiration reasonably calls for a mission reference.
not only that, but today is Pioneer Day!
i may or may not have spent my mission in a pioneer dress. let's just say, i love today. 
my love for our heritage has grown immensely. 
 i celebrated last Pioneer Day with the San Diego East Stake. there was the traditional butter shaking, quilt-tying, etc, but the beeeeest was how the spanish branch was incorporated in the festivities...
i'm grounding corn and hermana garcia's smile is warming the universe : ) 
1816 flintlock musket and accompanying gear.
pausing in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to grab some equipment.
dressing up my cousins as adorable soldiers or laundresses.

i always wanted to take pictures of all the things we did in our pioneer dresses...we seriously lived in those things! we cooked in them, 
cleaned in them,
 slept in them, 
laid sick in them, 
ate in them, 
planned in them, 
had parties in them, 
panned for gold, 
climbed roofs, 
rode (toy) horses, 
and one time i even fixed a tire 
in pioneer garb. 
it was fun. 
and we may have switched dresses quite frequently, so here's a little show (although in these pictures i'm not doing anything interesting at all. boo.):


in honor of the whole horrifying seven month ordeal, here are a few things i will always and forever more be grateful for:
gorrrrrrrgeous san diego
(early morning hiking)
doing my morning studies from the battalion. : )
just seals, chillin, no big.
rainstorms that leave me lookin like this but feeling SO ALIVE.
mexico. period. culture. spanish. latinos.
legit taco tuesday.
mornings like this...studying the gospel and loving my life!
aaaaw, special little things from home.
unbelievably funny times...
clear vision, purpose and everything.
the radiant temple. 
being a missionary in such an exquisite place as a tool for the elect that are guided there.
serving los lamanitas y nefitas!
preaching the restored gospel of jesus christ. period. 


all that was grand and great and seriously the best. but, ah, what i miss the most isn't the amazing food, the beach or the pioneer dress(es). 
it's the people. 

seeing a branch grow from so few to so many in such a short time!
what's weird is that i still feel so close to them... and that's because they made such an impact on my life. 

i was blessed to meet so many modern-day pioneers--people who made changes, left the past behind, and marched forward with faith in the Savior, Jesus Christ. 
they inspired me then, they inspire me now, and they will always inspire me.

when i think about pioneers, i don't only think about my mission and those dresses and the mormon battalion with the 1916 flintlock musket and all that goodness...nor do i stop at thinking about my pioneer ancestors who sacrificed so i could have the freedoms, blessings and privileges that i have today. 
i think about the pioneers from my mission. 
pioneers who changed their lives and gave everything to the Lord...and who inspired me to do the same. their sacrifices live on in my mind and in my life because they helped me become who i am today. 
so when i honor pioneers, i have so. much. and so many people to be grateful for.
(kinda cheesey family fotos: haha.)

They cut desire into short lengths
And fed it to the hungry fires of courage.
Long after -- when the flames had died --
Molten Gold gleamed in the ashes.
They gathered it into bruised palms
And handed it to their children
And their children's children.  Forever.  
-Vilate Raile

"The path of the modern-day pioneer may look different, but it is no less difficult, presenting hardships and requiring sacrifice, perseverance, and faith."
-President Monson ("Pioneers All")

 happy pioneer day, all.