مرحبا عليكم!

I study languages.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Booklist 2013.

I don't devour books the way I used to. I returned from my mission seven months ago, but have read only a handful of novels since. I wrote this in June; it refers to a booklist that I'll reproduce at the end of this post.

"If you've checked out my 2013 Booklist, you'll notice that after a three-week flirtation with books in March, I totally stopped reading. It's not that I've forgotten to update my blog. It's true. I cannot concentrate on literature any more. I read what I have to for school, mind half-focused and skipping, and then because my memory remains so fixed on a lifelong love for reading I stop into once-beloved bookstores every so often. These visits stress me out. They usually entail me spending an hour combing the shelves, opening books to random pages to taste an author's ethos (I am very picky), selecting something that turns out to be really painful for any number of reasons (or something really short that might keep my attention--a collection of essays or short stories, like I used to adore), and not being able to get through more than the first sixty or seventy pages. I am not comfortable reading; it doesn't take me away like it used to; it takes so much time. I am so much less tolerant of books and everything in them: graphic content offends me; sloppy style and poor presentation offends me; stupid sensationalism offends me; I scoff at philosophy and transparent attempts at depth; I don't like to wait to understand the plot; I get bored.

I don't like Young Adult literature because it's by definition genre writing and the young adult genre cares more for emotionally weighty ideas than it does for articulate presentation. Ideas are the point, of course, or should be, but I like to read ideas that are rhetorically sound and artistically clean; naive presentation makes me hate what you're saying because of the way you're saying it."

That being said, here's 2013's booklist to date:

Completely finished, every word. Recorded with date completed and number of pages.
Recommendation key:
!  Certified intellectual endorsement (I liked this book)
*  Light and fun
x  Not worth it
~  Meh. Okay.
^  School book
  • ! Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Amy Chua (3/7) (234)
    • A rhetorically violent take on so-called Asian parenting; morbidly impressive
  • ! Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs (3/25) (352)
    • Peculiar fantasy story built around creepy (real!) vintage photographs of children
  • ! Moloka'i, Alan Brennert (3/27) (415)
    • Richly narrated historical narrative of a girl exiled to the infamous Moloka'i leper colony in 19th century Hawaii
  • ! Unwind, Neal Shusterman (6/26) (335) 
    • Futuristic take on abortion theory: terminating fetuses is no more, but "unwinding" teenage children is perfectly legal
  • ! 1984, George Orwell (7/17) (268)
    • Coming off a mission, I reread this high school classic with religion on the brain. Wow.
  • * Divergent, Veronica Roth (10/08) (487)
    • Creative, dystopian YA fiction; compelling ideas, shallow characters, poor imagery; like the Hunger Games but longer.
  • * Insurgent, Veronica Roth (10/12) (525)
    • Sequel to Insurgent. I just have to know what happens!
  • ! My Story, Elizabeth Smart (10/17) (307)
    • Graphic, nearly unbearable description of nine months of kidnap, abuse, and rape; ends with healing and hope (!)
  • * Allegiant, Veronica Roth (11/2) (544)
    • Completion of the YA trilogy. Didn't end how I expected it to, but fun nonetheless.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


This is how I feel this week. 
I am currently composing/submitting:
  • one grant proposal (this week may make it two)
  • my honors thesis proposal
  • my honors thesis
  • four graduate school applications (soon to be more)
  • letter of recommendation requests to professors (some must be composed in Korean, which takes lots of time)
  • composition assignments for my Korean language class
and I feel very written out.
Note that five out of the six bullet points above involve personal/non-school-related work. Thus, I feel like I work and work and work all day and then when I am done I come home to my homework and to the feeling like I'm never actually getting anywhere.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013



It is the website for the Harvard-based endocrinology lab at Boston Children's Hospital at which I worked as a summer intern.


I am overjoyed to see *my name* listed on the same page as that of legitimate scholars/physicians/researchers! It makes me feel just the tiniest bit important, and gives me the tiniest bit of hope that I maybe-somehow-might get into graduate school.

