Oct 27, 2012

We like to party

Miss Cassie's birthday came next. It was on a Thursday, and just happened to be on the same day as my little brother, Emilio's birthday. We started the day off watching the wonderfully hilarious Nacho Libre. Then we headed to our friend's restaurant, El Guacamole, for some lunch... and a free tres leches birthday cake! Luckily, we got some more pictures this time.
Cassie, Katie, Madison, Sophia

Janessa, Amanda, Me
 Makin a wish!
Mexican tradition is that the birthday person takes a bite out of the cake by putting their face in it. Now normally, we'd smash her face into the cake, but we decided to be nice.
 I hate this picture of me, but I love Cassie creepin in the background :)

Because I'm an awesome Head Teacher, I teach 2 hours for my teachers on their birthdays. And... have the kids make them birthday cards in the process :)
 Luis, Roberto, Miss Cassie, and Leslie
 We struggled a little bit to get a good picture...
 And then I came home early to play with Emilio for his birthday!
And just because Valentina is so dang cute...
 The birthday boy! He's 9!
I love these little kids :)

Oct 19, 2012

Gimme a lil Mexico

TRemember Irma? She's our culture guide. I've been really slacking on keeping up on what we've been doing with her. So, here's a little taste of the little taste that we've gotten of Mexico, behind the scenes.
Making Tortillas
 These women make tortillas 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Now that's dedication. Someone's got to feed Mexico!
 It's a lot harder than it looks!
But, I finally got one perfectly on the grill :)

Tehuacán Ropa Factory
 The next week we went to a clothing factory. I definitely felt like I was in a sweatshop. I never realized how much work goes into making just one shirt!
 Sooo many....
and then just one.
 And then we went to Bordados... where they embroider things!
This one was actually a lot easier than I expected. Mostly just a lot of machine work.

And that's a little bit of my insider scoop of Mexico.

Oct 18, 2012

A very good, sleepless weekend

A little while ago (so many weeks back I'm ashamed to admit when) we had a teacher with a birthday. And a temple trip. In the same weekend. It. Was. Awesome. It started with me teaching an Elementary class for the first time, and making birthday cards for Miss Madi. Then, we had a nice little Friday dance party. After we got rid of all our little chillens we out to dinner and got some tacoooos! I seriously LOVE Mexican tacos. They're basically the best thing ever. Then we went to Cassie's house, after some difficulty we finally got a cake cookin in the oven, and then we started watching the great, clever humor of Easy A. We paused the movie for some candle blowing and happy birthday singing... turns out the candles we bought were trick sparkler candles.
 those devilish candles...
We've made a tradition of eating cake/brownies/etc. directly out of the pan... we have no patience for plates. I really don't know how we didn't set that house on fire. After the movie, we talked about boys and life and stuff. We finally went to bed at around 3 am I think. Such a good idea.

But the next day.....

We got up bright and early at around 5:30 am and got on a bus to head to the temple. It's always a good day at the temple :)
 Holiness to the Lord, the House of the Lord
We were with the youth to do baptisms, and while we were waiting we got to talk to some of the 12 year old girls that were there with us. It was so cute to see that innocent excitement and nervousness of someone in the temple for their first time. We talked as much as we could with the little spanish we have. We sat American, Mexican, American, Mexican. I was so glad. Even though so much is different about us, we're all sisters in Zion and daughters of our loving Heavenly Father. 
 One of our elementary students, Hiram, is in our ward. His dad is in the bishopric, so he tagged along for the temple trip and we got him to be our photographer for a little while. Unfortunately, no matter how many times you tell or show an 8 year old how to take a picture, they're never going to get it quite right. So this is the best we could do.
 This picture looks just like one on, but i took it I swear.
 I am so grateful for the opportunities we have to go to the temple here in Mexico. I'm grateful the church is the same wherever you go. I'm also grateful that each temple, though they may look the same, is unique in it's decoration, and fits the culture of that area. In this temple I saw a picture of Jesus Christ with a little Lamanite girl on one side and a Nephite girl on the other. It's probably one of the most precious pictures I have ever seen, and it will definitely be in my home someday.

After we finished up at the temple we had the afternoon to do whatever we wanted, so naturally we went to the Zocalo and explored. and ate tacos.
 Churches! Always churches

Oct 16, 2012

Guess who finally picked a major? This girl!!

So, about a month ago I was looking at my application for the BYU Jerusalem Center, specifically at general requirements. I noticed a very important tidbit of information, which had previously gone unnoticed. 

