Sunday, April 7, 2013

shocked and amazed

oh hey, blogging world! it's been a little while, hasn't it?

i guess some pretty major things have happened in my life since i last got on here.

like remember that time i went to paris on study abroad? that was a good time. a really really good time. was the best time in the whole world. you can read all about it here.

and then i came home for a five week christmas break. that was also the best time. i got to spend it with my family, i got to make some money and work at the bakery, i got to have christmas with my favorite hughes/tenney/roos/cook clan, i got to go to san francisco with my favorite morgans, i got to go to la and celebrate christmas with my favorite hughes/hanson family, and then i got to go back to provo. who cares that i was sick for three weeks? who cares that i hit a bale of hay and dented my car - which will heretofore be referred to as cashmere jones, because that's his name and it's the best car name in the entire world.

but something else pretty major happened, and i kept it mostly to myself, my family, and a few close friends, just because it was something so personal. but now i want to share it with the world, because i am just SO DANG EXCITED.

so for those of you who haven't heard...i am going to be a missionary of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints.

this means that for 18 months, i will leave everything behind to serve in a certain area of the world. i will be sharing the amazing message of the gospel of jesus christ, and testifying that he is our savior and redeemer. i will be teaching that god loves each and every one of us personally. i will be helping to uplift those that i am called to serve, providing them with the opportunity to learn and understand who we are, what our purpose in life is, and where we are going when we die.

i am going to share the happiest and most glorious message on earth, and i couldn't be more excited.

but getting to this point took quite a while for me. i was stubborn. i knew it was something that i would eventually end up doing. i knew that it was something that the lord wanted me to do. i heard him practically yelling at me to do it, but i didn't want to listen. and so i chose not to for the longest time.

but then i went to france. i ran into my friend zach adams, who is serving his mission in paris (the lucky kid). we got to talk at a church meeting where all the speakers shared their testimonies of missionary work and how much they loved serving. zach told me that i "have the head of a missionary" which i decided to take as a compliment, and went home that night feeling unsettled, because i knew i would have to make up my mind about serving a mission soon.

at this point in time, girls were allowed to serve missions when they reached the age of 21. with my 21st birthday coming in may, i didn't have to make an immediate decision, but i knew i should try to decide fairly quickly because you can submit your missionary "papers" or application 4 months before you are available to serve. this meant i could submit my papers in january if i wanted to leave in may. which meant i would have to start my papers as soon as i got home from my study abroad.

after a series of unfortunate events, the next sunday morning, my roommate in paris and i missed our bus to the train station for church. i was so frustrated, we were going to miss our train and have to wait 30 minutes for the next one. by that time, the stake conference we were attending would be half over. we sat on the bus and i stared out the window, just being grumpy. and then i decided to pull out my scriptures and read. and do you know what came up on my little iphone screen? this:

Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
John 6:68-69

now, i'm not simon peter. but in that moment, i felt like i should be the one asking the lord to whom i should go. because i know that he has the words of eternal life. i know and am sure that he is christ, the son of the the living god. and in that moment, i knew that all plans i had made for my future not involving a mission didn't matter any more. all that mattered was that i knew that the lord wanted me to share the knowledge that i have of christ, the son of the living god. who cared if i was going to be "old" when i got back from my mission? who cared if i still have a few years of school to finish after i get home? who cared that i would be putting absolutely everything in my life on hold? it wasn't me, that's for sure. i sat on that bus, driving past the arc de triomphe, with silent tears running down my face. because i felt so happy and at peace and relieved that i had finally listened to the promptings pushing me in the direction i needed to go.

general conference in october was somewhat epic. you can ask any girl. we all know how life changing it was that the age for missionaries was lowered - to 18 for boys and 19 for girls. that saturday, i had taken a nap in preparation for an all night arts festival - nuit blanche - in paris. i woke up just before 6 pm, when conference was starting back home in america. i pulled out my laptop, and because of my sketchy internet, was really only able to see president monson's announcement about the age change. this is what he said:

As we have prayerfully pondered the age at which young men may begin their missionary service, we have also given consideration to the age at which a young woman might serve. Today I am pleased to announce that able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at age 19, instead of age 21.
We affirm that missionary work is a priesthood duty—and we encourage all young men who are worthy and who are physically able and mentally capable to respond to the call to serve. Many young women also serve, but they are not under the same mandate to serve as are the young men. We assure the young sisters of the Church, however, that they make a valuable contribution as missionaries, and we welcome their service.
We continue to need many more senior couples. As your circumstances allow, as you are eligible for retirement, and as your health permits, I encourage you to make yourselves available for full-time missionary service.

however, my internet was sketchy. i heard the announcement like this:

As we have prayerfully pondered the age at which young men may begin their missionary service, we have also given consideration to the age at which a young woman might serve. Today I am pleased to announce that able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at age 19, instead of age 21.
We affirm that missionary work is a priesthood duty—and we encourage all young men who are worthy and who are physically able and mentally capable to respond to the call to serve. Many young women also serve, but they are not under the same mandate to serve as are the young men. We assure the young sisters of the Church, however, that they make a valuable contribution as missionaries, and we welcome their service.  
I encourage you to make yourselves available for full-time missionary service.

