Friday, September 27, 2013

My Exciting Week Here in Mexico

Well, that may have been a tad bit sarcastic.  I have spent this past week here:

I have been sick since Monday and while I can't remember the last time I was this sick for this long, I sure have a lot to be grateful for.  Today I left my house for the first time since Monday, which felt so nice.  There is something so refreshing about smelling fresh air, interacting with people, seeing something besides the cinder block walls of my bedroom.  I really have had so much to be grateful for, so here is a list of some of the things, but not all of the things I have to be grateful for this week.

People brought me food, multiple times a day.   I never had to ask anyone, people would just show up with more food than I could eat a few times a day.  (I didn't have much of an appetite, so a full banana would be more food than I could eat.)  Since we eat all our meals in the cafeteria, I wouldn't have eaten anything if people hadn't brought me food.

Medicine!  People brought me medicine, which after becoming a drug addict on a few different things, I finally got my fever to calm down today.  It makes me grateful for both those who brought me the medicine, and those who invented it.

Substituting.  Multiple other teachers dropped plans they had to teach my classes for me.  Some taught on their days off and others taught while they themselves weren't feeling so great themselves.  Pure kindness.

Visits.  Several teachers would stop by to say hello or pop their heads into my room to check on me.  It was nice to have some human interaction, as I was pretty isolated.  Someone even stopped by out of the blue with chocolate, which by the way, was delishish.

Sleep.  I have been sleeping 16-17 hours a day, no joke.  I feel like my talent to be able to sleep was well used.

Priesthood.  This is listed last, but not the least.  I got a priesthood blessing last night, and since then I have been on the upward swing.  The power is real, and I am surrounded by many worthy and willing priesthood holders.  I am so blessed.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Importance of a Name

I don't have quite as much free time as Jen does (She's living the good life, isn't she?) so my posts are a bit fewer in number.  Sometimes I'm not sure there is much to say about my life since it is a lot of school and work - with some play, of course.  But this blog is about more than our adventures, it's also about our musing, so here is one of mine.

I am taking a "Principles of Leadership" institute class this semester.  It's the first semester they are teaching it at the U.  Technically I've already graduated from institute and received an advanced degree ("a degree of glory you can achieve in this life" as the posters in the institute used to say.)  and I've gone through all of the basic institute classes, so I was excited to see this one on the list.

One day we were talking about how truly great leaders, like Jesus Christ are shepherds.  We listened to "Shepherds of Israel" by Elder John R. Lasater where he tells of an experience in Morocco where he witnessed the love of a shepherd.  One of his sheep was hit by a car, and he held him in his arms and said his name over and over again.  He sorrowed for the sheep, caring little for the monetary value he had lost.  He truly loved his sheep.

That shepherd new each of His sheep by name.  He truly cared about all of his sheep, and even though we may think, "They are only sheep.  They are so insignificant compared to humans."  Yet isn't that how we compare to our Father in Heaven?  We are mere humans, prone to follies and so dependent on our Father for everything.  Yet to Him we are everything and we matter enough for Him to know each and everyone of our names.

I've heard it said that people's favorite word to hear is their own name.  We often talk of how Christ and Heavenly Father know each of us by name and how much that means to each of us to have that knowledge.  Yet, how many of us say, "I'm not good at remembering names"?  We try for a short time to remember a name or two and then move on.  If we don't think we'll see a person again, there seems little reason to try to remember their name.  Yet if our God knows us all by name and we are striving to become like God, then shouldn't we strive to develop this God-like trait?  So here's to remembering, learning and using the names of the people in my classes, my ward, and those I meet even for a moment.  For surely they all matter to the Lord.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Typical Day in Jen's Mexico Life

So, if any of you wondered what I am up to on a day to day basis down here in Mexico, read on.  If not, go ahead and skip this post.

6:45, wake up and wonder why I didn't go to bed earlier the night before.  Pray, turn on the water, so it can take the next five minutes to warm up while I pick out what I am going to wear, get my things together for the day, etc.

7:40 breakfast in the cafeteria o puedo decir comedor.  I get food that I didn't buy, prepare, or clean up after.  Am I spoiled or what?

8:00-11:30 Teach my first district.  They are beginning missionaries that are really great.  There are twelve of them (which is bigger than most districts I have taught), so sometimes it feels like a lot to make sure all their needs are being met, but they all want to be here and are doing well.  Some struggle more than others with Spanish, but I feel like most of them are putting forth a good effort.  

12:00 Lunch in the comedor.  Same as breakfast, no effort required, except eating.

