Saturday, December 25, 2010

It's Christmas Day

and I miss Italy.  I know everyone who isn't an RM is probably sick of hearing this, but you have to understand how much those last two years meant to us.  Don't get me wrong, I love spending time with my family and I've had some of my favorite memories here at home, but there is just something different about a Christmas with the tag on. 

My first Christmas away from home was in the city of Ferrara, home of the bicycles.  Let me just tell you that at first I was not excited to be there.  I was transferred from my first city about 2 weeks before Christmas, and I was a little bitter.  Plus, it was a relatively smaller town and I wanted to go to the big city...but don't worry, the Christmas spirit cheered me up, and the ward gave us an amazing Christmas present - let's just say I didn't have to buy food for a long, long time. :)

Anyways, Ferrara turned out to be quite the cool little town.  It had a castle right in the middle of the square, with a moat, and a drawbridge.  Pretty much awesome.  Then there was this huge Cathedral that did a full nativity play right in front.  It was awesome!

The pictures don't give it justice.  Everything was in lights and everything just spelled Christmas!!!  I loved it!  Well, we were invited to go spend Christmas with one of our investigators, and that was awesome with a LOT of great food!  But, my favorite part about this Christmas was that my companion and I were able to spend Christmas Eve and the latter part of Christmas day with Johnny (real name-Ionut - pronounced EE-oh-noo-tz).  Long story with Johnny, but he was having a hard time.  He's Romanian waiting to be able to return to his country, meanwhile in his apartment the heat was turned off, his aunt just left him there by himself (he's 19 at the time) and it just was a terrible situation.  So, my companion and I went over there, made some food, and just talked about everything with him.  We were the only people to come visit him.  There was no exchange of presents, just good company.  Me, Tolman, and Johnny. 

Since the mission, those of us who taught Johnny have kind of lost track of him, but we're trying and let me tell you, we all miss this kid!

The rest of Christmas I watched my companion open his presents (mine were sent later), we did a little bit of contacting, and read the Christmas story and reflected on Christ most of the day.  This is when I felt like I truly had a Christmas.  That's one of the reasons I miss Christmas in Italy.  First of all, I didn't want presents.  I almost don't want presents now still.  It's nice to get stuff, but in the end, that's mostly what you get: stuff.  That Christmas I strengthened my relationship with Christ, and that is sticking with me.  Not the random board game, or the pair of jeans.  Second, when you are on a mission, everything is about everyone else.  You forget about yourself (well, if you are doing it right).  It's a wonderful feeling not to be worrying about yourself all day long and to just help others.  Once you are back you have a lot to worry about: school, work, girls, etc.  On the mission, its: how can I help these people?  and that question can usually be answered by simple steps.  

So, when I come home, I get to see my family, and you get the Christmas songs, and the food, and all that jazz, but it is really easy to lose everything else.  This year, finals was a week before Christmas, so that kind of sucked the fun out of it.  I got home Friday night and it seemed I was at the store for about 2 hours every day with my mom getting presents.  I HATE SHOPPING now.  By golly, I can't stand stores.  Then it seemed with all the stress that everyone was on edge.  So, that wasn't fun. 

In the end, it worked out. Christmas Eve was my favorite part of Christmas as always.  My brother and sister-in-law, sister and brother-in-law, parents, and my little bro had a MARVELOUS mexican dinner with my favorite Christmas desserts, and then we hopped in the car and drove around singing songs while looking at lights.  Once we come home, we have a little German Christmas tradition and then we open 1-2 presents.  

After that, me and some friends went to midnight mass at a local catholic church.  I usually find them interesting and spiritual, but this one was kind of weird.  Instead of the traditional mass, they put it to rock music, and I just felt awkward. But the message was good, so it all worked out.

This morning we opened presents, played games, ate food, opened more presents, ate food, played games, opened more presents, played games and ate more food, and now I'm about to go play games...

