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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day 3, Day 1 of Surgery: I am covered in...

Blood (My own.. papercuts..;)
Bubble residue
Soreness.. everywhere.
Layers and layers of Hi-Geen (Jordanian Purel)
and more dirt.

Yet I have never been more content.

Today was the first day of surgery. It started a little bit earlier. Breakfast: 5:45. Meeting 6:15, Buses to the hospital: 6:30. It is still raining. On the 45 minute bus ride,  I was just thinking and I really got to think about what I wanted to do with my life. The answer (Which was never really easy) just came to me. I want to do THIS. I want to go on missions and help and be covered in grossness and make kids smile. I want to do that. I started to think about seriously being a Program Coordinator (Mission coordinator-- the person who organizes and executes the entire mission). I reallly want to do that. And also, after becoming good friends with Leslie (the Child Life Specialist), I have thought about that too. She gets to work with kids and just help them feel better.. It's just amazing. The last 2 days have felt so wonderful and comfortable. I love it.

I also did my SS on the bus- it's been the best time to do it. I can't reembmer where it was but I read somethign so profound that helped me today. Don't worry Cal, I am still PRO on this mission!! We got to the hospital and there weren't very many people there today because only those who were getting surgery came back. I looked at the schedule and I saw that my girl, Batool- she was on it! On the very first table! I was SO happy. She was seriously one of the MOST BEAUTIFUL girls I ahve ever seen. I can't remember what she had.. Maybe a cleft.. ahh.. shoot I can't remember. But I was so so so happy. her parents were soooooooo amazing yesterday. I just wanted to keep giving her more stuff. They operated on several babies and then I made some really great friends with several girls who came to get surgery today. It was a long day for them. We really had a lot of just play time and it was pretty chill, just because there wasn't hundreds of people. I felt more tired today only because I was sitting. The last 2 days, I had not sat down really. I was constantly up and about with kids and families or playing and keeping the energy up. Today was difficult for me. I wished that I could see all the beautiful faces that I saw yesterday, but I only saw a few.

The girls that I got clsoe with were upstairs. Their names were Shahad, Larabee, Isra', Janat, and Aima. I got some priceless photos with them. We played games and I braided hair, we colored and they sang the ABCs.. oh wow that was the most wonderful thing ever. They were doing really well untuil the "L M N O P" part.. that's where it was like "L DE  NFWO FNE ALIEPQP JN ... W VQ XZ!!!" It was so funny bc they totally thought it was right. I taught them how to play the game where you put your ahnds in a circle and then tap once for CW and tap twice for CC. They LOVED it.  I also taught them how to do another hand clap game. They taught me how to do something where based on the month you're born, you are a certain thing. Your forehead is January.. Nose is February.. Mouth is March.. etc. So The FH is Smart. Nose is Nosey, Mouth is talkative and Heart is kind/warm-hearted. I got warm hearted. It made me smile:)

The girls were so beautiful. Each has their own sotry and I wish I could put pictures up to show you ad tell you. That will be when I get home. My arabic has grown today. Sho Ismek? is What is your name? .. Hameel! is Beautifullllllllllll!, just misc. words and stuff. I love it.

I have made friends with a lot of the Jordanian team. There are two guys that I have just clicked with. Well, really everyone but they are my age.. one is 17, and the other is 16 (They both look like they are 20 and are like a foot and a half taller too haha) But they have been my friends. They are student volunteers with Op smile Jordan and they are so awesome. We joke and they tease me about my lack of Arabic and how I called Hazba(?) Pita bread hahaha they loved it. Then I tried saying other words they told me to say and then just laugh at my weak attempt. At least I was entertaining to people that were older than 6 :) I was sad to leave them today...

At the end of the day, we went to  Post-op. I saw some of the incredible children that I had seen earlier that day.. but they were different! They had undergone a 45 minute surgery taht will change their lives forever. The moms just had this.. look. I was so happy. I kept smiling and they kepy smiling and it was just like a dream. I showed them pictures of what they had looked like that mornign.. and I wasn't sure which was more beautiful. One girl- Janat- I really fell in love with her. She spent all day with me by my side. She had a little brother- Mohammed. I have NEVER heard a laugh like his. It was one of sheer, absolute, pure and genuine JOY. I blew bubbles with him for maybe half an hour and we played and he teased me.. Oh it aws so incredible. Everytime it would pop, I would just laugh and tease and he just had a BALL with it. Oh, how amazing a can of bubbles can be.. He is such a little stud. Janat got her surgery, and I am going to an orphanage tomorrow, so I won't see her again. Amanda and Taylor were kindof rushing to leave, and I just wanted to stay there. I went back to her room a few times and just held her hand as she slept with her family at her bedside in recovery. I felt tears and before I broke down, I told them I had to go and..  ugh. it was so hard. The bus ride back to the hotel was ridiculous. I am still teary eyed from just crying and crying to myself on the bus. Good thing it was dark and rainy so no one could see. I feel so much love for those people. They're mine. Janat- Shahad- Mohammed.. They are mine. I will remember them forever.

This mornign on the way to the hospital I was just thinking about what this mission means to me-- how it is changing me-- who I am- just evaluting myself. I came to the conclusion that I was pretty much a horrible person. Seriously. Service is and always had been an important and big part of my life. Or so I thought.  I lived by my motto that "Service is not a single or series of acts-- Service is a lifestyle".. but I'm not sure if I fully even understood myself there. I felt so guilty of who I was before I came here. I didnt' know what love was. I didn't know the impact of a smile. I cared about stupid thigns. I honestly thought to myself: WHAT was I doing before?!?!!?.. I have been in Jordan for 3 Days. 76 hours. I feel like I have been here for 2 months. I don't want to go home. Jordan is my home. It has made me want to be a better person. It has changed me. It has become a part of me. The people, the culture, the laughs, the memories.. everything here. I love it. I don't want to leave.

Tomorrow is an Orphanage day. Thursday, we are going to a school and either Tuesday or Wednesday we're going to a refugee camp. Today was wonderful.