1:00-5:30 Relax or play.  We will often go explore something in the city or sometimes I will take a nap, do my laundry (which for me is fun), read, hang out with other teachers, and occasionally have a meeting or two.  Someone comes and cleans our house each week and replaces the sheets on our beds, so once again, I am super spoiled.  I also don't have any grocery shopping or errands to run, so the time is all mine to either relax or play.

5:30 Eat dinner in the comedor

6:00-9:30 Prep and teach my second district.  They are intermediate missionaries, which is super fun because they understand a lot and we don't have to spend as much time learning Spanish, so we have more time to practice and dig into the doctine.  It is also really nice that they understand me when I speak Spanish.
9:30 until... depends:  We will go out and get tacos, go get churros reyenos (churros that are stuffed with an assortment of , watch a movie, play sports, or just hang out and talk.  I usually go to bed way too late, but life is good.  Honestly, I really have nothing to complain about.

Because every blog post requires a picture or two, here are a couple pictures of my intermediate district diligently studying last night.  Aren't they so adorable?

P.S. If there are any spelling errors, please forgive me.  I am typing on a computer that thinks that everything is spelled wrong, because I am writing in English.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Life Back in Utah

Jen is putting me to shame with all of her blog posts, so I figured it's about time for me to write something.  Life in Utah doesn't seem nearly as exciting as Jen exploring Mexico, but life is pretty good nonetheless!

I'm in my last year at the U (crazy!) and staying busy designing costumes - or as Jen likes to say about my schoolwork, "Coloring and playing dress up."  Seriously, I'm pretty lucky.  All the time I think to myself, "Who does this?  Who gets to go to school and get paid to paint pretty pictures and make costumes?"  Yet that is exactly what I do.  And I've stayed busily employed in it since I started my major - let's hope that continues after I graduate!

Last Friday a play I've been working on since July opened.  It was so nice to see all my work come together.  It is the ancient Greek play,  "Oedipus the King."  I've had to read it in school about three times before I worked on it.  I can't say it's my favorite story, but it was a great professional experience.

The fun and challenging thing was that the actors never leave the stage, but most of them had to change characters so I had to create reversible robes to help them change character quickly.  For example - in the first picture below, the guy on the left becomes the guy in the second picture.  And the second lady from the left in the first picture becomes the queen in the third picture.  Kind of fun, right?  It was a lot of work getting there, but so fun to see it in action.

Another random fun note is that the purple robe is made from sari fabric from India.  I am absolutely in love with Indian sari fabric.  Sometimes I wish it was socially acceptable for me to wear a sari around.  So pretty.

That's about it for my update.  I've got to start taking more pictures to document my adventures here in Utah.  Till next time!

I Love Carpet! Also, thoughts on being an American in Mexico

So, carpet doesn't really exist here in Mexico, but we found carpet in this cute little art shop, so I had to take a picture on the carpet.  While we were exploring the Zocolo last week we ran into the most fun little art shop.  We talked to the man that owned the art shop and he has traveled all over the world buying and collecting pieces of art.  We were able to talk to him about the church too, which was really neat.  The fact that we are Americans here really gets people's attention.  I haven't seen any other white people since I have been here, except here at the MTC.  I have been surprised at how much I almost blend in here, which is kind of nice.  The teachers who are blonde have people constantly starting at them and calling at them.  I was walking home from church today with my friend/ roommate Sarah and I lost count of how many people honked their horns at us and made cat calls, simply because we were two American girls walking down the street.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

I love to see the temple and other great places

These top four pictures are at a place called Bellas Artes.  It is really beautiful with beautiful architecture. 

These pictures were just downtown in el Zocolo.  I is a really fun place to go explore.  

This was a really fun used bookstore that we explored.  There were stacks of books everywhere.  Some were newer and some were super old.  There were just stacks and pillars of books everywhere.  I could have spent hours exploring that place.

This was a beautiful cathedral we walked around.  I couldn't believe how ornate it was.  It was built on top of an ancient Aztec temple and there were glass panes in the ground that let you look down to see the ruins.  It was super cool.

 I got to go to the temple last Thursday, which was wonderful.  The top picture has the Mexican flag, which was fitting, since this whole week all of Mexico has been celebrating Independence day.  On the photo right above, I am with one of my districts.  It is a beautiful temple!

