Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Job

Well, even though I posted on Facebook about my job several times, I haven't done so on my blog, and it appears that a lot of people are somehow in the dark about it. So here's the scoop.

I interviewed at Taylorsville High School in Granite District. It went really well, but I did not get the job.

A couple of days later, I get a call from the secretary at Jefferson Junior High School in Kearns (near West Valley/Salt Lake). It's obviously for an interview.

When we started the interview, Mr. Anthony, the principal, informed me that the spot at Jefferson was opened because the teacher was hired on at Taylorsville High. So they didn't even post the position at all. They just called Taylorsville and asked for their top seven interviewers. I was one of them.

The position was for four classes of regular 9th grade English, and two classes of reading. The new hire could be hired depending on their willingness to get a reading endorsement.

Mr. Anthony (the principal), a reading specialist, and another woman were the interviewers. They asked the basic questions. I actually had a copy of the sheet of questions that they asked, but I think I tossed it. I did really well and felt very confident about how I answered all of the questions in the interview. I had no doubts about any of it afterward. I didn't think, "Oh man I should have said this or added this or said this differently." It was the only interview I walked out of 100% confident.

After the interview was over, the reading specialist wanted to know what my experience was with reading. What the heck kind of question is that? Um, well, I read a lot. I've read since I was 6 years old. Books are fun?

Good thing I didn't say that. I asked for a little clarification, just if she meant in general or in regard to education, etc. I informed them that I had taken a teaching reading class at BYU under the fabulous Sirpa Grierson, where she included many reading strategies for students to use before, during, and after reading. I also added that I spent almost a whole term on reading strategies alone. The reading specialist said, "Wow! Really?" I could tell she was impressed, so I went on. I told her that they had a chart that they had to keep track of--the name of the strategy, when to use it, and how to use it. And that we went on to practice the strategy together. I said if I had to do it over again, I'd have done the reading strategies at the beginning of the year so that we could use them throughout our novels. She said, "Well that would have been ideal, but you know, you were a brand new teacher, you're still learning. We're ALL still learning! I've been teaching for 20 something years and am still learning!" She was very enthusiastic and seemed impressed.

Needless to say, I felt that this little "off the record" bit at the end really helped persuade them to want to hire me. That and that I understand and speak Spanish--being that there's a Hispanic population of 37% at that school.

They said they'd let me know very soon because they want to get that spot filled. I interviewed on Friday, June 4. They had their last interview the following Monday, so I thought I wouldn't know until the end of that following week for sure. Surely they'd need time to discuss if their last interview was Monday.

Well, I was at work at Blockbuster on Monday, June 7. I was telling my friend Dan how anxious I was to know about what job I was going to have, where I would live, etc. I heard that I had a voicemail on my phone. I called and checked it.

It was Mr. Anthony, the principal, wondering if I'd return his call.

Last time a principal left a message like that, it was from San Juan School District, offering me a job. My heart started racing a little bit.

I asked Dan if I could PLEASE call right now. So I did.

Mr. Anthony told me that I was their top candidate. They wanted to extend the open position to me. As he told me this, I was jumping up and down, my mouth wide open (trying not to make any sounds), and I started going in circles as I jumped... Plus I let out a little squeal, and I hope he didn't hear it. But I was ecstatic!

I asked how much time I had to give an answer. He said I certainly have time, but that they'd want one of their top candidates so the sooner the better, hopefully the next day. I thanked him repeatedly and said I'd get back to him the following day.

It's not that I really needed to think about it... It's that I wanted to pray and make sure it was right. Never once did I or have I felt any hesitation or turmoil about my answer. So I called back on June 8th from the airport in Phoenix, Arizona, to inform them that I would accept the position.

And off I went to vacation in Hawaii for two weeks with a job to come back to!

So, the school seems pretty old actually, and it will have its challenges (there was a shooting there last year, I guess?). I've made a comprehensive chart of the apartment complexes I would consider moving to. It's going to take a lot of driving and note taking for me to decide, though I am mostly considering living in Murray for a 20 minute drive to work. I'd like to not live in the same city as my students. It's no fun seeing them around town, as much as I love them.

Tomorrow at 11 I am going to the school to get a tour, receive my keys, and enter my classroom. I am EXTREMELY excited for this new phase in my life and career. It feels so much more real than my internship, so much more deserved and permanent. I hope I like it here, and I'm so grateful to have gotten a job and to have had so many interviews and opportunities.

The Lord looks out for our interest.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Oh Happy Day

I love good deals.

Several weeks ago I went to Sally Beauty Supply to see how much their eyelash curlers are. Uh. $17. Are they out of their minds?! Hell no I'm not paying seventeen dollars. Imma goin' to the dollar store.

Guess how much an eyelash curler was there? Oh right. A dollar! It works like a champ. I love it. I also got a lovely facial brush for $1.

Tonight I sold 6 Blockbuster Rewards, and last night I sold 5. That earns me two free movies from my new manager. Sweeeeet. I picked out Transformers. I'll pick out my other one later.

I'm waiting for 3 for $20 so I can get Men Who Stare at Goats, Sherlock Holmes, and Up in the Air.

I purchased 5 posters for $10 at work tonight. Three are for my new apartment (Beatles, Alice in Wonderland, and James Dean). Two are for my brothers (Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix). I love my discount.

I rented Shutter Island for $1 so I can watch it with my favorite COUSIN tomorrow. I don't get it free at the Block for a couple more weeks so a dollar is good!

I love good purchases. I really, really do.

I also received a Super Nintendo in the mail from my Mimi's house. My mom and uncle packed the wrong games, so I anxiously await my Super Mario World so I can conquer it for the hundredth time in my life. I tried Yoshi's Island today and basically failed miserably, but hey! At least I tried, right?

Also, I like a boy.

I hesitate to even mention anything about it, but at least it's on the record in case something does develop, eh?

Wish me llluuuuckkk...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Conversations?

Do boys talk on the phone from 2 AM to 7 AM to girls if they don't like them?

Jus' wondering.

Ya know.

Jay double u.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Photos

The easiest way for you to see photos from Hawaii would be to visit my two volume album on Facebook. It's got captions and everything.

For those of you who aren't friends with me on Facebook... visit

JanaesPictures.shutterfly.com

and click on the album.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (then home)

Saturday

On Saturday, Krystle and I just mostly sat around. We shared music—mostly I gave her a lot of mine, and she showed me some stuff.

