Friday, December 31, 2010

A blink of an eye and....

2010 was over. Yup it's crazy that it's the last day of 2010! It's been a really great year though. So it's time for my yearly review.

I spent most the month of January preparing to go to Russia, and on January 29th I departed Salt lake City to go to Russia, knowing not a soul who I was going to spend the next 4 months with.

I spent the month of February getting adjusted to the culture, cold, host family, and teaching the children in Russia. Not to mention celebrate mens day!

Spent more time adjusting To Russia and loving it soo much more, and had one vacation of a life time. I traveled to Sweden, Finland and Estonia, and while on this trip I visited the sweden and Finland Temple to do baptisms, and there was a bombing in one of the metros in Moscow while we were away!

I spent yet another wonderful month in Moscow Russia, and began to love everything about Russia so much more!

It was a bitter sweet month. It was my last month in Russia! I visited St. Petersburg! I had a spectacle with my students and at the very end of the month said good bye to my students, host family and Russia, then made my way to Ukraine.

I spent a wonderful month in Ukraine! Played with children all day every day and visited Odessa and komenyets podolski! I had a blast partying it up in Ukraine with 7 other awesome american roommates, as well as 2 other pretty much roommates.
It was pretty much a party all day long everyday, I loved it!

This was my last month abroad and it ended with a bang! I spent 2 weeks finishing teaching the Ukranian children, then took off for a week long tour to Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic and Germany. Then after a flight to New York, an unexpected 24 hour layover in New York, I finally arrived in Salt lake city where I waited for my parents to arrive. Then I finally got my long awaited oreos and started back at the clearfield Maceys.

I took a look at my life and took it on and figured out who I was through Impact, moved to Logan and started school at Utah State University, and started working at the Providence Maceys once again.

I took an unexpected turn in my life and began the process of filling out my mission papers, although even after I started my papers I did not believe that I would be going for real on a mission, and just got crazy busy with school.

I finished my mission papers and turned them in, and just went to school some more.

It was a pretty big month, graduated impact. Then I turned the double 2's. Then after waiting patiently I received my mission call to Arcadia California, in the spanish Language. Then for thanksgiving me and the parentals went to College Station Texas to visit The Meldrums (my sister, brother in law, Mitch and Faye).

It was a great ending to a great year, I finished another semester at Utah State making the Deans list for my 3rd semester in a row. I moved back home, enjoyed spending the christmas holidays with family especially my sister and her family who came from Texas, had a great visit with troy who is in the philippines on Christmas Eve. Had an excellent Christmas! And to top it off I went to receive my endowments at the temple.

It really has been quite a fabulous year full of exciting times and adventures, and this next year in California will only proceed to get better!

Friday, November 19, 2010

I have been called to....

the California Arcadia Mission!!!! I will be speaking Spanish!!!! And I enter the Provo MTC on February 23, 2011!!!! Woohoo! Ok so now that you know I'm super excited about it, I'll share a bit of this experience!

So when I first read my call, I will admit I was slightly disappointed, that I was going to California, because I wanted to go at least somewhere I have not been before, although before I opened my call I had a feeling that I would be going stateside. After thinking about it for a while though, I realized I was excited about it because it's warm there. Also when I get back from my mission I can go and visit whenever I want to since it is so close. Plus it's by LA and like Disneyland so of course I would go there all the time anyway, so I'm way pumped.

Then I read that I was learning spanish! I was way excited about that because when I knew I was going on a mission I thought if I was going to learn a language I would really want to learn Spanish, because I knew I would for sure be able to use it when I got back, since so many people here speak Spanish I could use it. The best part though knowing Spanish will definitely assist me when I am getting a job as a teacher, also then I could be able to communicate with parents, so that's way awesome!

Then when it comes to leaving on February 23, that's awesome because that means I'll get home around August 23, just in time to go to school for the fall semester just after I get back.

The best part of this mission call is I will be sooo blessed!!! And I can assist people in finding the truth. I am sooo excited!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

who would've thought!

