Bring on the Bling

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


One of my New Year's resolutions was to take public transit more often than I have been. I usually do really well for a while, but then I start sleeping in and getting downstairs later and later. With the bad weather we've been having here, I've been more inclined to take the train to work. I learned to drive in snow/ice/blizzards/whiteouts in Idaho, so I don't doubt my driving ability in the snow. I have a great car and great tires. I don't trust other drives...specifically the patients and students we get up at the U. They do crazy things and make stupid driving decisions. They are also very passive drivers, which causes more accidents than not. It's been super cold and black ice is everywhere. So, I have made a great effort to not drive more than once a week.

The U has a deal going with the Utah Transit Authority (UTA), where students, staff, and faculty get free transit passes. The U is a commuter school and has precious few parking lots...most of which are taken up by rich doctors who pay WAAAAAY too much for a special parking spot. Hosers. The good news is that the light rail, or TRAX, has a few stops on campus, with the final stop at the U Hospital. Also, a bunch of bus lines travel on campus. Remember how I said the U was a commuter school...?

On Mondays and Wednesdays, I have my German class after work from 6-8, right smack in the middle of campus. After class, I used to high-tail up to the TRAX stop, cutting through parking lots in the dark, wearing a skirt, with tons of ice everywhere. I quickly decided that wasn't the safest option for me. Plus, I have to run uphill for 10 minutes to barely make the train. I found that one of the bus routes picks up right in front of the Student "Union" Center, and finishes it's route just 1 TRAX stop from "my" stop. Then, I just wait for the next train to come and take me one more stop. Awesome! Now, I don't have to risk falling and smashing my laptop! Sa-WEET!

My time of the bus has been entertaining. The bus driver is the same every time I take route #21 to Central Pointe. He's this super adorable older man that gets to know his passengers. Most of us are the same people who take that route at that specific time. He's on a first-name basis with a few of the passengers, knows which stops we get off at, and greets many people (NOT me) with hugs when they board the bus. Thankfully, he doesn't give off that creeper vibe.

On Monday, we left the Union building and headed up by the Moran Eye Center. It was a clear night and the driver asked us if he could turn off the lights in the bus and drive slowly so we could enjoy the view. Background: it has been NASTY SMOGGY the last few weeks. Utards refer to this as an "inversion layer." We Californians call it like it is: Smog. Not Smaug...geekin out for a second. From our vantage point, we had a SPECTACULAR vista of the whole Salt Lake Valley. It was beautiful.

I look forward to my time on the #21 bus...mainly because we usually beat the train that I used to take. Also because we don't have to go through downtown and pick up weirdoes. Until next time...
At the Central Pointe stop after getting dropped off...running to make the train!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Pictures are my FAVE!

I love pictures. If my friends ask me what I want for my birthday/Christmas, I will most likely say that I want a nice picture of us in a frame. I have pictures all over my room. Pictures are fun to look at and remind me of the best times of my life. For Christmas, I asked my parents for a gift card to Shutterfly. I was excited to find it in my stocking on Christmas morning. I had started/finished a few photo books on the website, but didn't have the money to get them all printed. Here is the most recent one that I made from a trip with Michelle and Kasia to New Orleans, February 2013.

You'll love award-winning Shutterfly photo books. Start your own today.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Beginning of The End!

Today marks the last "first day of school" for me in Utah! I'm so excited/nervous. I'm currently enrolled in LING 5813 (capstone) and German 102. Here's a quick rundown of what I'm going to school for:

I was initially enrolled in the Linguistics Master's Degree program here at the University of Utah, but decided that I didn't want a Master's Degree. The idea of getting a TESOL certificate was much more appealing to me, on many levels. I won't go into too much detail, but my reasons are mine alone. TESOL stands for "Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages." It is equivalent to the TEF-L certificate and is internationally recognized and required for most/all ESL programs. I want to teach English and this is my ticket! Well, that plus a degree in History and a CBEST certificate from CA help!

My current dream is to finish the program and apply for a job at Disney English in China. I would just love to be back working at Disney in a completely different capacity than before. Disney owns about 11 schools in China that teach English to kids in Elementary school. From what I hear, the process is pretty quick, so I don't want to apply until I actually have the certificate and my passport in hand!

One of the requirements for obtaining the TESOL at the U is to take a beginning level foreign language class. This helps TESOL students become more aware of what our future students will be experiencing. I chose to take German, and I have loved every minute of it! I enjoy the language, my professor, the culture, and the idea that I might be going to Germany this year. I got a 95% in my German 101 class last year and learned that the U has a great study abroad program in Kiel, Germany. I have been seriously considering applying for the program, but have some concerns. I have spoken with a few friends/colleagues who have done a study abroad program and loved it. They have nothing but good things to say, which is heartening. I know it is the experience of a lifetime and I won't regret going. The struggle I am having is that the program will cost around $3800, which is more than what I've paid for tuition for the last 3 semesters. Also, the study abroad would be for fun: I will have obtained my TESOL and will no longer be registering for classes. I would get credits for German 201 and 202. I think I'll just start applying for scholarships and see if I can even get in to the program first and then worry about the rest later. Yeah, that seems awesome enough for me!
Kiel, Germany

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year's Resolutions

Someone once told me that when we coast through life, we're going at a downhill grade. It doesn't have to be very big of a grade, but just 0.00001% of a degree. Think about it. If you kicked your car into neutral on a flat surface, or even at a slight incline, it wouldn't coast. Now, put your car on a road that ever so slightly downgrades, and you'll find yourself coasting. Life is the same way. If I'm not learning, making myself better, reaching goals; I'm coasting at a slight downgrade. I'm not okay with that. I don't like to be stagnant, and I have struggled to understand why others choose to do so. I (gratefully) blame mom for this. She is always looking for ways to better herself, serve others, gain more knowledge. This mindset has influenced me greatly.

Everyone has an opinion about New Year Resolutions, so why should I be any different? I know what works for me and that's enough. I've seen plenty of Facebook posts, Tweets, and articles on the best way to make and keep resolutions, and what I've come to realize is that people just aren't motivated to better themselves. A coworker told me that he was "as good as he's going to be," and that he didn't need to change anything about himself. How boring. How sad. After living on my own for the last few years, I've learned that I need to keep progressing and making myself better...not for a future husband, my friends, or my family. For me.

This past Christmas/NYE season has been a whirlwind of travel, family, fun times, and traditions. As such, I haven't had a lot of time recently to sit down and write my resolutions. Even now, I'm at work on my lunch break. I won't finish in the precious few minutes I have left, so I'm sure I'll be finishing this later tonight at home. I like to make lists for myself. Sometimes I feel like I'm SJP's character from "I Don't Know How She Does It," when she wakes up in the morning with her lists for the day already started. I like my NYRs to be the same way: written down. They are constant reminders of what I want to work on. I'm not perfect. Nobody is, but we can strive for it.

This year, I'm changing things up a bit. In addition to writing down my resolutions, I'll be including 2-3 reasons why I've made it a resolution. I don't need a reason to have a resolution, but it helps me when I start to waiver a little bit. A few of my resolutions are:

**Go to the temple at least once a month
**Read my scriptures every day (Instagram helps make this easy to do...more on that later)
**Make travel a priority
**Blog at least once a week
**Work out 3 times a week
**Take the train to work every day

Obviously I have more resolutions, but they're very personal and not something that I want to share.

Quick recap from NYE: went to a party at my friend's house and believe me when I say that I brought the party!