23 March 2016

First YA show (14-16 November 2014)

This week. Whew. Let me tell you. This week was fun.
Starting Tuesday, we had Young Ambassador rehearsals starting around 3 going until 10 pm. Every single day, up until our show on Friday.
After many long, grueling rehearsals, Friday finally came. We ate dinner at 4, did our last sound check at Orem High, and then we dressed, and waited for the show to start.
The showband opens the program with a piece that we had gotten 2 weeks prior. And to make things even better, they gave us new sheet music 3 hours before. Tensions were high, but we were all extremely exciting. As fun as it is performing for an empty auditorium, a full one is much better.
Despite many mic packs falling off performers, and having our only Alto Sax break, the show went extremely well.
How did we know this, despite our biased opinions, and our parents many compliments (which they are obligated to give)?
Saturday morning, we all got on the bus to head to Wyoming for our next show that night, and our directors did not give us any notes. We didn't go over any music. They just let us sleep, eat, and enjoy the ride and each other's company.
That is unheard of. We have members that have been in the group for years, and most of the bus rides are full of even more rehearsing.
As we pulled into Jackson Hole, Wyoming, our wonderful directors told us how well we did, and that don't remember a show going so well on opening night, and they thankfully reminded us not to get cocky.
One of the vice presidents of YA's said "We perform to bless. Not to impress". Which is true.
Thankfully, a lot of my parts are not too difficult, which gives me the opportunity to watch the audience as I play. I will honestly tell you that I teared up at least 3 times, watching little girls faces as they watch the show. They were all smiles, a few were dancing in empty spaces, and one little girl even tried to climb up on stage (her sister caught her just in time, but, I'm sure she would have been welcomed).
I personally know that I am not doing much, I mostly play the tambourine or the bongos. But I am very grateful that I get to be even a small part in bringing happiness to just a few people.

After we meet the audience and clean up, we go to our assigned Host family. I was with 3 other wonderful girls, and we stayed with the most welcoming, beautiful lady and her dog.
She knew we must've been starving and had made us a delicious homemade chicken soup. With ice cream and berries for dessert. I don't think we could have been treated better. We stayed up far too late getting to know each other, and before we knew it, it was way past bedtime.

We got to the church at 8:45 to get ready for our Devotional. And that practice definitely could have gone better. We were stumbling over notes and words. I was quite nervous. Some other girls and I were frantically reading over the songs when another girl told us that what we didn't need to do that. Because we needed to be there, and we would receive the help that we needed.
And we did. I do not think that there were only 31 people singing up there. I was still stumbling over words, but it didn't matter, because the room was filled with the Spirit and music.
Four wonderful talks were given. And one in particular stood out to me. I cannot phrase it as well as he did, but I can attempt. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever should believe on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." How many times do we hear that? A lot. How big of an impact does it make?
Switch out 'the world' for your name. "For my Heavenly Father loved me, Josie, so much that He sent his only Begotten Son, that if I should believe on Him (I) should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Our Father and our Savior would have made the same sacrifice even if only 100 people came to earth.  Even if ten did. Even if just you did. For you, They would do anything to make it possible for you to come back into the loving arms of your Heavenly Father. You are so loved. Don't forget it.
Welll.... That was not close to what was spoken. But I guess that's okay.
I am so grateful to be a part of this experience as tiring as it is. I have learned so much about myself and our Saviour.
I am grateful for his love for us. John 14: 27  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

24 February 2015

Stockholm 2014

My friend showed me this wonderful flight sight called skyscanner, which is basically the cheapest way to get plane tickets. Believe me, I look up flights all the time, and this is one of the cheapest ways to go.
Anyway, she managed to find a $300 round trip ticket from Oakland, CA to Stockholm Sweden. And for a bit we joked about going, until we realized it could be a reality.
Long story short, she didn't end up wanting to go because it was Thanksgiving and for normal families, that means family time. But most of our family was going to be out of town.
So Patrick and I bought two tickets. And we soon found ourselves on a plane to Sweden.
The plane was one of those super cheap airlines, so food cost an arm and leg, so we brought snacks. Sadly this was before we heard the genius idea to bring a cup of noodle and ask for hot water. So we lived on crackers, pretzels, and gummies. But it had a very nice entertainment set up and fancy windows that allowed you to control the tint of the window, which meant no blinding light trying to get a glimpse of the world below.
Seeing Iceland from the air was a highlight for me, because it truly looked just like how it does on the map. A+ cartographers.

