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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More Vacation!

We are taking advantage of my two months off this summer, and it has been wonderful so far. We are off again for two whole weeks! Our first stop is Vernon, BC, Caleb's hometown. We are going to stay with his parents, and my plan is to lay by their pool all day in the much needed warm weather, while Caleb works away on his thesis. I love going to Vernon, it's always so much fun. We're also hopefully going to meet up with some friends of ours there as well. This pic above is us in Vernon almost a whole year ago! Crazy.

Then we will fly to exotic Lethbridge Alberta! Our dear friend (also my ex-boyfriend, and Caleb's best friend...maybe I'll share that story later!) is getting married next weekend! We couldn't be happier for him. I'm also looking forward to seeing my family, and a trip to Calaway Park!

I so wish I could take every summer off.




More blogging to come in a couple weeks!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Free Vacation!

We essentially got a free trip last month to Ottawa. Caleb went to a Philosophy Conference, and commented on a paper at one of the sessions. He got a travel grant from his department to go. I was debating whether I should go or not because Caleb was going to be gone most of the day, and what was I going to do? I am so happy I decided to go! It turned out to be wonderful. I slept in, watched some morning TV, then went shopping and exploring downtown Ottawa. The city is beautiful, and totally bilingual. There were probably more people speaking French than English. We had a fantastic time there. We went and saw the sights, got to relax, and ate some delicious food! I love free trips!!

We went and checked out the Legislative buildings. These pictures are deceiving because we had mostly rainy weather while we were there. We just can't get away from the rain! We had a great time though. A community band set up right in front of the buildings while we were there and played a few songs. It was great.
Caleb, looking stylish with my purse. He puts all his stuff in it, so I think it's fair to make him carry it once in a while! Don't you?

This is my fave picture of the trip.

I just threw in this picture of Caleb, because I love it and I think he's so cute!

We took a tour of the Canadian Mint, and it actually was super interesting! Did you know we make coins for like 30 other countries! Many of which I have been to. I had no idea.

We also visited the National Art Gallery. It was huge, but we stuck mainly with the modern/abstract art sections. That's what we like best. It's just a lot more interesting to look at. They had a lot of really cool stuff there.

So it was a fantastic trip, and I highly recommend visiting!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Puerto Rico - La Isla de Encanta!

Puerto Rico isn't called the Enchanted Island for nothing! A few weeks ago Caleb and I traveled back to my mission, and had an amazing time. We are taking advantage of our travel benefits while we can! We got an inter-airline deal and were able to fly to Puerto Rico with Jet Blue. I honestly didn't know when or how I was able to go back to my mission, but marrying Caleb has paid off! haha. It was such a great trip, and it was so much fun showing Caleb around the island. It was different going back as a "tourist" and not a missionary. When it got to be late at night, I always felt like we needed to go back to the hotel, because we weren't allowed to be out late!

It was fun speaking Spanish, and hearing Caleb's spanish as well! I've posted a few pics below of our adventures!

When we went to pick up our rental car, it wasn't done being cleaned, so they offered us this baby for $2.00 more/day. So we did it, and I felt much safer driving there in the chaos in this thing! It worked out well for us, and we didn't do any damage to it, even though we kind of wanted to to make the insurance worth our while! We did have an incident of locking the keys in the car on the other side of the Island in almost the middle of nowhere. We were visiting a beach and there is a nearby there is a light house. We went and talked to security there asking for a phone so we could call someone. The man responded to our question with a question of his own.."do you guys have a machete?" But he did, like every other Puerto Rican. Turns out machetes make perfect door unlocking tools. He pushed the window in for us while Caleb unlocked the door with a giant machete. He really saved us! These are the cliffs near the light house. Beautiful.

Caleb surfing in Luquillo! I went out with him the day before, and I have to say that surfing is a lot harder, and a lot scarier than it looks!! Caleb was in love though.

