Thursday, April 24, 2008

Oh, you look Relaxed

Well, I'm home now. It has been quite an experience. I love hanging out with my family, they're cool, but I am having the I miss New Zealand Blues. After spending over 3 months having 'flow' experiences as Mark Widmer would call them, where we were having such great learning experiences that the way we look doesn't matter to us, I am quite astonished at what I saw at the mall today. We live in a technology driven, appearance driven world where people are constantly competing for the biggest, best, cutest and skinniest.

I walked into Banana Republic wearing sweat shorts and a long sleeved jacket, classes and un-styled hair (which is a typical outfit for someone who can't comfortably fit in her old clothes and has a sore throat and throbbing headache.) Anyway, one of the male associates at Banana started asking me how I was doing and how my day was. I was friendly and responded that I was having a really great day (after all, I sat on the couch watching T.V. all day because it was snowing outside). He said, "oh yeah? really relaxed?" Like obviously by the way I was dressed I had a relaxing day. I think he and I both knew that I did not belong in Banana Republic.

The newest clothes I have I purchased from the local second hand shop in Invercargill. Oh, and yesterday at my friend Janessa's apartment some people were throwing out clothes and just put them on the lawn for people to take. I scoured the pile to find something because hey, free clothes. I was surrounded at the mall by people who care a lot about appearance and I was slightly uncomfortable. My sister told me I needed to get my eyebrows done...what is that all about? Some of the girls on our New Zealand trip didn't shave their legs the entire time and no body cared. No one told anyone how to dress or look or made anyone feel alienated for not dressing appropriately while shopping. Who makes the rules about how we should look and what we should wear?

I don't know about this. It's slightly disappointing.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Well, saying goodbye to Invercargill was a bitter sweet experience. I was so sad to leave what had become my second home. The experiences I had and the friendships I made in New Zealand will never be forgotten.

After New Zealand I spent 5 days in Sydney, Australia. It was way fun but I got tired of seeing the same old buildings every day. I wanted to go out and see the bush a little bit but it was just too hard because we didn't have transportation. The Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge are amazing. It was neat to actually be in Australia. Next we spent 2 days in Fiji. We stayed at a beach side resort and literally sat on the beach or by the pool for 2 days straight. Oh, except for the time we took a bus ride into town. Nadi (pronounced Nandi) is a small city; there is only one road through the entire place. All the Fijian's are so kind. Everywhere you go they greet you with a Bula! (which means hello). They live very simply in small homes with almost no posessions, and yet they are still happy.

Now I am home and anxious to get back to my normal life routine. When I got home I got a huge cuddle from my nephew Reid and then today I got one from Sammy and India too. I missed my neices and nephews like craz

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Enjoy the Journey

For the course of my stay here I have had the privilege of working with some of the greatest instructors out there. Our SIT outdoor recreation instructors have an amazing teaching style that I have never before experienced. They give us a surfboard, show us what to do and then send us on our way to do it. They don’t allow time for, I don’t think I can or I’m scared. They have complete confidence in us and our ability to figure things out. It’s not so much about getting from A to B with them, it’s about enjoying the journey. They say things like cool bananas, and that’s cool aye, and we’re just trees so you have to figure it out on your own.

We had an awesome chance this week to figure things out as a team on our own without the help of our instructors. They gave us a map, compass and a destination point and just let us decide where to go. It forced our groups to communicate and reach a consensus instead of just going off on our own way. I wasn’t allowed to be in front and take the lead which I am prone to do so it was really cool for me to step back and be a team member not a leader. I learned so much about team work and I have never been so proud of my group.

Day one was a beautiful tramp through the bush. When we arrived at our destination we made our own bivvy and we all crammed under it. It rained that first night and all the next day so we ended up soaked and freezing. Day 2 was a cold, wet and windy hike but we pushed on through the Spaniards and the Bush Lawyers. Night 2 was cold but not wet. The morning of Day 3 we awoke to a layer of frost on everything. My socks and hiking boots were so frozen it took about 5 minutes to get them on. My contact solution was frozen too. As soon as we started hiking though, the sun came up and our journey ended with beautiful weather.

