Sunday, May 29, 2011

Those People We Call Stupid

Friday was my last day of work in the U.S. for the next year. Working at the library was fun, and I made good friends with my coworkers. We had potluck days and shared funny stories and mostly always worked really well together.

There was only one element of working in the public library that I sometimes disliked: the public.

Usually everything was fine, but nothing drove me up the wall like the patrons who needed their hand held for everything. It also seemed that I was the go-to guy, especially when it had to do with computer issues. I think they came to me for two and a half reasons.

1 - The other librarians often directed the patron to me.
2 - Because I'm young and wear glasses and own a Kindle and iPod (and look like a nerd, I guess), people assume that I have no social life and can do anything on a computer because the computer is my only friend. (While the computer isn't my only friend, the rest is mostly accurate.)
2.5 - I'm too nice to tell them to solve their own stupid problems, so they keep coming back to me.

There are far too many examples of patrons needing help for me to even get started, and I doubt I could express in writing the amount of eye-rolling that took place. Just remember, next time you go to your public library, be nice to the librarians, and do everything you can to solve your own problems. I loved helping people find books and information, but I never liked helping someone pay their bills online, help them fill out divorce papers, explaining email, helping them write a report, or cleaning up after the kids AND their parents because they didn't feel like taking care of themselves. I can sort of empathize with Agatha Trunchbull, headmistress of Crunchem Hall Elementary School, when she says "My idea of a perfect school [or in my case, library] is one in which there are no children at all." I am liking the Trunchbull more and more.

Though there were those people who were helpless and rude, there were also people who were so clueless that it was hard not to laugh out loud. One of the best examples took place just last week. A guy in his 20s came in wanting to use a computer over by the windows. I told him that he should pick a computer pass with a number above 30 then. He picked up a card with the number 3 on it. I thought maybe he just misheard me, so I politely repeated that he would need a different card, one above number 30. He seemed to understand, and set number 3 down. And then picked up number 24. I just grabbed number 31 and handed it to him and pointed him in the direction of the computer...I wonder if he ever found it.

I know we all have our own stupid moments, but I hope they are only just moments. I fear for the people who only have those moments, how do they function?

I had my own stupid moment on my way to Disneyland two weeks ago: I stopped at my grandparents house on the way, and we got on the subject of my car's oil. My oil wasn't quite topped off when I checked it, but it was close. Anyway, my grandpa asked if it was cold when I checked it, and I said "No, it was about as warm at home as it is here." I'm pretty sure everyone there thought I was dumber than a box of hair.

Let's hope that those we call stupid (myself included) provide laughter - with, not at - and fond memories when looking back, rather than annoyance and frustration. Funny things make us happy, and happy people just don't shoot their husbands. They just don't.

I Love Technology

I am the new owner of a netbook. It's shiny, deep blue, and small enough to take anywhere, like South Korea. It also has a grippy cover so it won't slip out of my hand and dash into a million pieces on a sidewalk in a crowded place where people would feel bad for me, but would ultimately keep walking, only trying to not step on the pieces that litter their path. I named it TRON.

Nice Day for a White Wedding

My younger brother is now married. The wedding and reception were perfect and beautiful, and lots of family and friends showed up. I stood in "the line" and shook a million hands, but it was still fun. I particularly enjoyed going into the handshake looking firm, but then going totally dead in the other persons hand; my aunt said that shaking a dead fish made her nauseous. After shaking hands for 90 minutes, I decided I was done, so I simply left the line, and went to eat cake. If anyone felt annoyed at my departure, nothing was said to me.
Somebody (Mom) kept telling people about my forthcoming adventure to South Korea, and I was asked about it by like 40 different people. Although I was getting tired of explaining it, I did get rather good at condensing the whole thing to just a few words: "Yeah, I'm leaving in about 3 weeks to be an English teacher. Yes, I'm really excited. No, I don't know Korean. Is there any cake left?"
There were a few people who really did seem genuinely interested in my adventure, and I really appreciated them. For most other people, it was just [seemingly] insincere small-talk. Among my favorite new acquaintances was a woman from England - she married one of my dad's friends - and she was so nice and friendly. We talked about London and other travels...I think it would be fun to visit with her again sometime.
The whole day long we had perfect weather (except for the ever-present winds in my poor provincial town) and could not have asked for better. I had two songs in my head all day, the first - and most obvious - was "White Wedding" by Billy Idol, and the other was "All the Lovers" by Kylie Minogue. I have another brother who can scream-sing "White Wedding" pretty good, and since he is in Guatemala on a mission right now, he was unable to come. The song was a tribute to both the groom and to the missionary, I guess. (Just sayin', I can do a pretty good job at that song too...) The other song, by Kylie, was mostly in my head because I heard it the other day and liked it.
The day was long, but good in every way, and when I cam home around 9 pm I was so tired that I fell asleep while waiting for my computer to turn on. I woke up around 4 am and probably wandered around my house for a minute, then went back to sleep. Wow, that was a great story....
So, for now, I'm the older, unmarried, currently unemployed son who lives in my parents' basement and only occasionally plays video games. I suspect that I will be reminded of this fact by my dear siblings often.
But hey, at least I'm a college graduate, right?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Happiest Place on Earth - Part 2

