This morning my mom told me she had a 'breakfast surprise' and that I should sit in the laundry room for a minute and then come into her room. I opened the door to her room and my aunt Karen and 3 of her kids were sitting on the bed. I screamed and hugged them and cried, I think it is the nicest thing that has happened to me in a while.
I am leaving for Guatemala in 3 days.
I feel good. I'm ready to go. My family is moving to South Carolina in October so that's where "home" will be when I'm back! I'm so excited for them. Life is beautiful.
BLOG!!!! waaaaayyyy long time no see. I just finished my 3rd week at camp and I'm loving it. It's a lot of hard work and I am super tired, but I'm having fun! I'm going on a mission! I opened my call last Friday with some close friends and family. Right before I opened it someone asked me where I would want to go if I were to choose. I said Central or South America, I am obsesssssed with Latin American culture. I opened the big white envelope and read where I was going silently. I saw the words "Guatemala Quetzaltenango" and all I could think was "isn't this where Jane is going?" So I read it out loud and was shocked to see that I will be leaving on August 21st. I put my availability date as September 1st and had a lot of things planned for the end of August. Then I just kept saying "I think I'm going to the same mission as Jane... Jane and I are going to be serving in the same mission..." Jane is one of my good friends who had received her call a week earlier. I still can't believe out of all the missions in the whole world, we're going to the same one.
Our closest family friends are from Guatemala. I went to visit for the first time when I was 12 and I think that was when I fell in love with Latin America. I went over to talk to them last weekend and they told me about lots of their friends and family in the area. Enrique told me that if I ever needed anything that he would fly down to deliver it to me. They thought it was hilarious to talk to me in Spanish only just to see how much I understand. Their niece, my friend, is working at the MTC in Guatemala and I can't wait to see her and give her a big hug.
There are 24 different Mayan dialects throughout Guatemala and my friends say they wouldn't be surprised if I learned a few of them. The weather is supposed to be incredible, a little cold in the mornings and evenings and rainy in the summer, but not too hot. thank goodness. Xelaju is short for Quetzaltenango and it's the second largest city in Guatemala (next to Guatemala City) The most famous Guatemalan song is called Luna de Xelaju so here's a lil taste of what I'll be listening to for the next 18 months...
I had heard for years now that these were the best Chocolate Chip cookies in the world. So even though they are a bit complicated, (it calls for cake flour and bread flour... I had to go buy that crap plus you have to refrigerate the dough for a minimum of 24 hours) I decided to give them a try.
New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies
Time: 45 minutes (for 1 6-cookie batch), plus at least 24 hours’ chilling
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons
(8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content (see note)
1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.
I followed the recipe EXACTLY folks which is something I rarely do. They turned out pretty darn good. I didn't take my high altitude-ness into consideration which actually makes a pretty big difference, they were a little flatter than I would have liked but suuuuper yummy. Next time (if I can even work up the energy for there to be a next time...) I'll try THESE adjustments for high altitude.
Nolan had a baseball tournament in NV last weekend and mom and I drove over on Saturday to catch a game. We had a grand ole time on our way there, watched Nolan play an excellent game and on our way back we stopped to check out some salt flats. Walking on it felt like what I would imagine it would be like to walk on brownies. A little crunchy (salt) on top and spongey (mud) underneath. It's cool stuff. America the Beautiful amiright?