Monday, February 17, 2014

The USS Missouri

This week I had a rather interesting service opportunity. The Honors Program here at BYU-H goes to Pearl Harbor every semester to help clean up the USS Missouri Memorial. To understand how cool this is you have to know some history so I'll give it to you just in case you don't already know. The USS Missouri is a battleship commissioned by the US Navy during World War II. It is where the Japanese signed the instruments of surrender to the Allied Forces on September 2, 1945.
The service project involved sweeping water off of the decks because it had been raining. When water pools on the decks it ruins the wood and steel and can be a hazard to people visiting the ship. I got to walk all over the battleship and explore some of the inner corridors on the upper decks. It was such a cool experience, and I'm super grateful I got to go. I practically went to the Navy enlistment office right then, but then I realized that the Navy has changed a lot since the USS Missouri was in use (it was last used in the Gulf War to bombard Iraqi outposts). I also have some health conditions that could potentially bar me from service... However, I will always remember the sacrifices that have been made to keep this country free and I will always be full of gratitude for those men and women who continue to serve in the United States military. They are heroes. 
 Battleship Hawaii Memorial Museum Navy Wallpaper With 1366x768
The USS Missouri

And because I still have thousands of pictures of China to share here are a few more.
Parliament Building in Beijing. It holds 10,000 members of Parliament.

Ming Tombs

Inside of a turret on the Great Wall

In honor of the Olympics this month here is the granite wall containing the names of
every medalist from the Summer Olympics in Beijing.

A Terracotta Warrior just outside of the city of Xi'an

Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi'an

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Baptisms and Old Photos: Hawaii

I'm sitting here watching a movie. I've seen in nearly a dozen times, but it's still so awesome. It's called Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration and you can watch it here. Whether you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or not this movie is full of truth and I can promise that you will feel the Spirit of God. If you have any questions after watching feel free to comment below or check out this website here. 
On a related note, I also had the great opportunity to offer a prayer at the baptism of an awesome guy. His name is Joel, and he investigated and learned about the church for a year before he decided that it was true and that he wanted to be baptized. The Spirit was incredibly strong and I couldn't think of a better way to spend my Saturday night. I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who watches over and cares for us. Hard things happen. Life isn't easy, but we can always rely on the love of God. In a world that's always changing we can find stability in His unchanging grace and strength.
I was recently reading the blog of a friend of mine in Provo. Her name is Emily. She and I were both anatomy TA's at BYU. Her blog is pretty awesome. It's called Imagine Sunshine. I was definitely inspired to look at the world with a little more gratitude. Also, I was reminded how much I miss being a TA. I loved every second of teaching that I got to do. I had brilliant students, less than brilliant students, annoying students, and awesome students and I loved helping each and every one of them.
Anyway, as far as normal every day life goes not much has changed. I still go to class every day, work a few hours a week, and basically try not to get too swamped down with homework and such. I did have a nice break in the normal routine yesterday. A high school friend of mine, Amy, and her husband Sean were here on a business trip and I got to see them which was so nice.
Life is good, people. The snow may pile up, the sky might be grey, but life is good.

On a completely unrelated track I am going to post some more pictures of China just because I can.

This is a building in one of the gardens we visited. We visited several
and unfortunately I can't remember which one this is...
We took a cruise down the Grand Canal of China. Admittedly, when I heard
that we were taking a cruise I expected beautiful scenery and such.
It didn't fit my idea of beautiful, but it was so cool to see people
living on their barges. They would have clothes strung out on lines, kitchens, and some
even had gardens.

Oh, I forgot to mention something important! My uncle Spencer is climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in honor of my aunt and grandma who both passed away after fighting lengthy battles with cancer. Here is the link to his fundraising sight. It's a good cause! The money he raises will go to building a cancer center in Africa.

Also, my friend, Wendi, just informed me that she bought her ticket to Hawaii. I'm so stoked for the epic adventures to come this August!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Introverts Unite Individually: Hawaii

