Sunday, September 30, 2012

Day 46: Oaxaca {wuh-ha-ka}

After having a fantastic birthday {I'd share the details but I don't have pics and I was sworn to secrecy ;) } the teacher's and I woke up early to go on a stake temple trip to the Oaxaca Temple. 
5:30 is the earliest I think I've ever woken up to go to the temple. Will tell you now though, SO worth it. I will also tell you now, for those of you who aren't LDS (AKA Mormons), some of the terminology I use will not be familiar. If you have any questions let me know. Back to the story...

This temple was actually a lovely surprise for me. I walked into the traquil building and as soon as we got into the baptisimal font area I was taken back to almost two years ago in Decemeber when I did baptisms in the Palmyra, New York Temple. It had the same two small rows of pews and humble font. I smiled as I remembered being squished side by side, and was grateful for the memory.

SIDE NOTE: that happens quite often. You get really excited any time that something reminds you of home. Anything from random brand names, to things your kids say to you, to foods you find.

So that was good. The girls who were there from the ward were adorable too. There were three 12 year old hispanic girls with us. As I got to know them, I learned that it was one girl's first time in the Temple and she was a bit nervous. It was so cute and I couldn't help but think back about my first temple trip and how I was really glad to go with a few of my friends who turned 12 around the same time as me, so I wasn't alone in not knowing what was going to happen.

It's not really that scary though. It's a very special place where you can go to learn more about yourself, feel closer to God, and feel closer to those who have passed away. It's a heaven on earth.

 The Zocalo's in the cities here are always so cool. They usually have the main church and a garden in this area. 
I wish I may, I wish I might...
The artwork that goes into these catholic churches always amazes me. It is different from our own Temples 
but it is still an amazing feat that people were able to put this much work into something they believed in. 

I love to see the temple, and I love my life like crazy

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Day 39: Mi Hermanas

Not to brag, but I've got some pretty awesome girls in my life. I think God gave me all brothers so that when I met the girls who I would come to think of as sisters, I would appreciate them more. 

As the days adventures wore down, we ended up watching "Despicable Me" before bed. Maybe about halfway through the movie, I realized that I was the only one awake.
I wanted a picture, but couldn't move due to the two sleepy heads on either side of me.

So carefully, I got onto my web camera. Not the most perfect pictures... But they're pictures. Memories like this are too sweet not to be captured. 

I actually think it's adorable when children fall asleep on you or cuddle up together. Sometimes kids can be a little wild and crazy, but then they calm down and become little angels again. Funny how they can do that. 

This also kind of makes me miss my other sisters all the way in New York. I could not ask for better sisters in my life. We're crazy, we do fun things, make funny faces and inside jokes, and become better people just by knowing each other. 

Miss you, Emma and Allegra. Don't worry though, we'll see each other again soon! ;)

Just saying, I love my sisters like crazy!

Day 38: A Good Day

Today was a good day (as so obviously pointed out in the title). It was one of those days where I woke up thinking it was just going to be a pretty OK Friday but things just got better and better. 

Every Friday we have a culture class in the morning. It's basically this lady who takes us around town to show us different things related to the Mexican culture. Today was exceptionally fun because we got to eat. I'll explain. 

Tortillas de Maiz (corn tortillas) are kind of a staple for every meal here. It's like how rolls can go with most meals in America. Here, it's tortillas. So, Irma (our culture guide) took us to make tortillas de maiz. At first I thought we were going to her house but instead we went to this little town right outside Tehuacan called Coapam. Here, we met these lovely ladies. 

They make about 2-3 THOUSAND tortillas a day. We watched them grab handfuls of corn pure`, flatten that with the press, and swiftly place the flattened corn on the griddle. Easy no? 

Flattening it was...

Getting it on the griddle perfectly? Not so much. 
That wrinkled one.... it's mine. They got a good laugh out of our feeble attempts to do what they do 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. I love how when I learn about this culture, I continue to gain a new found respect for the people. These women blew me away with their efficiency. They seriously made entire batches of tortillas in about 5 minutes. 

