Monday, December 1, 2014

Ivette.

This is Ivette (formerly known as Hna Morales).

She was my companion when I first got to Baytown. I was her second companion ever.


(Us at the Houston temple)
(With one of our favorite families—The Hernandez)
Ivette & I were only companions for a transfer, but in those six weeks we formed such a close bond!
One of my most cherished memories about being companions with Ivette is that some mornings I'd walk to my study desk and find my study notebook looking like this
vv
She also hid notes in my Preach My Gospel, my planners, my scriptures—anywhere really. I found them throughout the rest of my mission and even after I had come home! I wouldn't be surprised if I found one tucked away somewhere five years from now. I loved them so much; I collected them and put them in this envelope. 
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I re-discovered the envelope when I was cleaning out my mission boxes at home and laughed while I read some of them. At the time we had made a commitment to use "dignified language" meaning we couldn't use any form of slang words, so I would find post-it notes that said I was the "bees knees!"
She's the cutest!

Ivette came home this past week, and while I didn't make it to the airport, we did go to the temple on Saturday & out to breakfast. 
Ivette was also a fan of selfies—and still is
exhibit A.
(post temple & post homecoming)
I'm so glad my Chiquitita is home! :)
& I'm beyond grateful that Heavenly Father saw it fit in his infinite plan to make us companions.
Latinas de Baytown for life!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving in Utah.

I made the executive (but hard!) decision to not go home for Thanksgiving break this year. I know though that this will make Christmas break that much sweeter. I haven't spent a Thanksgiving in Utah since I was in middle school! & It was my first Thanksgiving with my Tia's side of the family. :)

I was dreading that there would be snow and was bracing myself for a snowpocalypse, but thankfully we were blessed with weather in the 50s! It was almost like being home for the Holiday. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday because it's about the simple joys in life: my family, food, and the joys of living the gospel. :)

I started my Thanksgiving bright and early at 4:30am (the LatinoUSA podcast kept me company) so I could drive to Sandy, UT and meet up with my Primo and his wife to run the Utah Human Race. Turkey trots and the like became established Flores Family thanksgiving traditions back in 2010 & so when my Primo invited me to run the race I jumped at the opportunity!
Post race we had a delicious breakfast of Trader Joe gingerbread pancakes and pumpkin waffles with eggs. & then drove down to my Tia's for Thanksgiving dinner.
^^Chico dresses up for every holiday apparently!
^^ Homemade rolls. :)

^^My Tia asked if I would bring a jello. When I was in high school I made a jello-pretzel dessert for Thanksgiving off of a recipe I had found in an issue of Seventeen Magazine. The recipe was apparently Hilary Duff's mom's recipe. Unfortunately, I got rid of all my magazines without saving the recipe. I found this version of it online, & it was a hit! Guess Paula Deen is just as good of a cook as Hilary Duff's mom. :)
^^Playing Spot it. Sis. Burton recommended it to my Tia and I'm so glad she did! It's one of my favorites. 
^^Sweet Sari kept asking me, "¿aquí?" (here?) as she placed the nativity figurines in place. It was one of my favorite things to play with her.

Hope your Thanksgiving was lovely!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

BYU Lu'au 2014: Legends of Polynesia

When I was in high school, one of my close friends from my stake, Niva Tuala, told me about this program called SOAR. The summer after my junior year of high school I came to Provo for a week and did an ACT prep course with BYU's Multicultural Student Services. (I loved the experience so much that my mom and I tell everyone we can about it! This summer we got someone from our stake to come!) & Once I got in to BYU, I was even more blessed to get a full tuition scholarship through them. There were conditions of course, like participating in their cultural celebrations. Since Freshman year of undergrad, I've been hooked. It's no longer required for me, but I can't seem to let go.

Dancing in the Lu'au brings me waaaaay back to my days in Long Beach 7th ward surrounded by my big family of loving, caring, and supportive Polynesians. LB7th ward was the village that helped raise me. We would put on Lu'aus every now and then, and dancing here at BYU brings me back to those happy days, especially since because of my busy schedule this year I don't have the time to be a Living Legend (let's not talk about it). 
^^The entire section. Right when we were about to take this picture, a special needs girl came up and started talking excitedly to us. We invited her to be in the picture with us.
^^Brittany! So small world. Brittany was born & raised in Bellflower AKA where my family moved to, and her cousins the Suaavas were in the same ward as me growing up. Actually, the Suaavas were the family that dropped my family off at the airport when I was moving to Provo to attend BYU back in 2008.
^^Hna Toleafoa!!! We were MTC roommates. She served in Louisiana and when I was in Lake Charles, I always had this dream that I'd be at the border of my mission and she'd wave to me from the border of hers. :)
^^Right when I captured this moment, my heart started yearning BIG time for my LB7th family.  They don't know how much they mean to me!
^^mini Living Legends reunion. I love these people!
^^California born & bred. Brittany, Me, Tianalei!
JoJo, my favorite Tongan at BYU. We've been close friends since freshman year! I hadn't seen her since her farewell at the Poly ward almost 3 years ago! Love her to pieces. 

Lu'au solidified in my heart that I MUST visit LB7th when I go home for Christmas this year. 'Tis the season to visit family right? 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Happy Halloween.

Last Halloween, I was in Baytown. It was a mission-wide apartment deep cleaning day. It was a Thursday which meant we had hour of power (where we knocked on doors for an hour by the home of a member), but because It was Halloween we were told we had to be indoors before dark. I think we got a total of 2 working hours in. It was rainy & very un-festive. (actually I think we may have made pumpkin pancakes for breakfast thanks to a trader Joes mix my mom had sent.)  To make the day somewhat holiday-like, Hna St. John and I decided to officially start listening to Christmas music. 

Considering that was my last Halloween, I was VERY excited for All Hallow's Eve this year.
So much so that I helped decorate the section of carrels right by me...
I made tombstones for everyone who died in my Torts case book.

& after class on Friday, I drove down to Salt Lake for a family Halloween party. 
Family Halloween parties are so much better than any Halloween college party I've ever been to. Maybe it's the Mormon in me, but there's something truly magical about celebrating Halloween with young ones. Seeing my little cousins excitement about the spooky foods that had been prepared, watching them act like the characters they had dressed up, and observing them anticipating the candy they were about to get while trick-or-treating just made me smile. 
My primitas were mesmerized by the spooky cauldrons filled with punch.
We're a very cultural-friendly family, and had no less than 4 saris at our Halloween party. I'm convinced that I need to make a trip to little India when I'm home for Christmas to buy myself one!
My Tía was Frida Kahlo (minus the eyebrows)
Even Chico had a Halloween costume! You can't really tell, but he was definitely Darth Vader. It suits him really well actually. Sometimes he can be kind of evil & moody.
We had Katniss, Sleeping Beauty, Indian Princess #1, Ironman, Indian princess #2, Indian princess #3, Little red Riding Hood, Zoro, Cleopatra, and another princess.
It was also David's birthday so we sang the traditional birthday medley: (happy birthday, feliz cumpleaños a ti, las mañanitas, & queremos pastel)
Julia was getting really annoyed with me trying to take her picture.
The COOLEST house we saw while trick-or-treating!

I'm a big fan of dressing up as Disney Characters with my roommates. So, we bring you the characters of Bambi.
Thumper, Bambi, & Flower.
'Tis the season to be twitterpated!