Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Sunday, December 05, 2010
Merry Christmas from the White House!
Christmas display at the Botanical Gardens
As I reflect on my figurative fork in the road, I realize how blessed I am. With a solid foundation of faith, family, and friends how could I possibly be better set up for this ride? In this season of Thanksgiving and Salvation, I feel incredibly grateful. So here's to enjoying the ride and plenty of dramamine to settle the stomach :)
P.S. If it seems like my head is in the clouds.... it is. Being able to blog from 30,000 is totally increasing my productivity.
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Now... to clean my car. Does anyone have any tips for deodorizing? It smells like an industrial print house from signs, mailers, and tshirts.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Sunday, October 03, 2010
For my Grandma Ossmen's funeral, we had a service largely based around music, as it was one of my Grandma's loves/ joys. During and since the funeral, I have pondered how I consider music to be my Grandma's legacy to me because my learning to play the piano and participation in singing groups all my young life, I believe, are directly attributable to her love for and participation in music.
Over the past very busy campaign month, I have found myself resorting to playing the piano and quilting for brief relaxing moments of reprieve. Quilting is another legacy left to me, this one by my Grandma Selin. Her entrepreneurship in quilting brought an art back to not only a lot of people in the Atlanta region, but my dad's extended family as well... and me. I remember trips to Grandma's quilt shop in Stone Mountain since I was very young and remember picking out the fabric for my first "big" quilt with her.
Legacy is an interesting concept. It is awe-inspiring to think of all the things in my life that are directly attributable to my ancestors, forebears, or even peers. It's a significant part-- if not the majority-- of who I am. It's so fascinating to think that so much of who we are comes from where we come from. And thinking to the future, no pressure as to what you [or I] will leave :)
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
We had a fun-packed vacation with two days at Disneyworld, one day at SeaWorld's Aquatica, one day at Clearwater Beach, and one day of shopping-- perfect vacation mix.
Here are some picture highlights:
Clearwater Beach is just beautiful. The blue, blue water and white sand are great. Little wonder it is ranked America's best beach. We had fun exploring the boardwalk in John's Pass too.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Then last weekend, Zan invited me to for a girls' night and taught me how to use fondant. I've wanted to learn for so long. And the chance to learn from Zan, whom I credit with being my first baking teacher way back in Heritage, was even better. Here is our cake that we created. I use the term "cake" loosely becauase it's actually only about 2/5 actual cake.
Thursday, September 02, 2010
Go figure there are a whole lot of Chinese people in China. And we stuck out like nobody's business. We got so many requests for pictures that I'm certain if we had charged 10 yuan per picture, we could have funded someone's China trip :)
These wonders of the world were just as their status indicates-- awe inspiring. The Great Wall of China definitely qualifies. It is so much steeper and taller than I imagined, as well as in much more rugged terrain as it scales very steep hills. It is awesome to imagine how it was built hundreds of years ago-- all 3,000+ miles of it!
We literally pretty much lived on the beach. While it's not one you would probably opt to swim in, it was gorgeous and we enjoyed many a walk and tandem bike ride along the boardwalk.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Then we walked to the Hong Kong Temple from our hotel. It is closed for cleaning until tomorrow, but it was neat to walk around the grounds and enjoy the courtyard (Jerusalem courtyard-ish feeling). It was a nice 45-minute walk up Waterloo Road. It was neat to see the road change from busy markets to more of a residential and school zone. The temple was beautiful!! It seems different to me than the official church picture-- much smaller and a little different color-- but it is gorgeous. We also saw the stake center/ chapel being built across the street. It is supposed to be done and dedicated within the next couple weeks.
Then we went to a massive monastery with 10,000 Bhudda statues. It was pretty amazing. We walked up about 1,000 steps (again in the humidity). There were so many life-size Bhuddas lining the walkway. Some looked like Satan, some like Dumbledore, some like Magellan, some with very distinct Indian flare. We went to a whole bunch of different courtyards, saw lots of burning incense, gifts of fruit, etc. One room up at the very top had at least 10,000 small Bhuddas just in one room. They were doing construction at the top so we had to go down to hike all the way back up to another area. We also saw a family of monkeys jumping off a hut into a tree (pretty sure this is my first time seeing a monkey not in captivity-- pretty cool). It was HOT! We tried to hike up to a cemetery up at the top of the hill, but it got a little jungly and slippery and muddy. We didn’t see any other tourists at all and thought it would be best to turn around.
There was a mall near the metro stop, so we got McDonalds soft serve ice cream cones. They have never tasted more delicious. We have stopped at home to refresh from the hot day and then our plan is to go see the lights of the city and the light show across the Hong Kong Harbor tonight!
Just want to let you know I arrived safely in Hong Kong. We had fantastic stopovers in Seattle and Vancouver with whirlwind tours of both cities. It was a long day. In Seattle we went to Pike's Place Market and in Vancouver we explored the harbor and downtown area for a little bit. We tried to find the Olympic venues, but most were disappointing or not easy enough for us to get to. And I survived the 13-hour flight from Vancouver to Hong Kong :) Actually the flight was fairly productive as I organized 6 years worth of photos plus all my school files! It really has been amazing how well everything has worked out on this trip!