"Eligibility is limited to matriculated full-time students currently enrolled in a four-year undergraduate program at either BYU, BYU-Idaho, or BYU-Hawaii at the time of application, prior to departure, and during the program"

That was an instant my-world-is-collapsing-eff-what-am-I-going-to-do-with-my-life-moment. The possibility of being able to go suddenly became very real to me, especially since my life plan at that point was to just get my associate's degree, because I really didn't know what else to do. For those of you who don't understand what the above quote means, it basically says that I have to be working towards a bachelor's degree, which I wasn't.

I didn't think too much about it for a couple days, mostly because I just didn't really want to deal with the stress of it. Again. Like I have been for the past two years. Well one night I was sitting at home and decided I wanted to watch a talk from General Conference. I went to, found Conference, randomly clicked on a session, and randomly clicked on a talk. And, lo and behold, it ended up being just what I needed. Nothing is ever random. It also helps when the talk is on spiritual guidance, but still. (In case you're curious, the talk can be found here. I love that he talks about Mexico City seeing how I'm in Mexico. I feel like that always happens. When I was in Russia, an experience that took place in Russia was talked about in conference. Fun fact side note.)  

In the talk he talks about recording inspiration and asking if you got it all or if there's more, and more will come. So, I started writing in my journal, and thinking (usually two things that are a pretty good combination). I started thinking about all of the things I've wanted to do at some point, the things I want to be a part of my life, the things that interest me, the classes that I've really liked at school, and all the different directions that people saw me going and thought that I would do well in.

My sister and my ILP experiences obviously led me to think about being a teacher, specifically elementary, but something about that just didn't quite feel right. I realized that I could potentially teach older kids... I like the older elementary kids that we teach here a lot... and I thought about my favorite high school teachers. My favorites were always the ones that changed my views on things or opened up my mind to new ideas. They made me realize that I'm a part of something bigger than Corvallis, MT, that we're all a part of a global community. And... all of that stuff.

Most of all, I thought about my Global Insights class, how much I loved it, and how enlightened about the world it made me feel. And then... I thought about political science... and geography.... Options to teach, international options... perfecto! I loved it! I did a little research, asked some people about it... and my major was declared!
Major in Political Science, with an emphasis in Foreign Affairs, and a minor in Geography!
I'm still a little unsure about my minor, and I have to figure out what I have to do to be able to teach, but I've got the overall idea figured out, and I am most definitely satisfied with that for now. It's amazing to me how you can struggle with something so much, for so long, and then all of a sudden it just comes together and something clicks and it's not a hard decision anymore! I'm so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father that helps me make decisions at the right time, and guides me from point in my life to another, so that I can be where I need to be, when He wants me there.

Oct 1, 2012

Living Water

We went to the waterfalls in Cuetzalan on a Sunday. We weren't able to go to church there, and I remembered what day it was after the initial excitement of playing in the water died down. So, I started to turn my thoughts towards Christ.

I've always been amazed by water. It brings me peace through its gentle calming effect. Its power to clear everything in its path and tear away at stone terrifies me. It quenches my thirst and cools me off on a hot summer day. I love being completely emerged in it and tuning out the world. I love it's cleansing power, through simply taking a shower or by being baptized.

Water is such a simple thing, but it's so essential to life, and has so many different purposes and performs so many different functions. As I sat admiring the waterfall at Cuetzalan, looking at the pattern the water carved into the mountain, the pure force of the water coming down off the cliff, watching people swim and play in the water, and seeing the joy that it brought them, I thought about how perfect of a comparison water is to Jesus Christ.

Christ is like the water in a river. He can reshape and tear away at mountains and completely change the landscape of an area- literally and metaphorically. When you let Christ into your life he completely changes who you are, and the direction your life is headed in. The light of Christ that you already had, shines brighter and is more visible than it ever was before. Nothing can change your life for the better in the way the Jesus Christ can.

He also brings the same peace that running water brings. I don't know what it is about rivers, streams, waterfalls, lakes, and oceans, but they just have that undeniable ability to slow life down, and to just make nothing else matter for a little while, and all the things that do matter and are stressful, just aren't nearly as bad as you thought they were. Christ has that same power. No matter what life throws at you, even if it's hard, with comfort from Christ, everything just seems a little bit easier. That's part of why he suffered so much for us in the Garden of Gethsemane, so that he would always understand exactly what we were feeling, and exactly what we were going through. He wanted to be able to comfort us, and make our burdens easier to bear.
No one can live without water. It's a simple fact of life. You can make it for about 3 days and then you're a goner.  Likewise,  you need Christ to survive. I honestly don't know how people can go through life without Him. It's hard enough as it is, let alone making it that much harder. But on a more eternal perspective,  eternal life and immortality only come through Jesus Christ. He literally gives us life. And those are my thoughts on Christ and water. If you want to hear his own words, read John chapter 4.