Monday, December 31, 2012

Day One

My first experiences have kind of been a shock which I think has helped me acclimate a little faster. My first meal I pulled bone and cartilage out of just about everything (I gagged a little). The first night I found a mini tarantula in the bathroom and I took my bucket shower with a nice little frog. My first day in town I saw several naked men. I'm not just talking about them urinating on the side of the street or just wearing underwear. They were straight-up-naked and like 4 feet from me. I was a bit uncomfortable but what can you do? I also had to ride a motorcycle with one of the native workers but you're not supposed to touch the opposite gender or show any affection, or even be alone with them. I could not hold on the bike because the roads are SO AWFUL so I put my arms around him... let's just say that was another moment I'd like to forget. So, I'm embarrassing myself like a normal American.

I don't know if I have explained to people what I'm actually doing here... I'm working with an organization called RisingStar which is stationed in Provo and here in Chennai. They primarily work with curing leprosy as well as local construction projects and they have their own school here on campus for the children of leprosy affected families. It's actually a really nice school and they even have people in the area trying to get their children in it. The reason why is because here they teach English which will improve the job options of these kids tremendously and because class sizes are smaller. There are only 20 kids per class here and in the public schools they have 60-70 kids in a class. People from all over the world pay to come volunteer in the school/colony and my job is to be their coordinator. I'm in charge of the leprosy colonies so I take the volunteers out daily and teach them what to do and help them become comfortable with the people they work with. I also help in the school and with anything else they need.

The colony I visited yesterday was quite the experience. I don't have any groups at the moment so it was just me and the medical team who went so I did just about every station. In the colonies we take their glucose level to check for diabetes, take blood pressure/pulse, remove bandages, clean wounds, oil, and then wrap them up and send them off with medication. I'm in rural India so these colonies are just isolated villages. They have their own businesses and such going on so they're pretty functional. The problem is that Indians think leprosy is a curse and not something curable so they shun them from society. Many will not get treatment because they are afraid to admit that they have it. So this is where RisingStar comes to help. I feel so bad for the patients though. It looks so painful. They have no fingers or toes. Their eyes dry out and they go blind. Yesterday I cleaned out huge ulcers on their feet... many were infected and oozing. But they can't feel them so I guess I shouldn't feel so bad. It was really fun believe it or not. I'll post some pictures of the colony next time when I'm not so busy working the stations.

Here are some pictures of my house/campus.

Mango/Coconut Orchards. We're on 14 acres of land in the middle of nowhere. It's gorgeous! 

The School (The Gem of this side of town)

 Soccer field/track for the kids
Where we get the water...
 Beyond the wall of campus. Cobras, scorpions, monkeys, you name it. 

Welcome to India! I will post pictures of the colonies as soon as I get them. Happy New Years! (I just slept for New Years... there was NO way I was leaving campus and I was tired). 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

21, 22, and some

I suck at this blog thing. I never wrote about my last two accomplishments prior to my 22nd birthday. Fortunately, they are related to what the blog will NOW be about. 21: apply for India program. 22: Choose a place to go for Winter (I almost changed my mind for South America).

Guess what? I'm in the scary place of India and I have no idea what I have gotten myself into. I was secretly hoping that India ports would be shut down so I had to spend the next four months in Germany. I had a minor meltdown on the way from Denver to Germany. And everything worked out sooo I'm here and it's exactly what I expected. Super humid, dirty, busy, and weirdly gorgeous!

I'm afraid that I have blood clots from my flight over here. I slept the ENTIRE time in the sitting position... how can someone sleep for 22 hours on a plane and then get home and sleep more? This morning I'm having weird cramps in my hips. Let's pray my body doesn't hate me enough to produce a blood clot! Well, if it doesn't now then it will eventually.

