Sunday, May 29, 2016

In Utah

I don't have much to say this time. I did end up buying the Honda CR-V. I gave in when the same dealership got a car delivered that evening which was in the color I want and the specs I want. I could not resist. I still feel guilty for spending that much money on a car, but I love it! I love the voice prompt too for calls and navigation. It is pretty cool.

I put my old car up for sale, but did not have many contact me. I am hoping that I would get more people that are interested. I guess now is not the time to sell a car since it is in the middle of the semester. I really hope I can sell it sometime soon. It is a good car and I am asking less than the normal price. Luckily I was able to get it registered and insured for a month. So, as long as I sell it within a month, I should be fine...

I enjoyed driving the new car to Utah this weekend. This is the first time I drive to Utah and not have back pains. I love that I can adjust the seat easily to avoid discomfort.

I am going to spend the night with my friend Emily and head to Rexburg tomorrow.  I stayed at a hotel last night and did not get any sleep. I am so tired. The ceiling squeaks and the people upstairs were up until 3 am or so last night, so it was very noisy.. I did however enjoy the pool and hot tub.

I met with my friend Alissa in Bountiful and had a nice lunch. I also saw a friend of mine who is a dentist and he cleaned my teeth for free. It's nice to know people like that ;-)

My students have their second exams this week. I hope they do better than they did on the first one. We will see. The semester has been going well. It has gone by fast! I can't believe it is half way over already. It feels like we just got started.

Sorry this is short, there isn't much to say. 
 



Sunday, May 22, 2016

Car and House

Our ward split last week. So, we lost many people who had callings and our bishop is trying his best to make new callings and organize things. So, we just had sacrament meeting this morning and no other meetings. It feels weird to have a short church meeting.

It was very nice however to have a normal size ward. 750 was way too big...we are now down to 350 and it feels much better. Hopefully I can get to know some people in the ward.

So, I could not buy a house until next year. Apparently I need 2 years of employment history in the US before I can get a home loan. But, I am going to buy a car. I really don't have that much money and would rather not be in debt, but I would like a 4-wheel drive and a nicer car. I have never had a nice car and now I can afford it, so I think I should get it. Sadly when I start thinking of all the people in the world that are struggling financially I tend to feel guilty for pampering myself and getting something that may seem unnecessary.  But, I do take long road trips (to Utah mainly) a lot and having a reliable good comfortable car is great.

So, after going back and forth on whether I should go with the Toyota RAV4 or the Honda CR-V, I think I settled on the Honda. Talk to me tomorrow and I may have changed my mind. I know they are both good cars and I know some of you like one or the other, but I like the features in the Honda I found and like the color better (a bit less red so I won't get stopped by the police too much). 




I will put a 4-Sale sign on my Toyota and hope it would sell fast. 

Things are going well at work. The semester is going well and starting to get a bit busy. My students are great, but many of them are not doing so well. I am not sure why. It could be that it is Spring and so nice outside that they are doing a lot of fun things and not spending enough time studying ;-)

The weather has been nice sometimes but recently has been raining a lot. It has not been that cold. But, the other day we had another crazy hail storm. I am glad I was not outside for that one...It was more fun to watch from inside where it is warm.

I will be driving to Utah next weekend I think. I am just not sure what I am doing or where I am staying yet. But I am looking forward to a long weekend and looking forward to taking a trip in a new car (hopefully).
 
 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Camping

For this post I just wanted to share some pictures from our camping trip. This is the first time I go camping and I must say it was a lot of fun. I have always wanted to do this, but worried about how inconvenient it would be, sleeping in the wilderness in a tent with no water to wash up and no bathroom.

So, thanks to my friend Danae, I was able to camp in style. Her trailer is amazing and very comfortable. I must say that when she told me I would sleep on the table, I was a bit worried, but it turned out to be very comfortable and spacious.



This is inside the trailer:


And the table where I slept is on the left. It folds down into a bed.


We camped at the Warm River camp grounds. I loved hearing the sound of the water, and the river reminded me of my favorite childhood place, Alfashkha, near the dead sea. Fresh water springs and clear water streams. It was just so peaceful to wake up to the sounds of the birds singing...





Danae said they call it warm river because it does not freeze in the winter. Well it certainly was NOT warm. I tried to put my feet in it and walk around, but could not last more than 30 seconds. My feet almost froze because it was so cold!

We went to the warm river spring (it is water that comes out of a mountain). Aside from the main area where the water comes out, there were a few places like this where water just seems to come out of the ground. Amazing!



Main Spring:




 The second day we drove to Mesa Falls.. It was so nice in the morning that we were able to see a rainbow across the fall, beautiful.







On the way to Mesa Falls we saw the snow pole. Can you imagine having snow this high? Insane...I'm glad we were there in the spring.
 

On the way to Mesa Falls we saw this tree where worms have made two nests. I don't know if you can see them, but I have never seen that many worms and on a tree of all places. I don't know what they are, maybe they will be butterflies, not sure.
 

