Sunday, September 30, 2012

hawaii revisited

my sweet fam picked me up from the airport after the rich coast.
 man, it was good to see them. :)

a few days later we headed to Hawaii as a fam. willy planned this trip for mine and bro's entire missions and man, was it ridonkulously fun and exquisitely planned.
the first few days we were on oahu, my old homeland! 
just about everything in Laie made me think of you, dearest Mallory Marie Keith. what a dream that was! sure love you!
it felt oh so good to be back in the frigid aisles of my dear Foodland, although i did not welcome her steep prices.
i still do cherish my maika'i card!
we then went to the hukilau cafe for jack johnson's banana pancakes (or coconut or macadamia nut ooooooooooooooooooooooooooh yeah)
hello little shirimp in its entirety...
shrimp truck
haliewa! my favorite beach equipped with the funnest cliff jumping!
little tabby's world was totally flipped upside down with the time change, humidity, diet, and schedule in general. but even though that was sucky for her, we were SO glad she was there!
the temple was under construction while I was at school, so we went there our first morning to check out the visitor's center. the "God's Plan for the Family"exhibit was moving. if you have the chance, go see it. it was amazing to see how going to the temple grounds as a family like that literally changed the entire feeling of our day. oh, the gospel blesses families.
i got to go by myself the next morning to do sealings (the session was full. what a great problem! i was so happy!). the inside of the temple was stunning!
we then took an "island hopper" to get over to maui.
colby and i really wished the view from our room was a little better... ha ha okay.

whilst on Maui, Heavenly Father was so kind to me. I got to see two sweet friends completely removed from our natural habitat: Kasia Marie and my compa, Hermana McCullough. Oh, it was beautiful!
Kasia took me cliff jumping here...
...and i died. SO BEAUTIFUL. we spent hours there jumping, swimming, cooking in the sun and having the most inspiring, beautiful, deep conversations. kasia marie, i love you so much. thank you for chasing your dreams and being so obedient to the promptings from Heavenly Father!
obviously i couldn't withhold this joy from my family. i brought them back the very next day!
we got to meet kasia's "mom" who gave us those beautiful flowers.
i love how being a member of the church brings us together in such an inexplicable way--no matter where we live or what language we speak!
oh, my dear sister. i love you, elissa! seeing you made my LIFE complete! you are such a strong woman and you inspire me to perseverar hasta el fin. you're a rock, sister. and i thank you for that.
we went to a luau on the beach...
those are whole pigs that were steamed underground for the feast. wow. 
endless piña coladas...
and the sun set while as we digested our food and there was a polynesian dance performance. too good.
oh my goodness. lululani's shaved ice. tdf. bye. 
we're training her well.
just another annoyingly beautiful dinner sunse. gorgeous!
from a whale watching zone. love you, dear sister!
aaaaah. the beach!
call kaylynn ansel adams.
before church we went on a drive up to this gorgeous lookout place--
(we could see people air surfing. i had no idea that was even a thing! how FUN!) 

we went to church in a tongan ward. a few things: 
first-- i got to be tab's gab the whole time. it was the best. love that little one.
second--WOW i love tongan's! they a) sing with their whole heart, b) bore such powerful testimony that the spirit was tangible even though we had no idea what was being said! the church is true and the spirit is universal!
tabby has been taught just about what every animal says...and it's adorable. i attempted to get it on film about 80 times. this was one attempt. for some weird reason she wouldn't say what a kitty says, which was her favorite one up until this trip! (then came the tiger..)

i finally captured the whole thing in this little clip!

so. basically hawaii was a joyful reunion (in so many ways) and too much fun. 
hat's off to willy. you did it again.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

literally hecho pedazos

i'm not entirely sure why, but i watched this the other day in the middle of the jfsb and totally lost it...crying everywhere. ha ha. this clip is so powerful. see for yourselves:

Monday, September 24, 2012

the rich coast.

it's taken me over a month to come around to the hecho and reality that i'm home from costa rica, that it's all over, in the past. a weary memory (thank you iron and wine).
i think i have an issue with denial.

it felt like the appropriate thing to do to make a list of some of my first-time and/or favorite experiences. also, when my good amiga mal was in new zealand, she made a list of cultural differences or things that took adjusting to, and i ATE her list up. i loved it. so i'm going to include all that. 

