-Footprints in the Sand-

-Footprints in the Sand-

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the LORD.

Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene he noticed two sets offootprints in the sand: one belonging to him, and the other to the LORD.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand.

He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints.

He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.

This really troubled him and he questioned the LORD about it:

"LORD, you said that once I decided to follow you, you'd walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me."

The LORD replied:

"My son, my precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Hardest Part is Leaving

I have officially finished my duties here in Mexico as a teacher to young children.  Am I sad?  More than anything.  Am I ready to leave?  Not really.  Will I come back someday?  Absolutely!  I have grown to love this culture, and everything I have experienced for the past four months I have been here.  Don't get me wrong, some of the things I would have never gotten used to, and I am glad that I will not have to deal with things like that anymore.  Most of the things that I experienced was good, just plain ole' good.  I have enjoyed everything that I was faced with including the happy, the sad, the hard, and the terrible.  I know those experiences have made me a stronger person, and I finally feel like I can carry my own being.  I don't need to rely on others anymore.  I have become more independent, smart, and patient.  I would also love to think that I have become more selfless, although I have improved, I still have a ways to go!

Looking back to where I have been, I can see improvement in myself.  Let's take a flashback through Sophia's life shall we?  Age 15.  Middle school.  Kinda OCD.  I was terrified of people as a child.  That sounds super weird, but it is the truth.  I never liked being in a crowd, and when I was, I was looking at the fastest way to escape it.  Who would have known that I would end up in Mexico?  Living with strangers, not being able to understand, or speak their countries language.   Getting lost for 5 hours in the Mexico City airport, and being able to stay calm because I knew with a certainty unfeigned that that was where I was supposed to be in life.  Me, who was afraid to walk into Wal Mart by myself because I was afraid something bad would happen.  Me, who always wanted to travel, but never thinking I could because I was too afraid of the world. 

I checked my luggage for the first time in my life by myself.   I went through customs for the first time in my life all by myself.  I lived in Mexico, and I still live to tell the tale.  One's capacity, and overall growth is something that can never be underestimated.  Don't get me wrong, you don't grow by doing things by yourself, because the people I have met have been a huge part of that change that has happened inside me.

I once was talking about going on an 18 month mission for my church with a woman who I whom I will call my older sister.  During our conversation, I said something along the lines of, "If I go on a mission, I know that it will help me become a better person."  Her response.  "Ya know, I don't think that you are seeing yourself clearly.  I think that you will help lots of other people become better by going on a mission."  Honestly, I never understood her response until now.  I now can make some sense of it, now that I have been in service to others.  The whole time I was focused on what a mission could do for me personally, and not about my abilities in actually helping others.  That's the whole point of service, yeah?  You go for others, and you magically find yourself while doing so.  Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”  I totally believe it.

I never thought that I would end up here, but I am beyond blessed to have done so.  Service is the ultimate act of Christ's love for us.  It doesn't mean that you have to leave your country to do so.  The amazing thing about service is that it is universal.  No matter where you are, there is always someone that needs a smile, a hug, or kind words of affection.  Service in small doses can yield huge effects. 

As my story here comes to a close, I can say that my time here has been well spent.  My life has changed from, "some day I think" to "one day I will."  Life is but an adventure, and I am ready to go wherever Heavenly Father sends me next.  My footprints have officially left Mexican soil.  Welcome back America. 
            
                           "Celebrate endings -- for they precede new."  -Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Monday, December 10, 2012

Hi, My Name is Walter

Today has been so full of different emotions, I don't know what my body wants me to feel right now.  I printed off the last alphabet worksheets ever.  Here.  In Mexico.  For some reason I feel like it went by too fast, but when I think about it; I feel like I have done so much, and feels like I have been here years.  It either went by fast, or slow right?   But my mind is telling me that both have happened all at the same time, and I have a hard time grasping the concept of everything right now.  I will be home in 10 days.  Panic mode is just starting.