if that wasn't confirmation of my decision, i don't know what is. it was not a mistake that i saw conference that way. at all. and i'm so glad that my internet cut out.

now we fast-forward to the first week of winter semester at BYU. my mission call was sitting at my home in california. knowing that it was sitting two states away literally killed me. it was the longest week of my life. on friday, after a two hour delay because of mechanical issues, i flew home to open my call with my entire family. it was such an amazing experience.

i have never felt so nervous/excited/like-i-was-about-to-throw-up before in my life. but when i opened that big white envelope and held the letter in my hands that was sent to me personally from the first presidency, i felt at peace. it was right.

and then i read my letter out loud.

dear sister hughes,
you are hereby called to serve as a missionary of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints. you are hereby assigned to labor in the 
thailand bangkok mission.

i have never been so shocked in my life. after years of learning spanish and french, i was almost positive that i would end up in europe or south america. thailand?! it wasn't even on my radar. after the initial shock wore off (ok who are we kidding, it hasn't worn off, even now), i finished reading the rest of the letter.

i was surrounded by my family and friends. there was so much love and joy and excitement in my little living room that i almost couldn't handle it. and everything felt so right. i will admit that i was initially confused by my call as i read where i was going. but despite my confusion, it was right. and it was mine.

starting may 1st, 2013, i will be leaving everything behind to serve the lord and the people of thailand, laos, and myanmar for 18 wonderful months. and i couldn't be happier :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

men of snow

tonight my friend jim texted me and asked if i wanted to make a snowman with him.

my response?

well DUH.

when we were making our snowman, i realized that the last time i had made a snowman was when i lived in utah as a wee babe. i must have been two and a half, maybe three.

my dad and i were in the backyard of our little house. the snow was not great, you could still see the snow poking up through it. daddy did most of the work. i was too little to really concentrate on what was happening. but i remember helping him push our snowball so it would get bigger.

at one point, we found an old happy meal toy from mcdonald's stuck in the snowball. i don't know what toy it was, but i remember that i was excited.

and i remember being completely happy with my daddy in the backyard.

i have no idea if we ever finished that snowman.

i love this memory. a lot.

almost as much as i love my daddy.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

on my way

so here we go. i'm sitting in the salt lake airport, waiting for my plane. i'm here ridiculously early because i took a shuttle...and didn't get to choose when i could leave. 
but it's better early than late. plus it gave me time to organize my a little a lot of know. all good stuff. 

anyway. i'm here to tell you that i'm going to be gone. i'll be blogging over here now.

so follow up on all my french adventures!

i can't promise that i will be the most faithful of bloggers while i'm gone...but i'll do my best to share at least a little bit with you all. 

so either i'll see you at my other blog or i'll see you in 3 months!

au revoir, america!

Friday, August 31, 2012

this is actually happening.


today i finish packing, tomorrow i fly to utah, and wednesday i fly out to paris.

is this real life??

i promise to blog a little more before i leave, you know, to keep you all updated because i know you are all so terribly interested. 

i'm also working on a blog for my adventures in europe. so...keep your eyes peeled.

[why does that phrase exist? i don't know. but it's gross.]

also, my friends chloe and sasha and i are starting a blog together. you should visit it. it's going to be cute.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

#whatcansydneyfindinthebathroom : the explanation

for those of you who follow my instagram feed, you may be wondering,

"what the heck is #whatcansydneyfindinthebathroom?!"

it's kind of funny, actually. it's a collection of things that i have found this summer in the bathroom that i share with my brother.

and yes, i found all these things in the bathroom.

not a joke, dear readers.

[all captions are the original captions i used on instagram.]

"in today's episode of 'what can sydney find in the bathroom,' she successfully found sea salt rice chips, a cup, and a chocolate wrapper. #whatcansydneyfindinthebathroom"

"'what can sydney find in the bathroom : part ii' a plate on the toilet #whatcansydneyfindinthebathroom"

"something questionable in the shower #whatcansydneyfindinthebathroom"

"a dumbbell #whatcansydneyfindinthebathroom"

"some sort of powdered drink and the remains of a super old almond croissant #whatcansydneyfindinthebathroom"
"haribo happy cola gummies and creatine monohydrate dietary supplement #whatcansydneyfindinthebathroom"

"potato wedges and chicken #whatcansydneyfindinthebathroom"
 it was at this point in time that michelle commented and said,

"really? come on. it's like the only eating he does is in the bathroom. he should have a little salt & pepper stashed somewhere."

that made me laugh.

now we continue.

"nectarine in the janky sink #whatcansydneyfindinthebathroom"

"oatmeal? #whatcansydneyfindinthebathroom"

"gatorade, odwalla, ice cream, and a fruit cup #whatcansydneyfindinthebathroom"

then i went away to utah for a weekend. for kara's wedding, you see. and when i came back, i decided i needed to take a shower. i walked into the bathroom to find the below photo on the toilet seat, candle lit and all. 

my brother is a comedic genius.

"THE BEST #whatcansydneyfindinthebathroom EVER EVER EVER"

and that's the story of #whatcansydneyfindinthebathroom. because i know you all were curious.