We headed to a local beach that had lots of lava rock for us to climb down to access the sand. It was called Kua Bay.

After tanning and stuff for a while, we came home and did more computer stuff. We finally got around to watching Up at around 9:30, so it ended a little after 11. Both movies we rented were a day late when I returned them on Sunday. Oh well.

Sunday

I got up and went to church. Church was awesome. I love looking at the beautiful brown people. I saw this little 2-year old boy who was wearing a white church shirt and a lava-lava. Aside from the fact that the guy in front of me was wearing a very cool looking but extremely STINKY banana lei, church was so great. The talks were by converts. Sunday School was about Daniel and Saul and Saul’s son in the Old Testament—on friendship and downward and upward spirals. It was good. Relief Society was about the priesthood which, heaven knows, I love love love!

I took my movies back and paid my fees because I’m leaving the island. Monday evening and didn’t wanna pay even more moneys. So I came back to Krystle’s and ate lunch. We left for Hapuna Beach and laid out for like two hours. It was great because the clouds were blocking the sun which is ideal for good tans and minimal heat.

We left there and headed to Pololu again to do that twenty minute hike. But just when we got out of the car, a storm moved in super fast. We started the hike down and made it about five minutes down the first stretch when Krystle decided it’d probably be safer not to do the hike.

So we left, soaking wet! It was so funny. I loved the brief experience. We drove to Qi’s house to see if he wanted to do dinner, and we ate at a local pizza place in Kapa’au. I got a pizza that had dried tomatoes, mushrooms, and artichoke hearts on it. Mm, mmm good! That little joint also has ice cream, so of course we had to get some. I got the kona mud pie flavor, which is Kona coffee ice cream with cookie bits in it. It was so good!

We went back to Qi’s and left after about 20 minutes. Then we came home, did all our online ritual social networking check-ups… And we went to bed.

Monday

Last day in Hawaii.

I got up and tried to do some packing and some more apartment hunting online. I should’ve checked in for my flight but it didn’t matter in the long run. Krystle’s friend from Colorado College who is from Oahu was on the Big Island and gave her a call this morning. She and her mom actually wanted to head to the Place of Refuge today too! What a fabulous coincidence.

So we met up around noon for lunch at this place in Captain Cook, where the restaurant looks out over the cliff onto the bay. There were also geckos crawling around the window areas. Hm. I don’t get intrigued by them. I think they’re rather gross, but you know, I guess it’s a unique appeal.

I got a really good sandwich, and Krystle, Jasmine, and her mom Aimee got breakfast. My sandwich was good, but I was jealous of Krystle and Jasmine’s. Oh and I got a Hawaiian smoothie which was WAY good. I got what I got thinking I was taking my own check, but then Aimee grabbed it from the server and bought our food! How nice of her, being that I just met her.

This woman Aimee was extremely interesting, and quite frankly, I was very impressed with her. She is extremely intelligent, motivated, and has done a lot of good in this world. She also has a strong respect for others and their beliefs. She moved to get a fire station and ambulance put in her town sooner than 10 years, raising the money needed to do so. She also started a non-profit organization for students. It’s a music and arts after school organization set up with several schools throughout Oahu. She was an amazing, happy, enthusiastic, passionate, outspoken, well-balanced, extroverted, accomplished, intelligent woman. She talked a lot about physical, spiritual, mental, and social balance. Really, she was pretty darn great!

After we ate lunch we headed to Pu’uhonua o Honaunau, or the Place of Refuge. It was an ancient Ali’i site—where royalty dwelled. There were huts, tikis, a bay (where I saw yet another turtle!), and a great wall that separated the more sacred platforms from the other places. It was really informative and beautiful. At the end, the tour guide wanted to give prizes to whoever could say the name of the place. I asked if we could read it, and she said yeah. I read it perfectly, and I got to pick a little handwoven piece made out of the leaves of a tree. I chose the star piece because it was cute!

We headed over to a nearby park to sit at a table and eat the variety of desserts that Aimee purchased at the restaurant. We split carrot cake, key lime pie, cheesecake, coconut cream pie, and macadamia nut pie. All except the key lime were amazing—I hate key lime pie. While Aimee is a totally amazing and captivating person, she talked almost nonstop the whole day. I had to cut the conversation off at 4:40 because I needed Krystle to take me to the airport by 6 PM! Fortunately we made it as I had most of my packing done before we left.

So I headed through Hawaiian Airlines check-in, got from Kona to Honolulu, and here I sit at the present time waiting for a couple more hours to go from Honolulu to Phoenix. The flight leaves at 10:50 PM Hawaii time, and gets in to Phoenix at 7:48 AM (Phoenix time). So the flight is six hours and I lose three hours on that flight, and another hour on the flight from Phoenix to Salt Lake from 10:15 AM to 12:53 PM. I’m in an airport with no wireless and am not finding it suitable at all.

I will be glad to get home, back to my routine and productivity, and back in my own bed. I have now been to Hawaii and plan to come back sooner than later! I had a great time and took tons of pictures and spent WAY too much money. But hey, y’all, sometimes debt is worth it! ;)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Wen Go Hilo on Friday

Well we were on the road by 11:30 AM to go to the Hilo side after getting gas and stuff.

Our first stop was in Waimea to go to the bathroom at Starbucks. Haha. I can’t even tell you how pretty Waimea looked from the road. Rolling green hills with clouds above them. It looked fake! After this we went to Waipio lookout. It was beautiful. There’s a cove where there’s a little town that farms taro and poi. You can hike down because all the beach in Hawaii is public access, but it would have been strenuous, and we didn’t plan for such a thing. It takes an hour to get down there, so getting back up (uphill) would have been cruel and unusual punishment. So the view out was lovely. The ocean as far off as you could see became a sudden dark blue, and then it broke into the sky. It was pretty amazing.

After taking our photographs, we went to Laupahoehoe National Park. The waters were rough, but it was gorgeous. There was huge lava rock everywhere. The forest over to the right was really scenic and fake looking. I guess there was a huge tsunami a long time ago that took out a bus with students in it. :( So there was a memorial for them.

I think it was at this point that we went to this place that hand makes these malasadas, or donuts. I got two—one plain and one with chocolate cream filling (it was basically pudding). They were quite good, and don’t worry, I didn’t eat them both at once.

