Sunday, January 24, 2010


I figured I would get one last post in before I set off on the next big adventure of my life!
I am leaving THIS WEEK!!!
It is sooo crazy! I had my farewell on the 17th and I just LOVED that day :)
So many people came out to support me! Thanks to everyone who came, there were even people standing at the back of the cultural hall! I couldn't believe it! I can't believe I actually know that many people! Well while I am gone my mom is going to post my emails on a new blog for me, so if you are ever wanting an update or wondering how things are going in the DR check it out:
I love you all and thank you so much for being a part of my life! I'll see you next summer!

"A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race."
-Joseph Smith Jun.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Dominican Republic!

Check this out!

Friday, December 11, 2009

'Tis The Season...

I just LOVE the holiday season!
It's the time for Christmas Fever!!!
For some reason at this time of year, our eyes open and we see the things in our life that mean so much to us! We all think of the Savior more.. I think that at this time of year you probably hear the word "LOVE" more than at any other time of year! (except maybe Valentines Day) You also express your gratitude for just about everything...
Well, I have been affected with the Christmas Fever! For me it also has to do with the fact that soon I will be leaving for 18 months, and I'm leaving my family and friends and all the conveniences of home behind!
Thanksgiving was a great day! (Last year I was in charge of rolls at Golden Corral, so anything tops that) We spent the day at my Grandparents house, and with family! We all had a question that we had to answer about our lives and why it makes us grateful, it was good to hear that everyone has struggles but they get through it and are grateful for them! I know the Lord doesn't give us anything that we cant handle...

I had the privilege to read a letter that Sean wrote to us... I can honestly say that the Army has changed his life and opened his eyes. He told us all of the ways that he has grown, and how he loves all of us so much! A lot of people were crying as I read, and it was really touching! Love him! I am SO grateful that we are so close and that God blessed me with him as my older brother! I'm also grateful that he found Haley, and the amazing sister that she is to me! She is so easy to love!
Of course there is the rest of my family, they are all great in their own ways! Its fun to be around them all the time now, leaving them will be difficult! (but do-able!)
And then there are my friends! I love them! My Best Friend is GETTING MARRIED!!! And although it is really hard for me to know I wont be here for her wedding, I couldn't be happier. I think that because I know I'm leaving I'm helping even more than I normally would! She is including me with everything (even more than her mom I think!) and I love it! She will be such a beautiful bride, and a wonderful wife! Love you Branda!

When I left Russia I was so excited to be leaving, and I never thought that I would be SO grateful for my time there, not only did I change and grow for the better, but I met people that helped me get to where I am today!
The number one person that helped me put my life into perspective is the beautiful Aubrey Whitaker! Its not just that she is kind, loving, happy, pretty, has the greatest eyes EVER, and funny, but she is just a BEAUTIFUL person, inside and out! She brings God into every aspect of her life, and I look up to her so much for that! I can truly say that the best part about going to Russia was meeting her! (And she is hopefully coming to visit in January! I CANT WAIT!!)

The list could go on and on and on... but that is enough for now I think! I am grateful for and Love all of you! Thanks for being a part of my life!
Now this Christmas Fever usually goes on until the beginning of January...we make our New Years Resolutions with such good intentions, but this next year lets REALLY try to show our love and gratitude to all of those around us, and most importantly to our Heavenly Father and His Son for letting us be here and have any of this in the first place!
Merry Christmas!
Love you,

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I can feel you all around me....

Last week was AMAZING!!!

First I have to name some things in my life that I am SOOO Grateful for(in no particular order):

*My Gospel
*My Family
*My Friends
*Pride and Prejudice!

Let me tell you why...

Well General Conference always helps to put things into perspective for me! I love hearing from all of the General Authorities and the people God knows we need to hear from! Its refreshing to feel their spirit, even if it is just through a TV screen! So that set a good mood for my week! It was also cool to hear the Elizabeth Smart is going to serve a mission (my mom was sure that I was going to get called to Paris, France as well and we would be companions haha)

So the week went on... Monday we watched the Gordon B. Hinckley movie, which I really liked! A man as amazing as President Hinckley even had his human moments, and it's funny to hear about those!