My coworkers here call this fat-camp because you lose so much weight. So we will see how much weight I actually have to lose. I may come back a skeleton. This one time I went with my friend to the vet because her dog needed a shot or something. The vet told me that their dog was super overweight.... which it was, and they said the best way to tell is when you pet the dog you should be able to feel their ribs but not see them. If you can't feel their ribs then they're too fat. It can't be too much different for humans, right? So if I see my ribs then I'm too skinny... but not until then.

Overall, day one is good, a little stressful because the accents are really really thick. Much more than Trevor Carver's (my friend who served his mission here who likes to speak with an accent sometimes). I cannot pronounce ANYONE's name, unless they're Christian and their name is Elizabeth Mary (that's a real name). Here are some of the kid's names... Rajamanikan, Jeevanantham, Vijayalakshmi, Manodhaya... Yep. I'll probably get it when I'm leaving. Maybe. But the kids are soooooooo cuuuuuute. They all have lice so I have to scrape my head daily. Another worry to add to my list. But it will be great! I'm excited. I head to one of the leprosy colonies tomorrow to meet my new friends. I will be sure to write about any of my experiences. From what I hear, it can get nasty -- like maggots in wounds nasty. I'll try to spare you any gagging details but I will definitely inform about the general idea. I'm just hoping I can avoid getting some parasite, living in the bathroom for the entire trip because of the food, getting lice, or Japanese encephalitis/malaria. Lucky me we live next to rice patties. What did the vaccination nurse specifically tell me to avoid, yep, rice patties. Wish me luck!

Let me leave you with a list of things to have while on a long flight. This will save your life.
1. Take baby aspirin prior to flying: it will prevent blood clots.
2. Head/neck pillow. I paid $15 for one at the airport and was kind of mad about it. I could not have spent a better $15. I slept so much better and I didn't have to lean on the person next to me.
3. Snacks. The airplane food is awful. Like MTC food reheated 10 times and left to boil in pulper water.
4. Empty water bottle. You can take it through security, fill it up while you're in the airport and then you don't have to pay for a water bottle! OR dehydrate when you arrive in your country and can't find a store.
5. Over-ear headphones. After about 3 hours your ears will be screaming if you have in-ear headphones. And if you have a flight like mine... there were so many freaking children. Headphones saved me.
6. Put spare underwear and your meds in your carry on. I lost my checked bag in Mexico... I wore the same clothes for two days and it was... interesting to say the least. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

20: Ditch Spanish!

So, I'm doing a Spanish minor and I honestly haven't enjoyed the classes that much. This semester has actually been pretty nice but I still didn't want to go to ANY of my classes on my birthday. Spanish was the only one which didn't have a required quiz so I skipped it to take an exam instead. It wasn't that great of a trade because we watched a movie but I just needed to ditch a class on my birthday. :)

I feel like an idiot in that class. I have a very literal mind and it's an advance poetry class. I cannot think figuratively so my explanations for the metaphors are just embarrassing. I feel like the man with the fake mustache in this video. I'm just not a poet....  Enjoy!

19: Extreme Birthday Food

So the rest of these things occurred on my birthday which was fabulous! On my birthday I decided that I was not going to eat any of my own food which was probably good because I haven't been to the grocery store in a few weeks.

So what did I eat?

Breakfast: Einstein Pumpkin and walnut bagel with honey- cream cheese spread
Lunch: Slab Pizza- Thai pizza... seriously delicious
Snack: Trail mix: almonds, blueberries, mangoes, and apricots
Dinner: All you can eat pasta at Olive Garden

That's not it. Here's the list of food I ate this week. I still haven't really been grocery shopping.
This is Mon-Fri....
-Cafe Rio
-Einsteins Bagels
-Slab Pizza
-Olive Garden
-Bombaii House

I hope your birthdays were as great as mine in the food department. I have great friends.

