Friday, November 18, 2011

I am Thankful For...

While I was jumping on the tramp the other day with my niece Grace, I decided to tell her the story of Thanksgiving and then begin naming things I was thankful for. She caught on real quick and started telling me things she is grateful turkeys and watching movies.
Anyway, this got me thinking about a "I am thankful for..." blog post. Of course I am thankful for the usual things said: family, friends, health, job, God, food, etc. But here is a list of a few more specific things that I am thankful for.

My fluffy down pillows
Zumba class - "Feeling good, Feeling fly, Feeling sexy!"
Laughter - whether it's my own or someone else's
Letters addressed to me sitting in the mailbox
Love Poems
Art museums
Almost crying twice in my music class because the song was that beautiful
Boots and skinny jeans
Tampons (Sorry for the awkwardness...but really, what a great invention!)
Fresh Fruit
Grahm Canyon Ice Cream from the Creamery
Homework that includes watching a Spanish Soap Opera and an Italian film
The smell of Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Cloves all mixed together
Lingering hugs
Studying the D&C this semester
The Humanities computer labs at the JFSB and the comfy chairs on the 3rd floor
Pencil skirts
A body that heals its own cuts and bruises
Sun block
Corn bags
Romper Pajamas
The words "Te Quiero"
frozen grapes
The power of the atonement
Being able to do laundry at my parent's house
Prayer and the promise that if I ask, I shall receive (Matt. 7:7)
Families that are forever
Knowing that no matter what grade I receive on my final exams, Christmas will still come!

When I really start thinking about it, I realize there is an endless list of things I am thankful for. I am truly blessed in a myriad of ways and I should have a heart of thanksgiving each day of the year. God has blessed me infinitely. The fact that I will be spending a few glorious days with a family that loves one another and supports one another is a blessing in and of itself. Then add the large smorgasbord of food we'll be eating, the friends we'll visit, the laughter we'll share, the Messiah Sing Along at Symphony Hall, and putting up Christmas decorations to the voice of good ol' Bing Crosby, and you have a perfect Thanksgiving. 
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! I sure am thankful for the time you spend to read my random thoughts and experiences as I try to suck out all the marrow of life.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dining on Sweet Words

We are reading poetry by Pablo Neruda in my Humanities class right now. Neruda wrote his poetry in Spanish, so I've been trying to read a few of the Spanish versions in order to improve my Spanish comprehension. 
But not just any poetry...I am a sucker for a good love poem - especially if there are lines that feel really good in my mouth when I say them. That is just something I cannot explain to people - there is a literal feeling in my mouth when I say the words that lights me up inside. They are delicious to me!
I love good imagery - words, metaphors, and similes that paint a picture. 
Here is one of the poems I read today, that I especially loved:

Here I love you. 
In the dark pines the wind disentangles itself.
The moon glows like phosphorous on the vagrant waters.
Days, all one kind, go chasing each other.

The snow unfurls in dancing figures.
A silver gull slips down from the west.
Sometimes a sail. High, high stars. 
Oh the black cross of a ship.

Sometimes I get up early and even my soul is wet.
Far away the sea sounds and resounds.
This is a port.

Here I love you.
Here I love you and the horizon hides you in vain.
I love you still among these cold things.
Sometimes my kisses go on those heavy vessels
that cross the sea towards no arrival.
I see myself forgotten like those old anchors.

The piers sadden when the afternoon moors there.
My life grows tired, hungry to no purpose.
I love what I do not have. You are so far.
My loathing wrestles with the slow twilights.
But night comes and starts to sing to me.

The moon turns its clockwork dream.
The biggest stars look at me with your eyes.
And as I love you, the pines in the wind
want to sing your name with their leaves of wire.

Wow...right? Maybe poetry isn't your thing and that is alright. It doesn't jive with everybody, but somehow it speaks to me...the image of his soul being wet, the snow dancing, and his sending kisses on the boats traveling without the promise of arrival are especially delicious. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

"Remember, Remember the 5th of November..."

November 5th was a day of cultural celebration for me.
The night began with the Indian Diwali Festival of Lights. Diwali includes the lighting of small clay lamps which signifies the triumph of good over evil.
My roommate, Aarti, is Indian and has introduced us to many wonderful Indian customs and festivals. The Indian club here at BYU put on this celebration that included a fashion show of Indian outfits (Aarti looked gorgeous in her Sari), Indian Food, Henna, and of course Bollywood Dancing!
Aarti outfitted us from her own trove of Indian clothes 
One thing I love about Indian style it is so bright and colorful. Not to mention, these outfits were super super comfortable!
Aarti even gave us all bindis to put on our foreheads. The bindi represents the third eye and is a spiritual point of energy for Hindus. It is also a mark to protect against bad luck.

