Love Earth Life Happiness.


My Breath of Fresh Air.

I have deleted my facebook.


If you need/want to contact me.. send me an email!


Creatures crawl in the search of blood....

To terrorize y'alls neighborhood!


It's here, baby! The one and only show that me and my sisters/mom have gone to every single year since it was fresh, right out of the oven many years ago.... Thriller. We've had 3 weeks of intense rehearsals with classes and time spent learning/cleaning/practicing each of the dances in this show. All growing up, it only seemed like a dream to me.. to be part of this amazing show as a dancer. No matter how many tears have come from the stress, sleepiness and even intimidation that I have felt along this journey so far.. I can 100% say, I have been loving every minute of my experience with Odyssey Dance Theatre.

There are many different personalities on our company and a lot of new faces to the team. All with such stunning talents in each individual way. Odyssey has given me such a positive environment and a motivation to constantly push myself through these difficult times in life and for this, I am truly grateful. This is the place where some legit bonds are made between people as friends.. I love every single person on this team, each for a different reason. Just yesterday, we as the touring cast had to part from the Salt Lake cast... I can't tell you how many times at rehearsal on the stage here in Park City that we thought, "who is missing?" It feels so strange to be away from the other cast. Although I miss them a great deal, it has also been a blast getting even more personal with those here on the touring cast. Such beautiful people, yo!!

The life of a dancer is quite a crazy one. Yesterday, we arrived here in our first location.. Park City, for our spacing and full run-through of the whole show. We arrived in the morning, set each dance on the stage for about 5 hours.. then headed to our gorgeous condos to unpack our things.. and headed right back to the theater for a straight up 6.5 hour run-through of the show + notes/corrections afterwards. You can see, why with a great amount of time spent together with those who are around you.. all doing exactly what we love.. is such a bonding experience! Today, we will spend another day at the theater,  having class and also doing another full run-through of the show. This time with hair, make up, lighting... the works!

If you haven't seen the show.. I promise you, it is one you will not want to miss! Sooo many funny details in this show, it is seriously such a funny/creepy/stunning show all in itself. is where you get those tickets, my friends!

This journey is amazing.. the show's about to begin!!!! We're about to get our zombie/skeleton/mummy/... many many other unmentioned characters.. on!



It's time.

ODT rehearsals start tomorrow... I'm freaking out!!! Expect a lot of posts and pictures up and coming. :)

Here's to a sleepless night. May my body and mind get through this. THRILLER baby.

Off to live my dance dream!


The ODT Story

Okay, there is a lot to catch the blog up on. A LOT. Also, a lot of people that I have things to explain to and although I will be working on individual explanations for the next... I don't know... WEEK.. this is going to sort of a sum up Samijo's noggin thoughts from lately. Honestly, when I begin thinking... it can get pretty crazy. Here goes... and by the way, this one is going to be lengthy due to lots of things happening in such a short summer of being home from The Netherlands. Life is crazy! But anywho, here are my very honest thoughts, take it or leave it.

(The following is a piece from my journal on August 23, 2011)..

Sometimes I wonder if I am one who runs away from things. Looking back, it looks like that is the case time and time again. Will I ever stop thinking there is always something more out there? Is this a selfish way to think and go about life? Is there a problem in me that I've developed that causes me to feel this way like I constantly need to change and experience bits and pieces of everything? Sometimes I wonder if I will ever find complete happiness or something that is actually constant in life? If so, what is it? The reason that I o not like staying in the same place for TOO long is because I've Realized. that I am someone who needs that change and adventure. School... or the same school for too long gets boring for me because I am quick to learn and apply things that sometimes I feel I have learned all that I can in that certain place or from those certain people at that point in time, that continuing on and always finding those new adventures seems like the only way I'll find my zen. I'm sitting here asking myself if this is the wrong way to live, but then my other brain sits and says that it cannot be wrong. Looking at me  now compared to even a week ago.. I've picked up tid bits of things all around and now see that I continue to become more 'Samijo' each day from the plethora of experiences that take place.

I find comfort in knowing that I am leaving a large piece of my mind and heart in millions of places, literally throughout the world. I honestly do remember hings about every individual that I have met and am Realizing. that the most rewarding feeling for me, is to get to know someone so deeply, "run away" for a while and continue learning and finding what I can while still having these people in the back of my mind... and then randomly showing up later on at some point in life and trying to show them through example, a way that I've allowed myself to find, in hopes that it will help them or inspire them to Realize. for their self that they truly can be anywhere and anything that they want to be. (Run-on sentence I know.. but it makes sense to me. ;) )

I love analyzing other's lives and creating what I find by going through and meshing all of these things that I learn each day, to help someone by saying... " I KNOW what you are going through." Even if my experience wasn't quite as long or quite as deep... I have to be able to say that I KNOW how you are feeling. I, personally, find comfort in those around me who literally have felt what I am going through, so I WANT to experience even simple tastes of every possible thing... happy, sad, good, bad... so I can be of comfort to those I meet. I LOVE learning new things constantly. Through others, this is how I feel that I will find my constant happiness.