Casey- I met Dr. Marty. He says hi:)

Shukran Shukran Shukran

Be prepard to hear me get my english mixed up with Arbic when I get home


Saturday, February 27, 2010

If you want to feel like you have EVERYTHING in the world..


It's that simple.

Today was our 2nd day of pre-screening. They were the Palestinian kids and some more Jordanian that were deterred from the rain yesterday. It rained so bad this morning- our bus ride felt like splash mountain with all the puddles we were going to. This morning we found out that over 179 patients were screened yesterday. Only 2 were not candidates for surgery. Today, about 208 kids were screened. I'm not sure exactly how many are/aren't candidates or what priorites they are, but that is about 400 patients screened today. I'm not sure why, but it didn't feel like there were more ppl today than yesterday. With about 400 kids screened, only about 100 are going to get operations this mission. I think that is when reality really set in for me today. We were talking about all the adorable people who have come in and then I realized that only a quarter of them are going to be able to go home with something new. Everyone back home: RAISE MORE MONEY!!! It was a much different day than yesterday, but all I know is that

Today was a great day. :)

I just started off the day by filling up my backpack with pipe cleaners, hair barrettes, balls, coloring books and crayons. I fill all my pockets with little things and then in my hand I carry a sheet of stickers. Stickers also transcend all language barriers. I just go up to someone, Smile, and ask them if they want to pick a sticker and put it on their hand or their forehead. Most of the time, they are shy at first or they look to their parents for the "uh.. is it ok?" look. Then, they choose one and I stick it somewhere. Then they give me a huge smile and then they open up a little more. Then, I gave each child somethign special. Usually if they were shyer, I let them pick a color of pipe cleaner and then I would use it to make a flower and tie it up with another one and give it to them. They loved it. Or let them choose a color of hair barrette and stick it in their hair, or give them a ball or something like that. Then, I would ask if I could take their picture and they didn't really like it, but then they LOVED seeing them-- so did the parents, and then they would want to take more. If a baby was crying, I would go up to it and just start blowing bubbles. Instantly, they would stop and start to engage. Then a bunch of little kids just huddle around and start to have so much fun. I have a permanent smile on my face now. It is so much fun. I LOVE it here. I LOVE these children.

 For everyone prepping to go on their missions: You might get tired (Weirdly, I am not jetlagged or anything. Taylor is still struggling and looks pretty tired but I'm a ok haha) anyways, you might feel tired or want to stop playing with the kdis or something (I haven't had this feeling but idk, I guess it would be easy to feel this way)--- one tip for you. Forget about yourself and Deal With It. It's not about you. They say this at MTW but you don't really see it till you get there I think. This mission is SO  not about you. You're here for a reason. So dont' forget it.. and pick something up and make someone smile:) It's so much easier that way. And I have never been happier in my life.

Taylor and I did several presentations today on Dental Hygiene. Doc- the kids LOVED the teeth models and the massive toothbrush. They are INCREDIBLE. Thank you. I am so glad that I get to do these presentations for them. It helps the kids, and the families. I am so honored.

Today, I got the opportunity to get close to parents and patients more. I fell in love with so many more children and their families. I got a lot of little notes from my new friends with their names and stuff like "I love you forever". Wow. If only  I could bottle that and keep it for the rest of my life. They are so grateful that we are there and it is an incredible spirit you feel there. I didn't want to leave the hospital.  I wish that I could tell you every story that I have about each individual patient. They are beautiful. They are so gorgeous and I only wish that I could take them home with me!!! Today, a bunch of us were talking about patients we saw yesterday and they were saying like oh yeah- he had the bilateral cleft, or she had the big burn on her face-- I found it kindof crazy that I didn't remember. The biggest thing that I remember yesterday about the kids were their eyes. I didn't really remember who had what deformity or what was wrong with them. I remember their enormous, infectious smiles and their happy spirit. I don't think that any amount of pictures will prepare you for the people you will see on these missions. I can't believe that some stuff is possible. Holes in the middle of your faces. Burns all down your face or your chest. NO palates. Just.. everything. It's heartbreaking- but at the same time it's incredible to know that we can help transform lives.

I really don't know if I have ever been happier in my life. I haven't smiled this much.. ever. I have never laughed more. (And if you know me, you know that that is a pretty profound statement). I have never felt dirtier covered in grime and dirt and everything you can image. But I have never felt more immersed in love and care or appreciation. Like the title of this post-- if you want to feel like you have EVERYTHING in the world: Give.  I'm serious. Whether what you give is a sticker, a ball, a yoyo or a life altering surgery. Give. and Smile. That is all you need to do in life to be happy.

I wish I could post about each and every child that I came in contact with. Each has such a unique story and I can't even begin to describe how beautiful these kids are. I'm being completely honest- I have never seen more beautiful children. They are mine. Ahhhh. At least I want them to be.

I am also LOVING my team. Leslie, the Child Life specialist- is soooo amazing. She is an inspiring person and I am so glad that I get to work with her. She has a really beautiful spirit and she is so fun to be with. Omar is also here from North Carolina. He is from Jordan- so he is very helpful. He is one of my closer friends on the mission. Haneen reminds me of Tenaya. Just the way she looks and acts. It's so cute! She is also ridiculously mini size. She's so cute haha but she does an INCREDIBLE job. She is the Program Coordinator from Jordan. We all have nametags with our names written in Englisha and Arabic with our positions. Mine says Student, or Pre/Post op Nurse, etc- Haneens says "Tiny Boss" hahahah. I love it.

The spirit is so strong here. I am growing more as a person here than I have ever. It is the most rewarding thing I have ever done. It is a million times more than everythign I could ever have lived it up to be. Overratting a mission is impossible.