HONG KONG is AMAZING!!!! :) We've had a flurry of activity and experienced what most tourists would only experience in a week. We arrived in Hong Kong about 6:00 am local time. We were able to catch the train to Kowloon (other side of the harbor from Hong Kong where we are staying) and an airport shuttle (that was an adventure) that serendipitously had a stop at a hotel directly across from where we're staying. I was awe-struck at my first sights of Asia. It is very beautiful, green, and HUMID!! I've never sweat so much in my life and my hair is barely shoulder-length since it's curled up so much. It is a complete "mass of humanity" as mom would say :) Definitely high-density population. I'm especially amazed by all the apartment buildings-- they are so tall, but so thin. And dad would love this-- the construction "scaffolding" is all made of bamboo poles strung together. It looks a little precarious to have buildings supported by bamboo, but I guess is very strong.
Saturday morning we checked in, showered, and got cleaned up. Then off for a day of sight-seeing. We ventured down Nathan Road (famous shopping district-- Michelle and Natalie would love, minus the insane humidity) to the Hong Kong harbor. The harbor is beautiful and you can see the tall building Batman jumps off in Dark Knight. We were "surveyed' by some elementary school children practicing their English and they gave us postcards as souvenirs-- so cute! We walked down the Star Walk (HK version of Chinese Grummen Theater walk) and visited the modern art museum (mostly for the air conditioning, but I was excited). We tried a fairly hole-in-the-wall Japanese place for dinner. I have duly noted that "seafood" as an adjective entails a different combination here than it probably would at home, including octopus, eel, and a couple other things I didn't recognize and would probably be better not knowing anyway. On our walk back, we explored the Kowloon Park which is like Central Park, Chinese-style and explored a jade market. A lady tried to rip me off by selling me a fake pearl pendant. Pshh, I know what I'm looking for :) We also made a 7-11 run (luckily there are three per block) to stock up on water. I think it was probably about an hour before I was totally out at about 7:00. Granted, I probably had a total of 6 hours of sleep in the previous two days. Our hard-as-a-board beds couldn't have felt better :)
Today (Sunday) has been amazing! We attended an English branch in Hong Kong in a beautiful church building-- it reminds me of the Manhattan Temple/chapel. As we were on the subway, looking like confused tourists searching our map, a girl approached and asked if we were going to church. She showed up the way :) During Sunday School 4 of our Xiamen group showed up-- they've been here since Thurs and leave tomorrow for the Public Administration conference-- which was fun. After church, a sister invited us to her home for lunch with the other Young Single Adults. Turns out she is the wife of Asia Area President (which area that covers more than half the world's population--India, China, Mongolia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, etc.)! They live in an apartment on the south part of Hong Kong island with a Beautiful view of the bay. We had a fabulous lunch of chicken fajitas (so grateful for familiar food after yesterday!) and met many people from all over the world. We chatted with President Perkins afterward and it turns out he was mission companions with Governor Huntsman (who we're trying to visit while in Beijing) and also gave us a great contact for someone to talk to for a perspective of Asian government relations that will hopefully pan out!
After lunch, we took a taxi to the top of Victoria Peak. Unfortunately it was very foggy, but we could see a small portion of the Hong Kong skyline. There is a mall at the top of the mountain and we enjoyed some great piano entertainment. We took the walking trail down the mountain and it totally felt like we were in a jungle. It was very mystically foggy, jungly, and beautiful. Oh and did I mention the humidity? Yeah, it's hot. Pictures to come, but I must say, they don't capture the majesty and beauty. The trail was really steep, but a fun walk. At the bottom of the mountain, we ended up in a city botanical garden with zoo-like exhibits-- so cool. We made it back to our hotel-- we're getting our bearings.
So, tomorrow we're going to go check out the Temple (our Temple) and then Ten Thousand Bhuddas Temple and do a little more exploring around the area. It has been an AWESOME trip so far! My fears that Asia would be too foreign and inaccessible have been dashed and I'm totally loving it here!
Thursday, June 10, 2010
As a start, today I left Salt Lake around 7:30 am and arrived in Seattle. I'd never been to Seattle before and my impression of the city is resounding approval! We visited Pike's Place Market and I got to see the live version of the motivational organizational behavior movie I have seen about 3 times. I love outdoor markets like that. After that layover, I had the best 20 minute flight of my life to Vancouver. Vancouver is gorgeous. While I was somewhat disappointed in the city, the airport is fabulous and gorgeous!
PS. Please excuse any grammatical errors. I have now accumulated 2.5 hrs of sleep in 48 hours... all in the pursuit of being able to sleep through this 13 hour confinement :) Wish me luck.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Whew. So the time period from March 19 until now feels like it lasted 3... maybe 4 weeks yet at the same time seems like years ago. So much has happened!
MPA Closing Social Ball
Romney love at Amy & Billy's Wedding
Today I read I book that I chose! I've missed that :)