Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Year #2 out of high school, 04-05

Here is the 2nd installment in my little quest to sum up the past 5 years of my life. Enjoy it if you can.

This was the year of Bible college. The previous semester my friend Simon went there and from visiting him there and seeing the beautiful campus along with all the wonderfully friendly people, I knew it was something I too must do. I was definitely ready to go out and meet some new people and it seemed like the right place for it. So I went, and strangely, right before moving, I reconnected with a few old friends from high school, and even developed a small crush on one. So now that I was at a nice new place with plenty of wonderful people, I kind of wanted to go back home and hang out with my recently reacquainted friends. I also for some reason became a bit of a recluse and was not too eager to meet new people. I mostly spent all my free time in the library either doing homework or writing long emails to people. Being the slightly socially challenged person that I sometimes am, the internet became my social outlet, and thats a bit of a sad way to live really. But I would just write to friends back home all day, and with a few of them now working in offices, there was always someone there to write back, and this was enough to keep me happy. Nevertheless, some people forced their way into my life, and others I eventually, towards the end of the semester, became good friends with.

One of the forcers was a friendly girl who went by the nickname of Peanut. I worked security at the school, and one day, while on shift, she brought a dead decaying rat to me. After that, we were friends. Not really sure how that turned into friendship, but all I remember is one day she just asked me to be her boyfriend, just for the day. I agreed, and so she sat next to me in chapel and ate lunch with me. We would sometimes pass notes back and forth in class like we were in junior high. She was a character that girl, and would always find fun little ways to annoy me such as coming into the library to throw tennis balls at me, or take something from me and hide it. I don't think the librarian liked her too much though. Our little friendship was short lived though. She drew on a small hand towel once and gave it to me as a token to remember her by, but I think I had to use it for something once, and so I took a picture of it, but it itself is now long gone. I have hardly talked to her since.

There were some memorable people from this place. The director of the school would say some of the the most ridiculous things in his sermons that made sense when in context, but would would make us laugh hysterically when we would joke about them afterwards. Such examples are, "I love to see women breast feed," or, "I don't care if its sacrificed to the devil, it's good." If you can figure out the proper context of these, I will give you a dollar. They may have not been too frequent, but there were some definite good times and good memories from this semester.

One of the only lasting friendships to come from the semester though was Caleb Jim Mckim. I think we mostly became friends because he, along with 3 other guys I knew, all decided to go to the extension campus in York England the following semester. So we all figured we better get to know each other, and he, being the guy he is, made it pretty easy to do. So now it was spring 2005 and the five of us were all headed for England. It was my first real experience of leaving home for an extended period of time, and leaving a home is an interesting experience. I knew I was coming back of course, but just knowing you aren't going to see all these people you love for 4 months was weird to go through.

My first flight across the world was something I'll never forget. Its so weird to just have 8 hours of a day suddenly missing from your life and its morning outside but your body just knows you should be in bed in the dark somewhere. When we got there, the people at the school told us to just wait until night to finally go to sleep and we will be fine: yeah right. I think we maybe lasted an hour before finding our beds. I hardly slept at all that first week there. Plus my mind was depressingly busy thinking about pointless things that for some reason made me sad regarding a few friendships. So unfortunately the beginning of this amazing experience was spoiled by my then easily saddened self. A few of the girls from the school even started calling me Eeyore from time to time. I eventually got over it though, and did end up having some of the best times of my life over there. Living with 4 very close friends in an ancient really cool city and sleeping in a building that was itself older than my home country was amazing to say the least. I still often long for those days again. Other than a little homework we had to do, life was so simple. We had to walk everywhere we went and got a sufficient allowance from the school to live off. The 3 day weekends they gave us usually involved a day trip to somewhere else cool in England. I met tons of people over there, some of them just for a day and never to see again, and others for a little longer, but I will never forget that old walled in city. That place had many characters, such as the homeless guy with the cell phone, or the crazy Italian guy Paulo who owned the little deli down the street, or the Hindu people who owned the Indian food restaurant and would joke about selling Elephant meat. I'll never forget the Yum Yum's at Copeland's bakery neither. Our own school had plenty of characters as well. My goal of the semester seemed to be to play a prank on Steve on a weekly basis. Some were pretty mean, such as giving him a heavy dose of laxative tea without his knowledge. Still feel a little bad about that one, but it was quite funny. All the other ones usually just were clever ways of dumping water on him from different locations. The school staff were characters as well. There was Mike and Helen, the old proper English couple, Ed Major, who would say "I'm only kidding" after almost every sentence (which eventually turned into a bit of a gag between all our friends), and the dean of men Doug, who was the nicest man ever but also would cause the most awkward situations where he would get close and stare you right in the eyes as if looking into your soul and ask you how you've been doing as if wanting to hear every personal detail about your life. I also lived with a missionary family for a week which was fun at times. They were a nice group. There was only a total of 40 or so students, and only 12 of them were boys, so we all got to know each other pretty good. Overall, it was a 4 months that I will forever look back upon fondly. Going home was a sad time saying goodbye to everyone, but it was also exciting to get back and be home.