My hair was really blonde.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013


I've been thinking a lot about what I WANT in life and whether or not those things are fair and/or achievable.
  • I want to go to graduate school.
  • I want to study linguistics, cognitive neuroscience, speech/hearing/audiology, East Asian languages, ancient Egypt, or some combination thereof.
  • I want to go to graduate school somewhere nice/good/attentive/talented, with nice/good/attentive/talented people to work with. I don't care where, but if I could choose I would choose Boston because I lived there for a while and I love Boston.
  • I don't want to go into crippling debt to pay for school.
  • I don't want to live in an atmosphere of impersonal, cutthroat competition--not because I can't compete, but because I guess I know there's more to life than being better than everybody else. I thrive on competition and always want to be my best (the best, even). What I don't like to do (a change; I used to enjoy this) is play the game, the terrible academic game that never ends and goes something like this: How many publications do you have? I don't care what it is you published; the number you say only matters in relation to how many publications I have. How many high-profile scholars know your name? How many scholarships did you get? How long is your resume? How important are you? Important enough to merit an audience with me? The trouble with this game is that it is inherently--necessarily--self-centered. There's no sincerity, and because every quantification is comparison-based, no real meaning. The game is semantics and the result sophistry. The program I want to join asks questions like What kind of person are you? How do you learn? Who have you helped? How did you help them? What brings you the strongest sense of fulfillment? Of the things you have created, which one makes you most proud? What are you creating now and what do you still need before it's finished? What do you want to create here and what do we have that will help you create it?
  • I want to teach. I love teaching.
  • I want to improve my Korean (한자, too!). I love Korean.
  • I want to read well in multiple languages. I love reading.
  • I want to write, to research and craft and present. I love writing.

I spend my free time on campus these days running in and out of professors' offices, trying to get a feel for just what exactly there is out there. I don't know these people, but I send emails and schedule appointments or just walk in and sit down and tell them about personal things like dreams and plans and I want to hear what they think and it doesn't scare me (thanks, mission). Right now I just want opinions. And I have already listened to so many. For the most part, I like talking to these people because it teaches me that there is a lot out there. Everybody convinces me a little bit and I always walk away conflicted, forgetting that the world is big and I am small, small but capable of at least some small thing, the intersection of infinite passion and a finite heart that yearns.

I talked to a prestigious professor today that told me to avoid anything Church-related when I make my applications, saying that one bad association with the LDS Church among your reviewers can send you to the bottom of the pile and that can be it. But hey. As an egalitarian, feminist, educated American, I don't know if I will let myself believe that's true. Do you really care what I believe? And if you do, would you allow yourself to be dictated by such prejudice to the point where you consciously discriminate against me? If as an employer I read that my potential employee had spent two years on the other side of the world, learning an impossible language in order to teach and serve in her church, I would admire her commitment, work ethic, and loyalty regardless of which religious branch she claimed. I guess I am projecting my attitude onto professors. But at this point, making my religion a part of my resume is not a matter of principle, it's a matter of honesty. I have a highly coveted Korean teaching job at the Missionary Training Center. I lived in Korea as a missionary for the past two years. There are gaping holes in my resume that would go unfilled if not caulked with my active religious participation. And why shouldn't I be honest? Follow your passion, do what you think will change the world regardless of what that is--just put your whole heart in and love it--that's every school's line. Right? 

Regardless. I have 한자 to translate and a 작문 to write.

Monday, September 9, 2013

너를 보낼게

I wait in the textbook line anxiously, receipt in hand, slowly inching up to the front for my turn. When it comes I hand the lady my book, A History of Ancient Egypt--my book, the one with the glossy cover, the one with the author who drones on and on, the one with the black-and-white pictures and the tiny serif text. Carelessly, she scans you through to re-credit my card and tosses you aside, asking for my ID. Unexpected guilt catches me off guard as you leave her hands, coming to rest somehow sad and alone on the stool by her desk. My book.

I'm so sorry, book. I adopted you, picked you out specially from a pile of similar texts, kept you safe until we got home. You rode in my backpack. I brought you to my house and thumbed through your pages like you were mine. I read part of Chapter One and penciled in little underlines just so I could remember you. But I have to be honest with myself. You are expensive and not all that interesting and I cannot afford to keep you. Even so, I hope someone else takes you home and loves you, that you end up on a bookshelf somewhere where children will hold you and finger your pages and smear the ink on the Temple of Hatshepsut, somewhere when your reader will catch sight of you from the shelf after a long month of work and blow the dust from your spine, disappearing for a second into tombs and texts and temples. I hope you're going to be all right.