So, that's my little tidbit on Christmas...I might include some more...but that will be for later.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Now what...

So, it's 12:30 am, and I feel like I'm having a little bit of a quarter-life crises - I'm assuming that's correct since people usually have their mid-life crisis around 40.  (Actually, I just realized it's only 11:30 since my computer clock is an hour ahead.)

I'm living in that awkward stage of life where you repeatedly ask, "Well, now what?"  Before 21, my life was planned out.  Elementary school -> Middle School -> High School -> Mission -> College.  In their somewhere, I spiced it up with some good grades, sports, music, friends, but that is basically the gist of it.  Well, now I'm here at what?

I'm really jealous of people who have always known what they've wanted since they were children.  They grew up watching planes and wanted to be a pilot, or going to work at dad's architecture business and knowing they want to do that too.  Unfortunately, I never had that revelation.  In fact, I have this problem where I enjoy everything.  In fact, I tend to get caught up in whatever I am involved with.  For example, in Spring of this year I took an economics class and I was rather excited about it.  I was also in a Psychology class and decided to be a psychologist.  Then I took Accounting and that looked rather inviting.  Before the mission I was in English, History, Religion, Health, and Music classes and I was always convinced that I was going to go into that field.  This last semester I was in Italian, Chemistry, Statistics, Dance, and Religion again...I want to do it all.  Is it possible for me to be an statistically-inclined, religiously devoted, chemist who writes books on Italian literature while helping people as a doctor and playing in the city orchestra?  On the side of course I would give psychological advice while taking care of people's tax records and forecast the nation's economy for the next four years. 

Nor does it help that the things that I would absolutely ADORE doing give you absolutely no means to provide for a family.  It would be fabulous fun to play music all day long, practice until I'm one of the best in my area, and then play with coveted symphonies...and get paid zilch because I didn't start playing until I was 11 and everyone else has been playing since before they could use the restroom.  Or I would love to teach.  Everyone calls me crazy, but I would enjoy being that fun, sarcastic math teacher like Mr. Harris who made me excited to come to class.  Sure there would be jerks that would give me a "tude."  Don't worry, I can "tude" them right back.  Is there anyway to become a teacher and still give my family food?  I would rather not have to work on the side just so that my kids could have Christmas presents.

Yet, it would be my dream.  Do I stop kidding with myself and choose something that would be "ok," but that I'm not so excited about?  Or do I do something that I love so much, yet I'd have to scratch a living.  (I'm almost about to go on a rant about how annoying it is that teachers make jack squat when they have one of the most important jobs out there.) 

Now I've heard all the time that this is a blessing and a good problem to have - to be able to pick anything that I want with the probability of being successful at it.  However, so far I haven't met someone who really understands what I'm internally going through right now fighting over it.  I'm the kinda guy who plans his life out from day 1 to day last and I work to get there.  It is really hard to work till day last when you don't even know where, when, how, why, who, or what that day last will entail.  It doesn't provide much motivation.

Grr, it seriously for me is a dilemma.  What really is going to happen to me in the next couple of weeks/months/years?  A lot of people have been telling me that "God will let me know."  Well, I've been praying about this since before my mission, towards the end of my mission, and since my mission and I'm getting the feeling that God's gonna let me figure this one out on my own.  So, now what?  Next semester I will have taken classes from almost every single sub-college at BYU.  I think I'll be missing education or something like that. But really, they say if you take a class that you like go to the next level.  Well, I would be getting 20 majors if that happened.  So, really, my question is ... now what?  I've yet to take a class at the university level that I have not enjoyed (in regards to the subject).

How long will this fight go on?  When will it be over and when will I just know?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"You'll grow out of it...."

As you are going through that awkward adolescent stage, your parents, friends, and coaches at least once will tell you, "Oh don't worry, you'll grow out of it...."  Of course, what you are growing out of will definitely depend on your situation.  Linus from the peanuts cartoon has to grow out of his "security blanket"

Sometimes you have to grow out of a way of thinking.  I'm pretty every older brother/sister has told their younger ones to grow up.  At least, I heard it all the time...

