Friday, November 15, 2013

JAS Conferencia- Taxco

So, there was a YSA conference down here for the states of Morelos and Guerrero. I couldn't go on Thursday when it began, but drove down with some friends for Friday and Saturday. We went to the "Magic Town" as it is called here, and it was beautiful!

Sadly, I let others take most of the pics, so I'll never see them again but here's what I caught on my camera :)

Drivin into the city
 On a "death march" through the city to get to a venue at the top of a mountain where we would be locked inside and not permitted to leave...
 The gorgeous view from our beautiful hotel room
 That same view up close
 Dinner in the hotel with some gorgeous ladies, Diana, Karen, y Maicol
 And finally the view from the hotel in the daylight

Pumpkin Carving

 Taping the very important guide (who carves a pumpkin free-hand?? We're not creative like that!)
The surgeon carefully at work
Aaaaaand, the final product. It was super moldy within two days. It's a kind of mold I'd never seen before. It was like a spiderweb, but 1,000,000 times as thick. I know you really wanted to know that; it's amazing the things you learn living in a new country/climate

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Home; a post from 4/12

Okay guys, I just found this in my drafts, and I've been wondering why I didn't post it in April of 2012 when I wrote it, but it's probably because it's sappy and cheesy. But who cares, I wrote it, and now I'm posting it. So there. And at the end let's just add Mexico into the whole mix of confusion because I am sure as heck confused about how I feel about my current home.



What is home?  There seem to be so many places that I call by that name.  So many people who feel like that place.

I got to go home; to where I'm from.  Where I grew up, went to school, had friends, lived with my family, went on my first dates, ate Sunday dinners for 20+ years.  While there, I got to sleep in my bed, in my room, with my blue walls that Mom and I painted together.  I got to eat in my kitchen, walk around my yard, pet my dog, and sit downstairs while my mom sewed in her sewing room.  Things I've done forever.  I called old friends and went on play dates.  I shopped, I chatted, I gossiped, I visited, I ate, and I missed those friends even more for having spent a little time with them. 

We talked about where I live.  Where I cook my own food, clean my own house, go to church, grocery shop, make friends, spend my days, go to school, cash my paycheck, spend my nights, pay my rent, and act like a grownup.  Where people don't know me by my family name.   Sometimes, when we talk about where I live, I say, "my home."  Sometimes, when I think of where I fit, and where I belong, where I live is my home.

So after the chatting and the familiarity of being home, I left again, headed for San Francisco.

While I was at the airport, a woman asked me where I was from.  I got so confused.  You see, I am FROM my hometown.  But I'm also FROM where I live.  But to throw another wrench in the wheel, I feel like I'm FROM the Bay.  You see, that is where I first left home. That is where I served, and loved, and ate and walked and, again, loved and knocked on doors and took people on tours and loved some more.  That is where I learned who I was, who others were.  That is where I taught and listened and spoke Spanish.  And did I mention that is where I loved?

So, standing at the airport, about to go on a vacation from my vacation, I was utterly confused by the concept of home.  I wanted to sit the woman down and say, "Well, you see, my home is in Utah where I go to school, because that's where I live, that's where all of my everyday friends are, and that's where I work and study. But see, I've been in Arizona this week, and that's my home.  It's where I grew up, learned to ride a bike, and where I go to feel the ultimate in familiarity.  I know everyone, and if they don't know me, they know me through my family.  That's home.  But now, we're headed to California, and well, that's my home too.  See, I served my mission there.  That's where I was the best me that I've ever been.  And that is a place that I go, and I just feel peaceful.  I could spend everyday under the gray skies of the Bay area, and feel like I was home.  There're some days when if feels like the ocean breeze of Puerto Penasco; where I spent my childhood summers playing on the beach; and that makes it even more like home.  So where am I from?  Well, I'm from so many places, and people.  I'm from their works, their actions, my teachers and their examples, I'm from my friends and my family, my enemies and their posse, I'm from my work and my play, my tears and my laughter.  And I call it all, home."

TESOL and Tipsy Trips

Guys! I probably already told you, but along with one of my thesis advisors, I got accepted to present the methods of my thesis at a Pre-Convention Institute at TESOL 2014; an extra class that people pay to go to the day before the main conference starts. I am so stoked to go and it will be a great opportunity to learn more at the conference and to have an official presentation on my resumé. So excited!!!!

However, there were some issues with my administration in getting permission to leave school for a week. Great news---- I got permission today! So now to budget well enough to be able to go... ...

The deal is, in return I have to go with the Senior class on their senior trip for 10 days in May. At first I was like-- Awesome! A 10 day vacation with a bunch of 18 year olds! And then I was like-- A vacation with a bunch of 18 year olds in a country where the legal drinking age is 18, and the school couldn't care less about students getting wasted on a school trip. So it should be an adventure... haha

I'm still hoping it will be a good opportunity to get to know a new part of Mexico (the students are thinking Cancun...) and that it will still be a little educational :)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

VISITORS!!! Mom and Dad

You guys! Mom and Dad came to visit me! And helped me shop for my darling furniture, and took me out to celebrate the graduation ceremony that I missed to come take this job, and listened to General Conference with me! Overall it was a busy and fun weekend to have them here, and I am so grateful they came!!!!


Some blurry candids... sorry I'm not the greatest photog... 

Followed by Pop and I at dinner, I'm a cheeseball.
Our view from the pizza place in the City Center 
Emiliano Zapata. On a horse. In the middle of a round-about. And Mom said I couldn't get a good picture of the horse as we zipped on by down the road!
 Mom and Pop and an amazing middle eastern and french restaurant: Tumuz

 Blurry, but there's Dad! Always looking up!