Isn't life so very interesting? Yes, yes it is! Do you ever wonder where your life will take you? Or sometimes do you even think you know exactly how your life is going to go and then wham suddenly your headed down a different direction? Well Let me tell you, I have been surprised multiple times on which direction my life has gone. However, all these different paths have been quite excellent paths.

A few different directions my life has taken is:

  • going to USU when up until my senior year of high school I was always going to stay at home and go to college at Weber State
  • Planning on going straight through college, no stops, getting my degree as quickly as possible and then suddenly find myself taking the semester off to go teach English in Russia
The last major life's different direction is the latest and greatest decision to once again put off my schooling to go on an LDS full-time mission. This decision is still in progress. My mission papers are complete. All I need to do is have a few interviews and then exercise my patience while I await my call to see where I will be for the next 18 months. Craziness! I always thought when I was younger I would never go on a mission because I was sure I'd be married before i had the chance. I also though that if the opportunity did come I wouldn't because I'd be too scared or it just wasn't "right" for me. But the amazing thing about the gospel is we get to trust in the Lord and he will assist us in anything we choose to do.

I'm soo excited about my decision to go on a mission. I know I won't regret it!

Friday, September 3, 2010

It's a reality

Many of you may have noticed, or maybe you have not, but the important fact is that I have been aware that I have not updated this blog, well... since I got back to America. One might think that it's because I've been lazy, busy or had nothing exciting to report, or a million different reasons, but in all reality many of those our slightly correct. But the main point is if the last post I wrote was while I was in Ukraine, it must mean that I am still there right? Actually no that's not what it means, it means that simply I have been living in denial. Denying the fact that I did return to America and I am not abroad anymore. But here's the thing why do I deny this fact when I love America just as much as I love Ukraine or Russia? Well it's because I can be in America most my life and I have been, but I have only had the opportunity to be in such amazing places with amazing people for such short times! But the fact is I love America too! So now that we all know I'm in America again, what has America presented with me so far?

1. Drinking fountains
2. toilets that flush decently
3. drinkable tap water
4. washers
5. dryers
6. family
7. friends
8. food

I'm sure there are multiple others but that's it for now, also obviously I had all these before I left America the first time but coming back I had a greater appreciation for these things and my appreciation increases daily!

Also with returning to America I was also presented with my good ol' job at Maceys back in Clearfield so I could earn some money for school, and then my job back at the Providence Maceys so that I could come back and work while in school. I was presented with an awesome apartment at Old Farm with incredible new roommates that I get to know this year, they pretty much rock! And last but not least classes at school, so that I can further my education and come that much closer to becoming an awesome elementary teacher in a few years! That's right life is amazing!

Now also this has nothing to do with this post but if any of you bloggers know how to change the font color in things such as the title, date, comments, and such that would be awesome to know! because the color doesn't really go with this background.

Friday, June 18, 2010

summer camp Ukranian style!

There I was approximately 3 weeks ago at the train station in Moscow, Russia, wondering what in the world I was thinking. Why in the heck was I leaving Russia, the place that I had come to love and adore soo much! I was leaving students I had grown to care for these students I had taught, my host family, and my cute nursery kids as well as many other Russians, and just everything about Moscow, Russia! This was my home! Now at that moment when I was stepping onto that train to go to Ukraine, I will admit I DID NOT want to go, I only wanted to do 1 of 2 things which was:

1) stay in Russia
2) Go back home to America

I did not want to walk into the unknown and unfamiliar place again, I wondered what had possessed me to think that I was wanting to stay abroad an extra 6 weeks a few months earlier when I had confirmed I would go.

It wasn't until I got here to Ukraine and started teaching the kids here at the summer camp, that I realized that I did want to be here in Ukraine! It has been soo much fun! While I miss Russia and I miss America I wouldn't trade this experience for the world. The Kids are soo fun! Plus how could one beat being able to teach kids english 4 hours a day by just playing with them, like making paper airplane contests or putting mentos in coke, then on top of that after teaching you can go canoeing with them or have chalk fights with them and even dance at disco night with them. You just get to play all day! And to top all of that You can have 7 really cool roommates and 2 other practical roommates that you can go and get ukrainian ice cream with every single day! It is really so much fun!