We got in at 6 at night, so it was already pitch black. And we managed to get ourselves on the right bus. It was only a 45 minute bus ride, and we had the joy of listening to an American hit on a Swedish girl and try to impress her with his knowledge of the world, which was not very accurate. But props to him for trying and traveling.
Travelling is not scary. There are only two things that stress me about travel.
  • Getting your passport/wallet stolen*
  • Getting to the place you will be staying
*But even that is fixable as I learned in Wales last year. 

Once you get to your hostel/hotel/host family/house/flat/whatever else you want to call it, everything is a breeze. It's just the traveling in the cold, heat, rain, snow, or rain, while lugging around your luggage that is the pits.
So Sweden was cold and dark, and I had my relatively heavy backpack on, with a shirt on, a sweater, and two jackets, so I am simultaneously freezing and sweaty, and only one of our phones was working correctly, and we needed to walk to our hostel. Which took forever. And I must apologize to Patrick, cause I got a little snippy. But like I said, cold, sweaty, hungry, and tired does not make a good combination. He told me to relax, which is not my favourite phrase, because of course I could relax. You're talking to the girl who was lost in India with her just her cousins for like 2 hours when we thought we could walk home from the market (Honestly it's a miracle we found it (Thanks to living next to a landmark)), and who faced working in Belgium alone. I can totally relax. But, sweat. So, after awhile we finally found our dear hostel. I forgot the name, but I would highly recommend it.  To help our mom relax, we stayed in a pricey private room ($170 for 3 nights).
Our room's door
It was surprisingly nice. And it happened to be just one block from the Senior missionaries home, which doubled as the institute building, which made for an easy walk on Tuesday night.
We did not wish to spend a lot of money, so we mostly ate trail mixes we brought. I nearly cried when we ate pasta at a restaurant on Thanksgiving (Not that we ate there for Thanksgiving we just happened to eat there on Thanksgiving). Hot food is a wonderful thing.    

Surprisingly, Stockholm is not very busy during November, and we never quite got over jet lag completely, so at times it felt like we were the only ones there.



We weren't of course. But it was definitely a different feel than London in the Summer. 
My favourite part though, was the fog that hung on the city all day our first day there. It wasn't really something I had seen before. 

Here are some pictures to prove we were actually there....

Now I just need to go back in the summer when daylight lasts longer than 7 hours. And maybe, just maybe, I'll stay longer than three days. 

14 September 2014

It's True

Originally, this semester was going to be a breeze. My only remotely difficult class was going to be a math class. But, my 3 other classes were super easy. And then like 5 days before the semester officially started I had the opportunity to audition for the BYU Young Ambassador Show Band.
(Which is a pivotal part of YA.
And somehow, I made it in. 
I know. Don't ask me how.
I made it in despite the fact that I cannot read music. I also had never heard of the instrument that I will be playing.
It's called a Handsonic. It looks like this. 

