Monday, April 11

Chile Mission Trip 2011

This past spring break I went on a mission trip to Chile with the girls from my high school. This happens every year, the trips alternating between a mission trip and a Rome pilgrimage. The boys went on a Rome pilgrimage and next year I will be making that trip. But back to Chile.

Off we go on our grand adventure :)

Before I went I had no idea what to expect, except from stories that my sister had told me of previous mission trips. I was excited, happy, and nervous...but mostly nervous. Up until this trip I had NEVER been outside of Canada before (I had been on a plane before so no worries there) so I really was embarking on a new experience.

Chile from the plane's point of view

Our flight had a layover in Toronto, so it was 4 hours to Toronto, a 2 hour layover, and then a 10 hour flight to Santiago, Chile. Needless to say I was absolutely whacked by the time the plane landed. In fact, I was so tired that while standing in line to pay the reciprocity fee (don't ask) I actually sat down on the floor (crazy Canadian tourists) and nearly fell asleep. I couldn't be bothered to care about the wondering looks I received because it felt so good.

The Chilean airport with me in it :)

Walking outside of the airport was like being hit by a sledgehammer of hot air and humidity. I have to ask, why the hell does anybody live in Calgary when they could live, I dunno, somewhere warm???

Chile is beautiful. It's green and mountainous and hilly. It has flowers and palm trees. The sky looks blue it you kinda don't look at it to closely (smog). The sun shines and it's hot and humid. The drivers are pretty crazy, but it just adds to the general atmosphere of being in a foreign place. The first day we got to the house that we were staying (it was quite nice, in a gated compound where the Legion of Christ had several houses), we went for a walk (I had Chilean ice cream for the first time!), had dinner and showers, and went to bed at 7:00 pm. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow...having had zero hours of sleep the night before is better than a sleeping pill. Our morning wake up call was 6 am so this was probably a very good thing.

The path leading to the house where we stayed (my friend just happened to be in the picture)

We went to a state school on the next 4 days. All of the kids were quite poor, most had parents who were in jail or had no parents at all. Many of them were single parents themselves. There was a nursery where they could drop their babies off during school and pick up wasn't until 7:00 because they all had to work. But despite all of these hardships in their lives they were incredibly happy and smiling and generous. They couldn't speak English and we couldn't speak Spanish but it didn't matter because all they wanted was to have somebody who would listen and love and care.

While we were their we basically just interacted with the students, playing games and singing songs. With the older ones, we actually joined their English classes and helped tutor a little. For the most part, though, we spent the majority of the time talking, or trying to, which was even funner.

The last day of the mission we went to a house for the mentally disabled. I can't even describe the beauty of the people who lived their. It was almost heartbreaking how loving and smiling they were. They had nothing, no parents and no family but they were SO happy. All they wanted from us was to hold our hands or to see our smiles. We played with them and sang songs and just that little bit of our time was enough to make their whole day for them.

Our very last day of the trip we went to Valparaiso and Vina del Mar. They are town on the sea. At Valparaiso we went on a boat ride and we saw sea lions. At Vina del Mar I went swimming in the ocean! And I got sand absolutely EVERYWHERE! The ocean is terrifying because it crashes into you and pushes you off your feet and then it pulls back out and pulls you along with it. For the first 5 minutes I was pretty convinced I was going to drown.

And then we hopped on our plane for 10 hours...I got ZERO sleep...we got to Toronto at about 3 am and had about a 1 hour layover, then we got on our 4 hour plane ride to Calgary. And then home :). I was really sad to leave but home is nice. I think I will go to Chile someday again because I've never had the feeling that I felt when I was there. I really can't describe it but it has something to do with forgetting about yourself, seeing your problems in perspective and having to put all of your trust in God to get you through the day.

Wednesday, April 6

The best life has to offer...

The Dance

Searching eyes roved the cloudless sky,
Unblemished and without a wandering stain.
My soul rejoiced in the Blue so high,
But joy is never allowed to remain.
Into the cathedral-like sky drifted a tiny cloud,
Disturbing my dreams as though it had yelled aloud.

Dancing and twirling across the sacred ground
Which I had worshiped only moments before,
It disrupted the peace, though it made not a sound
And it ignored my pleas, striking me to the core;
Pulling fluffy, tulle skirts together,
It cavorted across the sky; light as a feather.

