Friday, September 28, 2012


This year I have been living with a mission companion and an engaged linguistics major. It has been an interesting experience to say the least. Let's compare and contrast our schedules a little bit. My mission companion is a student at UVU, taking 12-14 credits with no job. My engaged linguistics major roommate, on the other hand, is taking four credits and working 30 hours a week (but even this is questionable). Both of them tend to never get up before 9:00 or 10:00. Then there's me. I work two jobs totaling about 20 hours a week. I am taking 15.5 credits. And they aren't easy credits. I have seven classes all together. Granted, one of them is a swimming class (an excellent choice, by the way)

But the point of my post is not to bash my roommates per se. I guess the thing that is insane to me is how adrift my other roommates seem. My mission companion never seems to have homework whereas I have been inundated with all kinds of work. The other roommate is always hanging out with his girlfriend and always seems to have nothing to do. This environment is kind of hard to live in because when people are adrift, they tend to be messy and have no regard for others. My mission companion is the exception- he will help occasionally or notice my contributions.  But I also feel bad because I can't give him the attention that he probably wants from me. The other night I was doing homework all night and he was very adrift. He needed some interaction that I just couldn't give him. I think it's hard for him to be in Provo with so few friends here in Utah. On the other hand, I have never seen my other roommate do any kind of cleaning. It took him two weeks to put his suitcases away.

How can I survive in an environment that is so adrift? Any suggestions for surviving an environment where being adrift is the norm? What keeps you from being sucked into the cycle of being adrift?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Double Playing

My first semester back at the Y, I decided to take piano lessons again. This was my first experience with a male piano teacher. He was a good teacher, but far too intense sometimes and also frequently finished the lesson by telling me what was disappointing about my playing for him that week. But I feel like for some reason,  his unique mannerisms taught me a lesson that I probably won't forget.

I've always been a perfectionist. Ask anyone who knows me. I am the kind of person who is very hard on myself and must always correct any mistake that comes before me. My teacher told me once that I was "double-playing" which made him very "sad." Double-playing basically means that you replay a passage of a piece with the correct notes or you correct a wrong note you played. He told me that this is something we must avoid, we simply have to plow through our mistakes.

I guess I thought of this with my last post that I also posted this night. This incident took place months ago. I gave up on this piano teacher. But I think I sometimes forget about the double-playing. I shouldn't expect my life to be a flawless performance. In fact, if it were a flawless performance, it doesn't seem like there would be much to learn. I am not trying to be particularly profound here, I am just trying to be honest. Perfectionism, while a seemingly good pursuit, can often make you look and sound silly, much like double-playing. Many times, people will not notice the mistakes in your playing or, if they do, they will forgive them. If you do, however, go back and double-play, they will be sure to remember your mistakes. Our lives are like this. If you move on from your mistakes, correct those only needed (in the piano analogy, that correction would come through careful practice; not correcting automatically while playing), and don't try to double-play your life, you will be happier, and your life will be more of the performance that you want. Otherwise, you end up with a sloppy performance that sounds worse than you think because you did double-play.

Bottom line: don't double-play and learn to plow through those mistakes. After all, everyone makes mistakes.


I am the kind of person that overanalyzes a lot of situations. From schoolwork and tests, to friendships and family, I worry a lot about many things. I guess the constant worry comes from a desire to be perfect. Jesus said in the Bible "Be ye perfect." I guess that has been a bit of a motto for my life. When I fall short of this expectation, I find that I beat up on myself a lot.

This was especially true while on my mission. I feel like missions exacerbate a lot of inferiority complex-like feelings. We feel that we are not good enough. We don't think that we are doing enough. I remember being in a particular area of Bangkok that was extremely difficult. I kept asking myself what I was doing wrong so that the area wouldn't work. I remember waking up daily and wondering if today would be the day that something, anything would  happen. And it never did. Maybe that was the best lesson of that time. No matter how hard you try for perfection, you're not going to achieve it in a day. In fact, I feel that the end goal is less important than the actual journey.

I guess in friendships I tend to overanalyze things a lot as well. I tend to wonder how I can be a better friend. I fret over hurting another person's feelings. I feel bad when I fail as a friend at times. All of this can be traced back to my yearning for perfection.

How do you overcome a long history of perfectionism? I am not looking for instant answers, but more of some personal insights. How can I realize that, while I am not perfect, I am doing better than I think I am?

This post makes me sound like I am so depressed! In reality, I am just reflecting on friendship. This year I want to try to make more friends than I did my previous year at BYU and I am trying to figure out this whole friendship thing. It's a tricky subject. I don't have many close friends, but the ones that I am close to are very close. I just would like to expand and be a better friend. This may be rambling because it is late here. Sometimes the best inspiration for blogs comes late. (Also, please forgive all errors in my writing.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Long Time Gone Now

I doubt that anyone reads this blog anymore. I haven't updated in months. My life over the past couple of months has been quite unremarkable for the most part. Let's review a few things.

1. I finished up my second semester since I got back from my mission. It was a good term. I had excellent classes: Biology, History of the English Language, Grammar of English, Thai Literature, Doctrine and Covenants, and Church History from the Martyrdom until the beginning of the 20th century. I declared my major as English language and linguistics this semester. Since coming home from my mission, I wasn't really sure about my major. I had considered a lot of options from occupational therapy to nursing, but I ultimately decided that I would be best to get a degree in English linguistics to best prepare myself for a TESOL masters and (possibly) a PHd in applied linguistics. I hope to teach English as a second language here in America. 

2. After a short rest, I moved into the Spanish House for spring and summer semester. Spring semester I took Iberian Culture and Civilization and TESOL Methods and Materials. Then summer I took Spanish Phonetics and Modern American Usage. Living in the Spanish house was a worthwhile experience. I really enjoyed the first term there. The second term was more difficult. We had a roommate who was somewhat difficult. The feel of the Spanish house drastically changed between terms. We grew pretty close with all the dinners. That being said, however, I am glad to be out of there. I gained a lot of weight. I am trying to lose it this semester, but I have found myself busy yet again.

3. We went to Disneyland over the short break. It was just as magical as I had hoped. I went on almost all the thrill rides and actually enjoyed them. That was a first. 

4. Now I am enrolled in quite an interesting schedule. This semester I have the following: Physical Science, Language Acquisition in TESOL, American Christianity, Literacy Development in TESOL, Spanish Literature, English Semantics and Pragmatics, and Beginning Swimming. I really like all of my classes so far. I am not a HUGE fan of Physical Science. Having it at 8:00 a.m. is a bit of a drag, but we endure. I love my TESOL teacher (Professor Gardner), my religion teacher (Professor Cope), and my Spanish teacher (Professor Sherman). I do really like my semantics professor, but she can be a bit dry sometimes. My swimming teacher is also excellent. I can't believe how much faster I can swim now! I love it! It makes me want to swim five times a week! Maybe one day. 

5. I have two jobs now. I am working at the ELC and also as the Thai TA for my teacher. The TA job has been excellent. Of course, I still LOVE the ELC. I feel so blessed to have both of these jobs. Granted, my schedule is insane, and I am very tired, but I like to busy myself as much as possible. 

Beyond that, life moves on. I moved in my mission companion. That has been a good experience. He's a funny guy and a good roommate. Our other roommate. Well... I am less keen on him. There are specific stories that I could tell, but I just don't think we are meant to get along. God likes to send me people who will try my patience. That's the theme of my life: patience. Sigh. He's getting married over Thanksgiving though, so I should be able to endure in the meantime. 

I hope to blog more often and give insights on what's going on in my life. For anyone who may be listening, even if that is only a few people.