Monday, March 28, 2011

Fitting in

The world of an RM is kind of a different one. It's not bad. Not at all. Just different. I've been at home getting used to "normal" life again for the past 2 months. And I must say, I'm SUPER ready to get back to school. It's nothing against my family or IF. I just need something different in my life. I need to get back in with people my age. I really learned that this past weekend.

You see, I was off work early on Friday and all day on Saturday, so I packed up and headed to Utah for the weekend for a much-needed mini-vacation. I stopped in Logan on my way down to see some old family friends. And a friend there had set me up on a blind date. It was fun to go out and do something with people my age. But...I felt a little awkward. I still don't really know how to act around guys my age. Looking back I could have handled myself so much better. I could have been a little less stiff. I could have tried to participate in the conversation with the group a little better. But, it was my first date home. And everyone's got to start somewhere.

I was super excited for Saturday. I had plans to see some of my old roommates, and a couple other friends who I hadn't seen yet. I got up and had breakfast with my aunt in Logan, then hit the road and headed further south to Provo. I first met up with Jamie. It was so good to see her again! We hit up Subway for lunch and had a great time talking. Then we went and saw Emily and her new baby. She is so adorable. And it was good to see them both again. But I realized while visiting with them how much everything has changed. They're both married now and have their own lives. And I'm still me. A different me, but me none-the-less. It was weird to be there with my old roommates who are now married and see how much our lives have changed.

I've got to say that the best part of my weekend, the part where I really felt like I fit in with people, was when I got with Whitney. She got home like a month before me, but was back to BYU before I got home. It was great to be able to talk to her and share experiences with her and have a great time. She showed me around least a bit. There's an awful lot of Provo. And we were just too busy talking. We also went and saw my old FHE brother who is now in Provo. That's where I fit in. With a group of RMs talking about life. Or with single college students. That was great too. Yes, that was super great. It made me realize how much I really do miss college life. I've only got 3 more weeks and I'll be back into it all. And I can't wait.

I also got to see my dad's brother Marc and his family. I haven't seen them in at least 2 years, if not more. They had a baby while I was in the MTC, who is now almost 2! They invited my cousin Michael and I for dinner, so I had a nice visit with all of them. It was great to see family too.

I had a nice long time to think on the drive back home. Think about life and everything that has gone on and changed in the past few years. I'm still trying to fit in, but I do have a solid idea of who I am. I know where I want to go with my life. And I really think that just getting back to Rexburg and the social scene (or as much as I can have between school and work) will help me out.

Not to mention...when I get back to Rexburg I'll probably be able to find an old friend or two, and make friends of my own so I don't have to tag along with my sister and her friends like the annoying younger sibling that I'm not. She's 4 years younger than me. And is such a good sport to let me hang out with them...even though I never did the same for her. Shame on me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Member Missionary I Want to Be

While I was serving my mission, I had lots of members go to different appointments with us. And I'll be honest, some were DEFINITELY better than others. Over the course of time, I was able to get a pretty good idea of the kind of member missionary I wanted to be when I got home. One who was always willing to go out and teach with the missionaries, one who would be able to help investigators by giving them rides to church, be there to support them. All that good stuff.

I have finally met the SPANISH Sisters. Or should I say, Las Misioneras. I've gone to a couple of lessons with them. I went to a lesson with them again tonight. Well, at least we tried. The family they planned to visit wasn't home. So we went to plan B, popping in on another investigator. Off we went. We went and had a great discussion with her about the Holy Ghost. And then they invited her to a Relief Society Activity tomorrow night. She kinda hummed and hawed saying that she had too many kids and all sorts of "good" excuses. The Sisters said that having the kids there wouldn't be a problem because others would be taking their kids as well. This investigator said that she thought she knew where the church was. But by this point, the Spirit was kicking me to say that I'd go pick her up. Yes, I have a bajillion things to do tomorrow night. But I also know that when directed to do something by the Spirit, one needs to do just that. So, I offered to go pick them all up. She said it would be better if she followed me. So I'm going to go and get her tomorrow after work and take her to the activity.