So that was that year. Quite an adventurous one full of new experiences. I think I grew up a bit more this year. Learned a few things such as all the basic living things like making your own food to eat, and the like.

Significant passings of the year: Johnny Mishriki - loved that little guy.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

As Tears Go By

I have this problem where I can't ever see somebody I care about cry without myself crying, or at least really wanting to cry and have to try really hard to hold it back. I kind of like to think of myself in some ways as more of mans man, but I am probably far from that, and I am not too afraid to admit that I do cry from time to time, which is good because I am probably going to share that a little too much in this post. I can't go to a funeral without crying or at least getting a huge lump in my throat trying to hold it all back. It doesn't matter if I knew the person or not, but just seeing the other people there and what they are going through makes it happen.

Something like this happened just last week. My good friend Chad came into town to surprise his sister Tori for her birthday. I was lucky enough to be right there for the surprise, and after Tori's immediate jump of excitement and joy for seeing her very loved brother, her face turned quickly to tears. They weren't sad tears though, it was like she was so happy by the surprise that she just couldn't help but cry. They were tears of joy I guess you would call them. When I saw this, like my usual self, my eyes slightly watered up and I had to fight back the few happy tears building up inside of me. Kind of silly I know. Luckily I managed, and I think nobody noticed.

After that, I started to think about the different kinds of crying there is. I have seen a few people cry lately, and it seems most people immediately associate it with deep sadness, but that is not always the case, or at least not directly. There are the tears that sometimes can come while reminiscing of joyous past times. These are probably more common than you'd think, but I guess they are a mixture of happiness and sadness as you are thinking fondly of times past, but with a small longing of those times mixed in. The saddest of the sad tears are the ones associated with the death of loved ones, but lets keep this a happy discussion. Last week I also saw a mother begin to cry a tiny bit as she watched her all grownup child who is about to leave home interact with her friends. It was pretty sweet. I could just imagine all the little thoughts and memories that caused each little happy/sad tear.

Then there are the tears that start out sad but can lead to happiness such as the kind told to me by a story from my friend Kylee. In the last year her phone has broken twice, and when she went in to get a new one, they were gonna charge her $50 for it. That obviously is annoying to anyone, but especially for someone whose phone continually keeps breaking for no good reason, and so, overwhelmed by this annoyance, she began to cry a little. This must have scared the employee a bit because he said hold on a sec and went and got the manager and got the fee waived. They were then happy tears. (In allowing me to use her story she said I had to emphasize that she did not cry just to get a free 50 bucks, but that it was just overwhelming with everything else in her life as she is about to take part in a distant move to Kansas City, which won't be cheap.)

