Friday, September 20, 2013

A Woman Named "Ida" / I am a Borderline Terrible Liar.

Whenever I am driving, and I pass a light rail station, I start cracking up.  Other drivers are probably thinking, "She's on something."  Trust me, my uncontrollable giggling is justified.  Some years ago, when I was 17-years-old, my dear friend, Taylor, and I took the light rail to Phoenix.  We took our seats towards the back of the shuttle, and I noticed an old (I mean ancient) woman gazing at me intently.  She was sitting next to an equally ancient man.
At the next stop she said, "My young dear... are you, what's the word... Chinese?"  I affirmed her speculation, and a look of pure glee filled her countenance.  "Oh, what fun!! You see here... I am a caretaker to this man, and he looks Asian, don't you think? I was wondering if you could speak to him, in his native language! Oh, by the way, dear... I believe he's deaf."  I politely explained to her that I did not speak Chinese, and we might encounter a challenge, given that he's deaf.  Also, I was a bit concerned that a 90-year-old was a caretaker for another 90-year-old... I mean, isn't that counterproductive?

The conversation continued. "I beg your pardon -- you don't speak Chinese? Hm... I should like to meet your parents.  Anyway, my name is Ida,and I would like to take a picture of you next to this Asian man, here. A Chinese person smiling next to another Chinese person... what fond memories this shall inspire!"  And so, my picture is in Ida's scrapbook. Normally, this would be frightfully concerning, but this is Ida we're talking about -- she just wanted a picture.  She asked me my name, and I told her.

Then, things got a bit personal. "My dear, are you dating anybody?" I panicked... I seriously thought she was intending to set me up with a 90-year-old, deaf, wrinkly, Chinese man. "Oh Bekki... no need to answer that question.  With a pretty face like yours, I am certain that you have a young man! Just a word of advice... do not kiss a young man, until you are standing with him on the altar.  If that son-of-a-biscuit attempts to kiss you beforehand, well... Lord have mercy... he's only after one thing.  Perhaps, I should buy you a promise ring..." Holy stars, I was uncomfortable.  Meanwhile, Taylor is cracking up.  For some reason, Ida wasn't too interested in Taylor... probably because she isn't Asian.

Ida grew so fond of me that she invited me to the Phoenix zoo, the following Saturday morning.  Wrinkly-Asian-deaf-man would come, too, of course.  I freaked, and I failed to even consider what I was about to say. A terrible lie parted from my lips.  Actually, several terrible lies parted from my lips: "Uh... I have Church on Saturday..."  Really, Bekki? That was stupid, but Ida bought it. "Well, that hardly surprises me, dear! You're so pious.  I was thinking about going to the zoo in the wee hours of morning.  Would that be more accommodating for your schedule?"  Crap. "Well, Church starts quite early on Saturday... 5 am, even! You know how we religious folks are... we're so... uh... spiritual."  At this point, Taylor lost it.  She was quivering with laughter, but Ida failed to notice.  The blessed woman was too busy admiring this young-Chinese-girl, the paragon of virtue and piety.  Thankfully, Taylor and I had to get off the shuttle, but Ida left me with a firm hug and a parting gift.  She gave me a picture of her, embracing a Mesquite tree, and her address was written on the back. 

I never wrote Ida.  I feared that she would hunt me down, take me to the zoo, or force me to engage in some kind of ritual in which I would vow to never kiss men until I married.  It was a pleasure, however, to meet such a passionate and vibrant 90-year-old woman.  As I got off the light rail shuttle, Taylor playfully shoved me, and said, "YOU, my friend, are a terrible liar." I concurred.

Monday, September 16, 2013

College Student Gone Crazy.

There comes a point during the school semester where I go crazy.  Last year, I went crazy during finals which is perfectly acceptable and understandable.  Massive tests are approaching, English professors form a cult and decide to assign papers...all at the same time, and the last days of the semester seem to drag on for eternity.  Well... I think I'm in trouble.  I'm starting to experience the crazy symptoms now, and it is only the fourth week of the semester.  What's my excuse for going crazy? Heck... I haven't the slightest clue. I'm ahead of the game in school, I'm doing well in my classes, and I'm achieving somewhat of a balance in my undergraduate career.  But no... the signs are apparent. Craziness manifests itself in three ways...

1 -- I put items in the wrong places.  Last semester, I put my textbooks in the fridge.  I didn't think anything of it until I opened the fridge to get some water, and I saw the chilled books.  A couple days ago, I made some grilled cheese. (Okay, I've been eating grilled cheese for every meal), but anyway, I had to put the butter and the spatula away.  An hour later, I noticed this....  Heaven forbid... what if I put milk in the pantry?
2 -- I have ridiculously unusual dreams.  Usually, I have no recollection of my dreams, but such was not the case a few nights ago. I dreamed that I was pregnant, as in 6-months-pregnant, something's-in-my-body, my-mom-is-freaking, pregnant.  I was just curious, and I looked up some dream interpretations.  Apparently, "pregnant dreams" reflect a desire to wield power and authority.  Huh - that's funny.

