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Monday, June 24, 2013

I'm gonna be a missionary

A month or so ago I was texting a good friend from back home and mentioned that I was leaving on a mission in a couple of months.  This was all news to him, because he missed my couple of Facebook posts revealing my mission call.  And then I realized that unlike Provo-land, where everyone and her dog is going on a mission, people in Ohio don't know what craziness has been instilled since last October's General Conference.

So if you aren't Mormon, or want to know the extremely exciting details about my mission call, this is the post for you.  Which also probably eliminates the majority of you.

I'm assuming that all of you are somewhat familiar with LDS missionaries.  Most likely you've experienced them as two young men dressed in a shirt and tie knocking on your door trying to share a message of Christ.  And most likely you politely turned them down.  And I don't blame you, I avoid Jehovah Witnesses in the same manner.
Look familiar?
The majority of missionaries are young men or "Elders" as we call them.  If they are worthy and able to serve a mission, they are basically expected to serve.  On the other hand, young women, or "Sisters," are not held to this same expectation, but are encouraged to serve a mission if they feel the desire to do so.  Elders could serve a mission at age 19, while Sisters couldn't until they were 21.  By this time many are married, or so far in school and life that it's more difficult to drop everything and serve for 18 months. 

And then everything changed.  (Hey, I think this qualifies for being over-dramatic.)  They changed the minimum age for elders from 19 to 18, and 21 to 19 for sisters.

And now we have a TON of sister missionaries.  Like 50/50 elders to sisters and it's crazy.

But what does this have to do with me?  Actually, not a whole lot directly.  I had been planning on serving a mission since high school, but didn't really decide until a few weeks before the change was made. 

So when President Monson announced that young women could now serve at age 19 I was shocked, and then a little upset.  This change didn't even affect when I could leave, and I felt somewhat bitter that I had to wait so long while little freshman could leave at the same time as me.  But then I got over it and was excited for the change.  And I was just grateful that I had made a pretty firm decision before the change was announced because I knew I had made up my mind without the whirlwind of emotions the announcement produced.

I started filling out my mission papers in January and squeezed in my doctor's appointments with all the other hundreds of girls working on their papers.  I was impatient and worried through the whole process, but mostly excited.  After about a month and a half I finally had submitted my papers and just had to play the waiting game.

I didn't have to wait that long for my mission call to arrive in the mail, but it seemed like an eternity.  I had a friend that submitted her mission papers exactly one week before me, so I assumed that her call would come before mine.  Her call came on the Friday of Labor Day weekend, so I didn't even check the mail that day because I thought it was going to be awhile for mine to arrive.  I was leaving for Colorado that day with my friend, Elise, to go skiing and snowshoeing for the weekend.  While we were pulling out of my apartment complex I got a call from my roommate.  I couldn't understand a word she said through her hysterics, but I did catch "mail" and "mission" so I assumed she was talking about my mission call.  While I was sitting there in the car, OUTSIDE OUR APARTMENT, I had to decide whether I was going to open it right then and there without friends and family, or wait three agonizing days and open it Monday night when I got back.

I decided to wait till Monday.  Craziness.  That's what it was.


 Then I went on an awesome trip and did this stuff.
You can't tell, but we're wearing snow shoes.


And then the 7 hour drive was really painful and long because that's all that was separating me from my mission call.  Did I mention it was painful and long?

First time holding my call.
It's a good thing I got a skiing sunburn for all the pictures we took that night.  Also, I'm really glad I wore a pink shirt to match my face.
Look, I have friends!


And I opened it and I was happy.
video


And yes, I totally included the likes so you guys could see how popular I am.



So yes, I get set apart tonight, and fly out to Provo tomorrow.  And then I report to the Provo MTC this Wednesday, the 26th.  It's gettin' weird, but I'm very excited and grateful that I get to serve the Lord and preach the gospel to the people of Nagoya, Japan.  If you want to know more basic information about LDS missionaries, here's a wikipedia link.  It's pretty accurate, and is much more informative than I'll ever be.

I'm gonna want letters, so keep that snail mail goin' by sending me some love!

I'll be at the Provo MTC from June 26th, to about August 27th.  You can also use dearelder.com while I'm there and they print those out daily for us.

Sister Kristen Camille Oda
AUG27  JPN-NAG
2007 N 900 E Unit   3
Provo UT 84602

This is my address for when I'm in Japan till December 2014.

Sister Kristen Camille Oda
Japan Nagoya Mission
1-304 Itakadai, Meitou-ku,
Nagoya-shi, Aichi
465-0028
JAPAN
We can now email people besides family, but we still have really limited computer time.  Here's my email I'll be using.
  
kristen.oda@myldsmail.net

If you want to get my weekly emails, just shoot my mom an email at odadeb@yahoo.com and she'll add you to the email list.  