I had to leave the Indian Festival a bit early in order to celebrate another cultural festival.
For those of you who do not know... Guy Fawkes was a Catholic who plotted to blow up the Parliament building with the current protestant King of England inside. This plan failed and Fawkes was executed for his attempted assassination. On November 5th 1605, Londoners lit bonfires to celebrate the King's escape. Since then, November 5th has been celebrated with bonfires and fireworks all over Britain. Typically Brits will burn effigies of Guy Fawkes.

A girl on my Study Abroad happens to be a direct descendant of Guy Fawkes, so she decided to hold a Guy Fawkes Day Bonfire for all of us Londoners to celebrate together.
We had someone read T.S. Elliot's "The Hollow Men" out loud and then Hannah Faux (Guy's descendant) gave a short speech.
Our larger than life sized Guy Fawkes awaiting his doom!
Part of  Hannah's speech included finishing what her ancestor could not. This is a model of the Parliament buildings made out of Popsicle sticks.
Finally, It was Guy Fawkes' turn. Since he is made purely of newspaper, he made quite a conflagration.

It was a huge bonfire!
Of course what is a bonfire without s'mores? The whole evening was culturally delicious. Thank you India and Britain for making my typically boring November 5th something to remember!  

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Viva Las Vegas!!!

I'm not usually this spontaneous, but I decided to join my roommate Jessica for a little weekend spree to Vegas. Jessica has been writing a missionary for the past two years and since he was returning to Las Vegas, we had a great excuse to go to city of lights! 
We started out early Saturday morning equipped with water, peanut m&m's, two granola bars, CDs, and a tape recorder. 

Pit Stop in St. George
As we traveled through Utah, Arizona, and on to Nevada, I marveled at the beautiful red rock and the funny Joshua trees. Jessica and I both screeched a little as we finally saw the Stratosphere tower standing in the distance. When we finally arrived in Vegas, our first stop was the Venetian hotel. It was so much fun walking around the Venetian after I had actually been to the real Venice. It brought back great memories!
We asked a group of ladies to take our picture, and when they found out we were from Utah, they came in really close to us and whispered "Tell us, what are a couple of nice Mormon girls doing in Vegas for the weekend? Did you come to see Donny and Marie?" Is it really that obvious that we are BYU co-eds?

Another plus to coming to Vegas was the opportunity to visit my cousin Devin. We met up with him and he treated to a delicious lunch at the Gran Lux. Then he proceeded to be our fabulous Vegas tour guide around the Venetian. 

If that was not generous enough, he also gave us a free stay at the Gold Coast Hotel for the weekend. THANK YOU DEVIN!!!!! 
Me and Devin - the founder of our fiesta!
After checking into our Hotel and taking a quick stop at Caesar's Palace for H&M shopping, we headed over to meet Zach (the missionary) at his house. His family was nice enough to take us into their home for much of the weekend, sharing food and smiles! Later in the evening, Zach, Jessica, and I decided to go down to the Strip to see the Belagio fountains. It was magical! The water shot what appeared to be hundreds of feet in the air! I suppose dancing fountains are less expensive and more flexible than ballerinas. The song was "Time to say Goodbye"

After the magical show, we headed inside to see the Belagio gardens all decked out for the Halloween season. We also took a look at the world's largest chocolate fountain.

We had a fantastic time being with Zach and his family. He gave a wonderful homecoming address and I certainly enjoyed the seviche, papusus, and Nothing Bundt Cake that followed. YUM!! Sadly, our trip came to a close. To celebrate our last night in Vegas, Jessica and I cruised down the Strip with the sun roof open - the only way to enjoy the fluorescent lights! We topped the night off with a Frozen Hot Chocolate to share from Serendipity! 

The next morning, we grabbed our muffins (a bonus thrown in with the free room) from the Hotel coffee shop and said our final goodbyes to Las Vegas. 

Does this shot remind anyone else of Goya's "Saturn devouring one of his sons"?

"I asked for a muffin, but I think they gave me a small planet!"

It was the perfect mini vacation from school life, and did I mention it was a balmy 80 degrees while we were down there? VIVA LAS VEGAS!! We returned to Provo in time to celebrate Halloween with our roommates. With my new short hair, how could I resist being a Flapper! 

My Roommate's younger brother grew this gigantic pumpkin for us! It took 20 mins just to cut the top off! If you didn't know, the little pumpkin is Sally from "Nightmare before Christmas"