Anything else.. uhh.. OH! Mitch- tell Papa Johnson that the eyeballs are AMAZING. Like.. I had to HIDE them from everyone in the storage room because the VOLUNTEERS were in search of them. People on the team were asking for them and going through the box of toys in our stock room so they could have them. I had to take all of them and put them in my backpack and give them out sparingly ONLY to kids so that no one would take them. All day, I had ppl asking me if they could have one- it was so funny. One guy said he was going to give it away and he actually saved it for himself but another guy brought ti back for me. It was hilarious. They are such a huge hit!

I guess the only other thing I have left to say today is have a positive attitude, and SMILE. Make someone else Smile. That is the only thing I want to and have done like all day. I even found myself creepily just smling as I was walking places. It's contagious and infectious- and a smile lightens any mood. It turns night to day and can change or at least impact a life. so do it. Smile.

My Arabic is growing!

Ismi___ is My name is ___
Mish Mouskola means It's Alright
Shukran! Is Thanks
Afwan! is You're welcome
I learned more, just can't remeber right now.

I'm staying in Jordan. Sorry to everyone back home who wants me there. Haha I'm staying.


Friday, February 26, 2010

"Rain is a Blessing"

I can't wait to get home to tell you about this one.

Day 1 of Pre-Screen (In Jordan they do screening a little differently)
- Over 175 of the most friendly, shy, smiley and BEAUTIFUL Children I have ever seen in my life. I wish that I could post pictures but ther isn't a place to put my card in the computer. Wow. They are amazing.

- Gave out hundreds of stickers (Papa Johnson- they LOVED them). They Eyeball balls were a HIT. The BK Crowns were amazing. Lin bean- the necklaces were soooo awesome. Tanner- the two toys-- they kept some kids from crying during the whole process... but you won't be seeing them anymore haha sorry. I can't believe it. It was everythign and about a million times more than what I thought it would be. There are SEVERAL kids that I wanted to take home with me. One girl and I, Rahba- we had this crazy connection. I just fell in love with her, and she definitley loved me too. It was amazing. I also heard so many stories and just everything.. wow. So amazing. I can't believe I am here. HEaring everyone else's stories.. but having my OWN.

There is one boy- his name is Yousef. He is an Iraqi that had a bilateral cleft lip and has NO palate. Which means that there is nothing on the top of his mouth. It's a straight up hole. He has had surgery twice, since his parents could afford it- but it didn't work. He came to Jordan in June of '09 to get surgery with Op smile. They cancelled his surgery because his recovery and everythign would take longer than the team was in town- so they told him to come back when the local mission was here. The Jordanian team is SO well organized and everythign runs so so so smoothly that they thought it would be alright. Well, they came on their 2nd trip from Iraq over, and the operation was too complicated for the team- Thus, Yousef is back for the 3rd time to try to receive surgery. His parents have made the journey from Iraq so many times, and his mom was saying that they are hoping that he gets to go this time. He is such a handsome little guy. I am really hoping he gets to have surgery this time.

A lot of the parents are really shy, but all of them are so gracious and nice. They all know what a smile means, and all I have to do is show mine and they do too. They know that we want to help them and make their kids happy with our stickers and bubbles. They appreciate it. I know it. Some of the parents I've had special connections with. They write in my little journal their names and ask me where I'm from (They ALL think 'I'm from China ahahahahah not much different from home;) They tell me "Shukran" soooo much and most of them speak some or pretty good English. A lot of the women here are covered up except for their faces, most of them everything but slits in their coverings for their eyes. One of the women had everythign covered. She had a black veil over her whole face and I couldn't see her reaction, but she had the CUTEST little girls. I have great pictures of them I can't wait to show. They were dressed in the most darling outfits and I just couldn't stop giving them flowers I made out of pipe cleaners, stickers, barrettes for their hair, necklaces- They just had the most adorable faces! I couldn't resist! The culture here is so different. Like, there is a lot of smoking, and driving is pretty crazy. But It is so incredible and we have so many things in common. We all love to laugh, to smile, to have fun, to tease.. A smile is something so profound. No matter where in the world you are, it transcends all language barriers. It is the same for each and every language, for every single person. A smile is a sign of love.

One thing that I have yet to hear is the call to prayer. Some people on the team woke up from it this morning at like 5 or so and they sound it throughout the city a few times a day, but I haven't heard it yet! I guess I'm not listening for it so.. but I will try to listen for it;)

One big thing: Taylor and I-- our bags went missing for wquite a few hours. our passports, over $800 in cash, Taylor's journal-- we misplaced them for a while.  It was a learning experience, but here is the story in a sentence This mornign on our way to the hospital, they were explaining that it was a little delayed due to the weather but that rain was a blessing in Jordan. Well, LONGGGGGGGG story short: RAIN IS A BLESSING. Our money and passports and bags all showed up about 2 minutes before we were going to ship the letters they wrote in Arabic for us to the Embassy, our parents, and headquarters. I feel like a failure of a student volunteer.. it was stressful and emotional, but the whole time I knew it was going to be ok-- (Mousa Moushkala) so I kept my goal of staying positive- NO negativity.

The team is fantastic. There are 6 different countires represented on Team Amman: Italy, South Africa, America, Morrocco, Jordan, and ... ahh... I forgot. I'll let you know. But the team is so friendly and we feel as if we are family. Everyone has been on so many missions, and just hearing their stories is shaping my own. What an inspiration to hear of such selfless people.
Tomorrow is pre screen day 2. The Palestinian kids are coming!!
Anyways, it hasn't stopped raining since we got here. I love it. I love it here. I am safe, I am happy, I am healthy, I am thankful, I am changed.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

I'm HERE!!!!! Thankful Thursday

Just wanted to give you a quick update!!

After an all-nighter on Tuesday finishing up packing and my awesomeee English paper- I left btown on Wednesday, Feb 24 at 10:15am, took a 5 hour flight to New York, met up with Tay and Amanda and some other people on my team, and then departed JFK at 10:10pm. The flight was so nice. No one sat next to me, so I had the whole 2 seats to myself to lay down on. I slept and slept some more and watched a little bit of Love Happens. It was cheesy but cute. I also watched a little bit of Harry Potter and thought of Team Harry back at home. :D (Just a hint for my friends leaving on missions soonish: be prepared to be moved.. FAST. We had to go through security SEVERAL times and it was hectic with all of our stuff. This includes taking off your shoes. So just be aware. We had to go through before we got on the plane, and also after we got off the plane).

