Just when you have a bad day or two, it's time to think happy thoughts, no matter where they come from, even Italy! :) A friend of mine spent Thanksgiving in Rome, and met up with our friends B & D again, and look what I got for an early Christmas present! A cute photo Hello from the city of love, from a good-looking Italian man, who misses me. (The one on the right!)
I spent Thanksgiving weekend in San Antonio with Mom&Dad and Reece&Caitlin. Aside from touring the Alamo, which was really really cool, (one of my childhood heros was Davy Crockett), we toured the Spanish missions. There are five missions in San Antonio and each is very different and very beautiful. They were originally walled cities more or less that the Spanish missionaries set up to convert the Indians of Mexico/Texas. We toured the missions close to sunset so the lighting was ethereal and gorgeous.
I would find myself. Teaching and loving these cute kids, my ESL, or English Second Language students. I just lost one student who was sent back to Mexico, but I still have four students from Mexico, and one little political refugee from Burma. What an adventure!
It's been amazing to me to watch these kids try so hard. I know there is a lot of prejudice against kids like this, even in my own high school; people wondering why they are here, ruining America, but I see things differently.
Most of these kids are not here of their own choice, their parents smuggled them into America. They don't hardly know enough English to pass their classes; one girl is in my regular English class as well as my ESL class, and it has opened my eyes to how little they are understanding in their regular education classes. Of course they don't get good grades or turn in all of their homework, they don't understand 1/2 to 3/4 of what their teachers are saying! And isn't education what is best for these kids? What better benefit for our society than to have these kids learn how to speak Engish and to become educated?
I'm proud of these kids for trying to learn English. What a task. I think they are brave to stay in school and graduate. Many of them have hard homes, babies of their own at home even, and just all sorts of problems they didn't ask for. My student from Burma only gets to talk to her mom once a month, and comes from a community where there is no running water and they lit their house with candles. Can you imagine the culture shock coming to America?
Gaining their trust has been interesting, speaking to them in my little bits of broken Spanish (thank you again, high school Spanish!) has been interesting, and teaching very basic English has been interesting. What an adventure, but isn't that what makes life interesting?
I was teaching my ESL students about adjectives this week and as an alternative assessment gave them a big stack of magazines and had them cut out a picture they wanted to write 10 sentences about / describe using adjectives. All of my Hispanic students chose rock stars like Beyonce and Rhianna; the boy chose a red sports car. My little girl from Burma chose Oprah.
She has no idea who Oprah is, but out of all the people she could have chosen to cut out - she chose her. She described her as beautiful with a pretty smile and nice eyes and fancy clothes and get this, she looks very kind and very nice and someone you could trust. Hmmm, so something about Oprah makes her look nice and smart and that is aside from her reputation. Interesting, is one of the reasons that Oprah has a large following everywhere is that she looks nice? So that my little student who just recently left a country where her family was so poor they lit their house with candles -- trusts her? Curious.
It was interesting to me as well when I was in Morocco earlier this year and we ate in the home of our friend Hicham, his mom was an avid Oprah watcher - translated into Arab! She was also an avid watcher of Judge Judy, but that's another story.
My Halloween costume. Thrown together in an hour - with my roommate who threw hers together in an hour. Don't ask, I have no idea what I was thinking! I'm not saying it isn't remotely cute, but I look like a freak. I hate spiders in fact, but this year I decided to go to our big Halloween shin-dig as a spider web. (???????) My roommate went as Carrie from the 70's horror movie, neither of us has ever seen. Hmmm....haha. Happy Halloween!
Over fall break we went down to Escalante (4 hour drive)and spent Thursday, Friday, and Saturday exploring the area. We had never been there before, but we found a lot of interesting and beautiful places. One of my favorite was Spooky and Peekaboo Canyons. The slots were really a tight fit and one point we had to slither through a drop and I might have started to cry a little because I was pretty scared. We did have a lot of helpful boys with us though - and we all had to push and pull our way through the tight spots!
I have learned living in Utah, that some things are only really in style in Utah. We have this group-culture where people all have to have the same things, keep up with eachother. Most of things I don't fall to, but this one I did. I finally got one of these pretty bracelett-watches all the women in Utah are wearing.
