30 April 2012

Road trip to my past

My exodus from Utah began like this:

I have decided that this is where I belong.

The 12-hour journey up through Montana and into Home Sweet Panhandle flew by.  Mainly because entertainment consisted of listening to MCAT prep sessions (not for me, obviously) and old Russell Brand radio shows.  Excellent combo.

And then, we made it.  My beloved Idahoan paradise.  Behold:

Ze view from ze house

For those of you who may not know, I went to high school in Northern Idaho and we're selling the house we built up there.  So long, House.  I hope someone loving and wonderful buys you.  Someone who appreciates the joy of living amongst moose and mountain lions and ferocious biting bees, on a dirt road, with no cell reception, miles away from civilization.  I will miss you.

29 April 2012

BA with a BA!

Har har har. Ho ho ho.  Hah hah hah.  Hoo hoo hoo.  I'm particularly proud of this post title.  Gosh I'm clever.

But fo' realz, guys.  I graduated.  Finito.  Fini.  Terminat.  DONE.  NO MORE SCHOOL EVERRRRRRR!!!!!!.....until grad school.  But until then...NO MORE SCHOOL EVERRRRRR!!!!!

With my diploma (Uh...well, diploma case with a sample diploma inside.  But let's not split hairs here.) in hand and a head-full of 4 years-worth of both awesome and useless information, I am ready to conquer the world!  My BA in European Studies and French Minor are my golden keys to success.  All you peeps who had "practical" majors like econ or accounting, go eat your hearts out because I know you're wasting away in dullness at your boring desk job.  Did your department host a convocation ceremony with a spicy Venezuelan band and a REALLY SPICY (awesomely pushing Honor Code limits) tango performance?  Doubt it.  'Cause that's what we're all about at the Kennedy Center for International Studies: equipping ourselves with ultra-useful degrees in European Studies or Middle Eastern Studies or whatever and then using our presumptuously pedantic expertise in foreign affairs to save the world....mostly by sitting around eating brie and talking about saving the world.

Kidding.  Obviously.  You love your desk job.  The world needs you. I need you.  I need a job. And a desk.  A desk job, even.

Well, folks. It's been a memorable...6 years.  Yes, 6 years--an 18-month mission, a Study Abroad with minimal emphasis on study, and ice skating and Irish dance classes will prolong anyone's college career.  It's been great.  Since the moment I moved into my janky shoebox dorm room in D.T.


Oh, D.T. I'm so honored I had the privilege of living within your prison-like brick walls as they crumbled (literally) around me and the nastified carpet and gooey showers that certainly made me immune to any form of fungus I could possibly pick up anywhere in the world. Cheers.


I couldn't get out of Utah fast enough but at the same time I'm plotting my next trip back.  It's a horrendous love-hate relationship.  Toxic.  Most of you who read this have relocated to Provo for college and know the feeling. I am tremendously happy and relieved to be gone.  But I won't deny that I have left bits of my heart in the following places/objects:  [Kind of a gross analogy.  But I can't be bothered to delete it and think of another one. At least I said 'bits' and not 'shards' or 'sinews' or something.]

-The mountains.  Mt. Timp staring me in the face.  Begging me to hike her.
-International Cinema.  Great foreign films for free, with all the Euro boobs and saggy butts conveniently edited out.
-Free stuff EVERYWHERE. Coupons, student discounts, 2-fers.  But mostly free stuff.  Time to retire my iMooch group on Fboo.
-Home basketball games
-The Chocolate.  And everything associated with it.
-Pendulum Court
-The JFSB 4th floor patio
-Provo Farmer's Market
-There's more. Enough to devote a second blog post to.

The worst is when you discover something amazing, like, a month or less before you leave:

-Station 22. Where have you been all my life?
-BYU Rugby.  Where have you been all my life?
-The dreamy Australian computer lab assistant. Where have you been all my life?


Farewell, Provo.  You've been good to me, you weird city.  A toast to a bountiful next 6 years of life!  Huzzah! Did I just toast myself?  I swear I'm not that narcissistic.  But it's my blog and I'm a college grad and I do what I want!


22 April 2012

Happy Sunday: Mormon Temples from an Episcopal's Perspective

Who has two thumbs and a Bachelor of Arts degree? This girl.  In an effort to regain sanity and basically, well, BREATHE for the first time in three weeks, I'm on a little weekend vaycay.  But to preserve the Happy Sunday tradition, here is an excellent article written about Mormon temples by an Episcopalian priest.  It's very well written and offers great insight to the purpose, sacredness, and NON-CULT-NESS of LDS temples.  It's from the Huff Post.  

Enjoy. And, as always, Happy Sunday. 

15 April 2012

Happy Sunday: Christ Has Resurrected! or, Mishaps at the local Orthodox cathedral

One of my favorite things about Romania--and the Eastern Orthodox religion in general--is the utter enthusiasm for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Easter is a big deal for them.  And not just a big deal at church.  It's everywhere--the streets, the buses, the markets, the liquor stores...  Wherever you go you will be greeted with a good, hearty "Christ has resurrected!"  This is the Easter equivalent of, well, any salutation or farewell.

"What's up, man?" "Hey, girl, hey!" "Hello again, officer." "See ya, Grandma."

"Christ has resurrected!" covers all of those,  And the proper response: "True, he resurrected!"

How awesome is that? No hiding the flame of Easter spirit under a bushel for them.