Singing along in this impromptu dance,
The wind joined into my private show
Which now held me bound in a timeless trance,
My earlier anger long forgotten; watching the music flow.
Hours and years seemed to pass me by, though only a few seconds
Lasted the dance, until the cloud dispersed and my doorway beckoned.

Now every time I stare into the perfect Blue sky,
I see a phantom cloud dancing there ,
The way it danced, that day it danced so high.
Now a perfect Blue sky seems so cold and bare.
No cloud now dances to brighten my day.
No cloud so happy now dances my way.

Thursday, January 27

I love this story cause...well, I think you will be able to figure that out for yourself. I wrote it as an English assignment and it's less of a story and more of a scene sketch. Enjoy. (I think you will really like this Gwen, it should speak to you romantic soul ;))


Outside it was cold and chilly. The wind howled and the snow fell. Inside was warm and cozy. Logs crackled and a book beckoned. Alicia laughed and closed the curtain gently. No chance in heaven or hell she was going out tonight. “I wouldn’t be surprised if Hell is frozen over,” she said, smiling gently. Displacing her cat, she snuggled into the high backed chair, positioned her cup of cocoa carefully for maximum reach and picked up her book, well aware she was in for a satisfying and pleasant evening.

Two hours faded slowly into the past and Alicia’s head began to nod, until at last she gave up her struggle, the book fell away, and she snored gently in contented sleep.

A rapid fusillade of knocks jerked Alicia awake. She sat up abruptly, spilling cat and book out of her lap. She stood uncertainly in front of her door, trying to determine if she could have dreamed so loud and abrasive a sound. A sharp staccato confirmed her fears and, groaning inwardly, she slowly heaved the door open. On the front step stood a young man of uncertain age but certain beauty and his car stood some yards outside her front gate. In the darkening night and gathering storm Alicia could just make out the deserted road with the city in the near distance.

He smiled apologetically, following the direction of her eyes. “Sorry to bother you. I would have stayed in the city tonight but my car broke down just outside of your gate. Worse luck for you of course, but an absolute god-send to me.” He smiled engagingly has he said this and Alicia blushed slightly.

Oh! Of course! Come in please and take off your jacket. It’s an absolute stinker of a night and I don’t grudge sharing my fireside with a stranded wanderer,” she said as she ushered him inside relieved him of his impedimenta, and waved a hand to a chair near the fire.

Inside she was grinning to herself with glee. “Out of a storybook really…tall, dark, handsome. Like something from Hans Christian Andersen perhaps, although his tales were always a mite depressing. This story will have a happy ending of course, with him sweeping me off my feet and riding off into the sunset etc.” Alicia thought all of this in a matter of seconds as she prepared a cup of cocoa for her “mysterious stranger”. He was really very handsome and as she bustled around the kitchen, Alicia made sure to tidy her titian hair into some semblance of tidiness and brush the extra cat hair off her shirt front.

Meanwhile, the “mysterious stranger” was appreciating his own good luck. His hostess was quite the beauty and she seemed to be quite intelligent to judge by the choice of her reading materials. Shakespeare was right up his alley. He settled comfortably into his chair anticipating the return of both Alicia and his cup of cocoa. The evening was going to be entirely enjoyable and satisfying.

Monday, September 20

The First Day

This was an English assignment for school that I decided to share with you, because my blog has been left to dust and decay long enough. Tell me what you think.

Julia was most decidedly nervous. She knew she was nervous because her stomach hurt, her hands were sweaty and her heart was fluttering madly in her chest. All of these together indicated extreme nervousness. After a few moments of deliberation, she decided that it was OK to be nervous. Everyone was nervous on their first day of school. This thought comforted her little.

Time seemed to speed up towards the moment when the car wheels slowed their revolutions, the minivan pulling up to the multi-story building. Julia's breath came in short gasps as she watched the steady flow of students through the rain washed windows. She decided that she was scared as well as nervous. Some of these people were enormous and even though she knew it was impossible, at that moment she was afraid of being stepped on.

“Ready?” Julia was snapped our of her reverie by the sound of her mothers voice.

“Mhmmm...” Julia answered noncommittally and gathering shreds of courage together she stepped out of the car into a moving maelstrom of activity and high-pitched voices. Walking up to those front steps felt like one of the hardest things she would ever have to do. Julia pushed against the flowing tide of people, reinforced by her mother's hand at her back.New students shivered in corners as old students yelled greetings and reviewed their summers at the top of their lungs.

Suddenly, Julia stepped out of this chaos and confusion in to a peace filled room. In the doorway stood a comfortable looking woman with a lovely smile. Timidly, Julia smiled back, and some of the butterflies stopped fluttering. She was still nervous but she didn't think she was frightened anymore.

