Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Where in the world should Brea go next?

At 27 and single, I feel that it is my duty and privilege to travel the world. I was counting up my states and countries I've visited, and I realized that for the first time in my adulthood my state list is longer. That needs to change.

States I've visited (not including airports)
  1. Washington
  2. Oregon
  3. Idaho
  4. Utah
  5. Wyoming
  6. Montana
  7. California
  8. Nevada
  9. Texas
  10. Virgina
  11. District of Columbia (it counts)
  12. New York
  13. Pennsylvania
  14. Arizona
  15. New Jersey (I drove through it, so I guess I need to count it)
  16. Maryland (Liz reminded me we went there together)
Countries I've visited
  1. United States
  2. Canada
  3. Germany
  4. Austria
  5. Switzerland
  6. Italy
  7. The Vatican (like DC, it counts)
  8. Ukraine
  9. Poland
  10. Mozambique
  11. Barbados
  12. South Africa (I have a stamp in my passport, but didn't really visit)
As the list shows, I need to add some more countries. To remedy this, I have decided to work on planning another trip. I have opportunities and reasons to go, now it's just all about funding. Here are some of my options.

Germany: visit Oma and other relatives. I know Oma would love to see me and I would love to see her. A visit to Oma also means a visit to Switzerland, Germany, and many other places as well. I'm looking at going north this time and seeing northern Germany and Denmark.

Cape Town, South Africa: I have just started my graduate project which is analyzing qualitative data from a hygiene project that has been going on in Cape Town for the past few years. As of now, I'm doing the analysis in Provo, but I'm sure I could come up with a reason to go to S. Africa for further research.

Sweden: After visiting Oma, I would like to travel with Alison up to Sweden where her family will be living for a month or so this summer. I think it's important to do family history and I know that we have Swedish roots. From Northern Germany and Denmark, Sweden is just a hop, skip, and a jump, plus I have a place to stay and people to stay with. Alison also has some crazy plans in the works to hop over to England and Scottland to finish a bike ride she started years ago while on a study abroad in London. She wants me to come with and I want to go.

Peru: I started working on a project that would take me to rural Amazonian Peru to do research in a small village. I have a professor who would like me to go test a survey instrument that has been developed to assess a community's water, hygiene, and sanitation facilities. This project has been delayed for now, but if funding becomes available, then myself and 2 other MPH students who speak Spanish would come with me. And while in Peru, we can't miss Machu Picchu.

Any suggestions? Any other places I should consider for 2010? I'm thinking of adding Ukraine (after the Temple dedication sometime in 2010) and Hawaii. Happy Travels to me!


Welcome to New York City!! This was my first time to the Big Apple and I loved it. I did not get enough time, didn't get to eat at any famous places, but I did get to feel the hustle and bustle of the city. I love the fast paced, super busy pulse of the city. I went to NYC with two of my classmates for a weekend before heading to Philadelphia for a public health conference. I spent two full days in the city and got to see some sights.

Me in NYC!

Me with Lauren and Alisha (2 fellow MPHers) on the Brooklyn Bridge. We were there the day after the Yankees won the World Series, so there was a parade to honor the team earlier in the day. We got to the city just after the parade was over and walked through the aftermath. The parade route went right by the Brooklyn Bridge.

Central Park

More Central Park...isn't there a song, "I recall Central Park in Fall...." If I knew the words, I'd post them for you. If you do know them, you can just sing right along. The park was beautiful and filled with fall colors. People were out running, walking dogs, and enjoying the fall crisp weather. It was seriously BEAUTIFUL!!!

Broadway- We saw West Side Story. It wasn't my first choice, but the tickets were cheap and I wanted a Broadway experience. I'm still sad about not seeing Wicked or Lion King, but as a student, I just don't have that kind of cash. Next trip. All in all it was a fantastic trip and I am eager to head back east again soon!

City of Brotherly Love

I went to Philadelphia the first week in November for a Public Health Conference (American Public Health Association). Some of my classmates were presenting and we all got funded to some degree to come out for the conference. I was pretty excited that this year's location was in Philly. It was my first time to the city and it's a pretty cool place. The original downtown is fairly well preserved and Independence Square sits right in the middle of the city. As you walk the streets you can see Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, old Quaker meeting houses, Benjamin Franklin's grave, a Masonic Temple, and more. Here are a few pictures of my trip in Philly.