This is exactly what my baby looks like. It's an auxiliary percussion device. So you go from needing like 4 tables of instruments to just this. There are over 7,000 sounds programmed in it, and it is up to me to program our show into it.
So, after I got into YA, I quickly dropped my math class, because there was no way that I could learn to play this and get even a B in math.
We have about 2 months to learn our show. Which is nerve-wracking, but things will be okay because if there is one thing I learned from our retreat was that with God all thing are possible. And that all of us are here for a reason. So, I will do my best and do my part.
I never realized what the YA's did. Yes, mainly they perform, but, there is so much more. They have contributed quite a lot to the churches history. Young Ambassadors have paved better business relations between countries, got the ball rolling to rededicate a country, countless people have started talking to the missionaries and converted because of them. People frequently ask "How are you so happy?"
I think our sole purpose to share love. The love we have for each other, the love we have for the people we are performing and raising money for, and to tell them that God loves them.
Because he does.
No one in coincident. You matter. You have a purpose.
Sometimes that is hard to see and to feel, but it is the honest truth.
You can make an impact. It doesn't matter how small an act of kindness may be. It has weight.
I dunno... I'm getting off topic.
They gave us these nifty hardcovers Book(s?) of Mormon(s?) with this year's theme, which is: With All Our Heart.
We will mostly be traveling just in Utah and Idaho for Fall semester. Winter is when the hard, but fun work comes in. We have a 10-day tour in Utah, Nevada, and California, at the end of January. Then in the beginning of June, we'll go to Nauvoo for a while. I forgot how long. I am pretty excited because I have never been there. And I'm pretty dang sure that someone I am related to must have lived there. I will find out.
Here is the proof that I really am a YA. It's hard for me to realize it's real.

Also. Being part of Young Ambassadors really isn't that big of a deal. I am just pretty stoked. 

1 May 2014

Semester Overview

Well. Winter 2014 has officially been over for six days. Lovely.
This semesterI lived in Queen's Arms. Which is like a 4 minute walk from campus, and managment was fantastic. It was small and old, but man. You didn't need to leave your apartment 20 minutes early to get to class. 
I offically switched from Middle Eastern Studies to Linguistics! Only to then realize that I actually think I want to major in Film probably... But, we shall see what happens. I have a Lingustic (ish) internship in Cardiff, Wales this summer. So maybe I'll fall in love with linguistics there. We shall see. 
Secretly, I'm just hoping to meet more famous people over there.
Dear Martin (He played Jim in the UK Office, Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, and John Watson in BBC's Sherlock

Anyways. If you are wondering what activites I did while attending my second year at university, fear not. I can tell you. 
When I was not studying like a good student, I watched so much tv. Grey's Anatomy. Modern Family. And most importantly, Teen Wolf (it's better than it sounds I swear). 
Really. Though. There was a lot of watching tv at like 3 in the morning while 'reading' assignments. 
I also went to my friend, Theresa's, ranch quite often. Which was so much fun. It was nice to get away every few weekends and roll hay, brush horses, and just be far away from civilization. It was the rejuvenating push I needed to keep going (BYU only gives 2 days off in Winter (It is the worst)). 
My group of friends and I all enjoy writing, so when we weren't taking care of the 7 horses, we all sat around writing various stories. Every so often, switching materials with one another to get their input. 
I have learned so much about horses. They had always scared me before, and they did the first few times I was around them, but, now I am fairly comfortable around them, and I can't wait for this month to spend more time with them. 
Monty and I
Anyway. This summer holds many adventures in store, and I am looking forward to sharing them with you! 

11 June 2013


So my dear Mum posted about my old art. So I thought I would make one about my new art.

I am a relatively creative person. Okay, okay. I kind of thrive off it. I'm usually in a better mood when I've been on a film set, just written a story, or drew something. I love it all. I will not say that I am necessarily good at these things, but I do enjoy them immensely.  So one Saturday in May, I was crazy bored, so I walked up to BYU and purchased a simple watercolour set. Nothing fancy. It was like 8 dollars, 12 basic colours. And I was like "I'mma paint things.". So I did. But I have't really painted since grade 6. So I was kinda nervous. But, you know what? It didn't turn out horrible. I am actually kinda proud of some. 
Needless to say. I need more art in my life which means I need to practice. So that's what I do every once in awhile. 
It makes me happy. 
Maybe I should write more too. 
So without further ado. My paintings. 
This was my first one. It's more abstract-y



First mess up. It was supposed to be a sunset (Look at it sideways), instead it has quotes from Gandhi in Hindi.
Sixth. This is for my friend Brogan, he posted a picture of a bagel on a chair and it got 53 likes.