Most women make their own - beading at parties, but I just bought mine at a booth at a fair. It was cheaper than buying my own beads, and no doubt prettier than the one I would have made. I won't get any interchangeable bands, green is my favorite color anyway! Pretty, huh? I don't actually wear watches, never have, but this feels more like a bracelett to me. I love it. And I needed to treat myself to something cute.
Alright, I am just going to let you all know, I have a plan to double-my-efforts in looking for a husband. :) And I need your help. If you come across any connections to eligible guys, let me know! I just moved to a new area, have met and gone out with a couple of nice new boys lately, and my goal is to work the numbers game. I'm asking my guy friends for advice on what I can do to date better, I am going to read The Case for Mr. Good-Enough when Cami brings it over to my house, pray for opporutnities to meet and go out with more nice men, and am going to try hard not to judge too harshly, give people chances, and just see if I can better do my part to help myself find a man. And just maybe, if I can make this goal publically and privately, the plan will become more real to me.
Social highlights of late:
A guy actually said to me this week over dinner, "Order anything you want as long as it is under $8.00."
A former student said: "Miss E, I don't know if you will ever get married, I don't know if there is a guy manly enough for you out there, or that could ever keep up with you!"
I got hit on at a party by a man who looked okay, then I found out he dropped out of high school, is still a pizza delivery man at age 35, and is named Axel.
Well, and I already told you the story of the "I like butterscotch, you like butterscotch," guy.
I may have been up to the mountains three times this week with friends: the Nebo Loop, Alpine Loop, and Provo Canyon. I cannot get enough! Fall comes and goes so quickly, I think that is part of its elusive charm! This is the first year I have ventured around the Nebo Loop and it rivals the other two canyons. I can't believe I worked in its shadow and have never driven around it. I think I need to plan a few more trips before the fall is over. The reds are perfect right now and the yellows are on their way!
Update: I went backpacking last weekend in the Uintas and it was so much fun! I've never backpacked in before and it was work, but not as hard as I thought it would be. I didn't take hardly anything which is part of the trick. We brought in freeze-dried food, water, sleeping bags and that is about it! It was a really fun trip.
I like butterscotch. Do you like butterscotch? Yes I do, but that is not going to get you my phone number.
Unless you look like George Clooney-- you are not going to be a 50-year-old dating a 30-year-old--correction, unless you are George Clooney.
I went to mid-singles fireside last night, amazing fireside, weird company. True, there were a couple of hundred people at the fireside, but the women were 30 and the men were 50. I’m not kidding; 50 and on the prowl. It’s a sad world. I was helping myself to a serving of ice-cream with butterscotch, and yes, a man tried to use this as a reason to talk to me—the fact that we both like butterscotch on ice-cream. Guess what? Who doesn’t, and it was one of the two toppings available.
Am I being rude? Yes, but please save me from the fate of being in the future a 50-year-old single woman who as to compete for men her age against 30-year-old single women.
I’m not looking for a sugar-daddy – well, at least not yet. Unless he looks like George Clooney, just kidding, not even then.
If you can’t impress them with your lesson plans, or your wit & wisdom; if you can’t even impress them with your good looks, impress them with your pants!
I had a former 10th grade student visit my classroom a few days ago and tell me he remembers coming into my class for the first time last year and thinking, WOW, Ms. E has the coolest pants ever! And I quote: “You had these pants that were like fitting on the top and then got really huge on the bottom kind of like bell-bottoms and they were like the coolest pants ever…and all year me and XXXXXX (another male student) talked about how you have the coolest pants!”
Uhhhh…if this wasn’t a little skinny, black-dyed haired, skater boy, I might have been a bit concerned. It wasn’t a sexual comment at all, (we all know I’m not blessed with the best looking posterior-region), it wasn’t a comment about that, it was just a compliment, in the typically- awkward way of a teenager - letting me know that in his opinion, I’m one of the coolest teachers at the high school. The pants, you ask?
A pair of brown velvety-corduroy-bell-bottom-ish pants from Banana Republic.
I'm finally getting out of Provo...I won't tell you where I'm going on my blog for obvious reasons, but this is the first time I will have moved cities since I came to college. No, curious minds, I'm not moving out of state, yet: baby steps.
A friend of mine bought a house and I'm moving in with her. Change is good, right?
