Thursday, March 31, 2011

Attn: Everyone

Oh my heavens!  I would like to apologize for my last post.  I obviously wasn't very clear about some things and so I would like to make them understandable.  But first, I would like acknowledge a comment from a dear friend who told me that we should look more into the positive.  I concur with that and so down the road I will be posting things that you wonderful women do that is just phenomenal.  She was right that we shouldn't just criticize, but at the same time, I needed to let the world know how I feel.  But, in the future, I will try to give my posts both sides.


Next, a lot of people responded as if I was attacking the female sex, but I had absolutely no intention of doing so.  As the Proclamation to the World says, men and women are equal and have different, but complementary roles.  By saying that women don't understand men for any reason, I did not wish to imply that men are better.  I apologize that people got offended when I talked about missions.  I did not mean to say that men are better because we serve missions.  That is not true.  I used missions as an example for a point in which women (who did not serve) are hard pressed to understand men (who did serve).  The things we went through are impossible to understand by someone who did not serve beside us.  It is even hard for me to understand completely the experiences that someone went through in my own mission.  We just need to realize that we are all different people.

That leads me to my last point.  I should have emphasized more that there are also things that guys tend to do that upset girls.  However, I was giving the opportunity to the females to give their position on that, not for me.  I am on the guy side of it, and I wanted to know what we do often that frustrates girls.  That is why this may seem a little unfair, and I shouldn't have made so many generalizations.  But, I have had these experiences from girls multiple times and it is a little frustrating.  So, if you are a girl, and you do realize that you don't understand men, and you do give us space when we need it, and you don't think that we are 1 dimensional, that's great. You can move on from reading that post because it obviously doesn't concern you.  That was written for those women who do have those problems.  It's like someone left a book on your desk on why smoking is bad and you get offended because you definitely do not smokeThat would be a silly reaction.  So, if you are not one of those people who act like how I described, don't get all huffy and tell me you don't do it, because that's great.  Just ignore it and prevent it from happening in the future. 

So, there will be a part 3, I have been compiling the list, but don't get all huffy.  Remember, I'm inviting you girls to say what you will about boys too.  And by all means, continue to comment and disagree or agree, but please, stop getting offended or I will have to refer you to the talk by Elder Bednar that he gave in 2006 on that.  So let's relax and it will all get better in the end.  And just wait for part 3, maybe it will be full of everything that girls do right.  You never know....

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Attn: Girls - Part 2

I actually wrote this before part 1, and a bunch of people read that one....anyways, there may be some overlap, but here goes:

Us men and you girls need to sit down and have a talk.  Especially all of you girls who generally think that you do nothing wrong in a relationship:  false.  This post is meant to inform your sex of what they do that bothers our sex and how it could be different.  It is not meant in any way to offend or criticize, merely to inform and .... correct.  I would appreciate it if any of you females wrote a piece on what we men do wrong, and then I would know what to change. So don't take this post as me advocating the superiority of males....we already know that. (I'm just kidding, don't hate on me.)

Anyways, so here goes.

First.  Girls: you do not understand us.  Especially for you BYU girls who think you understand RM's.  You don't (unless you also are an RM and then you understand a little bit more.  But not everything because a sister missionary experience is different from an elders).  You have not gone through what we have gone through nor do you have any idea what it entails.  All the experiences that we have been through have changed us and you don't realize in what ways. Please don't assume to get why we do certain things or why we don't do certain things until you've asked us and we've told you the why or the why not.  Let us decide who we are, not you.  Just because that weirdo you dated in high school did some things, doesn't mean that we are going to do them too.

Second.  Girls: Men are not stupid.  We may do stupid things, but then so do you.  I've found that the biggest complaint about a man's intelligence comes from when the man doesn't do something that the girl wanted him to do, but never expressed it.  It's like we are supposed to understand everything about you in 5 seconds.  What the?  Who are we?  Clinical Psychologists with 10 years of training already behind us?  No. we are 22 year-old guys.  Besides, I have yet to have any girl adequately understand who I am and how I am feeling and why all within 4 months, let alone 5 seconds, so don't expect us too.  Just because we are not psychic does not mean we are stupid.

