Saturday, December 24, 2011

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

So far this Christmas break has been fantastic. And one of the major parts of it? My fabulous family. I'll elaborate more on their fabulousness in a future post, but for the time being enjoy this snapshot into our Christmas Eve Day.

A little candid croquet on Christmas Eve Day? Why not.

Sleep well, little readers. And I hope that as we all celebrate this Christmas season that we can remember the true meaning of the holiday and truly celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Without Him, I know I would be nothing. Let us worship Him this holy season! 

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight. 

P.S. Didn't realize how long it's been since I posted! New Year's Resolution: obvs post more often. (Crossing my fingers this actually works)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

To My Baby Friend

Yes, Ynna Padilla, that means you.

Ynna has been my best friend ever since she moved to Pennsylvania in kindergarten. Really, it's more like she's been a part of the family

Without her, I would have sat alone in Primary and wouldn't have had near as hard of a time not laughing through almost every single prayer in the meeting (and probably some of our Young Women's meetings too--I know, I'm ashamed). I wouldn't have spent Sacrament Meetings writing notes on my black paper with my milky gel pens (so cool, I know) to give to her even though we were going to hang out for the next two hours in church. I cannot count the number of times that we would ask our moms if we could go to each others' houses after church and cannot describe the joy we felt when they occasionally said yes.  Together, we successfully butchered the words of Nephi's Courage and many other Primary songs and thought ourselves genuinely clever for the parodies.

We've had our moments, like when she didn't sit with me at our concert band party in middle school and I got mad at her or when we had a crush on the same boy in sixth grade and she got to square dance with him in gym class (he was too short for me anyway), but through thick and thin she's always been my best friend. Together, we were definitely weird and awkward (maybe I should speak for myself), but we went through it together nonetheless. 

Moving on to the next stage of our life, I became Ynna's mom in high school, driving her to dance practice, driving her home from school, driving her to school (shhh, don't tell my mom), and I was genuinely proud of my daughter. She is one of the most ambitious people I know, and when she puts her mind to something you better bet she'll do it and do it flawlessly. I have watched her grow into a beautiful young woman with such a wonderful testimony (okay, now I really sound like a mom, but I'm serious).

And did I mention she is one of the most hilarious people I know? Seriously though, I cannot say how many times I have laughed with her until it hurts. AP Euro? Chow chows? Besides, who else could bring such humor to our Jonas Brothers obsession? Oh, and our texting conversations are unparalleled. And our girls' camp skits? Don't even get me started.

More than that, I've always been awed by her fearlessness and confidence. She's never scared to try something new, or if she is she never lets it stop her. When it comes to public speaking, she is so eloquent (really she's eloquent in all she does), and I always loved when she would give a talk in church. She's beautiful and kind and giving, and I truly have been the luckiest to grow up with her over the years and to be able to see her become all that she is. 

This little post doesn't even come close to covering all that our friendship is and everything that it means to me, but it's a start. I love you, Ynna, and I hope that you have had the best birthday in the world because you truly deserve it , best friend.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Little Things

Upon catching up with a friend the other day, she told me that she read my last blog post when I talked about my life being boring. She said "Your life isn't really boring, is it?" It made me think. No, in fact, my life is not boring. Sure, I'm no longer gallivanting around the world or anything like that, but each day my life is made decidingly not boring the little things. And it's the little things that count, right? Right. So here's a description of some of the little things that have recently made my life wonderful. We'll actually call them little things because that sounds so dear, doesn't it?

Little Thing #1:
Please tell me you remember this. Or perhaps I was the only one who experienced this in childhood. Regardless, I was still delighted when I saw and promptly purchased it at the grocery store. Judge me, but I love the fact that I can hatch tiny dinosaurs in my bowl of brown sugar oats. 

Little Thing #2:
Forgive me if this is old news, but I recently came across this cover, and I am fairly obsessed. I love the sincerity with which Sara Bareilles performs.. guaranteed to give me goosebumps every time.