Well, I promised weekly updates, but obviously that isn't happening. However, in recent discussions with my friend, Jenna, she told me that it's OK to blog about everyday boring stuff so that is what I'm going to do. Maybe it will turn out alright since living in Hawaii isn't something most people experience.
The campus of BYU-H is pretty close to where I live. I end up walking back and forth a few times a day since I have both morning and evening classes. Sometimes I like to walk in silence, but a lot of the time I listen to audio books. Within the first 3 weeks of being here I have listened to five books and I'm currently working on a sixth. The other books were good, but pretty standard; the Hobbit, The Fault in Our Stars, and such. The one I'm working on right now, though, is mind-blowing! It's called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I would try calling it QTPOIIWTCST, but that doesn't really help things. We'll just call it Quiet. It's about how America is based off of extrovert ideals, but we should really try to find a balance between extroversion and introversion. It gives a spectrum of introversion to extroversion and details how the two groups can work together to make their lives and this world a better place. I LOVE IT! I love it so much that I used all caps which is basically unheard of in my life because I'm a hardcore introvert. Every time Cain describes the attributes of introverts I get the biggest grin on my face, because she is describing me to a tee. I would highly recommend this book to both extroverts and introverts. It's a solid read backed with plenty of scientific studies and interesting stories.
Now that I'm through unofficially endorsing a fantastic book let's move on. Life in Laie is pretty great. It's almost always sunny, the temperature is balmy, and I love the small town life. Honolulu is close enough that I can get into a big city in about an hour which is nice. Life is good. My classes are going well and I'm starting to meet new people. I might even attend a party by the end of next month, but let's not get too crazy. For my friends, and even my random-readers-who-I-still-appreciate-even-if-I-don't-know-you, let me know if there's anything you want to know about, otherwise I'll just keep posting random and inconsequential things.

This is Moana Street. My house is the white one behind the palm tree on the left.

Oh, and I also promised a few posts ago to post more pictures from my trip to China so here ya go!
A cart in the Shanghai Arboretum. If you ever go to Shanghai, you have to go to the
arboretum. It's incredible!

This is part of the gang. We've got Hyrum, me, Elise, Will, Cameron, and Jefferson (that's
his English name. He was the student assigned to help our group with university
procedures and such.)

General Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum in Nanjing

Looking out over the area around Nanjing from the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A New Home... For Now...: Hawaii

My dear sister, Addison, says that I need to be better about keeping my blog up to date since she and I are ditching the Facebook machine tomorrow. In the spirit of New Year's resolutions, here's to weekly updates! Anyway, since I last posted in October I have not set any new records, I haven't started dating anyone (much to my parent's chagrin), I have not started any new hobbies, and I didn't get a 4.0 in my last semester at BYU-Provo. That may seem pretty boring, but let's also review some other things that I didn't do. I didn't burn down a building. I didn't get arrested. I didn't do drugs. And I don't wear socks and sandals at the same time. I'd say I'm doing pretty well in life. The most important occurrence was my departure from the mainland of the U.S. of A to the sunny state of Hawaii where I will be spending the next 2.5 academic years in the town of Laie at BYU-Hawaii.

 Pretty cool, eh? I live one block away from the Laie, Hawaii temple and four blocks from the beach. Beat that*! I spent my first Saturday hiking up Crouching Lion. It only took a couple hours, mostly because we stopped a lot to look out at the ocean. It's rather breathtaking. This past week my To Do list was packed. I had to see an adviser, find a job, register for classes, buy books, etc. Fortunately, I was successful in every endeavor except buying books because my books are going to cost a record breaking $600 this semester. I have to take out a separate loan for a set of books I'll only use once! Anyhoo, I'm living with my uncle, Spencer, who is only two years older than me and is also a student here. Hopefully I can make some friends quickly because he's getting married, and I'll need a new roommate. I don't have much else to report. I'll make sure to take some pics this week to share with all you lovely people**.

* I don't actually encourage pointless competitiveness and really don't care if you can top it because it's not that hard to top. Having said that, if you have an epic story I would love to hear it and even if you don't have an epic story and just want to talk that's fine, too. I like to listen.
**I don't pretend that my blog is read by millions. By the term "all" I mean my three faithful readers. If you're new to this blog I just want to say PLEASE DON'T GIVE UP ON ME! I'll get better at this.

Monday, October 28, 2013

China and Stuff and Such: China, Hawaii, California

Oh boy, I just don't even know where to begin! This past year has just been such a whirlwind of events. I just read through most of my previous posts and realized that I have made promises that have yet to be fulfilled. So here is the post where I catch you up on my recent adventures. I went to Hawaii nearly a year ago. It was so great that I decided to transfer from BYU-Provo to BYU-Hawaii. I will be a full-time student in Laie come January. Here are some pics:
Haunama Bay
Laie Point with my brother, Landin, and my uncle, Spencer.
(Landin is now serving an LDS mission in Mongolia. Ever had a missionary knock on your door? Well here's a link
that describes what they're teaching. The Doctrine of Christ. Invite them to come in next time you see them. They have an incredible message to share.)

I went to a friends wedding in San Diego in May. Have you ever wondered what a Mormon wedding is like? Here is a link to a site explaining why we Mormons place so much importance on families and temples. The Road to Eternity Found Here
Bryson and Diana's Wedding
Sand Diego Temple
Our little group: Me, Marcos, Matt, Bryson, Josh, and Ben.