Mi casa es su casa!

First of all, when I moved to Mexico, a colleague let me stay in her spare bedroom, and this was the gorgeous view from my bedroom window at her house...

Okay, so I moved in to MY place on September 1st, and Mom and Dad helped me shop for furniture when they came in the beginning of October and I'm just getting around to posting the pics of my darling place... 

First of all, my cute neighborhood (condominium complex). The walkway from the gated parking lot to the garden area.
 The garden/pool area
 Then this is the view from my front door...
 Now for the inside! We'll start upstairs:
 Here's my bedroom (before I set up camp)
And here's the second bedroom upstairs, equally purple, and now beautifully filled by my sweet roommate, Claudia.


The grand Master bath (and the only full bath, there's a half bath under the stairs ;)
Then downstairs we have:

Now for the before and afters:

Of the living room....







...and still the living room, but including the dining room... ;)




Now for the kitchen!
Why yes, that IS a six burner stove!

Then we have our covered patio/washroom:

And the backyard courtyard 

And FINALLY, the most important room of the house... YOUR ROOM!!! Don't worry... there's an air mattress in there now :)  So come visit any time you like!

Vroom Vroom!

I got a car!  This darling blue car a couple weeks ago. I'm loving the freedom that this cutie car gives me. Renault Clio Sport... Don't have many of those in the states :)




ps... don't tell Gabe I called his car darling and cutie...  :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I like cheese.

So I realize that I'm very behind on the blog-- a whole month! But catching up is not something I'm going to play at today... Maybe another time.

So, I was surfing the book, and I read like the fourth post about someone from high school's seventh anniversary, and like the millionth about someone's pregnancy... this week.  As a response, I felt very guided to post the following: "Everyone's having their 7th anniversary or 2nd child and I'm over here like, 'guys. I really like cheese."  But my actual posting was slightly different, and upon writing it, it was really a wake up call to how completely awesome my life is. Not because someone posted how awesome I am, or because I was fishing for support or compliments... I just think I'm funny. But because I thought about all I have accomplished in the last 7 years. It would have been wonderful to get married at 20 (yes I'm that old) and be building a family life for the last seven years, but I have been so incredibly blessed in other ways during this time of life. I won't list everything I've been able to do, because I don't want to brag.

Okay. I'll brag a little bit.
So I have this supervisor, right? and he's German, okay? and I was initially terrified of him because he was very serious, ya know?

Well, he came and observed two of my classes this week, and was supposed to observe a third. After the second class he came to me and said, "I'm not going to observe the third class. These two classes have been like a video straight out of 'The Book of How to Teach.' They were everything you would ever want to see in a classroom. So I won't impose on your classtime any further."

That's right ladies and gents. My classes were straight up beautiful. "Everything you want to see in a classroom."

So no. I'm not married and I like cheese. But you know what? I'm doing okay for myself. Which I knew, but I wanted to remind you in case you'd forgotten I'm awesome :)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Some blessings come soon, some come late... but... they come.

So, about two months ago I attended a Sacrament meeting where President and Sister Greer from the Highland Stake reported on their time serving as mission presidents. While in that meeting, I just kept feeling: that is where you're supposed to be Brittney. You are a missionary, and you are meant to be in the field.

Now, for those of you who don't know, once a young woman serves a mission for the LDS church, it is highly encouraged that she return home and find a spouse. It is very uncommon for sisters (or anyone, for that matter) to be asked or allowed to serve a second full-time mission.

Knowing this, I felt confused, and even a little taunted or hurt by my desires and feelings that I should be serving a full-time mission. I felt that perhaps the Lord was telling me, yes, that may have been one of the best experiences of your life up til now, and it would definitely be good for you to do it again, so I'll just remind you that you want to, but I won't let you have it. I was slightly pained...

Anyway, fastforward to making a crazy last minute decision to move to a new country for a job I know nothing about, having a rough second week here, then being pulled aside yesterday (or whenever Sunday was) by a member of the bishopric. Here is where the story resumes.

So he mentioned that for some reason the Lord is not currently blessing the ward with full-time missionaries, and so as a ward they are trying to gain His trust by building up the ward mission work. He asked me to serve as a ward missionary, stating that he would like me to work with my companion (a young sister who is preparing for her full-time mission) as much like a full-time missionary as my life and schedule would allow. We will be having two "district meetings" per month with the ward mission program, and she and I will be working hand in hand to unify some of our part-member families in the ward.

He said, "We feel like we prayed you here, and as an ex-missionary, you are the blessing we have been hoping for. This will be your second mission."  Those, my dear friends, were his exact words. And in that moment I knew that the Lord was not taunting me, but foretelling of things to come in my life that would bring me even more happiness.

The Lord loves us, and blessings come. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1999/10/an-high-priest-of-good-things-to-come?lang=eng

In a post-note, my darling sister Kelly had her beautiful baby Rosie this morning. I am so grateful for technology that let me see her beautiful little face. I wish I could be there to hold her but I send all my love.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mormonism

So... my students don't know I'm LDS (Mormon).

Today they're doing research in class about different cultures' ideas about death, ceremony, and the afterlife (this was somewhat inspired by my recent conversation with Aunt Susan about a "Celebration of Life" ceremony that one of her friends had for their son) Anyway...

Two of my students were arguing about something and so they decided to bring it to me to solve the problem. One student, F., said, "what's it called when people have a lot of wives?..... Mormonism?"

Oh dear.