[If I had more time I would write an adoption or abortion analogy, and you wouldn't find out I was talking about a book until the end. One day.]

Sunday, September 8, 2013


This week I read modern Korean short stories and ran into the very best one in any language I have ever read about women and education. Here's an excerpt from the assignment I wrote on "Kyonghui," said to be the first feminist short story in Korean literature.
"Kyonghui" (경희) by Na Hye-sok (나혜석), published in 1918, is a beautiful story about a nineteen-year-old girl from a traditional Korean home who, having traveled to Japan to be educated, is home for summer vacation. Women from all over come to scold her and criticize her choice to go away to learn rather than accept a marriage proposal, but upon meeting her are impressed with her confidence, character, and, surprisingly, her increased aptitude for traditional women’s work. Kyonghui shows a deep, happy interest in even the most menial chores: she doesn’t see laundry, she sees chemistry. The story culminates in a cathartic self-examination scene, impressively written, where Kyonghui, having just rejected a once-in-a-lifetime marriage offer, philosophically analyzes her choice and emerges spiritually reborn, having realized what it really means to be a person.

Remember, this is 1918 in Korea (then extremely sexist, now residually so). Kyonghui's conclusion is still resonant:

“First of all I am a human being. Then I am a woman. This means that I am a human being before being a woman. Moreover, I am a woman who belongs to the universal human race before being a Korean woman. I am God’s daughter before being the daughter of Yi Ch’orwon and Lady Kim. After all, I was born with a human form. This form, which includes not only the outer skin but also the internal organs, is definitely human, not animal. Without a doubt, I am a human being! If I, as a human being, don’t choose untraveled, rough roads, how can I ever ask that of others? Human beings are expected to achieve high goals and be proud of them, as if they were standing on a mountaintop and looking down below. . . .Dear God, here is your daughter! Father, thank you for your grace! Please look at my face, glowing with life. Dear God, please give me eternal glory and strength. I pledge to do my best. Please make use of me. I’m at your disposal, for you have the power to either reward or punish me.”

[Reproduced in a collection called Questioning Minds: Short Stories by Modern Korean Women Writers (translator: Kim Yung-Hee, 김영희)]

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

That time.

It's that time again. Hopefully for the last time. :)

Only two classes to review today, but can I just mention how unexpectedly exhausting it is to work three-and-a-half hours in Korean, on my feet, after a full day at school? I love, love, love being an MTC teacher and I wouldn't trade it for the world (seriously), but it does require just about every ounce of energy, focus, and self-control I have, so I crashed pretty hard after driving home at 5 today. And TTh are my "easy" days...

ANES 238: History of the Ancient Near East to 330 BC. I had to get up early and beg the professor to hear me out, as I have a conflicting class that precludes me from being able to attend the first half hour of every period, but he seems relatively reasonable, so hopefully we'll work something out. Lots of dry readings, but interesting lectures, and seeing transcriptions of Arabic place names is rekindling my love for that language. I'm starting to miss it and might audit a section!

KOR 302: Third Year Korean, Part 2. The course was listed under a professor I know and like, so to walk in and see a visiting faculty member having picked up the class was a bit of a disappointment. I like my original teacher because she understands RMs' advanced language capabilities, and our exchange professor, though very sweet, talks at the slowest speed of all time and still asks, "Can you understand? Should I speak more slowly?" If she doesn't speed up, I'll kill myself. It doesn't look to be a particularly difficult class, which is good for my schedule, but to be honest, kind of disappoints me. I'm one of only three girls in there, though, which is kind of cool.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Figs again.

It's the last Sunday before school starts, and scanning through prereleased syllabi is already making me overwhelmed. The first few days of school always scare me to death; I hear all the deadlines, test dates, rules, and consequences all at once and forget that I can do this, that I've done this, that I know how. And with grad school applications opening soon, this semester may not even technically count on my transcript.

If I'm completely honest, I want admission to graduate school more than I want anything else in the world. 
I need to graduate, to get out and move on, but to be honest, though, I fail to see myself even getting into a decent program. My transcript is all over the place: years--years!--of molecular biology, Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Arabic, Hebrew, Korean, chemistry, microbiology, linguistics--! The only thing consistent is my GPA. And what does such a perfectionistic number say about me? That I can do everything but can't commit to anything? Am I really qualified to do anything at all?