Then we headed to Akaka Falls. We hiked down to the right and looked at a smaller set of falls. Then it takes you in a circle to see the real, big falls. It was lovely—what a waterfall should look like. We headed back up and I got pictures of wild bananas growing. Too bad none were wild, or I’d have taken one! There were a lot of streams in the area too which looked and sounded so pretty.

Then we spent some time in the little town afterward. I got some cookies at a bakery. I got a present for my grandpa—a hand carved wooden honu (turtle) which can be used either as wall d├ęcor, or as a cooling pad thing for pots and pans. He likes to cook. Honus symbolize long life. We also stopped at a jewelry shop where this guy hand carves lava to make into jewelry. My friend wanted “lava,” so I actually got him a hand carved piece of lava rock, and watched this dude make it into a keychain right in front of me. It was freaking awesome! The street with all these shops was so cute. The picture doesn’t do it justice.

After we left Akaka Falls we headed to Rainbow Falls more into Hilo. A guy was sitting on top of the waterfall which was pretty sweet. There were rotting mangos everywhere, and it smelled like sulfur and rotten eggs. It was nasty. But the falls were pretty. I wanted to follow the stairs up to wherever they went, but a tourist bus arrived, putting a damper on the possibilities.

We headed to the Wailuku River Boiling Pots. They were not, in fact, boiling. It was relatively stagnant green water with a little bit of flowing in some spots. They do look like pots in that a lot of the water ponds are separate from each other. We got adventurous and climbed down a little bit in our flip flops. We took pictures, and Krystle went farther than I did. I was content where I was. She didn’t get far anyway! :) When we climbed back up, Krystle flip flop slipped off, getting her a good gash on her toe—battle wounds. She also got a scratch on her knee. We took pictures. Don’t worry, I’ll post them soon. I know you’re excited.

So since Krystle didn’t want to get an infection, we didn’t go to the ponds on the Hilo side. I called my great uncles (my grandpa’s brothers) to see if we could meet up. No one was answering at either of their houses. I was thinking our little visit wouldn’t happen, but it did. We got a hold of my uncle Butch, who gave me directions to the “shop,” where I could see both him and Uncle Jerry.

We visited for a long time, talking about such things as Krystle and I’s employment, my younger brothers, my grandpa a little bit, and most of all, the ways that the United States destroyed Hawaii. Uncle Jerry looked a lot like my grandpa—they had the same eyes, and their wrinkles were all in the same places. He talked the most, about how Hawaii used to be, how Kona used to look, etc. Krystle and Uncle Jerry were keeping it going because Krystle knows so much Hawaiian history from this last year teaching. Uncle Butch didn’t talk as much, but he was sharp, and he laughed at my occasional joke. Apparently Butch has a son named Zac who lives in Vegas and is LDS. So that’s fun to have some LDS relatives on my grandpa’s side! Uncle Jerry mentioned that he can see the Hawaiian in me. And Uncle Butch made me feel bad, saying that he waited around for me all week and I finally called on the day he actually left the house. I didn’t mean for him to wait around for me. I even asked both uncles if there was a day they wanted me to come out, and they said, “Just call when you over here.” They both “talk lotta pidgin” too. “Dey ratha take a beating at da school dan from dey madda.”

We stayed and talked for about an hour and a half or two hours, and got Krystle bandaged up. Uncle Jerry even poured contact solution on Krystle’s toe because he ran out of disinfectant. When we left, it was almost dark. We headed to the National Volcano Park again to see the glow. It was cool, but I wasn’t like amazed by it or anything. It is pretty neat that melted rock makes all that glow, and who knows how far down it is from the crater top that we are seeing.

We made the two hour drive home, stopping at Claire’s to treat Krystle’s cut, and make sure she didn’t get staph infection. I was basically falling asleep in the car—my eyelids were really heavy. When we got back to Krystle’s, I ate the first relatively healthy thing all day (after eating Rice Krispies, part of a Kit Kat, a cookie, one and a half malasadas, some peanut M&Ms, and dried ahi), spam musubi. It was good, but my stomach was really upset about my terrible eating habits. But I headed to bed happy about all we had seen and done that long and tiring Friday.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Thursday - Big Island - Best Day Yet!

Thursday

Woke up early, as usual. I tried to sleep till 8 but there were fighting animals outside so I was getting pissed off. Little did I know that this would turn out to be one of the best days in my life (no exaggeration).

I got up, checked all my online stuff and sat around. Krystle got up, I showered (unnecessarily, except that I had to shave).

I ate breakfast and read scriptures and stuff…

The guy from Time Warner came to fix Krystle’s internet and was here pretty early—around 10:30. Everything looked good. So soon after, we left. We stopped at a book store for Krystle to get a book she needed.

We headed down to Kealakekua State Park where there was a cove that I took pictures of. There was a sacred platform that I’d have liked to explore a little, but we needed to hit the water. So we headed over and waited quite a while to get a kayak, all the while making small talk with these local boys. They were actually flirting with us. One of them complimented my eyes. It was cute and all. Little charmer, that Isaiah. He actually was a really cute brown boy, but I thought there were some slight differences that might cause conflict later—namely living across an ocean from each other, I’m LDS, and I’m high anxiety—to name a few things. ;) Really though I did contemplate giving the kid my number.

So after waiting around for quite a while, a double kayak came back in. We got on our life vests and were on our way. I was sitting in front for reasons unbeknownst to me. I guess the more experienced is in the back. But I had no idea what I was doing and supposedly Krystle was following my rhythm, but I didn’t know this. I kept stopping and looking around because I wanted to see the dolphins the boys had pointed out to us from the shore. Tons of kayaks were gathered around a big group of dolphins. On the way over there though, we had no such luck. Anyway, my arms aren’t sore yet, but we’ll see tomorrow. The ride over there was probably like Krystle said, about thirty minutes.

When we got there we put our stuff down. I had quite the hassle getting my mask on because my face is shaped funny or something and masks like to fog up on me. No fun. We snorkeled for a good 30-45 minutes. I saw probably around 15 different types of fish, at least. Tons of coral everywhere, some of it actually coming really high up, almost to the surface. The current was really strong, so I was glad I kept my life vest on. I almost got pushed into coral which would have given me some fun cuts. So my favorite fish were the bright yellow ones, the “rainbow fish” as Krystle called them—they were like an electric blue color and really big, and these black ones with blue stripes and sideways fins. It was beautiful and I loved swimming so close to them.