Along those lines, men aren't those 1 dimensional, bland thinkers that you think we are.  Just because all the jocks in high school only think about sports, girls, and sex, doesn't mean the rest of the male population thinks about only 3 things.  (Yes, I did just mention sex. I'm sorry.)  We have dreams, feelings, desires and ambitions just like you.  We aren't dry objects that run around after you.  In fact, if you look at the latest studies on relationships, you'll find that men are more are apparently reported as more romantic than women now a days.  Maybe there is something in our dense shells. (A girl at the table next to me at lunch just snorted.  That's unattractive by the way.)

Third: Because we don't just think of girls, sports and sex, we have another life.  Unfortunately for some of you girlfriends, that means we can not be with you for 110% of the time.  I half say this as the friend who never sees best friends again after they get involved with someone because the girl can't stand to be apart.  Oh, gag.  You do realize that your husband will be going to work for at least 8 hours a day and you'll have to let him go....Also, he may once in a while want to have a "guys" night.  Heaven forbid he do while he's dating.  Go have fun with your female friends while we have fun with our buds.  I'm sick of this annoying notion that so many girls have that once you are dating a guy, that you must always be with him.  Dating does not entail constant companionship, and yes, there are going to be times when I don't think about you.  I have school, work, friends, activities, church callings, etc. and I can't give you all of me.  I'm sorry.  It won't happen.  Once we get serious, we'll think about it, but especially at the beginning, I have a lot going on?  Can't you understand?  Let us do what we must with the rest of our lives, or you will be the one cut out.

For now, I think that will be efficient for you girls to think about.  Let me summarize, 1: You really don't understand us, even if you may think you do. (And side note, your best friend really doesn't understand us.)  2: We are not stupid and one dimensional.  For heaven's sakes.  Why are the most prestigious professions male-dominated.  It obviously shows we aren't completely dumb.  Stop dating the dumb ones.  3: Unfortunately, you are only a part of our life.  Let us live the rest of it, or nothing will work out right.  We will have to provide for you one day, and we won't get to do that if we waste our time working or studying to dote on you.  Just FYI.

So, let's work towards better relationships, shall we?  Then we can get to the point where we are all happy and enjoying life. 

So, will there be Part 3?  I guess that depends on you...just please realize that we aren't always the problem.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Attn Girls: Part 1

I'm just letting you all know: it isn't guys that are stupid or guys that say the wrong things.  It is you who create the situations that make us either stay silent or say something you will not like.  For example:  "Do I look fat."  Now, we guys have 3 options:
1. Don't say anything (which is saying "yes") and getting yelled at.
2. Say "yes" and get yelled at and slapped
3. Say "no" while lying and go to hell.

You've put us in a difficult situation, so stop it.  Don't say things like, "I don't feel like you are enjoying this relationship very much," unless you want to create the same situation.  If it is necessary that you say it, then stop getting mad at our responses. We are so limited.  It's like, as a good friend of mine pointed out, playing basketball.  You just thew us the ball, we have a limited time to think about it, and we have to shoot now.  There is no way to get the ball into the net from half-court.  We ain't no Jimmer.  And then if we ask for time to think about it and if we could talk later, you freak out.  No.  Give me time to make the basket, for heaven's sake.

Anyways, I'm just letting you know: girls, you bring it upon yourself.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My Life and Music

They are intertwined, my life and music, it just lives in me.  I was born with it, meaning, by the time I was 7 I was required to have piano lessons till I could play all the hymns; and, once I entered high school, I was required to play a second instrument to a reasonable competency level.

Funny story about me when I was little, I had probably played piano for a year or two with my mom and I hated it. I hated having to practice and being made to sit down every morning for 30 minutes (at least) and practice.  I've always disliked it when someone tells me to do something.  I'm fine with expectations and punishments, but if someone sits me down and forces me into something that I don't want to do, then I become unbearable.  So, I quit.  I told my mom that I never want to play the piano again.   Ha, she knew me too well and just laughed.  I remember some time later, whether it be weeks, months, or years, I listened to my brother play recital pieces and I became so jealous that I begged my mom to let me start again.  So, since we were not compatible as teacher/student, she signed me up to take lessons from a great teacher in our stake.