That is why I came to Ukraine, to play with children, it is a party and a half plus, I have the coolest home group with the coolest name ever! they're supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Seriously they are the best girls ever!!

Я люблю Украину!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A missionary experience to remember

So this past weekend I was able to have quite an awesome experience but to understand some background information is required.

So here I am in Russia and have been teaching english to children for the past four months at a really awesome school. At this school there are guards who alternate every 15 days. Well the guards that we started out with were our favorites because they were always so kind, friendly and willing to help us with anything we needed. But every time there 15 days were up we were sad because the other set of guards were not as friendly and actually made us feel really uncomfortable. Now the guards we liked (sergey, Kostya, and Oleg) had become our friends even though Gavin who served his mission here in Russia was the only one in our group who could really communicate with them. The guards knew zero english words and the rest of us knew minimal Russian, but still they were our friends and occassionally Gavin would translate for us. Well a few weeks ago our group was having family home evening, and while we were there we were just discussing the gospel and how it is meant to be shared but so often we let the fear get in the way of spreading the gospel and telling our friends about it. Then LaCretia (a girl in my group) mentioned how she had been feeling promptings to give the Book Of Mormon to our friendly guards. We all agreed that it was a good idea. They were off for their 15 days at the time, so we waited for them to come back and Gavin asked them if it would be okay if we gave them each a Book Of Mormon as a gift and they thought that was fine. So we then each wrote our testimonies and Gavin was nice enough to translate four testimonies into Russian. Then we wrote our testimonies in Russian in our own hand writing which was sort of hard, we wrote it 3 times once for each guard. Then just this weekend we had the books and our testimonies in each book and gave them each a Book Of Mormon. Friday was our last day teaching with them still here, so we gave the books to them then, as we were leaving they said we could come back on Saturday just to talk again, so we told them we would and bring them an American dessert. So we had planned all day to go back and see the guards one last time. However, at the last minute Meghan and Gavin had something come up and couldn't go. So the 3 other girls in our group and I took a cake to them and talked to them through the form of charades. Sergey, the oldest guard whom we consider to be our Russian dedushka (grandpa) grabbed the book and motioned how he read our testimonies and read pretty much all night, he showed us how he kept falling asleep but kept reading, it and showed us the place and in less than 24 hours he had almost finished the book. It was soo awesome to see that. The Book Of Mormon really is powerful! I was soo excited to be able to share that book with some new people. They really are such kind guards, and they were really grateful to us.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's day!!

It's so wonderful we have a day to celebrate our mothers! Because mom's do a lot for us! My mom has especially done a lot for me! I love her soo much! Here's a few of many things she has done for me

1. she's given me life!
2. When I was sick in the middle of the night she helped me feel better
3. she's given me food to eat
4. when I had hard times in school she was there to help solve my problems even if it meant fighting with my teachers to get a grade I deserved
5. For my 18th birthday I thought I shouldn't make a big deal out of it, she gave me a surprise party
6. when I failed my first semester of college, she loved me anyway and understood that I would try harder
7. when I've had car problems she was the first to help
8. She's always listened to me
9. in everything I've ever wanted to do she has supported me and helped me
10. when I was coming to Russia, and was nervous and stressed trying to get ready to come, she still helped even when I got angry

but not only has my mom done many things for me, she has also taught me a lot

1. she's been an example to me and taught me the gospel even from when I was born
2. she taught me the importance of service to others as she has always tried to serve our family and neighbors
3. she's taught me how to save money
4. she's taught me how to love unconditionally
5. she's taught me honesty
6. she's taught me to be faithful
7. she's taught me to be independent!

I love my mom soo much and I hope that when I have my own family and children that I can be as good of a mom as she has been to me throughout my life! I love you mom!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

How to escape a locked apartment!

