Friday, July 20, 2012

Stuff Will Break

This Summer I've been working on the maintenance team at a local mall, and I've specifically been working with the Air Conditioning mechanic. Seeing that four weeks ago the only thing I knew about air conditioning is that they don't have it in Romania, I've learned a lot.

Baba-proof that air conditioning is not needed for survival, although it is very pleasent
One of the main things I've learned hasn't been how to fix an air conditioner, but instead a helpful life lesson. I've noticed that a majority of the people who call us when their air conditioner isn't working have an attitude something like this: "We paid for an air conditioner, so I don't understand why we don't have an ideal temperature in our store. It shouldn't be broken. I just want it to work right now." I can't really blame them either, because that's how I've always thought. I buy a car, and it should run. I shouldn't be bothered with all of the trips to the mechanic and constant upkeep.

After visiting a particularly hasty tenant about her broken air conditioner, the mechanic turned to me and said, "I just wish people would understand that nothing is perfect and things are going to break." Then I realized that this has many more implications than to wonderful devices that blow heavenly air in our direction, it also applies to ourselves, our work ethic, and relationships with others. I cannot expect a relationship with a loved one to be perfect and work just because we both agreed to give it a shot. Things will break, arguments will be had, but that doesn't mean that we can't fix them. Just because I am trying my best doesn't mean that I'm not going to make mistakes, I will break and mess up, but that doesn't mean that I can't work to fix it.

I'm sure we've all seen the meme thing going around Facebook that has a picture of an older couple and says something to the extent of, "In my day we were taught that if something is broken, we fix it." I know that there are situations where things are beyond repair, but I do think that we are worth fighting for (insert Mulan song here). We can't go through life thinking that we are entitled to things that don't break, because life is going to come back and bite you in the butt as soon as you realize that will never happen. Stuff will break, and as long as we remember that and strive to fix it, we can find happiness in any situation.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

"The Roadtrip of Justice"

June 15, 2012 was the start of one of the most epic treks across the country that four college students have ever embarked on. These four young adventurers were changed for life, and without a doubt got to know each other a lot better. Me, Brita, Steve, and Andy have now seen the country.
In front of the Mississippi river
I was driving home from college for the Summer so I asked some friends if they wanted to come with me and these wonderful three came along for the adventure (in addition to reasons of their own). We started from Provo, Utah with Apex, NC as our destination.

Day 1: We made it to Grand Island, Nebraska. Here are some pictures of the adventure, including the states we went through.
1 down, 6 to go!

Look at the difference between the two signs. 
Now, to say the least, I was not excited about going through Nebraska. As a kid we had driven through it and all I remembered was a straight road with corn on each side for hours...and a random college in the middle of nowhere. All of us were...well...dreading the drive through that neck of the fields. However, we were all pleasantly surprised that it wasn't too bad, it was actually a lot prettier than the part of Wyoming we drove through. Way to beat the odds Nebraska!

Day 2: Destination Nauvoo, Illinois where Brita had to depart...which is still a sore subject for us. Here are some pictures for that day and some photos of Nauvoo. BTW Nauvoo is a historic site for our church where the Saints settled around the 1840's and made a thriving city out of a swamp. 
We also went through Iowa, but a torrential rainstorm stopped
us from documenting the occasion

There were so many windmills

My great great great etc...uncle's gun shop
Browning guns

The Nauvoo Temple
Day 3: After trying to recover the loss of Brita in Nauvoo me, Andy, and Steve headed to my sister's farm outside of Nashville TN. 
The trusty three

St. Louis!
Yes, we were gettin' to the South!

Day 4: We decided to take a day break from the open road and spend some time with my sister and brother-in-law on their farm in rural Tennessee. It was now our one and only goal to immerse Steve and Andy into southern culture, starting off by visiting a Civil War site in Franklin, TN. We then went and walked around downtown Nashville and ate at one of the best bbq places in the nation, followed by a relaxing evening (including shooting guns) on my sister's farm. 
Shots from the Battle of Franklin
Yes, the street is called Honky Tonk row 
The country music capital of the world-Nashville, TN
The farm
Day 5: North Carolina!! 
We made it!
We made a pit stop at my old stompin' grounds aka Asheville, NC. We walked around downtown, caught up with an old friend for lunch, and took in all the eclecticness that is Asheville. The next couple of days were filled with NC culture: we visited UNC Chapel Hill and Duke University, basked in the glory of North Carolina basketball glory, toured the historical downtown Apex, ate Chick-Fil-A, and we even went to the Apex Pig Pickin'! 

UNC Chapel Hill 
You can't see it very well, but this may or may not have been
a fulfillment of Steve's wildest dreams-being in Cameron Indoor
Downtown Apex, dressed in our UNC attire

After reviewing our "Roadtrip of Justice" (compliments to Brita for the epic name), I propose that it was a success. We crossed the country, sang a lot of songs, sang all of those songs a lot of times, bonded with each other, saw the history of our country, witnessed the landscape change from the desert beauty of the west to the immaculate forest of the east, and how could I forget, we visited Little America! I highly recommend roadtripping across the US of A, you will not be disappointed!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

I love America!..So now what?

Happy (belated) day of birth America! 

The past couple of nights me and my parents have been watching some documentaries on America and the sacrifices that have been made for us to be who we are today. Sacrifices made not only by our soldiers, but also by citizens, families, and leaders. This got me thinking about how often I throw around the phrase, "I love America!" and not really think about what it means to be an American. For those of you who don't know, I was lucky enough to serve the Lord for two years in Romania by serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Living among those amazing people changed me completely, it opened my eyes, helping me to realize that not everyone lives how I do. In Romania I saw a number of people and families that barely had any temporal possessions, they worried every morning what they would put on the table for their kids to eat, without having much hope of change. That humbles you. 

I think loving America entails a lot more than just stating how amazing it is on your Facebook status and putting off fireworks. To truly love America means to recognize your blessings and use them to help those who don't have them, whether they be American, Romanian, or of any other ethnicity. To be American means to fight for what is right and sacrifice for it. 

Because I Have Been Given Much

Because I have been given much, I too must give.

Because of they great bounty, Lord each day I live. 

I shall divide my gifts from thee with every brother that I see,

who has the need of help from me.

-Hymn Because I Have Been Given Much by Grace Noll Crowell