The whole way back to their car (I had the Sisters get in my car because I know that miles are limited in mission vehicles) Sister White kept saying how amazing I was to offer to do that. Hey, I've been there, done that. Sometimes the ONLY way you can get someone to church or an activity--especially that first time--is to have a member go and get them. And I also know that it isn't exactly an easy thing to find a member willing and able to do so. Before I came home, I determined that I was going to be one of those "super members" that every missionary dreams of having in their area.

Honestly, I don't feel like I'm doing much for the Sisters. I'm not really going out of my way. And I'll be able to speak Spanish all night, which will be like a dream come true anyway. But I do know how important members are in missionary work. Heck, it talks many times in Preach My Gospel about the importance of members and the benefits of using members in lessons. It talks about how members should give rides to the investigators and be that support to them. And I have a strong testimony about member involvement in missionary work. I'm just "paying it forward." Several times while I was on my mission I had members go out of their way to help investigators get to church or activities. They helped me out. Now I'm the member helping out these sisters. And I'm sure that when they get home, they'll remember this example--just like I remembered the example of those who helped us--and do the same for the missionaries in their area. And what a blessing it is to be able to continue helping in the Lord's work!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

2 Months Have Come and Gone

Wow! Today marks 2 months since I left Albuquerque. 2 months since I saw my family for the first time in over 18 months. 2 months since I took off my nametag and became Kira again. They haven't been easy, but I have certainly seen MANY blessings! And I marked today with a celebration!

Actually...I was a tag-along. With my little sister. You normally hear about younger siblings tagging along with older siblings and their friends. Tonight was the opposite. But they were good sports about it and let me hang out with them--for which I was VERY grateful! And I did have a good time. It didn't seem like I was hanging out with my little sister. I was with a group of friends. And I didn't even know two of them!

We went up to Rexburg and to Best of Guitars Unplugged. Then we went to Arctic Circle...that was an adventure. Then we went and introduced Kesha and one of her other friends to the Haunted Swingset. Yep. We had a great time. Talking and laughing. Well...okay. I mostly just listened. I kinda felt like a 3rd wheel...especially since I kinda invited myself along on this little outing. But I just couldn't handle the thought of sitting home while my sister was off doing something I've missed: going to activities on campus! And they were all good sports about it, and at least didn't seem annoyed that I was there.

Overall, it's not horrible being home. But I sure can't wait to get back to school again and really jump back into life.

Friday, March 18, 2011

I Am SO Blessed!

Well, it wasn't that long ago that I was upset because I didn't know if BYU-I would approve my petition for the TESOL Education Minor. Well...I have been checking my e-mail faithfully every night. I have been praying with everything I had. I have fasted. I have held out my faith and not gotten discouraged. Or at least tried not to. There have been a few times that I've been a little down. But today I got amazing news that is such a great blessing in coming... BYU-IDAHO APPROVED MY PETITION FOR THE TESOL EDUCATION MINOR!!!!!! I had a great day at work, and went straight to the temple with my parents after work. After we got home and ate dinner, I got online and checked my BYU-I e-mail, completely not expecting to find anything on the minor. But the first message in my in-box had the title of "Double Major/Minor Petition." I didn't even feel nervous. I felt instant peace...and knew that I had been accepted. I opened the e-mail and started crying...from joy. My hands went up into the air, and I cheered. My family cheered. And I got right online to drop some of my courses, and pick up others that I need for my minor. All but one were open. And I e-mailed the professor of that class, explaining my situation that I was waiting for this petition to be approved, to see if I'll be able to get into that class. So far, Heavenly Father has taken care of my every need, every desire of my heart. I have great faith that He will continue to do so. Everything will work out.

This will also allow me to work a few more hours at work. That will surely be a great blessing. Of will totally mess up the schedule that my boss has created for the next like 7 weeks, but I told him it was a possibility. I'll let him know tomorrow. That is...if he works tomorrow. Otherwise I'll let him know first thing Monday morning. But either way, it's enough time for him to rework the schedule.

I have such a strong testimony of Heavenly Father taking care of His children when they do what is right. It wasn't exactly easy for me to go on a mission, but I knew that Heavenly Father wanted me to go. I knew that He wanted me to learn Spanish. I knew that He wanted me to use it later in my life. And now He is laying the way for me to be able to fulfill all of the plans that He's got in store for me. What a blessing it is to be living here now!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Took long enough...