This is us on the ferry on our way to a smaller island called Culebra. It has one of the best 10 beaches in the world. When we go to the island, we had the shadiest little bus take us to the beach! I could see the road under my feet and I thought our seats were going to fall through the bottom! It was freaky! But well worth it.

We spent part of a day hiking in the national rainforest. It was beautiful, and did rain. We hiked to this waterfall and Caleb had to really convince me to get in. The water was freezing!!! Due to all of our tropical vacations, we have really become water babies.

We spent a day in Old San Juan exploring the city. We were looking for a place to eat later in the day, and this creepy looking guy comes up to and asks us what we're looking for, because he knows the city like the back of his hand. I said we were looking for somewhere to eat...and I could tell Caleb was freaked out that I even responded to him. He has had situations similar to this where the person has led him to an alley, tried to take his money..etc. But me being super naive kept talking to the guy. It was true that he did know the city! He told us about a new place that we should check out and that he would take us there. So I follow him..meanwhile Caleb is probably so annoyed with me, and freaked out! So he did eventually take us to a cute new place, where we went and ate some delicious authentic Puerto Rican cuisine. Rice and beans, amarillos (fried sweet plaintains), and flan! So good! So the crazy guy didn't end up killing us, and we saw him in the restaurant later...we figured he was working for them trying to promote the place. Maybe they should pick someone a little less creepy next time!

The People

The highlight of this trip was being able to see some of the people I knew and loved on my mission. This is President Rivera. He has been the branch President of one of my areas for years, and it's not looking like he will get released anytime soon. They have very little Priesthood, and it's a tiny branch. He is pretty much running the show by himself. He loved the sister missionaries and helped us out so much. He would do visits with us every Tuesday night, and then buy us delicious burritos...every single week. He has so much faith and dedication. His goal when I was there as a missionary was to have 60 people in church, and it's still his goal now. He was telling me all about it with so much excitement and so much faith. You think he would get down not seeing much success, but he is still so optimistic. I look up to him so much, and hope that I can follow his example in the callings I do, and give it everything I have like he does.
Oh favorite person in the world right here. Augustine Castillo. He's probably in his late 70's now, and was someone I was blessed to see baptized in Luquillo. He is from Cuba, was a Jehova's Witness for most of his life, and stole his wife from a convent who was a nun at the time. He had some crazy stories! He was such a blessing to me in my mission. He has the greatest laugh in the world, and is so dedicated to the church. I was afraid he wouldn't recognize me because it's been a few years, but he sure did. The first thing he told me was that he went to the temple (the closest one is the Dominican Republic, and he got there wheelchair and all) and that he was able to do the work for his wife, who died 20 years ago, and that he was able to be sealed to her. Well tears instantly were rolling down my cheeks. I felt so much joy for him. He was always talking about his wife, and now he can be with her forever. It was so amazing to see him.
This little chica is Amanda! She was my first baptism in the mission.She was so excited to see me and was so funny! She just couldn't believe I was actually there. She is a chatty one and talked a lot! She took us out to this great little place for Mofongo..delicious! It was so great to see her and how much she has grown up! She bought me some little gifts which was so cute, and wrote me a card. In the card she told me that she is planning on going on a mission! How amazing. She is going to be the best little missionary ever! I just love her.

This is Martin, and his god son Freddy. Martin was a miracle baptism of my mission. He came at a time where things couldn't be worse in our area, and I was getting down about it. And my Grandpa had just died the week before as well, things were not going well. We found him trackting...which is crazy, he was ready the moment we found him. He hadn't had any former contact with the church, but he did every single thing we asked him to do, and followed through with every commitment he made, which was amazing for us to see! It rarely happens. I don't know how he was prepared for the gospel, but he was. It was an amazing experience. He is still going strong in the church, and was so happy to see us. We were able to chat, and I learned a lot of things about him that I didn't know before. It was super fun.

Going back was an amazing experience, and I hope to repeat it very soon!