Ok so during my stay here in Russia I've had quite a few funny experiences, so I've decided that I'm going to write a best-selling book about it. Then when it's such a big hit and I'm practically begged to make it into a movie, I will direct and produce one of the best comedies of all time. So just a heads up you should be looking forward to reading the best comedy followed by watching the best comedy, called"How to escape a locked apartment" although I have to give credit to Tianna for the title! I'm just saying I'm pretty special to end up in all the circumstances I've been in! I'll give you a few experiences to be viewed in this video, metros, school guards and some tragic times being locked in an apartment, I mean if you want more details, You'll just have to buy the book when I publish it. Okay so maybe this wont really happen I'm just saying the media should write more movies about average daily life occurences, I'm sure I would laugh!

Monday, April 12, 2010

why do I want to be a teacher?

Well let me tell you why!
So as I'm over here in Russia teaching children it has definitely been a huge challenge and really difficult! And at times I feel like I am going to go home and change my major because I can't handle teaching. However, the longer I've been here the easier it has gotten to teach these wonderful children english. Today gave me a real laugh. here's what happened.

So I was teaching my kids their new spelling words today and one of them was coat. I asked them if they knew what coat was, they said no, so after I was able to properly explain what coat was, I always ask them to use these words in a sentence. So I ask them and then one of my boys, Daniel goes on about coats with the following story. First his sentence is a woman goes to the supermarket to buy a coat! I then said good job! But then he says that a man and woman go to the supermarket. A woman sees a coat she wants. She says I want that and then the man says no. Then the woman cries! So the man lets her buy the coat!

Haha I love my kids, it was just soo funny, and they are learning english, although I'm afraid they are learning the phrase "please sit down in your seat" more than anything but they are soo great! I love kids, and that right there is why I want to be a teacher, because kids make me smile!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

interesting times

I really am in Russia! And I had the opportunity to teach children english. One day I also had the opportunity to talk to the 9th graders in the school I taught at. First I told a bit about myself along with the other people in my group, and then the 9th graders were able to ask questions. 1st the questins were very generic like what is your favorite animal? do you like Russians? what are your hobbies? Then all of the sudden a boy starts asking questions like why do americans portray russians as evil? Do we like obama? What about the war in America? It was pretty much insane!

Also I just found out about the summer camps that are here in Moscow and in Ukraine! I have the opportunity to stay up to an extra month and a half in moscow or go to Ukraine, like I had planned in the first place! I still am not sure but I think I am going to Ukraine after this! That would be soo much fun! Plus who knows if I will ever get this opportunity again!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Happy Women's day!

Don't worry while the russians celebration for the defenders of the motherland day, they did not forget about the women, before I came I had heard about women's day here. I heard it was a pretty big holiday, and while I thought it was awesome I didn't realize how big of a holiday it was till now. Friday was our last day of teaching before women's day, so that was more of our women's day. We were handed gifts all day for it. When we got to the school one of the russian teachers gave us a box of chocolates, then our lunch lady gave us each a chocolate. It just warmed my soul. It feels good to be a ppreciated and recognized. Then later after teaching, the parents gave us each abox of ferrero chocolates, then just as I thought the russians were done giving gifts one of the students gave each of us some beautiful purple orchids! It felt so nice. All of this melted my heart and I felt bad because I had nothing to give in return.

So to all women reading this post, just know that I appreciate you all as well, and happy women's day!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Happy late "defenders of the motherland" day!

Why am I so happy about "defenders of the motherland" day? Well many reasons actually. I know that I am not russian so this is not really my holiday to celebrate, but in a way I am a russian for the next little while. Now more than likely none of those who actually read this know what defenders of the motherland day is. Unless you actually pay attention. Because let's be honest it's pretty self-explanitory. Russians used to celebrate february 23rd as a celebration and a day to honor all men who were in the army, but now they celebrate and honor all men, even boys because they figure eventually all males will be in the army eventually. So you give gifts to all the men in your life on this day.