Moving is a pain. You realize that you could probably do just fine with 1/2 of the contents of your closet, and you shouldn't go shopping again for a very long time.
Am I worried I will cut myself off socially by leaving Provo?
No, I'm not worried. I have had fabulous friends in the neighborhood I've been living in these last few years, and when you find forever-friends you find a way to keep in contact. Boys? If there are any that like me in Provo, they too will find a way to show me by keeping in contact with me.
Change is good. Change might be just what I need. Maybe one little change will be a catalyst for a lot of change, but I'm not that excited or worried; it's just a new place to live, and a longer commute to work.
What will I miss? My friends, the spaciousness of the house I live in right now, (my friend is buying a town home with no basement), and this view of the mountains out of my bedroom window!
So I just got back from Jamaica (yeah, I didn't know I was going either - free plane ticket, long story). It was amazing; I'm so going back someday! Anyway, it was gorgeous and colorful and so much fun! One of the most interesting things about the trip was seeing "real" Rastas. Remember the dude on Cool Runnings with the long hair? Yeah, he was a Rasta.
So Rastafari is a religion - a Christian one actually. They worship Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia, former Emperor of Ethiopia, as the second embodiment of God on Earth, the first being Jesus Christ. They grow their dreadlocks as a symbol of their "baptism" and smoke marajuana as their "sacrament" of sorts. They live off the land, basically, rejecting materialism and western culture. They usually live in communities where the money they make is pooled together for shared living. They try to be helpful and friendly, and although I'm told they do wash their hair, it doesn't always smell like that!
Bob Marley was a famous Rasta and about 5 - 10% of Jamaicans are Rastas. I'm sad I didn't get a good picture of any of them with their hair all tied up in one of those big-bulbous hats.
How could I not? I love that my dad's pick-up truck is a hiccup-truck, her freckles are pickles, and in her mind, "Aunt Esperanza my daughter", looks like a princess. There is something so sweet about little girls; I want one just like my cute little niece!
It was really fun to see my sister and her kids last week at home in Washington. They are so cute! My sister is such a good mom and I want little kids just like her's. I love the little nephews too; I just especially enjoyed my niece copy-catting everything I did and telling my I was a princess.
"Heavenly Father provided me the gifts of life and time, but I was to choose how to use them." - Kristen M. Oaks
I love this quote from Elder Oaks's new wife Kristen. I believe this way about life, I believe this way about my continued single status, and I believe this about all of our lives. I'm not really into self-help books but lately I've decided to try it out. I just finished reading The Late Bloomer's Revolution and A Single Voice, both similar, one from outside of the church, one from within. The message was essentially the same: Go make your life; stop waiting for it to happen!
Sister Oaks says really this applies to both single and married people. She says, "Looking at sisters around me, those who were happy and fulfullied, I began to notice that their happiness had nothing to do with their marital status...Whether happy or not depends to some degree upon outward circumstances, but mostly it depends on how you choose to look at things yourself, whether you measure what you have or have not." (11)
Amy Cohen says it's never too late to begin, never too late to become what you have always wanted to be, and Sister Oaks says it is up to us to make our lives meaningful. I believe that. I'm grateful for all of the amazing examples I have around me (this means you) whether married or single of living a happy life. I have my ups and downs; don't we all. But I have been trying to make a concerted effort to "make happy memories" as Sister Oaks says, even as a single person. You have each been a part of those happy memories - thanks for your friendship.
Recent happy memories: Hiking around Brighton Ski Resort, Silver Lake and Twin Lakes
Observation Point, 8-mile round trip hike to the top of Zion National Park
Best Twilight movie so far--don't you think? Edward wasn't as white and scary looking and wears less lipstick; the acting is getting way better; too bad they can't go back and re-do the first ones. And I'm still on Team Jacob and always will be.
I just have to say though, the scene where Bella and Edward decide to save sexual intimacy for marriage kind of made me giggle. It was just kind of awkward, but way to be Stephanie Meyer, for keeping it clean!
A few months ago a friend of mine tried to convince me to channel my strong emotions into writing music. Not only would I drain my emotions of their intensity, but I would have a great song at the end too. That would be great if I wasn’t the only English teacher on the planet with absolutely no ability to write creatively: not songs, not stories, not poems. I did however feel some strong emotions later that week as I ended a non-relationship with a boy I liked. How did I feel? Could I write what I felt into a song, or at least a poem? I tried.