Call me selfish... but it is through this "selfishness" that I continue to find who I truly am and want to be in this life, as well as in the life to come. And quite bluntly, through taking care of myself finally... and being somewhat selfish, I have never felt so self-LESS and REAL. in my life, than I do now.

... Now, let me explain. Like I said, that was from my journal as I took a random two day trip to Cedar City in hopes that I would figure out where the next chapter in life's story will be. This was the base reason and determining reason of why ... (and I know this is the first time that I am making this known to a lot of people who weren't aware) ... but I will not be returning to The Netherlands this coming semester again like we all thought.

It doesn't end there... Let me further explain, after I had decided this, (and after many meditations, talks with friends/family, prayers and meetings with "everyone and their dog" while in Cedar City)... I came to the conclusion of taking only online courses. I selected online courses so I could remain in Salt Lake City and hopefully try out for dance things to continue training. Let's rewind a bit.. for those of you who don't know, I auditioned at the call backs for Odyssey Dance Theater (professional dance company in Utah.. the one I'm always talking about) and after a whole 2+ weeks of feeling in limbo with what to plan for the future... I had received an email saying I did not make it this year. This was not easy to hear, although I respected the decision fully and knew I couldn't let a "no" be the end of the road for me as a dancer.. as I very well could have let it.

Anyways, so I was driving home from Cedar City tonight.. and literally prayed out loud, saying how grateful I am to have reunited with my friends again in Cedar and even though I know people think I'm crazy for choosing freaking science classes and staying in Utah verses going back to The Netherlands again. (Believe me, even though the decision I made felt so right.. I won't lie and say I didn't also think I was crazy for the choice I made.. because I knew it sounded crazy. Yet at the same time, I couldn't deny that it just felt right.) So I said to God, I realize my decision might sound strange and not make sense, but please give me some comfort in knowing that this decision that I just made was the right one...

Well, literally the SECOND after I finished... my phone started ringing. A number I did not know... and who was it? Derryl Yeager (owner and artistic director of Odyssey Dance Theater). WHAAAAT??? Anyways.. long story... not so short, but shorter than it could have been.. I was offered a job as an apprentice this year as a paid and professional dancer on ODT! For someone who doesn't like to show too crazy of emotions.... (such as crying.. screaming.. laughing uncontrollably) I expressed all of these emotions, multiplied by 500. (after our call was finished of course.) AHH!!! THERE IS A REASON FOR EVERYTHING IN LIFE! Dude, things happen in the most random and, at times, ridiculous ways... but at the end of the day, I am 100 % certain.. that things happen the way they do for a reason.

Now, I apologize for the long post... (no one MADE you read it if you are unhappy that you spent so much time reading.. haha ;)  ) But I couldn't hold this story in. I finally feel at peace, yet so excited/nervous/every emotion possible... for this season of Odyssey Dance Theater. AHhhh!!!! And for your entertainment... here is a video of what it was like after all of this happened. hahaha I am a freak and I don't care who knows it. - Thank you for listening!

*Note: I'm a bad example. Don't drive and record yourself at the same time... could have been very dangerous. ;) Enjoy!


Bucket List

 Lately I have been analyzing the goals that I have for myself. I have always had an idea for what it is that I want to do in my life, but it wasn't until recently that I really asked myself and Realized. that I CAN complete each of these things. For the longest time I've somehow been afraid to let my thoughts run wild and dream as far as I want, without any limitations. I believe that the only person who has been stopping me from completing these things that I want to accomplish in life, is myself. It's funny, years ago.. if I would have written a bucket list, I guarantee it would have been much different than it is today. That's the beauty of it. It is personal and has the freedom to change in any way. As my journey through life continues on and as I continue creating 'Samijo's Story', this list has the potential to grow, get checked off, shrink, become more specific.. anything.

Another thing that I find funny, is the fact that as I've been sitting here looking back on my life thus far, I Realized. just how many things I have done in my life, (good and bad) were done out of the mere fact of doing what it was that I thought would please those around me. Being a 'people-pleaser' is quite the exhausting life. It wasn't until I moved out into a different country on my own as a little 18 year old girl.. that I figured out how much I was doing this very thing. Ask me if I regret anything. I will say, 'Nope'. For, each of these experiences are how I have found and continue to find 'Samijo'. Because of some recent counsel I received during this difficult time in my life.. I now wake up every day, pound my chest like an ape (not kidding), stare myself dead on in the mirror, stand proudly and say.. 'I am Samijo.' The next words that I say out loud change each day. Today I continued by saying.. 'I live my life with hard work and dedication in my continued efforts to one day inspire and change the lives of those around me.' It always starts with, 'I am Samijo'.

