Saturday, June 30, 2012

the start of it all!!

well here i freaking austrilia! can you believe it? cause i cant. it is hot as hades over here! i just dont get how this could possibly be their winter! alright so where so i even begin?!

day 1 (which is day 2 also but still only one day...dang you time change...ill never have lived on june 29th, 2012!): sweet trevor curtis drove me to lax on thursday and off we were! the flight to brisbane was a whopping 14 hours! i was astonished by my 11 hour sleep with out any magic medicine to konk me out! i got go lucky! i woke up and only had 3 hours left, so i had to take full advantage of the fancy tv in front of me! if i didnt sleep the 11 hours, i wouldnt have even cared! the selection was ridiculous! i watched "the lucky one" and "we bought a zoo." before i knew it we were landing! the aussie next to us was so nice and chatted with us about tips and tricks of traveling in this country. who would know that a "napkin" only meant the feminine product not what you wipe your face with!? we landed and had a few hour lay over before our flight to cairns.  here is where i managed to be totally and completely ripped off at currency exchange and experience the most delicious chicken wrap of my life! we were of off to cairns! i planned to work on our last quiz that was to be due upon landed but ehh more sleep and missy higgins (had to listen to her, im in her stomping grounds!!) seemed like a better option.  we landed and met up with our instructor and his wife. their last name is just imagine the nick names i have created! so if i refer to anyone as something weird sounding like his last name, know it is the head honcho of the group.  anyways! we loaded up the vans (mind you, the driver is on the opposite side) and nearly died but didnt on out way to our camp site.  we drove up to "cairns holiday park," the most luxurious camp grounds in cairns! well i wouldnt entirely call this place luxurious but it is home for a week so ive learned to love it.  we have a slab of grass for your group in the back corner of the site (the bathroom is in the front... so my 3 trips to the bathroom last night were a fuzzy gross memory i woke up to this morning). now is when we had to pitch our tents. everyone is assembling these nice looking tents and im thinking "hey this wont be too bad!"...then kenny pulls out our tent!! hahaha okay so our tent in a one man tent that is only the size of a baby's crib! we thought it was hilarious! guch man looked at us like we were idiots and said "um, you know that is a one man tent, right?" we made the most of it and ended up putting our monstrous duffles in someones elses tent and that made a worlds of difference.  beach time!!! we headed to the local beach and holy moly i cant even put in words the beauty. picture hawaii times a gadrillion and maybe that will compare.  the water felt like a bath, the sand felt like powdered sugar, the tropical trees that came from the mountains all the way to shore, came together as if it were straight out of heaven! we swam and danced and screamed and honestly it was such a surreal moment.  we forgot towels, so a nice stroll down the beach was the perfect answer! then it was dinner time! and at this point we were all dead! so we ate at the locals fish and chips place and headed back to our tents and fell right to sleep at like 745 at night! the night in out tent begun with a jacket, long sleeve, sweats and socks, then turned to just under wear (bless you kendall! the semi naked barrier was totally crossed the first day in europe so luckily this was totally okay!) then i had to walk a mile to pee a few hours into my sleep, so long sleeve and sweats put on in a half asleep dreamy state...then i dont really remember walking back and falling asleep with all those clothes still on. cause i woke up to pee again a few hours later dripping in sweat! our baby tent turned into a sauna! this continued and long story short, the weather here is insane!

day 2: we woke up and it was sunday july sunday! yahoo! i was so relieved it was the sabbath because we all needed a relaxing day. we woke up and got ready for church and headed to the local branch.  the building looked just like the ones at home except there was this whole grassy tree sun area right in the middle! so beautiful! when we pulled up, this family was getting out of their car and picture a total islander family right out of the pacific and that was them! all the men wore the skirts and floral shirts, the women were a little larger and had hair to their butts, and the children were exactly like that too! their smiles were beaming and i was so happy to be there! sacrament meeting was powerful due to the testimonies that were shared.  i felt like i should go up and standing before this branch and seeing all their smiles, i felt the Spirit radiating in the room. it was a sacrament meeting ill never forget.  all the people were so nice and welcoming and made all of us feel right at home.  the sunday school and relief society lessons were incredible and i learned so much while at church today.  so now we are having a little nap/lunch/journal/scripture reading time before we figure out our plans for the day.  speaking of which, i probably should go find the group and get out of the internet reception area.  tomorrow we go out on the boat to dive in the great barrier reef! ill be sure to post as much as i can! i love you mom and dad and family at home! until next time!! xoxo

Thursday, June 28, 2012

our 5 1/2 week trip in europe in a 3 minute video!