And then there is your clothing style....When I was little, my favorite outfit was my lion king t-shirt with my purple cloth shorts. Unfortunately in 2nd grade, I had an unfortunate little mishap where my pants split right up my bum.  That was awkward, especially since it happened in the beginning of the day...

But let me just tell you, I have yet to grow out of it. Talking about bodily functions just makes me ... giggle.  I can't help but laugh when someone says poo.  I'm sorry, its a funny word.  When I heard that my little brother described the reproductive organs of a man and a woman as a pee pee and a wee wee, I couldn't help but laugh...for 10 minutes.  Yes, I know, "How very immature of me."  But at the same time, I bet I laugh more than those of you who can't laugh immaturely.  It makes life more fun, humorous, and overall more enjoyable.

So please, don't tell me to "grow up" or sigh that "I'll grow out of it..."  Even if sooner or later I will grow out of it, let me have fun now and let maturity take its course. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Break and Random Thoughts....

Finally, the time has arrived for me to GO HOME!!!

College life has been rather too stressful for me lately, so I'm really glad that I'll be able to get out of it.  You've got your drama and your schoolwork and your church calling and your work and just trying to stay sane in is hard!!!

In response to the picture, please do not bang head on your computer, unless the stress is being caused by your computer and the destruction thereof would benefit to your stress reduction.  Otherwise it would just be a bad idea and cause more stress because your computer would be broken, and they are quite costly now a days.

Yet, on the other hand, I've had so many fun moments here at college.  I've met great new friends, lived through such awkward experiences that I can't wait to have kids so that I can tell them about it :)  I thought the mission made things awkward, but then I came to BYU.
Its true though, as I've explained to others, my life can be defined in 4 words, "Well....that was awkward."  For example, yesterday at work, I was chatting with Charlie and another friend from Italy in Italian.  I had just had my Italian class and so I was thinking in Italian, well, this kid walks in for like the fourth time, and I know him pretty well, so as a joke I was going to say, "Jeez!  Again?  Are you ever going to leave?"  But it came out, "Ma dai!  Di nuovo?"  He just kind of stared at me....and I was like, "I mean, are you ever going to leave?"  He gave me another strange look and then told me maybe one day and walked out.  Awkward....

I've learned how to appreciate those moments.  I'm not as bad as some who go searching for or even creating such moments, but it is fun just to love them as they come and go, taking a bit of your self-confidence with them. 

Speaking of self confidence, dating is best way of completely destroying or wonderfully enhancing it.  For example, you start dating the most wonderful person on the planet who is funny, smart, and cute and you feel like a man who can conquer the world. 
But then there are those other moments when you finally garner up those moments when you ask someone on a date, maybe just because you are friends, but then you find out that they got back together with their annoying ex 4 minutes before you asked them....
And then there are those few times when someone actually likes you, or maybe more than one, so you are stuck in that awkward situation of not being a player, but also deciding which one to pursue, and then you find yourself in the middle of the drama and its dumb.  Boo. 
But let me tell you, its great to finally see it work out....
Anyways, I got a little ahead of myself.  THANKSGIVING BREAK IS HERE!!!

We get to go to Arizona and spend time as a family, away from anyone involved in my personal drama.  I feel that I can just be me again.  I'm so excited.  Anyways, I'm off to work!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Terrible Slogan

So, we were ending our double date at the MOA, and we decided to go - well, Charlie really wanted to go - to get Frozen Yogurt at Earth, Fruits and Yogurt (tots the best fro yo - I don't think its hun cal, especially with the boba balls).  While we are there, my date points out their slogan:

This was my deal:  Personally, I believe that what comes OUT of my body, came out for a reason, and I don't want that back in.  That is just an awkward slogan....and rather .... I don't even know.  The more I think of it, the more I feel that they messed that one up. 