Now why is it that I appreciate this holiday soo much. Well last saturday I had the opportunity to go to victory park. Victory park is the place where Napoleon and his troops waited to get the keys to the city. They have amuseum there also that is dedicated to the wars russia has been in. Wars like WWII, The soviet war, and others. It really was a cool and interesting museum, but at the same time sad and depressing. It provoked a lot of thoughts in me. Thoughts such as gratitude to all the men in wars that have given their lives to save their people and country. Also it just reminds me that there is worse to come, and is helping me be awre so I can be prepared when more wars come.

Now the best reason of all that men's day (that's what they call it now) is so great, is that I had 2 extra days off of teaching! I love my kids and all but they really drain me sometimes! Plus I was able to go out and see and experience a little bit more of Russia!

So happy "defenders of the motherland" day! Man I can't wait till the next holiday!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A crazy day in Moscow!

Last Friday, (just a few days ago) I think I've experienced my craziest day since being in Russia! I experienced fear, stress, confusion, and many other feelings.

So early in the morning Gulya (our native coordinator) had planned for all of the moscow ILP groups to go to this university. All we really knew was that we were getting student cards so that we could get places cheaper and it also had something to do with our visas, because I guess they were student visas or something. Anyway and also Gulya was saying something about classes. All of us interpreted this as we would be taking a class at the university. But then the extreme confusion and shock came into place.

We got to the university and the next thing we know we were sitting in this room at the university and a russian lady was standing in front of us asking us the question, "what do YOU expect to do for US while your here?" That is when you look around the room to see blank and confused faces. Here we are hardly knowing why we are even here, and she was asking what we would do for them. Finally someone said we were under the impression that we might be taking a class, but later on she goes onto say that we will be teacher assistants at the university. Since we are native Americans they want us to be there to say things in normal english, because obviously english is a second language to these students. It was soo strange! Finally we left the room, got our student cards, and went back home.

However on the way home there was a guy with a long beard and shifty eyes sitting across from me. He just kept staring at me like he was thinking of how he would kill me or eat me! I was terrified! But I was sure he would get off before our stop, but he followed us off our stop and stood there for a minute until me and the girls went over to Gavin who was next to a security guard and then the guy left. Man that was lucky!

So then we went to lunch at the school, planned our lessons and taught. Holy cow teaching takes soo much energy and in a way it kind of stresses me out. My throat is always way dry from talking too much in catch-up, because you have to to get the kids to talk. Then finally that portion of the day was over.

After we got done teaching we decided we needed some cheering up because the week of teaching was soo rough, but at the same time we had to celebrate because we did make it through a full week of teaching, so off we headed to Red square!

Red Square looks soo cool at night! I loved it! Also there is this giant mall at red square! We went inside this mall the second day we were here, but we just walked through it. However when we were walking we passed a russian olympic apparel store. All of us wanted to go look in there! The stuff was way expensive. coats in there ranged from 500-1000 american dollars! you could get a hat for like 40 dollars though! We were sad! We figured it would be expensive, but not that expensive!

So then we decided to walk around red square some more and there was a bridge that went over a frozen river! I thought it sounded fun so we went up on the bridge! It was pretty cool! So at this point we didn't go all the way over the bridge. So the question was should we go back to red square or just back the other way, or just continue on. Everyone decided that I should make the decision, which in my opinion didn't make sense because they were all freexing, and I was actually pretty warm. Anyway I was feeling adventurous, so we went the rest of the way over the bridge. Then we couldn't find a metro, so we could go home! We were searching for the big red M. Soon we saw a big yellow M. Yes it was mcdonallds! Gavin in my group said that there had to be a metro close because mcdonalds was always by a metro. (he served a mission in moscow so he knows) Then as we got closer to the mcdnalds sure enough there was the big red M for the metro. So we were all going for it excited we found a metro. So we started walking for it.

But as we were walking towards it we were warped into a new world. It was really dark and there were people dressed really weird. So many drugged and drunk people and I seriously felt like I was in a spook alley or something, and wondered if I would make it out alive. Finally we did indeed make it inside the metro station and we got on the metreo and made it home safely.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

1 week down!

I can't believe that this time last week, I was in Red square straining to keep my eyes open. While I thought Russia was awesome. I kept asking myself why I was here in Russia, what on earth possessed me to come half way around the world. And in just a week, my whole perspective has changed.

