Sunday, August 29, 2010

Summer 2010 Almanac

Well, here you have it ladies and gentlemen, the summer is now officially over! Before school starts, I'd like to take a few moments, and review all the activities of the summer:

# Sunburns: 3 (maybe more)

# Trips to Bear Lake: 3

# Dates: 0

# Trips to Lagoon: 1

# Hours worked at Walmart: Not Enough

# Movies watched: 56 kajillion

# Trips to Boise: 2

# Costco lunches: 4

# Cafe Rio lunches: 6

# Pages scrapbooked: 40+

# Cookies made: 100+

# Lasting memories: Innumerable

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bring. It. On.

School starts this next week.


I know, I already had this post. I would say that the summer went by way too quick, but for me, it really wasn't that fast anyway. Just a normal summer time, I guess. I wish I had gotten to work more hours at WalMart in the beginning of the summer when I had time to afford to, but I guess they just really want to work me a normal amount of hours now that school is starting. Makes sense, right?

So basically I don't know what I'm talking about here; I just felt like I needed to post something.

Let's see - yesterday was pretty fun: I went to the D.I. with the roommates to buy work pants and a couple pairs of jeans for school(I sometimes like to pretend that people around me can't tell I'm wearing the same pair of jeans to school every day, but I'm starting to think maybe they do notice...).

After piano lessons, I went up to campus and rollerbladed around campus for an hour with my friend Albert(thanks Jordann for letting me borrow a pair!). After, I found a friend willing to go to country dancing night, and met up with Albert and company again. Actually, I met a really nice guy there, and sat and talked with him for about 45 minutes (more like screamed at him; the speakers were a tad too loud). Here's the kicker - after all that time sitting talking with me, I kept waiting, but he never asked for my number! Really? What the heck does it take to get someone to ask for my number around here?! Really, I'm curious, because it's never happened to me!

Well, I don't know what the purpose of this post was, but I hope it enlightened a few of you. Basically, school starts next Monday, I'm taking 18 credit hours, working at Walmart part-time, and teaching a couple piano lessons a week.

Bring it on!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Encounters in Costco

I can't go anywhere without meeting someone I know or someone I have a mutual friend with. And usually, Costco is the place to go to find those people.

I went to Ogden this morning with my 2 roomies, to do some shopping, and in JC Penney, Megan was asking me if I liked a certain skirt she wanted. I said it wasn't my favorite, but I would support her in her decisions on cuteness, when a random lady ran up, grabbed Megan, and whispered loudly, "It's CUTE!" She repeated it over a few times, while Megan and I just nervously stared at her.

Weirdest thing ever.

Then in Costco (we went just for lunch), some random man sat by us. He grabbed Megan's wrist, and asked, "Are you a hippie?"


I piped in with, "Are YOU a hippie?"

"I'm a recovering hippie. Where were you the summer of 1967?"

Megan: "Nonexistent."

"Well, I never made it to Woodstock....blah blah blah...."

He mumbled off and turned away. In his defense, Megan was wearing a bracelet that had a peace sign on it. So, maybe she could have been a hippie.

We three, Kendra, Megan and I looked at each other with odd faces. Then an elderly gentleman sat down across from this other dude. Said dude saw one of his old friends and called out and had a small conversation. After said conversation was over, he turned to us and said, "What do you say when an old friend asks you how your son is doing....and your son is now gay?"

I replied with, "Well, just tell him your son is doing fine, and don't say anything else."

He then proceeded to tell us about his son and how he decided to turn gay and has never been more miserable and he hoped for some more grandchildren.

We tried to politely ignore him. Didn't work.

After some more nonsense about how stupid our young generation is - "Do you even know who Nancy Reagan IS?!" - he got up and said he had to go.

I said, "Well, good luck." Then he was gone.

The elderly gentleman's wife sat down across from him, and they started up a conversation with us. Luckily, they were pretty normal. Found out they were from Logan area originally, and lived in Ogden. When they found out Megan was from Syracuse, they said they had family in Syracuse - did we know any Hamblins?

So I just met my old ward organist, Rochelle Hamblin's, sister.

Small world. And we only had to meet a couple of crazies to meet one nice couple.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Post in Which I Might Hurt Someone

Yep. I'm pretty angry right now. 2 minutes before I had to leave for work today, I got a phone call. From a piano students' parent.


"Hi, this is so-and-so."

"Oh, hi! How are ya?"

"We want to pay you for the piano books you purchased for us {3 weeks ago}, but we need to cancel lessons. Things have just been too busy, my girls aren't happy, and you're not happy."

"Oh, ok, I'm actually totally fine, but I understand if you need to quit."

"Well, I know that I don't make my girls practice enough but they don't need to hear those things from you every single week and be compared to all your other students anymore."

"Um, ok..."

"So what's your address so I can mail you the check for the books?"

I proceeded to give her my address and then ended the call.

Ok. First of all. I have never compared my students in a negative way to any other person or student. The only comparing I may do in a lesson is, "Wow, you're moving so quickly through these books! This is so fast!" And usually, those comparisons are only made known to the parent, when the parent asks.

