Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone

So the first couple weeks of March were pretty cold, The Girl comes for her Spring Break and it warms right up, and the day she leaves (and nearly every day thereafter), we get dumped with snow and icy winds. Coincidence? You be the judge.

So yes, the time has come for my report of Ntsuj Hli's visit to Utah. First of all, I've never before wanted so badly to have an actual Spring Break. It is nice that BYU gets out for summer earlier than most other colleges, but at the same time, this semester especially, I really could have used a few days off. Still, I had planned carefully and done some reading and homework in order to be a little bit ahead so I wouldn't have to worry about as much while Julie was here, which ended up working out pretty well.

Julie's visit to Utah was so well-timed and turned out to be just what I needed, so I certainly must give a report here on the blog. People have been asking about how we met and etc. etc., and I'll report on that at a later date, since I project this blogpost will be long enough as it is! Julie did a great blogpost about her visit (borrowing the Top 10 idea I used for my visit to Rolla), so feel free to visit that, but for my purposes, I'm going to go day by day and point out a couple highlights. (There are a lot more pictures on facebook, if anyone has desires to see more.)

  • We picked her up at the airport at 10 pm! It was glorious! We kissed! She loved the roses! Her bags arrived in a timely fashion!
  • We drove with Mom and Dad up to Logan.
  • We ran the Shamrock Shuffle in Logan with Mom and Grandma. I had a new PR and Julie won a prize for having come the furthest distance!
  • We had a nice visit and lunch with Grandma and Grandpa (despite a momentary health crisis that resolved later that day).
  • We stopped at a friend of Julie's reception in Salt Lake on the way home. It was the best wedding cake I have had in quite some time. We also inadvertently kind of convinced this random guest that Julie made each and every one of the desserts available (including mint brownies, e'claires and lemon bars).
  • We rolled some killer egg rolls with Cami, Jake and Mom in eager anticipation of the next day's family festivities.
  • I introduced Julie to The Hudsucker Proxy, one of my favorite-ever movies.
  • Family festivities! We had a great Asian spread to celebrate my and Jonny's birthdays. Those egg rolls were fantastic, I tell you! Once you've had Hmong egg rolls, you do't go back!!!
  • Julie came with me to school. She found ways to occupy the couple hours of class that I attended. It was relatively painless, and while it was really painful to know that she and I were apart for the 50-minute-at-a-time sessions, it was also really nice to know that she would be waiting for me when I walked out. It has ruined me for the rest of the semester.
  • 'Twas my birthday of all days! She gave me the DVD of Enchanted, which I insisted we watch immediately (for those who know much about her, you know this particular gift is fairly significant).
Any noticed similarity in appearance between Giselle and Julie has been duly noted.

  • Julie managed to get a little bit of a sunburn while reading on the grass outside of class. Like I said, there was sunshine when she was here.
  • After class I took Julie to have her first serving of pho (or fawm, more specifically). It's good to know that a good bowl of fawm can be found in Provo, though it's nothing compared to home-made.
  • I tried to take my Hmong quiz and was refused admittance for not having shaved... I mean, refused. Considering I have taken a quiz in this wanna-be mini-testing center with much more scruff than that, this inspired an experiment.
  • We took a nice trip to the Bean Museum! It was full of lovely rooms of death! We took many gooey pictures there! She photo-documented me reacting in turn to a hilarious voice note from Jared and an incredible phone call from Emily telling me amazing news!

She really loves dioramas. What's not to love, really?

What the heck? Ligers are bred for their skills in magic.

Julie volunteered as a subject in a psychological activity for my group. She was shaped to perform a behavior quite nicely.
  • I took my Hmong quiz at a different time and the girl said nary a word about my scruff, though I brought my razor just in case.

I actually do love a Jamba Juice in the afternoon.
  • We had a nice visit to the gym where Julie dropped a few pick-up lines when I showed up on the treadmill next to her. Also she exaggerated greatly to the steam room and insisted she could not breathe.
  • At long last, Julie joined us for the gathering of The LOST Club! It was such an incredible episode, but the experience was enhanced further by the company.
  • We watched Mamma Mia! and I was slightly surprised that Julie enjoyed it as much as she did.

  • Skipped school! I'm so hardcore. We helped move some of Cami's stuff into their new (temporary) place in Lehi.


Oh, the emo.

No need to pine or emo! We're just a couple of living emoticons out on the town.
  • We visited the new Cedar Hills Wal-Mart on its opening day of all days. It's... a Wal-Mart.
The greeter at the new Wal-Mart was the strong, silent type.
  • We had a really nice dinner at Olive Garden with Liza and Kent, dear friends from many years ago. Olive Garden... It is amazing.
  • Skipped school again! It was awesome. We spent all day watching North & South.
  • We played laser tag with two dozen friends and family! It was kind of a belated birthday celebration, and so well-attended! I placed so low! But I have an idea about why my score was so low, and I have a lot of ideas about strategy improvement. Next time, beware, one and all!
Fierce! And ready for action.
  • We had Bajio with Mom and Dad. It was really delish.
  • We watched Hairspray, which Julie didn't like as much as Mamma Mia! but still didn't hate as much as I expected her to. I wanted to make it a sort of musical marathon, but she put her foot down about Dreamgirls. Another day... soon...