We finally saw the Tetons (mountains) as we drove on a dirt road. First time I see them because last time when we went with my cousin it was so cloudy we could see nothing.



Grilling dinner...
 
There is a pretty yellow bird that was playing in this tree. Can you find it?

Chillin' by the fire...the best part...other than the fact that you smell like smoke for the rest of the day...
 

Needless to say I had a great relaxing weekend. How was yours?

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Settling in Rexburg

This semester has been amazing. I have wonderful students who are diligent and hardworking (for the most part). It has been also a light load for me compared to last semester as I have taught the same classes before.

I have been thinking of buying a house. I looked a few houses and decided that the older ones are not worth looking at, because they look so run down. I would rather pay a bit more and get a nicer home.

I found one that I like (for the most part), but it is not in the right location...well, the neighborhood has many young families and I feel I don't belong. So, I am trying to decide if I want a house I like, or a location I like. It is a hard decision.  Here is a picture of that house:

 

I think I would ideally like to find a lot of land in a place that I want and build my own home...but that is too much hassle and tends to be expensive. So, we will see what happens. I am not even sure the bank will give me a loan. They said they will check on whether or not they will give loans to non-US citizens.

I am not too happy about where I live because my apartment does not get any sun and it is dark all the time. I would also love to have a garden because I am so sick of eating vegetables that don't taste good.  I even tried to buy some tomato plants as an experiment and am going to see if they will live on my balcony with no sun.  




The land and nature have been very important to me growing up. My cousin and I played outside all day every day. We discovered new plants and insects and felt so good when we were outside.  I miss that a lot. I know that Idaho does not provide much opportunity for being outside due to the cold weather most of the year, but even have a few months to enjoy the outdoors is good.  

My friend gave me these pretty flowers for my birthday. I think they will die soon though because they need 6 hours of sun! Ya, I can't provide that while living in this apartment! But, i will enjoy them while they last...



 The weather has been so nice. I love the spring here where everything is so beautiful. I was so sick of seeing bare trees on campus, it is much nicer now... Next to the Ricks building where I work:


 I will try and take time to enjoy the outside beauty while it lasts.

Happy Mother's day for all of you who celebrate that today. I have not posted anything because in my culture we celebrate Mother's day on the first day of Spring, March 21st. I miss my mother and all these talks about mothers today made me very homesick.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Why is life hard?

I wanted to thank everyone that made my birthday special. I got a few cards and gifts and my students sang to me that day.
 
Today my whole family back home celebrates Easter...I guess it is good to have two days where we reflect on the Atonement.

I went to the temple this past week. I have never been sad at the temple, but this time I was. For some reason I started pondering and thinking about all the trials people have in life. I thought about what I went through in my life, watching people get shot, arrested or beaten, living under curfew, and being humiliated and persecuted. 

But then I started thinking of all the suffering others are going through, being driven out of their homes, cities that were destroyed, people that were killed, women that are being sold as sex slaves, children that are suffering, poverty, sadness and despair...

I could not bare it and started to cry. I cried because I could totally feel everyone's pain and anguish and cries for help.  I continued to cry until I realized that I don't have to carry all the pain, sickness and death found in the world. I don't have to because the Savior did...That is exactly why we have an atonement and that is exactly why suffering and pain has an end.

When the Savior comes again, He will make it all right.  He will come in His glory, open up the heavens and descend to earth and  Satan will have no influence anymore. As for those that have suffered: "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." (Revelations 21: 4)
 
When my friend Emily and I talked about my experience in the temple she reminded me that we need challenges so we can grow.  God does not willingly cause suffering, however, He does allow it so that we can grow and learn from it.  Emily shared with me this quote:
"For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn't understand growth, it would look like complete destruction." Cynthia Occelli 


 As I reflect on my life I can see that the reason I am who I am today is because of the trials I faced. They refined me and strengthened me and solidified my faith.

We have a sister in our ward/church who had a car accident and because of that became unable to do many of the things she used to be able to do, like speak or move or walk. She often expresses her gratitude for the accident because it strengthened her faith.

We can survive hard times, we can hang on...but we are not meant to just hang on. We are meant to stand strong and have a foundation of faith that will allow us to overcome our challenges and rise triumphant.  We are here on earth to become the person Heavenly Father wants us to become. And that would require a lot of maintenance. Knocking out imperfect parts and doing some restructuring.

I am grateful for a student who showed me that we can rise above all challenges and be strong. He was a drug addict living on the street. Without the support of others, he put his life back together and is now in college. His mother is about to die of cancer in the next few weeks, but he bore a solid testimony that He knows that God loves him and explained how the Savior has helped him carry His heavy burden. The Savior said: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11: 28)

I am so blessed to teach such amazing students every day and learn from their example. The Savior's burden truly is light. If we come unto Him, He will help us and lift us all the way to our mansions above. He still stands with extended pierced hands pleading with us to come unto Him so we can receive help in carrying our heavy load.  May we come unto Him and experience the joy that comes from following Him.