We got out and walked over to the Captain Cook monument and Krystle told me the whole story about Mr. Cook’s demise. Kind of a bummer, poor guy.

So back to the kayak we went and back to the other shore. Krystle thought she saw fins, so we headed in the direction where she saw them. Two other kayaks were stopped and slowed down, so we stopped. I took a video of some of what we saw. It was so, so amazing. So on top of my first time in a kayak, and on top of swimming with beautiful fish and coral, I got to be surrounded by spinning dolphins! It was unbelievable and so magical. You can hear my excitement in the video. It’s out of control. It’s super shaky because we’re on a kayak and I’m trying to get as much as I can, so it was difficult. Deal with it.



When we got back in, we headed home and Krystle’s online class started right when we walked in. I took a shower and got dressed, munched on peanut M&Ms and waited for her class to be done. So with that book Krystle got, she needed to do homework for today and tomorrow, with her friend Claire. She let me take her car!

The brief freedom was really fun and exciting. I made it into town perfectly safely. I walked through little Kailua Town, and a pickup truck with some Mexicans passed by me and of course had to shout obscenities in my direction. Who knows what they were saying? All I know is it doesn’t matter where the freak I am, the same ones find me! What self-respecting man even talks to a woman like that? Give me a break. So anyway, I went to the ABC store to grab a couple of things—these really cute photo albums Hawaii themed, so I can put some from my trip in there… something for my grandpa, and a sticker for Krystle. :) After that I wandered over to try and get pictures of the Kamehameha burial site, but I could only do it from a distance since the pathway over to it (with all of the captions and whatnot) was blocked off by a luau that was going on. It’s a really sacred ground to the natives, even though Kamehameha’s bones were moved. So I did the best I could. I put my feet in the water and hung out for a few minutes.

After that I decided to walk back and head to the Natural Energy Plant beach that Krystle said I should check out. I had already missed the sunset but figured the serenity of the beach would be nice. I was so right.

I love driving a car with the windows down, in a tank top, not feeling cold or hot, seeing the ocean on one side and a lit up city on the other. There are probably few things better.

I pulled in and went all the way to the end like Krystle said. In the semi-dark, I found a tide pool. The glimmering gray water looked so beautiful, with some darkened light orange clouds in the northwest. Since the tide pools are blocked off by huge lava rocks, the waves kept crashing into them, making their glorious and comforting sound. I could see the sprays coming up—a light color against the dark background.

Oh, the peace that I felt there was indescribable. Kind of like the temple, I guess. I sat on a rock and just enjoyed the moment for about 15-20 minutes. I’m unfamiliar with beach/park procedures here in Hawaii, when things close, etc. I was also nervous because I had Krystle’s car and my phone was dying, so I forced myself to leave.

I decided that I wanted the same thing I got from L&L the other night. So I made the drive, taking guesses all the way. I’m so glad I pay attention, have a reasonably good sense of direction, and trust my instincts. I took Kaahumanu all the way out to Kamehameha III Drive and turned right, and then turned left when I could see the shopping center. All by sight and memory—I’m awesome.

So I got my honey walnut shrimp and decided to get 2 pieces of spam musubi since that’s not on the L&L menu in Provo. I had one in the car and made my way back to Claire’s house. There was just one problem—my phone had died, and with it, the code to get into Claire’s community. I tried to find her house in the dark but the one I pulled up to didn’t look right, so I decided to head back to Krystle’s and plug in my phone to make sure.

I stayed on the high road, looking for the indicator that I had found earlier in the day that Krystle’s turn would come up (since you can’t see her street sign from this direction), but I missed it. I only went to the next street before I realized it because I didn’t recall passing the Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall, so I turned around and found her street. I had someone behind me which makes me nervous when I’m not a hundred percent sure where I’m going. I was headed down her hill and felt like I had gone farther than I should have. I was looking for this crazy out-in-the-street mailbox because that would tell me Krystle’s house was across the street. I saw one like it and decided to just turn into this driveway to let this car behind me pass me, then I could slowly find the right house. Wouldn’t you know it? I turned into Krystle’s driveway! In the dark. With no street lights. In a city I don’t live in. I am freaking amazing! Gold medal for Janae. I put in Krystle’s door code and plugged my phone in.

As I texted her to tell her I was not lost and that my phone died, a text from her popped up saying she was still working and that Claire would give her a ride home. Well how convenient! That worked out quite well. Blog time for me.

So being that I kayaked, snorkeled, and saw a million dolphins today… And being that I put my feet in the water at a sandy beach… And being that I sat and watched the horizon glow over a tide pool… And being that the weather is perfect in every way… And being that I love the Lord… And being that I have a job for the fall at Jefferson Junior High School in Kearns… And being that I have a tan and good health… I basically couldn’t ask for much more. My life is awesome.

(Except that I would erase the bug bite on my face, the two on my right leg, and the two on my left leg. Those are a slight disadvantage. Especially the one on my face. Thanks, mosquito, for picking such a choice spot to inject your little amoebas into. It looks great by my right eyeball. Super fantastic.)

Tomorrow: Hilo trip. We stop along the way to maybe do a hike, to see waterfalls, to go to ponds, to visit family, and to see the lava glow in the evening. I'm excited!

*Note: Just because it says 2:22 does not mean that's the time I'm writing this. 2:22 is Utah time. It's 10:22 here! And I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Saturday through Wednesday on Big Island

Saturday

I woke up early, as usual, on Saturday morning. Krystle must have been super exhausted because she slept till 11:30 or 11:45. I texted Brianne and Nephi to see what they were doing, and they invited us to lunch.

So they came to get us, and we ate at Splasher’s Grill. I got an enormous burger with grilled onions and mushrooms, plus avocado. Don’t worry, I didn’t finish it. Krystle and I should have just agreed on something and shared because we ended up with a whole burger left between the two of us. We got onion rings too. They were yum yum good.

We went to an ABC store where I excitedly purchased some Maui Babe browning lotion and after sun lotion. It’s supposed to be amazing. Then we went to the farmers market to get some presents for my mom and little brother Jared, and to evaluate another present for my daddy-o.

