Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Priceless...

I know I know, "two posts in one day" you ask? What could possibly be the cause of such irregularity? It could just be that I love my nieces and nephews so much that I have to post about how great they are. It could also be that I'm avoiding writing my paper.

I choose 90% the former and 10% the latter.


So this post is in honor of my niece, Miss Mia Bell. It was Mia's birthday last Wednesday and she is now a whoppin 3 years old! In her honor I have posted one of my favorite videos of all time. Keep in mind that this is about six months old, but I love it so much that I still play it whenever I need to smile, even if I'm all alone. Works every time.


So without further ado....

video

Again I say,

priceless.

You Were Right....

...it totally would have been worth it.


Have you ever seen a hot dog look so good? I submit that you have not. Since posting these very pictures on their blog, Isaac and Kelsie have been informed that they are required to bring the hot dog costume to Thanksgiving Dinner. (Thanks for letting me steal these from you)

Mmmm....

I can't wait to see them and this little heartbreaker


Only two more weeks!




Monday, October 26, 2009

Would you rather...



pay $120 for a last-minute plane ticket to Vegas to spend Halloween weekend with (almost) the whole fam, including the niece you've never met dressed up as a hot dog......


OR

stay home, keep your $120 but be baby-hot-dog-less?




Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thank you Bobbi.

Life is busy.

So busy that it is too easy to get caught up in everything you have to do, the errands you have to run, the papers you have to write, the books you have to read, the events you have to plan, the phonecalls you have to make. Any day can turn to madness as we scramble around trying to get it all done. Even if we have good intentions of serving those around us, sometimes that all gets lost in the chaos of "I HAVE SO MUCH TO DO!" I know I've been guilty of thinking only of myself. Sometimes you just allow yourself get to that point. And then, you meet someone like Bobbi Redick.

6 months ago, when I decided to become a teacher, I had just finished my fourth year of college. Yep, right about that time when most people decide to graduate, I decide to change my major. Smart, eh? It had been a rough road trying to decide what to do with my life, but after two years of considering this switch, something clicked and I FINALLY felt so calm about it. It just felt like the perfect fit, that feeling I'd been waiting for. So I went confidently to the education office and met with a counselor, Bobbi Redick, to make the switch. To my utter dismay, I discovered that you can't change to a teaching major if you have too many credit hours. Seeing as how I had finished what most people consider an entire college career, I WAY surpassed the maximum number of credits. Horrible news! This meant I was stuck. I had finally found my future and knew it was my real passion and knew it was what I REALLY wanted to do and I was stuck! Super bummed doesn't even begin to describe how I felt. Bobbi seemed genuinely sorry for me but said that was just the policy and she sent me on my way. Huge bummer. What do I do now?

The next day I got a phonecall from Bobbi asking me to come into her office ASAP. I jumped in my car and cruised to Provo. When I got there, I discovered that Bobbi, unbeknownst to me, had spent HOURS after I left her office the day before making phonecalls trying to figure out a way to help me become a teacher. She tried to find any loophole in this system she could and even discussed my situation in detail with the head of the History Teaching department. This woman meets with dozens of kids per day. She has piles and piles of paperwork to fill out. She has tons to worry about. And she had spent hours doing something that she did not have to do, just so that I, a complete stranger to her, could get into the major I wanted. And she did it. She found a way. Because of her, they let me change.

Since then I have applied and officially been accepted into the teaching program. I also observed a Jr. High history class and felt the confirmation over and over again that this is what I'm supposed to do. I'm on my way. And it's all because of her.

I thanked her over and over again that day for what she did for me. And her only answer was, "Don't thank me, thank the angels. They're the ones that made it possible." The truth is, I don't know if angel can be defined any better than someone like her.

I always meant to send Bobbi flowers to show her how much I appreciated what she'd done, but I never did. When I came back to school this fall, I went into the education office to see her and personally thank her again. However, when I asked for her, I was told she had passed away in a motorcycle accident a few weeks before. In shock, I went home that day and looked up her obituary online. Underneath it were dozens of comments given by family members, friends, and complete strangers like me. Every single one shared how Bobbi had gone the extra mile for them. She was one of those people that gave all she had to people around her, even strangers, and expected nothing in return. A real unsung hero.