Today I feel like I did so much, and am exhausted by all of it.  It actually started at 4 o'clock this morning when I was awoken by horrible dreams.  One had to do with old women in their underwear...on a bridge.  Not a regular bridge, but one of those wooden, swingy bridges that lets you go from one side of a mountain to another.  I don't know why my mind chooses crazy, super random things to dream of at night, but sometimes I wish that it would just rest in peace.  Half naked, elderly women was not how I wanted to start my day!

After I finally got a few hours of shut eye, I went to the school to clean.  I cleaned the kitchen cabinets, and disinfected the cupboards.  By the time I finished I had to go to the grocery store to get things for my lesson.  I made yogurt parfaits with the children, and they liked them!  I am loving this whole, "teaching English while cooking," tidbit.  I don't like it, I LOVE it! (as the kids would say :)

I took a break from the cleaning to check my e-mail, and I got an message from Argentina.  (Probably the highlight of every Monday)  But he told me a story of how he saw an elderly woman get trapped by a bus door, and how she was hitting the bus with her cane to get the bus to stop.  Poor woman.  I may have chuckled at my mental image, not gonna lie, but she did survive, no worries.  :)  Not sure what it is with old women today, but they sure are making an appearance!

Before I knew it, it was time to teach, and I was ready!  Except for the fact that parents could come in and watch today...uh oh.  This was kinda stressful, won't lie about that either.  It all worked out in the midst of craziness between moving from this room to that one, and forgetting my charts, and my token bag...but we all survived!!

In my BR class (no parents watching this class) we went over the letter W, and I had the kids name off some words they knew that started with that letter.  Well as I was going around the room, I get to Marco (definitely one of the brightest children I have met) and he says, "Hello, teacher Sophia Banuelos my name is Walter."  I burst out laughing, and before you know it, the whole class is laughing.  :P  I called him Walter throughout the remaining class time, and he just giggled, and giggled every time I did.  I will miss those children's laughter that is for sure!

In my last class of the day, as mentioned I forgot my token chart in another room, and I was kinda panicky because the parents were watching this time.  Well, I had to go get it, I kinda had no choice so I said, "I am going to go get the token chart, I will be back in 5 seconds!"  Then they started counting as I ran out of the room, and grabbed my chart.  When I came back they were like, "Teacher, you took 17 seconds!"  :P

My conclusions for the day:  My crazy, super random, clean, hilarious, laughter filled life is good, and boy will I miss it when I leave...

Friday, December 7, 2012

Part 2: You Know You are in Mexico When:

 You know you are in Mexico when:

43-  The cockroaches look like walking Twinkies...If only hostess didn't go out of business.
44-  You hear people say, "Tamale, tamale, tamale," on speakers riding their bicycles (with pots full of tamales in the front basket.)  Honestly, it just cracks me up.  :P
45-  Guys go, "Ch, ch, ch," at you all the time.  Do I look like a dog?
46-  Carpet doesn't exist.  It's either tile, or concrete.
47- Women carry like 3 basket full of tortillas around all day.  Some even have children cradled on the front...that is what you call hard labor.
48- You see mice running around outside of the school.  They are super small, and cute.  I could only imagine how annoying they are though. 
49-  The garbage trucks say, "Mama! Saca la basura!!"  Bahahaha!
50- There are AMAZING bread shops on every corner.  I am obsessed.
51-  The tacos put American one's to shame.  You don't know a taco til you've been to Mexico.
52-  Milk comes in a box, not a jug.
53- You trip on all the broken sidewalks, and almost break your face.
54-  You can take siestas on the grass outside, and get tan from the sun...in December.

Oh Mexico....I'm glad I got to know you.

Friday, November 30, 2012

"An Attitude of Graditude"

I have been blessed to be born into this crazy, awe-inspiring world!  Sometimes, because of all the bad things that are constantly coming up in everyone's everyday life, it is hard to be grateful for the small and simple things that Heavenly Father wanted us to take joy in...well at least that is the case for me.  I just want to share my 30 days of gratitude, even though I know that 30 days is a dust particle of all that I really have been given. 

1-  I am firstly (is that even a word?) grateful for my crazy family!  They are amazing, and I wouldn't be where I am without them.  (Sounds like what everyone says when they win an award on TV or something...well I totally win with my family!)