Some of you people who faithfully kept up with my blog while I was on my mission may remember me mentioning something about my jaw locking shut. Even if you were and don't remember, I won't be offended. It would have been around Thanksgiving time. That's kind of a long time ago. Anyway, just a brief re-cap: The Tuesday before Thanksgiving I woke up and my jaw was completely locked shut. Like I couldn't even open it wide enough to put one finger inside. I kept praying that it would unlock and stop hurting, because it really hurt a lot. It hurt to eat anything, because the movement from chewing hurt. Heck...I couldn't eat some things because I didn't have full use of my mouth. Subway sandwiches? They were out...I couldn't open my mouth wide enough to take a bite. Apples? Forget it. You can't eat an apple with mouse-sized nibbles. Anything you couldn't cut up into itty-bitty pieces? Ya right! With time, it got a little better, but still hurt and gave me problems. Well, I have good news! Yesterday morning while I was getting ready, my jaw popped and I can finally open it all the way! I can eat an apple without pain...and normal-sized bites! Yea! I mean...Thanksgiving was only like 4 months ago. But hey. Better late than never, right?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Back to School

No, I haven't quite started back to school yet. But I took a step in that direction today when I registered for classes. I got the classes I needed...though not with the teacher I wanted for one of them. Actually, I got a teacher who I've heard clear through my career at BYU-I to avoid if at all possible. Beautiful. But hey, I got the class. I'm gonna think positive here. And I didn't get the religion class I wanted, because for some reason I thought it fit into my schedule, but really it doesn't. But, on another positive note...I found one that is taught by a former SHS seminary teacher, one who I always wanted but wasn't ever put into his class. So I'm way excited for that. And I'm only going to be taking 14 credits...that will be weird. But then again, I'll also be working while going to school, and commuting to IF for that. There's something I've never done before.

But it was interesting how this whole registration thing worked...late last night I had a friend call me who just needed someone to listen. I'm not gonna lie, I was tired, but if it were me on the other end of that phone, I'd want someone to listen to me too. Besides, it was one of my best friends. I couldn't say no! After we got off the phone, I went into my room and started making my bed because I'd washed my sheets. I didn't think I registered until tomorrow because of my credits. However, I did get 8 additional credits last week for the Spanish tests. They're not showing up yet on my transcript...but obviously they're marked down somewhere because I registred. Anyway, I had this feeling that I should check to see if the credits were listed yet so I'd know if I needed to get up early or not. I did, and they weren't so I went to bed fully planning on registering tomorrow. I did get the insurance hold taken care of at that point. A few minutes after I laid down, the Spirit told me to check again on registration. Well, I've learned to not ignore the Spirit when it speaks to me. So I got up and turned on my computer and opened the registration website. And sure enough, I was cleared to register today. So I changed the time my alarm was set for and went to sleep.

I slept right through that alarm. I was tired! Luckily, I use my phone and can have multiple alarms set at a time, so I woke up 45 minutes later to another alarm. As soon as I heard it, I realized that it wasn't my first alarm, that I was late. In one fell swoop, my computer was in my hands and i was sitting up putting on my glasses so I could actually see, praying that the classes I needed still had openings. One of them only had 3 left, but I got it! That class is full now...if I hadn't had that prompting to check last night, I wouldn't have gotten into that class, which is vital for me to have this semester. Well, I guess I could have registered for another class dealing with my minor that I petitioned for...but I'm supposed to take this particular class at the same time as another I've got this semester.

Anyway, I am SO grateful for those quiet whisperings of the Spirit and for the lessons I have learned in my life of the importance of listening to the Spirit. What a wonderful blessing!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Getting there...

So Thursday night I went out to dinner with some amazing friends I had from the mission. It was so fun and so needed. I hadn't gone out and done anything socially in 2 weeks. Yeah, I'm pretty lame. I don't get out and do anything socially. the same time I've spent so much time with my family. It's been great.