This post is in honor of her and of people all around us who are just like her. And in the hope that we can all bring out the "bobbi" in ourselves. I hope to one day be that kind of person, that kind of friend, that kind of sister, that kind of stranger, to someone else.

So thanks Bobbi.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Romania, land that I love...



I did it! I FINALLY put pictures up on facebook of the trip my parents and I took back to Romania in May just after I got home from Jerusalem. We met up with Brianna (my MTC companion) and her friend Hillary. I know that a facebook album is not the blog post I promised, but it's the next best thing, and way easier in my opinion. I've never done this "create a link" thing on my blog before but I'm gonna try it out and see if it works. If you would like to see pictures from the trip, click here. I think you have to have a facebook account to look at them though.

Anyways, it was the perfect trip. I kept waiting for something to go terribly wrong, but it never did. We saw so many people I wanted to see and visited so many places my parents wanted to see. Everyone was happy. I have no idea how it all worked out but I'm glad it did!

Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A little girl growin' up

Disclaimer: For anyone who reads this and doesn't know what on earth it is, I apologize. School project.
The Softball

The softball is a symbol of my family. I am the youngest of five kids and every single one of us grew up watching my dad play softball and, at varying ages, being coached by him in the sport. Starting from when I was a little girl up through high school graduation, I played the game for competition. After high school however, it was still a passion for each of us so we continued to play. Every summer all five kids and all their spouses (as long as they are residing in Utah) play together on a co-ed slow-pitch team, coached by my dad. And every single game, my mom cheers us on from the stands as she tends the grandkids. It's become a family event that no one ever misses. No matter what else everyone has going on during the week, everyone makes it to the family softball game. This is the symbol of quality time spent together doing something we all love. It's also a symbol of the huge role my family plays in my life.
The Graduation Cap
The graduation cap is a symbol of the importance of education in my home. Both of my parents always said that one of their greatest regrets was that they never went beyond a high school diploma in their education. As we grew up, they taught us how crucial a college education was and showed us the possibilities it would open up for us in our futures. It was always assumed that each of us would graduate from college. The first four have completed that task and I am the last, bringing up the rear. My education is very important to me, especially as it means so much more than classroom knowledge. I have been able to learn life lessons through my college experiences and hope to continue to do so until graduation day in April 2011 when I'll leave the world of the student to enter the world of the teacher.

The Pyramids



The pyramids are a symbol of adventure. I've always felt that life is meant to be lived fully. We should take advantage of every chance we get to experience things we never have before, even if it requires a little bit of work. In my opinion, adventures are waiting around every corner. It's only when we get stuck in the mundane routine of every day life that we miss them. I've been stuck in the mundane before, until I realized that life gets so much more exciting with each new experience I had. It's a gift and I have to remind myself often to treat it that way.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Back in the Act

Well, it seems that I only update this thing every few months. Not too much going down on the homefront. I got home from Washington FINALLY and have been livin the life ever since. I got to spend a week in Lake Powell with 20 of my best friends, a weekend in St. George for a family girls' weekend (Marci reunion, high-browed Sawyer smiles, swimming, hiking, musicals, squeaky cheese, what more could a girl ask for?) and now I'm back in Provo for another semester (Only four more to go!). Since I don't have a camera I don't have any documentation of either trip. But I'm fairly certain I saw a lot of flashing camera lights so someone has pictures. When I get them, I will share them with you. This, along with many other missed opportunities that I'll never get back, has led me to a new conclusion:

I need to buy a camera.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Quote of the Day

Today's quote of the day is attributed to my brother Isaac. While talking about the happy, happy fact that my last child-less sibling, Nick, is now a soon-to-be-father, Isaac felt it necessary to remind me that I am the last Trujillo without offspring. These were his words of wisdom:

"Now not only do you have to find a mate, but you have TO mate!"

Thanks Isaac.