18: Midnight Bike Rides

I like midnight and I love my bike so this one had to happen. This goes along with my irresponsible decision to be more relaxed. Yes, I have to plan being irresponsible so I guess it doesn’t totally count. Since school has started I have gone to bed after midnight only a handful of times. I have 8 am classes so it’s death if I don’t get to bed by midnight. Instead of being a grandma all of the time I decided to destroy my sleep schedule one night a week.  What could I possibly do in Provo after midnight besides check out Pinterest and watch Netflix? Ride my bike! I bring a friend or two so it’s not too dangerous. I also have my helmet so I won’t die as quickly. So one night a week I go out and coast the empty streets and it’s fabulous. If you’ve never done it, I highly recommend it. 

I will post pictures soon of the last bike ride we did. They're currently on my friend's phone. :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

17: Buy something expensive

I don't like to buy expensive things often. I somehow convinced myself that college students shouldn't buy expensive things. Ever. Which is probably true but so many of my friends buy stuff they want like guitars or cars. I've been looking back on my entire college existence and I haven’t purchased anything I've wanted that cost more than $40. I've picked up things here and there like shirts and socks… some shoes but no big purchases. So I decided I was going to buy something I wanted that cost a lot of money.  I've put money aside so this isn't like a huge impulse buy. So, what did I decide? 

I bought the iPhone 5. OH YES!!! New phone, new ipod, data! I currently have a grandma phone so this is like going from sleeping on a barn’s dirty floor to a king sized bed with a down comforter. I’m excited and you should be too. I’ll probably contact you more and actually answer your phone calls and texts! 

16: Get code to the copy machine

This one was a secret goal that I've had for a while. I’m a TA for a course in the health science department and I pretty much live in the office. The secretaries and I are good friends. Like really good friends… I know all of the secretary’s sons and we frequently sit in the office eating candy talking about our weeks and exchanging good throw-up stories. For some reason I really like funny vomit stories so if you have any I’d love to hear them.  Most of these conversations occur when we’re waiting for my copies to get done. I can’t go in and make my own because all of the machines have codes that only the secretaries and professors know. I wanted to be in the loop. Why? I have no idea. So I made it a goal to get the codes. The funny thing is that I didn't even have to try for this one. I just continued doing my every day routine and one day I asked for some copies and they showed me how to use the machine. That happened a few times and then they just straight up gave me the code and access to the machine. Either they like me a lot or everyone and anyone has access to the machine and I was the last one to know.  Nonetheless, I felt accomplished. 

I don't have pictures for this one either. I didn't want to tell the secretaries about my goal and ask them for a picture of me with the machine. Maybe that should be the next goal...

15: Kong Cone

For those of you who have lived in Provo, you know about the soft serve at Macy’s.  Macy’s is one of the cheaper grocery stores in the area and they have super cheap ice cream. It’s usually less than a dollar. So you show up to grocery shop, pick up a cone, and enjoy it while you shop. It's seriously great. 

Well, they also are known for the Kong Cone. It’s like a foot of soft serve on top of the cone. Only the strong can conquer this beast of a cone. You can’t even hold it up, they have to put it in a large cup or it will topple over. I decided I was going to eat an entire Kong Cone and to make it even better I was going to do it without using a spoon. Great idea, I know.

So I tell my friends about this super great idea and my friend Jordan was game. We decided to have an epic evening by scaring ourselves to death by watching the movie Signs in the middle of a field while eating the Kong Cone. We made dinner which was a bad idea because I went into eating this cone with a partially full stomach. We buy the cone and before I even reached the rim of the cup I was feeling gross. We get to the field and it’s windy so it’s FREEZING. After a few minutes I decided that this was the worst idea in the world and dumped the cone. I didn’t even eat that much and I felt ill. Also, the movie wasn’t even scary. I was just cold and uncomfortable.  So this was kind of a fail but I’m not trying it again. We left our cups of ice cream for the Aliens.  

I have no pictures because I thought I would attempt this a few times before I would bring my camera... not the case. So google Macy's Kong Cone if you're curious. I'll post a picture later if I decided that I want to do this again. 