Now, why am I blogging this? I blog this in hopes that it might spark your mind today to spend time creating and figuring out what it is that you want to achieve in your life. Then Realize. you can give yourself permission to accomplish it all. You are your life's personal artist and director. Why wait to create your masterpiece?

 - Boston Marathon
 - Watch every film under the direction of Tim Burton
 - Professional dancer - Odyssey Dance Theater,
 - Get to a complete state of tranquility through meditation
 - Sky Dive
 - Bungee Jump
 - Write a book
 - Speak to a mass amounts of people
 - Take my "where's waldo.. or, where's samijo" pictures in all of the places I visit around the world
 - Travel the world. (will continue to get more specific.. that could be another whole post in itself!)
 - Write a song
 - Become a nutritionist
 - Go on an African Safari
 - Experience weightlessness
 - Get a Ph.D.
 - Ride a camel in the Sahara
 - Meet Helena Bonham Carter, Julia Roberts, Tim Burton, Mike Myers, Sandra Bullock, Johnny Depp and Jim Carrey.
 - Dance in a music video
 - Perform a successful surgery
 - Join the barefoot movement
 - Go kayaking
 - Become fluent in 3 other languages
 - Participate in a hip hop battle
 - Become a full vegetarian
 - Spend at least a week in some place of every continent in the world
 - Hold one million dollars in my hands, then hand it off to a greater good

Once you start thinking big.. you'll see how crazy you can make your life. This is my bucket list as of this point in life. I honestly say.... 'Why not?'... 'I am Samijo. Why not?'

Dream big friends. WHY NOT?


Inspire, Motivate

Two simple words with simply stunning meanings.

To fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence.

to provide with a motive: incite; impel.

Many thoughts have been running through this 'mad scientist' brain of mine. If I can sum up everything I learned while living in The Netherlands.. it is 'Moderation in all Things'. I'm filled with feelings of love and blessings today.

Live simply that others might simply live.  ~Elizabeth Ann Seton

I, Samijo, choose to be happy today. It is my hope that you will do the same!


sami's vegetarian "pasta"

Hey, this is actually working out nicely. I want to share my next sami-made meal creation.

SAMI'S VERSION of "chicken marinara pasta".

Tofu, organic basil tomato sauce, and bulgur grain.

Who said trying new foods and making your own creations can't be fun? I found this vegetarian meal of mine quite tasty! Steps to becoming a better chef..

Eet Smakelijk!


The Dub's.

Dublin, Ireland Trip
So, during one of the nights in Dublin.. Annukka and I walked through Temple Bar street and found a live street band performing that we fell in love with. Mutefish is the bands name. They were a talented bunch. As they began playing their last song, I turned to Annukka and said... why don't we get out there in front of the crowd and dance? This music is great! She said... well, we ARE dancers... why not? -- So there you have it. :)

 While we were in the medieval city of 'Kilkenny', karma decided to come and get me. I was making fun of Annukka for one of the many crazy things she does ;) when suddenly I tripped and fell flat on my stomach, in the middle of the road. I stopped cars, mind you. This WOULD happen to me in some foreign city. I got a small battle wound on my elbow to show for it too....

On a bridge over the Dublin River... 'Liffey', Annukka and I got creative with our photo skills. Here is what came about from Annukk.

Next photo, during our scenic tour somewhere in the Wicklow Mountains, I held my "vacationly, 'Where's Waldo-Sami' event".  See if you can find me. My white Toms give my feeties away.

I'd have to say, overall... best trip I've been on yet, during my stay here in The Netherlands. The city is fun to hang out in and the scenery is absolutely beautiful. Greens and cute little sheep everywhere. It's exactly as I've always pictured it. Thank you Annukka for a great weekend in Ireland!



In my sad attempts to become a better chef... I actually made two meals this week and last week that I really enjoyed! I wanted to share them with somebody... to the blog it is. :)

 This one here is chicken, quinoa, spinach and cucumber. Lekker!

And this one here is what I made tonight. Tofu, bulgur, broccoli, lettuce and yellow bell pepper with curry spice.

Success :) Though others may not like the food I eat... I like it. And that's what matters yo! If anyone has tips for me on healthy cookin, feel free to share your secrets with me!


My journey to Vegetarianism

I have made it! In my slowly but surely transition into being Vegetarian, I can now say that I am officially at least an Ovo-Lacto-Semi-Vegetarian :)

Here is the quick and very basic explanation.

As of now, I do not eat any red meat or pork. Me being an Ovo-Lacto-Semi-Vegetarian.. I do still eat egg, dairy, chicken and fish.

I'm happy with my success on my journey thus far.