Someone probably voiced their opinion in an advertisement meeting, saying that it might be taken the wrong way.  Maybe said, "I don't think that will fly.  Why would people put back in their body what was taken out?"  And then he got fired.  Well, to that guy, I root for you, because this was a terrible idea. 

They should have stuck to their other slogan, 
Now that is a good slogan.  Fuel your body, feed your soul.  But don't fuel your body with your body's waste.  That is just wrong on so many levels.  However, might I just say, that there yogurt is delectable and their toppings.....oh good.
I would suggest against getting a yogurt bowl with that much yogurt though, it would be quite expensive.

Also, if you haven't been there, it is worth the 4 dollar price to get a boba ball.  What is a boba ball?  It is an EXPLOSION of WONDERFUL FLAVOR in your mouth.  Really.  Probably the best thing about "earthfruitsyogurt."  They should replace their terrible slogan to:  the home of the famous popping bobas.  They are ..... wonderful.  As we were choosing our yogurt, Charlie pointed out a girl who had more boba balls in her cup than yogurt.  And I just thought, now that is a true connoisseur of good toppings. She knows what should be on her yogurt. 


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I love my job...

First of all, let me explain the actual geographical location of my workplace.  When I tell people that I'm working, they ask where and this is what I tell them.  "Ok, you know the JFSB?  If you go right behind that before you go down the hill to the sports complexes, you will see this tiny, 1 story building.  You've probably passed it wondering, 'What in the world is that for?'  You've also probably only seen 1 or 2 people ever walk into that building, and you've decided that based on that, you don't want to go there.  Its brown.  It has the most awkward layout you've ever seen, and the bathrooms will remind you of the ones from boys camp."  This is where I work.  But let me just tell you....I LOVE IT.  Really.

First of all, I have a HUGE office.  All to me....and the professor's mailboxes...and the TA boxes....and everything else, BUT I have the name plate and they don't.  So it's mine (from 1-5pm, Monday through Friday).

Second, the students are actually pretty cool.  Contrary to popular belief, economics students aren't just Business Major wannabees or mathematical fanatics.  Most generally love economics because it is a pretty cool subject once you get pass the freshman horror ECON 110 class.  They do have a sense of humor, and no, it does not center around the demand and supply curves for labor.

But my all-time favorite part of this job is: the professors. Most are relatively young from what I expected and hilarious.  2 of them served their mission in my country, and all of them make my day in so many ways.  One bought a desk treadmill so that he can walk while working.  One tries to stay fit by jogging from his office to his mailbox (a distance of about 10 yards max).  And just the other day, I walk in to work on setting up some wireless in the conference room and there is one professor doing Tai Chi to asian music.  It was awesome.  It wasn't just that he was a funny old man doing Tai Chi.  He was doing Tai Chi and it was GOOD.

It was probably one of the best days of my life.  He was slightly embarrassed and apologetic, but it was just fun.  Now I just want to have him teach me how to do some Tai Chi.  It actually looks fun :)

So, I love my job.  It definitely keeps me on my toes!!!

So, as one of the twin dragons said on "Dragon Tales":  LOOOOOOVVVEEEE IT!

Blog Beginnings

Well, so I begin. I have a blog :)!  I will try to give unto the world a description of the habitat of a yellow gazelle.  By the way, I shout out to Tess for giving me that name, and as she is sitting by me as I'm writing this, it follows that yellow gazelle became my blog name.  But it fits, and so far, it is one of the most fitting nicknames that I have received yet, only surpassed by my sister's "stringbean on stilts" which I still use to this day. 

As we should have been watching a university forum, I decided I might as well get started on becoming updated in today's technology.  So, I signed up for twitter....but I have NO idea what was going on there.  So, I'll probably not do much there.  But, if any of you would like to enlighten my inability to use twitter, it would be greatly appreciated. 

Well, the forum has ended and so also must this post.

Farewell thee all.