Life is not about getting from point A to point B as fast as you can. Life is about learning how to enjoy the journey—given the elements and obstacles that hinder our way. When the rain comes you learn how to enjoy the journey wet. When you must move quickly but don’t want to, learn how to enjoy the journey at a faster pace. I believe that learning to enjoy the journey of life, to embrace trials and tribulations and poke them in the face (like the Spaniard bushes) is the best way to learn and grow and have a good life. It may not always be a happy life but learning to push on through the hard parts will make you stronger next time around.

Now that I have bush wacked, surfed, kayaked, and rock climbed I feel like I can do anything. Thanks to John Kappa and all the Adventure Southland boys for teaching me to enjoy the journey and allowing me figure out for myself that it actually works.

Culture At Its Finest

Saturday all of the BYU students put on a Hangi and an Umu for the Branch and all of our Homestay families. It was one of my favorite experiences. I felt for the first time that I was actually able to dive into the native New Zealand and other Pacific Island cultures. The Hangi is the way that Maori people cook their meat and vegetables. They dig a large pit in the ground and fill it with wood and iron pieces. They heat all that stuff for a few hours and then place the pig and other vegetables on top and fill the pit up again. It becomes a huge underground oven. It takes about 4 hours to cook and the meat tastes really smoky and good. The Umu is the Samoan way of cooking the meat and vegetables. It’s essentially the same thing only it is done above ground on hot rocks and then covered with wet newspaper. We had some Maori and Samoan people from the branch helping us know what to do. Traditionally the men kill the pig, gut the pig and prepare the fire while the women cut vegetables, make stuffing and steamed pudding.

It was supposed to rain all day Saturday which would have really slowed the cooking process down. Our friend Brother Nau Nau asked us to pray that it would at least not rain until after they heated up the rocks and wood. So we did and lo and behold our Heavenly Father blessed us with much more than we asked. It was such a beautiful hot, sunny day right up until we pulled the meat out of the pit and the umu. God hears and answers prayers. I think it was Brother Nau Nau’s unwavering faith, but he thinks it was ours.

There was an awesome variety show for people to enjoy as they ate the food. My favorite part was the Maori and Samoan singing and dancing that the natives did. It was inspiring and filled my heart with so much love for the people and their culture. I actually got to learn a poi dance (with a poi ball that I made) and performed it with some of the other girls from the program.
It was only kind of hard to eat the pork after watching the gutting process in the morning. I have a lot of really nasty intestine pictures if anyone wants them.

I AM PECULIAR (this is a permanent post. If you have already read it, scroll down to see my latest)

Those of you who read my blog could probably make a list of all the reasons that you think I am a bit peculiar. No worries, I would be the first to shout an amen to everything you could think of. I know I’m peculiar; but let me tell you the number one thing on my list that I think makes me a peculiar person.

I know where I come from, why I am here and where I am going. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some of you will know me as a “Mormon” although that is just a nickname. The word ‘Saint’ just means ‘member’ in this context. I believe in God the Eternal Father, that I am a daughter of God, and that He loves me and wants me to be happy. I believe in my Savior Jesus Christ who lived a perfect life, atoned for my sins, died and was resurrected all that I might enjoy the blessing of being forgiven of my sins, and having my body and spirit reunited after death. I know that just as God called prophets in the Old and New Testament times that He has in fact called a prophet to lead and guide us today. I believe that families can live together for eternity; death does not have to be the end of our relationships with the ones we love. Some of you may wonder how on earth I can know these things. As I learn more and more from the Bible and other scriptures and actually live what I learn I see the promises the Lord has made being fulfilled in my life, and I feel the Holy Spirit bear witness that these things are true.

I know, I’m peculiar, but thankfully there are over 13 million other peculiar members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and with each year that number grows. I feel so much joy and happiness in my life because of this knowledge. If you want to know more depth about anything I have said that makes me peculiar, visit This website explains in detail much of what I have just professed to believe and more.