14: Learn to Make Bread

I’m obsessed with food.  I’ll eat almost anything unless it has cheese on it… I hate the cheese. Well, when I was making this list I knew I had to incorporate some cooking goals because I like variety in my diet. I have never made bread so I figured this would be a good addition to the list. Turns out a lot of bread recipes online want you to use a bread maker. What the heck is that? I swear all of the homemade bread I’ve had didn’t require one of these things. After a few of these recipes came up I got bored with searching the internet – I was probably only searching for 6 minutes- and I went to the plethora of cookbooks sitting on my shelf.  As I was flipping through the book I came across this delicious breadstick recipe. I remember during my high school years my family  would have Halloween feasts with soup, punches, and these breadsticks. I was so addicted to them that I would eat until I was sick and then keep eating. I really like bread…  So OBVIOUSLY I made these. They were good. My roommates devoured them. So they were a hit! Wahooo for bread making skills.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

13: Moonlight Hike

This one also happened a while ago. I have no idea how I spaced it when I wrote all of the other ones… Well, I went hiking with some friends from work the first week of school up the Spanish Fork hot springs. I decided to ditch the homework and do something fun with my evening. For those of you who’ve lived with me, you know that NEVER happens. I’m a boring person so if I do anything mildly spontaneous I give myself a pat on the back… as does everyone else. 

Anyway, I really wanted to go on a hike without any flashlights. I didn’t plan this one to be that way but once we got to the trail and realized we only had a handful of working kiddie flashlights.  My group decided to test our night vision and we made it down alive. Success story number 13.

The only camera we had died on the trip so I have no pictures but I'll post a fun song instead that has nothing to do with anything. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

12: Conquer and irrational fear.

I recently developed this irrational fear of heights. I know what you're thinking, this is probably some weird psychology phenomena that happens to 5% of people aged 20-30. (Yes, I made that up).  It just happened one day while I was in a lift at work and I realized, I could just plummet to my death right now. I was maybe 20 feet off of the ground at the time so nothing really bad. I blame risk management. I was just briefed by a risk management official about scary things. He told me that the machine I was using was so old that it was not approved by OSHA. He then told me, in detail, all of the lift accidents and deaths that have happened to college students in the past 10 years. Most of which happened on NEWER and SAFER machines. This was the birth of my fear of heights. Since then (which was sometime in the Spring). I have been nervous hiking, off-roading, climbing ladders, climbing onto the roof (which isn't completely stupid now that I think about it), and many more I can't think about.

So the other night when I was working on this list I thought, I need to do more things I don't like and this sounded great.......... My last scheduled day at the MTC I volunteered to clean the ceilings which are really really high and require "the lift". Which I have successfully avoided for the past 4 months.  I have a picture to show you. I spent like 25 minutes setting up the machine so there was no way I was falling over. Thank you public health and risk management trainings! My major has weirdly come in a lot of handy...

I feel kind of bad because I didn't actually clean that much. I was so concerned about not dying that I took FOREVER. So, after going up and down a few times I cured my fear of heights! Well, maybe. We'll see, I'm going hiking soon. :) I was no longer nervous about it by the end of the shift so that's a good start. Here are some pictures which probably make me look like a poor worker and disclaimer: I look TERRIBLE. It's a curse of the cafeteria, no one can be attractive. We don't want to distract the missionaries.

Also, I am aware that the date is wrong. Nothing is up to date in the cafe. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

11: Quit the MTC.

I didn't even add this to the list but somehow it happened. When I was making this list back in July I had a few open slots and asked my friends what I should do before I'm 22... many of them told me to quit one of my jobs. I have 3 jobs and I'm doing research with a professor so I'm really really busy all of the time. Working evenings cleaning a cafeteria is pretty disgusting and I looked and smelled terrible all summer. However, the job is really fun because you just meet people all of the time. It's super easy to make friends and the customers are probably the nicest customers I'll ever have in my life.