BACKPACKING EUROPE!! A cool video made by nicole hawkins! enjoy!

another two week summer break at home!

my brain is a little out of wack, why?
cause i've been spending my last 2ish weeks
recovering from europe, enjoying being home, and preparing for study abroad. 

apart from the minimal stressful moments, ive had the best few weeks being home
 olivia and my sweet mama were there to greet me outside baggage claim at LAX! 
i couldn't have been happier to see them!

then mom went to utah for britt's pageant,
leaving me as the mom of the house!
so we rode our bikes, went on walks and went surfing! love my family so dang much! 

 my mom's side of the family was in town and we went whale watching off dana point!
we saw a zillion dolphins and a few whales! 
there is something about the pacific ocean that just feels like home!

 shari cushman gave us a tennis lesson! she is the sweetest lady and i just love her! she makes the best cookies on planet earth! these are my best friends!
 no one really knows me like these friends know me and for that, 
i am so grateful for them and the friendship they offer me. its so good to be home with them!

we went swing dancing!! 
there is this club thingy place in the LA area that plays jazz all night long and you just dance away!
we all caught on pretty fast and had the best time! 
these girlies are so kind and caring and so good to me! gosh i love them.

i was lucky enough to babysit this sweet thing for a week!
violet fielding is a genetic masterpiece! 
look at her! 
i loved playing with this little fire cracker

big papa turned 51!! we celebrated by going to this japanese restaurant where they cook it in front of you. it was so delicious and we had so much fun together! i love my dad so much!

 i was finally able to attend jenny evan's cooking class! we made a delicious salad,  all kinds of grilled pizzas (the one to the left is a lobster pizza!) and a berry pie that is making me salivate while im typing! it was so much fun to chit chat with other moms and listen to all kind of hilarious advice ( i was the only lady there with out a child). yum! yum!
porky and i went hiking! she is truly such a ray of light and a beam of energy!

so, one morning, olivia and i thought it would be a good idea to do this....
 we painted our face, put dresses on and acted like little girls again
did anyone else have dress up photo shoots with their best friends when they were young?
my best friend growing up, chloe goings and i would have photoshoots on the daily!
i have a zilllion hysterical pictures of us so similar to these, taken 10 years ago.
hooray for childish fun! i highly recommend it!
im so thankful for olivia and our best friendship. i dont know what i would do with out her. 

 sammy surfed!!...however, there were tears. he is our little drama king!
im so proud of my him! now lets see when he will come out with me again!

tyler kesler, the pro at everything and anything,
 attempted and was successful at flinging a playing card into that watermelon!
we had a game night at my house with a few BYU friends and it was so fun to see all them again.
we all live so close but are so busy with work and such so sadly we havent spent too much time together but when we do its a guaranteed good time!

for nicole's birthday we went on a sun rise hike!
unfortunately our tardiness resulted in jake louie and i just wandering and playing music.
finally after a few miles we found the crew!
then ate some cupcakes, sang some more and celebrated the coolest girl ever, nicole hawkins! 

the ever so beautiful lady, mrs annabel ashton is now married!!
her wedding was stunning, just like that couple!
i'd be lying if i said i didnt cry when they were having their first dacne. 
their love is electric and im so SO happy for my dear friend!

mama and i had some fun paddle boarding! 
we laughed and chatted and just enjoyed being with each other and i loved it so much.
love you mom!
sooj's going away party was such a blast!
he is leaving for korea to serve the country for 2 years as part of his duel citizenship. 
it was so great to chat with friends! freakin kai gayoso is going to be famous, mark my words! 

love my fab 4

 ...and my toddler friend, connor cushman :)

dinz the lemon head! every villain is lemons! ...and SURPRISE to the world! carter came home!