2-  I am especially grateful for my baby brother J.R.  He has taught me patience, love, and the real meaning of loving kindness.

3-  The gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Anything, and everything it teaches I LOVE!

4-  Jesus Christ.  He loves me so much that he died for me.  I want to be just like him when I grow up.

5-  Prayer.  Knowing that I can talk about anything with my Father in Heaven is absolutely amazing, and priceless.

7-  Hymns.  Being able to sing songs that help me feel the spirit is something that find myself doing a lot.

8-  Laughter.  I think that one is pretty much self explanatory.  :D

9-  Smiles.  I just love to see people's teeth no matter what color or shape they are!

10- Selfless people. Because without them, and their examples, I would be a lost cause.
 
11-  Children.  They are perfect, why wouldn't I love them?

12- A country where I can live freely, and everyone who has sacrificed so much to make it that way.  I love America!

13-  I am grateful for the knowledge I have of eternal life.

14-  I am grateful that I will one day be able to be sealed eternally with my family, so that I can spend forever with them.  Cause let's face it, a lifetime is simply not enough.

15- I am grateful that I have the opportunity to repent of my sins.  But mostly grateful for Jesus Christ for atoning for them.

16-  An amazing host family that has graciously opened their home for me to live in.

17-  The laughter and jokes that my host family has shared with me.
        *(Fireworks outside)
        Me-  What was that?!
        Host dad-  The start of World War III.  :P

18- Service.  Cause serving others helps you find well....you.

19- I am grateful for good food, and even food that makes me want to hurl (AKA Carrots).  Cause I know someone out there would be more than grateful to get just a bite of what I eat.

20-  I am grateful for the act of improvement.  Looking back on my life, I am so happy that I have been able to take small steps towards becoming an independent daughter of God. 

21-  The sun.  I just love being able to still feel the sun in November, and having a million different tan lines. 

22-  Missionary work.  Without this, I would really be a lost cause.  I am grateful for those who are willing to serve 1 1/2 to 2 years of their life in service to Heavenly Father, by bringing others to know the happiness of the gospel.

23-  The smell of shampoo, perfume, and cologne.  Sounds weird, but I will leave it at that.

24-  The sound of rain. 

25-  I love that Heavenly Father has given us beautiful things to look at (Ex. Mountains, Waterfalls, Hills, Caves, Forests, Animals...what isn't beautiful that he has made?)

26-  Friends.  I may not have many, but so blessed to have the amazing ones that I was blessed to meet in this life!!

27- I am grateful for a body that can walk, talk, and see. 

28-  I am grateful for hand written letters, e-mail, and cell phones. 

29-  I am grateful for the priesthood that has blessed me so much in my life.  

30-  I am beyond grateful for the ability to travel and see the world!  Mexico is just the start of my adventures to say the least...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Oh the Places You'll See, and the Things You'll Do!!

The good thing about living in Mexico is that they have holidays like every three weeks.  So since they have holidays, that means that we get many three/four day weekends.  With this time, we spend it traveling and seeing our new country.  :)  I had the opportunity to see many new places and things, more than my host family I am living with now has seen.  It is kinda weird cause I have seen more of Mexico than they have, although they have experienced it longer than me.  I am beyond blessed to have had an opportunity to do so!  Since our last vacation was this week, I can tell you everywhere I have been.  Here's the list:
Places vacationed and lived:
1-  Puerto Escondido
2-  Tuxtla Gutierrez
3-  San Cristobal de las Casas
4-  Palenque
5-  Villahermosa
6-  Puebla
7-  Cholula
7-  Cuetzalan
8-  Taxco
9-  Guernavaca
10-  Oaxaca
11-  Mexico City (to and from airports)
12-  Tehuacan!

Some places I've visited:
- Teotihuacan (Ruins)
      -Also ruins in Cholula, and Palenque
- Canon del Sumidero (Ziplined through their forest, I REALLY want to go back!)
- Between 20-30 churches
- Las Grutas de Cacahuamilpa (Caves)
-Cascadas/waterfalls
- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Temple in Oaxaca  :)

Miles traveled by bus- Approximately 2,760 miles
-This doesn't include Kombis, or taxi's...WOW!