Friday, June 12, 2009

There are days...

There are days when I'm sitting in my car in 97 degree heat, parked up against a tiny tree, trying to squeeze the last bit of shade from it, taking a few minutes out of my LONG 10 hour day to eat my lunch, yet another turkey sandwich on wheat. With no working AC in good ol' Gladice (my trusty teal Ford Escort), I roll down the windows but find no relief from the blazing hot elements. I've just been shut down by my 10th person in a row in a somewhat unkind manner before I even had the chance to say "Living Scriptures." I also drove past a dead skunk on the road and the smell is still lingering in my car. I haven't made a sale all day, and I ask myself why I decided to take this job in the first place...

and then....

There are days like today!! On days like today I remember why I love this job so much. And just so you know, it's not just because of the money. Granted, there are days I make a significant amount, but today I only sold a half a set (meaning in 10 hours I made a whoppin $25. That's worse pay than I got workin at the snoshack when I was 13). But no no no, the reason I love this job is because I come in contact with awesome people every day. You know, those unsung hero types. Every-day people who don't get a lot of recognition for what they do or have done. And people that recognize the hand of the Lord in the details of their lives every day.

Like the woman with a four-year-old adopted son with autism who has sacrificed an incredible amount in order to help her son and other kids in the community and their families. She says that if anybody ever talks about kids with autism as being a burden, she gets angry because through her son, she has been able to see the hand of the Lord and she insists that "he is the best thing that's ever happened to this family."

Or the single mom who is a convert to the church. After being in a really dark place for a long time, she had to overcome huge obstacles from her past and leave huge pieces of herself behind in order to turn her life around five years ago, but she did it. And she's never looked back.

Or the young dad with arms and legs covered in tattoos living in a trailer park who is ready and willing to give up anything for his two kids, and has been called to do it before.

Or the parents of seven girls living in a small home who use every opportunity possible to teach their kids what it means to follow Christ.

And the list goes on and on. Every day I get to meet these people. They let me into their homes and I get to catch a glimpse of their lives and what a difference they have made to those around them. I am constantly amazed at what I see and hear. And what I admire most about them lies so much more in the things they don't say than in the things that they do. I get to see the people that they are and their interactions with their families and how much goodness they emanate from themselves. I learn so much about the person that I want to be from them.

It's days like today that I remember why I love my job.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

And She's Back (at 3 am nonetheless!)

Hey!
You gotta love jetlag and being bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 3:00 in the morning! I just got back earlier today from Romania and since this is the fourth major time change this poor body of mine has undergone in two weeks, it's wondering what the heck is going on. So since I have the time and am lacking the inclination to sleep, I thought I may as well sit down and have a little time with you, my dear blog.

I know I've been a little MIA from the blogging aspect of my life since about a month ago, but the truth is, I can't say I really regret it. I finished up my last few weeks in Jerusalem with my focus in the right place, soaking up every last bit I could get from it. Then I was home enjoying being with my family for a few days. And then it was off to Romania for 10 days to go back and visit and introduce my parents to that beautiful land (more detailed blogging of this trip will be coming soon. Hopefully tomorrow but no promises...). Everything has been FANTASTIC! I got back earlier today and now I have just two more days here before I pack up and leave for Washington for the rest of the summer to do summer sales. It's going to be crazy intense but hopefully worth it! The truth is I'm actually excited for it. Is that weird? Let's just hope I still have that excitement in a few weeks!

Well I've decided that I still have to document Jerusalem so here's my plan. This summer I'll probably have little to blog about (10 hours a day, 6 days a week doing the same thing) so my plan is to make Jerusalem blogging my summer project. (Along with any other funny anecdotes that happen to me in my every day life over the next few months). Dealio? Excelente

Well, sometime in the next few days, the story of epic Romania will be comin atcha so stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Weasel Post