I'm not kidding. Fifty four likes. Of a bagel on a chair. 

Eight. I've also discovered I am much better at painting at like 3 AM than in the day time. 

Number nine. I don't know how I feel about it. 

The first 5. I dunno. I just kinda liked the collage. 

24 November 2012


I just sent my old roommate a facebook message telling her that i missed her, and I saw that I had a previous message, which is weird, because we had never sent facebook messages to each other before. And basically, it was for before we had moved in. And it just was asking us (Julia and I) to switch apartments to across the way. I literally have never seen that message ever. In my life. Like, I didn't see it before I moved in, or after I moved in or ever. I never got the notification. And after talking with Julia, she said the same thing happened to her. She just never saw the message about them asking us to find another apartment so the other roommate could stay. 
So we moved in completely unaware that they had tried to contact us. 
Honestly. I am so glad we didn't. SO freaking glad. I have met my best friends in that apartment. If I hadn't moved there I wouldn't have moved to brownstone. I wouldn't have met Maraika, which means I wouldn't have had the wonderful opportunity to meet Jake. Honestly I look back and think who would I be without my awesome roommates. They probably don't know it, but they are slowly changing me for the good. 
And don't even get me started on our awesome FHE brothers. Those guys are seriously some of the best guys I know. I love all of them. They are some of the most spiritual, uplifting, fun to be around guys. And all I know is, whoever I marry needs to be like them. My standards are so high now we'll be lucky if I ever get married. 
I am so grateful for the Lord in my life. He knows exactly what I need. Whether it's traveling across the globe (I'm supposed to be here. I just don't know why yet.) or having my facebook act funny and not show me a message, he will provide the way that will be most beneficial for me. Even if I don't know he's doing it. 
So. I'll just take this moment to express my appreciation for my God, my roommates (the old and the new), my FHE brothers (the old and the new....Tyler....), and always, my Family.

20 November 2012

I can't figure out why that post is weird, why it's all highlighted. I really am having quite a good time. Toady After work I'm going to transfer my money into Euros. Then maybe I'll do some shopping.
It'll be fun. I cannot wait for the weekend. 

Belgium Day Two 19/11/12

The Lord is really on my side because I have no idea how I keep ending up where i am supposed to be. But I do. Like today I got off the wrong metro stop, and I had to ask like 5 people where the library was and none of them knew and most didn't speak english. Finally a man knew sorta where it was.
Then when leaving work, I walked too far and got super lost. But I found a metro station, and got on what I thought was the correct metro, but it was wrong, and it took me farther from where I wanted to go, so then I got on the correct one, and got off on my stop, and had to transfer, so I got on that metro, only to find out that that too was the wrong one and it took me to the wrong place. And you can't just cross the tracks, like, you have to go up and around. So I went up but I couldn't find the other side. But I did find some really cool buildings. FINALLY I got on the right one. And I had to walk to where I am staying by myself. But I found it without a problem. 
Pretty much. But it's gorgeous. It's kind of similar to Egypt, but a little bit nicer. I'm sure I'll like it more soon. Right now it's just kind of stressful and scary.
Work is kind of Hell (pardon my language), but it is. I'm in this make shift room made from black curtains and it seriously barely fits a desk and chair. On the desk is this camera stand thing with two super bright hot lights on it. So the room gets sups hot. Plus I have to wear a smock-y thing and black gloves and a mask. Which makes it like 10 times hotter. Plus i can't even sit. So I am literally standing for about 6 hours in this super hot place taking pictures of hundreds of years old scores. Which are from operas and ballets. And they are scores for everything. The volins, violas, cellos, basses, flutes, oboes... everything and there are more than one score for each part. And David (Boss man) wants them to be perfectly centered and the strip that I put next to them to identify them straight and a certain ways away, and the scores have to be centered with the camera too. Which would be fine, but they are cropping everything out besides the music, so it doesn't even matter. So, they have to be perfect. Plus. Three times today he's been like " Are you going your fastest?" or "You're gonna have to go faster if we're going to make any progress at all." or "And I thought I was gonna have trouble keeping up with you. But I can see that won't be a problem."  But I guess I can understand why he's frustrated. Actually I don't think he is. I think that's just how he is. He's a good guy I know. 
So. It's frustrating.  And I always feel nauseous in there.... Anyway. There ARE good things too. Believe it or not. My Host family is amazing. She has 2 kids still at home. Louisa, she's 18 and Tale... I don't know how to spell it it's pronounced Tall-eh. And they're all super fun to hang out with.
The buildings here are so pretty and old. I'm sure soon I'll find things to love.... But right now it's hard. 
But tomorrow can only get better! 
Also. Junk food here is sooooo much better. Like right now I am eating a frozen pizza. But it is legit. Like, normal pizza sauce and cheese with spirts of mozzarella cheese, spinich, and roasted tomatoes. Yeah. That was a frozen pizza. 

