Friday, July 6, 2007

I'm Proud to be an American!

I am proud to be an American and celebrating our nation's birth this last month was just one more reminder of how lucky I am to be here. After being in Africa for 2 months I don't know that I have ever been more grateful on the 4th. And what a 4th it was...but first I need to back up and finish up the rest of my African adventure.

We were in Mozambique until June 18th...I think. The weeks I spent there were incredible and I learned a lot. I feel like it is similar to the mission in that when people ask me how it was, the one sentence response of "It was great" just doesn't do it justice. But most people don't have the time or they don't really care to hear just how great it was. My students were all sad to see us go and they gave us a parting gift of a capulana and hair scarf. So great. The highlight of the last week there would have to be getting my hair braided. Yep, I actually put braids in my hair, and not just my hair, I had extensions, so I had about 4 times my original amount of hair. It was quite a painful process...I don't know how they do that all the time. The girl's in my class each redid their hair at least twice while I was there. We decided we wanted to join in the fun so me, maggie and Ellen all got it done. It took 3 girls about 4 hours to get mine done. Wow! I can't say I would ever do it again but I'm glad I did it just for the experience. Here are some pictures of us getting our hair done, the finished product, and then what it looked like when I took them out. Hello I look like a lion! I decided that since I had the amazing hair, I needed the makeup to match. But that was after I returned from Africa. I kept them in until I got home so the fam could see.

As for our last week in South Africa, it was a dream come true. We started out on Monday morning, taking a bus from Maputo to Johannesburg where we were blessed to stay with some friends of Maggie's who were just as nice as could be. Then we headed out early the next morning for Jeffrey's Bay. Those of you who are surfers should recognize the name, it's apparently one of the best spots in the world. Well Brian is a surfer so that was one of his dreams. We drove all day and arrived at our amazing hostel called Cristal Cove. If you ever make it to J bay you should definitely stay there. A stones throw from the water, great rooms, nicest people ever, and they arranged for us all to have surfing lessons the next day. You can't be in J bay and not go surfing. It was my first time and it was great. I'm not that good, but I loved it. It was tempting to drop out of life for a year and just become a surf bum. But we all decided that probably wouldn't be fulfilling enough for us. The whole experience was great. The other best part of J bay was the billabong factory store where I purchased a garbage bag full of clothing and could have gotten more if I would have had room in my suitcase. Loved it!

We headed out Thursday morning to get to Cape Town by that night. We drove along the coast which is called the Garden Route and it is beautiful. But nothing was as great as Cape Town. We crossed the peak of a mountain and we were all of a sudden looking at the lights of Cape Town with the sun setting perfectly behind Table Mountain. It was an amazing sight. We ended up staying at a hostel called The Backpack right at the base of table mountain and so close to downtown. It couldn't have been more perfect. The first day there everyone else wanted to go sandboarding but Mags and I wanted to tour the city. It is a booming metropolis, which I wasn't expecting. I think in my mind Cape Town was still just this little historic city like the one I have read about in my history books. But it was a perfect outing. There were beautiful gardens, a great outdoor market, and we ate lunch outside at the Sundance Cafe. In the afternoon we all met up to go up Table Mountain. I don't even know where to start to describe that experience. It felt like we were on top of the world. And as such, Maggie and I sat on a rock and listened to the Carpenters sing "On top of the World" on my ipod. It was one of my Africa highlights, no questions asked. We were up there for several hours, it's huge park up on top, and then we watched the sun set over the Atlantic ocean. :) It was a perfect day. But it didn't end there.

Saturday we drove around the entire cape. The pictures say more than my words ever could. It was raining and cold but the clouds did amazing things with the light on the ocean. It couldn't have been better. Standing at the tip of the cape, I had to ask myself "am I really here? standing at a place that has so much historical significance? Incredible!!" We discovered that there is a perfect open beach for horseback riding, if only I would have known sooner. Next time, that is number one priority. But we did get to see the African Penguins. You can actually swim with them but the weather was not ideal for that kind of activity. So we just stopped and stared for a bit. It was a long but great day.

Sunday we went to church in a random ward and the weather was still pretty stormy so we decided to drive out to the other point of False Bay called Hangklip. My reason was that I wanted to see the light house...I have a thing for light houses. And I had seen a picture of the one there. The problem was that it wasn't actually street accessible...the road was closed off. So we started hiking around this little point, not sure exactly where we were going to end up. Rain was threatening to pour any minute, but it was all worth it when we came around that corner and saw that beautiful light house. :) I was one happy camper. Even when it started raining on us before we got back to the car. It was a great adventure.