Chris (short for Christine) Fowkes understood my style and level of desire to play.  She understood that I could care less for theory, and that I played music solely for the feel of it.  I played because I could finally express myself in an understandable way.  If I was angry, I would pound away for hours on the keyboard.  If I was sad, I would literally cry playing through elegie's on my cello.  If I was happy, I would just flip through books and play as many songs as I could during that sitting.  It is seriously my favorite thing to do: sit down at a piano bench (or with my cello) and play without any time limits.  5-6 hours later, I'll realize that I should do homework or something, but I just had my fun and I'm ready now.

Well, since college and my mission, there have been few instances when I've been able to play for so long, let alone play at all.  During my mission, my prayers were answered when I became companions to an amazing singer.  We organized musical events, sang in church, and even sang on the doorsteps of blind ladies.  It was seriously the three most rewarding transfers of my mission, to finally be able to use my musical gifts wherever we would go.  Since then, music has been a support to my testimony of Christ, because there is a connection between me and my Savior that can only be reached through music.  When I read the scriptures of His marvelous Atonement, I feel great, but when I play the piano and this companion sings, I could feel Him near and watch His process.  I feel only my testimony of His sacrifice and His love increase as I play it.  There is something in music that makes the words come alive and speaks to me.  I miss having that connection with music everyday.

This companion and I have remained great friends still since we began our companionship in Milano 2 years ago (wow...that's amazing).  It's amazing because we are both very opinionated people, and at least for me, a lot of people get on my nerves easy because I judge to harshly (and I'm trying to fix that).  But, with him it has never been an issue  Well, last night we were preparing some songs for tomorrow because we are performing in church and at a stake Easter fireside.  We will be playing Consider the Lilies and O Divine Redeemer.  These are two of my all time favorites and my friend sings them amazingly. I'm really excited for how it will turn out.  Here is a taste of our performance.  This was done in Italy during our Music Night dedicated to the savior: (sorry it is in Italian)

Anyways, I hope you enjoy it.  It probably isn't one of our best performances, nor is the sound quality amazing, but it is good enough.  I love the messages that we are able to convey with music and the joy it brings at least to my soul and hopefully others.  I hope that these talents never leave, and that I can continue connecting myself to my Savior through music.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ender and Empathy

Well, it's that day of the week that usually is full with dates, late night dances, and just overall crazy fun until 1:30.  Funny how BYU's curfew takes hold of our sleeping schedule.  Everyone is in bed by 12 everyday but Friday when we are in bed by 1:30.  Except for tonight, because what am I doing right after this post?  Sleeping.  Yes, you say that I'm a bore, but I've partied every single weekend for hours until this one...and I'm tired.  I've realized that Saturday mornings are my most productive, and so I wake up around 7 and do homework.  It wears on you to go to bed around 1 and wake up at 7 every Saturday, getting less sleep than you do on weekdays.  So, I'm taking a nice slow Friday for once. And I'm going to celebrate by blogging about my life of late.

I just finished a marvelous book called, Ender's Game.  I am in heaven in this book.  It's a great read with a story line that moves great and fast, but it doesn't use the primitive language that you see in more recent sci-fi or fantasy books, so it still is worth reading.

Anyways, as it should, Ender's character was ingrained in my mind and I've thought a lot about him during the time that I've read the book.  For those of you who don't know the story, I'll give you my insight of Ender.  Ender Wiggins (real name is Andrew) is a genius.  He can solve problems, both logical and social, in instants.  He can understand people's strengths and weaknesses just by observing them and he is only 6.  The bulk of the book spans about 5 years, so by the end he's around 11.  During this time, the government is fighting a war with an alien race and they need Ender as their commander.  They ruthlessly put him through all sorts of tests and give him an endless supply of tactical and social problems to solve. 