This is me in front of Independence Hall. This is the location where the Declaration of Independence was signed as well as where the Constitutional Convention took place. It's pretty remarkable to think of what conversations and debates took place in this building. I still have a firm belief that every American citizen needs to visit the places where our initial founding took place. DC and Philadelphia are musts!!

The Liberty Bell with Independence Hall right behind.

This is in the Constitution Center, which is an interactive museum of early American political history. The center starts with a dramatization that talks about the Declaration of Independence and the drafting of the Constitution. It goes through the different struggles for freedom from all the different groups throughout American history. The last exhibit is walking through a room of delegates (like the Benjamin Franklin statue here) at the signing of the Declaration of Independence and then you can sign your name on the declaration...which I did of course.

A couple of my classmates met up with a friend who is studying at Princeton and came down for the evening to join us for dinner. Yeah for friends!

Vacation and eating go hand in hand and on this trip I got to try my first authentic Philly Cheese Steak and Falafel. The cheese steak was pretty good, but I definitely couldn't eat one of those every day. Falafel is a middle eastern sandwich/wrap, which I enjoyed. Sorry no food pics. I would definitely come back to Philadelphia and spend some more time exploring the city.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fall Adventures: East Coast to West Coast

I recently got reprimanded for not posting anything since my last adventure. I was kindly reminded that my adventures do not have to be international for them to count. So, I am making an effort to update everyone on my whereabouts for the past 3 months. Most of my time has been in Provo, but I have made a few trips.


Lake Powell was incredible. I can't get enough of the sun, so the lake was perfect for me. I skied, wakeboarded, and attempted to surf (I did get up, but it was tricky). We also spent lots of time eating and just hanging out on the houseboat. Now that I've experienced warm Lake Powell (and warm Caribbean Sea), I'm not sure I can go back to the cold lakes in WA or have as much fun playing in the water at the Oregon Coast. You have to learn to enjoy different aspects of each place.

Sorry, I only have one picture. To see more from our trip, visit the MPH blog mphcohort7.blogspot.com


We took a bike ride to Eastern Market and had a fantastic pancake breakfast.

DC Temple

Standing at the Memorial Amphitheater at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery. I started working on my speech for when I deliver it here in this amphitheater. Liz made fun of me, but I thought I had a pretty good start. I'll let you know when it's ready.

Chris and I hung out and did some more bike riding through Capitol Hill and around the District. We also visited the Monuments and did some other "DC musts".

Teresa and I were able to reconnect after a few years of not seeing each other. Teresa and her cute family just moved from Boston and are temporarily in DC before moving to Texas at the beginning of the year.


Awesome roommate reunion in San Francisco. Steffany had been in Utah for the past few weeks and needed to drive back to California. Alison and I volunteered to drive with her for the weekend and fly back. Here we are hanging out at Fisherman's Wharf. We ate yummy clam chowder bowls and fresh crab while enjoying a BEAUTIFUL day in San Fran.

Me and Alison at the Oakland Temple where you can walk around on top. The view is gorgeous!

Just smelling the flowers! (Whitney and me)

Picture taking is always a blast!

Best Friends (and lots of wind)

Beautiful Temple
(and again, notice the wind)

Roommate Reunion

Birthday Celebrations

Whit and Steff invited half their ward over to celebrate MY birthday! So, really, I'm sure people came to socialize and for dessert, but either way it was a blast and I thoroughly enjoyed the attention. Whitney even made me an ice cream cake with mint chocolate chip ice cream-YUM!!! I had an AWESOME birthday weekend and loved every minute of it!

Stay tuned for the next adventure: NYC and Philadelphia....

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ahhh, the Blessed State

It's been a few weeks since my last post and since then I've been in Utah, Idaho, Montana, Idaho again, and Washington. I guess I only drove through Idaho and Montana, but that's enough for me. It's a little crazy being back and I miss the carefree days on the beach and baking in the sun. I've been home in Spokane for the past week and wondering if it is really August as I look out the window and see rain and 64 degrees. I'm hoping summer will be back in full force in Utah.

Being home is pretty good and I'm still working on saving the world by playing with many nieces and nephews who are invading my house. I love the chaos and really believe that my family is the cutest. Life is a bit different here than the Caribbean, but relaxing just the same. My days are filled with eating, eating, walking, eating, movies, playing, more playing, and lots of talking--it's fantastic!