I am so scared to apply. I am scared that they will see potential in me, but not direction. And I am scared that they might be right. It calls to mind the fig tree, the haunting image from Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar that I've never been able to forget:

"I felt dreadfully inadequate. The trouble was, I had been inadequate all along, I simply hadn't thought about it. The one thing I was good at was winning scholarships and prizes, and that era was coming to an end.

I felt like a racehorse in a world without racetracks or a champion college footballer suddenly confronted by Wall Street and a business suit, his days of glory shrunk to a little gold cup on his mantel with a date engraved on it like the date on a tombstone.

I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig in the story.

From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these were many more figs I couldn't quite make out.

I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which one of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet."

Sylvia Plath,
The Bell Jar

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


The experiment of writing somewhere else didn't work.

Lately, I don't write at all. I don't read, either; at least, nothing longer than the endless strings of two-paragraph satires that punctuate The Onion and Buzzfeed. I read all of those, every single day. I amuse myself with sound bytes and Netflix and status updates and nothing of substance. I have never been more addicted to the Internet. I spend hours--hours!--on my iPhone doing absolutely nothing. I have never had an iPhone before and I am scared of what it does to me. It has sucked hours, days, months out of life, periods where I cannot recall a thing because there is nothing to recall. School helps. Work helps. I love work. I have my dream job, actually. If I could do something for forever it would probably be my job. Work is my life. In fact, work is the only thing that keeps me from laying in bed all day instead of just most of the day. In bed I lay there and breathe and sometimes blink and am nothing and every so often the stringy thought blows across the barren desert of my mind, sagebrush catching on an errant rock: I am actually an extremely qualified adult. I will graduate next April with university honors, multiple degrees, speaking multiple languages, with extensive experience living abroad, and hopefully with acceptance to a doctoral program. I have been laying in bed for seven hours. Is there anything new on Facebook? Do I have any more emails? Work doesn't start until 6.

This is an attempt to find a piece of myself that was somehow lost in those two years, that immeasurable space between then and now in which I gained and lost so much. I could never have predicted the chemistry of characteristics that compose me now, for better or for worse. Overall, I think, I am better. I am more confident, more stable, firm, steadfast; I know what I believe, and I will never forsake the things I know.

I took the most coveted job my university offers, and now I teach Korean immersion in nine-week stints to sets of twelve 19 to 21-year-olds who vary dramatically in aptitude, ability, and maturity levels.
I was taught in the very same place, and entering the classroom from this side of the power divide has taught me a lot about who I am.

I resist authority. Inherently, naturally, essentially. Violently. If you are somehow placed above me, I am at odds with you. I like to be on top, the best, the star, the queen, and there are very few situations in which I cannot make that a reality. I am untouchable. I have a plan and my plan is the best. I always get what I want. Who are you to say otherwise? Who are you, with your weak attempt to coach, dote, praise, criticize, dictate? Leave me alone. You are not me. You are not even like me. Behind this raging fire, though, is smoke and mirrors. I am terrified of failure. I am dictated by the constant fear of doing something wrong, accidentally or otherwise. I have no tolerance for mistakes. I do not know what happens if I am not the best, and I dream torturous iterations of losing at my own game. In my work I do not encounter people like me frequently, but when I do I watch them closely, knowing. It is uncomfortable to see myself in a mirror but also venomously good, since this time around I occupy the higher position, the emperor's box at their gladiator fight. From experience I know that these people will obey, but not quietly. They will scream the whole way through and never surrender their weapons. And they will watch me, too, in my position of power. They rage against the dying of my light, watch it, mock it for flickers and breaks, all the while growing increasingly hungry to replace my weaknesses with the flame of their own strength, zealous to destroy all evidence of what there was before, because they know so perfectly that it is absolutely less than what will be there when They arrive.

I get these people.

But then there are the people who accept authority, wholly, meekly, submissively, without criticism or question. Inexplicably, they smile up shyly under your yoke, even when you test them, even when you control them for control's sake just to see what they will do. When you are lenient and when you are harsh, they express quietly, even verbally!--"I am Your student. I understand that I am subject to You. I am grateful to be taught and sorry for my mistakes. I love You for being what You are. Will You please help me?"