Little Thing #3:
On Tuesday evening, I got to hang out with my accounting all-star big sister, Rachel. She is the smartest person I know and the sweetest to feed me so much. She also loves Harry Potter like no other. Her husband is nervous to take her to Harry Potter Land because he's nervous she'll think it's real. But for real, she's the coolest.   (more details to come in future posts about how awesome my family is.)
Told ya.
Anyways, Rach and I have always had so much fun together, and this evening was no exception. The evening's festivities consisted of grocery shopping, dancing around her basement apartment and slipping on the floor (very much reminiscent of our childhood), and Oreo truffle making (yummm).

 Little Thing #4: 
Writing my Christmas list. It's that time of year! No, crazies, not the time when we can start decorating our houses and blasting Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree. That is not until AFTER Thanksgiving, thank you. But, back to the point. Christmas list writing has to come far before the time that we can actually start celebrating the Christmas season. My most wanted item is a good pair of boots to handle this upcoming Utah weather. I have been looking for a while and was thinking maybe these ones? It's also necessary for me to own some business professional clothing since I am now in the business school.. hopefully I'll find some suits that aren't so stuffy.

Little Thing #5: 
I've recently started taking a different walk to get to school, and I have not been disappointed. I get to soak in the magic of all of these really cute, old  buildings and walk through crunchy, colorful leaves the size of my face. I am pleased with the results of my daring to break free of my daily routine. Though I am nervous about slipping on the sidewalks once winter comes.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Where has the motivation gone?

Now that it is November, it's official. My motivation is gone. Though I tell myself that the days won't go by any faster if I keep track how many there are until Thanksgiving (and even better, CHRISTMAS), I can't help it. So here are the things I am excited for:

Thanksgiving- who isn't counting down the days until we have no school? Less than three weeks. Except I don't have school on Fridays anyway, so really it's not that much of a difference.

Christmas- I get to see my three beautiful best friends who I have missed so dearly, and ALL of my family is going to be together! Does it get any better? No.

Really, that's all I'm excited for right now. Oh, and for the semester to be over. My life is so interesting. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Oh, Provo

Well, it has certainly been an amusing week and a half back in Provo. We moved into our cute little house (see I'm also getting used to my second new home, the Tanner building, where I will be spending the majority of my life this year--hello BYU Business Program! Surprisingly though, my schedule isn't too packed yet. However, I'm sure the best of a busy life is yet to come.

Lately, I've really just been playing tennis with my lovely older sister, Rachel, interspersed with random occurrences of meeting random High School Musical actors hiking back from Stewart Falls and getting my car towed (as a college student, this was really great on my budget.) Life sure is interesting.
Oh hey, Troy Bolton's dad!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Back, back in the U.S. Groove

After a month-long tour of Europe, it feels so wonderful (and a little strange) to be home! We spent our last few days in Switzerland (watching the Sound of Music on our bus whilst driving through the Alps), and it was so beautiful! The places we went were so unique from each other, and this was no exception. Though it replaced Egypt on our initial itinerary, I think it was worth it.
So we started out in Geneva-weird to go from boiling hot and humid in Italy to possibly winter jacket worthy weather in Switzerland. Not my favorite place, possibly due to the fact that I was tired, hungry and to solve the problem of being hungry had to pay $13 for a McDonald's meal. Not happy. However, the surrounding area of French-speaking Switzerland was unbelievable! We went on a tour of the United Nations, Nestle headquarters (internship PLEASE)and Chateau de Chillon and then on to the German-speaking part of Switzerland.
I absolutely LOVED this area. Granted, I've heard about the Lauterbrunnen Valley from both of my parents for practically my entire life, so I think I was bound to love it. The first night we were there, we went inside a mountain to see a waterfall inside of it, and it was really cool! (Literally) The next day, we got up early and rode a cable car up to the Schilthorn and ate the James Bond buffet breakfast (On Her Majesty's Secret Service was filmed there). To. Die. For. Especially the delicious hot chocolate and waffles. And the view! So so beautiful!
Basically, my Switzerland experience was filled with loads of wonderful hikes around beautiful and scenic mountains complete with cowbells ringing in the air (Yes, Hairspray's 'I Can Hear the Bells' was constantly in my head.) It was an absolutely wonderful way to end my European experience, and I will most definitely make it back there at some point in my life.
I can't believe that the Study Abroad is actually over, but now that it is, posts will definitely not be as frequent (unless everyone wants to hear about me going to the library, packing, etc.. thrilling, right?)
Back to Provo soon, but I'm going to appreciate the East Coast while I still have it! On to Deep Creek Lake, Maryland tomorrow (I guess my vacation is ongoing)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Under the Tuscan Sun