I arrived in Amman at about 4;30 pm- we are 9 hours ahead of Btown time, --7 hours ahead of standard eastern time-- It is absolutely BEAUTIFUL here. I can't even believe it. Everyone is sooooo friendly and I am having the time of my life.

After we got to Amman, we got our luggage-- Between Taylor, Amanda and myself we looked like we were ready to live here with how big out bags were. We took a bus to our Hotel about half an hour away from the airport. Don't worry- I have been taking lots and lots of pictures!! AND Video. Be prepared to watch a lot of me when I get back- I'm going to have an amazing video diary.

We headed to our hotel which is the Al Qasr Metropole Hotel in Amman. It is SO beautiful. I am so suprised at the quality of this place. It is so wonderful. Taylor and I are sharing a room which  looks like a toy store threw up in. Dont' worry, this is a good thing:) We are literally covered in the hundreds of donations we got. THANK YOU.

After getting settled in, we went with the rest of our team to the Jordanian Operation Smile Headquarters. Ok-- so the JOSH is like.. SOOOOOOOOO much nicer than Headquarters in Norfolk. The entire city is actually so nice. We passed a Carls Jr. (Here it's called Hardy's), a Subway, McDonalds, two KFC's.. It's crazy nice. So why am I here on a medical mission that offers free surgery to patients? Well, the patients that we are working on are from Palestine and also the surrounding areas of Jordan that are unsafe to go to. Jordan is a peaceful area where patients can come. Don't worry- I have never felt safer.

After our huge team meeting @ HQ, (we learned everythigna bout the mission site and introduced everyone to everyone.. it is so cool. I feel so much love here. It's in the air. Everyone here is so so so nice and they all speak such beautiful English. They keep saying 'Thank You' to US but honestly, THEY are doing everything FOR us. They are such a selfless people and I am honored to be part of this team. We socialized and they brought us pizza to eat. It was really good. I don't know what type of cheese was on it but it was a lot creamier than anything in the states. The crust was also very gooooood. :) Really sweet compared to the US.

Right now, Taylor is on the other computer and I am in here. It is raining really hard outside. Our first day of Pre-Screening is tomorrow. We are up and fed and ready for a team meeting and leaving to the hospital at 7:30 tomorrow morning. So about time for me to go to bed at home.. psh what a joke, I don't sleep at home anyways:)

Thank you so much for everything. I miss everyone of course, but I really honestly don't miss anyone or anything. Like.. It's so hard to explain. I'm just HERE. and I'm so content. I care and love you- but I am not homesick, I am not wishing that I was at home, I am not feeling sad that I am not sitting in English or Math.. haha. I am completely in love with this place. I am already sad to be leaving in a week and a half. The team is fantastic. The atmosphere, beautiful. The feeling- priceless. To everyone at home and really, just everyone who isn't here\: Thank you. Claire, the letter brought tears to my eyes as I read it. Thank you for being such an inspiration to me and countless others. Both Taylor and I had to put our Claire Bears in space bags so they are kindof suffocating right now :)
Brooke, your letter was so colorfulllll I LOVED it. Thank you. I really am so excited for you to go on your mission. and SO soon!!!
To everyone who sent me texts and emails: They are beautiful and I will cherish them. As I landed in New York, I got a ton of texts saying good luck and it was so emotional. I don't know how to describe what I was feeling. I just felt so much immense love coming from home and all around and I just started crying. I don't know why. I just felt tears streaming down my face and they wouldn't stop. It has been a really emotional day.
Alexander: I tried calling you back after you left your message. Heather-- she was a post op nurse I think on YOUR mission. She is on mine! She said you and Dalton were fabulous. I guess I have a lot to live up to\
KJ: Good luck tonight. I think it's opening night for you. You are awesome and I love you. Break a leg! Make Poff proud. haha
Mitch: Don't die. And yes, I trust you;)

This has already been the most rewarding expereince of my life. And I haven't even seen kids yet! It kindof all clicked like.. everything we do as students- Every single dollar we raise. Every single presentation that we give, every time we spread the word: It's all a part of a mission of Love for others that changes lives. Forever.

I am forever thankful on this  Thursday. I don't know what else to say.

Be safe, have fun, stay healthy, and smile:)

Love Always,

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Last minute thoughts and Mission Goals

I have a few last minute thoughts as I prepare to leave tomorrow morning:

1) The logistics of packing over 400 toothbrushes, 116 nail polishes, hundreds of necklaces, bracelets, bubbles, coloring books, toys, crayons, markers, pens, blankets, figurines, and misc. fun donations is a nightmare.

2) I have a new respect for the logistics people of anything

3) I suck at packing

4) Junior Research projects are no fun

5) I Love my friends

6) I love how my room is cleaner when I'm not home:)

7) I'm so glad that I'm a listmaker

8) I really am such a procrastinator:)

9) I am in love with Jordan already- the people, the culture, the friends that I'll meet there- I respect them so much and I am so thankful I get to go be a part of their lives for a little tiny bit. 

10) There are more.. so many thoughts.. so little time!