We had a stake activity to celebrate Mexico's Independence Day.  We had elotes (corn with mayonaise, cheese, lime, and chile), not very healthy, but delicious!  After everyone ate the corn, we had the presentation of the flag, "la grita", and then dancing with a live band until midnight.  They certainly put what our 4th of July pancake breakfasts to shame.  It was a blast!
This picture was just taken today.  We had the perfect rainy day activity (even though everyday is a rainy day).  We made a boston creme pie, but couldn't find half the ingredients at the store and didn't have half that tools to make it.  We didn't have a cake pan, so we used a pot, we didn't have measuring cups, so we guessed some amounts and used the lines on the blender for others.  We couldn't find anything that resembled pudding, so we made up a recipe with some random ingredients (some of which weren't really what we thought they were), but some how it turned out great.  So good, that we just ate cake for dinner instead of going next door to the cafeteria.  We ended up wanting real food later, so at 10:30 at night, we headed out to get tacos.

I am having a blast here and am so grateful to have this experience.  My Spanish had really improved already and I have been able to make so many great friends.  I missed cooking, but we were able to make the boston creme pie tonight, I missed kids and I was able to go hold a baby for a while yesterday.  Life is good!  I am so blessed!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Why I decided to come to Mexico and what I have been up to

So, I keep getting asked the question of why/ how I decided to come down to Mexico, so I thought I would document it here.  Back... I don't remember exactly when, but it was cold outside, so it was near the beginning of the year, we had a meeting regarding the new Mexico MTC for all the Spanish teachers at the Provo MTC.  I was kind of anxious to hear what it was going to be about, because they had a meeting for all the Portuguese teachers when they opened the Brazil MTC and pretty much told them all their jobs were terminated, but I had a good feeling about this meeting and felt like that I was willing to support whatever happened.  The day of the meeting came and we were told that there was an opportunity for us apply to go work down in Mexico.  I had a lot of promptings leading up to that point that something like this was coming into my life, and I instantly felt like this was something I really needed to do, so I put in my application.  There were a lot of applications and I was really nervous that I wouldn't be able to go.  It was a long two weeks to wait to hear back, but I got the email, that I was accepted to come work down here.  It really has been so great here.  We have been able to explore a few places, so now here we have a photo dump (from facebook), mostly from our adventure last week at "el centro", but also a couple other ones too.

It poured on us.  We were literally soaked all the way through.

We thought we were crowded on the bus, but I hadn't ridden the metro at that point, that is a story for another day, but it is crazy!  There are 34 million people in this city!
This was outside of some... really cool building, but I don't remember what it was.  Just know if was really cool.

This was a museum of torture.  It didn't seem like an appealing place to go, but my dad keeps on telling me I need to go back and see it.  I'd rather not pay to see things that would make me cringe.

This was some sort of school that was in a really cool old building that some sort of school or college was in.
We were trying to break some of our change in order to get some coins to take the bus and ran into a bunch of children getting out of school.

There was this cool mirror that looked up to the ceiling that was so beautiful.  It was elaborate and and incredible.  The picture doesn't even begin to do it justice.  Someone had a good idea to try to take a picture with our faces and the ceiling in the reflection of the mirror.

Fun times in "el centro!"
Carson, Ale, and I all served in the same mission and here were, all in Mexico!  We went to get churros before Carson left to return to the states.  We had our own little mini mission reunion at "Churros Reyenos."  BTW, the churros here are amazing.  They are stuffed with all sorts of amazing things.  Mmmm!

Slack-lining, brought from the states.  I was pretty good at staying up (as long as I was holding someone's hand on either side).  This was in the bosque on the edge of the CCM.  (translation: bosque= forest, CCM= MTC)

Independence day is this weekend here in Mexico.  I am excited to see how they celebrate here in Mexico.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Random Pics from My Iphone from my first couple days

At the airport getting picked up on the good ol' yellow bus.

We saw this spider, it was huge!  The picture honestly doesn't do it justice.  I am not scared of spiders, but I was not a fan of this one.

We saw these two boys as we were walking back from church holding hands.  They were so cute!  I about died.

I knew it would be kind of rainy here, but seriously it pours every. single. afternoon. evening. and night.  This was a gutter full of water the next morning and I noticed it was full or WORMS!  How gross, right?

My house where I live.  It is pretty nice, particularly for Mexico, but there is no carpet anywhere.  One of the things I miss the most is carpet, so everyone back in the states, go enjoy your carpet.  I am headed to the temple tomorrow and am so excited to go walk on carpet.

Where in the world are Jen and Valerie???

Valerie and I decided to start a blog to document our adventures as we are living in two separate countries for the time being.  While Valerie is back in Utah being a dedicated student and designing lots of shows, I am here on the north side of Mexico City teaching at the newest MTC that the church opened here in January.  I am busy teaching the missionaries and exploring one of the largest cities in the world.  I am going to try to document my adventures here.