Weasel Post = Lame post. Okay Okay, I know you must be bored with my blogging. I'M bored with my blogging. There's just too stinkin' much going on around here to keep up with blogging about it! We have had a crazy few weeks, complete with Galilee and all its wonders (the beauty and feeling of this place alone would take an eternity to blog about), Easter week (starting with the best Palm Sunday I've ever had), floating in the Dead Sea, covering myself in stinky black mud at the Dead Sea, visiting some awesome Herodian sights, performing in a talent show, meeting some great Filipinos, going on adventures through old churches, celebrating Passover, making memories and so much more! As soon as I have time I'll tell you all about it, but that may not be until I get home (life's pretty crazy here for the next week). Would that be weird to still blog about jerusalem even after I've left? You let me know if you still want to hear about any of it. (Pretty much this applies to those of you that I won't be seeing in the few days I'm going to be home, because I'm sure I won't be shutting my mouth for those few days at all).

Wow. I can't believe that we really only have about a week left! It's so hard to think about leaving this place. I know I'm going to miss it so much. This week is going to be the ultimate way to end it though. We're studying the final week of the Savior's life and our field trips will take us to where he went in those last few days. It's definitely gonna be an experience!

Well, I better go for now. I have to go read and study for a final we have tomorrow. Much love!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Day in the Life....

...of someone who lived a long long time ago.

Today we had an awesome field trip and got to do some pretty fun stuff. It was really neat. We went to a biblical lands center. (I forgot the name of it-memory of a goldfish). We got to do all sorts of things people did in bible times, including.....
Drawing water from a well

Leading our beloved sheep (Stef, Anne, and Me)



Grinding Spice
(Me, Shamra, and Christine killin
the oregano)

Playing with Fig Trees

and Reading from the Torah (okay, maybe not biblical, but still cool. Every single letter of every Torah scroll is handwritten and can't have a single mistake. It's crazy, they have "Torah Writing School" and we got to meet an official Torah scribe!)


Cool Fact of the Day!! When we were drawing water from the well our guide talked to us about the story of Rebekah and I gained some awesome insight into how amazing of a woman she actually was. Quick recap: When Abraham's servant goes to Haran to find a wife for Isaac, he comes to the well after traveling a very long way. He's incredibly thirsty as well as his 10 camels (who haven't drinken for weeks probably). He decides he'll be able to find a wife for Isaac by testing the next woman that comes to get water from the well. Rebekah comes to the well, and the servant asks if she can get him some water. She doesn't even hesitate to jump to his service, but what's more, she offers to give water to each of his camels. Now, I personally always thought that was cool of her, but never really thought about it much more than that. Turns out that one dip of the bucket down the well brings up about 5 quarts. Well, each of the camels, after such a long journey, would have drinken about 150 quarts. The servant had 10 camels. If you do the math, that means that Rebekah voluntarily retrieved water from the well about 300 times for Abraham's servant. 300 TIMES!! And that thing is not light, I'll tell you that much. She probably would have spent a good couple of hours getting water for this man and his camels, and there's no way that's an easy task. It had to have exhausted her physically. But she did it willingly! For a complete stranger! Seriously, what a woman. How often do we take the time to do stuff like that for someone else? Let alone for a complete stranger? I was blown away by the whole thing. Isaac got himself a gem.

The day was awesome! And now, for your viewing pleasure (congratulations on reaching the end of this rather long post):

The stache (sp?) I saw today in the Old City. You can't see its full glory very well in this picture, but MAN! It was incredible. It reminded me of you, Dad!

Well, that's it for now! We're leaving in just a few short hours for Galilee! It's gonna be so great, I'm so excited. The majority of Christ's ministry was spent in Galilee so we'll be seeing most of the locations of events in the New Testament. How could that not be exciting?! We'll be in there for about a week and a half, but I'm taking my computer so we'll see if I can update you while we're there. No promises though...Lata!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Relief

Today is SUCH A FANTASTIC DAY!! Do you want to know why? It's not because we saw any big sites today. I didn't make any life-changing decisions. But oh what a glorious day it is! Today, we finished the second final of our two most difficult classes! Oh what a beautiful thing! Now the only classes we have left are New Testament and Ancient Near Eastern Studies (which are two of my favorite classes) and we don't even have anything stressful in them before we leave for Galilee!!! (in THREE days!) This feeling is so exhilarating, it's coming dangerously close to the relief you feel after your last final of the semester.