Ender has this problem that in fighting an enemy, he realizes that in order to defeat anyone, he must completely understand him/her/them.  However, he says in the book that at the point when anyone reaches that point, you cannot help but to love the enemy.  You understand them completely, and you realize why they are the way they are, and that offers you a connection that few can comprehend.  Ender's problem is that as soon as he understands someone, it is usually his duty to destroy them.  He wiped out a whole race of aliens that he had learned to appreciate, admire, and yes, come to love.  What larger stress could you ever place on a child?  Add on that everyone constantly lets him know that he is the only hope for earth to survive.

I don't mean to sound prideful, but I feel like there are many times when I can relate to Ender.  There are many times when if I try I can dig a little deeper into the character of a person than they let on.  Usually, I just take more time to think about it than other people.  I have this desire, ever since my mission, just to understand people.  It goes deeper than the English meaning to get to know, or even the Italian conoscere.  I want to understand  completely why they do things.  I already wrote a little about this in an earlier post, but that understanding does take you to new levels.  Just as Ender feels so much love for a person when he can reach that level, I feel I also feel more like loving them, even though they may be complete strangers. 

Some people don't understand why I get so emotionally attached to people or things.  If a random person on the street told me their sad story about their life, I would probably cry with them.  One of the reasons that I decided not to be a doctor was because when other people hurt, I hurt.  I don't want to see them in so much pain, because I know that I would not be able to take that pain patient after patient.  It is impossible for me to handle.  It is something I feel the Lord has given me to be able to be empathetic towards people and learn how to help them.  Of course, like Ender was puppeted into hurting others, that can become my greatest weakness.  Because I can almost feel their hopes and dreams, I can use that against them, either for my advantage or their disadvantage.

I think most of us are capable of this, we just choose not to go that deep because of the hurt.  We are afraid of what it will do to us to become so attached to strangers that we yet to trust.  However, I have found that when I establish this connection with people I don't know very well yet, my life feels more complete.  Sure, there are those who use that connection for bad, and probably all of us will do it ourselves, but that should not stop us from feeling the joy that it has to offer.  I just realized that I didn't explain very well the feeling of the connection, but it is difficult to describe and I don't think I could do it justice in a post.  But I'll try.

Have you ever had that time when you are talking to a person and then suddenly you put all prejudices aside.  You forget all of their weaknesses and all of their problems and just listen to them.  You lack all desire to feel hate or complain about it.  You let them talk of their problems and instead of thinking about anything else, you really try to understand what it must be like for them.  You try to understand their history, their passion, their desire.  At that point, you really start to get a feel...for them and who they are as a person, as a child of God.  It is at that point when you feel a connection with them that is hard to break.  Sometimes they might not feel the same towards you, but you will always carry a place for them in your heart. 

I remember one of those instances was a man I taught on my mission named Miguel.  He was Bolivian, and he and his mother moved to Italy and had lived there for about 15 years, but Miguel never really got used to it.  He was about 28 when we started teaching him I think.  Well, he had depression and I'm pretty sure he had social interaction disabilities because he felt awkward being with other people and it was so hard for him to open up.  For some reason, I was able to reach this point where I understood him.  I really wanted to help and I worked hard so that I would be able to help him learn the Gospel. I don't know if he remembers me, but I feel a love for him that will never go away.  He never joined the church, at least that I know of.  The missionaries stopped teaching him shortly after I left.  But I do know that I will continue to pray for him often and hope that he is doing well.

Think of how different the world could be if we all could reach this level...always.  If we could just forget our own prejudices and live life loving others.  It would revolutionize society.  Not even everyone has to do it, just you and I could make a difference.  It is something we all need to work for, and I'm glad that Ender brought it back into my attention. Hopefully I can strive for it more often, but really, hopefully this leads you to think about your connection with others, and are you really trying to give them your full attention and understand who they are?  Are you really trying to love them, or are your prejudices and pride getting in the way?  Just let down your barriers and let these people into your heart.  It will never hurt more than it is wonderful.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Relax! are weirding me out.

Ok, so again, I'm going to explain the latest pet peeve that I've noticed in a lot of people.  I'm doing this as I listen to my "musicals" track on Pandora and it is making me so happy, even though this post is me complaining.  Maybe it won't be so harsh with Mulan and Hairspray playing in the background.