Well, the other day I was hiking and I had this epiphany that I'm too busy. Weird, right? So I called the next day and put in my two week notice. Two days later though ones of my bosses pulled me into the office and told me the other supervisor also quit so he was concerned. So somehow I'm on-call now? Well, today is my last day of being on the schedule and I'll go in a few more times this semester. But I have so much more time. I can't remember the last time I was home for the sun to set. It's a nice change.

Here are a bunch of pictures from work that I didn't take so there are a lot of the same people. Also, there are some pictures of me after work.... which are worse. Enjoy. I'm also eating in most of them so that's why my face looks weird.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

10: Do something out of character?

I was looking over my list and I wanted to do something out of character. That could be a lot of things but for some reason I decided to embarrass myself the third day of school. So,the first week of school there is a TON of free food and just stuff. I of course take full advantage of it so I can postpone grocery shopping for as long as possible. I don't think I would hate grocery shopping so much if I had a car. For some reason, no one needs to go to the store the same time as I do so I end up eating hobo pasta dishes for several days in a row or I ride my bike like 3 times a week because it wont all fit in the packpack.

ANYHOO, I was people watching in the main square of campus, eating a free hot dog, when someone announced free t-shirt giveaway. I am crazy about free t-shirts. I made it a goal to get as many free shirts as possible last semester. I got like 5 in two weeks and then I got too busy to think about it. Well, this time around I was more than game. I stood in a large crowd and tried to grab the shirts they were throwing at us but being as short as I am... I didn't stand much of a chance. I left kind of disappointed until they announced that they would do it again in 20 minutes. At this point I became determined to get that shirt. I sat on a bench and planned strategies instead of doing my homework. I have no idea why I was so intense about it. I started blabbing to this poor boy next to me about the free t-shirts and told him he needed to go join the fun. I think he was confused.

The announcer then told us we had one minute so I pushed to the front of the crowd so I could be the person who crawls on the ground for the poorly thrown shirts. I figured that was the ONLY way I was getting a shirt. Well, they started throwing them and all of them were going over my head. Until this one was coming straight towards me. Next thing I know I'm on the ground chasing it. I don't know how many people I hit on the way down but they didn't follow me. However, the shirt rolled into the hands of this other girl! UGH. I was so mad and I must have looked crazy because she just stared at me and started apologizing. She then asked me if I wanted it... uh, YES I WANT IT. I know I should have declined, but I went through a lot of effort for this stupid shirt. So she handed it to me. hahaha. I immediately looked around and hoped no one I knew saw that happen. I don't usually jump around with crazy in my eyes over free stuff.

That's not the best part. I go back to my seat and the poor boy who was next to me earlier to saw that I got a shirt and we started talking (like real conversation, not my crazy babble at him). He then asked for my number. Oh the magic of Brigham Square. I guess irrational crazy girls get the guys. Who would have thought?

9: All Nighter

SO this happened awhile back and as I was looking at my list I realized I never wrote about it. I have stayed up countless nights with my dear roommate Maureen many times this summer. One time she got in this car accident at 2 am and I had to borrow my roommate's car to pick her up. We spent the wee hours of the morning waiting in an empty emergency room. She was perfectly fine except for the psychological damage from losing her car... We also stayed up all night writing our talks for Church. I also stayed up until 4 am so I could take her to work. There's a long list.

Anyway, I really just wanted to stay up all night doing something fun. Well, I ended up staying up all night... with Maureen. Surprise! I guess other people don't do that intentionally when they're in their 20s. Maybe Maureen and I haven't grown up yet? Well, we talked about funny things and watched bizarre foreign films until sunrise. It was fabulous. I didn't get any pictures to document the night but I do have one which pretty much sums it up. Enjoy. :D

Monday, August 27, 2012

8: Day with no shoes!

I really really love not wearing shoes in the summer. So I decided to do a day without wearing shoes! I did have to wear them at work otherwise I would be barefoot in dish-room slime and whatever surprises lurk in the bathrooms of the MTC. I did take them off for every other part of the day, including the 2 mile walk home. Turns out my feet aren't as calloused as I thought...