Ok. Second, these girls never ever ever practiced. I start lessons by asking how the week went, did they do anything fun, how did practicing go, were there any really tough spots in the songs. Then if they say practicing was good, and they sound like they didn't practice more than a day, I have to ask them how many times they practiced, and then it's confirmed that there was only one run through of the 2-3 songs assigned. I have spent a lot of time talking to the girls (in a kind way) about what were good ways to remember to practice, and talking about different ways to motivate them to want to practice.

Of course, if this had happened once or twice, I wouldn't have talked to them about what we should change. However, this happened every week after the first month of lessons.

What makes me really upset about this whole thing though, is that I had about 10 students a few weeks ago. I knew I wasn't going to be able to handle that many during the school year, so I had to call half my students (I went to the students who were too young first, then to those who had been skipping a lot, or had taken the summer off, etc.) and tell them I couldn't teach lessons anymore. So I narrowed it down to 5. And these 3 students' parent knew that I had narrowed my students down. So now, I am down to 2 students, and those two students have lessons at opposite ends of the valley, and at opposite times of the evening.

Right now I'm really angry, and want to cry that I keep letting people do this to me, telling me that I'm crappy and not stand up for myself.

I'm sad for these 3 girls, who were really great and sweet girls, but just needed a little prodding to practice. I know that they don't have many other hobbies, and it makes me sad that the one hobby I do know that they were starting to pick up, they are not being encouraged to work at. Nothing comes for free. Speaking of free, they haven't paid me for about a month of my time.

And they think I'm the one who's doing things wrong?

Thanks everyone for letting me vent! Otherwise I might explode from everything!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hablar el Idioma del Amor

It's no secret that there are a lot of hispanic people in the USA right now, and in Utah. I get to help a lot of them at Walmart all the time.

A few stereotypes that definitely don't apply to every Latino customer:

Lots of tomatoes. Lots of corn on the cob.

Paying in cash only.

Beef tongue. *shudder*

Ok, that's pretty much it.

About half of the Latino customers have their children (sometimes only 4 or 5 years old) come in with them, and translate everything I say for them. Every once in a while I'll cut in with what the parent asks their child (to translate back to me) and answer their question, before it's been translated. Sometimes there is a look of shock, other times they don't even realize I understood them.

I love being able to use what I learned in school. I remember wanting to take French in middle school, and I think that would've been cool, but I'm glad I listened to my parents' advice and took Spanish. I don't think I've met more than 4 or 5 people since then who actually speak French natively. Spanish has been so much more useful for me!

Tonight I was ringing up an order for some customers who looked Hispanic, and was using a WIC check. On this specific WIC check, only 'fresh fruits and vegetables up to $6.00' could be purchased. They had only gotten $3.00 worth of fruit and veggies, so I asked them if they had any other fruits they wanted to add on. They both smiled at me with blank stares, and I could tell the husband was trying really hard to process what I had just said.

"Do you speak Spanish?"

A bigger smile came over the woman's face as she said yes, and I proceeded to try and ask her the same question about the fruit in Spanish. They then understood, and started asking me if they could put some more 'platanos' on the order. I said, "I don't see why not," but I was translating 'platanos' to mean plantains, and felt incredibly stupid when he brought back bananas. Oh yeah. Platanos are bananas....

I helped them through the rest of the order, found out they were from Mexico (though I wasn't really thinking it would be anywhere else...), and they talked with me about all the different people who come from the south to live in Mexico, how they had come to Utah a year ago, and asked me where I learned Spanish, etc.

I just love being able to speak their language, and it's even more amazing to me that I'm able to finally understand most of what they say. I mean, I'm by no means fluent (or else I'd be a lot quicker to help in Spanish), but I can at least understand the general idea.

Lesson: Learn a language!

As one Spanish speaking customer said to me, "When one person speaks two languages.." Ok, I didn't actually understand the rest, I just nodded my head and smiled.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Home Teachers

Any girls out there remember home teaching in a singles ward?

It's rather awkward. My first set of home teachers in my freshman on campus ward acted like they were just meeting us for the first time every time they saw us.

"Well, I'd just like to introduce myself and my companion, this is Joe, and here's Andrew."

"Um, yeah, I talked to you yesterday, and you were actually here at our apartment 2 weeks ago, and then the month before that as well...."

"Oh really? Huh....that's weird."

Also, lessons are always a delight. I remember the last time Megan and my home teachers came over in that ward, they were 5 minutes early, and left before they were supposed to get there. I think they read a verse of scripture and left.

Hey - it's the thought that counts, right?

In the ward I'm in right now, we met our home teachers for the first time in November - they just lived across the way; we could wave to them at their apartment if they were outside. They first came in November, and after the initial visit, I tried to find them in church, to help them out with coming the next month. Never saw them again.

With the summer came new home teachers, who only were paired together and assigned 2 weeks ago. Just in time for fall semester to start, and new home teachers to be assigned. They showed up today, and stayed for a whole 12 minutes. Actually, that's pretty impressive for here.

Do you think it's awkward that I went to high school with our home teacher's ex-fiance?

Me either.

Singles wards are great.