These people fascinate me.
They so completely elude my understanding that when I meet them the all-consuming fire of what I am is blown hundreds of yards back. I have no idea what to do with these. I do not know what they want. I cannot see their motives. They are nothing--nothing at all--like me. I watch them, take notes, poke softly, handle with care. I do not want to break them. They have a trait that must be preserved, something I do not understand but somehow know to be sacred. Humility? I cannot harm them. For some reason, I would never even try.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


It reminds me of my mission, of remembering and forgetting and experiencing vivid, color-drenched things, both in the moment and afterward. Enjoy.
The Improvement
by John Ashbery

Is that where it happens?
Only yesterday when I came back, I had this
diaphanous disaffection for this room, for spaces,
for the whole sky and whatever lies beyond.
I felt the eggplant, then the rhubarb.
Nothing seems strong enough for
this life to manage, that sees beyond
into particles forming some kind of entity—
so we get dressed kindly, crazy at the moment.
A life of afterwords begins.

We never live long enough in our lives
to know what today is like.
Shards, smiling beaches,
abandon us somehow even as we converse with them.
And the leopard is transparent, like iced tea.

I wake up, my face pressed
in the dewy mess of a dream. It mattered,
because of the dream, and because dreams are by nature sad
even when there's a lot of exclaiming and beating
as there was in this one. I want the openness
of the dream turned inside out, exploded
into pieces of meaning by its own unasked questions,
beyond the calculations of heaven. Then the larkspur
would don its own disproportionate weight,
and trees return to the starting gate.
See, our lips bend.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My Inception top.

I pull out of Barnes and Noble in my old student car, park on campus (I'm no longer suspended indefinitely from BYU parking; they put me on a year's probation but I didn't tell them I was going on a mission and wouldn't be driving for the next year and a half anyway), sift through preliminary literature for my honors thesis in the library, meet with professors, talk my way into and out of course requirements and schedule logistics, and sometimes it feels like the last year and half never even happened.Sometimes I feel like I've always been here, like there isn't a twenty-month void in my knowledge of recent events, like I never lived in that first floor apartment in 신갈, never got up and ready at 6:30 every morning, never confirmed appointments for painstakingly planned lessons I taught according to strangers' needs, never cut up rich red stripes of fermented spicy cabbage to make 김치볶음밥, never spent all day walking around talking to strangers in the snow, never tried with all my heart to get people to do things they didn't want to do because it would bring them benefits they could feel but couldn't see. I might accept this creepingly believable self-talk (in fact, it's easier to believe than the alternative) if it weren't for just one thing. There's something that remains despite myself, something I have that unquestionably grounds me in reality. All I have to do is remember it's there and give it a spin and it lets me know what's real and what's a dream. My Inception top. Korean.Whenever I start doubting the reality of what I did on the other side of the world for so long I make myself switch into Korean. I put on a song, a television drama, a podcast in my beloved mission language and I can't deny the fact that I understand, that it's all real.한국어를 하는 능력이 없어지는 날은 선교사업이 저한테 꿈이 되는 날입니다.The day my Korean disappears is the day my mission will become to me no more than a memory, a picture, a story--a dream.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Recent events.

Today I have done almost absolutely nothing.

I say almost because there was that stint between 2 and 3:15 pm where I put on decent clothes and attended a lavish baby shower where I sat by someone wrinkly from my past life and ate expensive salad and raspberry sorbet at the redesigned Riverside Country Club. It was the first time I've been to the Club since returning from my mission and the place is impressive. The entryway has a large warm fireplace and smells comfortingly of cinnamon.

My post-mission life (three weeks ago I was on a plane over the ocean) is a flat line studded with sparkling expensive Events. I do things like lay on the couch in front of the TV for seventeen hours straight, getting up once to use the bathroom and once because I rolled too close to the edge and had to stop myself from falling off. I didn't even turn on the TV.

On Tuesday I dressed up and went to the opera at the Capitol Theater, and looking up at the huge gold splattery golf ball in the ceiling that's been there ever since I can remember made me feel classy and at home. The performance was "The Magic Flute" by Mozart and though I didn't expect dialogue in English (songs, of course, remained in German) it was marvelous and beautiful and way more thought-provoking than I expected (from the Wikipedia article: "The story itself portrays the education of mankind, progressing from chaos through religious superstition to rationalistic enlightenment, by means of trial and error, ultimately to make 'the Earth a heavenly kingdom, and mortals like the gods'").