19 November 2012

Belgium Day One (18-19/11/12)

It was so foggy when we landed that everyone in the plane were surprised when we landed, I honestly thought we were still in the air. Then the hard part, buying a train ticket, finding which train to get on and figuring out when to get off. Eventually I asked a girl, and we communicated mostly through hand gestures and repeating things a lot.
While I was sitting on the train an older man got on the train and he was legitimately wearing a barrette. It was pretty cool. Eventually I got off and took a taxi to where I was to be working. But, there was a blockade and so he couldn't take me all the way. So I had to walk 2 blocks. Which wasn't bad. Then I worked/slept for a bit. Work will be... interesting. Then I got really sick. Well. Not actually sick. But I felt pretty nauseous. So I called Regina, who I am staying with, and we figured out a way to meet her.
I had to take the metro and then get off and change metro lines. And then get off again.
Guys. He knows what's up. Cause I was totally in the wrong place. But Regina found me!
Now I am showered and fed and feeling great. Except tiredness. But that will pass.
Seriously I think this is the coolest family I have ever met. They moved from Africa 16 years ago. And they all speak English at home. And they don't even have accents, even though the 2 kids at home have lived in France for most of their lives (Africa before then, remember?) Yeah.
This'll be good. 


So, I won't lie to you. I was (am) terrified of going to a foreign country alone, I have cried so many times the past couple of days. I have never felt such crippling fear. It was frustrating, because I didn't want to be crying. It would just happen.
Anyway. All of the flights went swimmingly (flyingly?). On the way to Denver I sat by a nice man who was in Utah for business, he works for John Deere, he was excited to get back home and see his grandkids and wife.
On the way to Philadelphia I sat by a women going home to New York. She was taking some laser type of course thing... Honestly, I have no idea what it was. But she said laser. I was texting Julia and she asked where I was, I said Illinois. Later she corrected me, Philly is in Pennsylvania, not Illinois, which I should have known.
As I was sitting in the Philly airport I just cried and cried. I was so nervous and worried.
I saw this mom with  a young baby. As we were boarding they called for people with young kids to board, and she didn't go up. They called my section to board, but I didn't go. She was just sitting there rocking her crying baby, all of her (her babies) carry ons at her feet. Finally, I did what I should have at the beginning, I asked her if she wanted help carrying all the stuff. She said yes with such desperation and I wondered how people could walk by her without wanted to help. I should have done it sooner.
The plane ride was fine. My family should know that I ate ALL the food they gave me. ALL OF IT. And I used the airplane bathroom not once, but twice. For those of you who don't know, I never eat the food in the airplane and I never go potty either. Boom. Win.
After we landed I stayed on and went back to the young mother's seat and helped her carry her stuff to customs. She asked for my address, which I gave her. Maybe I shouldn't have.... Oh well.
So yeah. That was my flights.