After this lovely adventure, we went back to the school and I got to take a nap after finishing a chapter of "The Time Machine". :D I LOVE NAPS. The floor was even cold so it felt really good to sleep there. I also love this book that I'm reading. It's so exciting and interesting to read, but not too hard to understand. Perfect!

Then began the teaching. Everything went smoothly, which in a teacher's world means that everything was successful! Yay! And we got to dance today. I always love Fridays at 7:45 because that's when we clean up and get ready to dance till school ends. :) I am even starting to learn all of the "Friday" song. So now I can terrorize my brothers when I get home. MWAHAHAHA. Just kidding, I will probably hate that song by the end of the semester. 

Then I went home and changed into sweats and a t-shirt, thinking that I was staying in tonight. My sister Leslie came downstairs to help me cook dinner. Actually, she just helped me fry the tortillas. We have one of those stoves where you turn on the stove top and light it with a match, which scares the bejeebers out of me. I don't ever use them and so I think that, knowing my luck, the stove would explode once I lit it. So she helped me with that. I'm happy to say that the stove didn't explode and the tortillas were delicious.  She decided that she's become a great cook because she can fry tortillas and eggs. :) Cute girl. Love her to pieces. 

Now my night could have ended right here, and it would have been a pretty awesome Friday. Little did I know what was in store. Leslie went upstairs while I was eating and then rushed back downstairs to ask me, "Do you want to go to the games?"

"Mande?" (huh?)

"Do you want to go to the games??" (as she points in the direction of a nearby fair that is going on right now).

*CLICKS* "OH! Do I want to go to Show Vega?" 


"Yeah I want to go!! Do you want to go?"

(claps in excitement) "Yes!"

"Yay!!" (proceed to jump up and down like I'm 12 again.)

"You should probably change though."

And so I did. And we went to the carnival.

SIDE NOTE: This girl is so stinkin cute. That is all. 

Me, Mama, Leslie, and Camila joined Lucy, Luis, and Ricky to go to the fair. These are probably my favorite friends of my parents. Lucy is super nice and funny and her boys definatly take after her. They also speak moderate English. That's a huge plus. ;)

Luis and I rushed onto the first ride. It didn't look too scary to me. We got the front too! It wasn't very crowded there (which was fine cause there were no lines!) so we got to ride all the rides wherever we wanted. :D

This one ended up being scarier than I expected.

There was a point where the ride was hanging upside down for what felt like forever and a day. That got me. I can handle the feeling of falling out of my seat for a brief moment. This however, was not a brief moment. 

Luis: Uuugh....

Hahaha! Let the madness begin!

And fun times were had by all! 

Pretty awesome Friday if I do say so myself. 

I realized during one of the rides with my sister, that I really enjoy being childish for moments. Like when riding a roller coaster, You get to laugh and laugh at the thrilling sensations and laugh more at the person next to you, who is also laughing. It's one of those little moments that I will always cherish. Not going on that specific ride, but laughing like a fool with my sister. I will cherish the memory not for the things, but for the people. Days where I make those kinds of memories end up being very good days. 

Later, while eating tacos from a taco stand, Leslie asked me, "Today. It was a good day?" Smiling, I said, "Si! It was a very good day." 

And that was my Friday. :) I definatly love surprise fun-tastic Friday's like crazy

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Day 37: Teaching... Just kidding. Playing.

Got to be honest, I kind of love teaching. And I thoroughly enjoy teaching the older Elementary 2 students. I like my other kids, don't get me wrong, but there is something about this class that has more "AHA, I get it!" moments. Moments when the kids understand what's being said or what's going on. More moments where they connect with each other. Like I've said before, it's why I teach. Even though sometimes lessons epically fail and kids think you're the most boring teacher ever....
But you wanna know how I beat that? I draw cartoons (My kids sometimes get to draw too...) This week we were talking about punctuation. Fun right? It is when your characters are awesome like mine! We've got the "hipster comma", the big fat period, the EXCLAMATION POINT! and the Strong Shouting Question. I made up the hipster comma but the others were mostly made up by the other kids. They told me what to write in the speech boxes. 