Yesterday I went to the Mummies of the World exhibit in SLC and stared very very closely at the browned, stretched, peeling skin of all the thousands-of-years-dead people and even more closely at their hair; they still have hair, you know; some of it is even long and thick and dark and beautiful and braided. My mom came with me but she is more of a take-a-quick-glance-at-all-the-big-stuff-and-move-on type of museum person and I am a read-every-single-plaque-and-the-wall-stuff-and-take-fifteen-minutes-imagining-stories-about-just-that-one-piece-of-ancient-Egyptian-jewelry kind of person so she finished like an hour and a half before I did and lay on a couch at the end of the exhibit playing on her iPhone while I took my time.

The matted body of a four-thousand-year-old Peruvian woman with two children fascinated me, especially when my meticulous plaque reading taught me that she was originally buried with only one child under her head, which is missing its head and arms, and then two hundred years later another child was bundled up tight and placed in her arms as if it were a baby, but now thanks to DNA evidence and based on the size of the bones and the closure of skull sutures researchers guess the child was actually four or five years old and died of a mandibular tumor; regardless its bones were scrunched and bundled up like a baby and buried in the arms of a woman lying in a two-hundred-year-old grave. Another woman was found in a strange burial position, hands crossed around her waist, each hand clutching a child's incisor. Another woman with braided hair was found with weird possibly symbolic tattoos of ovals with dots inside on her breasts and below the left corner of her lower lip. I highly recommend looking at all of these people.

Being close to things from Egypt made me remember standing in the Cairo museum all by myself and being overwhelmed with death and time and passion and languages I can't read and things that fall apart and things that don't and wanting to see everything there is, just everything, and really not much has changed.

Except that everything has changed. I was a missionary for a very long time. I lived in South Korea and I had to take all responsibility for everything all the time and so many things hurt me over and over and the hurt wore calluses into my body and now I am stable and thick-skinned, deep-rooted, firm in my conviction, impossible to push over. Now I know how to survive. I know lots of weary secret things about the insides of families and churches and people and spirits and it makes me feel very very old. I had no idea what I was getting into, started down the rabbit hole as a blindfolded initiate but now I know lots of very important and true things about things not in this world and I feel mysterious and deep. But nobody asks me about those things anymore; now I lay on my couch for seventeen hours and I don't even turn on the TV.

I speak Korean. Spoke Korean. Well. Well enough to maybe neglect my 첫사랑 and make Korean-English simultaneous translation my grad school focus. And now I speak just to myself, listening to podcasts and Korean dramas and making myself play commentator so I won't lose the language. When I watch English TV I pause it after every sentence and make myself translate. It's lonely and pathetic and I know that but I worked too hard for my ability to let it fade away. I look forward to Saturday afternoons, when I volunteer at the MTC TRC and talk to actual Koreans for three hours straight, like nothing else in the world.

My mission was the best thing that ever happened to me; it IS me now, in fact. I carved a beautiful life for myself out of a culture and language I never thought would break; my hands got all bloody in the process but diamond knives cut through granite if you just know how to handle them right; it was the handling that took me a while to master. And I left at the peak of my artistic career--my painstakingly exact Korean, flowing more and more perfectly every day so I left in awe of my own language skill; my plentiful investigators and great relationships and overflowing gospel knowledge--and now I lay here on my couch and nobody talks of salvation or eternity and there is March Madness on TV now but I have no patience for this. I have an iPhone 5 and I will never be bored again, I'm reading The Picture of Dorian Gray because it's free on my iPhone 5 and literature  takes me aback; it's so ridiculously exquisite. Music, too; that doesn't seem to get old. There are five straight days of music on my computer and I can listen, mesmerized, rediscovering lyrics and feelings and beats and marveling, just marveling.

This is water.

This is water.

And tonight I am going on a blind date. I am going on a blind date because my mom and her friend thought it would be a good idea. Some kid called me during intermission at the opera; the opera was in German and German is his mission language and now he is coming over at 9:15 to get me tonight. I am scared of blind dates because I am scared of the world and date rape and missing people on milk cartons and guns. But this kid seems all right. They set me up with him because they say I am an Intellectual and he only likes Intellectuals. I don't know what that's supposed to mean. But I don't feel much like anything. I feel like someone who lay on the couch for seventeen hours and dressed up just to eat expensive salad.