Ok- Logan, these are my mission goals for real

Mission Goals
  • No Negativity
    • "It's Ok, I'll deal with it" ;)
  • Give at LEAST 108 presentations
  • Be the best Student Team that Jordan's ever seen! :D
  • Create lifelong friendships
  • Be the someone who can be counted on to have a smile on their face
  • Try something new to eat every day
  • Learn as much Arabic as I can
  • Not think about school (This will be difficult, I'm sure.. haha. NOT)
  • Not get sick
  • Make a child smile
  • Do a video journal as many times as I can
  • Write in my journal every night/as much as I can
  • Eat lamb
  • Take pictures- I PROMISE I will:)

Ok so I wrote that before I left to see KJ's musical. Everything in my mind is going crazy with excitement and anxiousness. I am so excited and ahhh. It's so hard to explain. The thing I am looking forward to most is being tired. Not just like 'Oh, I'm so tired.. yawn*' type of tired. Like- exhausted. I can't wait to feel like I have nothing left to give, like I've been able to give myself all to someone else who needs it more than I do, and still gain more than I have ever been able to give. I can not wait to immerse myself in my mission- to let the petty things go- the day to day things that others might worry about. Looking good, homework, school- just everything, for the service of others. So many times I have thought about what this would be like, and I know I will never understand until I get there and something happens that makes me realize that I am in fact- in the Middle East, helping change lives. So many times I wish I could remind you that this mission is not about me. It's about all the kids and adults who will have their lives transformed- forever. I am merely a small part of such a huge miracle that Operation Smile is. I want to soak up each and every single moment that I get to be in Jordan. I can't believe this day has finally come after so much preparation, work, prayers, and blessings. It is so hard to describe the way I feel. Like I want to cry, but I have no reason to. I'm not sad, just.. in a state of disbelief I guess. 

I hope that while I'm gone, you have safety, health, peace and happiness. Thank you for the impact you have made in my life by being in it- no matter  how big or small. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, for sending me good luck letters, emails, texts, phone calls- I am so thankful for you. I could not have done it without you. I feel so blessed to be able to go to Jordan. I know that I will have such a lifechanging experience. I am already dreading the day that I have to come home. I miss you, I love you, Thank you.

I found out that there is internet in Jordan so I will try to update as much as time will allow!

Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My next post, will be from JORDAN!!!!!!

Monday, February 22, 2010


Logan: I'm updating just for you right now.

Currently, the only goal I have at the moment is to


Little bit stressed.

Pray for me.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

The 48 hour countdown begins..

I have 48 hours until the day I leave to Jordan.

Things I still need to do:

  • My Junior Research Paper. Yay. Not.
  • My Governor's Honor's Academy Scholarship that's due while I'm gone. 
  • PACK
    •  thousands of pounds of donations to take to Jordan within a 100lb. weight limit
  • Clean my room
  • Remind my teachers that I won't be there for 2 weeks
    • Remind my teachers that I am NOT going to bring hw to Jordan.
  • Get a converter for my battery charger
  • Download the CD of kid's songs onto my ipod so that I can take them to Jordan to play on my speakers
  • Do my laundry
    • scrubs, op smile shirts.. yeah.
  • Get my absence excused
  • Get my safety emissions done on my car
  • Watch little brother in his Musical as one of leads
  • Laminate my postersssssss
  • Eat salad, drink milk, tap water, beef, and ice cream for the last time in a few weeks
  • Wish the 5 or 6 friends celebrating birthdays while i'm gone a Happy one
  • PACK. 
    • ugh.
It's a lot to pack ahhh I'm scared. But I can do it! :) I can't believe it's so soon. It's unreal. I also have some mission goals that I'll be posting tomorrow or tuesday. Hope you have a great day!


Friday, February 19, 2010

Clipper Day

Today while I was scrambling to cram for a big math test my good friend Ang turns to me and says:
 "Lis, I saw your article in the Clipper!"
"The Clipper (our local county newspaper). Haven't you seen it?"
..stunned look..
"The Bountiful Clipper?"
"Like the newspaper one?"
"Ya, didn't you see it?"
"Angela, based on the look on my face, does it seem like I know about this article?"
Cue Mrs. Bradfield to give us a lovely pre-calc honors test.

So, here it is. I guess I was in the Clipper and no, they did NOT interview me or let me know I was going to be in there, which is why a lot of the information is somewhat inaccurate. But it's awesome that they would write about me. Thanks Clipper;) Even though it says something about how I would love to learn Arabic as I am preparing to go to Jordan.. haha I do, but basically all I'll be saying is Shukran! (Thanks!) and Ana laa ahkee Arabee (I don't speak Arabic) :)

Thanks! :) 

Here is a picture of some cards that people made for me to take to the kids... haha Thanks again Mitch, Mary Jayne, and Brynn

Love you all!

MTW Application Video

I just learned how to do this so I'm all giddy and want to try it;)

Ah! It worked! This is my application video that I put together in 2 days for mission training. They asked us to SHOW, not TELL. So I made a life soundtrack. Thanks, blogger, for letting me know how to do this. yay! :D

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Thank you SO much for the newest donations I've received. I have been having a hard time getting to it, but I really appreciate it. I am leaving NEXT WEDNESDAY, so in 5.5 days from today!

I am still looking to get more ART SUPPLIES (Glue sticks, pom poms, construction paper, MARKERS, tape, feathers, stamps, etc), LIGHT-UP TOYS, COLORING BOOKS, SLINKIES, WANDS, BABY TOYS- (Giant duplo blocks, Stacking cups, Linking rings, Infant rattles, teething toys, See-n-say toys, Pop-up toys, Busy Boxes, Play mirrors), LARGE FLOOR MATS, WIND UP TOYS, HOT WHEELS, GAMES (fishing, Jenga, card games, eye-spy, etc.), stuff for TEENAGERS (Hats, lip balm, lip gloss) and I always need TOOTHBRUSHES! :D

****I am NO LONGER ASKING FOR: Bubbles, Stuffed Animals, Jewelry, or Nail Polish****

{Wonnacott Family}
2 Childrens Toys

{Skyler Meyer}
10 packs TB, Bubbles, Crayons, figurines, yoyos, stickers, balls, coloring books

{Angie Muir}
5 packs TB, Fun straws! :)

{Mica, Dave, Kyli & Charli Park}
30 TB, Crayons, Coloring Books, Bubbles

{Classy Chassis}
$1628.14 in Nail Polish/Beauty supplies/Cash Donation
116 Nail Polishes

Bracelets, Necklaces, Pins, hair ties, sticker earrings, scrunchies, flowers, brushes, combs, mirrors, headbands, clips, Jewelry

The girls will LOVE these!

