Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Elder Flores.

It may seem like I go home to Southern California, but this year is just special.
My younger brother entered the Mexico MTC today!
Almost a year after I came home from the mission, there is another Flores family missionary out there. Although, my brother was accidentally given an "Elder Quesada" nametag. #twolastnameproblems #weremexican

I was only home for a little bit, but decorating my brother's farewell party, crying as he gave his farewell talk, being surrounded by our extended family of polynesians known as the LB7th ward, and helping my brother pack his things will be some of the memories that I hold on to and cherish these next two years.

Family mission pictures. My mom up top, me in the middle, and my dad below followed by photos of my brother. Funny story when my mom saw my mission tag she said, "oh! You found my mission tag. " I had to remind her that she was not Hna Flores when she served her mission.
Sis Vaifanua definitely thought the jarritos were alcoholic beverages! haha. :) She said they taste just like sodas they have in Samoa.
love ALL these people
Quesadas.
On Sunday we had an "after-party" with a tour of Latin American foods complete with pupusas and chilean empanadas.
Devin took the same black carry-on that I used on my mission, and I gave him the plan of salvation visual aids I made along with my nifty all-in-one missionary pamphlets I made for myself on the mission. It just felt right to pass my "tools" (so to speak) on. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

A trip home.

When you're at BYU law school, you get this really cool thing called "placement break" where you get a week off of school. Usually this break is for students to go and interview at difference places for internships in the summer, but since I already have my internship for the summer I decided to go home for the week. 
It was my brother Devin's birthday week, so on Sunday we had birthday cake complete with candles with colored flames.
It's Devin's last birthday home before he leaves on his mission.
Proof that I was actually there.
Ezra and I didn't get the Mickey Shirt memo.
On Monday, we went to Knotts Berry Farm.
& I definitely had my share of burgers during the week. Burger #1—Johnny Rockets

Papa and I ordered the same burger. Named after my mission city, "the Houston."
I met up with my high school friends!
& had burger #2 at Fronks

We went to celebrate Devin's birthday at Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour. It's become kind of a family favorite.
I ordered the Ice Cream Nachos (again!).
They sang Devin a birthday song to the tune of Indiana Jones.
& gave him a complimentary Ice Cream Sundae, that went to little Sammy.

He was really excited about the candle and cherry, but definitely more excited about the Sundae.


Little Jesse was recognized by the restaurant for finishing their infamous "pigs trough."

My visit was even more special because Devin got to go through the temple. Newport beach has kind of become our family's temple.
Afterwards, we went to Islands where I got burger #3.

Family, thank you for wonderful week home!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A cause/ Soy Chicana. vol. 3

Law school is rigorous.
At the beginning of last semester, my Contracts Professor asked us the question, "why are you here?" as in, why were we in law school... I remember him saying, "some of you would answer because you want to make good money, and you know, that's great, but I would advise you to find something more...A cause." He went on to tell us that this cause had to be something that tugged at our heart strings, something that got us to school in the morning, something that helped us to persevere even when we were tired of reading cases, when we were tired of submitting draft upon draft of our legal briefs; something that gave us the endurance to go on.

I'm getting a joint-degree JD/MPA.
When I explain that i'll be in school for another three years the age old question follows, "so, what do you want to do with that? What kind of law do you want to practice?"
I usually respond with something like:
I want to use my degrees to help further the educational opportunities for underprivileged urban youth.

I knew from about my sophomore year at BYU that I would go on to do the joint-degree program. It was just one of those no question things. I woke up one day knowing that it was exactly what I needed to do. The "why" behind it, well, that has come over time. It's something that is still evolving, but I think I'm headed in the right direction.

When I was a missionary in Baytown, I was working on my grad school applications. I distinctly remember being at the library working on my personal statement. I was sitting at a computer trying to type up some corrections I had made, when I noticed a little boy sitting to the left of me. This boy was working on a project on the life of Emiliano Zapata, and his mother was trying to help him out by telling him in Spanish what to type on the screen. The only problem was, what he was typing was nowhere near what his mother was telling him.

I remember seeing him and thinking, "man, it's too bad I'm a missionary and I only have a limited time to work on my personal statement, so I can't really help this kid out. As soon as I had this thought, it hit me. I AM A MISSIONARY! I was on a mission to forget myself and help others out.

As you can probably guess, I spent the next two hours helping this kid with his homework. While it would be an amazing story if I could tell you that this mother and son duo were converted, our encounter ended with me handing them a pass along card...

After that experience, I was on fire. I thought my life would be made if I could just be a professional tutor and help kids with their homework.

My first job after coming home from the mission was just that. I worked as an after school teacher for a classroom of fourth graders in a school by my house. It was such a happy experience. I know who I want to help, but I'm not sure exactly what my job will entail. Something tells me that I'm not going to law school and MPA school to become a professional tutor.

I do feel though, that the south is calling my name. The South has the fastest growing population of Hispanics. Also, I recently heard this story and felt this warm sensation in my heart and then a week or so later read this story on Politico, and it just kind of solidified the desire for me. Then last week when I was visiting teaching, my VTee recommended that I watch the movie, Lean on Me, & I fell in love. It has become my favorite. The plight of children searching for a good education just warms my soul.

My cause is the cause of my people, my ancestors, and the blood that flows through my veins. Nothing gets my heart going quite like education.

I have faith that when it comes time to graduate, Heavenly Father will show me exactly what it is that I need to do, whom I should serve, and who it is He would have me be.

The plight for a good education is my cause.

I dress up in raza inspired outfits to inspire me during finals week 

                           I get Mexican hot chocolate frappes at the cocoa bean
           

I order piñata socks in order to qualify for free shipping.

& I decorate my planner with images that remind me of why I'm even doing this whole law school thing.
(the words on the planner are from this Calle 13 song.)

See my Vol. 1 here
& Vol. 2 here


Saturday, January 31, 2015

January birthdays.

Everyone deserves to have a wonderful birthday, whether you turn 9 or 22! :) My Tía told me a while back that when her grandchildren have birthdays she invites them over for a sleepover at her house. I thought it was such a wonderful tradition, that I decided to invite Jay & Isabelle up for Isabelle's birthday. These little girls are like the little sisters I never had. Our families are very close. 

I loved having them over with me! We went to church, made dinner, had brownies with Neapolitan ice cream, watched El Dorado♥ (per the request of the birthday girl) and The Adventures of Milo and Otis (that was a tough one to get through!). The girls happened to be over during MLK weekend and so on Monday before dropping them off, we stopped at the dollar theatre to watch Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day before dropping them off. They loved our little sleepover weekend so much, that Jay was already making plans for her birthday in July. :) 

It was also Tiana's (T.betti) birthday. Tiana and I have been friends since before my mission. We were in Living Legends together and both ended up serving in Texas! Tiana's parents came up on her birthday and brought her a beautiful cake with 22 candles to complete the magic. I'm really happy T.betti was born. She is one of the sweetest people I know, I'm so happy to call her my roommate.
(As we were exiting the door of the dollar theatre, the girls asked if we could take pictures in a photo booth together. They definitely chose the BFF print, two strips came out and Isabelle said, "here, you keep one and we'll have one." :)