My blog is titled, "Footprints left behind in Mexico," yeah?  So I was curious as to how many miles my feet have, and will travel throughout this awesome country.

To do this math, I calculated my miles walked to and from school each day.  Now we didn't have school on the weekends, but I still had to walk to church on Sundays which is a little farther than the school.  The walk to school was 1.5 miles...then the walk back was the same, so we'll say I walked an average of 3 miles everyday.  Saturdays our group usually did something, or we were on vacation and I am sure that we walked way more than 3 miles each day.  So here is what it boils down to:

127 days in Mexico + 3 miles walked everyday=give or take a little would be...

381 MILES WALKED BY FOOT.  That's a lotta walkin'!

Prices for all this traveling= For everything that I have bought, places I have visited, and food I have eaten, I have spent about $700 USD.  Bus tickets cost the most, and took about 3/4 of that total.  

Just some other fun facts:

Movies I've seen:  (in theaters)
- Taken 2
- Hotel Transylvania
- The newest Bourne Movie, whatever it is called.
- Breaking Dawn Parte 2


                             






Skype calls from family- 0
Skype calls from friends- 0
Phone calls made/received- 0
Text Messages sent/received- 0
-Am I a popular person or what!?
*I did receive many emails, one package, one letter, one birthday card, and I am beyond blessed for them! :)

Times I've cried-  2
-  One was at the superb Relief Society broadcast we had this semester, and the other is the day I will have to say goodbye to all the amazing people I have met.  (I have come close SO many times though.)

Times I have gotten lost...
-   The first time I got lost was my very first day in Mexico.  I landed in the Mexico City airport, went through customs, grabbed my luggage, and was lost for 5 hours after that.  I was on the verge of tears, but I knew that I was going to be ok.  I finally found the other girls, and did a celebratory leap inside my soul. 

-  The second time was my second day in Tehuacan.  I had to walk to school with a crappy map, and a good sense of direction.  Considering I had only seen the city once, (in a car) I was for sure lost....for an hour and a half.  I'm not really sure how I found the school, but I thank God that he helped me! 

-  Cholula-  Since there are 7 teachers, we have to take 2 taxi cabs when we travel.  This time, we somehow got split up, and ended up in different parts of town.  It was an experience, and a fun one at that. 

 -  Every other place we vacationed for that matter!  Getting lost is just something you have to be prepared for in another country.  Keep a calm mind, say a few prayers, and know that there is ALWAYS someone there to help you.  
This is my favorite picture :)
 Things I have craved:
 -  Big Macs. Big Macs.  Big Macs.  And real Italian spaghetti.  They do have Big Macs here, but not Italian spaghetti.  :/ 

Other random things-
-  I haven't been home sick at all since I have been here.  Being at college for 6 months prepared me way beyond what I could have imagined.  Four months here, isn't bad at all.  And besides, you can find family in any country you live in. 

-  I have taught over 100 kids English while I have been here, and have loved every single one of them.  Even if they chose to climb bookcases, and stick the garbage can on top of it.  I should've got a picture of that!

-  There was this one time, (while 5 teachers witnessed a robbery at gunpoint, and bribing police officers in Mexico City) Janessa and I had to squish 5 classes into 2.  That was interesting, but glad the others made it back in time for our 6-8 class.  :)  (Did I mention that they are all fine, and will live to tell awesome stories one day.  :)

I cannot begin express how grateful I am for the life I have been given to serve those in another country.  I cannot believe that I only have 3 weeks left!  Time has flown by so fast. I know I will blink, and will be standing in the airport not ready to leave behind those that I have grown to love here.  I know that I must move on though.  I may be leaving, but that does not mean I will forget.  Remember when I said that I have only cried twice here...well make it three. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

