Friday, November 28, 2008

Pretty Dang Lucky!

Well, I was checking out my friend's blog, saw this list, and in the spirit of Thanksgiving and decided to do it myself. Sometimes you don't realize how much you've done till you sit down and see it written in a list. There are a lot of things I still hope to do before my life is over, but at the same time I realize how blessed I've been and how much cool stuff I've been able to do. I'm just a pretty dang lucky girl.

1.Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band (does orchestra count?)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice (well we asked the guy how much one cost to ride and decided to use that money towards eating more gelato instead)
29. Seen an eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie (not like a big one, but making little movies in high school was always a fun past time)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

So there are some things on the list that I'm glad haven't happened to me in my life time, and other things that I really wouldn't mind doing sometime in the near future (such as #'s 4, 65, and especially 52)... but like I said earlier I have been very blessed and am very satisfied with my life thus far!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Semester in Review

Well, I know the semester is not over yet but at the same time I can't believe how quickly it has flown by. Here's a little bit about what's been going on in my life the last few months. School started for me Monday, August 25th. I finished up with EFY and spent some time with the family and I actually ended driving back to Tucson and Sunday the 24th... yup the day before school. I wasn't worried though because I figured there would be lots of time to settle in after school started, but boy was I wrong. Whit and I have managed to travel about every other weekend and the weekends that I have been herein Tucson have been filled with activities, concerts, and whatever random stuff goes on here. For example I was in school for 4 days and then I drove with my sister, my roommate Heidi, and my buddy Fabio back to Salt Lake for Labor Day weekend. It was a blast of a weekend filled with water-skiing, visits with dear mission friends, a BYU football game, and lots of family. Long story short though... I never ended up "getting settled in" here and I spent almost 2 months living out of my suitcase and sleeping on the couch in the backroom (which I must admit was very comfortable). The good news is that I am back in a bedroom like a normal person and Whit and I are our sharing our silver bunk beds like the good old days. Well, so here are some other highlights and random facts about this semester:
  • I am taking 22 credits this semester which I know is a lot but that's what you gotta do turn a 5 year program into a 4 year program, and I am determined to finish up in May without having a crazy schedule my last semester.
  • I did it... I read the Vampire books (also know as the Twighlight series)... and the verdict? Honestly, it's like reading a book soap opera, and yet it is so addicting and I couldn't put it down. I am definitely not one of those Edward lovers or anything though... I actually thought Jake seemed more like a real person and I like him better most the time. So yeah, I read over 1,700 pages about Vampire romances during the first 4 weeks of school. Yup I am pretty cool.
  • I started practicing the violin and everything again. I mean that is my major, but after the mission I definitely was a little rusty. It's all coming back slowly but surely.
  • Whit and I have been pretty inseparable and I wouldn't have it any other way. This is our last semester together as college students (did I mention her mission papers are in... yup, next time we are together we will be young working "grown-ups".... It really makes me sad though... this whole growing up thing.
  • Las Cruces Trip # 1- family photos.... trying to get all 9 of us to be looking at the camera while also smiling was quite the crazy challenge and it's always an adventure at the Robb house. We also went to our brother Joe's orchestra concert which definitely brought back a lot of high school memories, mainly because most of that music we also played in a similar concert back in my day.
  • California Trip #1- Uncle Dean got married in the New Port Temple in October. Since we already needed to be there for the wedding we decided to make the most of our California visit by staying in a beach house right off the coast New Port Beach and it was amazing. Three days on the beach surrounded by all of my little cousins building sand castles and burrying each other... does it really get any better?
  • Jenny Visits Arizona- Utah EFY friends in Arizona? Heck yes!
  • High School Musical 3!!! I know that most of the people that are as enthusiastic about High School Musical as I am haven't even reached puberty yet, but so what? I love it, and you better believe that I saw HSM3 with Whit opening weekend.
  • Whitney turns her mission papers in- I am so super excited for her, but it does make me miss the mission even more. We should know where she's going this week!
  • Las Cruces Trip #2- Halloween weekend... Joe turned 16, Sam was dressed as a star trooper, Rock Band, I got to visit with Katrina (one of my favorite high school friends ever!), haircuts, pedicures, etc.....
  • California Trip #2- Friday- Disneyland-free, no lines, 25 rides in one day, plus it really the happiest place on earth-nuff said. Saturday- New Port Temple, Wahoo's Tacos, sitting on warm sandy beach while watching the sunset, and most importantly visiting with Hermana Cresine, my newly returned mission companion. Hermana Cresine's homecoming talk.
Well, this is some of the stuff that comes to mind at the moment. Life is dandy but busy. Honestly this blog entry is horribly long and probably horribly boring for most of you reading this (that is if you got this far), but I'm sure one day my great great grandchildren will be able to look back on this blog and learn a lot about their great great grandmother and her crazy collage life :)

Friday, October 31, 2008

EFY Junkie

Okay, so I really want to catch everyone up a little bit about what I did this summer after the mission before I start blogging about all the current stuff going on in my life. The basic nutshell version is:
  • I came home from Spain and spent an entire month with my family in good ol' Las Cruces. (I literally spent all my time with them and it took me several weeks before I even started looking up all friends.)

  • I travelled to Tucson for the weekend to catch Whitney's amazing senior recital.

  • We went as a family to our annual week vacation in New Port, California. (The first time that I had worn a bathing suit or swam in 20 months). I just love the beach and we went deep sea fishing which was a blast!

  • Whit and I then went to Scottsdale to spend a few days at a resort there with uncle James, Kristen, and Katie plus all our little cousins.

