Wednesday, December 23, 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!

Just thought I would give you an update. Finals are now over!!! I survived. I have received results from 2 tests already. I got a 78% in econ, which is higher than my test average but not magnificent. In history, with the curve, I got a 96%. That's lower than my test average so I have room for improvement. I feel all right about the rest of them, so we'll see. So I just found out that I got a B in econ, more than I can say I deserve, I didn't work too hard for it. It was almost a stressful time with finals, but it's over! During finals week my computer crashed while I was updating from microsoft...ironic?!? Now I am at work, I just finished watching some office episodes. Unfortunately my parents are coming down to Utah for the Christmas holiday, which means I am staying in the grand state of Utah! (there was sarcasm there).

Enough with the boring stuff, next semester marks the last semester I will have to prepare me for my study abroad. After said semester, I will be released into the wild and forced to fend for myself in Egypt. Intimidating? YES! I am SO excited though!! I feel at times that I fall into a rhythm and I get bored of it. So this will be a nice way to mix it up!! Our teacher gave us a travel agenda of what will be taking place after we finish our studies in Egypt. I'll be doing EVERYTHING!!! Everything in Jerusalem, some of the other big Israeli cities, Roman ruins, Petra in Jordan, swimming in the Red Sea/Dead Sea/Mediterranean Sea just to name a few. And the best part is I will be growing a mustache while there!!! That's the goal at least.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Post Script, this is where I will be going this summer:
Petra Jordan BW 21.JPG  Tel Aviv Collage 2.JPG    Jerusalem Dome of the rock BW 14.JPG  File:01 khafre north.jpg 

Saturday, December 12, 2009

FINALS!!!

Wish me luck!!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Being an Adult...



I remember the days when the only thing that was important to me was making sure I ate a (un)healthy dose of candy and watching Rugrats on Nickelodeon. It was nice when I didn't worry if Beth Smith liked me, or I didn't know what the word tuition meant, when work meant that my GI Joe's limbs were intact and that my micro-machine's wheels didn't squeak as I ran them through my town, and most importantly when I could always count on my dear sweet mother to have dinner ready every night...
But alas, those days have passed like smoke on the water, dust in the wind, like a bridge over troubled water...wait...I guess what I'm trying to say is that being an adult is over-rated. Currently I am trying to come up with money for winter semester tuition, not to mention several grand for a study abroad in Cairo, working enough hours at work, doing my homework, preparing for quizzes in class, studying for tests, doing church calling, reading the scriptures, eating right, exercising, and not to mention, the worst of all of them: dating!!!! Life can get so complicated, it's really interesting to see how much I have changed throughout the years.
Yet, being an adult isn't all bad. For example, I'M GOING TO CAIRO, EGYPT (and Jordan and Israel)!!! Does life get better than that? I'm going to go to the pyramids, the sphinx, Petra, the Holy Land, watch the world cup with Egyptians, spend the first few days of Ramadan in an Islamic country and enjoying their parties! I'm learning Arabic! Honestly, I wish you could understand how awesome that is. Also, I have a car and am not limited by lack of transportation. Dating (when it goes well) can be a lot of fun. I have the opportunity of limitless learning/reading! I'm involved in intramural sports that keep me sane. I have an awesome family and we are all good friends now! And the list goes on.
Really, more than anything, it's awesome being alive! I love my life and what I am doing. God has blessed me so much, He is incredible!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I need help...

So every Tuesday and Thursday I have an econ class from 4-5:15. The room is blazing hot, and I've already had several classes, plus work. The material isn't awful, but it isn't the most exciting either. I can't, for the life of me, stay awake!!! Any ideas or suggestions to help a struggling student survive?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Have Faith!