There are many reasons why I have been wanting to become a life-long Vegetarian. Here are only a small bit of them..
  1. I am one of those girls who will easily cry or get really upset while watching what they do to poor animals just so humans can eat them.
  2. I don't like the taste of red meat or pork as it is.
  3. I consider myself an extremist in keeping the environment and the world around me clean and beautiful.
  4. Being Vegetarian is spiritual for me. Through my studies, I have found that in the LDS religion, if you keep the Word of Wisdom, it not only will keep your body healthy (just as vegetarianism does)... but the vegetarian way of life that I've been looking into can be compared to a lot of the guidelines in the Word of Wisdom. Moderation in all things.
  5. I'm learning that I love the feeling of control in my life. Being vegetarian is a way for me to take my own control and have fun with trying new things and a complete new way of life.
Before I came to the Netherlands... I didn't know CRAP about cooking, or even a healthy nutrition for that matter. Quite honestly, I've lost weight like crazy because of this. I've lost weight in a way that I thought was healthy, but really I've come to find that my body is just malnutrition-ed.. (I guess you could say). It has been a great learning journey for me and not an easy one to say the least. But as I've been learning so much, I'm happy to say that this is a new beginning for me in my life and it is what is working out best for ME personally.

I haven't decided how many of the words before 'Vegetarian' I want to someday cut off just yet.. who knows, maybe one day I will be straight up Vegan? But for now, I am okay with not knowing and simply being where I'm at now. Success!

Over and out bloggers... the sun is shining bright in Tilburg today, I hope it is for you where ever you are in the world as well! Enjoy :)


Lesson Learned

Something post-worthy happened today.. ahh. So, let me explain--

Today, I got to Breda by train (where I attend church every Sunday) and decided to walk to the church instead of taking the bus. I was over half way there and next thing I know, this old guy with white hair pulls up in his car next to me. He was speaking Dutch to me, and was waving me over to him. I went up to the window to see what he wanted and he kept saying "kerk, kerk" (church in Dutch) and was pointing in the direction where the church is. He had dress pants on and to myself I began thinking.. maybe he is in my ward and I just don't remember his face... since there are a lot of different people, some that I haven't fully met yet.

Then this other guy walked up to see what was going on. He had heard me saying I couldn't understand what the old man was saying to me.. So, the younger guy told me that the man in the car is saying that he can take me to the church. He was like, I don't know if you know this guy.. but that's what he is saying.

So, me being the trusty Utahn that I am.. I was like, "alright whatevs" and I got in. He kept speaking to me in Dutch and I just kept trying to get him to see that I didn't understand what the heck he was saying. Then.. he freakin put his old man hand on the outside of my leg and tried to go up my skirt. I smacked his hand off instantly and at first, I thought.. am I sitting on something of his? What the crap is this dude doing? Then he stopped in front of my church, THANKFULLY, and said something else.. then he did the same thing again! By this point, I knew I wasn't sitting on something of his.. Filthy pig. I got out of the car and slammed his door shut and he drove off.

First of all.. I'm so freaking lucky that this was ALL that happened. Second... lesson learned! Even though this is something that you learn when you are 4 years old.. to never get in the car with someone you don't know, dumb Sami.. I was definitely far too trusting. Moral of the story: Samijo.. 18 years old.. finally learned today never to get in the car with a stranger. Stranger danger dude... what were you thinking, dough-dough head!! What a freakin creep.

Crazy eh?



Goedemorgen Blogger World,

I haven't posted in quite a while and felt like giving some updates.

The weeks are passing by far too quickly, yet at the same time.. oh so slowly. I cannot wait to see my Utahns and at the same time, I do not want to say tot ziens to my Netherlanders. It is a very BITTERSWEET moment in my life. Can you believe May is nearly over?!

For those of you who do not know, I guess this is my first time making it "public".. Luckily for me, come July 13th, I don't have to say goodbye to The Netherlands and all of my buddies here just yet. I have been blessed with the opportunity to extend my exchange and will be returning back to Tilburg for another semester of school at the Dance Academy! One year total in The Netherlands?? Yes please, don't mind if I do!

About a month ago, I found myself really struggling with what the heck I was going to do with my life next year. My parents and I tried weighing out countless amounts of options and were probably getting frustrated thinking that I might just end up taking the semester.. or a year.. off of school (which, that was looking like what I was going to do). I didn't even think that staying here longer would be possible, in fact I didn't even think of this as an option at all. In the middle of all of this, my teacher asked me what I thought about spending another year of school at Fontys and at first I became a bit frustrated because I knew I would love to do this again.. but in my mind I couldn't help but feeling limited because of how expensive and impossible it all seemed.