Me and Val with our cute Islam professor Dr. Musallam right after the final. Love his grin, he's the greatest.



We're done!!! Those big fat smiles are genuine.

After the test, we felt the need to go get some candy (to add some sugar to our natural high) and on the way back we found these young boys with these adorable puppies (picture to come soon). That was maybe the best part of the day. I probably even got fleas from them (knowing me and my irresistable blood) but I don't even care, I fell in love.



The whole rest of the night, the JC went mad with energy. The night was maybe topped off by my buddy Shelby practicing his doorstep scene with various JC girls, and a crowd of 20 watching and critiquing each attempt. It was quite a sight. Only BYU students, I tell you what. We sure are somethin! Seriously hilarious. What a day!!!

P.S. I was very excited while reading this but now, going back and reading this entry, I've realized that while it's very exciting that a few of our hard classes are over, it is also a shot through the heart. I never want this program to end and this is a very big sign that the end is coming :(. I have a mission to make the most of these next few weeks!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

O Little Town of.....

BETHLEHEM!
Okay, I know I'm behind on showing you everything from Jordan, but today was such an awesome day! I'll catch up on Jordan after. So today we spent the whole day in Bethlehem, which isn't too far away but happens to be located in the West Bank, so it takes our teachers some preparation to get us there (don't fret, we were safe). Here are some fun highlights from the day:

We went to Bethlehem University and got to meet and talk with the students there. Since Bethlehem is in the West Bank (Palestinian territory), the students are 70% Muslim and 30% Christian. We had a panel of a few of the students and we got to ask them just about anything. It was SO interesting to be able to ask about their everyday lives, and how the conflict has affected them personally. It's definitely a different life than the one I have known.


One of my new friends

We also met up with our Islam professor, Dr. Musallam, who is from there, so he took us on a tour of his hometown. He is such a good man and I really respect him.

And of course, what would a city be without a falafel stand...?



The street vendor making my favorite food: Falafel!!

We went to the Church of the Nativity, which is believed to be the place where Christ was born. I guess with all the research on the area, it makes a lot of sense. It is the highest point in Bethlehem. That was really cool.



Me and Lex where the star on the floor indicates the very spot believed to be the birthplace of the Savior.

At the church, we learned something really cool. You know that verse in the New Testament when Christ says, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God"? (Matt. 19:24). I always thought that referred to an actual eye of a needle. Apparently, it refers to a type of door made in Jesus' time. It was a short, half-sized door big enough for people to get through but small enough that it would be easy enough to block up in case of an attack. I guess people would bring their camels through that door, but the camel would have to kneel down and scoot through as its owner coaxed it all the way through. So the Savior wasn't saying it's impossible for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. He was saying that it is much more difficult and requires extra effort. Cool, yeah? I thought so too.




Us going through the door of the eye of the needle

At the end of the trip, we went out to Shepherds' Fields. There, in the vicinity of where it is believed that the angel came to the shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus Christ, we talked about the birth of the Savior and the people that each played a significant part in it. It was dark by this point, and a little cold. Brother Wilson pointed out that we're only about 2 weeks away from the actual time of year that the Savior was born, so this is probably what the weather was really like. It was quite the experience to sit there and imagine what had happened in that field or closeby, and the feelings that must have been felt there. It was the perfect way to end the day. The only problem is now I'm in the Christmas mood! Only....9 more months!




Sunday, March 1, 2009

Off to Jordan!

Just wanted to let you know I'm going to be gone on a field trip for four days! Hopefully I'll be more on the ball about filling you in when I get back. We're going to Jordan and Petra!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Egypt Finale, and what a finale it was...

Well, it's only taken me about a month to document a seven day trip, but I hope you guys have had a little taste of what Egypt was like and how awesome the experience was of being there. Our final day could not have been better because of the one activity we did that day, hiking Mount Sinai at sunrise.