Well, I must make a post that seems in stark contrast to the one preceding this quote. As I sit here, I feel a burning anxiety for my brothers and sisters in the world who are found without the gospel, I feel a ardent desire for their salvation, for their opportunity for them to hear the good news of Jesus Christ: most especially, those of our brothers and sisters who are found in the Middle East. I am currently listening to General Conference (this is the great blessing that God's children get every 6 months to listen to the words of the Lord as revealed to his living servants, the prophets--to receive recent revelations and guidance from God for us!). For the second time now I have heard the prophet Thomas S. Monson, one similar to Moses and Abraham, plea for us to pray for the opening of the nations where the gospel isn't accepted. Several decades ago, President Spencer W. Kimball (a previous prophet) issued a similar call to the population of the church. After this call, and the faith of the members of the church, the church received permission from the East German government to construct a temple in Eastern Germany!! Then, the "iron curtain" fell and our brothers and sisters in Russia were released from the shackles of Communism. The gospel was permitted in Russia, and I have a roommate who spent two years there preaching to the people. What a miracle! My parents, and many others from their generation and those older would have sworn that the Gospel in Russia was no realistic in their lifetime. However, the Lord had other plans. Now, we find the gospel in almost all parts of the world. It seems some of the last main bastions of deprivation to the Lord's fullest blessings remain in the Middle East, parts of Africa, and parts of Asia. Let us raise our prayers to the Lord so that He can soften the hearts and prepare the people for the preaching of His glorious gospel in these lands. It may seem unrealistic to our eyes for this to be accomplished soon, but what do we know? We don't have the foresight and wisdom of God. Only He can tell. Why should we sit in apathy and wait while our brothers and sisters of these admirable cultures struggle and strive to live without the true hope and happiness that the gospel can bring? Let us raise our voices to God so that they can sit and sing hymns to the Most High God forever more! I know that miracles can happen, I know that God loves His children in all parts of the world, I know that we can accomplish this! God lives and loves us!


(these aren't my picture, just found them online)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

You Know What Makes Me Sick?

Am I a Pessimist Sometimes? I've noticed I can be really judgmental sometimes and I let small things that seem like they should be common sense to everyone but no one seems to do them bother me. So I decided to dedicate this post to my top 10 things, in no particular order, that grind my gears about human kind:

10. People who walk on the wrong side of the hallway/stairs. If we drive on the right side, why can't we also walk? Wouldn't it facilitate life if we all had that uniformity?
9. People who stop to talk in door ways or in heavily traveled areas by people. DO they not realize that they are in the middle of everyone's path?!? I make it a goal to walk through those ignoramuses.
8. Guys who dress like fags. This list includes, but is not limited to: popped collars, pens in hats, under armor if there is not sport involved, excessive pink, colored shirts to church, tight pants, the feaux-hawk, the puff on the front of their heads, super tight shirts to show off their muscles, so on and so forth. Come on guys seriously? If you are this concerned about your appearance they have wonderful surgery in Hollywood that can fix you right up so that your gender matches the time you spend getting ready.
7. Girls who fall for the shallow guys described above.
6. Rap music, there is no sufficient explanation that can condone rap music, I don't care if it has a good beat for dancing (maybe early/mid 90's rap is mildly acceptable). What business do white guys living in Provo, Utah have listening to this garbage? If any statement was completely and unequivocally against everything that someone attending BYU should stand for, it can be found in the lyrics/videos/lifestyles of rap music. Plus, a white guy living in Provo is the exact antithesis of gangster, I would know, I lived in Compton, worked in Watts, and traveled the Projects/Ghetto at night. Don't tell me you think you're "gansta"
5. Uninformed/Ignorant people. I'm studying the most misunderstood culture in the world, the Middle East. I don't know how many terrorist comments I hear a week, or how much I hear that this area is backwards, or messed up, or whatnot. Until you have reached sufficient enlightenment about a certain culture, people, race, language, creed, belief, lifestyle, keep your fat gabber shut. No, sorry, the media is a far cry from reliable. The people are starving for the truth and those who are victims of our ignorance are suffocating from our ignorance. Get out there and learn, we can help so many of God's children if we but learn to understand them. (this is kind of an ironic point because it seems that this whole list is devoted to knocking what I just defended, but in my opinion the things I am bringing up are, well, common sense)
4. Political Parties. They are all so similar, the line is so blurred connecting them, and their corruptions are immense, severe, deep, and unforgivable. How many crimes have been committed in the name of politics or political parties? Why can't we see passed the lies and deceit and start to uphold men and women of virtue and morals. How about honesty? I am so sick of hearing about the affairs of our politicians. They are so sorry that they betrayed their families trust and our trust. That is bull crap. They are sorry they got caught, they are sorry that they can't always find pleasure in their wickedness.
3. Girls who use and manipulate guys in the way they dress, talk, leading guys on, not making up their minds, playing games, etc (and yes, we are just as guilty I know). Why can't we just be more straight forward and honest with each other? So much of life could be easier like this.
2. Hollywood. What a whorish abomination. This contemptible creation is responsible for the destruction of countless lives, literally and for countless spiritual lives. This engine for sin is responsible for condemning so many to a hellish existence on earth, and who knows what else in the next life. How many celebrities live lives of such wealth but so dead on the inside. They think the deserve favors and are above the law and everyone else. "Regular" people who can't make that money or live that lifestyle but dream of it and have to follow the gossip, watch the shows, and live vicariously through these lost "role models." How many aspiring actors and actresses have lost it all on the streets of Hollywood trying to catch the big one? I've seen them, I've been there. Hollywood is a whoredom.
1. Michael Moore, and the other unpatriotic people like him who are trying to bring down America from the inside out.


