-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, August 29, 2012

An "Attitude of Gratitude"

I was blessed to live in a country where things are...well easy.  I didn't really realize how easy until I came to Mexico, and really live the lifestyle they have.  Many things are small, and some larger than others, but regardless of the size they all have impacted the way I see things in life.  Let me name a few to start off:

1-  Clean water.  Something that we definitely take for granted in America.  I have bought about 40 separate water bottles already (since carrying a carton of water bottles isn't really practical) and it's kind of a pain and gets expensive.  Water is the most expensive drink here.  Frescas or sodas, and even alcohol are a few pesos cheaper than water, so that is what most people buy.  Never will I take clean water for granted. 

2-  Automatic hot water.  In my house we don't automatically get hot water.  In the states I could wake up, turn on the water, and tada!  Hot water.  Not so much here.  I call it "the flame."  Every morning when I wake up, I have to go downstairs and turn on the "flame."  Hot water doesn't kick in until 20 minutes, so that means waking up extra early to make my 8 o'clock sacrament meeting.  It's not a hard task, and I don't mind it, it's just another thing that I need to be more grateful for in my life.  I am especially grateful for even having hot water here.  Many people don't, and have no choice but to take cold showers. 

3-  Free bathrooms.  The one thing that shocked me the most, was that I had to pay to use public restrooms.  I never would have even dreamed of that one!  It is usually 4 pesos to use public restrooms, and I'm telling you, it is an experience that you have to experience for yourself.  Toilet paper is not even in each stall, it's on the outside.  So make sure you grabbed enough or you'll be in a big pickle!  Also toilet paper doesn't go in the toilet, it goes in the garbage can.  That one took A LOT of getting used to.  I am so very grateful for "free, use as much toilet paper as you want, and flush it bathrooms."

4-  Dryers.  This one pretty much says it all.  I do have a washer at my house right now, but I have to hang my clothes out on the line.  This was really no problem, but it took some courage to hang my underwear up on that line.  Everyone could see them...and it was a moment of "just do it Sophia, no one cares you wear spandex" type moment.  I am one of the luckier ones that actually has a washer though.  Some teachers at school have to wash theirs by hand, yet another thing to be grateful for. 

5-  Air conditioning.  Yeah you pretty much get this one.  I just have to say that I love my dad's occupation.

6-  "Everything stores."  Here everything is separate.  This means that you have to go to a variety of stores to get everything on your shopping list.  This is time consuming, and it makes me grateful for my "weak sauce" now "hot sauce" Wal Mart in Tennessee to buy everything I need in a one stop shop. 

7-  Beautiful architecture.  One thing that the states lack is color.  Mexico is so full of color everywhere.  I love it!  I am grateful that for a time I get to live in a beautiful city, with a new family who is very caring (especially about my weight :p) and who takes care of my needs.  I am grateful, and very excited to see what else Mexico throws at me, and be willing to learn from it.  I want to continue to see things with an "attitude of gratitude.'

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Paper Planes: 101

So yesterday was my first day of teaching...and it was very enjoyable I must say!  The thing with teaching is that it is totally unpredictable, and causes you to resort to "plan B" (that never really ever was planned.)  I am teaching in Tehuacan, Mexico at a small school that is a 25 minute walk away from my house.  I have a very small classroom that fits about 6 comfortably, 7 tops.  Well for my first session which is from 4-6 at night, my first class was only supposed to have 4 children in it.  However, as time passed they showed up...and showed up.....and showed up!  By the end of the class I had 10 kids in my small hot and sweaty classroom.  Now this was a little hectic considering I only prepared for 4 kids, but it magically worked out somehow!  :)  So for each session I teach 4 classes with different children.  The next session starts at 6 and ends at 8, so 8 classes total in a 4 hour period, leaves for one very tired teacher!  The children were also very tired at this time of night, so it was hard to get them to speak. 

I am in charge of arts and crafts for the next couple of weeks, so for our first day we made paper airplanes...more like 60 paper airplanes!  I don't think I will have any desire to make another one any time soon.  Today we will make popsicle stick people...and my psychic tendencies tell me I will not even want eat a popsicle for a long while to come. 

But let me talk about the best part of this whole process; the children.  :D  I love each and every one of them!  They are all amazing in their own way, whether it be "cute" amazing, "smart" amazing, or "pushing it" amazing.  :p  They each have the gift to make me smile, and I am glad that I am able to teach them what I was blessed to know:  English.  They may not appreciate it, or even learn anything now, or even next week, or nothing at all.  But I hope that they will remember that I cared about them, and wanted them to do well in life.  I hope that they will be able to look back and remember the teacher who cared about them with the small footprints she left behind in Mexico. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Puerto Escondido, Mexico

Canon del Sumidero Park :)

Definitely one of the craziest things I have ever done :/

San Cristobal de las Casas

So we ate falafel.  We think that it was middle eastern of some sort, regardless it was AMAZING!!!!