The biggest thing I have learned from this.... It never hurts to just ask. I sent an email to my school, being extremely doubtful that it would even work. And by this time, I had decided that just one semester seemed more applicable for me in my situation.. and to my luck, everything else has fallen into place! My mom has always taught me, if you never ask.. how will you ever know? If I would have been too scared to even ask my school of my possibilities, how would I know what is possible? It's as simple as that.

Moral of my blog for today... don't, even for one second, hold yourself back from asking someone anything.. or talking to someone that you want to talk to.. or doing something you've always wanted to do because of whatever fear you have developed in your mind. I believe that everyone is as limitless as you allow your mind to be. Never let yourself get to the point of saying... "I wonder what would have happened if I would have just done/said/asked this or that?"

Here is a simple, past example of just "going and doing" something... Me and Kaley sneaking into a pool we weren't supposed to be in. (Just another one of the many places we've done so in the many years of our friendship..)
I miss you KDoub!


Finnish Picnic

Spent the afternoon with most of my Finnish buddies at Wilhelmina Park in Tilburg today. We had a picnic and I must say... THIS little kid (who was not capable of any form of cooking before this study abroad experience).. provided the pasta salad! Lekker.

And this... my friends... is Finnish chocolate. To die for. Pirita's mother just visited her this week and was very kind and brought me this chocolate. Within two days.. we were able to down two bars of this stuff. Maybe I should move there just for the chocolate one day.

The joke of the group is always that I am learning more about the Finn's than the Dutch because I spend so much time with Finnish people. I'm learning more about the Finnish language than Dutch.. haha. Coming to terms with this fact inspired me to finally purchase a Dutch-English pocket book with a word list so I can start really learning the language of where I'm currently living. My goal was to learn the language.. so consider it happening. I will learn this blasted language.. even though I have to teach myself!

98 degrees Fahrenheit in the sun at the park today... beautiful and SHMOKIN hot!


Queen's Day

This day.. I found out is NOT the Queen's birthday. It's her mother's or grandmother's birthday? Her birthday is sometime in January.. nonetheless, yesterday was Queen's Day here in The Netherlands. Everybody wears orange and parties!

I actually celebrated this day the night before at a single adults LDS church dance in Rotterdam. -On Queen's Day (while we were supposed to be celebrating...) me, Annukka and Kimmo went to see Limitless in the cinemas instead. :)

These are some of the girls from the Breda ward.. my buddies.

And for the HIGHLIGHT of the night: we participated in some traditional Dutch games. This game.. (in America we would do this while eating donuts) you are blindfolded and have to eat this type of ginger bread. Tastey stuff!

Leaving for Barcelona today! Spring break baby.
Tot Ziens!


Fontys Staff

I have a very special group of people that I want to introduce to you guys....

(most of) My dance teachers here at Fontys in Tilburg, NL! -- this post is dedicated to you!

--Side note... each of these pictures were taken after the classes that they teach... so don't mind the yummy, sweaty look.--
Johnny Lloyd - Hip Hop
 I've loved this class! It has been so fun for me to have a class aside of the crazy intense classes and have a time to really have a fun time sharing my personality. It's not always easy though.. I actually didn't know this beforehand, but there is a lot of specific technique and many small things to think about in hip hop. Johnny has many great ways of breaking down these specific ideas which has helped me better understand what to focus on as a hip hop dancer.

Raymond Esterhuizen - Limon
 Ahhh Raymond. Where to even begin with this great teacher. He has such a special eye when it comes to pulling things out of you that you wouldn't expect that a teacher can find as a dancer. (If that even makes sense). I don't think there is one dancer in his class who isn't working their ass off in every class that he teaches. He has such a great respect from his students and if you ask me, he full on deserves it because of everything that he has to offer as a teacher. (There are videos of his class in an earlier post (under toets and packages or something) here in my blog.. refer there.) 
Marc Van Loon - Cunningham
 Marc is a beautiful dancer himself! I knew nothing about the Cunningham style of modern before coming to Fontys, but through Marc's class.. I feel like I gained a great insight as to what this form of modern teaches. Marc is one of the nicest people I've met and he has a LOT to offer to his students. Thank you Marc!

John Wisman - Ballet & Pointe
 Here is a teacher who has helped me build a true love for Ballet. John has a special way of pointing out small details that I've simply never noticed in myself as a dancer. Ballerina's are supposed to want to look tall and long.. I am short and not so long. He has given me many pointers on those small details that give the audience's eye the visual of looking longer. This guy knows what he's talking about.