The rest of the class filed in, each child shrinking against a firm parent. All of the children wore frightened grimaces and as each one met their new teacher the grimaces slowly faded away to be replaced by overwhelming relief. Julia had decided that Miss Hardman was definitely nice and as she ran her hands over the smooth, shiny surface of her desk, she realized that she had no butterflies at all. She wasn't nervous at all.

“Hello children, and welcome to Grade 1. I'm your teacher, Miss Hardman.” All of this was said in a soft, mellow voice that reminded Julia of soft caramels. She liked it a lot. Miss Hardman was a nice looking person. Her dark hair fell in soft folds around her neck and shoulders and her brown eyes glowed with warmth and friendliness. Everything about her proclaimed that was a teacher and companion of small children. Her faded cardigan and worn skirt exuded comfortable usage, but the best thing about her was her smile. When Miss Hardman smiled, everyone else did too. Julia felt no doubt at all that school was going to be pretty great.

Thursday, July 8


I am a HUGE least I love the music. I disdain to comment about the show because though I'm sure it has many wonderful moments...well, we won't go there.

For those of you who don't know what a Gleek or Glee is, I shall explain. Basically Glee is a TV show about a glee club (a glee club is where you sing and dance and stuff). They sing a lot of awesome songs and its pretty awesome. The TV show itself, however, isn't so awesome, for the simple fact that its about modern day high school kids, who do modern day high school kids stuff...if you get my drift. But I just don't watch the show, and I wallow in the wonderful music instead. Like I said, it's pretty awesome.

They do covers of some of my favorite songs, and I'll show you a few just cause I feel nice and anyone who hasn't heard glee...well, they just haven't lived.

I die and come back to life every time I hear this song...

and also with this song...

This song just makes me feel happy...

Those are some of my favorites, and I know, I need a life. But why would I want a life when I could just listen to glee all day?

Friday, June 25

Wisdom Teeth and Massive Needles for Elephants

It seems to me, whenever I write on this blog, I'm either in vast amounts of pain, or I'm regaling you with an embarrassing, if funny, story.

Today...I'm in pain. I got my wisdom teeth out yesterday...yep, I now look like a chipmunk with its mouth full of nuts and berries. It is not a very comfortable feeling.

Getting your wisdom teeth out hurts like.....heck. NO, I was not going to swear, although I feel an awful lot like it. If you had somebody stick five needles in your mouth, slice a hole in your gums, break your tooth, and drag it out, piece by piece, you would feel like swearing!

Something also went wrong during the surgery, and now I have stitches in my cheek and two of my wisdom teeth were not taken out. I THINK it was because my mouth was too small. As my delightful dentist said with chagrin, "Don't ever let anybody tell you you have a big mouth...because you don't." Anybody who thinks I have a big mouth can go stuff it, so there. He said (My dentist that is) that we would have to wait to get my top two wisdom teeth out until they erupt. Which made me think of Mount Etna. I sincerely hope we are not waiting until my wisdom teeth spew lava all over the inside of my mouth.

Another horrifying aspect of this tale: I was actually awake during the whole thing...I heard EVERYTHING. Every grisly crunch and sickening scrape was mine to cherish. I also felt a great deal. Although I had a massive amount of freezing done, I could feel the pressure as they drilled into your bone. I am expecting horrifying nightmares.

Did I also tell you that needles terrify me? When my dentist pulled out this massive needle, I felt my heart stop. Surely they only used those on elephants? I looked frantically around the room. No elephants. I cringed inside. Looked like I was in for it.

To be strictly truthful, it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been. They gave me some freezing gel, so it could have been a lot worse. I could feel the needle go in. I could feel the pressure. But I wasn't writhing on the floor in gargantuan amounts of pain. Be that as it may, needles in the roof of your mouth are VERY painful. I don't really recommend them.

Right now, I am kinda high. For the past 24 hours I've either been filled to the brim with freezing drugs stuff, or filled to the brim with pain killers. I'm not operating or driving heavy machinery any time soon. But hey, at least I can't feel much. Oh the beauty of our modern drugs...they make you act like an idiot, but at least your not in pain.

P.S.-Can you tell that the painkillers started kicking in about halfway through this blog post? Disregard any strange turn of phrase....and if I send you an email today, disregard that too. I'm really not myself. :D

Wisdom Teeth (Not mine)