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Airplanes

I went home last week to get ready for my mission and to be around for Lily's end of the year stuff.  She's a Senior and graduating.  WHAT.  Lily isn't exactly thrilled about being ranked just 12th in her graduating class, but for people of lesser intelligence like me, I'd say that's pretty good.  So I'll brag about it for her instead.

No, that's not her boyfriend, but this is the only photo I had.  Apparently high schoolers don't use facebook anymore.
Anyway, I went through the temple with my parents and got to enjoy Memorial Day weekend with the family and it was nice.
Cute little people in front of the cute little Columbus temple.
And that's enough about my personal life.  This post is really about planes and cool stuff like that. 

Since I go to school on the other side of the country, I get to fly home instead of drive more often than not.  (Thanks Mom and Dad.)  And since I flew home this past week planes are fresh on the mind.  I've been flying on Southwest for some time, but I'm still getting used to their weird seating arrangements and such.  Since they don't have assigned seats, boarding the plane can be kind of stressful.  They board us alphabetically and numerically off of our boarding pass, but once you get on the plane it's free game.  I prefer the aisle seat because I don't feel so trapped, and I enjoy it when people step on my toes or elbow me in the face as they walk by.  But really, for some reason I feel better knowing that with an aisle seat I can easily escape and move around the cabin.  All 20 feet of it.  My brain doesn't make sense.

Moving on. Once again I was in the last boarding group, so I had given up hope in landing an aisle seat.  And then I saw some open in the back of the cabin and made the trek over there.  I felt relief once I finally found an empty aisle seat, but seconds later discovered that it was unoccupied because there was a baby in the row.  I love babies.  I really do, but I also have ears and I didn't want to sit next to a crying baby for 3 hours.  So instead of being an understanding human being, I awkwardly told the nice mom that I was actually going to sit somewhere else, and moved one whole row back. 

FREEDOM.  Until I looked to my right and saw a mother with her two very young toddlers and another toddler behind me.  That's when I realized that the back of the plane was where all the little human beings were kept.    It wasn't a horrible flight or anything, but I made sure to sit near the front on my next flight.   Even if it meant sitting between two old men.

Speaking of sitting between men, I tend to do that a lot.  Like I mentioned, I'm typically in the last boarding group, so I get stuck with the middle seat.  On my flight home over Christmas break I fell asleep on the guy next to me.  Whatever, his legs were totally in my space, so I let my head take up his space.

The worst part of the flight wasn't the babies.  It was the turbulence.  Sometimes a little turbulence can be kind of exciting.  Just like taking off is pretty darn fun no matter your age.  I don't get how people can just read or sleep like it's not a big deal.  WE'RE LIFTING OFF THE GROUND IN A HUGE METAL MACHINE.  OF COURSE IT'S A BIG DEAL.  Anyway, it was so bumpy that we weren't supposed to be moving around the cabin.  The flight attendants repeatedly told us to "please stay in your seats until the pilot says otherwise," but apparently this meant nothing to the passengers because they kept on getting up and using those tiny suction bowls that pass as toilets.  But seriously, the flight attendants told us at least five times to stay in our seats and no one listened.  Except me.  Me, with my tiny overactive bladder.  And of course I had to go, but I wasn't about to get up and use the restroom after they told us not to FIVE TIMES.  Hey, I've watched LOST; I don't want to be in the bathroom when the plane crashes.

While I'm rambling about commercial airlines, can we talk about the flight attendants?  Let's begin with "Stove"--a great flight attendant.
I don't really have anything against flight attendants, but I've found that they can be pretty boring.  Probably because they have to fly in a little plane all day errday with annoying people like Annie.  Well, on my last flight one flight attendant was particularly hilarious.  I may have been the only one laughing at her jokes, but I was entertained nonetheless.   Before starting the whole safety presentation, the flight attendant began by saying "Please pretend to direct your attention to the front as we give the safety demonstration."  And when she was wrapping up the flight she closed with, "Thank you for flying Southwest.  We hope to see again, and remember that no one appreciates you or your money more than Southwest."  Again, I was the only one to laugh, but I just think that's because I was the only one listening.

I would rant about the food they serve or lack thereof, but there's really nothing to mention when it comes to peanuts.  Except they better give me a couple bags of them because I'm starving and would like to have at least two mouthfuls of food to hold me over for the next four hours.  But I'm not ranting or anything.

Also, I just made this video.  You should watch it.