So, it has been a crazy last few days. My body is determined to work against me and doesn’t let me go more than two days without feeling like I’m going to pass out, but it’s hard to give up exploring and taking everything in to take a breather. When we first left Rome, we went to Siena, a quaint little town complete with cooking school which provided a delicious meal for us.

From Siena we went to Florence which I absolutely adored. Besides the fact that we had to walk what felt like 400 miles with our suitcases to and from our hotel (a trek complete with cobblestone sidewalks and numerous steps), this city was absolutely wonderful. It was pretty easy to get a hang of, and it was beautiful. Even if Florence was not to die for, the drive from Rome to Florence would be worth it. The region of Tuscany with its fields of sunflowers and Italian villas atop rolling hills is a place I could easily spend my summer each year (and maybe the fall, winter and spring as well.) On the bus ride, I watched Ice Age 3 with our director’s seven year-old daughter who, after watching a part with the dinosaurs, told me she wished her mom had a tail. Also in Italy, I climbed the Tower of Pisa
, went on a run in Florence and made it to Venice. Obviously we got lost there, because it is absolutely impossible not to, which was fun for the first half an hour but an hour later not so fun.

Venice was so unique though and definitely worth seeing, especially if you’re very good with maps. Yes, we did get to go on a gondola (we just had to, didn’t we?), and I just may have fallen in love. Unrequited, of course. This morning saw us out of Venice by 5:30 am and onto Switzerland! Crazy to think that we have less than a week left!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

When in Rome

Let me just start by saying that EasyJet is anything but easy. Do not be fooled, fellow travelers. We spent our Sunday afternoon, evening, early Monday morning trying our best to get into Rome and after waiting, getting on our plane, flying, getting off our plane, waiting, waiting, waiting, getting our bags, waiting, getting on a train, waiting, going through the metro station up and down stairs (with our bags, obviously), finding out that the metro we needed to take was closed for the four days that we are in Rome, climbing back up the stairs, waiting, getting on a very crowded bus, waiting, and dragging our bags up a hill, we finally arrived at our hotel. A long explanation for a long night.
The next morning we had a business visit with a man involved with Rome's Chamber of Commerce. I was not the only girl in the room having a hard time paying attention due to the translator (he can show me around Rome anyday.) The rest of the day began with a cultural experience of doing laundry at a local self service. Interesting. The couple of days in Roma have been just crazy filled with the Capuchin Crypt (the basement of a church filled with at least 4,000 skeletons of friars from their order arranged in creepy patterns. Totally creepy), the Pantheon, the Forum, San Giovanni Church, the Spanish Steps (complete with concert), Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum,

Mussolini's balcony, the Vatican,

St. Peter's basilica and Square (yes, I'm a little ashamed to say I thought about New Moon), the Borghese (absolutely incredible sculptures), the NBA's Lopez twins

, a team of pickpockets in action, the BEST pizza, gelato, Pompei, and Naples. What a whirlwind. So now we're off to Siena and Florence. Ciao bella!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Might as well start somewhere..

