Some of you may know that I took a service trip to Mexico this summer. It was one of the best experiences of my life. There is no way to sum it up (I wrote over a hundred pages in my journal about it) so I will just blog my journal entries instead. 

 Because they are journal entries, there may be a bit of rambling because that is how I write sometimes, just ignore those parts. 🙂

Last November I applied with a group called Youthlinc with Colton and my cousin Micadyn. It is a non-profit organization that sends groups to serve internationally in Mexico, Peru, Kenya, Thailand, and, for the first time time this year, Cambodia. Before you serve internationally, you are required to do a set amount of service hours locally to earn a sponsorship which will help you pay for the trip. Originally we all applied for Cambodia, because I thought it sounded the most exotic and it was the first time Youthlinc was opening a service site there. Well, Colton got accepted (later I learned that if you are a boy and you apply you are basically guaranteed to get in because not enough boys apply to Youthlinc and they don’t want it to look gender-biased), Micadyn got accepted into Mexico because there was a sponsorship available for only Mexico by where she was going to school, and I got put on a waiting list. IT WAS MY FREAKING IDEA PEOPLE! I was going to be really upset if they both got in but I didn’t. But it all worked out, and I ended up going to Mexico with Micadyn. This is a blog about our adventures. I took over 1100 pictures, and will not be able to include them all on my blog, but I will do my best to pick out my favorites.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Day 1

I’m officially on my way to Mexico! I’m on a Continental Airways flight to Houston this second. I’ve been packing all week long and it has been one stressful week. I’ve had to pack for Mexico the next two weeks as well as California the day after I get back from Mexico. Colton’s family invited me to go to San Diego and stay at a beach house that they rented. I’m so excited! Then the day after I get back from California I’m going camping at Duck Creek, Utah, with my family. It’s going to be one busy month!

The lady who has window seat next to me (I got stuck between two strangers) didn’t open her window and I’m kind of upset because I wanted to watch us take off! She was like trying to sleep or something. Who sleeps while they have window seat?! That’s okay, I picked two window seats on my solo flight to California (I have to transfer in Phoenix, Arizona). She just opened her window for me to take a picture. We flew over Provo and the mountains are just covered in snow! It’s almost July! We’ve gotten so much rain and snow this year that Utah and other parts of the U.S. are turning into a giant puddle of flood-water. I love it when we’re flying above the clouds. It’s amazing that we have airplanes. Two hours and forty minute flight to Houston. If I were a pioneer, it would take us weeks to get there! The day I stop being amazed at all the things in this world will be the split second between me being dead and going to heaven, if there is such a second.

Someone is drinking Coke across the aisle. I love the Coke bottles that have a flip-flip on them. It’s so cute and simple. I love anything beachy. I’m so excited to go to the beach in California.

This morning I woke up after stressing all night about last-minute packing items. Despite everything, I was ready way before we had to leave for the airport which was nice. I just got served some apple juice which is totally refreshing. I don’t think I’ve gotten anything but iced apple juice on any flights. It’s just the best thing ever! My parents took me to the airport where we met our giant group. We had a packing meeting last night for donation items, so this morning we all had huge duffel bags to haul around. It took an hour for everyone to arrive and check in our duffel bags and go through security.

I feel so incredibly blessed to be going on this trip. My dad gave me a father’s blessing before leaving, and I feel so grateful for being able to have that in my life. I decided that I’m living proof to myself that people can make their dreams come true. I have always wanted to go serve in a foreign country like my dad did when he was younger. I love serving, and what better way to do it than going somewhere where you will be able to visibly see the active service you’ve done? I never thought I would be doing this so soon in my life yet what better time to do it?

I feel so bad for this girl that I know, because I feel like she thinks life isn’t full of adventure and fun and opportunities. If you make it possible, it is. Like she says that she might like to do things but she has no money and has to go to school and then needs to save up money so she can get married eventually and not be completely broke. But isn’t that part of the fun of life? Making rash decisions, hoping for the best, experiencing all you can before you settle down? I would regret so much to not have done anything by the time I have kids. I would have no stories to tell them, nothing that they could look up to me for and wish to accomplish in their lives as well. It’s because of my dad that I’ve always wanted to take a trip in a different country to do humanitarian work. Colton is coming home from Cambodia tomorrow. What an exotic place! Think of all the stories we could tell our kids if we ended up getting married.

Youthlinc does a Friends and Family trip every year. This year they went to Peru, and Colton said that next year they it’s to Cambodia. My dad wants to do that next year possible, and I would love to go there! This is the first year that Cambodia has a Youthlinc site open, and Colton was a part of it. How neat.

After we went through security and put our bags at the gate, many of us (there’s 35 total) went to find some lunch. It’s positively ridiculous how much food at the airports are. But I had to eat something because my next meal will probably be in Mexico at like 10 pm. I had a yummy Pizza Hut meaty pasta that was almost 7 dolloars. Micadyn’s personal pizza was 5 dollars. You can get a whole pizza to feed four people at Little Caesars for goodness’ sake! After walking around a little more, we went back and soon after boarded our flight. I felt kind of dizzy and car sick, well air sick I guess when we just barely took off. But after some cool apple juice and ibuprofen I feel much better.

I’m so glad that Micadyn is here with me. It’s only too bad that our other cousin, Evie, couldn’t have come too. This will be such a great adventure! I don’t even know what to expect. I will try to write as often as I’m able, because this is one experience I never want to forget. My team job while in Mexico is one of the two team photographers. I’m so happy about that job! My dream is to take pictures of people in remote villages and have them posted in National Geographic Magazine. Well, I probably won’t have them posted in NG, but I’m taking pictures! It’s a start, right?

I’m just so happy to be here right now, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else with any other group of people. I’ve missed Colton the last two weeks, but I’m glad he was able to go and serve the people of Cambodia. This is the type of experience I think everyone should be required to do: go outside of their country and serve. Imagine what kind of a country we would have if everyone in the U.S. was required to do this before graduating from high school or college? What a beautiful place we would live in.

I found a nice letter my dad wrote me in my backpack when I’d sat down. He said he was proud of me. I almost started crying while I was reading it.

I’m so blessed right now. And I helped make this possible by believing that I can make a difference, and just going for it. I will write some more later. I’m going to drink my apple juice now.

All packed!

All packed!


Micadyn and I

Micadyn and I

enessa and Tiffani (our alumni leader) They totally look like twins, but they're just sisters. Tiffani went to Peru on her Youthlinc trip. She'a fluent Spanish speaker and we all love her!

enessa and Tiffani (our alumni leader) They totally look like twins, but they’re just sisters.
Tiffani went to Peru on her Youthlinc trip. She’a fluent Spanish speaker and we all love her!

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