  • We had a really great lunch at Tucano's with Elise, Jeff and Mike. I ate more than I remember eating in one sitting in my life. But it was so nice-tasting. How do they have such great meat and such a nice salad bar?
  • We had to crash on the grass at the Riverwoods for a while, so we took that opportunity to do a little photo shoot. We are attractive indeed.
  • We watched the hideous monstrosity that I just recently blogged about, so I won't even mention its accursed name.
  • We dreaded the next morning.
  • All good things must come to an end. Temporarily.
Look! She's in my house!

It was a great, great ten days. And, like I said, the next morning brought snow. I really don't mind snow, it was just kind of amazing timing. And I am ruined for the next three weeks of school. May, why don't you hurry it up and get over here??

Monday, March 23, 2009

This Time Last Year

Where have the last twelve months gone?

There is a song by Christian singer Fernando Ortega that was popular among the elders in the mission field called "This Time Next Year," and it always led to conversation about where each of us would be the year following. Eventually the time came that we knew that a year later one or all of us would be home. Well, here I am, celebrating my one year anniversary of coming home and being released as a missionary. I remember being extremely nonplussed when a freak blizzard caused cancellation of all flights on the date we were initially scheduled to fly home, leading to two additional days of cabin fever-inflicted elders and a hard-working mission president just trying to get his boys home for Easter. My word, has it really been a year? It seems really not that long ago that I took off my nametag for the last time. I remember reaching six months, but this year mark really sneaked up on me. I think I adjusted pretty well, in general, and was ready to get back to dealing with things and making decisions, even though it's pretty rough sometimes to get back into the swing of things after being out of the loop for so long. I still love to hear about how my elders are, and how the Hmong people I knew in Wisconsin are doing, especially those who felt the converting power of the Spirit. Back at home, some of the things that have been going on since last year have been expected adjustments, but others really took me by surprise. All in all this year has been a whirlwind of ups and downs and generally getting back into real life. Though, strangely, I still respond to "Elder Graham," when the name occasionally surfaces, and of course I will always respond to "Kuab Ci." Ah, the memories.

Some noteworthy things that have happened in the last year:
  • Meeting Jeff/Elise's wedding
  • Two new nieces, and two (?) babies on the way!!!
  • Visiting Wisconsin with Mom and Dad for Labor Day
  • Back to school!
  • In and out of minor jobs
  • Translating for General Conference
  • Weddings of dear friends (Jared! Nicole! Liza!)
  • LOST!!!
  • My first of each holiday since I came home
  • Visits from sisters Emily and Cami
  • Turpins moved to Utah
And it seems like I'm forgetting something... Oh, what could that be?...

Oh right...
  • Meeting and falling for the love of my life. You were a little bit (but wonderfully) unexpected. I love you, baby!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Worst Movie Ever?

I have a lot of news to post about this awesome past week, but let me get this out of the way.

I finally have an informed opinion...

Could it be the worst movie ever? There are SO many things wrong with this film, I don't even know where to start. That script! That acting! That direction! Those bad cameos and inside jokes! What ever were they thinking? *sigh* It was even worse than I had anticipated. Once or twice it seemed like they were trying to actually make these bland, one-dimensional drips into interesting characters, but you can only do so much when the source material is so rubbish to begin with. So many times my jaw just dropped and my eyes were wide at the artlessness of it all. And I know there's a lot of bad cinema out there, but what concerns me is the hype and undeserved attention this particular franchise is getting. Even the demographic of swooning fangirls must have some sense of good artistic taste! Here's hoping that New Moon will flop miserably before the dismal final two stories ever are transferred to screen.

The company was good, though, and honestly, that's the only thing that could possibly have persuaded me to watch it, although my morbid sense of curiosity would have to have been satisfied eventually. I'm still a little embarrassed that I even saw it, but I guess it's now or never, I sort of thought to myself. Turns out never would actually have been better.

And no, it wasn't even worth it for any possible LOLz it could have provided. Sad story.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


It's here! It was actually yesterday. But I wanted to let people know that the long-awaited week of bliss in in progress. I'm sure I'll give an update when time allows. Just FYI!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Countdown to J-Day Update

For those of you who aren't already aware due to my constant reminders, the countdown to The Girl's visit to Utah is now in the single digits. That's right. A week from Friday she'll be here at last. Maybe none of you can remember when this countdown was in the 60s, but I sure can. The longest two months of my life are almost at an end!

And by the way, a pox on BYU for not subscribing to the otherwise nationally-recognized institution of Spring Break! But no pox on Indiana U, because they DO subscribe to it, so, hurrah.