Let me finish off by saying that I really do love people. I love interacting with them, I love learning about them. And I love overcoming these 10 problems described above and getting to know why they are the way they are. So, while I profess to be religious, and I assure you that I am, I do try and give everyone the benefit of the doubt and to see that God does love them. No matter how far they have strayed, God does love them as much as He loves me. So, don't misunderstand me, I'm not filled with a venomous spite towards anyone.
CAIRO!!!!!!!!



So it is official (for now at least), I will be spending the end of April, all of May, June and July and much of August in Cairo, Egpyt! I can't believe that my life has taken such an incredible twist. 2 years ago I was innocently serving the Lord on a two year mission when I got exposed to the beautiful language of Arabic thanks to Noe Baham and a copy of the Book of Mormon translated in Arabic. Now, further down the road of life I find myself preparing to spend 4 months in a foreign country, more foreign than any of us realize and speaking an impossible language. What have I gotten myself into?!? I can't explain to you how excited I am to be spending so much time in such little time among such an incredible people!! Pray that God sees fit to bestow the gift of tongues upon me, that's the only way I am going to learn this complicated language!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

And so it begins...

One week of the new school year down! Don’t you think it’s criminal that one has to take finals and then start another semester of school all in the same month? I don’t think that’s morally ethical. Well, finals came and went and I did quite well really. I got A’s in Bowling and Teachings of the Living Prophets and (drum roll please) I set the curve along with Bethany Olsen on the Arabic final!!! That was my goal for the Arabic midterm, but I didn’t get that one, so when the final came around, I dominated it. I don’t know if I have made the public service announcement yet, but my sweet Mother has breast cancer. So, after finals, cleaning out the apartment and transferring my stuff to a new apartment I flew home to see Mom. She did the first round of chemo and it was pretty grueling, and now 3 weeks later she has had the 2nd round and is doing a little better. Her hair has already fallen out, my noble Father shaved his head so he could fit in with my mom. They both have been incredible and stalwart examples of love and devotion to each other and to God. What amazing parental units have I. Then after three long years I was reunited with my love, that’s right, I went CLIFF JUMPING!!!!! I was so happy. It was the best! So then I returned to BYU and had a week of work and fun. I went to the rope swing in Mona, that was wicked fun! My roommates all came and we had a sweet reunion, our apartment looks nice, you should come by and see it. At long last, school started. I am taking Arabic 201, history of Middle East, Humanities of Islam, Econ 110, and D&C. I’m really looking forward to my classes. It’s a pretty hefty load, and after a full week of classes I spent Tues, Wed, and Thurs night in the library. Football season is about to start, that should bring some fun times, lets hope that we can perform better. Girls are treating me all right, the girl I was dating and myself decided to take a break, not much has happened since then. Life is progressing, and I am having fun. The government is becoming more and more socialistic and corrupt, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is still the only true and living church of which the Lord can claim is own, and Arabic is the most amazing language ever. Hope all is well with you my dear readers, and lets see if I can’t be better at writing these days.


By way of pictures, a lot of my recent adventures have been posted on my other blog but i hope you do enjoy these:

Me with my sis Andy at the Depeche Mode concert

And me and friends cliff jumping in WA and at a rope swing in UT

And our hike to Timp in the Provo area

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Summer

So, it has been a while since I have last updated the blog, for that I apologize. In all honesty, I have been quite busy. Monday I have class straight from 9 till 2, then I work straight from 2-8. Then sometimes I go to the library after, so there are days when I am on campus well over 12 hours. Tuesday isn't much different. Arabic is keeping me super busy with an average of 4 quizzes a week. And my Teachings of the Living Prophets class is still going great! It's a reading intensive class, but it's fun. I love hearing about what God's living servants have to say for us. It really is a huge blessing to be able to be led and guided by these inspired men. Bowling is just awesome, it's a nice way to start the day. I am slowly getting the hang of the hook bowl, I got straight bowl down pretty well at one point (got 166 as my highest) but now I can't really do either well.
Enough with school, work. Work is going fine enough. Nothing really interesting to report that has been happening of late. I did find out that I will have the privilege of working Friday afternoons and Saturday evenings all fall semester! I hate how my boss does this to me. I guess because I was one of the last to give her my schedule she has done this to me? I don't know. If it ruins my chances of watching the football games, I am going to be angry. Work isn't that exciting though, so we'll change topics!
Relationships, I have kind of begun seeing a girl named Marie, she's really cool. I met her at work on campus. She's a really fun girl, we have been spending a bit of time together recently. We'll see where it takes us.
Other than that, life is going well. I shouldn't complain. God has really been good to me. Sorry I have no interesting pictures to put up. I haven't gone on a real adventure for some time. I'll try and change that.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

500!!!!