But Friday I spent the day in Rexburg. I initially went up to find out how I did on the RM Spanish tests (for anyone who cares, I passed 2 of the 3 with flying colors...good thing I didn't need to pass all 3 for the minor I'm petitioning for, just one!) I also did what I needed to do to turn in the petition for my minor. I am praying that it will be approved when it goes to committee. (I'll find out in 2-4 weeks). I feel good about that whole thing, and know that whatever happens is supposed to happen.

After that I meandered around campus for a bit. I figured I should probably reacquaint myself with campus since I'll be back up there in like 6 weeks. And it's changed a TON since I was there last. So up and down the hill I went. I hadn't done that much walking in...well, at least 6 weeks. I do a lot of standing around for my job and running up and down stairs, but that's about it. Anyway, my meandering around campus included a visit to the Spori Art Gallery, where I saw the Interior Design students' senior projects. One of my good friends, Lindsay, had her project on display. After that I met up with her and had a great visit.

Then I went to Jill's apartment. We went to dinner, then went back and watched Madagascar 2. It was just like old times...sitting watching a movie on Friday nights. But after the movie...we went Latin Dancing! Duh! What did I ALWAYS do on Friday nights before the mission? And I think I have even more of a passion for it now than I did then, because of my much greater love for the Hispanic culture. Anyway...I had a blast! I danced lots. I had some good conversations, including some in Spanish. One of the guys I danced with even hugged me (for those who don't know, the Hispanic people are, for the most part,very...cómo se dice en íngles...idk. touchy-feeley. That's not it, but yeah. You get the idea.) Anyway, back to the hug...I didn't flinch, and the guy was practically a stranger! Yeah, I was quite proud of myself. And later on, I even asked a guy to dance. Yeah, that took some gumption por parte mía, pero I had to do it because I knew that if I didn't I'd never get over the fear I have of boys. Because, quite frankly, I have been afraid, well, not afraid, but not comfortable, with boys. I've been on missionary terms for too long. I need to get back to normal life. I'm not saying that I'm ready to run off and find me a boyfriend, but it would be nice to go out and meet a guy or two. And is it so wrong to want to dress up and go out?

I'm not saying by this that I am, in any way, shape, or form, "normal" yet. I still have a long way to go. But every little bit helps. I'm ready to start going on with my life. I've been home for 6 weeks now. I've talked with a couple of people I served with who came home this transfer. It's weird to think that more missionaries I served with are getting home. Hermana Cabello, the first sister I trained, gets home in less than 6 weeks now. That is really weird. Yes, I'm still connected to the mission. Very connected. I think about it every day, and talk to people I met almost every day. And I've decided that it is time for me to get back into life. Not to forget about the mission, or to just pick up where I left off, but to start fresh. After all, I am a "new" person. I need to go out and do things that will continue helping me find out who I really am. And I know that everything will work out exactly as it's supposed to.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Kicked to the side of the road

Yeah, it was a GREAT day at work. Then I came home and checked my e-mail. I've been waiting for the past week to hear back from BYU-I about whether or not they'll let me get a minor for my Spanish. And I would have been better off not checking my e-mail today. They came back and said no. Because I'm an Elementary Ed major they won't let me get the minor. I was so frustrated. They tell me that I can come back after graduation as a non-traditional student to get the minor...but what good does that do me, or them? Their purpose is to get students OUT so there is room for more students. But...if I go back after graduation it will be just the same as if I'm there now. It doesn't make any sense to me. I feel like I'm being kicked to the side of the road and abandoned, that my education isn't important to them. It is all so...ARGH! I felt so good about everything...and now I feel as if all my plans have gone down the drain...

¡Hablo Español!

It was amazing! I was standing at the counter organizing the new tags to put up today at work when a couple of sisters came in speaking in Spanish! I was SO excited, you have NO idea! So I went over and started talking to them. I was in heaven! My brain was able to flip from English to Spanish super easily! The words flowed and I was able to help them with what they needed. And then I was thinking in Spanglish for the rest of the day, because I just could NOT flip my brain back from Spanish to English. All the girls I work with were quite impressed at how easy it was for me to help them...and commented that they were super grateful that I was there. I actually wasn't scheduled to work today...I was just covering the shift for one of my co-workers. What a blessing it was that I was there! Heavenly Father has blessed me to be able to speak Spanish. And I will be eternally grateful for that!