(disclaimer: if you dont know these two boys, please know these were total jokes and carter, on the left, doesnt typically play the electric guitar shirtless! ha!)

last and best beach day with my biffles! 
...well last until i get back from my study abroad but still, take any reason to celebrate, right?
we all headed down to victoria and spent the day flailing to catch footballs, sucking big time in a volleyball match, burning our feet, basking in the beautiful sunshine and giggling all day long! 
i love my friends so much and although we are all growing into our own individual people, 
we share a bond that is unchangeable.

after another round of goodbyes and hugs were given, i am off on another adventure!
 australia, new zealand and fiji, here i come!!
ill be spending the next month and a half:
scuba diving on the great barrier reef, going hiking/camping through the outback, exploring sydney, bungy jumping in new zealand, sea kayaking to and from the fijian islands, and other activities and give me tingles of excitement just thinking about it!
i feel so blessed to be able to travel the world this summer!
God created this masterpiece we live in and i'm loving the opportunity to explore it!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

backpacking europe: lessons learned and top moments

Throughout the past 5 ½ ish weeks, I have been moving all around western Europe with my pack of traveling KARNies (Kendall, Avery, Riley and Nicole…clever huh!), and exploring the glory of the world.  While on this trek, I have discovered so many things about myself, about my relationship with God and about this incredible world He has created.  All our daily adventures are all documented on our blog,, so I thought I would blog about all i've learned while romping Europe and my favorite moments in each country! So here we go! the big, the little and the rando...
lessons learned: 
·      The idea of “we will cross that bridge when we get to it” was a main central theme of the trip.  Most things could not be planned too far in advanced and when we tried to it only brought on some aggravation.  So, we figured things out when it was necessary to.  How I parallel this concept into my everyday life, is that there is such beauty in living simply.  There is no need to fabricate your life in plans for your future.  Yes, have goals and aspirations and day dream about your future! We all love that and I don’t mean to sound like im discouraging that! Its just when you focus on the present rather than try to plan too far into the future, you can fully enjoy the present and the “now” life has to offer.
·      God’s time might be different then your time and that is so okay
·      Optimistic attitudes are always the best. I have learned how much your attitude affects every aspect of yourself and the group.  For the most part, everything was perfect on the trip, but of course it was inevitable that we have our rough days/moments. Rather than looking at the negative mishaps as total road blocks in our day, we learned to look at everything in the most optimistic ways! And it truly made everything perfect!
·      Walks in nature are seriously the best thing in the entire world. The best of times were  honestly not sight seeing but time spent with each other soaking in all the glory of God’s creation
·      God knows and loves us and protects us, individually! He had such a hand in every part of this trip.  We felt a tangible, real feeling of comfort through the Spirit. We were truly guided to and away from various things that completely made our trip. He knows me so well it freaks me out some time…like He answers my prayers before I am too prideful to realize I need to ask Thee for help.  On that note…I have gained an even greater testimony of prayer and the divine communication with our Heavenly Father because of it. This trip could not have been possible with out the power of prayer.  We would not be safely home if it weren’t for prayer.  I’ve grown so close to my Savior and see Him as one of closest friends and I couldn’t be more grateful for that relationship.
·      The little things really do matter and making good habits of those things is actually life saving! They say that making a habit takes what? 3 weeks? We had plenty of time to recognize the good habits we needed to make, and the make them! Like out nightly scripture reading and group prayer.  This little habit we practiced nightly ignited such a nearness to the Spirit that enabled us to be guided and protected in every moment of the day.  We slacked for a couple days in Ireland due to a 12 person hostel room and other distractions...wifi.. and we literally saw a difference in our days.  We were snappier, tired and just more disconnected then normal.  After recognizing it and fixing it, the dynamics of the group were so much better! Now I know I can totally make great habits and constantly try to better myself. 
·      You can never, ever have too much gelato
·      If I ever have to resort to living on one shower a week, it is totally doable! And not completely as disgusting as you’d think!
·      Vibes are HUGE.  I’d like to think we mastered reading vibes.  Its rather fun actually.  You can tell loads of info about a restaurant, a person, anything from the vibes it gives off! These “vibes” drove our trip.
·      If this terrestrial world is so incredibly beautiful, I cannot wait for the celestial kingdom!
·      Make everyday worth while.  I’ve learned that you really can accomplish so much in a very little time.  
·      I honestly believe that people are innately good.  I wrote a paper about my opinion on this in high school and going on this trip just made my belief stronger.  We met the nicest people! Whether it be a sweet helpful Italian man, or the most selfless people that housed us. Max, the Hardy’s and Kim truly made me what to be more giving and serve people to the high degree possible.  I just loved all the people we were ever so blessed to cross paths with, Desmond- our tour guide on the cliffs of Mohr will be in my memory through the eternities! 
  • when the sink water runs brown, dont be too alarmed, it wont kill you...well for now it hasnt had effect!