I Love Hiking

Well, while the other teachers are enjoying themselves in good ole Mexico City, Janessa and I stayed behind to explore what our home town, Tehuac├ín had to offer.  First, we started off by getting tortas at her house.  They really are the best in the whole city!  After our stop we walked the 2.3 miles to San Lorenzo.  :)  Here they have awesome hot springs that we went to for my birthday, but little did we know they had a hiking trail as well.  In the beginning, what we really wanted to do was hike "honor mountain," or the mountain with the cross at the top of it.  However, we were told by every person we talked to that going by ourselves was dangerous, and not a smart thing to do.  We were advised to go to San Lorenzo and hike there.  Well, that is exactly what we did!!
Honor Mountain is the mountain way in the back there.  It says, "Honor of Mexico," hence the name Honor Mountain.    We DIDN'T go there unfortunately. 

When we got to San Lorenzo we realized we didn't really know where the trail was, so we just walked towards what we thought was the way and came upon this street.
 Kinda sketch lookin' but we kept going.
 We finally got to this little town, and asked a little boy if he knew where the trail was.  He just pointed back to where we were, and said it was back that way...
So we made the hike back!  It was really dusty, and in the more poor part of town.  It had potential for beauty, but just hadn't made it that far yet. 

When we got back to where we started we talked, and when I say we, I mean Janessa talked to a woman to ask where the trail was.  She said that it was too dangerous, and that tours of the trail are only given on Sunday.  We were like, "alright," and started to go find it anyways. Go figure.  :P  But we did come upon this ginormous tree that was so stinkin' cool!
After our awesome tree experience, we went to finally find this trail!  And we did.  It was like a whole two steps to where we were.  :P  We ascended, and ascended...
 To finally find some cactus.
And some wheat/weed  lookin' things.
I really loved the look of the stuff, so I joined it in a photo.  :D
The hike was fun, but more deserty than I was expecting.  It kept going around, but we finally stopped when we saw caution tape around some cactus.  It was there for a reason, yeah?  On our way back we came upon a cross.  It may have been the one we searched out from the beginning, but honestly, we may never know. 
 This is the city I live in, viewed from the top!
 That about ended our hike, so we descended, and descended all the way to the mall that is.  There we bought tickets for "Amanecer Parte 2," also known as "Breaking Dawn Part 2."  It was Laugh Out Loud FUNNY.  The action part was awesome, but I don't get the whole generated baby thing.  That was just weird.  It was a good movie, and glad it gave me some good laughs.  :)  We also came upon the best Christmas tree I have ever seen.


It was so big, and beautiful!  The sign next to it said, "Keep calm, and learn English."  Yessssssss!

That my friend's is how I spent my Saturday.  I came home, ate some awesome food, then went upstairs to watch a salsa concert on TV with my host dad.  Then he's all like, "Get up."  I was like, "Uhhhhh. I can't dance!"  An hour later ladies and gents, I am doing salsa all around the living room.  :)  It was a fun day, night, and three more Saturday's that my small feet will enjoy in Mexico.   



Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Day in a Life of...Me.

So with my new schedule change, which would have been like 3 weeks ago, I am now a full time teacher at Heslington.  That means I teach from 4-8 o'clock at night.  I have known these children the longest, since I have been with them for a longer period of time, so I have had many magical moments that just make me happy to be here.  We get to make fun stuff, and play awesome games; I am grateful to have met every single one of them.  So let me just show you some awesome pictures of our adventures together.  First, just a FEW of the things we have done:
So this is a collage of different items.  It was fun to do all these activities with them!
We made popsicle stick people.  :)

Spider webs...one of my favorite days.  :)

Puppets with huge foreheads. :P

Slingshots with a bulls-eye.  It reminded the kids of Angry Birds.  :P

Butterflies!

Homemade maracas.  These were fun to!

So my mom sent these really cool erasers to me, and I gave them to my classes.  I had them make my mom thank-you cards that I sent to her.  They were adorable, and made her day!