We woke up at 2:00 am, pretty tired and all of us just hoping that this would be worth it. The way up the mountain was actually really tough, I think in large part because of the cold. It was pitch black and freezing! We couldn't see anything around us. We each had our headlamps on but we were surrounded by black on all sides. Moses must have been some guy, climbing that mountain so many times at his age! I was hoping the temperature would get better but we hiked for a few hours and the higher we went, the colder it got. But whenever I would take my eyes off of the dark path and look up, it made it easier to forget about the cold. I don't think I have ever seen such a beautiful starry sky in my life. It was so clear up there. The entire sky was covered in stars, more than I've ever seen. It was pretty breathtaking. Before we started, one of our teachers mentioned when the Lord said, "Worlds without number have I created." Seeing the stars that night really made that come alive.

When we got to the top, it was still pitch black, and once we stopped moving, it got even colder. We all bundled up and cuddled close to try to stay warm.


Cuddle buddies!!!

We waited up there for probably 45 minutes or so before the sun started to come up, and then this is what we saw:


The sun starting to peak through



And then we looked around and saw the view that surrounded us. To think that this is where Moses was when he talked with God and received the Ten Commandments was a pretty overwhelming thought. It was so strange to think that this incredible view was there the entire time and we just couldn't see it. On the way up, I had no idea how beautiful the mountains surrounding me were.



I guess it just goes to show, we see so little of the big picture. As good and beautiful as the life we know is, there really is so much more to it than our own limited understanding can comprehend. And one day, we'll finally have the whole view, and all of it, the good and the bad, will come together and for the first time we'll really see.


It really was such a neat experience and I'm so grateful for it. Egypt altogether was a phenomenal adventure, and I loved the whole thing! And I especially love that I've finished the blogging of it, so sorry it took so long. I'm sure I'll have so much more to tell you and show you when I get home, so be prepared!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Egypt Chronicles: Day 7


Okay, this one's going to be short. I'm almost to the end of Egypt! Making progress I am! (haha, that sounded like someone familiar. maybe Yoda. or Eliza Doolittle).


After my 13 hour sleep, I was all set to be healthy for..........a really long drive. Thank heavens I didn't get sick on that day! I will be forever grateful. On Day 7 we left Cairo and drove and drove and drove. The drive itself was beautiful though. (The above is another shot by the artistic Richelle taken from the bus I believe. She has more artistic ability in her pinkie than I do in my whole body. And I recognize that. And that is why I steal pictures from her!


The bus got a little crazy with some insane games of truth or dare, but we finally made it the Morgenland Hotel at the base of Mt. Sinai. And that wonderful place is where I will pick up next time.

The Egypt Chronicles: Day 6

After spending the night on the train, needless to say, we were all a little groggy and exhausted. We went straight to our hotel, where we ate breakfast and then held our own Sacrament Meeting. It was really neat. Kind of weird that it was on a Friday, but in all honesty, since we've had the Sabbath on Saturdays in Jerusalem, it wasn't all that different to get used to. The Sabbath is the Sabbath.

We had just a little bit of time before we left for the Egyptian Museum. I have to say, this was one of my favorite parts of the trip. There was SO much to see in this museum, ancient coffins, statues of the ancient rulers, ancient papyri, ancient everything. There was too much to even really say briefly in a blog posting, so I'll just say a couple of the interesting things we saw:
  1. The treasures found in the tomb of King Tutankhamen or "King Tut". Most people know King Tut as the ruler who was just a boy when he died (He was technically around 18). He actually didn't really stand out much in history. The main reason that he is so famous today is because almost all the tombs of the ancient pharaohs were robbed by grave-robbers who took everything. However, Tutankhamen's tomb was somehow never found by them, and remained undiscovered until the mid-1900's when it was found by an archaeologist. Everything that was originally placed in the tomb was recovered and put in the Egyptian museum. It was incredible to see the riches and artifacts they'd found there.