The Student Volunteers in Jordan will adore the jewelry. THANK YOU.

Shukran for all your amazing support. If you'd still like to donate, please contact me by Sunday, Feb 21 as I will be packing .

I am constantly taken aback as I see people's generous hearts open up to me, my mission, and Operation Smile. 

5.5 days! Shukran! Thank You!

Monday, February 15, 2010


I've gotten hits on my blog from ALL OVER California, Nevada, Utah, Washington, New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Alaska, Massachusetts & Australia, the Philippines, South Africa, Jordan, and ITALY?  I don't even know anyone in Italy! The biggest surprise to me was definitely Italy, the Philippines, and ALASKA. Wow. Thank you to everyone who has taken a gander here. Please leave a comment maybe.. so I know who my friends in Alaska or the Philippines are!

:) Shukran!


If you read my personal blog (let me know if you'd like in invitation:), you know that I do something called "Thankful Thursday"
or.. when I don't make it to doing it on Thursday.. this excerpt from my blog explains:

"Seeing as today is Friday, I had to mix it up a little bit. "Full of Thanks Friday".. good? And next Thursday, if I don't make it, I can do ...
Makes me Smile Monday
Gratuitous Tuesday
Warm Wednesday
Thankful Thursday
Full of Thanks Friday
Shout-out Saturday
Today is going to be.... Sunshiney-Sunday.

This week I am thankful for:

My Faith (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints)
My ward, missionaries, seminary, prayers and scriptures-They have provided me with a great deal of strength, power and comfort as well as guidance and love. As I am physically preparing for Jordan, it is really important for me to prepare spiritually as well. I thank all the amazing missionaries who are going out soon or have already left that serve as a great example to me.

Clean Water, Salads, a Toothbrush
Water- something that I'll only be able to get out of a bottle in Jordan. Salad- something I'll do without for 2 weeks. A TB- something that some people don't even have. I love to brush my teeth. I could do it for 10 minutes straight. I'm thankful that I have one.

OsCentral (=Operation Smile Central- for elem->college kids.)
SUCH an incredible resource. It truly has prepared me for my mission in SO many ways- before AND after my assignment. Those on there who offer me advice and counsel- thank you so much. Thank you to everyone and anyone who sits and manages that beast of a site. It's incredible and USED. So please keep it up! Thank YOU!

Amazing family, friends, and Mitch
They have provided me with so much love, support, and care- I could not be more thankful. I couldn't possibly list every single person who has been there for me, but I am so thankful for them and for you. It has been a tough few weeks mentally and physically- so thank you for making me laugh and smile:)
My mom and my favorite boy (with my favorite dress- it has pockets!)

My sisters and I. They both have been SO great in helping me with my mission

Alexander- my best friend (we met at islc almost 2 years ago!!). He has undergone some major trials just in this last week alone- I hope you recover well and fast. He has been a constant reminder to me of what and who I want to be in life in general, as well as on this mission. He is my inspiration. He recently returned home from his mission in Guhawati, India. Even though we live on separate sides of the country, we are amazing friends. This post is to you;) Nikkou=... :)

My btown best friends (Check out that facepaint! All me;) They, as well as countless others, have been there for me from the very start- being as excited as they could be for me in my club activities, islc, mission training application/video etc.. Thank you. 

My Op Smile Family
They are in a category all on it's own. 

No one else just really understands... Reeses Pieces.. sigh:(

If only we could all be together again..

My beautiful Claire Bear is holding a letter sent to me by the very only Claire Crawford- I will be reading it on the way to Amman, in tears I'm sure. Thank you Claire. Apparently I'm getting another airplane letter from my very best islc roommate Brooke to read on my way to Amman as well-- Thank you Brooke. I wish I could post the video on here from your fb when I found out you were coming to MTW with me:) And apparently Sam and Deanna are sending me a poster or something that I can take with me for the hospital. Thank you Pequannock Girls:) Taylor and I also talked on the phone today for a while just cuz. I love that girl already so much.
No one really understands what it feels like to be part of an op smile family.. until you're in one. It's just a huge family of love and a common passion. It's incredible. I've gotten hits on this blog from almost every single state represented at mtw- I know it's you;)

Team Jordan
I am so thankful for the mission team. I love them already. Just the way I feel about my op smile family- you will become my family for two weeks. Like the patients and people we will see in Amman, I am so thankful for you- I know that you will change my life as we are also changing lives, one smile at a time together. I respect you and hold so much love for you already- I thank you for being on this mission.

I am thankful for so many things- so many people, and so much. I am thankful for each and every opportunity that I get presented to me and the ones that I have been able to to take. Life is amazing- I hope you can realize that yours is too, and you have every means to make your life one to be so excited about. 

I can't wait to go to Jordan in 9 days. I am so thankful.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Day Makers.. Make me Smile:) and [quick] UPDATE

Student Programs is absolutely amazing (understatement). This is a video that Brittany Williams, Amanda Bryer, and Suzanne Unger (the head momma's of OSSP) put together. It's called "Daymakers". It most definitely made my day and made me smile!

Thanks to these women and the beautiful masses that settle in our Headquarters in Norfolk, I have the most amazing passion for life and Op Smile. I can't post videos on my blog for some reason (don't worry, I'll find out why it doesn't let me so I can post the video journals I'm planning on doing in Jordan), so here is the link. PLEASE watch it. Now. Here. Please? :)

Amanda (The cupcake queen in pink)  is my mission sponsor- I get to go with her to Jordan!!! yay yay yay* Talk about LUCKY. Yeah, that's right. Deneen and Deanna might have Robert Pruitt next month, but I get her! She is so fun and I know that Taylor and I  will have such a great time together with her! :)

I did a series of photos to raise awareness for Operation Smile earlier this school year to find out what made Braves smile. It was a HUGE success. Here are a few, and I'll include the link so that you can see more! :)
{my kimmy jo mo- the other asian at my school;)}

{my megannly!}

{bhs debate take state! :)}

{beating WX! [woods cross] our biggest rivals-- we carried the tradition of excellence the whole week of games we had with them that week:)}

{my beautiful nieces- kyli shae and charli elizabeth. love them more than anything in the world. they make me smile}

{mine- for all who know me well, ever since my first  islc in '08 i made a promise to myself and to hollie tyrell that i would go to ireland within the next 5 years. irish people and everything about ireland ever since i met them in san diego just.. ahh. i love it. also, for anyone who knows me well knows that i'll be there before 2015. so for all the skeptics, watch for a postcard!}

Hope you enjoyed them and hope they made you smile a little bit. There are about 150 more, which you can see by clicking HERE. 