One of the cards the children made her. He's kind of an artist that one.  :)




Here we made a scale, and were weighing different things. I happened to have wood pieces on hand, and this is what they decided to do with them.  :)

Of course, I had to participate.  :)

So my home group, which is the class that you end with at the end of the two hours (well in most cases, but I won't get into specifics) but in this class I pretty much teach the alphabet. Honestly, in the beginning I was a little scared, but it actually has turned out to be one of my favorite classes!  I love my group, and did I mention they love to sing? 

Videos are awesome right?  Well then let me just show you this awesomeness that happens in my group.  Check it.

 
How much more fun can you have??  =) 

One thing I did for a gym activity was a mix between volleyball and tennis.  I called it "volleybennis."  :P  The kids thought it was hilarious!
Boys vs. Girls.  Girls stomped the boys into the ground...as usual.  :P

They had fun competing though!!





So let me tell ya a story.  There once was a Friday when only 6 kids showed up.  Then we watched a movie.  The end.  :)
We had a lot of fun, and a nice relaxing night!
Since there was a limited amount of children, the elementary children joined us for our night of fun.  We went and bought popcorn at the Oxxo (nice convenient store that happens to be a two minute walk from the school) and we drank orange soda to top off the night.  Pablo caught me taking a picture, and decided his hand would look fabulous in it.  He was ALMOST right.  :P
I absolutely cannot believe that I have less than a month left with these kids.  I am going to miss them sooooo much!  I am glad that I was able to be apart of their learning experience, but I am not saying goodbye yet.  I have time to fill, and memories to make.  It will be fun.  It will be hard. It will be rewarding.  It will be the best four months of my life!  :) 


Monday, November 19, 2012

You Know Your in Mexico When...

Now that I have lived in Mexico for 3 months, there are things that I have had to get used to.  Even though I still have another month here, I am pretty sure I have experienced much of good ole Mexico.  Here are the first 42 I thought of.

You know your in Mexico when:

1-  You eat lunch as your big meal at 2 or 3 then eat a small dinner at 8 or 9.  (Usually cereal or yogurt...but thankfully my family feeds me well beyond that!)
2-  You can hear guys whistling at you from a block away.
3-  People stare at you, and yell "Guera, Guera!"
4-  People just plain stare at you.
5-  You get stopped a minimum of three times a day to talk to random strangers, just because you are white.  (Luckily I don't have as big a problem with this one.)
6-  You see stray dogs, but never ones that want to eat you.
7-  You can buy an awesome 3 course lunch for 30 pesos...which is $2.27 in USD's.  (The food is just really good, and cheap!)
8-  You get used to the zing of spicy food.
9-  You hear Gangnam Style at least once every block.
10-  Guys follow you home.  (Luckily it hasn't happened to me yet....knock on wood.)
11-  Guys follow you on their motorcycles, and ask you if you want to go somewhere with them. (Unfortunately, this has happened.)
12-  You carry your keys in your hands at night, just in case you need to take a stab at a jugular.
13-  You see people sweeping the sidewalks outside.
14-  It floods when it rains.
15-  You travel by bus, kombi, or taxi EVERYWHRE.  You walk ALL the time too. 
16-  You see Yacult drinks everywhere.  They are pretty good!
17-  Your hot water is semi warm, and you are oh so grateful for it.
18-  You can smell a guys cologne from a block up.
19-  You see high school couples kissing everywhere.  
20-  You are awoken at 5 in the morning by a serenata.
21-  You have the high school bands play multiple times down your street every holiday.
22-  You have a maid to clean your house. (Although, definitely not every household has one, but not something I was expecting when I got here.)
23-  Older men ask you to be their girlfriend.
24-  Guys always say, "I'm a good guy.".....yeah right.
25-  When Facebook, officially becomes just Face.
26-  You eat fruit everyday because that's what's cheap, and delicious.
27-  You crave BigMacs...but maybe that is just a personal problem.
28-  You freak out when you hear other people speak English...it's just not a common occurrence.
29-  You see graffiti all over the walls.
30-  Everything is locked up to the maximum...I need two keys to get into my house.
31-  You can't drink the water.
32-  You can't flush the toilet paper in the toilet. At least we don't have squatters.  Oh, the things I am grateful for!
33-  You have to go to 5 different stores to buy your fruits, your meat, your makeup, your clothes, your automotive supplies, and your paper. 
34-  You hear, "do, do, dodoo, do do doo, do do da.  El Gas, Gas Oriente!"  The down side is, is that it is not the ice cream truck, it is the gas truck.  They are everywhere, and you hear them on the daily.
35-  You hear everyone playing their music out loud.  They literally take huge speakers outside, and blast it.
36-  It's never just....quiet.
37-  People honk their horns all the time...even for reasons unknown.
38-  The legal drinking age is 18, not 21.
39-  No one hardly smokes cigarettes which is awesome. 
40-  The kids here are hilarious!
41-  You see mountains and nature that take your breath away.
42-  When all the bad gets outweighed by the good!!! 