So, I am going to start this post with the assumption that people like to have friends.  We all like being surrounded by other people who laugh with us, get mad at other people for us, and with whom we just generally get along.  It is something that we are born to do: have relationships (not intimate necessarily) with other people, generally those that live nearby.

I can appreciate this need and this desire.  It is natural to look for friends and these relationships.  I love having a lot of friends.  If you know me, you'll know that I rarely sit still and that I could be found at a number of the apartments in my complex.  I've already been officially adopted by two of them.  I just love getting to know TONS of people and being with all of them.

My friend and I when we are older...
(Random tangent): Even if some people are 100% different, they can still learn how to get along with each other and have a great time.  My roommate and I have been great friends since we were like 8 or something.  Yes, we are completely different. Different races, heights, body types, interests, everything.  I think the two things that we have in common are our religion and that we both love sports, especially soccer.  Otherwise, nothing.  But, we have a great time together.  I think the diversity is what is exciting.  We never get bored!  It's wonderful.

(Returning to original topic): However, although having friends is great, there comes a time when you can become a bit stifling.  Sometimes you need to give friends some S    P    A    C    E.  And yes, that was symbolic.  Sometimes a friend can become a little much when they always want to hang out with someone and do everything with that person.  For me, that would be hard.  I like hanging out with many people and if you are always trying to hang out with me and take my time, then that is a little annoying. I cannot dote on you for every night.  It's like having a suffocating significant other who doesn't realize when he/she is being....too much.  Please....relax.  Back off, give everyone their room.

Now obviously, I'm not telling people that they should limit their nights out with a certain friend to once a week or something, but if you ever feel that a friend is being a little stand-off-ish, give'em some R   O   O   M.  Yes, that too was representative.  Remember, too much of anything is not good.  Moderation is great, and if you stepping over those bounds, stop.  Relax.  Maybe you've think you've done something wrong.  That's fine, go and talk to him/her that you feel that you've offended them.  That's great.  Maybe you did and you can save the relationship.  Maybe they are just getting too much of you and need space.  Then back off.

People really need to realize this: when you feel like you are losing a friend because he/she doesn't like you anymore, the absolute worst you could do is try to hang out with them more and clench your hold on them.  You have to deal with your friends gently.  Unfortunately, people try way to hard to keep friends when they should just lay back.  When I've had friends who have latched on like that ... it seriously scares me. It weirds me out 100% and it is an instant friendship turn-off (and dating turn-off).  So please, find other friends, get other gigs, and just make some room.  Your friend will come back and you'll hang out again.  Otherwise, he's not your friend anyways.  Just let it be.  You can't control everything in life.

So, to all you out there who have this problem...  Relax.  You are weirding us all out.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Getting closer

So today I finally made myself get out to the has been such a long time.  It really helped me put things in perspective, especially for what I've been going through lately.  I've missed the temple and all the peace that it can give me.  Unfortunately the stupid things in life can get in the way.  This week I read in 2 Nephi 9:51 an amazing scripture that really hit me: Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. As I was reading this scripture, I realized all of the problems that I had succumbed to over the past couple months.  I had put too many different activities under my belt.  I realized that I was not following this scriptural advice of spreading myself to thin.  I was "laboring for that which cannot satisfy."

So, this week I decided I needed to rethink my priorities and put back into my life what the unimportant had taken out: Scripture reading, meaningful prayer, pondering, and especially temple service.  I made it a priority to read at least for 5 minutes in my scriptures before I left for school every morning.  I made sure that I prayed out loud at least once a day.  I would find time to get closer to my Father in Heaven.  The week started with an amazing fast and testimony that helped me realize what I have been missing.  It also made me recognize what I've needed to stay sane.

I tend to live quite the stressful lifestyle.  As a perfectionist since birth, I have this natural and uncontrollable tendency to stress over everything I do and make sure that it is either perfect or better than perfect.  Yes, 101% is better than perfect.  For some reason, if I feel that I have done any less than amazing, I feel that I haven't done it well at all.  I's terrible, but I've tried to stop and I can't.  However, I realized on my mission how much the Spirit and being close in tune to the will of God can help relieve the stress and allow me to go on.  Unfortunately, coming back from the mission, I've slipped into my high school routine of lots of stress with less spirituality making it just more and more stressful.