I'm back from Disneyland! Best vacation ever! Everything went without a hitch, and I had a blast with my brother and my friends. I spent 3 days hopping between California adventure and Disneyland and enjoying the small crowds and (mostly) perfect weather. It rained on Tuesday morning until about noon, but it was fine by me because there were no lines to wait in!
My sagely advice to anyone planning a Disney trip is this: Go during the middle of the week when school is in session. Maybe include a weekend day to see the shows.
Seriously, my brother and  I waited about 40 minutes for two different rides on the weekend day that we were there, and everything else - for the whole trip - was less than 20. After Fantasmic, Disneyland was deserted! I took a picture of my brother about a half hour after the show and there is no one in sight! We literally walked up to the Pirates boat, the Mansion's Doom Buggy, and Indy's Jeeps. It was awesome!
The following days our little group had more people in it so we didn't get around as quickly, but we still had a blast.
We saw the new-ish water show, World of Color, and it was really amazing. How they get lit-up water to shoot in a straight jet 200 feet in the air is beyond me. There was also a techno dance party called elecTRONica which was pretty cool. I'm afraid I'm one of the fanboys it was created for.
I also went to Toon Town for the first time, and it was actually way more fun than I had thought it would be; we went into Minnie's house, and then to Mickey's. I didn't really know what to expect, but I did NOT expect to see the Mouse himself while I was there! We got our pictures with Mickey at the very end of our Disneyland vacation, and it was a perfect ending.

In other news, I'm back to my Poor Provincial Town, and when I checked the mail today, behold! my background check results had arrived! I'm officially innocent! Now I'm REALLY on track to getting to Korea. Truthfully, I was getting nervous that it was taking too long since I already gave my leave notice at work. Today I was wondering what I would do with no job or money while I waited for paperwork to go through...well now I can quit worrying!
My next few days will consist of pushing papers and getting stuff done so I can be off within the next 3 weeks.

Ah! The future is coming!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Happiest Place on Earth

So now I'm an adult and no longer have to worry about school or homework. Suddenly wasting time online isn't as fun. My hours at work are in the evening, so I have no big motivation to wake up bright and early in the morn. Otherwise, my life feels the same as it did during school, except for the happy absence of Spanish-Class stress (by the way, I got a B- as my final grade -- best B- ever!).

In much more exciting news,I'm going to Didneelan! I haven't been in a couple years, and this time I'm going with some of my best friends. I'm so excited! I printed off my ticket and lovingly put it into an envelope to keep it secret, and keep it safe.

My journey starts tonight! The rest of my household will be sitting at home feeling sad as they are not in the happiest place on earth.

Of Shoes and Ships and Sealing-Wax, Of Cabbages and Kings

Shoes
I take pretty good care of my shoes. I still have shoes that I wore in high school - true, they are ratty and old, but they are prefect play-shoes, and they have been all over the world, so they have some sentimental value. Still, as soon as they are unwearable, they are unceremoniously going into the trash.
No matter how good I treat my shoes, the soles wear away, and that makes me sad. Luckily, my work shoes (my nicer ones) don't get the wear and tear that my regular shoes do.

Ships
Once upon a time I went to Ireland. I had a frabjous time seeing beautiful sites and chasing leprechauns and looking for puffins at the Cliffs of Moher. My stay was scheduled for 3 days, with a flight back to London on the third day. But woe! The Icelandic Volcano Eyjafjallaj√∂kull did erupt again and our flight was cancelled! After much stress and headache and stomach-churning worry, a way back to London materialized. Bus and ferry! The bus on which I travelled was green and left Dublin to some ship yard, then onto the ship in the bowels of the metal beast. As the bus parked, all the passengers went to the main area of the ship, and it was finely decorated, like unto a large dining hall at a fancy hotel. The Ship set sail near 10 pm and would take four hours to cross the sea. Once the ship docked, passengers were loaded back onto the bus and driven to London. I slept most of the 6 hour bus ride, and good thing, too, for the driver was falling asleep as well, and had I known it, I wouldn't have been able to sleep worry-free as I did. In fact, I probably would not have slept at all.

Sealing Wax
Last Christmas I asked Santa for sealing wax and a stamp, and hurray for Christmas, I did receiveth. I gotta say, sealing envelopes is way fun. Why it ever went out of style is beyond me. Melting the wax is fun. Dripping the wax if fun. Stamping the wax is fun. Looking at it is fun. I don't think eating the wax would be fun.

