Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Seven years ago, I was in my senior year of high school. I had a government class which I liked quite well. My teacher really liked talking about current events, and we started class each day talking about them. Sometimes half or more of the class period would go by quickly as we discussed them. We also had assignments to read newspaper articles. One of the assignments, as I recall, required following a particular story for a week or so. I remember there needed to be a series of articles. On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. For days I read articles about the devastation it brought. We talked about what was happening in class too. For probably the first time since September 11, I was invested in the news. I read about the levees, the flooding, the looting. I watched the news and saw the thousands of people seeking shelter in the Superdome. I learned a lot about Katrina and New Orleans, as much as I could. And I thought time and again, "Who on earth would ever want to live there?"

On April 1, 2009, I arrived in New Orleans as a new missionary. God does have a sense of humor.

Today, August 29, 2012, Hurricane Isaac is dumping on my beloved Southeast Louisiana. For the past few days, I've been reading articles, checking my friends' Facebook updates, and watching and waiting for Isaac to hit. Today I've been reading even more articles. My Google News page is an open tab and I refresh it frequently to see what's new. Since I started writing this, Isaac's been downgraded to a tropical storm. My favorite mission area, Houma, which has been in the eye of the storm for much of the day, is now getting rain, showing that Isaac's moving on, slowly. I keep checking for Facebook updates. I even looked on Twitter to get some updates on New Orleans. It's funny to think how invested I was in Katrina seven years ago. My head was fascinated, but my heart wasn't there. Now it is. So I'm praying for my dear friends. 

It's funny how things change in seven years. And how they stay the same. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Look Back on the Semester

Well, I made it through my one and only summer term of school as a BYU student. Technically, I took calculus at BYU-I over the summer when I was in high school, but that's a little different. This term I had Spanish 205, Pearl of Great Price, my internship, and work. It was a little CRAZY. Definitely kept me busy.

Pearl of Great Price was supposed to be my easy/good class. And it sort of was. I enjoyed class for the most part. But I didn't like the tests very much. They were multiple choice and tricky. And I'm a good test taker, so if they're tricky for me, that's just mean. So I may lose my religious 4.0 with that class, but oh well. I tried.  

I was super worried about Spanish. The previous semester of Spanish was only mediocre and I was scared about being in class for two hours daily. Plus my teacher is in my ward, and I thought that could be incredibly awkward. Turns out it was incredibly awesome. I actually felt that my time in class was useful this semester. I always felt before that by the time I figured out what we were supposed to be practicing/working on, the teacher would move on. This semester that never happened. I also don't really love all the games we play...I decided that I had to make the decision to enjoy them, or at least participate without complaint. There were a few times I really didn't want to, but I made it through it. And some of the games were actually really fun. I'm a big fan of reverse charades, where the team acts it out and one person guesses. I have a flair for the theatrics. My test scores were higher than I had in previous semesters. I improved in writing in Spanish a lot. We had a small class and I talked a lot more than I have in probably any other class ever. For the most part, two hours of class didn't seem too long (miracle!). There were only a couple days that seemed to drag terribly. We didn't manage to make it through a semester without having to look at Frida Kahlo's paintings, but you can't win them all. We had to read an 80 page play, La Dama del Alba. I was really worried about that. That is extensive reading. Normally the short readings we have quizzes on take me a long time to read, and so reading 30 pages in a day didn't sound very plausible. Well, it went okay. I obviously didn't get every word, but I understood way better than expected and I actually really enjoyed reading it. How 'bout dem apples?! So Spanish was great. I loved my teacher and it was just funny sometimes as we balanced the teacher/friend from ward thing. Another girl in the ward was in the class too, so basically we made up a third of the class. We drove to school together and it was just great. Plus, who gets to text their teacher after taking a test and say something confused me and have her text back and say you did really well anyway? Basically it was a great final semester of Spanish. I'm kind of sad that I can't continue even. I mean, I could if I really wanted to, I guess. But I'd have a super heavy load for my last semester and I'd probably want to die. I think it's better to end on a happy note.

Internship. Great times. Sometimes I was so exhausted and it was hard. Other times it was super exciting to see how much my students had progressed. One day near the end of the semester, I was tutoring and my student just talked a lot and she asked me questions and conversed freely. I was thrilled that she was doing so well. I thought back to our first meeting where I'd ask the questions and get short answers, and now she's the one directing the conversation. How did that happen? It was awesome! It definitely was an interesting experience this semester. I do enjoy working with the students individually like that. I really admire them for coming so far to learn English in such a different environment and culture. I'd be scared to death. Occasionally they felt some homesickness. Some of them had some difficult trials. It was interesting tutoring a couple times, because I had to be more of a friend/listening ear/counselor when they were homesick or when one of their friends died. It was hard to see them struggle, but it was amazing how well they did. 

I've been done with the semester for a couple days now, and I feel kind of weird, like I should be doing something. Don't I have homework? It's kind of freaking me out. I stayed pretty busy cleaning several places lately, but now what? I pulled out a book my grandparents got me for Christmas, called The Language Wars. It's a linguistic book, haha. Next week is Education Week and all my coworkers are taking some time off, so I'll be working full time for a few days at least. And I guess I just need to enjoy this break before diving in to my last semester! Perhaps I'll do a preview of my classes in the next couple weeks. I'll have plenty of time to blog if I want to. Until next time, be fabulous!