Five Hundred! Quinientos! !خُمسُمِية

I just wanted to take this time to thank you all my dear friends and readers for allowing me to live to see 500 views of my blog. Between this blog and my photography blog we were able to achieve 500 in 3.5 months. It humbles me to know that I am so loved! (only kidding) But seriously, thanks for reading and for your comments and feedback. Maybe I'll live to see 1000!

P.S. Enjoy looking at the pictures from our trip to Stewart Falls as well as another photo shoot!





Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summer School...

Well, we made a safe trek from Washington to Utah. It went without remark except for almost running out of gas. I am firmly convinced that we were going to run out of gas. I've done it before in my car and I can't think of any reason why we didn't except for one. My mom's faith. I had said a prayer, but was still losing hope, we we're so far from a station and had been below 'E' for so long. So after voicing my despair to my mom, she calmly and firmly said that we weren't because she had prayed. I knew that if I didn't have faith, she at least did. So I endeavored to trust in her and her faith. As it turns out, we made it to a station not a second too soon. Thanks mom for teaching me such a lesson. I spent some time at my sister's house, then I went to Provo and stayed with my Grandma and brother. It was nice to see them. We went back to my sisters, over to Ogden to my Aunt's and to Kayseville to my aunt's. It was a nice trip. But I am officially back in Provo. Before the weekend was over, I went to float Provo Canyon with some friends from my last ward. It was an awesome adventure. I highly recommend it. Cold water, but super fun nonetheless. The pictures below are from that. Monday I had the difficult task of being in class straight from 9-2 and then work from 2-8. Then I went home and moved in and bought groceries, not to mention do my homework for the next day. Arabic 102 is kicking my butt, but I think I'll manage. I still love it and get a rush out of speaking/reading it. What an incredible blessing I have been given. I just hope I can develop this talent. Wish me luck so I can survive summer school and continue making friends in this new ward. I, so far, have survived!



Monday, June 8, 2009

Life as I know it...

So, I have been spending an incredible break here in Washington. I have loved the time for working, and doing not much else. I have also loved spending time with my parents. The best part of it all is having time to read for fun. Freshman year of college and this past year of college I have not had time to read anything for pleasure really. While on the mission, we weren't allowed to read but four books. So, for four years I have not been really able to enjoy one of my favorite past times. So, in order to make up for it, I have been reading up a storm here, in addition to reading the Book of Mormon, and a book on the Atonement of Christ called the Infinite Atonement (both of which I very highly recommend) I have read 5 books-Angels and Demons, the Eragon series, and a book on the Middle East. Now I am diving into the depths of 1776, one I have been wanting to read ever since I haven't had time-4 years ago. So between reading, working endless hours at Subway, and the occasional singles ward activity, I am staying moderately busy. I took a physical for the ROTC and realized God has blessed me so dang much with such good health. Wow! I'm still trying to polish up a semesters worth of Arabic as well as learn some new vocabulary, what an awesome language. Other than that, life goes on much as it should for the summer break (except I haven't been to the lake, nor have I cliff jumped).
What surprised me was an epiphany I recently had. While working at the glorious store of Subway, I realized that this could be the last time I worked at the store. And since I only work while I'm home, that means that this could be the last time I am home for any appreciable amount of time. Why? Well, I am leaving the 16th for summer term classes, then I'll be there for Fall and Winter classes as well. Following that time, I have the awesome opportunity to do a study abroad in the Middle East for my major. Which means I will be gone all summer. And when I get back, I'll be running off for Fall and Winter classes again. And, as the Arabs say إِن شَأ الله which means, if God wills it, I will be married during the course of that time. Then, I will finish school, join the Air Force for four years, quit that and then join the government in some sort of foreign service job. Thus, my life starting in 2 weeks, will spiral into the craziness of adulthood-a change I am reluctant to make, but determined to succeed in. So, life as I know it is changing fast, and dramatically.
On a less reflective note, leaving Mackenzie Madsen's house last Thursday, Cami Nelson and I saw her truck headlights reflecting in the weeds in front of us, and it was awesome. So these shots are a few from that adventure. Enjoy!
































Friday, May 29, 2009

At Long Last...

