Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fun Sized Friends

Cute Lil' Ashley and her boy Jeremy, recently returned from his mission in Chile!
Illusion? We tried.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Flashback: Prague

AH! I just noticed I failed to document my (jcloskey2) mission in Prague, Czech Republic in July. I was sent there on a top secret mission with eight other very talented agents. What a successful mission it was! That is not to say it wasn't a rough start.

After 14 hours in an airplane and another hour bus ride to Prague, we discovered our luggage was missing. After filling out some paperwork we decided to make the best of it and go exploring. We walked the cobblestone streets and browsed the quaint shops all along the way. We got hungry and stopped to eat at an authentic czech restaurant where we all ordered something we were told was delicious. To the contrary, we all felt mildly sick to our stomachs afterward and vowed never to eat that sticky orange sauce again. I tried to use my credit card to buy the meal and discovered it was frozen. Yes, I did call the bank before I left to tell them I would be out of the country but somehow, the message hadn't gotten through. So in addition to being gross from traveling all day, luggage-less and sick to my stomach, I was penniless. Nor did I have a phone with access to the US to call my bank. This was quite discouraging. We went to bed quite disgusting- no teeth brushed, no deodorant applied, same nappy clothes on our backs. The next morning we got up and found our luggage had been delivered! Our spirits greatly lifted, we headed out for our tour of the city, freshly showered and clothed. We all met at the clock tower, about a 15 minute walk from our hostel. Just as we got there I was looking at some exchange rates on a sign and all of a sudden, I felt a huge bucket of liquid fall on my head. Because of its dark brown color I figured it was someones coffee they had poured out of their window. I glared upward and to my amazement saw a smug pigeon fly off into the sky. Then the smell registered. That dumb bird with diarhea had left its entrails in my hair, on my fresh clean clothes, and on the skin of my arms and face. Yes, I started to cry. Dumb, dumb bird. I ran back to the hostel, angry at the situation, while my friends tried to make me laugh. What great, great friends. I got changed into different clothes and used a paper towel to try to get the muck out of my hair. I smelled the rest of the day. In the end, good friends paid my way through until I was able to get a hold of my bank. The rest of the trip was marvelous. We even found a TGI Fridays where we may or may have eaten there three times on the week long stay.

Our group had the opportunity to share a very important message with people from several nations at the Oral History Conference. This conference happens annually in different countries. We received a grant to fly to Prague, stay in a hostel in the city center, and perform a piece about life and death from the LDS perspective at the conference. It was so neat to be able to bear our testimonies through our movement. I loved answering their questions after the performance and hearing how it had affected them. One woman whose mother had recently passed away found great comfort in our message that she would see her again. Wow.

The architecture was breath taking, the company very amiable, the conference fantastic, and the experience life changing. Successful mission? I think so. :)

A Blur of Happiness!

Well. A moment to breathe. School (we are undercover you see) started over three weeks ago and it's been a little crazy. Brando18 and jcloskey2 have been EXTREMELY busy with various perilous missions requiring excessive amounts of mental and physical energy (especially in jcloskey2's case). Through it all, they've held on close and will not be pulled apart by the momentum of this blur of life! School is going splendidly. Both agents are enjoying their classes and are quite passionate about their majors.

Brando18 has switched from information systems to computer engineering (or computer science) and is not loving chemistry but quite likes his major classes. Jcloskey2 is loving her new technique teacher, Jiamin, who kicks her trash every class. I know of no better way for an agent to stay in shape! She is loving the hours she is in the studio every day, rehearsing for the DE concert in November.

Work is work (who knew agents had to work while really working for the government under cover? Seems unfair) but they hold onto the hope that they will not be in retail forever. Jcloskey2 sadly had to quit Build a Bear to fit in time for dancEnsemble rehearsals but is giving her all to the catalog desk at JCPenney. Brando18 is making quite the impression at Macy's, selling in the fine jewelry department. Work it!

In their spare time together Brando18 and Jcloskey2 enjoy many a game of uno, heavenly home made chocolate chip cookies (THANK YOU marilyn for the recipe), playing with their wonderful family, reading novels, and studying Preach My Gospel (excellent aid for secret agents btw). Time for posting is scarce so bear with them. They send their love to their wonderful family and friends!!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010