  • Whit and I then headed with some of her friends (which are now my friends) to Havasupai in the Grand Canyon. We back packed 10 miles in, spent a couple of days jumping off of waterfalls, swimming in gorgeous blue water, and just having an awesome time. I then backpacked the 10 miles out at midnight so I could drive with a couple of friends to Utah to be there in time for my EFY training meeting.

Yup, EFY. When I was a participant during high school I had decided that I wanted to be an EFY counselor someday when I grew up. Well, the summer after the mission seemed like the perfect time to fulfill that dream. While I was still in Spain my dad applied for me for the job, but because I was still on my mission I was unable to have an interview for a position. When I got home in April they told me my only option to work with the EFY program would be to be a volunteer counselor in Salt Lake. So there I was in my 1st training meeting for what I thought would be my one week of EFY couseling experience. My plan was to do one week to say I did it and spend the rest of the summer selling baby clothes at my uncle's store. During that first night I was a little bit nerveous just because I still hadn't really been forced to be "social" since the mission and you know those recently returned missionaries have a pretty bad rapt of being socially inept.

Well, long story short. During that 1st week of EFY I fell in love! In love with the kids, the programs, the other counselors, the teaching, the testifying, the blue and green polos, the games night, the variety shows, the dances, the devotionals, and not to mention what we call EFC (especially for counselors). I felt like I was as close to being back in the mission as I could be without actually being a missionary again. I just felt good all the time. I felt like I could make a difference, and it felt good to know that I was literally just donating my time for what I considered a worthy cause. Well, one week turned to two weeks. Two weeks to three, etc... and the next thing I knew I had volunteered for all 6 weeks of EFY in the Salt Lake area and then the summer was over. It was just a blast though and I loved every minute of it! I spent my spare time visitting all my Utah family and just trying to live it up (including going on dates and stuff again which is definitely an adjustment from mission life). Nothing got me more excited though then starting a new week with the Sunday night counselor training meeting. I literally was addicted to EFY and I couldn't get enough. I was and still am an EFY junkie!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Best Decision of my Life

So this next week is the 6th month mark of me being home from my mission in Madrid, Spain. It makes me so sad to think that I have really been home such a long time, but it is true that not a single day has gone by when I have not thought about my mission and my experiences there. I must admit though, my mission now feels like some strange wonderful dream, something from a past life, something that was not quite real. I think that is mainly due to the fact that a mission is such a different world then the world that we live in during our daily lives in just so many ways. My mission did really happen though and I am so eternally grateful that it did.

I really never planned on serving a mission. As a young girl in elementary school I did think I would serve, but only if I got sent to some really cool place like Brazil so I could take the Gospel to all the primitive natives living in the Amazon Rain forest. (I mean that would be really cool don't you think?... I imagined myself wandering around the jungle in sandals, wearing colorful cloth skirts, and eating lots of crazy raw meats and bugs and stuff). Well, as I got older and became more involved in my studies the idea of a mission seemed like something that just wasn't for me. I saw myself as a musician and a student who had a passion for humanitarian work and travelling, but I could not picture myself being the type of person who could ever serve as a full time missionary. People often asked about my plans when it came to serving a mission and my answer was always the same. "If the Lord wants me to serve, when I'm 21 he'll tell me." Well, I turned 21 one and life continued as usual. I will be forever grateful though for that moment which is still so vivid in my mind when I knew that I was suppose to serve. No questions about it. There were a lot of different emotions and tears, but I happily put my papers in within a week's time. One week after that I flew off on a plane to backpack Europe for 6 weeks with some girlfriends.
I know it wasn't a coincidence that the first place we traveled to was Madrid. The Lord actually has a sense of humor too considering he called me to serve in the place that I had decided would be my last choice as far as places I would ever like to serve (lets just say I didn't have a very good impression of Madrid my few days there). The Lord knows best though and 3 weeks later while in a train station in Vienna, Austria I called my brother from a payphone and he read me my mission call and I was shocked but knew instantly that Madrid was where I needed to be (mainly to redeem myself from the judgments I had placed on the people there). Now looking back I know more than ever that Madrid, Spain was the perfect mission for me.

I also ended up spending 4 and a half months of my 18 mission visa waiting in Texas which I also knew was the place where I needed to be at that time. Denton and Hillsboro, Texas will always hold a special place in my heart. Honestly, Hillsboro was like a foreign country to me. I have never been in such a small town with such southern culture before in my life ( I even had to learn how to understand what they were saying in their super strong accents and southern vocab). I loved every moment of it!

I really wish I had a way to accurately describe what my mission was like and what it meant to me, but that really is impossible. All you need to know is that I love the people of Spain (especially Madrid) with all my heart and the Gospel more than ever. I loved my mission President and his wife and I could not imagine having serving under the inspired leadership of anyone else. My companions were all wonderful and I have made so many new eternal friends. I have never felt like I was in "my element" more than while I was serving as a missionary. Although it was at times challenging, it felt like something so natural to me. I knew that's where I belonged. It were as if all of my life's experiences up to that point were preparing me for that year and a half. The hardest thing I have ever had to do was leaving Madrid, but I know that since the 1st day I arrived in the MTC I have changed in so many ways. I brought home with me a wealth of treasured memories, knowledge, and understanding. I gave all I could while I was there and yet still feel like I received more. It has been hard picking up where I left off here in the real world, but it has been worth all the sacrifices. Like I said, serving a mission was the best decision of my life.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I don't really know how to do this!

Well, I hear blogging is quite the hit now-a-days, so I thought I would join in on the fun! Hopefully I can get this thing up and running soon!