Then Wednesday came, and the mail lady decided to not deliver our mail until 3:30!!! Can you believe it? It's ok, I didn't get a certain package anyway, nor the next day! Oh well, I thought, next week!

Then came Thursday night! Can I just say that I have the most amazing grandparents in the world? Their foundation, Deseret International, was celebrating its 20th birthday! And they have done such amazing things! Helping people all over the world one at a time!

There is something that Joseph Smith once said that will forever remind me of my grandparents. He said, "a man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race."

If only everyone could be like them...well they had the Celebration on Temple Square in SLC. We got to go and hear all about their progress and meet some amazing people; Elder and Sister Oaks, Jenny Oaks Baker, Elizabeth Smart, Daniel Beck, and many others...

The music that night, there are no words. I wish that I could play the Violin like Jenny Oaks Baker! It was touching! A really enjoyable night! It made me so proud of my family! I don't know what I did to deserve to be placed in such an amazing family! They truly teach me service and love for others! They are such examples to me! And my friends were there to share that with me!

So now its Friday! I'm not feeling to well for some reason, so I went downstairs and turned on my FAVORITE movie, Pride and Prejudice! (the long one with Colin Firth) And while I am down there just enjoying this great film, my mom screams down the stairs! I run upstairs....and guess what? That certain package arrived! I felt it was so fitting that it arrived while I was doing my favorite thing!

After waiting for all of those people to come over and be there with me while I opened it...The time finally came:

Dear Sister Reay:
You are hereby called to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Dominican Republic Santo Domingo East Mission. It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 18 months.
You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, January 27, 2010. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Spanish Language.....


Then to round it off, on Saturday I went horseback riding with my friends up Hobble Creek canyon! It was gorgeous! We had such a good time! Thanks to Holly!

I couldn't be happier! This time in my life seems to be the best time! And I am just so grateful that I have people all around me that are such good examples and are so supportive! All of my family, friends near and far, and my Heavenly Father who is always with me and helped me know that this is what I need to be doing right now in my life!

I love you all!


Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Kamyanets-Podilsky, Hotin Castle, and the Mountain Caves!

So Ukraine, never ceased to amaze me! There are so many beautiful places there... One of our weekends we took a train over to Kamyanets-Podilsky! It is a Castle City! It is just a really small, quaint town that is old, but majestic! The part that I liked best about it, is that it is all built on hilltops, so you have to cross bridges all the time, and there are beautiful cliffs with waterfalls and vines hanging! Its gorgeous! It was definitely a fun couple days..

This is us in front of the towns Cathedral... It was on the top of a hill, and was surrounded by an awesome park.

The houses were so cute, and of course they were colorful. I think if I had to pick one word to describe my trip it would have been colorful (or lack thereof... haha)

Some more pictures of the buildings in the city!

On the way to the Castle Branda stepped on a nail and it went right through her shoe! Unfortunately it was a really old, rusty nail, so I had to whip out my sewing kit and go Nurse on her foot! I ended up getting all of the metal out! I think that I deserve the friend award of the year for sure!

Another Cathedral (I cant count how many I have seen this year!) This one is older and really close to the Castle!
Haha...what do you think this is? You guessed it! Another Cathedral! This one was on the hilltop next to the Kamyanets Castle! It reminds me of a Fairytale Castle!

Here it is...The Kamyanets-Podilsky Castle!

Just Chillin against the Castle Wall...
A view out of one of the cool windows

Here I am inside the Castle Fortress just practicing my archery skills! I'm no Green Arrow, but I did make a pretty good shot! Dad would be proud! (i think)
The hill next to the castle, I assume that is where most of the people live because it is the hill with the most houses on it!
We had a driver take us about 45 minutes away from the Kamyanets Castle to another Castle and some caves that were discovered in a hill there! Here is us at the entrance to the caves! We felt like we were the Goonies!!!
Inside the caves...Yeah Branda thought that she was Golem/Smeegle the whole time! It was actually quite entertaining!

