Saturday, September 15, 2012

Pure Insanity!

Okay guys, this trip has been INSANE! All my flights were delayed, and I should have missed my last flight, because I landed half an hour after it was scheduled to take off! But by some miracle, I made it, and my luggage made it with me! I also made some great friends along the way! And older gentleman named John told me I had beautiful eyes, which was super sweet! A lady with a 4 year old named Ashton kept me company on my 7 hour flight, and a young man with crazy curly hair was fun to chat with as well! Once we arrived at the France Airport (we meaning me and 3 other girls from my group) it was pure insanity! Not one of us speaks french, and the detailed instructions that our directors sent us to get from the airport to our hotel were faulty, because the train we were supposed to take was shut down for maintenance! It took 4 hours to get from the airport to the hotel, and it included a shuttle, a bus ride, a train ride, and a metro ride, and walking a good few blocks. Oh, and did I mention we had to figure it all out in France where we don't speak french!? Yes, this has already proven to be an exciting trip! I've traveled for over 24 hours, but managed to make it into my room finally, and was even able to grocery shop! (Fun fact: the milk is hidden in the grocery store, every cereal has some form  of chocolate in it, and if you want a bag for your groceries you have to pay 3 cents for one!) I have been to the Eiffel Tower, and wandered through the streets of Paris! Life is great!

Oh, and my language on my computer is French now, so I'm not totally sure how to maneuver through my blog, so forgive me if there are any serious mistakes!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sunday Surprises

Yesterday was my last Sunday here in the States until December! I am nervous, excited, anxious, and ready to leave this Friday! I figured yesterday would be just like most other Sundays, and in many ways it was. But there were a few things that happened that were perfect for a last Sunday!

For family home evening, my family and I had a murder mystery party. Ashleigh was in charge, and assigned us all roles. I was the rich lady, Elliot was the host, Dad was the doctor (haha go figure), Mom was the cook, and Ashleigh was the maid. Here are a few pieces of evidence.

Shortly after this extravaganza, Sister Tombs, Mary Beth, and Shayla came over to say goodbye and bring me a little gift for my study abroad! It was such a pleasant surprise, and very kind of them to do! I got to chat with them all, and especially Mary and Shayla as we sat outside playing with the dogs. It was wonderful.

Lastly, I got to Skype with an old friend that returned from his mission a few weeks ago! Missionaries DO come back! He has definitely grown a lot and matured, but at the same time is the same ol' guy! It was nice to see him after a few years, and before I leave the country.

Well folks, I guess my next Sunday blog will be from the other side of the ocean! I leave in 3 days, 22 hours, 56 minutes, and 54 seconds! (But hey, who's counting?) Just finishing up last minute things here, and I'll be off and one of the most exciting adventures of my life! It's been real. Keep in touch. :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Last Few Days

Well, I am down to the single digits in counting down to my study abroad! I'll be out of this world (okay... out of this country) in 9 days!!! It would be an understatement to say I'm very excited! As my last few days are rolling along, I've been trying to make good use of my time, and I've had quite a few mind expanding experiences, lots of time to contemplate, and I've just been very inspired by the things I have come up with.

First off, I am deeply grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord. For the ones I do recognize, as well as the ones that I know pass right over my head! I have such stellar friends! Goodness. The are wonderful. I am here in Texas, while they are all partying in Utah. But, even while I am physically separated from them, phone calls, Skype, Facebook, and many texts have kept them near and dear to my heart. Also, I have had the chance to reconnect with old friends that have fallen out of my life for one reason or another, so it is neat to see how much has changed/stayed the same.

Second, I have really had the chance to spend time and really get to know my family. I've been mostly out of the house for over two years, but being back for over a month, it has really given me some great insight. My family is not perfect, because no family is. But boy are they my biggest blessing and one of my greatest sources of strength! I've had tender moments getting to talk with my mom, laugh with my dad, help Ashleigh with homework, and coach Elliot in tennis. I love the little day to day things and experiences that make us a family. Dance parties, family feud, Sunday dinners, and countless other occasions have drawn me nearer to them, and given me a wider glimpse of eternity.

Lastly, I have gotten to learn more about myself. I have learned that it's so much better to laugh than to cry. Life is funny. It sucks sometimes, but it's funny all the time! That epiphany alone has made a world of difference. I've also learned that you get out of life what you put into it. If I waste my days away on my computer or sleeping or lounging around, then life is not as meaningful as it should/could be. But if I read inspiring books, help my mother clean, take time for my siblings, practice piano, and fill my time with other productive activities, then I feel so much happier and better about life. I've learned that it's always the little things. I've always said that, but it is so true. My time home isn't about the garage sale, or our vacation to Disneyworld, or any other large event that has taken place. The moments I have learned the most from and hold dear to my heart are the UNO games with Elliot and Ashleigh, feeding the dogs with my Mom, pranking with my Dad, and smiling at the smallest of things.

Life is as good as I want it to be. My time home has dragged by, but at the same time I'm shocked it is almost gone. This is probably one of my last extended stays at home, but boy was it worth it! As I wrap up my summer and prepare for my next adventure of life (i.e. Europe!!!), I'm excited to see what the Lord has in store for me! I wish all my friends and family a wonderful semester, and I can't wait to see y'all in a few months!