my most memorable moments:
·      Meeting up with Sam Sherman at his dad’s hotel and going into the coolest spa ever!
·      Dancing like a mad lady at Queen on Hoxton club
·      Roof top movie showing “cinema paridisimo.”
·      Les Miserable

·      Going on long walks with Max and his (demon) dogs through out the beautiful countryside. 
·      Toast with max, naps in the Tanyard, make a pasta dinner and go on another walk
·      Doing temple work in the London LDS temple

·      Arriving at the smallest airport and catching every last bus of the day to get us to the village a few downs from the one we needed to be at, so we were stranded for hours with only carrots and cereal and resorted in getting a ride with drunk men at the near by pub.
·      Streaking on the beach and being caught by an old Australian couple
·      Our long walk up to the tower on the top of the largest mountain in Gelncombkille, that brought about some memorable heart to hearts.

·      The beautiful  cliff of moher but more importantly the man who was our bus driver, desmond! He repeated everything and talked about his sex life…he was at least 90.
·      Kissing the cutest Danish guitarist in the band playing in a Pub!
·      3 packs of bueno bars for 1.50 euro

·      Salsa dancing and the creepy beyond creepy men dancing with us
·      Tapas restaurant…pesto sweet potatoes!
·      Renting a row boat in a park on my birthday
·      The Hardy’s and playing with their little girls each night till the point of sweat and stomach pains from laughter. 
·      Staying in a Marriot at wearing robes and finally feeling clean
·      Sitting in the cutest park, eating a huge stick of cotton candy and gawking over the most adorable French couple love each other.
·      Laying on the grass in front of the sparking Eiffel tower then going on a boat tour down the seine river at night
·      Crepe eating day
·      Our work out/dance party night in the hotel and sweating like pigs after a day full of stuffing our selves sick
·      Staying with Kim in her cute home and eating yummy fresh fruit in her kitchen.
·      Fondue with her family and dying over her husbands hilarious jokes
·        Getting a city tour from Juliette and getting to know that sweet girl! 
·      Our night in Gimmlewald, at the top of the swiss alps and staying in the only hostel in a big room crammed with girls…and some lesbians.
·      Long walks to the lakes and having the best of conversations
·      Bungee jumping!!!! And then staying at the workers, Toby’s, apartment/junk yard that night and thinking I was going to die a martyr that night
Cinque Terre

·      Renting out the cutest apartment room! Thank you martina!
·      The potential tragic scare
·      Hiking all five cities, in the sunshine and rain on a beautiful day!
·      Swimming in the Mediterranean sea, cliff jumping and back to back gelatos!
·      Discovering the best tiramisu there ever was! 
·      Finding the worlds best Panini and gelato place!
·      Getting a crazy deal at hotel monica and hotel Colorado
·      Soaking in the vibes at the bridge and city centers
·      Our day trip to Siena and San Gimignano and the gorgeous sunset
·      Loving just wandering around the city and through all the canals
·      Becoming obsessed with Grom and kendall kissing the worker!
·      Dying of laughter/agony all night long in our sauna mosquito hotel
·      Sending out a message in a bottle to our future husbands
·      Murano (glass blowing) and Burano (lace and colorful houses) island day
·      St. Peters basilica, Spanish steps and trevi fountain all back to back
·      Wandering around to find the Grom gelato and stumbling upon other delicious gelato places.  
·      Having a Sunday devotional turned testimony meeting turned tell why we love each other what we have learned on the trip.
·      Being sort of kissed by his Italian man then having him kiss Riley!
·      Last real dinner on the trip and loving the Michael Jackson look a like
·      23 hour layover before our 12 hour plane to LAX!
·      Curry and cookies
·      Pushing couches together to make the most comfy bed ever!
·      Braiding party
·      Loitering at every store and trying on too many lip sticks, nail polishes and sun glasses! Oh! And I caved and bought an expensive pair of sunglasses in hopes to settle my insecurities of me and sunglasses! 

 i loved every moment of my backpacking trip and will forever be grateful for the time i spent in western europe with 3 of my best friends. travel! everyone! is the greatest thing you can do!