The last stop before heading home was Kimberly where the first diamonds were discovered. There is a big hole there that was dug entirely by hand with picks and shovels by men who were hoping to find their fortunes. They have a great museum that is brand new that gives the history not only of the big hole but of the diamond world. And it tells a little about the cruelty that was used in the diamond mines as well. My favorite part was a timeline on the wall that said things like "such and such diamond purchased by Joe Dimaggio and given to Marilyn Monroe for her birthday" and things like that. Liz Taylor apparently has quite the collection. I can't even imagine...but as they say "diamonds are a girl's best friend"!!

Well this is quite the long winded post and I'll be surprised if any of you even read all the way through it. But for those who did, I'm glad. And if you have any questions or comments, you know that I am always willing to talk more about it!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The blog you have all been waiting for...mine! ;)

Look at Cali's Face! haha Love her!

Grad Night! It was the bomb!
Below is John and I...what a stud!

Well, all I know is that a picture is worth a thousand words... so instead of boring you all to death with my extremely monotonous life, I will just post pictures! Yeah! haha and believe me I do have a lot of pictures! Goodness the last time I talked to all of you I was still in high school...

how embarrassing! shhh But now I have graduated and moved on, went to Mexico, found a new love, AND got asked out by this guys on campus I did not even know! I was quite proud.. not! More like scared out of my mind. It is a real funny story that I would love to tell all of you when we are together and it is not over email, I mean, blog. Well I had such a fantastic time at Graduation.. I spoke... none of you were here to hear it... thanks... family sure does mean a lot these days...;) j/k It's ok you guys just all get to hear it when you get home anyway! well I do not even know how to do this, where to i put pictures... hmm Well after graduation I went to grad night and that was fantastic! The decorations were absolutely amazing! I had such a good time and was extremely wasted by the time I went home! Then Monday morning came and my friends and I headed to Mexico! Since you guys have all been there I do not really need to tell you how fantastic it was, it was great!!! I loved it and got some nice sun while I was there. Well amidst all the commotion I fell in love with John Grimshaw! He actually went to CV, but what does that matter anymore, it doesn't! We are meant to be and are so alike that is sometimes creepy. Just for example, speaking at graduation; he spoke last, moved the tassle, and said the closing prayer all just like me! It is crazy. So I have some way fun storied about john...;)... that I would love to tell on a more personal basis with everyone! haha Well I want to just post some pictures now, but don't know how. I am now living in Pleasant Grove trying to find a job on campus for the summer. It is now Strawberry Days and I love it! I am going to the rodeo tonight!!!! The carnival starts today and I REALLY just want someone to be here.. so they can kiss me at the top of the Ferris Wheel! I will just have to wait! Well I love you all and can't wait when we are all together for a minute again! Love, Kendra Sorry about the array of pictures all at the top... I dont know how to fix it! Enjoy! Oh, John is the one in Green! Isn't he just a doll! And he is taller than me! Don't you guys fret, on our way to Mexico we definitely DID take a picture in the rock! All the girls were so amazed! haha I guess that is what happens when you have not taken a picture there every time you pass! Sorry for the randomness of this, and there are SO many more pictures I would like to show all of you, so be excited! I love you and good bye!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Allie and Tyler

Just a video of Allie and Tyler playing.
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Thursday, June 7, 2007

Here are some photos!

This was seriously the coolest thing ever! Giraffes, elephants and monkeys just hanging out a few feet from our car. Amazing!!

Well folks, I finally have my camera and am on a computer at the same time...with the camera cord as well. So here are some photos from the last week in Swaziland and Kruger park. As you can probably guess, the ones with animals are from Kruger and the others are the village and waterfall in Swazi. The pictures just really don't do it justice.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Aruba, Jamaica....oooo I wanna take ya.....

I found this past week another piece of Heaven on earth. It's a small island about 15 miles off the coast of Venezuela and it is AMAZING. Contrary to most islands I've been to, Aruba is mostly desert, but the water and weather are fabulous. And what more do you need when you want to lie on a beach for a week.

And lie on the beach is pretty much what we did....well, with a few other activities in the mix including sea kayaking, pushing our car through the Marriott parking lot b/c the battery died, slides at the water park, eating at a few fabulous restaurants, and snorkeling. Food highlight of the trip, sugar waffles (Liege waffles) from a Dutch deli. Similar to churros in texture and flavor, they are to die for. If there is a Dutch restaurant in your neighborhood, I highly recommend a visit.

For those looking for a good place to vacation (i.e. sit on the beach, read, and get a tan), Aruba is in the top five on my list. The food and service were great, weather comfortably warm (except when in a car with no air conditioning), fairly inexpensive as far as islands go, and the water temperature just about perfect. The only real painful part.....coming back to reality.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Kingdoms and the Animal Kingdom...