Here were are creeping around some rocks! Good thing Golem is showing us the way...
This is te road to the other Castle, the Hotin Castle... I don't exactly know what these things are but they had these dugout type things all around the castle...Maybe it was where people hid if the Castle was under attack. (that sounds fun right?)

The Hotin Castle.. It is right on a river bank...The river surrounds it at the bottom making a mote! It was really quite beautiful!
Here we are on the bridge before entering the Hotin Castle, just enjoying the moment! I still can't believe that I did all of this stuff!

We had so much fun, that by the end we were jumping for joy!
Overall we LOVED Kamyanets-Podilsky and all the Magical things we got to see and be apart of! This world has so many beautiful things to offer! I am so glad that I have had the opportunity to see so many of its wonders!
I love you all!

Parts of the Beautiful Kiev....

Really quick, It has been 8 years since the attacks of September 11th. I can hardly believe it, but I pray for those families at this hard time, this isn't exactly a happy anniversary for them! I will never forget that fateful day!

Kiev, Ukraine! I never thought that I would go there, and I never thought that I would love it so much! I don't really know what I was expecting, but it definitely wasn't is completely green, cobblestone roads, people that smile, and HOT, HUMID weather! We lived in a town called Boyarka, it was 45 minutes outside of the city! I was glad, because we didn't have as many opportunities to spend our money, and the air was a lot cleaner. And every time that we went into the city, we got to drive by the new TEMPLE! I am so excited for the members in Ukraine, their closest temple is Germany! Not for long...

This is one of the main streets downtown in the City! It was so fun to just walk around and look at the buildings! I didn't take as many pictures though, because by this time I was pictured-out.

This is on Souvenir street! We had so much fun there, it is this really long winding road that is down a hill. The people were all really nice there, but I didn't get anything really because they had all the same stuff as Russia, but worse quality for a bigger price.... dumb

This beautiful Cathedral was right on Souvenir street! I love all the colors that they use!
On the 4th of July, the American Chamber of Commerce held a party! So we went and there was supposed to be American food, and people speaking English, yeah well there really wasn't, but its ok because the fireworks at the end were good enough for me! Missing Holidays is one of the hardest parts about being away from Home! SO we were glad that they had something for us Americans in Ukraine!

Just another cool building, a little less colorful than St Pete's but still beautiful!

A communist building! They have these all over in Russia too, especially Moscow, Staling had them all built!

This is taken at the Kiev-Pachersk Lavra! It is a Beautiful Orthodox Christian Monastery there! It has underground caves where they still keep the bodies of Reverends. It was really interesting to wander in the caverns with a candle and your head covered and seeing these bodies, a lot of them with the hand sticking out so you could see that part of the corpse. Kindof gross, but...interesting!

This was us with our Candles and Scarves on our heads before we headed into the caves! You have to wear dresses there was cool!
More at the Lavra...
There is a belltower there that has amazing acoustics, so we went in there and started singing Hymns! It sounded so beautiful and was such a spiritual experience, we brought our coordinator to tears!

This is on Kreschatik, the main street in Kiev. These people were from Nike, and they were always there break dancing. It was so entertaining to watch! They always had a huge crowd.

Walking down Kreschatik at night....Life's Good!

I think that this is Victory Square? Maybe, but It was fun to see everything lit up at night! This was one of the best nights that we had in Ukraine! We got Henna (haha) and were invited to Turkey on an all expense paid vacation! Then we had brownie mix and watched John Tucker Must Die, what can compete with that?

Plus we got to see this HUGE Harry Potter Poster! We couldn't wait to come home and see it!

2 Best Friends under the Friendship Arch! Its on top of a hill that looks out over the city and the Dnieper River. Amazing! There was a dance going on right under it as well....haha

We ate soup like every day! I wouldn't mind never eating it again! And a lot of the time it had nasty things in it! So just letting you guys all see what it was like! (I definitely don't miss the food!)