And this is just a slight list!  Even though some of these things are a nuisance, I really love living here!  It has been a great experience, and I am ready to live this next month awesomely cause I know I will miss it dearly when I leave.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

No End

This morning I was listening to music on my computer, and this one song that I love very much started playing.  It was one of those morning where I put it on repeat, and listened to it for hours.  Well, what is the song you ask?  It is actually a hymn called, "If You Could Hie to Kolob."  In the 4th and 5th verses it names many things that are endless from eternity to eternity.  These things will exist forever and ever, and that just boggles my mind sometimes.  I am comforted however, by the thought of amazing things going on forever, from generation to generation.  I just love it, and have a testimony that it does exist.  The world is just too big to keep it to yourself.  

There is no end to virtue;
There is no end to might;
There is no end to wisdom;
There is no end to light;
There is no end to union;
There is no end to youth;
There is no end to priesthood;
There is no end to truth.

There is no end to glory;
There is no end to love;
There is no end to being;
There is no death above.

The words are much better with pictures, and music.  They don't start singing until the 4 minute mark, just in case you were wondering.  :)


"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost."  Moroni 10:4


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Say What?! I'm 21!?

 My birthday celebration actually started on the 9th of November.  It was a Friday, so it was a perfect time to celebrate ehh?  Well, I was kept in the dark about the things that we were going to do that night, so I was told after teaching.  My head teacher then informed me that we were going to El Centro (the center of the city) to eat, eat, and eat. :)  It's like my favorite thing to do anyways, so I was excited!  Well our first stop was the taco stand...of course!  It is definitely the best taco stand in all of Tehuacan just as Kaylie said it was.  :)  After our taco stop, we headed to get some gorditas de nata.  How do I describe them besides delicious.  I wish I had pictures of this night, but it was too good to stop and take pictures.  But yeah, they are like pancakes/fluffy heaven.  You just have to come, and try them for yourself!  Something else that I really like here is their elote.  It is just the Spanish word for corn, but it is sooooo good.  My favorite that I have tried thus far in Mexico was the one I had on this night.  The corn is charred, and put on a stick, then slathered with mayonnaise, and Parmesan cheese.  I think it beats the tacos, and the gorditas...I just like it so much!    After our night of eating I went home, and prepared for one awesome day to come!

I must say that turning 21 in Mexico has been a cool experience that will change the way I do traditions in my future family forever.  Let's just say it was a blast!  The 10th finally decided to roll around, and I got to sleep in to 9:00 which was the best way to start off my birthday I must say.  I got up, and had breakfast with my family.  It was really funny because my mom was at the stove doing something with the food, and she turns around and says 1, 2...???  Uno, dos, tres!  And my sister, mom, and dad started singing happy birthday to me in Spanish.  I would be lying if I said I wasn't blushing.  They are just awesome.  My mom, and sister then gave me awesome hugs, and told me congratulations on turning 21.  It was very kind of them to sing to me on my day of birth!