first bigurón.
(uhh...yeah. first and last. it's banana leaf, chicharrón, coleslaw stuff [called repollo] tomatoes, and i added chile [duh].)
first "churchil."
i may or may not have all the ingredients to remake it for you. prepárense. 
first half marathon.
i loved and miss sweating my mornings away running around this gorgeous parque--la sabána in central san josé. for the beauty of the earth. do i miss that or what. it's pretty in utah, too, but you know what i mean. it's not central american beauty. 
the punto de reunion. we always met up here with ivan. 
aaaaaaaaah the feria! fresh fruit and veggies suuuuuper cheap! farmer's markets ain't got nothin. 
oh my. batidos. licuados. smoothies--whatever--of every kind of fruit.

aaaaah. temple wednesday. family file names. hermano lopez. internacionalizacionismo. taking the bus. :) waking up early in the morning. the count of crazy men i'd meet on the way. the spiritual boost for the week it was. the beautiful temple work and promises in spanish. unreal. what a sacred place.
baking and cooking weekly with the querida familia callejas. so much love. 
aaaah. such good friends. :) 
DANCING!!! sure do love my latin bailes.
traveling, having bomb adventures and...
...spending time with this beauty. i truly do and will always cherish our friendship. you're such a gem, dude.
love you, lauralee.
 this one. love you, too, hotrod.
(hiking and partying always with these dudes:)
the adorable rivera familia: paola, daniela, andrés, isaura, rodrigo y joji.
as fun as it was, there were for sure things to get used to. ha ha.
  1. exchange rate. 500 colones=one dollar. i don't know why that's SO confusing for me if i see something for 3,600 colones... uuuuuh how much? seeing that comma freaks me out.
  2. blonde hair blues eyes in central america. being in danger just because of how i look. annoying. i hate not feeling like i can look at people without them thinking i'm flirting with them or not feeling safe when i go walking around the town.
  3. oh also, just because we're white we're for sure super rich? yeah. uh huh. people always try to take advantage of us because they think we've got money. not like we're students or anything...
  4. no dryers for my clothes. i wasn't expecting one, but man. i never realized what a difference a dryer makes! all my shirts got über stretched out and things were constantly linty and dirty looking. awesome. no big though, really. dryers are such a luxury.
  5. bars everywhere. not like...bars/pubs, but bar bars. bars covering everything. feeling a little locked inside. you can tell when a city or a place is calm slash safe-ish because there aren't bars covering every window, door, crack and crevice.
  6. willy thinks this is hilarious.... well.... the toilets here are quite sensitive. you can't flush anything. well, any paper. you get what i mean. you have to throw everything else in the trash can nearby...
  7. costa rica is infamous for not having an address system. literally, you tell the taxista to take you "300 meters south of this gas station in that neighborhood and it'll be the brown house with three floors." ha ha.
  8. perennial fruit flies. resorting to freezing my compost.
  9. no shower rugs. just dry your feet off with a shirt.
  10. a fantastic bus system with so many people crammed on there that you literally have to hold on to each other for safety. a little uncomfortable and smelly at first...but you get used to it. 
  11. time commitments and constraints. everything starting late or starting without warning. "come right now," like we weren't busy or we go on time and no one shows up forever. oh, latino culture. 
  12. walking past human excrement. and we're talking about this on a main street, here, not like some alley way. we were by major ambassador buildings!
  13. keeping my gum and vitimins in the fridge or in a ziploc so the humidity didn't work it so fast.
  14. using a bar of soap to wash my hair.
  15. using "usted" instead of "tu." ha ha. i thought i would learn how to speak less formally in costa rica, but it turned out that they refer even to two year olds in the formal second person singular form. 
oh, i enjoyed it thoroughly!
the other day i was set up with a complete stranger and over frozen yogurt he asked me a really profound question that's been on my mind ever since. he asked how i was different now. how did costa change me? am i a different person because of that experience? am i a better person? i've been thinking a lot about that. lauralee and i were talking about it the other day--she says it changed her life. and you know what? i would have to agree with her. costa rica literally changed me. it changed how i think about and use my resources, how i view the world, what i think about the underprivileged, how i want to help them, i feel about my family, myself, my future, my testimony, my Savior, the atonement, my covenants, and the gospel. costa rica altered my perception of life. 
costa rica altered me
it was a really subtle change and it happened over months, but it definitely did happen. 

I know, without a shadow of a doubt that the Lord is aware of all His children. He wants us to succeed. He has given us innumerable resources so we can prosper and have joy. I know that the gospel is the only thing in this world that can bring us lasting happiness and security in this world. And I know that the Savior lives and is there for us with his arms outstretched. 

thank goodness the Lord is so smart. this internship fell out of the sky and into my lap...and it was perfect. in every way.
i will always and forevermore be grateful.
love you, Costa. always will.
“We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started... and know the place for the first time.”