Oh my goodness I don't even know where to start!! We spent this last week traveling with Professor Williams and his wife and daughters and 2 daughters-in-law to South Africa. And Swaziland, which is a small Kingdom inside of South Africa, and then Kruger Park, which is a wildlife reserve, where we got to see many creatures from the animal kingdom, up close and personal.

First of all, Swaziland was beautiful. It really looks like southern California but there are only black people. We rode a Greyhound bus to Nelspruit, South Africa and then we rented vans (like the one we rented in Portugal) and drove to Swaziland. We had some unfortunate events including long lines at the Mozambican border (we were in three countries in one day!! talk about stamps in the passport!!) and 2 flat tires at the same time on the same van. That was due to the awesome potholes on the road to Swaziland. Great experience. But we were riding in comfort. Because the vans we were in are the same size as the ones they use as mini buses here that could fit 15 people, but they cram in 25...not joking. It is a sight to behold. And we only had 8 in ours, so we felt like royalty. That feeling only increased when we arrived at our destination which was a lodge with little cabins. Each room slept 2 people and had a bathroom with a shower and flushing toilet!!! Need I say more? But the luxury doesn't end there. Walking out behind our cabins reminded us of the movie dirty dancing except that there was just a pool instead of the lake. But there was the side walk with the lodge at the top all lit up with little white lights. And when we got there (after more than 12 hours of traveling) we went straight to the restaurant where the proceeded to serve us the most delicious 3 course mouth is watering just thinking about it. I slept better that night than I have since I got to Africa. It's amazing what a comfortable bed and bathroom can do for a girl!

The next day we got up early and continued with the royalty treatment with scrumptious. We spent that day in a little cultural village learning about the Swaziland traditions and swimming in a waterfall and then buying souvenirs. There is so much more I want to include but I just don't have time! I love the culture here and our group is just so much fun. Everything we do is great. That night when we got back we played the IPOD game, which is stinkin hilarious and we must play it when I get back with our whole family. We were all falling off of our chairs with laughter. But the next day we headed out for Kruger park. Which was everything you ever imagined Africa to be and more. We camped in these little tents and we went out on an African Safari at night and early in the morning to see all the animals. I felt like I was on the Indian Jones ride at Disneyland!! We saw giraffes, rhinos, monkeys galore, hippos, lions, zebras....and the list goes on. I now understand what inspires people to make those National Geographic documentaries, I could have sat and watched those animals forever.

Well, my time is almost up and I'm sorry I don't have pictures to post. Maybe next week. I hope everyone is doing great.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Sweet Times!

Hey! So we have had some pretty fun adventures in the last little while...I had my first set of papers due last week so that was fun! I can't believe it is already midterms and I come home in like 3 1/2 weeks! Crazy! anyway my first set of papers is overwith, but don't get too excited cause I have like 6 more to write that are due this next week...yay! So last Thursday we went and hiked Waimea Falls it was way sweet. The hike/walk is so pretty and then there is a little waterfall and swimming area at the top, it was awesome. Also after the hike we went and got Acai bowls, which are this Brazilian fruit and its made into a smoothie and they put granola, bananas, and honey on top! Wow it is SO GOOD! Friday Krista and I went in to Haleiwa, which is like a couple towns over, it takes about 45 min on the bus. Anyway it is like the cutest town ever it is so small, but very touristy. This is where they have Matsumoto's which is like the best snow cone place ever and they have this homemade ice cream place that is like to die for! haha basically all I ever hear about is all these good places to eat and all the different food I need to try! Saturday we went kayaking all day and it was so sweet. We drove to Kailua beach and then kayaked out to these 2 islands, hiked around and cliff jumped and then kayaked back. It was awesome. Also that night they had a thing called Food Fest on campus. It was so cool, it was outside in the flag circle and pretty much the whole town is invited haha it kind of reminded me of the July Jamboree in Cedar except way smaller. Anyway all of the different clubs at BYUH prepare some sort of food and then they sell plates of it with tickets that you buy at the front. anyway it is really cool and they had ALL kinds of food. Monday we rode the bus to one of the beaches along the North Shore. It was great, there are so many gorgeous beaches it is out of control. We also went and ate at this Thai place called Haleiwa Eats, wow it is so good I didn't think I would like it, but pretty much amazing! We also had a bonfire again the other night on the beach so that was fun. Basically we don't have very much time left so every day is going to be action packed! Stay tuned for more exciting adventures! Oh also I had my first hula test and here is a picture of our awesome hula skirts that our teacher made for us that we have to wear!