Saturday, April 30, 2011

every now and then...

...i dream in portuguese.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I have seven weeks to master the art of chopsticks. My goal is to figure it out and eat an entire meal, 3 courses, using just chopsticks before I go to China. I am determined to do it. For years, I’ve been trying, failing, and resigning myself to using a fork when my hand cramps up and nothing gets to my mouth.

Tonight, at dinner at  Four Seasons Hot Pot and Dumplings, Joanna tried to help me but it was a hopeless cause.

How to eat with chopsticks

  1. Pick up the first chopstick with the middle finger and thumb.
  2. Grip the second chopstick with your index finger.
  3. Hold it steady.
  4. Practice opening and closing the chopsticks.
  5. Pick up food at a good angle (try roughly 45 degrees from the plate); slightly lift it up.

6. Keep your face close to your plate and get as many noodles to your mouth as you can.


Ok, so good news is I still have seven weeks to practice.

The food was excellent at Four Seasons, and the experience is fun. Each table has a pot warmer with a pot of broth. You pick out what meats, vegetables, and noodles you want (all you can eat.) and then you cook it right at your table. You will especially love it if you like seafood and can handle spicy. Although they do have less spicy sauces.


A few other to dos:

  • Learn how to say “Donde esta el bano?” in Chinese
  • Get a typhoid shot. (Unfortunately, my previous one has expired.)
  • Eat a whole meal with chopsticks
  • Read up on the places we are going
  • Pack

晚安 (Wǎnān aka good night)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I remember…

a long time ago, receiving a letter saying thanks for applying but your GPA and ACT scores aren’t quite what they need to be to get into BYU. (Ok, those weren’t the exact words but that was their meaning. My GPA wasn’t terrible, but it was far from what it needed to be to get into BYU.)
I remember not so long ago talking to a friend who was applying to graduate school and thinking, “Oh man, I want to do it, but I don’t think I can cut it.” The GRE test scared me because I flopped a few times on the ACT. I thought the courses would be ridiculous hard. And I really didn’t want to write a thesis.
I remember two years ago, almost two and a half, cramming for the GRE for two weeks because I said “what the heck” and signed up for the next available time to take the terrifying test. My brain was fried afterwards and my scores came back lower than I hoped.
I remember two years ago getting an email saying thanks for applying to the BYU MPA Program, but there are other candidates who are a better fit for our program. (aka your GRE scores and GPA aren’t quite what they need to be to be considered for even the waiting list.)
Well, look who showed them all…and myself.
I remember not quite two years ago sitting at work and getting a call from Catherine Cooper telling me that a place in the BYU MPA program just opened up, she had been thinking about me all night long and felt like she should offer it to me. “By the way, it starts tomorrow.”
I remember my stomach doing flip flops, praying really hard for an hour, going in and telling my boss that I wasn’t coming back the next day, packing up my desk, and never looking back…Because I had been a given a huge tender mercy and the chance to fulfill a dream.
I remember yesterday lining up with my classmates, walking across the stage, hearing my name read, and Dr. Hart telling me, “You did it.” And realizing I really did do it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Not too long ago my friend, Rosy (former mission companion), graduated from a university in Brasil. Amazing accomplishment. As I was looking through the pictures from her graduation ceremony, I noticed their interesting academic ceremony outfits and caps.

Yesterday, I picked the cap and gown for my own graduation ceremony and I thought, “Ours are even more peculiar.” Why do we where such stylin’ getup to celebrate such a great accomplishment? Let me tell you.

Apparently, the tradition of academic dress and graduation dates back to the 12th century at the formation of early Universities in Europe . The role of these early Universities was to authenticate degrees. Universities documented which scholars had enrolled, or matriculated, for study under licensed masters and established standards to mark the various levels of a student’s progress (graduation) toward the next degree. Universities lacked buildings of their own when they were first established and thus studies were conducted at nearby churches. Historians believe that academic dress originated when scholars, who were largely clerics or aspiring clerics in the church themselves, wore long robes and hoods to keep warm in these unheated buildings. The practice of wearing gowns became more widespread when gowns were established as the official dress of academics in 1321 and “excess in apparel” was frowned upon. Variations on the long gowns, hoods worn for warmth were later used by Universities to differentiate and recognize the various grades of scholars.

Tomorrow, I will be sporting my fancy cap, gown and hood and participating in the academic processional. Really, it’s my most favorite part of the whole ceremony.

I kind of like the Brazilian Academic Clothing. She makes it look good.


Rosy Farias. We had good times together.

cachoreira do franca


o templo2

Saturday, April 16, 2011

the FINAL stretch

I think I can...I think I can...I think I can...I think I can... I think I can....

It's not that I am bombarded with a hundred things I need to do. I actually only have three. The issue is having motivation to work on them. The end is so close..and then my time is mine. The weather is so nice and it's calling to me. Can you hear it, too?

Bombardation (new word I just invented.) maybe would be better. Then I wouldn't have time to think about how close to the end I am and about how nice the weather is.

I think I can... I think I can... I think I can....

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

9 days

Have you ever felt incredibly blessed. Things are going good. Really good. Not perfect, but not much you can complain about. And then you realize that it’s been a little while since you have had a major trial. Which means your number has to be coming up…any minute. You find yourself holding your breath…waiting for something to happen. Something that will rock your boat a little bit.

I’m waiting…and trying to not be too comfortable. Something is bound to happen any minute. I have been so blessed these last two years. This opportunity to gain more education has been a definite tender mercy in my life. I love school. I love learning. It hasn’t been easy. But it’s been good. And I have been looked after and cared for by Someone who loves me.

Today I had my last class at BYU. It is a little surreal to be at this point. The time went by fast. Memories of my first day are still fresh in my mind. I’m going to miss class, professors, and classmates.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

16 days

And I am supposed to know all I need to know and be ready and qualified to enter the workforce and change the world. I’m not ready. I don’t feel ready nor as qualified as I feel the expectation will be. I feel like there is still so much for me to learn. A few more classes I should take. But the thought of more classes right now is draining.

It’s interesting. I have the same feeling I had at the end of my mission. I wasn’t ready for it to end. There were still so many things I could do. So many things I could learn. A few things I would do a few things differently. But I was exhausted at the end. I was ready for some rest. I was ready to give others aspects of my life some attention. That is how I am feeling now. Time for some change. Ready or not.