Dirk Dumon - Butoh
The award for the master mind and creative genius goes to this guy. I have already posted about the form of Butoh.. and I have to say that Dirk is a genius in the way he has taught us this style. Dirk has the mindset of the kind of person that I hope to be someday. You can tell that he has really mastered his own mind and he is so wise in finding why things mentally happen the way that they do. One time in Butoh class, I've explained that I was on the floor crying my eyes out at the end of the class.. and even though Dirk doesn't even know me or my situations in my personal life, he was able to point out exactly what was going on for me. I found myself wondering how the heck he knew about what was going on.. it's not like I've told him or anyone else for that matter. Dirk is one wise dude.
Eddy Becquart - Dance Theater

very blurry photo of getting help from Eddy
Here is another very knowledgeable guy! I've never taken a dance theater class before and was unsure what to even expect. In Eddy's class, he based his lessons on teaching us how to get the most out of our relationship with gravity on our own and also with partnering. For the first few classes, I really couldn't grasp the idea that he was trying to teach me.. but finally, it started making sense. Eddy helped me to Realize. that you don't always have to be "the perfect dancer"... perfect lines.. perfect whatever. He helped me find myself and feel comfortable just being who I am and allowing myself to create in ways that I never have before.

Anyway.. these are most of my teachers and a little bit about each of them. :) Thought it would be fun to share!


Habit #1: Be Proactive

No.. I'm not about to blog about "Proactiv - face wash". Instead, this post will be about the first habit that I am going to apply in my life for the next 30 days. Being proactive. If you are wondering what I'm talking about.. this post isn't necessarily going to explain exactly what "being proactive" means, it is more-so a record for my own personal method to keep me on track and remind myself to apply this first habit. I will share a few quotes from the book that I'm reading.. (which is where the idea of the 7 habits, that I am now starting to apply in my life, comes from).

  • Face the reality that we have the power to choose a positive response in all circumstances and projections.
  • Recognize our responsibility to make things happen.
  • Our basic nature is to act, and not be acted upon.
  • What matters most is how we respond to what we experience in life. Responsibility = response-ability.
  • It's not what happens to us, but our response to what happens to us that hurts us.
  • Proactive people are still influenced by external stimuli, whether physical, social, or psychological. But their response to the stimuli, conscious or unconscious, is a value-based choice or response.
  • Between stimulus and response, man has the freedom to choose. 
  • He could decide within himself how all of this was going to affect him.
And last, (but not least) my favorite quote of them all.....
  • Whatever your present situation, I assure you that you are not your habits. You can replace old patterns of self-defeating behavior with new patters, new habits of effectiveness, happiness, and trust-based relationships.
The book gives suggestions on how to apply this habit for the next thirty days.. if you are interested in trying it out with me, read on, black swan.

  1. For a full day, listen to your language and to the language of the people around you. How often do you use and hear reactive phrases such as "If only," "I can't," or "I have to"?
  2. Identify an experience you might encounter in the near future where, based on past experience, you would probably behave reactively. Review the situation in the context of your Circle of Influence. How could you respond proactively? Take several moments and create the experience vividly in your mind, picturing yourself responding in a proactive manner. Remind yourself of the gap between stimulus and response. Make a commitment to yourself to exercise your freedom to choose.
  3. Select a problem from your work or personal life that is frustrating to you. Determine whether it is a direct, indirect, or no control problem. Identify the first step you can take in your Circle of Influence to solve it and then take that step.
  4.  Try the thirty-day test of proactivity. Be aware of the change in your Circle of Influence.

I invite anyone who is seeking to take responsibility in their lives.. anyone who is sick of having self-doubt or self-esteem issues...  or anyone who simply is searching for a better meaning in life to join me. Either by reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.. or by following along with my random updates on how I choose to apply these ideas into my life. :) Again, I have no idea if anyone will even pay attention to what I'm talking about.. if you do, feel free to ask me anything or just keep reading whenever.. like I said, this post isn't intended for an audience. It's more of a personal test. Peace out homies.



The LDS church in Breda, The Netherlands.

During my time here in The Netherlands, I decided that I would contact the missionaries of a ward nearby Tilburg, to see where I can attend Sunday meetings and meet new people of my religion. I want to do a quick post in my blog as a tribute to my ward.. my new friends who feel like family. It has been so fun to get to know the people of this ward and I can say that I've really been learning a lot. Not only about what exactly my religion is all about, but also about myself. It's amazing how one aspect in your life can open your eyes in Realizing. how that one aspect effects many other parts in your personal and social life. This place has given me extreme ups and it has also opened my eyes to many downs.. but I want to thank not only the people of the ward but also Heavenly Father. It's safe to say that I wouldn't be able to have made it as far as I have here without the help of a higher being. Whether those who read this believe in a God or not.. I, myself, Realize. more and more every day that I really do have someone next to me in spirit whom I can lean on during great times and also when things plain and simply suck.

Meet.... the Elders.
(don't mind the incredibly awkward photo. haha.. I guess it adds somewhat of an artistic effect... or not.) These are the two missionaries who have helped me with where the heck to go to get to the church.. they've translated for me during church (seeing that it's all in Dutch).. they've given me advice.. and they've met with me a few times just to hang out and make sure I'm doing okay. I can't thank them enough for all they've done.