        • The QUICK update
        • Taylor had a swim meet today- hope it went well Tay!
        • I'm presentation-mania this weekend! :D
        • I'm working on my puppy dog face so they'll allow me to take wayyy* over the weight limit in DONATIONS!. 
        • I need to find an alternative to a fanny pack and luggage big enough for my stuff
        • I got a donation yesterday easily worth about $1000 upward. Wow. SO blown away (pics to come)!
          • I picked up 3 donations yesterday
            • 2 today
              • More this weekend! :D
    • I gave a schpeel about Operation Smile at dinner on my date tonight to the waitress- after, my poor boy looked at me and said "Wow, woo lil' miss advertising" or something like that about marketing haha that's why I won a medal at DECA regions:)

Make someone smile today:)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Team Jordan

Earlier this week, I got my 2nd Team Packet in my email. For all my friends who are still awaiting your team packets-- they are like shining gems in  your in inbox. Seriously. They make my day.. all two of them.. Ha- I received my first team packet at the Airport in.. Detroit on my way back from MTW. I read it on my phone and was frustrated since I couldn't open any of the attachments. But- seriously- those Team Packets are so cool. You will love them.

Anyways- as I was reading the 2nd TP, I decided to use the "reply to all" button and I messaged everyone on the team- just a simple hello, intro, can't wait to meet you, etc. type of deal. Weirdly enough, I had several people reply-- and guess where they are from?? UTAH? Yeah. I had 2 people reply to me that said they live in Sandy and BOUNTIFUL of all places! SO Crazyyyy. What a small world.. AND..

Casey got surgery on her ears earlier this week (of course she would). She texted me that night in sheer utter excitement: I have news! About your Jordan mission! it was really funny- anyways, she called me and let me know that her anesthesiologist was talking to her and it came up that he read my email and asked her if she knew who I was. Uhhh-- yeahhh we've been best friends since 3rd grade! Small world. So that's 3 people I know so far on my mish team from the 801. Also, someone else just commented on here and let me know that her husband was from Utah and she went to BYU. Seriously. It's gonna be a utah party. I can't wait to become family with these people. Yay! :D

In other news, Classy Chassis called me today and let me know that they have a big case of stuff for me!! Nail Polish, hair accessories, and jewelry for all the beautiful girls in Jordan. I'm so excited to pick it up tomorrow!!

Suzanne Unger- the new head of Student Programs for Operation Smile, wrote some really nice things about me on OSCentral (The Facebook for Operation Smile that i LOVE). While I am so honored she wrote those things about me, I don't feel like anything of what I'm doing is above and beyond- Dr. Magee- the FOUNDER of OS told us that they have invested in us-in ME- students- to be the future of this cause. They have provided me with the OPPORTUNITY to go on a mission, to have something that I love, to help others in the process of changing my own life- This isn't about me. How many other people do you know that will get to go to Jordan as a Junior in high school from quaint little Bountiful? To be given the chance itself to go to things such as ISLC, MTW, a MISSION for crying out loud- I feel like as students, we are in the biggest debt to this cause and for that, I just try and do everything that I can for it because I know it will never be enough. (for me at least). I know I'm not the only one who feels this way either. So thank you, Suzanne and Operation Smile- for everything you have done for me and us.

I was feeling deathly ill today and took a nap longer than my normal sleep I get at night and now I can't sleep. Epic fail. which is why I'm blogging.

12 days before the best thing of my life happens.

Shukran as always

Monday, February 8, 2010


Thank you so much for all the beautiful donations so far!!!!! Good thing we have a whole huge empty room that we're remodeling!

{Lina Schryver}
6 coloring books, 2 huge bags of necklaces, 2 cans of bubbles, hair accessories, crayons, toy glasses, and TBS!

{Dr. Keddington}
1 dozen TB

{Curtis Schryver}
5 packs bubbles, 2 pack crayons, cars, balls, TBs, 2 packages pipe cleaners, 2 hair accessories, 2 coloring books and a pack of stickers

{Robert W. Albertelli D.D.S}
21 flosses

{Danielle Clark}
3 packs of markers

{LaWane Boltz}
200 TB!!! Lots of pencils

{Christy Anderson Thurston & Kellie Anne Carlson}
Baby blankets, bibs, clothes, $20 cash donation

{Chris & Cheryl Johnson, Bruce Talbot}
Allllll of that! :D Ribbons, TB's, Balls, Small stuffed animals, footie socks, jewelry, keychains.. the works
(seriously, I was happier than a kid on Christmas)

A few dozen bandannas

A dozen or so bracelets

And necklaces!

More stickers than I have seen in my entire life

So far, everything that I have. Thank you SO much! I still need quite a few more things though. Thank you so much for all your love and support. I know that you will never know how much it truly means to me.