After that, our paid parking was going to expire, so we headed to the car and went to Brianne and Nephi’s hotel. Brianne and Nephi went in the pool. I went in the ocean. Krystle slept on the sand. That particular beach was super rocky and difficult. Oh well. It was fun.

When we left their hotel, we headed to Mauna Kea. Thank heaven for Krystle and her willingness to drive. We stopped first at the visitors’ center where we browsed for souvenirs. I got nothing. In the visitors’ center there was a lot of information. I learned about the people who used to live there, and that they’d throw the umbilical cord into the lake to bless the baby with long life and health. Interesting! We headed up to the observatories and watched the sunset and took pictures. One of the best parts of the drive up was this poor mustang trying to do this intense hill off road bit. We laughed when we headed back down and passed that Mustang. So back at the center we watched the stars and looked in telescopes and watched them use crazy lasers to point out constellations. I’ve never seen the sky like that before. I probably never will anywhere else. It was amazing. So, so awesome. I saw Saturn, too. :)

We started the long drive back home, touching on all sorts of topics in discussion.

I was too tired to do anything else so Brianne and Nephi went to eat and Krystle and I went to sleep.

Sunday

I got a text on Sunday morning at 8 AM from Rachel. I couldn’t go back to sleep after that so I decided to hurry up and get to the Kona 1st ward at 9 AM. I was 10 minutes late, but better than waiting for the next ward two hours later.

The congregation was HUGE. The room itself was huge. I couldn’t believe it. There were all different types of people there. Casual dressers, people in shirts and ties and flip flops, women in mumus, tank dresses, etc. The talks were on forgiveness, overcoming trials through faith, and something else. There was also a performance from the youth—they did a song in sign language. It was beautiful. The spirit was so strong.

The crowd completely diminished after sacrament because there was hardly anyone in gospel doctrine. Relief Society was great too—on spiritual and physical death, and how Christ overcame both for us.

After church I came home and basically ate all day. Krystle and I watched movies that were on TV. Empire Records was one of them, but I can’t remember any others. We seriously just vegged all day. It was fun.

Monday

We didn’t do too much on Monday as I recall. Krystle had to go house hunting for some teachers here on the island. I went to a beach while she did that. I basically got cooked alive. I sweated gallons. It was SUCH a hot day, at 9 in the freaking morning! When I got to the beach I thought I’d just go in the water, cool off, get dry, and apply my browning lotion after drying off. Oh, Hawaii makes sure things don’t go the way you want! I never got dry! I stayed sweaty. I tried to put on that lotion every dry place I could, but it wasn’t working out very well. I decided I’d acclimate to the super cold water because it was better than being baked alive. So it was just a small sandy cove, no waves because it was blocked off by Kamehameha’s original burial site.

While I hung out in the water this local lady talked to me. She had her two kids with her, and she was an older parent. She was way cool and friendly, asking me all sorts of questions, if I had been to certain places. She said I should snorkel out past the beach that we were at. She talked about how she had lived in Alaska for fourteen months but couldn’t hack it and felt depressed all the time so they came back. We went out to the other side of the cove—it’s rocky but only about 3 feet deep so you can walk over there. There’s a big structure and straw hut next to it. The lady told me about the sacredness of the Kamehameha burial site to the Hawaiians, how even for construction workers to work on it, they have to be blessed. I just poked my head around and looked. It was so awesome. I will go back and take pictures of it soon.

After I got out of the water I wandered around an ABC store for a couple minutes. They had some really cute photo albums that I thought of getting because they were only $6 or $7, and I can’t get them that cute anywhere at home. We’ll see.

I walked up the hill to the Big Island Harley Davidson store and bought my dad a t-shirt. It has a pocket on the front because he likes that, so I was very thoughtful in my decision. ;) Krystle came to get me and looked through the store too because her dad also has a bike.

After that we came home and sat around, watched TV, and showered. We were going to go to the coffee plantations or kayak but we didn’t really get ready fast enough so we basically missed opportunities for both. We went and ate at the Brewing Company Brianne spoke so highly of. I got root beer and a slice of pepperoni with salad. The dressing was good and the pizza was good but I wasn’t amazed.

Krystle had to look at another house for her friends, so we went there. We actually had a really fun conversation with the current tenants who have lived in Lake Tahoe and Alaska and are Harley riders and beer drinkers and music lovers. They were way cool and laid back of course. :)

After that we went and got ice cream and rented Princess Bride and Up because Krystle hasn’t seen either of them. When we got home Krystle did some homework and I put on Princess Bride. As soon as she stopped working she laid down to watch the movie and fell asleep three minutes later, so I turned it off and went to sleep.

Tuesday

I woke up super early the next morning and ran some loads of laundry—not mine, but some sheets from the master bed and the sheet and pillow case I used and stuff. I made sandwiches and prepped some snacks for us—chocolate chip cookies (which I made several days ago), banana bread, sodas, water, sandwiches, etc.

We went to Costco to get gas and were on our way to the National Volcano Park. We first stopped at South Point—the southernmost point in the United States. We took pictures and video of this crazy kid who decided to jump off the side of the cliff. Apparently that’s the thing to do. Krystle hasn’t done it because she had no insurance until recently, and I wouldn’t do it because A. it’s scary, B. I didn’t have my bathing suit, and C. my ears freak out when I jump into water like that. None for me. It was really windy there, and since the trees have been blown over their whole lives, a majority of them are sideways. I got a picture of one of them that was particularly amazing. I guess it’s in the island books of sights to see.

When we got to the Park I had to run to the bathroom. I was ready to pee my pants. I took pictures of this huge big island model that they had out front because it was so neat. We walked around inside, learning about the habitat and the nature of volcanoes. We watched a ten minute video with footage of recent activity.

Then we did “the drive.” There were signs marking the lava flow of particular years. There are two types of lava: a’a and pahoehoe (pa-hoy-hoy). One is smooth and curvy looking, like you would expect flowing lava to look. And a’a is rocky and sharp, like a volcano spitting out sharp pieces of lava. It was so awesome to see all of it. It looked like black bubbles, and also looked like you could kick it and it would turn to ash. But that’s not the case. It’s like super hard rock.

The thing I liked most was stopping to look at the petroglyphs in a certain area. The lava flow is 400-700 years old at that particular point, and Hawaiians who didn’t have a written language recorded their life in engravings on the lava. It was so cool. I took tons of pictures. We also saw a sea arch, and I took pictures of that. I took lots of pictures of the hillside where you could see patterns of growth combined with lava flow. Patterns of black and green, basically.