Last night I hit up an Eastern Orthodox cathedral in SLC to celebrate the good old fashioned Romanian way (yes, their Easter happens to be one week later than ours this year).  After a service where the priest chants and sings a lot, he walks down the aisle of the church with a giant torch of sorts and those of us who are closest to him light our candles and pass the light on to the rest of the congregation.  Apparently it's bonus points if you light your candle directly from the priest's flame, so obviously I stood on the aisle.  I need all the help I can get.

"Coooommee and partaaaaaaake of the liiiiiiiiiiight," he chanted.

I grew more and more eager as he approached me.  It seemed to take ages.

Finally, he was within arm's reach and I stuck my candle out to partake in the goodness.

Then something went awry.  His big ol' candle wobbled out of its holder and landed on my foot.

This could have happened:

Luckily, it did not.

Now, can someone please tell me the protocol for this situation?  Is it extra bonus points for me or none at all?  That fire is supposed to be straight from the Holy Land itself, so does the fact that it extinguished on my foot curse every Orthodox person until next Easter?  If so, my deepest regrets, you guys.

But on the plus side, Christ has resurrected!  Shout it from the roof tops!

09 April 2012

Awkward Hugging

I read this great blog today all about awkward hugs. Read it here.

To this list, I would like to add one of my own: The Armpit Attack.

The Armpit Attack is a direct result of the Awkward Side Hug.  Maybe side hugs work for some people.  However, if you're significantly shorter than everyone you hug, particularly males, you get an armpit in your face.  Some times even the better part of your neck and head shoved unceremoniously into a dark abyss of cotton and body heat.  Did you know the armpits are some of the warmest parts of your body?  Add a little man sweat to that and you have yourself a lucky day.  An Armpit Attack at its finest.

08 April 2012

Carpet Angels

At Easter dinner with some people in my ward, we talked about our family Easter traditions.  This was one of many realization I've had throughout my adult years that my family is crazy.

We decorate 144 eggs.  And by decorate I don't just mean dye every color of the rainbow. I mean dye, then paint, then detail with the artistic precision of Michelangelo.  These things are works of art, but not all of them in the sense that you'd think.  I'm talking made to look like citrus or rolled in freshly cut grass for camouflage purposes on my grandparents orange grove-covered property.  Some turn out like little Asian men or pirates.

While my Gma is at the grocery store picking up last minute food items for our Easter feast, she will undoubtedly meet someone in the dairy section who she insists she is related to, and then invite them to our Easter party.  Each year promises to find at least a family or 2 who no one knows and who by no means are we even remotely related to.

What I love most about any O'Brien feast is the ceremonial sprawling-out on the carpet that immediately follows the meal.  This is an attempt to appease our fully bellies that we just stuffed with twice our weight in food.  We call it....carpet angles. Carpet angels are a tradition among some of the women in the O'Brien family.  They are the indoor cousin of snow angels and I'll be damned if there is a method that speeds up digestion better.  

Happy Easter.

Happy Sunday: An Easter Message

"...One of the great consolations of this Easter season is that because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. His solitary journey brought great company for our little version of that path—the merciful care of our Father in Heaven, the unfailing companionship of this Beloved Son, the consummate gift of the Holy Ghost, angels in heaven, family members on both sides of the veil, prophets and apostles, teachers, leaders, friends. All of these and more have been given as companions for our mortal journey because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His gospel. Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone nor unaided, even if sometimes we may feel that we are. Truly the Redeemer of us all said: “I will not leave you comfortless: [My Father and] I will come to you [and abide with you].”
-Elder Jeffery R. Holland (from "None Were With Him")

This video includes excerpts from one of my favorite talks of all time.  The conviction with which Elder Holland testifies of Christ's atonement and resurrection gets my blood pumping.  Watch it.  And consider the meaning of Easter.  

03 April 2012

Stream of Consciousness

Sitting in the library.
Crafting a 12-page research paper on coffee.
Falling asleep after a loooong day.
Should be drinking coffee to keep me awake.
Because that's what college kids do.
Wait, what? I'm at BYU?
I've cleaned the HBLL out of their stock on books pertaining to the introduction of coffee in Europe and its original coffee houses. Yep. All three. Got every last one of them, suckas. I'm pretty sure I'm the first one to ever check these out at BYU. Ever.
Researching coffee just makes me want to drink it.
All I have is a Dasani that I picked up free at an entrepreneurship activity at the Business School. I don't want to start a business. Just give me your free water.
Painfully full because I ate my weight in Nicolitalia pizza and European pastries at the European Studies Student Association closing social.
European Studies? What the Bonaparte is that?
I don't even know.
Apparently I just study coffee and eat free euro food.
Viable candidate for any job position, I'd say.
Which is great, since I'm graduating in 2 weeks.
Hire me.
Listening to Bon Iver.
Bon hiver.
Good winter.
You can thank my European Studies major/French minor to that one.
Convinced yet?
There's more where that came from.

01 April 2012

Happy Sunday: God's Words...Never Cease

Twice a year, the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--as well as the apostles and other general authorities of the Church--address us in a 2-day conference of spiritual instruction, council, and edification.  They talk about things that are especially pertinent in our day and age (getting out of debt, raising single-parent families, the media, etc.) and things that have been pertinent since the beginning of time (forgiveness, charity, repentance, overcoming trials, etc.).  

What a blessing it is to know that God still talks with His children. That he hasn't left us to fend for ourselves in this mad world.  That he continues to have a prophet on Earth to be His mouthpiece--a solid guide for us to know God's will, how to be genuinely happy in this life, and what we must do to return to Him.  God has worked through prophets since Adam and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  This in no way rules out the blessing of receiving personal revelation through prayer and scripture study.  He's just got our backs twice over.

Curious about what God's prophet has to say this weekend?  Watch General Conference here.

Happy Sunday.