Blog Archive

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Let's See If Anyone Still Checks Here...

So I was facing a conundrum--I don't like putting my entire life on Facebook for the whole world to see, but at the same time I like to keep my family updated on things. Luckily, I remembered I have a blog! 

So I'm pretty sure most everyone knows that I'm dating Samantha from BYU's Foreign Language Student Residency's Spanish house. In fact, I think she's met everyone except those who live outside of Utah. Regardless, in case you haven't met her or need a reminder, Samantha is this beautiful girl right here =)

To give a little introduction, she's from Alaska originally and this is her first semester at BYU. But even though most of you have met her, you probably don't feel you know too much about her because she's so introverted. In fact, her reservation is one of the things that I think makes her fit in so well with our family. Here's why she already works so well with us:

First of all, she's a huge introvert like much of our family.

Second, she's super medically-minded. We got talking about different medical prescriptions one day and she offered a really technical explanation as to how the chemicals affect different parts of the brain to end up having a certain effect, and I remembered thinking "Wow, she'd keep up better than I do at our family's dinner conversation."

Third, she loves family =) she's really close to her mom and especially her little brother, which I find super sweet. Seeing her Skype with her little brother made me think of the way Courtney interacts with her girls.

Now here are some things that I, personally, am completely crazy about her! =D

1. She's a big culture dork like I am. I've told her about my plans after graduation (i.e. going back to China to work/save up money for grad school), and she thinks that traveling/living/working in different countries around the world sounds like a dream (the exception being the Middle East)

2. We have the same sense of humor. I found out in my last relationship that differing senses of humor can really suck the fun out of a relationship.

3. She's gorgeous =)

4. She's super easy to talk to. Casual conversation, things that are important to you, sharing opinions, etc. I never feel like I'm going to be judged for what I say, and it makes it so easy for me to feel comfortable around her.

5. You don't always have to be "on" around her. Some people you feel like you have to constantly be talking to or entertaining. With Samantha, it's completely comfortable driving in a car just listening to music, not talking. 

6. Despite being really timid at first, she turns into a big goof ball when she warms up to you =) I tell Ryan, Matt or Bri things that she says/does when it's just us two, and sometimes they don't believe me because she's so reserved around them.

7. Did I mention how pretty she is?

8. She loves cats

And speaking of cats....

This is Purrcy (pronounced Percy)

Samantha really wanted to adopt a kitty because she misses her Purrl (Pearl) back in Alaska, and I also wouldn't mind a cute little cuddle-buddy either. I wasn't on board at first because the Foreign Language Housing has a no-pets policy, but After discovering that Matt and Bri were more than happy to let the kitty stay in their house until they move in January, it started to seem more possible. Then Ryan said if I'm still living in the Chinese house next semester, he'd take Purrcy down to Texas when he moves back and keep him until after I graduate next year, at which point I could just drive down to Texas and get him back for when I go to grad school. I was planning to adopt a cat after I graduate from BYU anyway, so it seemed like if having a cute, cuddly kitty would lessen the stress of living an entire country away from home for Samantha, I didn't see any real reason not to adopt him considering that I was going to be able to keep him.

Aside from which, I saw how well adopting Olive worked for Lisa and Gordon, and how well Koko worked for Matt and Bri when they were all still dating ;)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Catching up on China

It's been too long since I've written! I would've kept my blog going while I was in China, but apparently it's not just YouTube that's blocked. Any website that encourages (or allows) expression of individual opinion is blocked in China. I tried to pull up Blogspot a few times on the computers there and I think there's some built-in function where if you try too many times to access a forbidden site they probably track your location and send the police over to arrest you. 

Anyway, now that I'm back, I have tons of pictures and stories that I want to show everyone but couldn't even hope to in the amount of time that you guys were in Utah for. (It was so much fun to see everyone by the way!)

So when it comes to my China trip...well, to start at the beginning, the flight over the Pacific and into Asia was the most grueling experience. It was such a weird feeling to have left on a Tuesday, traveled for 30 hours consecutively, and then to land in Shanghai on the same Tuesday that we left. 

The flights were nice though, because the airlines got progressively nicer and nice with each layover we had. We flew from Utah to California with Delta. Those guys are lame, they treat their passengers like they treat the passengers' luggage--they just kind of stuff you in and tell you to shut up. But from California to North Korea, we flew on Air Korea and they treat you like kings! Seriously, I've never been so pampered on a flight before. In fact, I've probably never been so pampered anywhere before that flight. They brought you full meals which consisted of actually good food, things like Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes. On the backs of each of the seats where you'd normally find a bulky phone that will charge you $11/minute to use they had a TV display built in where you were able to choose from over 30 movies, games and TV shows to watch and play throughout the flight. And a nice bonus was that all the Korean stewardesses were extremely pretty ladies!

 You took out the little remote and it doubled as a game controller. I watched
probably half a dozen movies on the way over, and they weren't even crappy
in-flight movies like you'd expect--they had movies that had just barely
come out in theaters in Utah like Contraband or Ghost Rider 2 (Ghost Rider
was awesome, Dad. I don't care what you say)

Look at first class!!!!! Geez, Southwest or Delta would NEVER treat you so good!

I didn't get a good look of North Korea, unfortunately, because we were only able to see part of the terminal before our flight took off 15 minutes later. Scariest layover ever. I thought most of us weren't going to have time to get to the flight. We did have just enough time to take a look at a restaurant and the weird food they were serving.