Many times I have tried to bring myself back to the vicinity of the Spirit, but I was never able to keep it up.  Here's to keeping it going this time.  Every time I read the scriptures, I feel free again.  I feel so much closer to my Father, a feeling that I live off of.  It kills me to realize that I've lost it.  I need it and only through it can I live peacefully, despite my stressors. 

Going to the temple this weekend brought me closer to the Father.  It's something that I need to keep going for.  So, it is my goal to go there, as the church suggests, once a month.  I'll put it on my calendar from now on making sure that I can't put anything else in the way.  It is my responsibility to go to closer to God and now I'm putting it back on the top of the list.  It's sad that I need to reconstruct my life in order, but there it is.

Friday, March 18, 2011

My Dreams: Family, Work, and Ladders

We all have dreams as we are growing up and even now (when we are slightly more grown up).  I remember as a kid I dreamed of being either being a wizard (as in Harry Potter) or Legolas from Lord of the Rings (the book Legolas, because I still think he's way cooler than the movie one).  When it was my 11th birthday I checked the mail about 100 times to see if just maybe a letter had arrived from Hogwarts.  Don't worry, I thought long and hard about it and I decided you could be Mormon and a wizard at the same time.  That was my only concern.  I would also lay in bed after reading of the medieval times if I was   an archer and how amazing that would be. I loved letting myself fall into my dreams and making an alternate reality and I think it's important for all little kids to have that time to do it.   

Sure, those are a little ridiculous and unrealistic, but I had realistic ones too.  Up until a year ago I was 100% sure I wanted to be a doctor and be rich and raise a large family and travel the world.  I wanted to be that doctor who finally understood how to treat rare diseases and who always saved his patient's lives.  Yeah, thanks Chem 105, you destroyed that dream.  Just kidding, I just decided that it wasn't for me.  Now, I've changed my dreams and they focus on three areas: family, career, and books/ladders.  Let me explain because you are probably confused about the last one, but it is a must.  (As are the others).

First, I want to be married to someone who will laugh and have a good time...all the time, but also knows how to work hard. I'd love nothing to go on a run or a good walk with my spouse in the mornings. I'd want someone to be quick with jokes so that I can get a good laugh, and when I'm sarcastic, they'd be able to throw it right back at me.  My dream is to have someone that doesn't dote on me, but has personal interests to pursue while I'm not around.  Nothing could bug me more than someone who has to do everything I do.  There is a reason we are different people, and I want to be with someone other than me and not change for me.  That's my dream relationship.

Second, I want a job where I will be with people that I enjoy all the time.  If I don't enjoy them, I want to work with the Office staff so there will be people like Dwight to have fun with.  But really, I want to be around people all the time and be able to have fun and enjoy going to work everyday.  Of course, I don't want a boring job like a paper salesman, but one that keeps me on my feet.  Recently, I think it would be awesome to be an international businessman working on Italian business companies.  That would be so awesome, and so that is what I'm working on...getting proficient enough in Italian and getting jobs in the business world.  I'm excited for this one.

Ok, the moment you've all been waiting for: what in the world I meant by a dream of books and ladders...

Yes, I want one of those sliding ladders in a really huge my house.  I'm obsessed with reading.  It is seriously my favorite thing in the world.  It started with my parents.  Half of our family room is filled with books, and I'm happy to say that I've read most of them.  So, I started my own collection.  I have so many books, but I can't stop reading.  Sometimes I've complained that I don't have enough money to read all the books I want to and people tell me, "There are such things as libraries, you know."  I scoff in the face of libraries.  I'm going to own my own library.  There is something about reading a book, bending the spine and having a collection that makes you feel so ... sophisticated.  How many college students can say that they have "War and Peace," "The Brothers Karamazov," "David Copperfield," and at least 5-6 novels of John Steinbeck's books in their bookshelves?  How many can say that within the last month they have read 3 novels each of more than 800 pages?  Not many.