So we're almost halfway through our trip, and I finally have the energy to blog. I'm new at this, so bear with me. Let me just start by saying that this is incredible. I am so absolutely blessed that I've had the opportunity to come on this study abroad.
For those of you who may not know, I am currently on a month-long Brigham Young University Mediterranean Study Abroad with 27 wonderful and unique students and 2 directors with their fun and sweet families.
So we started a little less than two weeks ago, and we have already done so much. This is my first experience with international travel, and I will admit that the ten hour flight from JFK airport (which is quite dark & dirty..ick) to Istanbul, Turkey was not the easiest thing. It was not made any easier when a vegetarian family refused to fly and got off the plane because their meals hadn't been transferred from a different flight. The three hours following spent finding their bags and getting back on the runway were probably the least enjoyable.
When we got to Istanbul we checked into our hotel and then hit the town. I have never before in my life felt so exhausted. Jet lag was horrible, and I felt dizzy and easily could have fainted at any second. We walked to the Hagia Sofia which was really awesome even though we were so tired, and it was so hot. We saw the Hippodrome as well, but there's not much left of anything. Dogs were everywhere and street vendors were pushy, and I felt harassed. The rooftop pool and deck area saved me that day. Over the next couple of days in Istanbul we had a whirlwind of business visits with Deloitte, Nike, Intel and the US Consulate and consisted of the Blue Mosque, the underground water cistern (yes, this is where Frank and Ali had their date in Istanbul last season of the Bachelorette.. and have I been keeping up with my guilty pleasure show? Obvi), a rug show run by thugs complete with birthday cake and apple tea, Topkapi Palace, a boat ride touring Istanbul, and many calls of "Lady, I have good price! Yes?" Let's just say I am not a good haggler.

From Istanbul we headed south to Kusadasi, Turkey. The view from our hotel was awesome (for at least some of us), but the hotel itself.. not so much. Picture a perfect scene for a horror movie, and you have Hotel Sozer. So Kusadasi consisted of swimming in gross water, loving our lives at Captain's place with our meals of pineapple chicken, Morgan getting hit on by Sazaminazifdu... (and I quote, "Out of all of your friends, you turn me on the most" Umm, ick..again), swimming in absolutely beautiful water (literally I probably will never see clearer water), visiting Ephesus, John's church, a leather fashion show at lunch (fashion show, fashion show, fashion show at lunch), the house where Mary lived out the last 11 years of her life and multiple other places.
Unbelievably clear water in Turkey

From Kusadasi, we were off to Patmos on a chartered ferry, and let me tell you, my first experience with the Greek islands was magical. Patmos is the most quaint little island, and I instantly fell in love with it. Not to mention, it had great shopping. And our hotel was the cutest. We ate dinner literally a foot away from the beach. We also visited the cave where John was imprisoned.
Harbor in Patmos. I'm in love with this island!

Santorini was our next destination (and the one I was most excited for). After our first ferry ride and a 4 hour layover in Kos (meeting a really friendly and slightly creepy Bosnian who happened to be going to Santorini as well and asked to sleep on our couch?) we got on our next ferry, which really wasn't a ferry but rather more of a cruise ship. As Morgs and I were standing on the deck we saw two dolphins! Wonderful. Finally we got to Santorini, which is a much bigger island than I imagined, and rode our bus around the cliffs up to our hotel, the Santorini Palace. this hotel was literally a maze and the cutest thing. Santorini was not what I expected, but it was still incredible with black sand beaches, clear turquoise water, crazy bus rides, pirate ships out to the volcano, a hike in flip flops, a donkey ride up the side of the mountain with frequent stops (good old Bapi), a sunset in the magical town of Oia at a poolside bar (still not sure the 7 Euro smoothie was worth it, but it was dinner), and just relaxing at the Palace's infinity pool all day. Oh, and lots and lots of climbing. Absolutely everywhere we went. And most views on postcards of a blue dome church were a picture taken right outside our hotel. Incredible.
That view.. yes, I always put my hand on one hip

We bid Santorini a fond farewell and headed to Athens where we've seen riot police, the Monastiraki (Athens' version of the Grand Bazaar where I almost got robbed), the Acropolis, business visits with Eurobank and ALBA business school, watched a sunset by another temple, monasteries on a cliff and even more.
Today we drove in the bus for 10+ hours to get back to Athens, and tomorrow we're going to the branch of the LDS church here in Athens and then heading off to Roma! Hopefully Italy will allow me more frequent updates, but for now I"ll leave it at this: I am absolutely and positively having the time of my life and can't wait to see what the rest of this trip holds!