Sadly, this was far from the weirdest food I'd see in Asia. 
The top-left would actually come to be one of my favorite foods in China--
spicy tofu! I'd get that stuff every chance I'd get. The bottom right's not bad either, it depends on how they cook the squid legs. But any of these
6 bowls for only 45,000 (about $7.50)

The flight from Korea to China was nothing special, but the drive from Shanghai to Changzhou was a very interesting introduction to the country! The airport's terminal seemed to have been designed by some very macabre architect who wanted the visitors in the airport to feel like the sky wanted to kill them or they were in some cave where the stalactites could break off and impale you at any second.

It was here where we met Fei E or "Phil" as all the Americans who can't say "Fay-uh" would call her. She piled us onto the bus and we started a 3-hour ride to where my new home would be for the next 5 months. 

3-hour ride. Normally that would sound like such a long time to me, but I was so amazed by everything we drove past that I loved every minute of it. I immediately knew what "communist architecture" meant when we passed the apartment complexes. It was just a jumble of identical buildings, I have no idea how anyone was able to figure out where they lived! Here are some of the things we saw from the freeway:

 Fei E told us this used to be a private home. Kind of big
for a single family, even by American standards. That's why the
government had it stripped and had plans for tearing it down. You can see
the construction crew prepping for the demolition

 This was in downtown Shanghai before we hit the freeway
(hence the low-shot), but this, sadly, was the condition
of a lot of the apartments that we passed. It was too close a shot, but
surrounding this building on either side were several others that looked identical

 I wish the guardrail wasn't in the way! People are actually pretty smart
about it in China, because only the first and second floors will have bars over the windows, while the higher levels are uncovered. No doubt
someone could climb that high to rob you, but how will they unload all the loot?


 This shot wasn't actually taken on the ride to Changzhou.
This was on a train ride through the country. We came across
a smallish city and I had to include this shot because this completely
exemplifies Chinese communist blocks 

 It's like one of those magic-eye puzzles...

 I'd feel a little wary about living in the other two buildings
if the one in front just toppled like that

This was taken in Changzhou. Changzhou must still be a developing city
because this was a very common site. In some parts of the city
the only buildings for blocks were ones that were under construction
like this. It was kind of interesting to see the contrast between that and America. In Utah, at least, there were plenty of businesses
being foreclosed whereas in China, new businesses and buildings
were being build on every street it seemed

We had to stop for a bathroom break midway through, and we were faced with what would have to pass as "public restrooms" for the next 5 months:
 Good ol' Chinese ingenuity--see how a rusty pipe and a meager
water supply can transform this wall into a (semi) operating urinal!

Now this...this was just unacceptable. These are what pass as "bathroom stalls" in China. Communal trench, no doors, and walls you can see over even
when you're squatting

 After seeing a lot of the really interesting, and sometimes depressing, sights that could be viewed from the freeway, we at last arrived at Qingying, my new home. I'll write about that in another post, because this one's getting pretty long as it is. Anyway, I'll try to get a few posts a week up so I can eventually cover my entire trip in China =)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Do You Know What This Is?

Do you know what this is?

Here's a hint.....

You're right...

It's where I'll be teaching English next semester!!

Changzhou, China! If anyone knows how to pronounce that, I'll take you out to lunch. I might do it anyway just because I'm feeling so good! =D I'm super excited to go out, it's too bad that they didn't include the date I'll leave because I wanna know how long I'll need to wait!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Adam's Genealogy

All right, so in my Asian Studies class we learned about the Jomon people, an ancient people of Japan. In class, we learned that archaeologists estimated the Jomon to have lived around 15,000 BC.

I saw that date and I wondered how that would fit in with the Bible and whether or not 15,000 years have passed since the time of Adam. So I did a little genealogy work for Adam and his descendants.

I started with the basis that the year 0 would be the year of Adam's creation. Reading the lineage from the earlier chapters of Genesis, I was able to find out how long each of Adam's descendants lived, starting from Adam on down to Noah. I found out what age they all had their respective sons and from that was able to figure out around what year they all were born and died. Taking all that into account, this is what I came up with:

But when I got to Noah, I found what I thought to be a contradiction in the story of the flood. I was reading in Genesis 8:13 where it says "And it came to pass that in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the face of the earth".

I read that and thought that can't be right, Noah wasn't even born until 1256, so how could the flood have come and gone in the year 600? Then I read Genesis 9:28, which says:"And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years"

If you look at the chart I made, Noah lived to be 950 years old. He lived 350 years after the flood had passed. 950 - 350 = 600. Noah was 600 years old when the flood came, so when the verse says that the flood dried up in the 601st year, it was referring to the 601st year of Noah's life.

There was another really interesting thing I found. If you look at the chart, Noah was born in 1256, and when he was 600 the flood came and wiped out all life on the face of the earth in the year 1856, which happens to be the same year that Methuselah died.

I never answered my question regarding the Jomon people, but I did gain a really comforting reassurance of the consistency of the Bible and how that reflects on all the scriptures' testament of truth in all things.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Toughest. Interview. EVER

Job interviews, temple recommend interviews, interviews to get accepted into school programs, all other interviews I've ever had don't even compare to the one I had last week.

My Chinese teacher interviewed each of the students in my class to test our speaking ability and how well we've learned the material so far. As if that wasn't nerve-wracking enough, she decided that we'd have to record the interview and then watch it and point out what we did wrong. Man, talk about a self-esteem killer!

It actually wasn't though =) I think I'm a little too hard on myself sometimes because when I watched the interview I was actually surprised at how well I did. There were enough mistakes to write the paper, but for the most part I thought I did pretty well (especially considering how nervous I was! Good thing the camera was far away so you can't see my nervous-sweat pit stains)

It's a 10 minute long interview, but if anyone's ever wondered what it's like to see their little brother talk in Chinese with a native, here it is!