18 January 2008


For my phonetics class, we have a homework assignment to make reference recordings of ourselves reading words. I felt like an idiot coming into the HLRC and recording myself, for the same reason that I don't read out loud in Russian even though I know it'd be good for me. Or pray out loud when I say personal prayers.

This is something that is assigned, though. So I have to do it. Really, I'd make the recordings at home if I had a microphone. It's a weird sensation to be surrounded by people who can hear and understand what you are saying but cannot participate. I don't know how to explain it. But then I felt a little better when another girl in my class came in a couple of minutes later and started doing the exact same thing. She's less abashed than I was--it seems to me that she is speaking louder.The poor girl that has been here longer than either of us is probably annoyed.

17 January 2008

The holes are healing.

I'd just like everyone to be aware that I ate a nut today--an almond. It was the first time in a long time that I have done such a thing. This means good things for my wisdom teeth recovery. A truly sweet moment--I imagine it feels like flying (as a bird flies) for the first time.

16 January 2008

Hilarious mishaps.

On the front page of today's edition of The Daily Universe, BYU's newspaper, there is an article entitled, "BYU offers mission preparation course online." The first-liner reads as follows: "Future LSD missionaries are encouraged to prepare for their missions early. . . ." To me, that is hilarious. I don't know if anyone else saw that and/or got enjoyment out of that, but I sure did.
Preach the gospel of LSD, and start early, would you?

08 January 2008

Car accidents are fun.

Yesterday, I totaled my car.

Kirsten and I drove to Orem (the neighboring city to the north of Provo) to pay our rent. On the way there, a guy in a pick up truck pulled out in front of my car. He was turning left. He didn't see me and I didn't have time to stop or to swerve to avoid hitting him, so my car crashed into his car. I drew pictures on Paint. I don't claim to be an artist.

Stage 1.

Stage 2.
Stage 3.

Luckily, Kirsten had her camera with her.

1. Not driveable, methinks. 2. The other car involved. 3. The marks where we skidded into the parking lot. Hoorah. 4. "Hi, I'm holding a part of my car that came off in the parking lot and making a really weird face!"

Tijuana. /TEE-uh-wan-uh/

Recently, I returned from Mexico for a week-long humanitarian trip. There, we constructed houses and other such things. I did mostly roofing, which I had not done before. But the houses aren't really constructed well there to begin with, so I wasn't too worried.

I found out about the organization from my friend Amber Naumann, who is a student at USU. So I ended up in a group of mostly Aggies, which was surprisingly...not bad. Harhar. (I've been writing "harhar" a lot lately.) Just kidding, I already had a lot of friends up at USU.

A lot of funny things happened. One time, Amber and I walked to the grocery store down the street from the hospital we were staying at. Well, it was more of a clinic, and it did not even function. The clinic is run by the Catholic Church, although that's not the reason it's not functioning (I don't think).

The grocery store is called Flash, but don't be fooled. The English name for the store does not mean anything. I was surprised, in fact, at our proximity to the US border, and yet we were completely immersed in unAmericanness. Not very many people could speak English, and although the landscape is very similar to Southern California, it couldn't be more different in some ways.

So Amber and I were in the pastry section and Amber asks me, "Amanda, what does this sign say?" There was a paper sign on a glass case that said something in Spanish. I don't know Spanish. In fact, I know less than Amber knows. (She was impressively diligent about expanding her Spanish vocabulary and using it. And although I hated the fact that I couldn't speak Spanish, I had zero motivation to actually make an effort to learn any Spanish. I am not a person that is motivated to learn languages. Russian is quite enough for me.) So the fact that she was asking me was funny, but what was funnier was that I answered her. Without hesitation, I read the sign. "Please do not touch the pastries with your hands." And we walked on. I'm not sure how I did that.

Another day, I went with a couple of people in my work group to get lunch from a taco stand on the side of the road. We ordered fish tacos. We went back to the hospital to eat them and so they gave us little baggies with colorful sauces. I didn't use the sauces very much when I was there because me and spicy food don't get along well. I was unprepared for the fire that happened in my mouth when I ate some kind of hidden chili pepper in my taco, then. And to quell the burning in my mouth, I turned to the sauces. One of them looked quite harmless. It was avocado green in color and appeared to have little or no seasoning. I wasn't thinking, but I thought it would be guacamole that was not too hot. So I downed almost the entire baggie.

It wasn't guacamole, it wasn't avocado. I'm told it was wasabi. All I know is that I nearly died. No joking.

When we left Tijuana, it was approximately 12 PM on Wednesday, January 3. It took us a long time to get across the border......and when we did, we just kept driving, stopping only for gas, food, and bathroom breaks. We drove through the night. By around 4 AM, we were in Fillmore area. Steve was driving and I was awake, providing the music (courtesy of iPod), while everyone else slumbered peacefully. Suddenly, the van ran out of gas. The gas gauge was broken so we had to measure the trip miles every time we filled up with gas. I guess we underestimated exactly how many miles we could get on a tank of gas, though.

There weren't very many cars on the road and no one was stopping, so we
decided to push. Within minutes, no one was sleeping anymore and eventually, every person was outside of the van (with the exception of someone to steer the car) pushing or simply walk-running alongside. The next exit with a gas station was over a mile away.

It was quite cold outside. Really an invigorating, brisk walk.

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