3 -- I think obsessively about puppies.  Last semester, when I was super stressed, I looked at puppy pictures, I watched puppy videos, and I looked at donation centers for puppies.  Now, I want a puppy so flipping badly.  I went to the grocery story, and a woman was selling a Rottweiler puppy for $300.  I wanted that thing... I thought, "I can buy him. I can take care of him. He can eat the bugs in my house. He can attack the creepers in my neighborhood.  He will be a good dog.  He will come to school with me.  He will be my dog.  I'll name him Henry."

That's how I know I am going crazy, and the semester has yet to truly kick in.  So... if in a month or two, you see me in the middle of a street in the fetal position with a paper bag over my head accompanied by a dog named Henry, you know that my descent into madness has reached its pinnacle.  Brace yourself, world.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Testimony of the Believer.

Recently, I have been called as a ward missionary in the Towne Lake YSA Ward, and what a blessing this has been.  Last semester, I had the most amazing missionary experience of my life -- I made friends with an international exchange student from China, and as I invited her to Institute and missionary discussions, I saw a remarkable transformation in her.  She embraced the Gospel and the scriptures with all of her heart, she showed a deep love for the Lord, and she lived her life in accordance with God's will, despite the protests of her family and culture.  Attending the missionary discussions as well as her baptism had a profound influence on my life, and I realized why people often say that there is no greater joy than engaging in missionary work.  I add my testimony to such sentiments.

Being called as a ward missionary confirmed, in my heart, that Heavenly Father is aware of my sincerest desires.  I want to build up the kingdom of God, I want to be an instrument in His hands, and I want to make a difference in the lives of others.  With this calling, I have that sacred opportunity.  About a week ago, I attended a missionary discussion with our ward missionaries.  We taught an investigator from Haiti, and his knowledge of the gospel was astounding.  We felt the Spirit strongly, and it was so humbling to learn from this investigator's faith.  When asked why he followed Christ, he stated, "I believe in Christ.  And when you believe in something with all of your heart, why wouldn't you follow Him?"  His simple yet profound statement serves as a reminder to me, and I am thankful for the example he is to those around him.  What he said is true -- the ultimate way in which we can demonstrate our faith in Christ is to follow Him.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Year of Change.

And so, friends, a new school year always marks a slew of changes.  Some of these changes are good; some are even bad.  This year, however, is filled with good changes... some of the biggest changes that my family has ever encountered.

1 -- I have a car. He's a cute car. His name is Chico. (You're probably wondering, "Why does she name a car?" Perhaps, though, the more appropriate question is, "Why don't you name your car?") Anyway, I've even had people comment on my 'sweet ride', and such compliments are oh-so-gratifying. 

2 -- I have a house. It's a cute house in a sketchy neighborhood, as in a broken walls, police-infested, crazy dark kind of sketchy neighborhood. No need to worry, though. I double-triple-quadruple check the locks each night. (Me? Paranoid?) It's so nice to have a space to myself (and an awesome roommate), especially since I had been previously living in the dorms. 

3 -- I have a new ward. It's a big, 'older-people' ward.  Last year, I went to the University Ward, and it was full of young single adults who were closer to my age.  This year, I'm in Towne Lake, and there are working single adults, grad single adults... in short, older-young-single-adults. I love it. I feel so welcomed, and there's just a different vibe where people are so chummy with one another. Plus, I've always felt more at ease around people who are older than I.  After all, my own mother reminds me on a weekly basis that I have the mentality of a senior citizen. 

4 -- I have a new major. It's quite possibly, the best major EVER.  I changed my major from Education to English Literature.  I stuck with Education for so long because I was too afraid to change my schedule.  There's nothing worse than approaching the first day of school when your college career/schedule is in complete disarray.  I need order, structure, discipline... I never really liked my education classes, but I am so passionate about English.  I love the readings, and I'm often so excited to discuss the content with my classmates.  I like to carefully craft my sentences and transform something cruddy into something eloquent.  Although I will forever respect and praise the good teachers out there, I think this is the major for me.  Just don't ask me about my career plans after college... I haven't the slightest clue. 

5 -- I've saved the best/scariest/biggest change for last.  My dad, my intelligent-handsome-awesome-dad, got a NEW job. (cue the gasps...) My dad has worked at Ursinus College FOREVER.

But things at Ursinus aren't going so swell. Some of his fellow faculty members are being...gee what's the word... STUPID.  Anyway, my dad deserves so much more, so he applied for a job at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah.  After a series of interviews and conferences, the faculty at Snow College recognized him for his sheer awesomeness.  And so, with the start of the new 2014 Spring semester, he will be Mr. Vice-Pres.-of-Academic-Affairs.  (Dang... that sounds bomb.) This means that my whole family will pack up our stuff, leave Pennsylvania, and move to, dare I say it..., Utah.  I'm very excited -- it might be hard to leave PA because we've spent so many years there, but this is an adventure! We are surrounded by mountains, we might actually get lots of snow, and we have a Walmart Supercenter.  The best part? Our whole family will be closer together.  Utah is a lot closer to Arizona than Pennsylvania is!  This will be a new start for the Hood family, and I'm so excited and proud of my intelligent-handsome-awesome dad.