Anyways, back to the happy tears. I haven't experienced too many happy tears of my own, and after seeing a few of them, I think they should maybe happen more often to people. One of my experiences I can think of was caused by a story I once heard from my Dad. It might be more of a mixture of happy and reminiscent tears, but here it is. He said that when my sister was 1 and basically about to die from spinal meningitis (the doctors had pretty much given up as they had done all they could), my Grandpa (who was not much of a religious man by any means at the time) prayed asking God to take him instead as he had already lived a full good life. I don't know why exactly, but when I heard this, it really got to me. It just really amazed me that he would do that, and I guess I was amazed by it to the point of tears. I think I got away with that one without anyone noticing too. Luckily, God didn't fully answer his prayer, and I was lucky enough to still have both an older sister and a grandpa in my life. Many good books have caused me tears too, and whether they are caused by a happy or sad story, I think any tears caused by a good book are in actuality happy tears.

Not really sure what my point is to this whole thing, but mostly just wrote it to share some good stories I guess. Don't cry too much though, at least not in public, it makes people feel uncomfortable. Or maybe that's just me because I might start too, but then again, you might get a free 50 bucks.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

To Mi Padre

Today is Father's Day, and since I am a bit of a bad long distant son, I didn't personally send my dad anything, but just did my usual have my sister or mom cover for me. I should work on breaking that habit, but since it is the day of, the best I can do is write a bit of a love letter to my great dad for him and anyone else to see how much I really care for him, and how great he really is. Perfect he is not of course, as nobody is, but to put it simply, he really is just a great dad to have. Not only is he my father, but my friend, and has always encouraged me to follow my dreams, and did the best he could to turn me into the best I could be. In a world where just having a dad there at all is no guarantee, I thank God greatly for giving me you. I still remember in Kindergarten when we had Father and Son day at school, and we rather unsuccessfully tried to fly a kite, and then built a little shelf together. At the end of the day I said it was the best day of my life, and I doubt I could argue with that today. I remember the countless bedtime stories you made up of the toebiting crocodiles followed by our bedtime prayers, and the occasional making up of silly songs on the spot with your guitar. Its hard to fight back tears of joy thinking of all the wonderful memories. You've taught me a fair share of your talents too, and I can only hope to be close to as good at them as you are someday.

Anyways, Dad, I really wish I could be with you and all the family on this day, but for now, I guess this and a phone call will have to suffice. Just one more month and we can hang out.
I love you Charlie

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bald is Beautiful

Today in class I had a wonderful form of entertainment to keep my mind occupied for a good while. It was a bald man with a penny stuck to his head. He wasn't too close, so I was a little unsure whether I was seeing this correctly or not. I wondered if it was there on purpose as if it was maybe some sort of new alternative healing act; like perhaps the penny was creating some sort of magnetic field that was to draw new hair out or something crazy like that. He did still have the poofs of denial (thanks for that phrase Kylee) going on the sides, so he wasn't completely bald. I also wondered how it was possibly stuck there that well as it was not even close to being on a level surface at all. I kept a close eye on the guy though, and after a while I saw him reaching for an itch on his head. He missed on the first few swipes, but then he got it, and for that split second he looked rather confused. He looked at what the item was that he just took from his extended forehead, then placed it in his shirt pocket like nothing ever happened. Apparently he didn't know it was there.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Astral Weeks

Well, this last week before I head back to the stressful living of papers and tests in summer school was a good one. A week to remember in fact. Something fun seemed to happen every day. We'll start on Wednesday, since I can't remember Tuesday. Wednesday started off with a fun lunch at a nice little restaurant called Rick's Press Room in downtown Meridian. The rest of the day included card games, a picnic at the lake, a movie, and good friends all around.

Thursday was Boys day in Boise, which seems to be becoming a semi-regular event for us boys. It contained good food, lots of walking, little shopping, relaxing time in the park with a book, and more good food. I headed back to Nampa around 5ish, and once back, was kidnapped by 3 girls and taken back to Boise to go to Anthropologie. Alright, maybe I conceded to the kidnapping, but I'm a little embarrassed that I actually agreed to go to a female clothing store instead of watch the Laker game. Once there, I sat on a couch with some good books, and waited. We then met up with some more friends, some of the very same ones I was with earlier in the day, and had more good food. On the way back I learned that I kind of know a former Miss Preteen USA. Thats right, The Miss Preteen of the entire United States of America from like 10 years ago: crazy. That was the end of that day.