[oh and don't worry, the glass is filled with strawberry jaritos, just in case you were wondering.]

Sunday, August 26, 2012


this past friday, one of my favorite people from BYU got married.

you remember when kara and derek got engaged, right? (if not check out the link. the story is in there, promise.)

yes, i realize this photo has graced my blog three times. had to be done just one more time.

anyway, these two lovebirds, surrounded by hearts, were married in the mt timanogos temple.

so of course i had to be there. i mean, what would you do?

so i flew out to utah on thursday afternoon, where becca picked me up from the airport. at there airport there were at least 6 families waiting for missionaries to come home. you would have thought i was in salt lake or something.

then we went to costa vida. blessed costa vida. i had been craving that salad all summer, and it was kind of a bummer that the nearest one was...oh...800 miles away.

then i went to steph and karen's apartment where there was a huge hug fest. and i helped them move in and we talked about our summers and i got to hear all about jerusalem from them. and it was great.

karen struggling with making her bed. it's hard to have your bed in a corner.

the next morning i went to breakfast with my friend brittany. she's the sweetest. we went to the awful waffle together, a place that i personally LOVE, and where she works. it was pretty great. she told me all about her time in paris and i ate it all up (that is referring to both the stories and the crêpe. ha). i don't know why we didn't get a photo together...since we both take way more photos that is necessary. haha.

then i walked back to the apartment

and then i found heather! and i helped her move stuff from her car to her room. and then steph and i went to the bookstore and the museum of art and costco.

then we went back to the apartment again and saw brooke and new roommate alex and then i made myself "look presentable," as heather would say. then annie came over and we were off to the wedding!!

can i just say that i love weddings? especially when it's someone that is near and dear to me? and because i was a eyes kept watering just a little. sometimes. i guess. but it was great.

kara's backyard was decorated so nicely! i can't even tell you how impressed i was. my photos don't do it justice. the tea lights, the banners, the desserts...the entire atmosphere was perfect. she nailed it.

she and derek were so so happy. this is the only photo i have with them...and just a disclaimer, i am not holding derek's hand. that somehow seems to happen to me. that i either do accidentally hold the groom's hand, or i just look like i am. i'm just an awkward person, i suppose.

sorry it's blurry...

so we sampled the desserts, talked for a while, and stayed for cake cutting, the bouquet toss, and the first dance.

and i may or may not have caught the bouquet. um. yep. it happened. there were a bunch of little girls in front of the "big girls" who wanted it, so i stayed back...but ended up catching it because seriously, that thing came straight at my face. i had no choice. i tried to give it to a little girl who really wanted it, but i was told that i couldn't. so kara and i took a photo together, and then i let kara keep it, because really, it was her bouquet.

then annie, heather, steph, and i were hungry so we stopped at wendy's.

then we just talked at the apartment for a long time.

and then the next morning i went to target with heather and brooke.

and then heather showed me jerusalem photos and we talked for a long time, because let me tell you, catching up with your best friend requires a lot of talking. and then she tried to concentrate on chem...but that was hard. so we turned on photo booth. but we were both tired haha. and then it was time for me to leave.

so then becca and marissa picked me up and we were off to zupa's for lunch. delish. i love that place.

and then we stopped at my aunt maryn's for a quick hello, and then i went to the airport.

and there was a freak rainstorm from thanksgiving point to draper and i was so happy. i love those summer rainstorms with the big fat drops and the blue skies overhead. i rolled down my window and breathed as deeply as i could. utah smells wonderful during summer storms. i wish i could bottle that smell and carry it with me wherever i go. i also missed the mountains. utah mountains make the mountains surrounding the valley look like hills.

utah drivers. [eye roll.] i forgot that you can make a turning lane out of the bike lane. 1/4 of a mile away from the light.

rain rain rain

rain and blue skiessss

and i was so happy. and white.

anyway. it was a wonderful weekend, and i'm so glad i had the chance to go to utah for kara's wedding and to see all my friends! it was such a great time.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

"i was built for comfort, not speed" -luke floyd

yesterday was my second to last day at the bakery this summer. 

and it was fantastic.

at one point, i decided i wanted to give luke a hug. just because i could. so i did. and i told him he gave good hugs. he promptly told me, 

"i was built for comfort, not speed."

i think i choked, i was laughing so hard.

anyway, after work we had our fun meeting. janie, alysha, hugo, luke, isaac, marie, and i met at the park and we played. it was SO FUN. we played freeze tag, frisbee, monkeyed around on the jungle gym, did the true laugh, and ate pizza. and laughed so hard. sooooo hard.

we did the epi dance, talked about yodels and yoohoos and oooh la las and yo hos and uh ohs.

"excuse me, but what is an uh oh?"

"um, an uh oh is when you pee your pants on accident."

i love my bakery family.

here are a few photos from the day.

leash & syd

this photo will forever hold a special place in our hearts. no one knows exactly what is going on with my eyeball. but it makes us laugh every time we look at it.
delgadooo. triple nutter, anyone?
me, janie, and alysha on the tire swing

alysha and i climbing on the web thing-a-ma-jig. and she was on my shoulders.