Each and every single donation makes such a huge difference. I am so appreciative of you and your generosity towards me. The kids in Amman will absolutely cherish these items for the rest of their lives because they have so very little. I know you can't wait to see the kids with these!!! :) :) :)

Love and best wishes
-14 days-

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Mission Partner Stalker

(I'm not sure who knows and who still doesn't, so that's why I'm posting today)

At MTW, I got assigned a mission partner- Sasha Horn. Sasha and I did sample presentations together and we were assigned the Jordan mission. After we got home and she discussed it with her parents and teachers, she unfortunately found out she was not going to be able to come with me this mission. So, after about a week- I got assigned a new mission partner! Her name is Taylor Dorr (like.. door;). Taylor got put in a "Mystery Mission" category at MTW and therefore wasn't assigned a mission.. till a week later! So- ever since I found out Taylor was going to be my mp- (mish partner), I've been trying to find out some things about her {stalker} haha oh Taylor- be prepared!
  • Taylor likes/loves:
    • Piano- (Been playing piano for 10 years {as compared to my 6 months hehe})
    • To swim- this is her 4th year on the varsity swim team at NA.
    • JCrew (My best friend in the world loves JCrew- so it must be a sign! :)
    • Sappy movies
    • The Office, SNL, and Parks and Recreation
    • Cereal- cheerios, special k (with or without milk)
    • Fiber one bars
    • Hummus-  yum.
    • Marshmallows
    • White chocolate
    • friends and family
  • Dislikes
    • Seafood- esp. shrimp and shellfish (no sushi for tay haha)
    • Raisins (oh good)
I didn't get to know Taylor as well as some other people at MTW, but I know that we will be great MPs and make a student team like Jordan has never seen before! :)  She is a very prepared and smart girl and I'm honored that I get to experience this life changing mission with her. I know we will have such an amazing time! :)

{I didn't think I could find a picture of us, but I did! That's Taylor on the very left- me on the very right;)}

Can't wait Tay! 16 days! :D

Friday, February 5, 2010

Front Page

I made the front page of the school newspaper! AND I had a "continued on page.." inside!! :D
I'm hoping that the publicity will help me gather donations from my classmates since I'm not allowed to advertise at school otherwise since we are an "underground" club (sortof like LAX).
{My debut on the front page!}

Thanks so much to Caroline Machado who has always been amazing towards me and my op smile ventures. She is an incredible girl who will go places and do outstanding things. Caroline is a fantastic reporter for the newspaper staff who approached me and asked if she could do anything to help by putting it in the paper.
{Caroline and I at the Firehouse Car wash  "Tunnel of Terror" Fundraiser for Op Smile in SL where she came with me in the frigid rain and snow this October to support OS}

There are kind souls in every single aspect of our lives. Thank you Caroline! 


I went around today after school with a new determination to get donations! After being denied in several locations- we hit gold! (Almost Literally!)

45 sheets of crowns- 90 crowns total
Thank you Burger King in Bountiful! The kids will LOVE them!

My first donation that I've received. I also had several people text and call me today letting me know that they have donations for me.
Thank you
Thank you SO much

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I'm Alive: 18 days!

Today, I received my shots that I need to get before traveling internationally. I got a nice concoction of Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, seasonal flu, TDAP, and Typhoid. Going in, I was terrified and I genuinely was more scared than the little kids that were outside the room waiting to get their H1N1 vaccine. It actually wasn't that bad. Now that the hardest part is over, I feel like I can do anything! :)

Getting my shots today and meeting with the travel nurse was a cool experience because it was just one step closer in my preparation to go to Jordan. She talked to me for an hour and a half about how I could and should protect myself while I'm there. She printed off all this stuff on Jordan and the Middle East for me to study, and she just told me about what I should and shouldn't do. It was very helpful!

Amanda (my mission sponsor-- kindof like a chaperone/mother while we're there) texted me today and told me that they have booked our flights! Yes! :D

I have gotten very little response as to my plea for donations- tomorrow after school I am going around to every business imaginable in person and asking for their support. So far, I have received... very little. I have 18 days, please let me know if there's anything you can do to help! :)

Thanks so much! 18 days till B-town makes her way to New York, then to A-town!

Monday, February 1, 2010


So last night, I was talking to someone and they brought up how they were worried about me and my safety in Jordan. Today, I went to school and was also asked by even more people if I was scared to go to Jordan. Ever once I got my assignment, this is one of the first questions I get asked. So, just for the record- I am not scared at all! :) I have actually never felt scared or have concerned about my safety. I know that at first, it seems kindof sketchy since it's in the Middle East, but I've been doing research and it is in fact an extremely safe place to go. People go on vacation there! :) I read that statistically, I'm more likely to be in any sort of a terrorist act in the UK than in Jordan. They said that in a lot of the touristy areas, there are armed guards- but they all look rather bored because they know nothing bad will happen.

I just wanted to reassure you that I will be in the best hands. If anything were to happen to me, I'm traveling and staying with a group of about 100 doctors, specialists, and medical professionals. I'm in the absolute safest hands. Operation Smile has been doing this for decades, and they have my safety and well-being as a top priority. Operation Smile is also the ONLY organization that allows for students to go abroad on Medical Missions. We are legit, not to worry:) I just want to thank you so much for your concern. Is it weird that I'm more scared to get the 5 shots I'm required to get before traveling out of the country on Thursday than going to Amman? :)

Thanks so much for everything you do for and because of me. I've been getting a lot of hits on my blog, and I've seen a lot of status' on Facebook and blog posts about this. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Also- if you're wondering what you can do to help, I received my first donation today- $1.Other than that.. Well actually- that's all I have so far. The items that I really need are in bold on my list to the left of this post, or can be found here. I'm leaving in 21 days, and I would really love to bring a lot of stuff to the kids in Jordan. Please let me know if you'd like to help! :) You can contact me by emailing me at  or by talking to anyone you might know that knows me personally. I'll be posting pictures of donations as I get them!

Additional items that would help

  • Travel space bags (the kind that suck all the air out of your stuff)
  • Scrubs and Scrub bottoms to donate (I would wear them while I am there, then give them to the nurses in Jordan) [Size Sm]
  • Advertising my blog and mission
I can't say it enough! 
Thank you so much. I can't tell you how thankful I am for everyone that has supported me through to this point. I am a really fortunate person to have this opportunity and the opportunity to have you in my life. 
Thank you for your love
Thank you for your concerns
Thank you for your continued support and prayers