You should have been there for last week's drawing. I had wrestling characters and was quoting Nacho Libre. There was "Sentence" who was complete, "Fragment" who was missing a few limbs and an eye, and "Crazy Steve" to represent those sentences that just plain don't make sense. They were epic as well. Should have taken a picture... 

The things we think of to go along with our lessons are quite fun too! I am finding now that I will save ANYTHING thinking that maybe I can use it in my classroom. Right now I'm collecting bottle caps for future balloon race cars. For these beauties, I cut up cereal boxes and let the kids draw what they wanted on their shields. We're reading the "Ballad of Mulan" currently, so making armor is essential when you're going to war, no? I was Captain Mushu, bravely fighting side by side with, not one, but TWO Captain Americas, as well as one Captain Ka-Pow. I love lessons like this because there is so much language learning, and the kids didn't even know it. I didn't even realize it till I was thinking about it later. Yay, learning through fun!

Today I took one of the crafts I made home. As soon as I pulled it out of my bag, my little sister gasped and ran over to me saying "dame!" (give it to me). In my broken Spanish I tried to ask what it's name should be. She said a lot of things, none of which I can recall. I tried to suggest "panda" (because hey, it's a panda and she needs to apparently learn more English according to mi mama) but she wasn't havin' it. She did let me take her picture with it. Actually, as soon as I pulled the camera out, she started posing with the panda. It was quite adorable. Unfortunately, she was moving so fast (I seriously need a video of her running around everywhere) that I only got one sort of good picture. Success enough for me!

And that's pretty much it. 

I like it down here. I'm grateful I got to come to Mexico and volunteer for these children. I'm also very grateful for mi familia. As we're learning to communicate, I'm finding that it gets a little easier everyday to understand each other. It's a good thing. It's a little funny because now mi mama is even saying small English words like "house" and "school". So proud of her! :D And I'm learning to speak better Spanish with her. I'm still really slow and can't talk a million miles per hour like they do, but I'm getting there. I'll get there. I'm too determined to fail. Actually I really can't fail. I can only learn more. 

I Love Mexico Like Crazy! 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Day 31: El Cumpleanos de Paisley

My mamma is one of those people that will always amaze  me. She's taught me many things over my lifetime; Some that have gone in one ear and out the other, while others have successfully stayed with me. Now as she gets another year wiser, I'm sure she'll have more to teach me. Actually, she'll probably ALWAYS have something to teach me. 

Things I have learned from my mother:

1. Life isn't fair. Whatcha gonna do about it?
I choose to dance on beaches.

2. Families that play together, stay together.

3. Never, ever, under any circumstances, ever, wear flip-flops to church. Always dress classy, not trashy. 

4. If you think your life is boring, you're probably a boring person. 

5.You can cook almost anything correctly if you FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS.

6. You always love your children. You may not always like them, but you never stop loving them.

7. Hard work won't kill you, and neither with healthy food. 
8. You don't need to keep everything you've ever had possession of. Some things just need to go. 

9. Always take pictures. You can never take too many pictures. 

10. Sometimes, eating dinner (meat, cheese, and crackers) on a blanket, while watching TV in Mom and Dad's room, creates the fondest memories. 

11. Pedicures are awesome. 

12. Scrap-booking can turn an entire room into a jungle. 

13. Marriage may be the hardest thing that will ever happen to me, but it will be the most rewarding to be together as a family forever. 
14. Kindness matters. Be careful about your temper, or you may just break a heart. 

15. The higher the heel, the better. Never underestimate a fantastic pair of shoes.

16. Visit your loved ones as often as you can. They may appreciate it more than you think.  

17. Do what you love to do. Sing, dance, be with family. Be your true self. My mom will always accept me for who I am.
18. I'll never stop being her little girl. (And that's OK by me.)

And those are just some of the things I've learned. I can't list everything, and I'm sure more will come to me later, but it's good to know that my mom has taught me many important things in life. I'll always be in debt to her. Hopefully I will be able to be the super-heroine of a mother for my children as she was for me. 
I am definatly my mother's daughter. Love her like crazy!!