The next day I helped a friend move some stuff for like an hour, then headed to Caldwell to go to thrift stores with a great new friend. Found some good things like a snoglobe (only it was leaves falling, not snow) of an old man holding a rake with a bit of a frown on his face and a pipe in his mouth. For only 50 cents, I kind of had to buy it. I then had to talk myself out of buying a cool old Record player cabinet from like the 60's that still works. Maybe if I had somewhere to put it. I then had some more good food, had some fun losing badly in a game of rummicube, and then headed back to Nampa. Flying M had some good music going, so I hung out there. After that, I hung out with the band The Great White Jenkins who were some really cool, really fun guys who we had a lot in common and a good amount to talk about with. We all had a good time and spent like an hour and many dollar bills trying to get the Cleveland Browns stuffed football out of the claw machine that grabs the stuffed animals. Caleb, being a big Browns fan, has been eyeing that thing for quite a while, and the band was bound and determined to get it for him. It was in a pretty much unreachable spot, but we tried nonetheless and grabbed 2 giraffe looking animals in the process just to get them out of the way. We tried several different strategies at getting to it, but all proved to be failures, but hey, we got two giraffe looking creatures out of it, plus a really great time. To all my California friends, they are gonna be playing at UC Irvine on June 14 if you want to hear great music and meet cool people.

The following day, which was Saturday, involved a high school graduation party/siesta. Here there was good food, good people, and a PiƱata stuffed with white flower that the poor blindfolded kid kept on hitting without knowing he was smacking flour all over himself. It was a good time. The night time was work time, and we once again had music. After work, I once again hung out with the band of the night who were on their first tour and fresh out of high school. They were a nice bunch, and somewhere along the lines, I was wondering why something seemed familiar about them, and then it hit me... They are real life incarnations of characters from the old show freaks and geeks, this bunch:

They looked like them, and even had very similar personalities. I almost think someone should tell them of this cuz they could probably do something profitable with their likeness to these characters. They were a great group though, and I wish them well on the rest of their first tour.

Today I worked in the morning, have a meeting with my book club this evening, and a Laker game to watch tonight. Life is least until tomorrow.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Year #1 out of high school : 2003-2004

Well, summing up a past year of your life turned out to be a more time consuming and difficult task than I expected. After going back and reading my journal from the time period, I am quite surprised to see how much I have changed in the way I think about things. Some of the stuff I wrote literally makes me cringe and want to burn it so nobody ever reads it, but other stuff I never want to forget about. I apparently was a rather unhappy person that year, and was sure to let my journal know about it. While reading it, I wanted to go back and slap me in the face and say get over it. I let some things affect my happiness much too easily. I'm glad I have learned to be a generally much happier person since then, but I guess as I now go back and recap that year, it might look like I am just going back to re-complain about it all over again, but I guess thats what it was really like, so here it goes:

The first year out of high school was mostly filled with loneliness and boredom wondering what happened to all my friends from the year before, and what the heck I was supposed to do with my life now. Most people seem incredibly eager to experience the freedom that comes with graduating high school, but I more dreaded the end of my senior year. Everyone I knew growing up and everyone I saw everyday, some for the past 12 years, were all no longer a steady part of my life. This one place where I spent more of my life than anywhere else was now in the past. I didn't always enjoy high school, but having to go somewhere everyday where there was always people and friends was nice.