So, I am going to just keep on reading and keep on saving my money to buy the books for my own, and day...I'll fulfill my last dream.  I want my children to come into their family room when they are bored, ask me what to do, and I pick up one of my favorites and send them along to read.  Seriously, it is much more entertaining then sitting on your bed playing World of Warcraft and making your apartment smell so awful that no one goes there anymore.  Yes, I've seen it happen.  Go outside, find a nice shady spot where the breeze hits you just right, and read....for hours.  Nothing is as beautiful or amazing as that.  Some of my fondest memories as a kid where spent in my tree-house in the backyard.  I would unroll a sleeping bag and bring my pillows and then lay under the sun reading and reading.  Or, I would read in my room for hours.  Yes, mom, I did pretend not to hear you call me....I needed to know what was going to happen to Bilboe, or what Mr. Pickwick was going to do.  It was important.  I'm sorry, but it was necessary.  ....   Maybe not always.

It does get me into trouble though...Could you imagine trying to sleep 8 hours a night, read for as much as I can, take 15 college credits, and work 20 hours a week, fulfill church callings, and practice my instruments and ballroom?  Nope.  That's why I don't sleep.  But, I can tell you that it keeps me sane.  Instead of playing ridiculous sports games on the playstation every night...not learning anything, I'm reading from the greatest intellectuals ever: the ones who created their own worlds and actually found the words to describe it.  Not many people can do that. Most can't even describe what happens every day.

Well, that went from my 3 dreams to a rant on how people need to read more (but, it's true).  If my future holds these three ideals, I can die a wonderfully happy man.

A very happy man....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mi manca l'Italia...

Per questa settimana, vorrei soltanto parlare delle mie esperienze in Italia.  Facendo dei corsi d'italiano qui a BYU soltanto fa crescere il mio desiderio di ritornare a passare del tempo con gli italiani.  sono davvero le mie persone preferite.  La cultura italiana è così diversa e interessante all'inizio non mi piaceva.  L'atmosfera era troppo rilassante per me.  Mi ricordo la prima volta che sono stato invitato a pranzare con una famiglia italiana.  Ero un pò confuso a perché dopo un'ora e mezzo eravamo ancora seduti parlando con questa famiglia.  Mi stressavo perché pensavo di tutto il lavoro che non facevamo durante quelle ore e quanto tempo stavamo sprecando.  Un mezz'ora mi bastava per pranzo e a volte vuole soltanto un quarto d'ora per mangiare.  Di sedermi per due ore era quasi impossibile.  Ma alla fine della mia missione. ero così abituato a parlare e mangiare per quelle due ore che quando sono ritornato a casa, mi stressavo nel pensare che dovevo mangiare in un mezz'ora.

Quello è solo un esempio della differenza fra gli americani e gli italiani.  Mi manca il fatto che gli italiani sono tanto più aperti di come si sentono.  Nell'America, dopo che avevi chiesta a un amico "Come sta?" non sentirai mai la risposta, "Male."  Non succede.  La gente qui in America mette questa maschera sui loro personaggi.  Ma in Italia, mi sentivo come se tutti fossero i miei fratelli e le mie sorelle.  Quanto mi manca quella fratellanza.  Certamente, tutti non erano amichevoli, ma figurati di trovare quell'utopia perfetta dove tutti vanno d'accordo con gli altri.  Non esiste.

Mi ricordo delle volte quando bussavamo alle case, dando fastidio alla gente, che alcuni ci hanno invitati di cenare con loro.  Non sapevano chi fossimo, ma erano così  simpatici e erano opsiti bravi che ci hanno permessi entrare nelle loro case.  Se fossi in loro, non penso che io avrei quella simpatia o entusiasmo di dare cena a uno straniero.