We also visited steam vents and walked through a lava tube, where lava once flowed through the ground. What I love most about Hawaii and appreciated in this park was all of the natural greenery, the rainforest/jungle type atmosphere, and all of the wild birds. I also got a picture of one of the beautiful red birds that sings in the forest. It was so cool.

We went into the Jaggar museum. I learned a lot about Pele, the goddess of the big island, of fire, and of volcanoes. I saw lots of different types of lava—lava glass, Pele’s tears, etc. It was really interesting.

We started the two-hour long drive home where we passed three LDS churches and many others. It’s mostly rural out on that side of the island, but very pretty. I was hungry so we got some L&L, and might I add how awesome the menu is here as opposed to in Provo. They have musubi here! And I got honey walnut shrimp with chow mein. It was so, so good! It was just as good as the shrimp dish I got on my last trip to Red Lobster a few months ago. It was delicious. I’ll say it again if you need me to. Yum.

After eating I got ready for bed, got some ice cream, and we finished Princess Bride while Krystle did homework, yet again.

It was a long day but was full of learning and walking and sweating and driving. I loved it.

Wednesday

I woke up at 7 AM and called the temple to see the status of my great grandpa’s temple work. They waited for me, and said if I could come in the next hour we’d figure something out. So I hurried up and got ready and took Krystle’s car to the temple.

There was a group doing baptisms and one gentleman got in and was baptized on my grandpa’s behalf after the group’s girls were done. I went into their tiny one person at a time confirmation room for his confirmation too.

It had been a lot of trouble just to get something worked out for him since they don’t even do walk-ins, and since I had missed the male group that finished. It was much more difficult than it’d be in Provo I think, but the spirit there was so strong, and I was so glad I was able to do that for him! I hope he accepted the amazing gift Christ gave him. I know he’s been waiting for a long time for it. I almost couldn’t withhold my tears in the baptistery, the spirit was so strong.

I sat in the waiting room so they could stamp my grandpa’s card that the ordinances had been done, and this temple worker lady came over to me and said, “That was your grandfather that they just did?” I nodded my head and smiled, and she said, “How awesome that you go to do that! Good for you!” She was genuinely happy and excited for me, and I really appreciated that! I left on cloud nine, partially because of her and how she wanted to share my joy.

I got some McDonald’s breakfast and drove back to the Schwartzes. Krystle had a doctor’s appointment so I changed, and she dropped me off at the International Farmer’s Market where I got some gifts for lots and lots of people—more for my brothers, one more for my mom, for grandma, and puffy. I got two shirts, some vinyl stickers, and a magnet for myself also. It was really fun wandering around actually.

Once we finished we headed to the Schwartzes’, packed up our stuff, cleaned up, packed up the car, and headed to Krystle’s. At Krystle’s we had to come up with a game plan for fixing her wireless—going to Time Warner to get a new router thing and whatnot. If this doesn’t work then we have to wait around tomorrow for them to come and fix it. We also stopped at Costco and got some food, and we went to Wal Mart. I got a made in Hawaii neck pillow which I think was a good purchase being that the longest stretch of my flight home is through the night. Good buy, Janae, good buy.

I edited (downsized) tons of pictures so that I could upload them more quickly when the time came, so maybe after this post I’ll get some pictures up. I’m trying to decide if I want to do it all at once or in pieces—doing the last part after I get back to Provo. I’m not sure.

Nevertheless, thus far I have:

Walked through the farmers’ market of Kona
Walked on the pier
Seen a wild random awesome turtle
Gone to Kohala
Watched the Kamehameha parade and lei ceremony
Seen the lookout point and a local surf point in Kohala
Driven to Mauna Kea
Watched Stars
Been to a rocky beach at Nephi and Brianne’s hotel
Been to a sandy cove without waves by the Kona pier
Been to the temple (twice)
Gone to church in Kona
Been to the Kona Costco, Target, and Wal-Mart
Been to the National Volcano Park
Been to the international farmers’ market
Been to a bunch of ABC stores
Bought lots and lots of presents for people
Picked a pretty flower off a tree and stuck it in my hair
Eaten at Splashers Grill
Eaten at Kona Brewing Co.

I still need to:

Hike down the site in Kohala
See green sands
See black sands
Visit the Hilo side
See the volcano glow
See the ponds on the Hilo side
Visit family on the Hilo side
Visit coffee plantations
Snorkel
Kayak

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday in Hawaii

So yesterday (Wednesday) was fun and pretty uneventful. I ended up getting into my bathing suit and sun dress to head to the beach, but we didn’t go straight there. Krystle had a couple of errands to do, then we decided to stop at the farmers market and see what they had (but I had no cash!). We walked toward the “pier” which doesn’t fit my California picture of a pier at all. Then this huge sea turtle swam up into the shallow cove where all these kids were swimming. It was SO awesome. I took video and pictures of him and couldn’t help thinking of Finding Nemo. It was amazing how comfortable he was with people just hanging out around him.

We went and got some frozen yogurt at Orange Tree where Krystle’s friend Matt surprised us with his presence.

After that we headed over to a surfing beach. It was called Pine Tree I think. There were lots of rocks and not much sand. But the water was beautiful and so clear. I found tons of the tiniest little seashells.

After we left, we headed to Krystle’s friend Tommy’s house. All her friends ended up there—Matt, Claire, Amy (was with us), Sarah, and Qi. We hung out and laughed and stuff but I was mostly uninvolved in the conversation being that it was regarding grad school and Teach for America. We went and picked up some pizzas from Costco and ate. On the way to Costco we were going down this really big hill, and Qi was hesitant to ride his breaks. He was following only kind of closely behind this big truck in front of us. So this truck started getting mad, pushing his gas and going super fast, so Qi would go fast, then the truck would slow down. After that Qi was tailgating him. Then the truck pulled over to the right and Qi passed him, but the truck followed us to Costco. So that was pretty scary and hilarious. He dropped us off at the front so we wouldn’t be involved in the confrontation that was sure to ensue. Don’t worry, it did. After we got home, we ate, talked more, and left.

When we got home we basically crashed. I had to rinse off first of course because I felt super dirty. But we’re never without action here so I had to get rid of a huge black spider that was in the shower with me.