7: Roadtrip

So I went to YELLOWSTONE!!! I'm not sure if all of you consider that a road trip coming from Provo... but I was in the car for over 20 hours during a two day period so I think it counts. I also wasn't that prepared clothing-wise. I left with the clothes on my back, a backpack containing a hoodie and an extra pair of socks. Thank goodness I brought a sleeping bag and pillow I thought I was going to freeze to death. It took all morning for my toes to thaw out. I even slept with those handwarmers in my clothes. It specificallly says in the packaging not to sleep with them- someone somewhere must have got burns or something. I was willing to take the risk. Also, Old Faithful was not that exciting. I was expecting an explosion! Not the case. 

Here's a picture of my nasty state. I got really gross really fast... 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

6: Paint a mural or an 80s Dance Backdrop!

I recently painted a 6 by 7 foot backdrop for an 80s dance. I wanted to paint a large mural this summer and I had the perfect opportunity. Here are some pictures. (that's my roommate asleep on the couch, she's 5'8" so you can see how big it is!)

Here is my apartment. Some of them look like they're straight from an 80s movie. 

Here's my neighbor jumping in front of the background. I like how it turned out. :)

5: One less NIghtmare

As I sat in church making this list -and not paying attention-I thought of a few things that I could do which are completely out of character. For example, kissing 22 boys before I'm 22... that one probably wont happen for obvious reasons. Also, quitting my job without 2 weeks notice and making a big scene about it. And many many other funny ones which may or may not happen.

I did do something that I have been stubborn about for years. I bought a helmet for my bike... Many of you know, I am obsessed with my bike. I would rather by a $2000 road bike than a car. (Strange, I know). However, my whole life I have hated bike helmets. My parents said I could not ride my bike if I was not wearing a helmet when I was a kid. I had to wear this hideous boy helmet with a huge eagle on it. I got made fun of and I have been traumatized ever since. But being the daughter of an emergency room doctor and a public health major I should know better. But let's be real here, there's nothing that screams nerd more than wearing a bike helmet. I could keep going but I got over it. When I say "I got over it" I mean I had too many nightmares that I killed myself on the way home from work. So $45 bucks or my brain?

Here's a picture of my sweet bike (The knife) and my new helmet.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

4: The freedom of the Chase? Building Credit!

I know I should have done this a little earlier in my college career but it's better to get this done sooner than later right? So, this is my first credit card. Yay for the practical things on my list. Also, don't worry, I scratched out the numbers in this picture so no one will steal all of my money. 

Also, if life were a musical I would probably be doing this right now with some friends. ENJOY!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

2 and 3: Concert and Meet someone famous!

Josh Radin Concert. Fabulous! Super friendly guy, excellent performer, wonderful. Also, I hit 2 birds with one stone with the checklist. :)

Here are some other famous people I have met in my life over the years... There's not that many. I apparently don't get out much. I did see Andy Garcia once at Disney Land but we didn't take a picture because he was on the other side of a fence. I was also in first grade so I didn't care at all. I'm surprised I even knew who that man was.
Jeff from the Bachelorette? I've never actually seen the show but my roommates were excited that I met him sooo, yay?

Also, Forrest from Hellogoodbye! He's the main singer if you don't know who that is. It was the best concert of my high school days. He was super strange but it was enjoyable nonetheless. Also, I look like I'm 15 in this picture. I had braces until I was a senior in high school so from age 14-18, I look exactly the same. Thank goodness that changed. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Song of Day: Kinna Grannis

Jelly Bean Song

1: Create a blog

So, I decided to do 22 things before my 22nd birthday. So creative, right? I actually stole the idea from another friend so not really. Anyway, create a blog is somewhere on the list so 1 down and 21 more to go. I should be posting my other 21 tasks by September 26th! In the meantime, be prepared to be entertained by doodles, music videos, and me embarrassing myself 21 more times.