Friday, August 3, 2012

Prague 2012

     It has been awhile since my last post, a little over a month to be exact. I have wanted to write about my experience in Prague and Vienna for some time now but honestly, I didn't know how to start. Maybe you'll finish reading this, or quit while you're ahead, and realize that you have no idea what I am talking about. That's okay. Rest assured that my 10 days in Europe were some of the most memorable to date. 

     The New Prague Dance Festival 2012 had groups from Australia, Belgium, Italy, South Africa, Turkey, Panama, Israel, Lithuania, and USA. We took classes and danced with people that could barely speak with us because of the language barrier. We went with a goal to win the Grand Prix award and we did it! We also won The Friendliest Team award. We visited a concentration camp in Mauthausen, Austria and toured a royal palace.(PS the hills really are alive with the sound of music in Austria. Absolutely gorgeous!) We ate a lot of yummy gelato :) We went with the hope that we could share our hearts and our spirits with anyone who saw us dance. That by watching us dance, no matter the religious affiliation or background of others, they could feel our love for our Heavenly Father who had blessed us with this special gift.

     My favorite thing about this competition was that there was no tension between groups. The focus seemed to be on showcasing and sharing our talents and I felt relaxed and calm. It was so cool to see how different cultures view dance and how they choose to lace their belief system in the numbers being performed. Everyone was encouraging and loving. At a time in the world where sad things are happening every day, this was a safe space. Everyone was on equal ground and the movement transcended everything else going on outside of our dance bubble. Were there some numbers that I didn't understand or thought were a little odd? Yes. But I think there is a little weirdness in all of us that can relate to everyone else's weirdness in one way or another. 

     More than anything, this experience renewed my love for dance. Being with girls that I adore, dancing with them, laughing, joking, crying, being humbled, and uplifted with them was a joy. Something that I will always cherish and remember. I am so grateful that I was able to be apart of this team for 3 years. I am so grateful for the way my testimony has grown because of the spiritual nature of the team and inspiration of the girls. Most importantly, I am so grateful for my relationship with my Savior and for how experiences like this have brought me closer to Him. I knew after this year it was my time to be done and for someone else to have these experiences. Going to Prague was the cherry on top of the delicious treat that is Cougarettes.

Pics from the trip 

Cougs 2011-2012. For the 4th of July we dressed up and wore red lipstick. It's the little things that make us happy :)

At Karlstein Castle  
Sam and I in our patriotic get up. 
"Good friends help you to find important things when you have lost them... Your smile, your hope, and your courage."

-  Doe Zantamata 

Modern poses at Shonbrunn Palace in Austria 

“Someone need not be perfect to be a great dancer –
feeling a soul is more important than what the body can do.”

- Marcia Haydée

The best form of sunscreen is an umbrella. So I found. 

on stage
Come Thou Fount

“Music is the language of the soul,
dance is the language of the body.
Body and soul, music and dance conceive an instrument
of expression through which the spirit communicates.”

- Maestro Hector Zaraspe
Indestructible with our tour guide Vladimir
Awards ceremony
Taking Class  
Learning the art of theatrical make up  
The Dancing House. I feel like this would be the Weasley's house if they were very wealthy. 
John Lennon Wall in Prague
Favorite quote on the wall

Mauthausen Concentration Camp 

Favorite memorial

Straight up tourist

Not from theatrical make up class. That is real life. 

The Jewish Quarters

curly heads

Attending church in Prague.
"Christ has no body now, but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth, but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
Christ looks compassion into the world.
Yours are the feet
with which Christ walks to do good.
Yours are the hands
with which Christ blesses the world." 

-Teresa of Avila

Monday, June 25, 2012

grass clippings

There are good people in the world.

My landlord asked if someone from my side of the duplex would mow the lawn this week because it was starting to look like the grasslands. Jill has been with family, Ave works all day and Mel was leaving to New York so I graciously volunteered for the job. One problem, I've never mowed the lawn with a push lawn mower. Now I'm slightly embarrassed to admit this, but whatever. As of right now while I'm writing this I can say otherwise. Anyway, I came home from practice and got the lawn mower out. (is lawn mower one word or two? I don't know obviously so I'm going with the choice that seems to suit my mood best right now) Well it is a piece of junk. It has no bag, it stops every 2 minutes and frankly, I think it needs to be retired. Then it ran out of gas before I could demolish the weed patch that went up to my knee cap. Yep, you read it right - my knee cap. So I did what any sensible person would do. I took a shower and told myself that after the birthday festivities for my cute dad were over I would finish the job. FAST FORWARD 9 hours. I'm driving home from my parents house, pretty beat from babysitting and slip 'n' sliding all day, and notice as I drive up that the rest of the lawn is mowed. And it looks amazing. Upon further investigation, all the extra grass spewed out everywhere was swept up and in the garbage. I went to my neighbors and asked if they finished, they said no. My neighbor who helped me raise the lawn mower to cut longer grass didn't do it either. It was my cute home teachers from last semester who finished the work. I never would have known if I hadn't snooped around a bit. I started to cry. Not like an ugly sob but a cute, almost angelic cry. Kidding, but I guess it would be more correct to say I got emotional and teary eyed.

Honestly, that is one the sweetest things that has happened in awhile. They made no attempt to get credit for what they did and it really meant so much to me. To Andrew and Kevin, thank you. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

self explanatory

"The world's greatest champion of woman and womanhood is Jesus the Christ."
-James E. Talmage

"The cultivation of Christlike qualities is a demanding and relentless task - it is not for the seasonal worker or for those who will not stretch themselves again and again."
-Spencer W. Kimball

"Be confident. Too many days are wasted comparing ourselves to others and wishing to be something we aren't. Everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses, and it is only when you accept everything you are -- and aren't -- that you will truly succeed."

"Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength."

"I Believe in Christ, so come what may" 
-Hymn 134

Sunday, June 10, 2012

"nothing is as constant as change"

You know when you are talking to your grandparents and they say something along the lines of, "Don't take this time for granted, it will be over before you know it"? Well I'm starting to feel that way. Kind of. Everything about this next school year encompasses CHANGE. Sometimes change can be overwhelming and scary, but the words of Winnie the Pooh come to mind. 

"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think." 

Not only that pooh bear, but I know that I have a loving Heavenly Father that will provide in every situation I find myself in. Even in times of extreme change and upheaval. 

One big recent change is that Sister Becky Andrus entered the MTC last week and I already miss her! I miss her crazy outfits and the notes that she writes on my car with window markers. 

Waffle Party for Becky
The after party for her farewell

Getting excited to be set apart  
Just packing. NBD

Dinner at Texas Roadhouse 
Last goodbye

Jill and Beck

In our natural form 

See you in 18 months Sister Andrus! 

Becky's gone, Sam is married and summer is just getting started. Another change for me is that starting in the fall I got hired at a studio! It is called UDA and it is located in South Jordan. I am SO EXCITED!! I've come in to teach a couple of classes and seriously fallen in love with the girls. I think I am most excited about the fact that I am starting with them from the beginning of the year so I get to grow and change with them as the year goes on. I am going to be teaching their jazz technique classes and assisting their company director. 

Spring term is now over. Tomorrow I have my modern final and then I am done for 2 months until it all starts over again. That doesn't seem like so much of a change but when I come back to school in the fall my life will be 100 percent different. First off, the schedule that has become second nature to me will no longer exist. In place is a new practice schedule. Can I just say, I am STOKED to have the opportunity to be a Young Ambassador. I already feel so close to so many of the people on it, I can't wait! I'm also a tad bit terrified if I'm being honest. This quote pretty much sums it up, 

"Growth means change and change involves risk, stepping from the known to the unknown."

After 3 years of being on Cougarettes and 10 years of being on some type of competitive dance team, this is a welcome change. It will also be my second year in the dance major and I'm going to be a senior. Gross. 

So here I go. I'll try my best not to take this time for granted because honestly, life is good. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

He's done it again

John Mayer just came out with his new album Born and Raised. It's different than his other stuff but hey, it's John Mayer. He'll never let you down. He's done it again.

Shadow Days

Something Like Olivia

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Playing catch up

So I'm going to play a little catch up on all the things that have happened in the last 2 months. Not just the little fun things, but the big stuff!

Becky got her mission call!! She was called to Carlsbad, California and reports to the MTC on June 6. I'm so incredibly happy and proud of her. But man I'll miss her!

We had an interesting situation this year with Nationals being a week later than normal. As it turned out we had to have our year end banquet before we left because we would be coming back to finals and craziness. Especially for the 3 girls getting married! We ate at La Jolla Groves and seriously had a blast. 
My number one fan. I don't think I would be where I am now if it were not for her support and always being willing to help with WHATEVER I needed. Not just as my mother but as my friend.

Russ and Steve. Not just passing down wisdom, but skills as well.

2012 National Champs
My last night in Daytona I got a phone call at midnight from the front desk. Cheryl told me that I needed to come down and pick up a special "surprise". These flowers were my special surprise. Sent to me from Loren Hawks, Abe Hegewald, and Shae Hunsaker congratulating me on making Young Ambassadors and doing well at Nationals. I love them and I'm so excited for next year!
Practicing our skills for next year. I'm excited to perform with this kid again!

Sam's bachelorette party! Starting at Malawi's...

Going where she never would have expected. It was such a fun time eating, dancing, laughing, opening presents and making the night about our dear Sami Jo
April 29 was Mel's birthday and we took her to Color Me Mine. Don't worry she turned 21... not 12

Jesse and Sam had a dinner the night before their wedding. It was so much fun to be with close friends and celebrate what was to come the next day. Also Haylee came in from LA!! Nothing like a wedding to bring friends and family together right?

It has become a tradition to make a video and show it at the luncheon or dinner of our friends weddings. This was the creation for Jesse and Sam :) 

I could not be happier for them.

May 1, 2012

and Gentlemen

She was a beautiful bride.
Spring classes started and this has become my main form of transportation. If it isn't raining or I'm not running late of course! I'm taking Dance 340 and I'm still loving being a dance major. Spring term is so fun because everyone is laid back, the sun is shining and campus is gorgeous!

Reading outside on campus one day

I really do enjoy school. But when these hooligans come in to town I think it is a perfectly acceptable reason to miss 2 days of class. Sure, I've used all my absences up on them. But they're worth it :)

So totally worth it.

Along with teaching dance privates my dad has enlisted me to help rebuild the deck and do some much needed yard work. It's kind of scary that I'm using power tools but really, this one is baby sized. I'm not that cool yet.

I had to get some proof that I was actually doing something. Although I am what you would call a "poser" for this picture, I really did this all across the deck.

When Sam and Jess got back from their honeymoon we decided to have a BBQ up the canyon before they left to go install in San Diego for the summer. Nights like these are one of the many reasons that I love summer. Sam also got us a little prize from Hawaii, these cute head wraps.
One of the many things I love about Emily Barkdull is that even if we are doing absolutely nothing at all, bored out of our minds, it is still so much fun. I haven't laughed so hard about absolutely nothing in a really long time and this night I cried laughing.

Well, there you have it. I'm all caught up and just in time for summer to start. It's time for the windows to be rolled down, swimming, reading, parks, playing, movies, country music, concerts, snow cones, sunburns, craziness and whatever else summer will bring.