After our breakfast together, I went upstairs and got ready for the rest of my day.  We went out to lunch at a restaurant called El Guacamole.  The guy who owns it used to live in Utah, so he speaks good English.  He buys all the girls that have birthdays a cake, which is super generous of him!  So with any tradition, the birthday person always gets the first bite right?  Well, this is very true in Mexico, except utensils are illegal.  :)  You go into your first bite face first, and if you are lucky like me you will have awesome friends that push your face into the cake.  Thanks Katie!!! :)  It was a great cake that tasted awesome!  It was a tres leche cake, and I have come to love them.  The United States does this cake no justice.  Check it:



I think there was only 5 candles on the cake....which would be accurate I suppose since I can wear the lost and found children's jackets.  :p



Not sure what I wished for, but hopefully it was something good.  ;)




So my candles were out, now came the best part.  It was lovely.  :)  Most of it went up my nose though, which I was thinkin' about actually.... and how if I had exhaled (which could have been a possibility,) the other teachers would have eaten more than just cake...:p










There could have been my hair in there too!!



So since I didn't really take a bite of the cake with that awesome face plant, I did take a decent bite out of it...still no utensils involved.  So think about it: snot, hair, and my mouth germs all on my birthday cake.  YESSSSSS!  :D














They must have tasted great cause this was all that was left of it!  So you see why I want to keep this tradition alive, it's so awesome and personal...Oh how I love Mexico! 






Well, stomach's full we headed to San Lorenzo.  Since only 6 of us went, we decided to all fit into one taxi.  Yet another reason why I love Mexico.  :)



We all fit!!!  Once we got to San Lorenzo we stripped down to our bathing suits.  Oh, did I mention that it is a natural springs swimming pool?  You got it.  Swimming in November.  Isn't that the best thing in the world?  I can't even remember the last time it was warm on my birthday, much less go swimming!  It was a little weird that it was so warm on my birthday, but I loved it!






This was the kiddie side of the pool, considering I can't swim, this is where I spent some of my time.  It was still fun to wade through with the whole 4 kids there.  :p



I have found Nemo!
It was a beautiful place!    








I stole these from Madi's blog...thanks!  :)



And thanks to Anna for joining us!


Oh...and there were fish in the pool!

So after our hours of fun at this lovely place, we headed home only this time on foot.  We walk everywhere here, and it was actually an enjoyable walk.  We came upon the arches of Tehuacan, so we took pictures from the bridge above the road.  It was pretty high up. 
                                                    We got a good view!
                       But of course, everything is better up close and personal.




The water was clean which made me happy!



Cause there is one everywhere I suppose...
After visiting the arches we headed home for good.  Two teachers decided to take a taxi home, so the other three of us headed home on foot.  Of course we had to make an adventure out of it.  We came across a tree.  Now this was no ordinary tree, but this tree was next to the busy highway, and lo and behold it had oranges on it!  This was a first for us, so Janessa and Kaylie were intent on getting the oranges off the tree.  I stood back and laughed at them, and so did the guys in the shop down the street. :p  They were up way too high you see, and even jumping lead to no avail.




Luckily this guy saw our struggles, and helped us out.  He shook a whole two oranges out of the tree for the struggling white, and toasted girls.  :p 




Honestly speaking though....these were all amazing parts of my birthday, but the most awesome thing about the whole "day of birth" thing were these lovely birthday cards my kids made for me.  I love those kids so much.  I received 57 cards from them! 57!!!!! That was enough to fill every square on my bedroom floor + some!






The variety was awesome too!
Big, medium, small, and Frankenstein.  :p

Quotes:

"I lake you teacher Sophia."

"Happy Bedei Mis Sophia."

"Happy Birthday Miss Sophia!  You is beast."

"Happy Birthday Miss Sophia. You are the funniest teacher and the best teacher of the year for me."...The funny thing about this one is that Miss Cassie teaches this child Elementary, (I don't teach elementary, except once kinda, sorta) but I don't ever recall seeing this Eduardo (I think that's his name anyways)...but thanks for the compliments man!  :p

See what I mean??  Aren't they great!?  And I have them to look at for the rest of my life.  I love these children, I know I've said it like a million times, but it's so true!  I also love the teachers that put it all together!  It was the best birthday I have ever had, no exaggeration needed.  :)  Thank you times a million for the laughs, amazing times, and memories peeps!  :)

Redeemer


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