I'm not exactly sure when my next adventure will begin, but for now, I'm content to continue my saving the world efforts at home.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Farwell to Barbados

I'm at a loss of what to say....

My time in Barbados is over. I cannot believe that I am flying back to Utah tomorrow. I definitely have mixed feelings about leaving. The weekend has been a blur, my busiest weekend yet. Friday, I finished the internship, Saturday, I went to an all day picnic on the Atlantic coast, Sunday church and Bridgetown Market, today Cropover and beach. I started out my last day with a sunrise run on the beach, followed by watching the Cropover parade on TV (quite scandalous, if I do say so) and finished by spending the afternoon at the beach. I even have sun kissed shoulders and face (though I did apply sunscreen...twice). I tried soaking up all the sun and surf I could. I love swimming in the warm Caribbean Sea. I find solace in the beach, it is my sanctuary, and I will miss it. I had a tough time walking away from it not knowing the next time I will see it.

Barbados, I will miss you. Goodbye.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Last day at PAHO

Woohoo!!! Today was my last day at the Pan American Health Organization, and I went out with a bang! It was a super busy day and here are some pics from my last days. I finished my report, made visits to the hospitals and clinics, and had my evaluation interviews. Busy Busy! Good thing I burned the midnight (and early morning) oil to get everything done.

Outside the PAHO entrance. I walked out there by myself and asked this woman waiting for the bus, she said she didn't know how to use a camera, but then asked some younger girls who were walking by. They were kind enough to help me out.

This is me in front of the PAHO office. The building is pretty nice and the grounds are beautiful. I was looking at some pictures I took at the beginning of my internship and saw how much greener everything is now. The grass is super green and the trees and plants have grown and blossomed. The rain may be inconvenient at times, but it sure helps everything to look beautiful!

Notice the tag on the back of the chair. There were some wheelchairs in the front lobby of the hospital and it looks like they were all dontated by the Church! Good PR move...it led to some discussions on the Church's humanitarian efforts.

These are two nurses at the polyclinic, which is a free government health clinic. Healthcare is free in Barbados, but people have the option of going to private clinics if they choose, and if they can afford it, most do. The care is generally better and more efficient in the private sector. Hmmm.....gets you thinking about health care reform. Do we really want a government run health care system? There are advantages, but do they outweigh the costs? The nurse on the right showed me around the clinic and answered all my questions. One interesting point she talked about was noncompliance with medication. Many people get the medication, which is free, and continue to refill the prescriptions regardless if they took all the pills just so the doctor assumes they are taking the meds. Her mother for example, would empty the box and ask her to get more medication for hypertension. When the doctor realized her blood pressure wasn't going down, he prescribed a second medication. About a year ago, a new policy was implemented that required you to pay for a second medication. The nurse said her mom now takes the medication regularly because she didn't want to pay for the second prescription. I thought about how if something is free, people don't appreciate it, and will abuse the system. I think healthcare should be accessible, but who said it should be free? Food isn't free. Housing isn't free. Education isn't free. Why should health care be free? Just thoughts....

Farewell to PAHO. You will be missed.

Almost there

It's 6:49 am and I am working on my final report for PAHO. I can't believe my last day has finally arrived. The last three days have been my busiest yet and they seem to have flown. I fell asleep last night writing my report and I was up again at 6am to get started on it. I really want it mostly done before I even get into work this morning, but we'll see how the next hour goes. Today should be pretty busy as I am wrapping everything up and will be visiting some clinics.

I had so much time in the middle of my internship and now I'm scrambling to get things done, why does that always happen? I didn't even procrastinate this time, it was all out of my hands. I like doing quality work and I don't feel that what I'm writing is my best quality, I just haven't had time to sift through all the data and numerous interview transcripts to give the project adequate justice. There's no grade this time, but I still take pride in my work and want to produce something worthwhile and quality. I guess this is more how the working world is...you get a project and a deadline and you complete it. Not everything is in your control and you deal with what you have in the time you have. Well, with that said, I better get back to work!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Countdown Continues...9 days

I finally made it to single digit days left--9 days. I didn't think I would make it. These last few weeks have gone by so slowly and each day gets a little harder to get up and be motivated. Well, getting up is the easy part, my body wakes up around 5:30am every day. I have a large window facing east, so I get to experience all the first signs of morning. I wonder if I'll be able to get back to my usual sleeping in (7am) when I get back to Provo. One can only hope.