The missionary on the right side of the photo is Elder Taylor - from Idaho - and the missionary on the left side is Elder Owens - also from Idaho. I want to make a special note to my friend Elder Owens whom I saw for the last time here in The Netherlands (and hopefully not the last time ever) just yesterday because he has finished his two years here and will be arriving home on Friday! Well done dude, you did it! As for you Elder Taylor, I'm glad you will still be my buddy here and I'm excited to meet your new companion the Sunday after Barcelona. Yeah baby, cannot wait for Spain with Annukka and Kimmo!

Over and out blog buddies...
As always... Enjoy!


Banana-Oatmeal C C Cookies

We all know that I am not good at all when it comes to cooking.. baking.. anything in the kitchen really. Tonight.. me, Annukka and Pirita had a girls night and decided to put our baking skills to a test. I've been eating healthy ever since I got here to Holland and I've been feeling much more energized throughout my day than ever by doing this.. so, when you are looking for something yummy to bake that won't totally KILL your healthiness.. maybe try these cookies out. Guilt-free.. so simple even a monkey could make them.. and they're a fun way to spend a night with the girls. :)

Banana-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

courtesy of

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (Makes 30 Cookies) - we cut the recipe in half

3 Bananas (preferably ripe or spotty bananas)
2 Cups Old Fashioned Oats
1 Cup Dried Dates, pitted and chopped (we didn't use these..)
1/4 Cup Oil
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips, Walnuts or Raisins (or dark chocolate with nuts.. tasty)
1/4 Tsp Salt (we forgot this)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mash bananas in a bowl, and mix in the remaining ingredients.
3. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes.
4. Using a mini ice cream scoop or tablespoon, place the batter onto a Silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet.
4. Bake for 25 Minutes.
5. Cool and serve.

---This is me getting one step closer to being able to cook like a pro one day. I'll get there... just wait! :)




My next dance project (must be shown in 2 days already).. is in the form of Butoh. Butoh is incredible. Yet very hard for me to explain. This semester I've witnessed a lot of personal weakness and also growth because of this type of dance. Since it's so hard for me to put words to it.. I'll give you an explanation from the internet and I'll show you some pictures to show you kind of the boundaries of what I am asked to do with this project.

Wikipedia's explanation of Butoh =  
Butoh (舞踏 Butō?) is the collective name for a diverse range of activities, techniques and motivations for dance, performance, or movement inspired by the Ankoku-Butoh (暗黒舞踏 ankoku butō?) movement. It typically involves playful and grotesque imagery, taboo topics, extreme or absurd environments, and is traditionally performed in white body makeup with slow hyper-controlled motion, with or without an audience. There is no set style, and it may be purely conceptual with no movement at all. Its origins have been attributed to Japanese dance legends Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno.....

"Hiroko Tamano considers modeling for artists to be butoh, in which she poses in 'impossible' positions held for hours, which she calls 'really slow Butoh'. "

-As you can see, it's sort of strange but such a deep, self-finding process that is so personal to each individual that practices this form of dance. So far, Butoh has effected me in such a deep way that during the class... almost every time we had the class, I have experienced such intense emotions. One class this semester, right when the class ended.. I was laying on the floor literally crying my eyes out and was experiencing SUCH strong feelings in ways that I never have experienced before. (If you are interested in a deeper explanation about what I went through... ask me any time. I would be happy to try and explain it in more detail to anyone). But anyway, for this project.. we can go anywhere in the city of Tilburg that we want and our teacher is going to cycle around the city this Wednesday and watch/record/grade our performance. I have already decided my place. I will be in a cemetery here in Tilburg. This performance means a lot to me. It is going to be pretty spiritual for me.

I believe it was 2 years ago on Easter that my Grandmother past away. Her favorite color was yellow. I am kind of tying her into my mind as I will be doing my Butoh performance. I've been scared ever since we recieved this assignment because it's so... different.. so European.. so foreign to me. It's something I probably would have never done in Utah. So honestly, I've put off actually getting out and DOING it until now. Something is finally giving me the strength and courage to let go of that dang fear of just going and doing something new. Cheers to me for stopping myself from being a scaredy cat finally! Wish me luck, I'll let you know how it goes.


To start off.. I have to say, Easter this year rocked. I was smacked in the face with gratitude with being blessed enough to have a family here in Holland to take me into their home to celebrate the holiday with them as if I was their own. My mom is adorable. She had arranged a surprise specially for me! Sneaky mother.. I can't believe she managed to get it past me. I woke up Sunday morning to find out that there were 60 eggs hidden for me to search for. Each egg had a piece of candy as well as a little note from everyone in my family. (except for Cory because he was sick)- Everyone else even my niece and nephews wrote (or drew) on some paper. There were pictures from the kids, words of encouragement, inside jokes and expressions of missing and loving!