Hawaii was fantastic. San Diego was balmy. But the culminating event of the past year was my 6 week journey through China!
Mt. Hua in Shaanxi Province
Revolving Restaurant, Nanjing
The Bund, Shanghai
The Oriental Pearl Tower, Pudong District, Shanghai

I'll post some more pics of my China adventure later. I can't get the files to cooperate currently, but there are some little morsels for you. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

From Utah To China

I'm sure it doesn't surprise anyone that I haven't posted anything in months, but it is time to start anew. Much has happened since my last post. I recently traveled to Boston where I met this delightful young lady who I am now dating. Her name is Kate, but that is a story for another time because it deserves a post of its own. In the mean time I shall give you the second most thrilling bit of news. I received an internship offer in China! How freakin' awesome is that? I am super stoked. I get to go to Jiao Tong University in Shanghai and take courses in microbiology. Then once classes are over I get to take a couple of weeks to  travel to a handful of other cities to see the sites. I have a feeling that I will thoroughly enjoy this. You'd have to be crazy not to, I think.
Anyway, the downside to this whole deal is that I am broke so here comes the shameless plug. (If you're new to my blog do not fear. I don't normally ask for handouts. Usually I just talk about my most recent adventures.) I started a crowdfunding campaign on It's called Shanghai Soon and it's soul purpose is to help me get to China. If you or your rich uncle want to give a guy a hand you can click on the link on the side bar to your right. There's incentives! Check it out.
Now that my shameless plug is over check out my other posts. I hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Night I Could Have Died (but Laughed Instead): Missouri

Hello dear friends, readers, and enemies. It has been far too long since I lasted posted, and much has happened. Basically, I have stories enough to fill a library, but who wants to read all of the daily exploits of a lone man? Suffice it to say that I've been to Seattle, Kansas City, Kennewick, Salt Lake City, Independence, and Wichita. After so many travels it should be apparent that I have much to tell. I don't like sitting in front of a computer for very long and I strongly encourage others to reduce their screen time so I've taken a poll asking people what kind of stories they would like to hear. The winner is indubitably the category of "Old Memories." What constitutes an 'old memory'? I'm only twenty-two, for goodness sake. I've decided that old is relative and the story I'm going to tell is from approximately two years ago.
It happened on a cold February night (and by cold I mean my tears froze to my face.) Anyway, I was about 17 months into my mission, and I thought I had seen just about everything. I hadn't. My companion and I got a call from some sister missionaries in our zone saying that they were at the hospital and were wondering if we could come sit with them in the waiting room. This is at 11 pm, mind you. So Josh (formerly known as Elder Terrasas) and I hopped in the car and took the 40 minute drive to the hospital to rescue the poor dears. (This was all done with permission of course.) When we finally arrived we were exhausted, frustrated (we got lost more than once in the downtown Kansas City streets), and a bit peeved that the sisters had gone to one of the most dangerous hospitals in our mission boundaries. The first thing that I noticed was that I was the only white man in the whole office that wasn't wearing scurbs or a stethoscope. Now race is not an issue to me. Usually. But when it comes down to it it's just not safe for a lone white man to be alone in downtown Kansas City at night. Well, I wasn't alone. I had Josh with me, but what chance does a 5'7 Mexican and a 5'9 Jew stand against a cold metal gun. No chance at all. Anyway, the Lord was on my side that night. The only thing I became a target for were complaints. Apparently the little white man is supposed to have power. Within minutes of arrival, after having found the sisters in the ER waiting room (where they had been for 7 hours now), a man came up to me and started complaining about how the orderlies "was kickin' sick people wy (while) they down,' and he wanted to know what I was 'goin' do 'bout it.' I, of course, had no solution to his dilemma. I got the full story later. Apparently, he had been sleeping on the floor of the ER which violated fire codes and such. A nurse had come up and tapped the man with his foot and asked him to sit in a chair. The man jumped off the floor and went on a five minute rant about how wrong it was to 'kick sick people wy they down.' I was supposed to make it better. I said sorry and walked away.
Many more incredible and exceedingly funny things happened that night. We were at the hospital until 6 in the A.M. The next day was brutal, but the stories we have are certainly fun to tell. Next time I'll tell you a story that is a bit more recent. I feel that my exploits in Seattle are worth mentioning as well as my trip to Kansas City. And in 20 days I shall have tales of sunshine and beaches to warm your winter weary hearts, because I'm going to Hawaii! Then in Dec. I will share the details of my trip to Boston which is sure to be a winner in more ways than one ; ) Stay strong. Do good, be good!