I have a full week of work left and another weekend and then I head back to American soil. This week at work should be busy with interviews, visits to health facilities, and writing up my project report. It may be my busiest week yet and I couldn't be happier about that. I always knew I thrived on being busy and this experience confirms it. I need to be busy and I need people to be busy with. I'm already looking ahead at what projects, jobs, and trips I can plan when I get back. I've decided this is my last extended solo adventure. I love traveling and experiencing other cultures, but I think I want to do it in shorter durations or bring friends and family with me. The next possible adventures include a trip to Peru in late fall and possibly a trip to Ukraine sometime next year, all in the name of research. Both these trips would be 7-10 days and I would be traveling with other BYU students and faculty. I'm really excited about those prospects.

Well the official countdown has begun, so look for more posts as I number my days in Paradise.

9 days and counting....

Friday, July 24, 2009

Did I mention I love the Caribbean food?

My advisor took me to lunch after a postponed meeting. The food and ambiance was beautiful. We went to her favorite restaurant, Champers, which is right on the beach and overlooks the water. It is a gorgeous setting. The meal wasn't half bad. You are looking at red snapper, with rice and seasonal vegetables; so light, so yummy. And eating right on the water is fantastic. Smachnoho! (for those non-ukrainian speakers, that means enjoy your meal).

Saturday, July 18, 2009

17 days and counting...

It may be too early to start counting days, I still have over two weeks left, but I can't help myself. Sorry to those who read the MPH cohort blog, I shared some similar thoughts on that blog. I've been in Barbados for over six weeks and I'm ready to come home. When I began the MPH program, I knew I wanted to get out of Provo for the summer to do my internship and anywhere with a United States postal code was not far enough--I wanted out of the country! I got my wish and have been here in Barbados since June 2. Now that I've been here and experienced Barbados in its fully glory, sun, rain, cuisine, music, transportation, and everything in between, I'm ready to head back home. I'm not sure what awaits me there, but being in paradise by yourself is not all that it's cracked up to be. You can only spend so many days lounging at the beach reading, watching movies, or taking walks. If I have learned nothing else from this experience, I have learned that I need people! I'm practically glued to my computer for emails, facebook updates, skype calls, gchat, or any other possible form of electronic communication. Bless technology! But even with the myriad of technological connections, nothing quite beats real human interaction.

If anyone has any ideas of how to constructively fill time, please share....internet sites, blogs, books, movies, whatever you can think of. Better yet, if you know how to speed up time that will be even better. Saving the world is tough and doing it solo is even tougher. It's Saturday and I have a full day ahead of me....looks like the Caribbean Sea is calling my name. Later.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Vacation Highlights

Me and Shirleen on a Sunday afternoon on the front porch. Shirleen is the lady who I live with and has been great to me while I've been here.

I am sitting next to George Washington in his house in Barbados. George came to Barbados when he was 17 with his brother Lawrence who had TB and thought the tropical climate could cure him...it did not. Anyway, George came out and lived here for a couple of years and Barbados is the only place outside the U.S. that our First President ever traveled to. Washington contracted small pox while he was here, but once you have small pox it acts as a vaccine so when small pox ravaged the troops in 1776, Washington was already immune and may have saved his life and the war! Pretty interesting stuff! When you sit down next to him on this bench, he starts to read to you from his journal. It was very startling at first, kinda freaky actually, but entertaining at the same time. From DC to Barbados, you have to love George!

This is Brady and me aboard "Cool Runnings" a catamaran sailing boat. This was probably the highlight of the week where we spent 5 hours sailing in the Caribbean, snorkeling with sea turtles and colorful fish, swimming in the sea, and enjoying a wonderful buffet lunch. A word of caution--no matter how tan you think you are, spf 8 is not enough! Even though I'm living in the Caribbean, I still need to remind myself that I am a white girl with very fair skin!

We also took a tour of the island, walked through a tropical gully, saw huge millipedes and slugs, hung out at the beach, and ate tons of fish. I do love fish!! I'd put more pictures up of the other parts of the island, but Brady has all those pics, so I will have to get them later. In one day I stood in 2 different seas: the Atlantic and the Caribbean. Barbados is definitely beautiful, but in all its glory, I'm actually anxious to come home--shocker.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Honk. Honk Honk. Hooooonnnnnkkkkkk!!!! Honkhonkhonk. What kind of honker are you? I think the only times I ever hear people honk in the U.S. is when either:

1) you're angry (angry, loud, long honk)
2) letting someone know that the light turned green (friendly honk) or
3) you want to say Hi to someone (couple short friendly honks).