Great things can come from Villahermosa!!

We did get to visit the LDS temple, and it was beautiful!  :D

¡Bienvenido a Mexico!

I never would have thought of myself as a person to travel the world and be interested in different cultures, but as time has passed and I have gotten slightly older it has been a passion of mine for some time.  I won't explain the process of how I got to Mexico because it was very LONG.  On the plane ride here, I was still shocked that I would be in a different country in less than 7 hours time.

My time here has been amazing thus far.  Vacation came first.  :)  It wasn't a choice, it was just how it worked out.  So first we went to Puerto Escondido.  (So when I say we, I mean the other 6 amazing teachers that will be teaching with me :) Now we traveled by bus...EVERYWHERE, and our bus ride there should only have been 9 hours long at the most.  Well 9 hours came....and went.  9 more hours later we arrived!  18 hours of bus riding seemed like a never ending story of, "Are we going the right way? Did we forget to get off?"  However we did eventually get there, and all was well in our neighborhood.

Next we went to.....................................oh yeah Tuxtla Gutierrez.  There we took a bus to the Canon del Sumidero in Chiapas.  It was soooo beautiful!  When I was younger at about 10, you could say that I was kind of sheltered.  I didn't get to do a lot of things, and didn't get out of the house much.  I guess some of it was personal choice, so I can't complain.  But I remember one day going to some friends house on a Sunday, and when I got out of our van it was like nothing I had ever experienced before.  They had soooo much land, and everything was green, that I literally had to stop and take it all in because it was so beautiful.  The wind was blowing and I can remember taking deep breaths, and just standing there in shock.  As I recall one of my brothers said, "I feel free!"

Well this amazing trip to the canon was like reliving that moment all over again.  The wind from the boat, the mountains so tall they seemed endless...I loved it.  I could only sit and stare, and wish I could memorize every rock and placement of the trees so I could feel that "freedom" anytime I wanted.  I was bummed that the ride ended, but little did I know that much more fun lay ahead.  We were dropped off by the boat on an island; a park island that is.  I had the opportunity to zip line which was so so so much fun.  I took a picture with a snake.  :/  Never will I do that again!  And I had the opportunity to take in all of God's creations, and beauties of the world.  Waterfalls were everywhere, and that is just something that is one of my favorites!

So after the canon we went to San Cristobal de las Casas, and was there that night.  That place is lovely!  We pretty much did a lot of touristy things, and visited the marketa.  :)  It was soooo much fun too!  I bought a radical poncho, and a very Mexican looking skirt.  I may just wear it tomorrow for church.  :)  After our stay in San Cristobal, we traveled to Palenque.

I can't say that Palenque was my favorite part of it all, but it was definitely one of the best things that has happened to me in my lifetime!  We went to see the ruins there, and it was just so freakin' cool.  My words are doing these places no justice I can assure you that!  Our tour guide was stinkin' hilarious, and just filled my mind with knowledge I hope I can remember forever.  I love learning the past of Mexico, and how it is different from before, and how much is still similar.  I was just one happy ducky, that is for sure.

So after our day stay in Palenque we went to Villahermosa.  Not to say I didn't enjoy myself, but it was SOO humid there!  Definitely not Palenque.  :p  There were also mosquitoes sucking all of the blood out of my body.  :/  We went to this really awesome zoo, but mosquitoes are truly party bombers.  It was a fun experience, but maybe I will come more prepared to face the bloodsuckers next time.  :)

Well that was my vacation in a VERY small nut shell.  We took an overnight bus to Tehuacan, which was kind of funny.  So this elderly woman was sitting next to me, and she had a 3 or 4 year old girl with her.  So I knew it would be uncomfortable with three people in two seats, especially on an overnight bus, but when the girl finally went to sleep her grandma put her on the floor in front of us.  Well I didn't really have any foot space, so when I woke up at like 3 in the morning the little girl was holding my foot in her hand.  I was a little scared at first, but calmed when I realized where I was at and all that jazz.  Not gonna lie, I was kind of grateful she was because the buses are FREEZING here!  So at least she kept me a little warm with the little sleep I was able to get that night.  :)

Well that is most of my bus rides, I have yet to tell you the worst one.  :p  The vacation time was much needed, but now I must get focused on the real reason why I am here.  And that my friends, is to teach English to very amazing children.  I hope that I will be able to serve with a full purpose of heart, and do everything to the best of my abilities.  I can't wait to get started!!


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