I won’t share the poem with you; it’s crap. I can’t write poems because I get struck on an idea and then my mind seethes on that idea and I completely lose any logical train of thought that could be written into prose. I am more likely to write an essay about an idea and everything every philosopher has had to say about that idea than a cohesive train of thought, poetically expressed in verse.
Here is the idea I got stuck on. I feel like I am on trial. Every time I go on a date with someone new, or someone old who can’t commit to me I feel like I am on trial. Will the judge deem me worthy of another date, or even heaven forbid, a relationship with that person? Am I cute enough, but not too cute, smart enough, but not too smart, thin enough, but not—(oh wait, that doesn’t apply to me!); am I too old, too young, ambitious enough, righteous enough, not so righteous I won’t be any fun; experienced enough but not enough to make me seem worldly or frivolous. Am I too fashionable so I look spendy? Am I not fashionable enough so I look dowdy? If I wear something a tiny bit low-cut am I immodest, if I don’t am I a prude? Is there the proper amount of attraction, or is there so much I make him scared; or worse--not enough, and as a man, he knows his attraction to me cannot grow.
If, if, if, if, if. When it doesn’t work out us single people get stuck on if. What if I would have given it more time, what if I hadn’t suggested we see each other more regularly, what if I hadn’t gone out with a different guy that weekend? Should I have said yes to another date? What if my attraction to him really could have grown? How important is attraction really anyway, right? What if I just give him one more chance? Maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned I hated his favorite t.v. show? Maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned I’m not a very good cook. Maybe I shouldn’t have told him I liked him, a lot.
And then the if’s you can’t change. If I was shorter, if I was thinner, if I was younger, if I was more fun, if I was cuter, if I liked sports, if I had the right hair color, if I, if, if I, if I, if only I….
And that is what it feels like to be dating, like you are someone no one has of yet deemed worthy of choosing. And sometimes you are your own jury and 12 little versions of yourself are up there telling you why you are not being chosen, why you are still in court, up on trial in front of a man who for some reason you have convinced yourself has command over some area of your fate.
And that’s just it. You have to go through the process of freeing yourself from the ifs and from thinking your life has value if, and only if, you are in relationship. In Sister Oak’s book A Single Voice she said, “I remember feeling many times that I was just marking time, waiting for my life to happen.” You have got to make your life, not wait for it to happen. You have to learn to be happy with yourself, as yourself. It’s a process, it’s a journey, and one I won’t give up on. I dust myself off when something doesn’t work out, and obviously by now I’ve had a lot that hasn’t worked out! I try to self-improve, to make myself happy and interesting, and try not to worry too much about the what if’s.
And I would just like to say Ha, my mom said if I went on study abroad (when I was 20) I might miss dating opportunities that could lead to marriage (no offense to my mom whom I love love love) that didn’t change the course of my fate, I’m still single.
Or did it? Am I still single because the man I was supposed to marry found someone else while I was traipsing around London? Jk, I Love you mom!
So, to keep my life interesting I (and a few friends) created bucket lists of things we have always wanted to do and accomplish. One item on my list was hike the Grand Canyon. And now I can proudly say -- check!
Okay, okay, we didn't hike all the way down to the river, we were not equiped with camping gear, but we did hike six miles of the Grand Canyon! Even my 60 year old mom made it! Yeah! The biggest challenge was the heat. When it is 87 degrees on top, it is 95 degrees 1/2 way down. If we had reached the bottom, temperatures were reported over 108 degrees. I drank tons of water - a little over 6 litres to be exact, and ate a few Cliff bars along the way. I am really not too worn out, and other than the heat, I would say for at least as far as my family hiked, Mt. Timp was a lot harder. The trail we went on, Bright Angel Trail, really isn't too steep, just winding and winding and continuously winding switch-backs.
Anyway, I have accomplished quite a few things on my list, the Oregon Coast, learn 20 words in a foriegn language, go to a country I've never been too before, hike Mt. Timp in the fall, ride a motorcycle with a cute boy, and quite a few other items, (a few which will remain undisclosed for now) and now I can check off the Grand Canyon! Thank you to my dad who finally gave into my whining and took me there!