After the hunt, we enjoyed a yummy bread and hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles on bread) breakfast outside in Renate's garden.

Next up.. Painting eggs. Each of us decided that the eggs we ended up painting resembles our personality somehow. Mine is the green monster.

Next-- off to the beach! This was new for me, I've never spent Easter relaxing on a beach. This was a great time! Of course, we have our classic jumping picture.

Then, back to Renate's home for dinner out in the garden. Now this was a different experience as well. Well first off, I made some deviled eggs for them (my mom's delicious way of preparing them). For dinner we had a grill with the small handle thingies that you see in the picture below.. and you cook your own food. There were bowls of anything you wanted to cook.. things like vegetables, meats, fish, eggs for an omelet, and pancake mix. It was a fun way to do dinner, we were outside cooking, eating and talking from 5:30 until about 8:30. At first, with my "American way of eating" (as people here would call it).. I found myself thinking.. uhh, how am I ever going to get full off of tiny amounts of stuff at a time? I began struggling with patience waiting for my small portions to cook. haha. But I have to say, this is such a genius way of doing dinner. Not only do you get to make whatever you want, but you also get to socialize without having some huge amount of food on a plate (which is usually how my Easter dinner is at home). Plus, I didn't eat nearly as much as I normally would.. you'd be surprised how quickly you fill up if you take the time to eat and enjoy. After dinner, we had a fire in the garden and I was surprised to hear that they had never roasted marshmallows and they didn't even know what 'smores are! I taught them how to make the perfect 'smore :) For those of you who don't know what this is... it's a graham cracker sandwich with a golden, perfection marshmallow melted with a piece of chocolate. Apparently it's American. Learn something new every day

To end the day off, I came home and skyped with my whole family (at 2am in the morning here) while they were over at Grandma E and Grandpa Joe's home. I was able to watch them enjoy some of my favorite Dutch treats that I sent home with my mom and watched my niece and nephews do an Easter egg hunt with 340 eggs! I've been preparing all week to not cry while skyping knowing that this is my first Easter being without my family.. but I was so happy to find that instead of being sad about it, I was again... smacked in the face with gratitude and an awareness of how blessed I feel to be part of the Kougioulis family. I love my family with everything in me. I always knew I loved them.. but growing up, it was like I was scared to admit how freaking cool they really are. Being shipped off to a different country has helped me Realize. how bad ass they are. I can't say it enough. I LOVE MY FAMILY! Each and every one of them and I want the whole world to know it!

Happy Easter yall. Greetings from the little kid in Holland. :)



Yesterday - Friday - I had the chance to go to a theme park here in Holland (very close to, if not, inside of) Tilburg, called Efteling. I went with my friends from Finland - Annukka, Kimmo, Pirita.. Annukka's sister, visiting from Germany and her boyfriend.

This was a great bunch to hang out with. Such funny and different personalities, I loved it.

My favorite attractions...
  • De Vliegende Hollander - "A shadowy trip in a mysterious ghost ship."
  • Vogel Rok - "Rollercoaster in the dark."
  • Droomvlucht - "Glide through a dream world." (Annoeska's request)

Tulip season!! Yaa!

I wanna look like this guy

Efteling baby!

I've been to Disney Land and Disney World.. and Six Flags.. and Lagoon.. plenty of times so I knew what to expect when we were talking about going to an amusement park, so it was crazy for me to find out that the people that I went with had never really experienced things like this. Most of them had never even been on a roller coaster! whaat?? This made the whole day even that much more fun for me! It was eye opening for me to see how people who haven't really experienced these things as a kid responded now that they are finally getting the chance. And I gotta say, I'm pretty dang proud of them for getting past their fear of just getting on that roller coaster. haha. I tried to see the park through their eyes instead of thinking.. ah I've been here, done this.. it really made all the difference in my day. Dude things can be so much more lively and entertaining if you look at everything as if it is your first time experiencing it, no matter what the situation. You'd be surprised at how much your senses open and the way that you can truly enjoy things. So, with this being said.. my "inspirational thought" for today, (maybe this is a good one to hear especially before the Easter holiday)... try going a whole day like a child, as if you are using your senses for the first time. Maybe you will get a cool, new experience?

Also.. Happy Easter weekend everybody! This is my very first time not spending the Easter holiday with my family. I'm excited and feel freaking lucky though.. because this weekend, I get to be Samijo Kuppens. The newest addition to the Kuppens family here in Holland for Easter. :) I'll probably blog about what I find Easter is like in their neck of the woods. It is my request that each of you truly enjoy this holiday. Spend each moment with your family as if you'll never see them again. Paint tons of eggs.. and eat a crap load of food, you deserve a nice holiday! Peace out homies..