Quindi, volevo mettere alcuni ricordi della mia missione in questo blog.  La prima che viene in mente è con un anziano divertentissimo.  Abbiamo trascorso 3 trasferimenti insieme e sono stati alcuni dei trasferimenti più belli della mia missione.  Quando stavamo casa in casa per una delle prime volte, e non sapevamo come lavorare insieme ancora.  Ogni missionario fa il lavoro in una maniera diversa e quindi stavamo provando a capire come lo fa l'un l'altro.  Siamo arrivati a una porta e non ci ricordavamo a chi toccava di bussare.  Quindi abbiamo deciso tutt'è due di bussarla alzando la mano per farlo.  Poi, non volendo che la bussiamo tutt'è due, abbiamo tutt'è due abbassato la mano.  Poi l'abbiamo alzata di nuovo ciascuno di noi.  Finalmente, il mio collega ha deciso di farlo, ma l'ha fatto con un po' troppo entusiasmo e ha sbattuto il suo pugno sulla porta facendo un rumore immensa!  L'eco continuava mentre noi stavamo provando a non ridere troppo e sperando che non c'era nessuno.  Fortunatamente non c'era, ma abbiamo continuato a ridere e ridere.  Era l'inizio di una bel tempo come colleghi di missionari.

Un'altra esperienza divertente anche mi ha insegnato come avere un buon atteggiamento nonostante le circostanze.  Io e il mio addestratore eravamo chiesti di aiutare una famigli di dipingere la loro casa.  Una delle figlie era una simpatizzante, ma non era tanto interessata al messaggio.  Comunque, a me non piaceva insegnarle or andare a casa sua perché non potevo capire quando parlava (era sud-americana con un accento forte).  Comunque, non ero tanto entusiasto di andare a questo servizio.  Mentre dipengevamo, loro non hanno fatto niente che guardarci farlo.  Mi veniva la rabbia e quindi smettevo di parlare affinché non dicessi qualcosa offensiva.  Finalmente abbiamo finito e dovevamo andare a casa.  Al momento che abbiamo uscito dalla loro casa, è cominciato a piovere....tanto.  Eravamo già bagnati camminando per meno di un minuto e avevamo ancora 30 minuti da camminare e non avevamo un ombrello. Il mio bravo collega ha deciso di godere il momento e cominciava a camminare nella pioggia senza provare a proteggersi.  Rideva e faceva i salti nelle pozzanghere.  Allora, ho cominciato a fare la stessa cosa.  Ridevamo insieme e abbiamo decisio di prendere un gelato per il viaggio a casa.  Tutti nella città ci guardavano. Stavamo camminando nel mezzo della strada nella pioggia mangiando un gelato, ridendo.  Che strani americani.  Ma, mi divertivo.  Invece di lamentarmi della mia fortuna cattiva, mi sono divertito.

Però, le parti più belle della missione era di insegnare il vangelo alla gente italiana (o alle persone che vivevano lì) e di guardare a come il vangelo li ha aiutati.  Non ci sono parole da descrivere i sentimenti che uno prova mentre aiuta una persona a sentire lo Spirito, capirlo, e lasciarlo cambiare la sua vita.  C'è un cambiamento nei loro occhi che ti riempie di gioia quando loro capiscono la verità di ciò che dici loro.  Quando ti vengono a dire che hanno ricevuto una risposta alle loro preghiere, non avrai un'altra gioia più grande tranne quella che ti senti quando accettano il vangelo completo.  Davvero, è un'esperienza meravigliosa che tutti dovrebbero avere.  Non darei queste esperienze per nessun ammontare di denaro.  Sono grato al Signore per tutto ciò che ho potuto vivere in Italia come missionario.

Ci sono tantissime lezioni che ho imparato come missionario.  Come descrivevo nell'esperienza dipingendo la casa, ho imparato come tacere quando non sono in un buon umore.  Ovviamente, per tutti che mi conoscono bene, non sono perfetto ancora. Ci sono alcune volte quando sono troppo arrabbiato e grido, ma per la maggior parte, faccio bene a chiudere la bocca.  Però, allo stesso tempo, ho imparato che è tanto importante sapere che devi dire alcune cose quanto è importante tacere.  Come missionari dobbiamo dire a persone che abbiamo ragione.  Mi dava fastidio quando un collega diceva, "Sono d'accordo con Lei" quando ha detto qualcosa di cui non aveva ragione.  Non siamo cui per non offendere le persone. Siamo qui per dire loro le verità.  Io sempre dirò a qualcuno se hanno sbagliato e l'aiuterà a sapere ciò che è vero.

Comunque, probabilmente continuerò nel futuro a parlare della missione e alcuni ricordi che ho.  Quindi, ciao per ora!