We went to the Ballet again! This time we saw Cinderella! It was really good, but not as good as the Russian Ballet! Sorry Ukrainians!

Branda, Holly and I inside the Opera House!
I loved my life in Boyarka! I would go back any time! There were a few hard days! But never dull moments! Living with 9 other girls, and getting along with every single one was such a blessing! There were never fights, or disagreements! It was perfect and I made bonds with all of them that will last a lifetime!
Love you all,

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Crimea!

So I decided that it was time I started updating everyone on my adventures this year!

Well I did eventually part from my life in Russia, which was very hard! I was so attached to my kids there and it was hard to leave them! At least I know that I will see them again someday whether it be in this life or the next! But I think of them often! AND there was my Russian family and the girls that had become like sisters to me.....ah BUT I did survive!
Holly, Branda, and I set out! We had a fun day in Moscow (It was HOT and SUNNY!!!) followed by 4 days of misery! At the Russia/Ukraine border we were kicked off of the train! Can you believe it? Branda actually had to jump off when the train was moving! There were some problems with her Visa and the only reason we made it out ok was because God sent us some Angels when we were so lost and didn't have any idea what to do, so anyway long story short, we spent 4 days on trains or at train stations and Branda went back to St Petersburg and Holly and I went on to Ukraine, which would be our new home for the next 7 weeks! We left from Kiev and on to Sevastopol (which is on the Black Sea).
We had such a blast! We were on the Black Sea! We just walked around and enjoyed meeting new people, beaches, countryside, caves, mountains, cliffs, Monatery's, Mosque's, and rich history! I will never forget it!

Ukraine has some beautiful countryside! Holly and I missed our stop on the train! (hehe we fell asleep because we were exhausted!) So we had to walk back one stop through these gorgeous fields, on our way to Bakhchisarai!

Khans Palace, Bakchisarai, Crimea, Ukraine! GORGEOUS! This is an old Mosque!

The Crimea used to be part of Turkey, so there are still a lot of Turkish towns there...They sold Baclava everwhere....I told Sean about this and he told me that I had to try it in memory of him! It was really tasty, but very different from the Baclava that I am used to!

This is a Monastery that is built into the side of a mountain! It is a pretty hike up there, and hundreds of people do it daily, just to get holy water! Farther up this canyon there were caves!
This is at the entrance to a mountain full of caves! It is absolutely Beautiful, we had fun just walking around, soaking up the sun, and singing like we were in the Opera - echo's can make you sound pretty good! haha

This is the harbor in Yalta! It is such an amazing city! It has many beauties!

We rode a Gondola car up this really steep cliff on Mt. Ai Petri. On the top there was a turkish town where you could shop around and ride camels and what not....the view from the top was breath-taking! We were in the clouds, LOVE IT! The pictures dont do it justice!

On the way down Mt. Ai Petri, we stopped at a waterfall! I mean seriously, this little peninsula has everything! It was so fun! Holly, Sarah (a girl that met up with us that will teach in Kiev also), and Me!

This is the view from the porch of the Massandra Palace, which is the Mansion that the Yalta Conference was held at! Yeah I was in the same room that Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin had meetings about world peace! It was great!

This is the boardwalk in Yalta! We walked down it often, and got really delicious ice cream and pizza! It was so relaxing after all of our stress from traveling to get here!

Look what I found when we went shopping! I should have bought it! haha

This is a terrible picture! But this is Bora and Giga! They are the people that we stayed with in Sevastopol! They were really nice! Bora picked us up from the bus stop and payed for us to get to his house, then they took us out to dinner that night! There are such nice people all over the world! I will never forget any of them!

Well, I suggest everyone book their tickets for the Crimea! It is amazing! This isn't even close to half of the pictures we took of amazing places! I hope you all get the chance to go someday!

Love you all, Dena