Today (Thursday) I tried taking my great grandpa’s name to the temple, but it was locked. Some lady was nice enough to go in and see if they’d let me go in with her group that came from a different island. How blessed I am to have a temple five minutes away in Provo? They let me in and said they’d prepare a card for me but wanted me to come back in the morning so I could watch the baptism being done. Turns out my grandpa’s mom’s work has already been done.

So that was a brief and uneventful trip and a little more stressful than spiritual but it’s OK. Better luck later. Then I waited at Kaiser with Krystle for her general check-up that took forever. After that we got lunch at this Vietnamese place. I got barbecue chicken, rice, and mac/potato salad, and we shared a chicken summer roll thing. It was pretty good.

We went to two grocery stores so I could grab some stuff (Coke Zero being the most important), and we headed home.

Brianne and Nephi got to Kona today and came to pick me up to go to the Farmers’ Market down by the water. They got lost coming to pick me up because this island is so hard to navigate—no real road signs or addresses or anything. So by the time we got there I really only had like 25 minutes before needing to leave for Kohala. Nevertheless we walked around. I got some presents for my brothers (Kona coffee for Jason, a rasta colored Hawaiian warrior for Jake). I’m still deciding on what to get for my parents and for Jared, but I’ll make return trips. I got two beautiful and yummy mangos for $5. I also bought a loaf of pineapple coconut banana bread for $5, for breakfast the next day.

Krystle and Amy came to pick me up, and we headed to Kohala. After about an hour and fifteen minutes of listening to some tunes in the car we arrived in Kapa’au at the Kamehameha festival. We didn’t know what to expect but what we found was pretty cool. First of all—free food! The chicken was amazing. The beef was tough but tasty. There was this coconut type of flan. I forget what it’s called and Krystle’s asleep. There were also some good noodles and chocolate cake. It was really cool that they did all this for free. But the main event is what got me! It was the release of a children’s book called Kohala Kuamo’o, or “The Race to Save a King.” It’s the true story of a man named Nae’ole who saved King Kamehameha from other tribes who sought to have him killed to avoid him conquering/uniting the other islands. It was written by a descendant of Nae’ole—an eleven year old boy, and illustrated by his father. We got the books for $10, and it is awesome. I’m excited to read it to my kids someday.

I was cold in this windy little town, so Krystle’s friend Qi ran home without telling us, to get me and Krystle a sweatshirt. It was so cute. After this thing, we went to Qi’s house a couple minutes away and waited for him to arrive with our sleeping supplies—air mattresses. J Amy and I slept in a room together—she got the bed and I got the air mattress. I should have pushed for the bed because my back was really angry with me when I woke up in the morning.

So on Friday morning I peeled myself a mango and had a slice of banana bread (which was just banana bread. I couldn't taste coconut or pineapple, thanks for the false advertisement!). The mango was glorious by the way. We got up early to head to watch the Kamehameha lei ceremony and parade. The leis were amazing. It started raining though, pretty heavy, during the parade. Also, at around 9:30 AM, Qi runs to me and Krystle, and hurriedly hands us melting ice cream cones. An interesting choice so early, but we ate them nevertheless.

The parade was quaint, really cute though.

After the parade Qi took us to a local surfing spot. We had to drive under a tunnel canopied by trees. It was awesome. It was a secluded little cove. There was also a family of cows that was running on through there. I took pictures and video.

After that, Qi took us to a lookout point that was absolutely amazing. I’d like to go back there and do the 20 minute hike, but none of us had thought things out that well, so we hadn’t packed for it.

We went home and packed up and headed back to Kona. We stopped at Krystle’s to get some things, and it was my first time seeing her house, which was pretty impressive actually. I’m pretty sure you get an amazing ocean view anywhere you are on this island. Krystle’s friend Claire showed up and followed us to the Schwartzes’ (for whom we are house sitting). We hung out at the house for a few hours, playing on the computer, munching on snacks. Then we decided to go eat at a Thai food place. I had the pad Thai. It was really, really good. We took Amy to the airport since she’s heading back to Oahu. Then we ran some errands. First we got gas at Costco and went inside to get some specs on a present for my dad—to decide whether to buy it at the farmers’ market or at Costco. I grabbed a frozen yogurt from the food court, and we left.

Krystle needed a waterproof jacket for her upcoming Vietnam trip, so we stopped at Sport Authority, but she wanted to see if she could find anything cheaper. Ross was an epic failure because they’re moving locations and have nothing left. We also went to Target where I got some necessities—chocolate covered macadamia nuts, orange juice, socks, slippers…

We came home and hung out. I showered and shaved (it had been a while). Krystle did homework type stuff for her master’s degree. I made some chocolate chip cookies (only two batches because we can make more tonight and have them warm). They’re super good! We watched the finale of Glee and basically just went to sleep after.

I tried the couch on Friday night because the master bed is really, really firm and not springy at all. It’s hurting my back like crazy. The couch worked out a little better for me.

So far today (Saturday), I’ve cleaned out Krystle’s car, eaten breakfast, and done some laundry. Krystle’s still asleep at almost 10 AM, which is really late for her. I’m contemplating waking her up. I keep getting up around 8 AM which is still late considering it's 12 PM Utah time! I'll be all messed up when I go home. Shoot.

Supposedly we’re going to go to the beach today. Around 4 PM, Brianne and Nephi are coming, and we’re going to head to Mauna Kea. We should be able to see some amazing stars from up there. I am so excited because the stars out here from ANYWHERE on the island are unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Being from LA, even Utah’s sky impressed me. But this is amazing. I’m pretty sure there isn’t a star you can’t see.

So hopefully the beach will happen and we’ll get to see this Mauna Kea business. Until then!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hawai'i

Well, after taking off at 10:45 AM Utah time yesterday, landing in Phoenix, taking off again at 1:55, landing in Honolulu, and then taking off at 6:50 and landing in Kona, I am finally at my destination.

I started reading The Hunger Games yesterday to keep my brain occupied. I just finished  it a few minutes ago. I think everyone saying how good it is has made me think it's not so good as everyone said. But it was enjoyable. I did finish it in two days, after all.

On the flight from Phoenix to Honolulu I was next to a really cool couple from Maryland who were talking about their daughter's terrible school and district so I got into a conversation with them. When we started going over the islands, Rob asked me if I'd like to switch seats with him so I could see out the window. They had already been out here two or three times before. I thought that was super nice of him.