This was taken a few days earlier, when we were at the Valley of the Kings (burial place of the ancient Egyptian kings). Me and Richelle outside the actual tomb of "King Tut"

2. The mummy room. Wow. Have you ever seen a real mummy? If not, I suggest you find a way to do it. It is a crazy experience! We had to pay extra to enter this special room in the museum, but it was well worth it. This room contained the mummified bodies of at least a dozen ancient rulers, one of which was Rameses II who is believed to be the Pharaoh during the exodus when Moses delivered the Hebrews from captivity in Egypt. I looked at the body of the man who very likely spoke face to face with Moses. So crazy. Their heads and upper bodies were all unwrapped for us to see, and was it ever a sight to see! I can't believe that after 4,000 years, those bodies are still here, and still look like that! Some of them even still had hair! Sorry I don't have any pictures. Cameras weren't allowed in the museum, for obvious reasons. But man, it was amazing.

For lunch, we went to Hard Rock Cafe, Cairo edition! The best thing about Hard Rock is that this was honestly the sign on the bathroom door:

"No drugs or nuclear weapons allowed." What do you say to that?

After lunch, we went to the Muhammad Ali Mosque, which was beautiful (as shown below). It's a mosque Muhammad built himself to house his tomb.


Sorry there aren't a whole lot of pictures from this day. I wasn't "all there" health-wise so I wasn't really into doing the picture thing that day. I was a little out-of-it. In fact, after getting back from the mosque, I went straight to bed and slept 13 hours!! Kind of a boring night, but it paid off big time. I was ready for Day 7!

One more shout-out to Luxor

I forgot a couple things about Luxor.

First were my new best friends. These guys were the bomb. They were very desert sheik-ish and they sat outside our hotel and played their rockin instruments in a very Egyptian way (so it seemed to me). They even came into the hotel's restaurant once to sing Happy Birthday to one of our girls. They were hilarious!
Second, the Egyptian Bazaar. How does one explain it? Basically, these shop-keepers (most of which are young men) will do almost anything to get you to buy something from them. Seriously. I can't tell you how many times I heard them try to flirt with the girls to bring them into their shop. Here are a couple of their gems:
  • "Excuse me, you drop something.....my heart."
  • "You eyes are beautiful like a cow's" (Believe it or not, this is actually a compliment in Egypt. Apparently cows have really beautiful eyes. I guess I need to take a closer look next time I see one)
  • "Don't leave, you break my heart!"
  • "I pay one million camels for you!"
It got to be pretty ridiculous. There was even one that tried the "going in for the kiss" tactic. No good. The bonus to all of this: we got some good deals on souvinirs!

The Egypt Chronicles: Day 5

Well, seeing as how we haven’t used enough forms of travel in the last few days, we tried another. Day 5 started out with another falukah boat ride to the other side of the Nile, where we were picked up in……. horse carriages! Yep, I said horse carriages. It was crazy, we were driving along the busy crazy road with everyone else, weaving in and out of traffic. It actually was a lot of fun, except for that one time the Egyptian boy made me take the reins and told me I had to drive, and then the horse started galloping as I almost steered us into another car, of course screaming the entire way. What a sight that must have been...

Go on, just try to tell me this doesn't look sketchy. I was driving as we were swerving through traffic! And that crazy horse was galloping!



After the terror was over. I had regained my composure and we smiled with our kind dare-devil friend.

We finally made it alive to the Karnak Temple. And it was well worth it! This is one of those places that you hear about and never think you’ll actually get to. It was another feast for the eyes. In the center of the temple is a huge hall filled with 134 enormous columns, covered in writings and hieroglyphics. Our tour guide was telling us how they were able to chisel the hieroglyphics into the stone when it seems impossible because they go so high. Apparently, Egypt has an abundance of sand (who knew?), so they filled the ENTIRE hall with sand, almost up to the very top, and the workers would chisel away that top part of the columns until they ran out of room. Then they would drain some of the sand, just enough to give them more chiseling space, and they’d go at it again until they ran out of room. And so it continued until they’d carved the entire height of the 134 pillars. And let me tell you, they are a sight to behold! After Karnak, we went straight to the Luxor Temple, which was also beautiful in its own way. The whole day we were full of awe.