So, plans didn't work out as we had hoped and we had to make an unfortunate layover on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. So, now that all the suspense is over, I can finally finish the arduous task of giving a play by play on our adventures.
So, we left Japan around the afternoon and took a 8 hour flight from Japan to Hawaii. That's a a short way in a long time, and to make matters worse, we weren't in the most comfortable of planes as evidenced below. It was in a military plane that provided awkward seats with cargo 2 feet in front of us. However, arrive we did. This is where it got sticky. We arrived at midnight Hawaii time. Now, we have been awake for 16+ hours, 8 of which were traveling, there are a ton of loud and rambunctious little kids, and we are in an airport terminal. No rental cars were available and no hotels would answer their phones at 2 in the morning. There were no chance of sleeping with the noise and with small seats with arm rests that refuse to allow you to be comfortable. So, I half dosed for a short while, read, watched TV, and did stuff of the like. Then I had the brilliant idea to go and take pictures of the sunrise, and brilliant it was!! This is what I was privileged to see, but because I am still a rookie in photography I wasn't fully able to grasp the beauty of it. Then, things took a turn for the better.





It started like this...










And ended like this...


















Bird of Paradise...in paradise












We got a taxi and rode to the air force owned beach and relaxed for several hours there. The following are pictures of our activities. I spent most of the time on the beach reading Angels and Demons when I could steal it from my sister. I also swam alone, kayaked with my sis, played frisbee all by my lonesome, ate with the others, took a nap which resulted in a nice sunburn, and took some fun pictures. I hope you enjoy. Well, we returned to the terminal for a few more hours where we played cards, read, and napped again. Eventually our flight left around 4ish. I got the great honor to sit in the cockpit and watch takeoff with the other pilots. I enjoyed it. After another highly exciting 6 hours in the plane we arrived finally in Spokane. Doug Nelson was there at the terminal to pick us up and shephard us home. Shortly after my father had to buy a ticket and fly to Seattle to pick up our car which was parked there. Then drive 5 more hours home along. That, however, marks the end of our journey! Enjoy the pictures!! You can find some more on my facebook album that I recently put up, it's devoted to the trip. Thanks for your attention during this adventure!





I thought it was funny...









Place to rent equipment







The beautiful









We went kayaking, it was a lot of fun




Saturday, May 23, 2009

JAPAN!!!! (again)

I left Singapore in the grasp of a tropical thunderstorm while reclining on the 3 empty chairs next to me in the plane eating a delicious meal compliments of the stewardess. Could life get better?!? YES! We watched 3 in flight movie. We were on top of the world (almost literally) living like kings (quite unliterally). So we arrived in Japan and went to bed! The next day we jumped aboard the bullet train and cruised 6 hours to the other part of the island. So besides from the delightful detail, we just spent that whole day traveling as well. Then the fun started!



Waiting for the trains...a daily occurrence




We went to Hiroshima. It was a very sobering thought to see where the only nuke has been used as a warhead. While I do regret the evil that the bomb was, I am glad we won the war! It was really sad though, a dark spot on our history. The area around the hypocenter was converted into a peace park and there was a museum commemorating it. Here's my proof!



Hiroshima Before







Hiroshima after







The domed building right
below the explosion of the
bomb. It survived.




We also went to an island called Miyajima. It was my favorite day all around. It was a beautiful island full of temples, pagodas, shrines, and tamed deer who would eat straight from your hand. If you didn't offer it, they would come to you. However, the best part was renting bikes and riding them around the island-cool weather, beautiful ocean, beautiful mountains, ancient temples, modern markets=FANTASTIC time!!




The friendly deer








A sweet arch







A tunnel we biked through








All of us champs on our bikes





And to cap off that beautiful day, I made a very important purchase. Yup, that's right, SAMURAI SWORDS!! Two of them, with a stand. What a glorious day.
The next day we stopped in the city of Kyoto and saw another temple. Then we traveled back to Tokyo and stayed in a high class hotel that the military owned for cheap. It was amazing. The next day we went to the temple (our temple, the LDS temple) in the morning and my dad and I sat around the house while my sister and mom shopped. Then at night my mom wanted to buy these porcelain bowls that she could only get at a certain store that closed within the hour. So my mom, dad, and I ran out the door and jumped on a couple of trains and sped walked downtown among the hustling bustling teens and tweens who were gobbling up all sorts of merchandise (mostly clothing). So much for the economic recession. We got there in time, bought the bowls, and returned home. That basically ended our trip in Tokyo. We returned to the military base and hung out for the next day.



I loved the temples there







The Tokyo Temple




And for your viewing pleasure, other fun pictures from Japan



Japanese students playing with birds






A cool shrine, the water was supposed to surround it, but tide was out, so it was just dry and crabby







The sweet night life








My sister looking through a peep hole





























Then we flew out early morning...which got delayed to afternoon. And we had an unexpected layover. "But where Sean?" might you ask.

to be continued....