That first summer out of school had its moments. Immediately upon graduating I headed to the Grand Canyon where I managed to make the 2 day hike across without dying. That is an experience I'll never forget. I remember standing at the north rim looking across thinking you got to be kidding me if you are saying that we are gonna hike all the way to that faintly visible strip of land on the other side. For any California readers, the best way to describe this really is to imagine standing on top of Saddleback mountain looking out to Catalina Island without there being water in between. After making it out, possibly more sore than I have ever been in my life and hardly able to walk, my Dad and I headed for my grandfather's house, or Grandpa Hodi as I've always known him. This trip was to be my last experience of him being a human being capable of communication. A couple months later he would decide on being done with the whole life thing and basically gave up. I still look back at that trip wishing I would have talked to him a little more; gotten him to tell me his life story or something. I'll never forget that last real goodbye though, and the sturdy, strong handshake this old feeble man gave me. I never really knew him that well, but always admired him and thought he was the coolest old man ever. I remember once hoping that he would at least last till I had a bit of a family of my own, just because I would want them to have known him. I knew it was a stretch, but I for some reason have always wanted people close to me to know him; words are not enough to describe him, and to me, he was worth knowing. Anyways, upon his arrival into the after-life, he was nice enough to leave his offspring with lots of cool things, and through my dad I have very gratefully acquired a fair amount of them myself. Other than that trip to the Grand Canyon, and the other trip when he died, not much of anything else of significance happened that summer.

When the summer ended, most of my friends then went away to college, while I, not knowing what to do, just went to community college a couple days a week. I thought this was wonderful being able to be a full time student while just having classes 2 days a week. With much of this free time I had, I started playing the guitar seriously for the first time which was nice to start to become somewhat decent at. After a while however, my Dad saw me as wasting my life away spending far too much time sleeping in at home and was relentlessly on my case to go out and get a job or something. I suppose he was correct, but man did I not like him at times during that time. Forcing me out of bed early in the morning when there was absolutely nothing for me to be getting out of bed for, and always finding annoying jobs for me to do around the house was what he seemingly lived for. He even resorted to dumping cups of cold water on me a couple times to get me out of bed since it was past 8 am. You may be thinking this harsh, and most definitely my father reading this probably regrets it and thinks he was too hard and will apologize to me, but no apology is really needed. I probably needed a good kick in the pants, and I am glad to have some ammo on my kids someday to be able to tell them how easy they have it and that I would get water poured on me if I wasn't out of bed by 8 am. Its a good story to tell really, and for that reason alone I like that it happened. Don't worry Dad, your still a great guy to everyone. Soon enough however I got a pseudo job working for an old friend of my Dad's named Gary Erickson. Gary was a jolly old man who built and repaired guitars out of his garage. I liked guitars, and the thought of making one myself was altogether incredibly exciting. The thought of someday holding in my very arms a real sounding instrument I built myself from scratch was a dream to say the least. I had recently become a big fan of the sound of mandolins and so I decided I would build one of those first. Something strange somehow happened though and my time with Gary changed from me learning how to build instruments to me helping him build a studio in his backyard. I guess it did the job of getting my dad off my case, and I still learned a good deal from him and am grateful for his friendship, but that mandolin is still sitting as a pile of wood in my parents garage. I did get a complete fretted neck, but the rest of it is just scrap wood. Not finishing that is possibly the greatest failure of these first five years, and it is still a dream of mine to someday finish it and continue on with that hobby.

Overall, I rather disliked college this first year. A few classes were interesting, but I kind of dreaded going to class and hardly ever talking to anyone. Pretty much all of my social activity for this year revolved around my friend Simon (after he decided to quit normal school and move back home, and then again after he got Mono at Bible College and once again moved back home). Simon started BBSB (Backyard Bible Study Brigade) which was our weekly meeting at his house for a good time with friends and a quick Bible Study. I also learned how to play poker this year which ended up being the only thing my friends ever wanted to do for quite some time.

Significant deaths of the year: Grandpa Hodi, Uncle Jesse, and Trevor Win'e

So that is pretty much my first year out of high school for ya. Nothing too eventful happened and I made no real new friends, but I think the overall boringness of it made me realize that I had to get out and experience something new, which was what I did the following year...