That's it. 3 types of honks. That's all there is.

Nope, not in Barbados. There are so many different horns, honks, types of honks, duration of honks, and length of honks. Here are times when Bajans honk:

  1. say hello
  2. pass by
  3. asking pedestrians if they need a ride (mostly vans)
  4. to pass another car
  5. before going on a blind corner
  6. before making any turn in any intersection
  7. if slowing or stopping
  8. to get someone's attention
  9. anger
  10. just because you feel like it
I'm sure there are more, but that's all I can think of right now. I never knew there were so many reasons to honk. It's ridiculous. Every reason has a slightly different honking sound, whether it's short, long, multiple, or even musical. I know that when I'm back in the U.S. I might miss some of the honking and may even start using the Bajan honks...just for fun.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Bajan Family Home Evening

Tonight we had FHE at our house. Bro. Alleyne, a counselor in the Branch Presidency, suggested we have FHE at our house. The three pictured here (left-right: Esther, Bro. Alleyne, Shirleen) don't have family that are members, so we got together to have our own FHE. These three all live pretty close to each other, so it's easy to get together. Tonight we watched the Commemoration of the Prophet Joseph Smith. It was a recording of the broadcast the Church did for the Prophet's 200th birthday celebration. Before we started the DVD, Bro. Alleyne bore his testimony of the Prophet and talked about how important it is to have a testimony of Joseph Smith and an understanding of all he did to restore the Church and bring in this dispensation. During the presentation, I thought about who I was with and where I was. I was sitting in a home in Barbados with three Bajans, whom I've known less than a month and whom are all a lot older than me, sharing our testimonies of the Restored Gospel. I admire these individuals for their conviction and testimony. I don't know how long each of them have been members, but I know that Shirleen joined the Church 3 years ago and now has a nephew out on a mission in England. I love that even thousands of miles from home, I can still feel "at home" because of the Gospel. I really enjoyed tonight's FHE. I know that the Joseph Smith was a true prophet and I will be forever grateful for all he did and the truths that were restored through him.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Beautiful Barbados

There's a song about Beautiful Barbados, it talks about the surf and the sun. It would be appropriate to post it here if I could find them, but the internet search is being less than helpful, so I'll just have to tell you that there is a song and it talks about the beauty of the island and the need to come back. Already, I can say that if you come, you will definitely want to come back.

Sea, surf, sand, sun--what more could you want?

I found a new beach spot that I really like. I took these pictures on Sunday afternoon. Sunday seems to be the hoppin' day at the beach. The beach was almost empty the day before, but on Sunday all the locals were out, boats were sailing, people had bbq's, dancing, lots of stuff going on.

Sorry for the solo shots, but that's all I've got. I took a whole photo shoot and this is one of the better ones.

Late afternoon sun on the sea is incredible, absolutely beautiful! I wish I was a better photographer, but I think I captured a little bit of the beauty of the afternoon.

This is a gorgeous sunset the other night. I was sitting in my room and saw an orange hue being cast on the neighbors house. I ran outside and saw this. The entire sky was orange!

I love the silhouettes of the palm trees in the sunset. Barbados definitely has its magical moments!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Summer Equinox

I just want to acknowledge that today is the summer equinox, meaning the longest day of the year (most sunlight) and the first official day of summer. I look forward to June 21 every year for this reason and I have come to love and appreciate long summer nights and early summer mornings. Too bad the Caribbean doesn't participate in day light savings time, so it gets dark here by 7pm, even today. Still, yeah for long days!!! Welcome to summer.

My Barbados Home

"New Dawn"
This is the house I live in. All the houses have names and 'New Dawn' is mine. The apartment in the back is 'New Dawn 2.' The front window is my bedroom.
The view when you walk inside the door. This is the formal dining room and behind that wall is the kitchen. To the left is an entertainment room, bedroom, bathroom, and master bedroom way in the back. Lots of windows for natural light. The sun is almost always shining here, so you only need to turn the lights on after dark.
The view from my bedroom window. This is the same window from the first picture. Yes, the windows have bars, but they are pretty bars and might have something to do with storm/hurricane protection. Sorry that I couldn't provide a full picture tour, but the rooms are fairly small and hard to take clear shots from.