Now I feel like I have lived here forever, this feels like home. Now don't get me wrong I do still miss my family and friends back home, and water! I miss my bed and normal food. But everything here is great and a new experience.

Now this week, the only way we have been culturized to Russian culture is by the food. Everyday a new thing, while it is different it is also very good. Also they feed you a ton at meals. Also school food is gross in America, while in Russia, it is pretty good. Some of it is weird but it's good.

Now as far as lesson planning and teaching goes. It is extremely exhausting! But it will all be worth it in the end, my kids are soo cute and smart, but full of energy just as every kid is. I think it will be a great learning experience for me to learn how to teach these russian kids english.

I truly am having a good time, and I could not ask for a better group. We have soo much fun together. Even when the tiny elevator opens instead of the big one and we all squish in just for the fun of it!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Making it to Russia

It all began at 6:30 a.m. when I arrived to the salt lake city airport. I checked in my luggage, went through security and waited. Then finally we boarded the crowded plane and was scheduled to depart at 8:35 but people were still getting seated, and then our plane had to be de-iced. It was cool to watch! Then finally it was time to take off to New York. we got there about 4 hours later, That flight was not bad. then when we landed we had an hour layover, we had to go a long way through this airport to our next gate, my arms were tired and numb by the time we got there and then almost immediately we began boarding for our next flight. That plane was less crowded, but holy cow it was a long flight. I had a window seat and both flights. I couldn't sleep so occasionally I would open the window "blinds" and look out. Every time I looked out there was a light and I could not figure out what it was. then the girl next to me, Tianna woke up and I showed her, and she didn't know either. I said it doesn't really look like the sun or the moon, then we decided it was a giant night light. then we noticed a red flashing light coming from like above. Then Tianna made the connection and the mysterious light was on the wing on the plane. We thought it was hillarious! Then the rest of the flight was long and uneventful.

We arrived in Moscow at 10 am on friday. We took a taxi bus to our host families. I live right next to my head teacher and her husband. My host family is way nice the mom and dad were there to greet me as well as Masha their daughter who is 21, just like me. But Masha is the only one living here. The rest of the family lives in a country home. holy cow it is cold here! Yesterday they said it was a warm day. That means I'm in big trouble because I thought it was cold! Anyway I have been a lot of places in these past 2 days here in Russia, and I am way tired, and I'm still dizzy from the plane ride, yikes! but it's fun here so far!

Monday, January 25, 2010

It's coming!

My departure to the land of Moscow Russia is quickly approaching!!! Ahhh!!! My mind is going a million miles an hour trying to think of and remember all the things I need to take to Russia! It will be good though. I'm sure I will love it once I get past the first few days. I am to start my journey at 10:38 a.m. on Thursday January 28, 2010 when I will fly from salt lake city to Chicago. Then I will board another plane taking me to Dusseldorf, Germany. Then onto a 3rd and final plane to Moscow Russia. I will arrive there on January 29, 2010 at approximately 8:30 a.m. Then will begin my adventure.

Now if I can just stop those dreams of forgetting something or missing my fllight that would be just great! If not it's ok! Things will be good!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Once upon a time...

there was a girl who decided to go to Moscow Russia with ILP. Supposedly her adventure was to begin on Janary 29th 2010. Now after calculating this, this means this was to begin in just 18 days! That's right 18 days! But.... there was one dilemma, the program had not purchased the tickets to go to Russia yet! Did they not realize I was to quit my life in just 18 days and not even have a seat on a plane to Russia! It sort of stressed her out. She had waited patiently daily!!

Then it dawned on her that her fellow classmates were beginning a new semester, and you may think that watching boys meet world all day sounds a lot better than going to college!! But actually it's not! There is no feeling of accomplishment, no meaning to life. Why am I not joining my classmates at school today! I belong there! I don't want to go to Russia anymore! The thought makes me nervous, and stressed especially since currently I don't even have a way to Russia!!!

Ok, I feel better now, I just had to get that out, but I still miss school, even though I thought I would never say it.