The beautiful pillars at Karnak



I ended up finding my own little nook. Cozy, no? I think I'll make it permanent.



An ancient hieroglyph found on the Karnak Temple showing the pharaoh being purified through washing and anointing in order to inherit eternal life.


Me, Heidi, Chris, and Annie taking some time out to show you how sweet our fanny packs are. Don't be jealous.


Just another gorgeous shot, compliments of Richelle.




Good times. Noodle Salad


After the temples, we headed back to the hotel, free for the rest of the day! Some swam, some went shopping at the Egyptian Bazaar (pretty much a market with all kinds of touristy gadgets), and just a few of us stayed behind to watch the most beautiful sunset I've ever seen. It was over the Nile River and absolutely perfect. It really was such a peaceful way to spend that perfect time of day, and to ponder about how lucky we really are to have all that we have.

Well, the beauty of the Sunset was phenomenol, but we still had more to our day. The time came to leave Luxor and head back to Cairo where we still had more to see. It was a sad day. I LOVED Luxor. One day, I'll come back again...

So that night, we took an all night train to get back to Cairo. Remember the before-mentioned meal of bread, bread, bread, and one more piece of bread? Yeah, that was on this train. It probably wasn't the cleanest place I'd ever been, but I think Romanian trains prepped me, so it wasn't too bad. I got to share a room with Eliza, my roommate on the Egypt trip. I feel it's necessary to do a shout-out to that girl. She really made the tripsuch a blast. I loved sharing a room with her, even if it was just for a week. Especially in those moments when we busted out her ipod and sang every song we came across at the top of our lungs. Ah....good stuff.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Egypt Chronicles: Day 4

Well, you already know that Day 4 started with a beautiful view of the Nile River. But we didn’t get to sit and enjoy it for long. We got up and rushed out the door, ready to begin another full day!

We started out today at the Valley of the Kings, which is the ancient burial place of a lot of the famous pharaohs of Egypt (Seti I, Rameses II, Tutmosis III, King Tutankhamen or “King Tut”). It was really neat to see it all, to walk down into the tombs and see the stories and messages the walls carried (let’s be honest, we wouldn’t have understood any of it on our own. Thank heavens for Brother Skinner!). It was really cool especially to see the similarities there are between ancient Egypt and our gospel principles of the LDS church today. Pretty crazy actually.

After the Valley, we headed off to the Funerary Temple of Rameses III (another pharaoh. Sorry if this info is boring to you, but it was incredible to see firsthand). It was such an overwhelming sight! Seriously. HUGE stone walls with hieroglyphics ALL OVER THEM! I just stared up with my mouth open the whole time.



Annie and I at the Temple of Rameses III




Is this for real?



Taking my place among the greats

So after we ate lunch, it was FINALLY the moment we’d all been waiting for: The Camel Ride. Oh yes, yes yes, we rode camels. And what an adventure it was! The camel ride was on the other side of the Nile, so we set sail on a falukah (sp?) boat from our hotel (since it was right on the water) and sailed across the Nile. On the way, we discovered the Egyptians today have an obsession with Bob Marley. Really. Isaac, I thought that'd make you happy.




Elyse and I on the Falukah ride, really excited about our boat's motto.
"God Pless Us Everyone."



Our boat's subtle tribute to Bob Marley

Once we got there, we each met our little Camel helpers, little Egyptian boys. My little Mohammad was so dang cute. Didn't speak a whole lot of English, but we bonded. He informed me that my camel's name was Bob Marley (the obsession continues). It was SO MUCH FUN!! We rode in a big caravan, along the shore of the Nile, and through this small Egyptian village. It was definitely an eye-opener to see how humbly these people live, but how simple and beautiful it was at the same time. I loved it.


Our Camel Caravan


Here we go!!



My little Mohammad, Bob Marley, and Me!

What a day! It was so much fun. I kept waiting to think I was bound to be disappointed at some point of this trip, but it never happened! Every single thing we did was such an awesome experience! Today just added to the glory of Egypt!