Looking down at the islands was pretty amazing. It was actually a really spiritual time for me. I fought back tears as I looked at the place where so many of my ancestors have lived, where so much culture thrives, and where so much beauty is. I was overwhelmed to say the least. It was beautiful and amazing.

Getting off the plane in Honolulu, I was met with the water in the air so quickly that the air escaped my lungs before I could say, "HUMID!" Yikes.

I was exhausted when I finally got to Kona but Krystle was very prompt in picking me up, and I was so glad I made it all the way there without any hassle or delays, and that my bag made it without getting lost, too! It was a really painless trip aside from it being long.

I almost fell over on Krystle inside Target. haha. I got some sun block so I wouldn't get funky tan lines. Then I ate a bagel and chatted Krystle up, then went to sleep. I got up at 6:30 AM due to the time change (10:30 Utah time).

We're house sitting at her friends' house here in Kona. It's beautiful, with an ocean view. I tried to get pictures but my camera died and it has since gotten hazy. But we'll be here for a few days.

I guess we're heading to the beach today or something so that should be fun. Krystle's going to show me the sights on the big island, and I have my great grandpa's information ready to take to the temple for his baptism and confirmation. I also found a meetinghouse for church Sunday. So I'm pretty excited for that.

I love my skin here in this moisture. Friggin' Utah.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Family

"And inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

I will never know the suffering Christ feels on everyone's behalf.

But as I've said before, I think one of my "gifts" is to empathize and sympathize with people, their experiences, their joys, their pain... So I can understand very minimally, feeling for those I love.

There was recent violence in my family, between my two brothers, in fact. It might seem normal to some, but this kind of violence is uncanny, heartbreaking, and anger-filled violence.

Hearing about this made my heart shatter. I've tried to ignore it all night and tried to distract myself with other things, with laughter, but the problem still exists.

I can't believe Satan's grasp on this world, especially through drugs, and how they change people. Drugs do such terrible things to people, drive people to do the worst possible things... Like hurting family members.

I love my family. I love my brothers. I love my parents. I so want to be with them in eternity. When I imagine hurting one of them on purpose--actually I can't imagine doing such a thing. If I've even said something to hurt a family member it makes me feel ashamed and guilty and sad. I can't imagine hurting any one of them on purpose, especially physically.

When Christ says, "Ye have done it unto me," I feel that way about my family. When one brother hurt the other one... I felt like it had been done to me. I suffer on their behalf--both of them. I hurt for both of my brothers. My heart aches, my stomach clenches, the tears fall. I don't really know what to do with myself, feeling so hurt like this.

How could you? How could you ever hurt someone you love? How far do you have to go to feel badly about it? To feel regret? What has to happen before you wake up and change, Jason? You hurt everyone around you.

The saddest part is that you don't even know it; and that even if you did know it, I'm not sure you'd care.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pish Posh

My days are really boring lately. Good thing I'm going to Hawaii in FOUR days with this girl!


Oh I love her.

Dismiss that I look like a demon, please.

In other news, I received this awesome going away present from the middle school--my caricature on a plate!


And I have a new favorite product.

Hawaiian Tropic After Sun Body Butter. $4 at Big Lots! You mean I can smell like Hawaiian Tropic ALL day, tanning or no tanning, sun or clouds, summer or winter? DEAL!



Mmmm.... It's my favorite.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Perfect Day

I was in a brief funk for a couple of days last week.

Have no fear, the atonement is here.

I've felt quite happy lately. Plus I have a job interview on Friday morning. I hope I nail it. I need a job.

I slept in today (after getting three nights of 9 hours of sleep in a row).

I got up, applied for a job or two online, and worked out.

After working out, I rinsed off, greased up, and headed down to the pool for a tanning session.

This day's weather was absolutely perfect. So warm, even when clouds blocked the sun. But never burning hot. There was a pretty consistent breeze, too. When I got down there, I dipped in the pool. It was so awesome. I remembered being a kid and going swimming all the time--the first swim of the summer was always the best. Oh but seriously, it was so relaxing and so perfect today.

After about two hours I got ready to go and headed to the movies with my cousins. We saw Diary of a Wimpy Kid. It was so fun. I loved it.

Then we went to the Cocoa Bean which is of course, my favorite.

I've been wanting to go to the temple, craving the temple, for a couple of weeks now. Since today was perfect and reminded me of California weather, I decided to just sit on the temple grounds and read. I headed over with my May Ensign in hand. I sat by the water fountain in front of the Provo temple and read four or five talks out of the Ensign.

I don't know if I can describe the feelings that I had sitting outside with the sun on my back. As soon as I was on those temple grounds I felt the Spirit so strongly. The view from up there is awesome, and it makes you realize how very separate you are from the world when you're at the temple. All I could hear was the waterfall. It was so very comforting, like being at the beach, which is another place where I feel close to the Lord in the middle of his most beautiful creation. I can't do justice to the total peace and relaxation I felt there.

I saw tons of youth coming out of the temple and was astonished at the number of these worthy young kids and how they chose to spend their summer evening. I was reading the words of the leaders of the Lord's church and felt the Spirit testify to me of the truthfulness of this gospel, of the temple I was sitting in front of, and of the ordinances that go on there. It was such a strength to me to see so many amazing people going in and out of there, being faithful and diligent members of the church.

It really was so amazing to be there.


The view. This doesn't do it justice at all.




I turned off my radio on the way home because I realized it was completely disrupting the feeling I left with. I tried about 20 minutes later to turn it on while I was getting food but quickly turned it off again. Weird how so many things get in the way of the Spirit that we probably don't even realize.

After I got food I came home to watch my show which I watch, obviously, to feel touched by the movement that I see. But I also get super inspired and moved by some of these people. Teddy is my favorite again from auditions. But this guy who was deaf auditioned for the show and left me in ruins. He was amazing.

As a side note, I read A Thousand Splendid Suns in four days. I was worried that the suffering I endured with the characters for so long wouldn't be worth it in the end. It was. I definitely recommend it. I think I'm actually going to watch the Kite Runner now, since that's his other book that I read, and I never saw the movie.

Anyway, it's been a super awesome day, full of uplifting moments at the temple and beyond. I love my Savior.

Also, I apologize for the number of times I said "amazing" in this post. I'll grow a vocabulary!