Cabbages
My Korean adventure is coming up soon, and I'm just now beginning to get those menacing butterflies in my stomach. It would be funny to throw up those butterflies and watch them flutter away into the sky. You know how you usually feel much better after throwing up? I think that after throwing up butterflies you would feel extra good. Happy, even.
I've heard some things about Korean food, namely Kimchi. A friend once described Kimchi as "Rotted cabbage in a hot-pepper sauce," and I have to admit, it doesn't sound good. I'm not one to not try something new, but I am a tad nervous to try something that seems so wrong.

Kings
America doesn't have a Royal Monarchy. I'm fine with that. But England, on the other hand, does have such rulers. What they do these days, I'm not sure. Nevertheless, I love England! I studied Shakespeare and English Literature there last summer. I think I would like to live and work there in the future, either at the British Library, or one of the many fascinating museums. If anyone knows how to make my dream a reality (sans a TV show), I hope they read this.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hello World - I'm a Graduate!

I'm an SUU Alumnus!
The last week and a half of my life was so busy and wonderful!
For some reason, I thought staying up ALL night to watch that Royal Wedding would be fun...and actually it was sorta fun, but only because I was with my friend Rachel. We made head-pieces that would've fit right in with the hats people were wearing to the marvelous marriage. Anyway, after being up all night, I decided I ought to get some sleep before I had to go to work, so I went home and went to bed at 6:30 or so. And it wasn't even finals week yet!
Then the weekend happened and I had to write a big paper (which was my only paper this semester for finals, amazingly) and I stayed up all night again to get it all done, and I succeeded. My biggest issue with procrastination is that I always manage to get my work done, so I never seem to learn my lesson.
"12 pager on Dostoevsky and Kafka due in 2 days [or tomorrow]? No big deal, I've stayed up late to get my homework done before, no problem!"
 Anyway, at least I won't be staying up late to write any papers for a long time...

Besides that paper, I had two tests, Music Theory and Spanish. Shame on me, but I hardly studied for either of them. Music was pretty easy all semester, and I gave up caring about Spanish class - as long as I passed - ages ago. As I finished my Spanish test, I consciously had to restrain myself from yelling hallelujahs as I nearly floated out the of the classroom. In the hallway and lobby of the building there were tons of people also finished with their tests, and the air was abuzz with the excitement of summer and graduation. It was infectious. The air outside was perfect and pollen-free, and the grass was screaming for attention.

This time, my last moment of school definitely felt like it finished with a bang. It was a bang that was  in my mind, but it was there nonetheless.

I wanted to do a "one-last-get-together" with my friends, so we met at Denny's at midnight. Like 20 people came! It was a smashing success. As fun as it was, there was some bitter-sweetness to the occasion, as it truly would be our last hang-out, maybe forever.

Then cameth the pomp and circumstance of graduation(s)!

I graduated from Institute on Thursday, afterward my parent took me to dinner, and I had a Cajun shrimp pasta that was SO good.

But the real deal of graduation happened Friday and Saturday. Friday was Commencement, and one of my English friends gave the student graduation address. He did such an amazing job! I felt better about my future because of what he said than anything else said during Commencement. My family was there and took pictures and supported me, like always (they're the best) and later I went to have cookies and fruit-scented water with all the people on campus.

Saturday morning was when the HSS department awarded diplomas, and the meeting went by quickly and smoothly. I was able to sit with my English friends for all the ceremonies, and I was even dorky enough to bring a sharpie so they could sign my program, which they all so kindly did.

After some last picture-taking, I gave my hugs and dry-cried as I said goodbye to my friends. Quite a few of  us are going to diverse places, but luckily facebook helps us know about our friends' lives if we like it or not. I feel like we'll stay in touch.

And now I'm writing this. It's the night between Sunday and Monday. I have no homework to do, or even to put off, as I'm prepping for a vacation that I leave for in less that a week. Following that, I will only be in my Poor Provincial Town for a few more weeks before I head of to -literally- the other side of the world to be an English Teacher in South Korea.
Who knew futures could come so fast?!

In other news, Sunday was Mother's Day. I love my mom! She is so good to me and my family. She also makes the best cookies EVER! Also, because of the holiday, missionaries are allowed to call home. I got to talk to my brother, who is in Guatemala for a little while, and it was really good to hear how he is doing. After talking to him, I went over to the house of my favorite family to visit, and because my other friend, also a missionary, was going to call home. It was wonderful to talk to her! She is one of my very best friends ever, and it's been hard to have her gone. Anyway, since I'm going to South Korea for a year, I'll get back just before she does, and when we finally can play again, our adventures will shake the earth and both animals and humankind will know that we are totally awesome.

So, here's to a totally sappy (but meaningful) post. Friends truly make life better. Getting a hug from a friend can be the best medicine there is. The future is as bright I make it. This post is kinda too long.

But, to conclude, after everything of the last few days was over, I flipped through my program and read what my friends wrote. Everything was nice and good, but at the very end of the book, at the bottom of the page, my friend Joseph wrote "With a bang!"
It was both the perfect finish to college and the perfect opening for the rest of my life.
Wish me luck!