Tuesday, December 7, 2010


So...life is still really awesome but....


I can't take it anymore. Seven more days and I feel like I am losing steam exponentially each day. And what stinks about that is that these classes are not just typical, 500-people, freshman level classes that I don't care about. These classes are important! They are supposed to be training me to become a teacher. But because I have lost momentum and am beginning to feel like I am failing at school, I am beginning to feel like I will fail at teaching too. I know this sounds really dramatic and I'm sure they are not inseparably linked, but I really need to find my chi. Because if you fail at a "teaching class," isn't that a bad sign for when you actually start teaching?

There is hope. I will endure. I will find a way.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Life is perfect and I am happier than ever.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Maybe it's time

Dear Self,

It is time to change your ways. It is not normal to think to yourself, "Okay, it's midnight. That means I still have 8 hours to work on this paper before I have to turn it in in the morning."

You need to sleep.



Wednesday, November 10, 2010


4:38pm - Arrive at library to finish last 12 pages of paper

7:45pm - Take dinner break and buy 3 cookies to get through the long night

10:10pm - Start getting sleepy from lack of previous night's sleep.

10:15pm - Lay head down on arm and fall asleep for 15 minutes.

10:30pm - Wake up from arm-sleep, work a teeny, go down aisle to find book

10:40pm - While flipping through book, get sleepy again

10:45pm - Lay down IN THE AISLE and fall asleep because you're shameless and have no control. This time it's 40 minutes

11:25pm - Get woken up by the vacuum guy. Stand up awkwardly and pretend like you weren't sleeping even though you both know you were. Go back to table.

11:30pm - Get sleepy again and succumb to arm-sleep once more.

11:40pm - Wake up from arm-sleep and decide maybe it's time to walk home.

11:55pm - Arrive home and spend all night on the couch in and out of sleep while writing said paper.

I think maybe I have a problem...

Monday, November 8, 2010

You have to tell us what happened!

I've already had the best moment of my week and it's only MONDAY! As you can probably guess, this best moment has nothing to do with the paper I have to finish today, and EVERYTHING to do with teaching (okay, you may not have guessed that last part based on recent emotional breakdowns I've had, but bear with me).

Today, I was teaching my crazies again in the ESL class. We ran out of time and I was telling them about the issue of slavery in writing the constitution. The BEST part was when I told them we didn't have time to finish and they had to put their binders away. Seriously, 4 or 5 of my CRAZIEST kids got all worried and said, "Wait! You have to tell us what happened! What did they decide?!"

Wha...?! They wanted to learn for the sake of learning? It wasn't to get a treat or a prize or anything? Yes. They just wanted to learn. I realized right then that that is a moment I will live for as a teacher. I told them that if they hurried back to their seats before the bell rang I would tell them. All the kids ran back to their desks and were SILENT so I would finish the story.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

From the Lowest of Lows to the Highest of Highs

So I had an interesting experience this week. I have previously mentioned various teaching experiences I have had and how excited they have made me to be a real full-time teacher. Especially in a middle school. For some strange reason that is incomprehensible to my friends and family, I feel like my place is among the 13-year olds. (similar maturity levels you ask?....perhaps)

Well, this week I discovered that teaching is not all sunshine and roses.

For the past month, I've been working with a middle school ESL class and to put it lightly, they are THE MOST OUT-OF-CONTROL CLASS I've ever seen. Cute kids, but seriously crazy. Their teacher's style of discipline was very different from any I've ever been taught, and from what I could tell was not very effective. So on Monday I had the opportunity to teach them for the first time. And despite the very clear warning signs that I had been given, I was under the impression that they would never be a problem for me. I would surely be able to handle them with a healthy little dose of TLC. After all, they had shown during the previous month that they liked me and gave me high-fives whenever they came into their classroom and saw me there. That's a recipe for a healthy teaching environment, right?

No. No. No. It was one of the hardest days I've ever had. Just an hour and a half with those kids and I was at my wit's end with how to deal with them. They yelled, chatted, were constantly up out of their seats, never listened, were never on task, complained, you name it. I came home that day more depressed than ever. I was blindsided. By 13-year olds. I never even saw it coming. I cried a little, said a prayer, cried a little more, called my dad. For the first time since choosing my major, I started to wonder if this is something I'm really cut out for. What if I was just a horrible teacher and I just never had enough experience in the classroom to realize it? The moment that day that had broken my heart was when one little girl, who had previously been my biggest fan, threw her head back at one point and said (rather loudly), "I would rather be ANYWHERE but here!" Okay, how do you not take that personally? I word-vomited all this onto my poor father, who lovingly replied, "Ang, you're going to be fine. It was one day. To be honest, I don't know why you ever wanted to be in a middle school anyway." Then my heart sunk as I realized, maybe they were all right. All those people who told me it's crazy to want to teach kids in middle school full-time. What if I should really be in a high school?! It's too late!! I'm already set up to teach in a junior high in DC!! What if I die?!?! Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!

Luckily, as outlined by the title of this post things got better. 1000X better. Today, Wednesday, I had the chance to teach my beloved crazies again. And something magical happened.

They listened.

I don't know what did the trick. Whether it was the new seating arrangement, the new rules, the different activity for the lesson, or all three. But for some reason, we connected today. They weren't out-of-control, in fact they were the most in-control I've ever seen them. In the beginning they complained of course, but by the end of the lesson my biggest complainers, "the divas" as I like to call them, were more into the lesson than anyone. They were shouting at the other kids to go faster! To say their part right! They were running to accomplish their task! It was AWESOME. Not only did they have fun and get really into the lesson, but they LEARNED it. At the end of class I wanted to see how effective it had been so I was throwing out questions fast,

"What was our first form of government after the Revolutionary War?"
"Why didn't it work?"
"What year was the constitution written?"
"What was Shay's Rebellion?"
"Why was it important?"

They knew every. single. one.

They got it! They understood the history behind the lesson. And they knew it well! I was thrilled. And then, to top it all off, my biggest fan little girl ran up to me after class and said, "Are you gonna be our teacher for the whole term?!" When I told her I'm just teaching her class for this week, she let out a big, sad groan and said, "No! Teach us all the time!"

I almost cried again. Not really, but it would have been appropriate.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

...all i can do is keep breathing....

Ingrid's words have never felt more appropriate. Yes, it's been awhile. Yes, I'm sorry. Yes, all those fears and anxieties I wrote about two months ago are coming true. Both the good and the bad. sfjaoiwjdef!

To say life is busy is an understatement. I frantically run from class to work to classroom observations to work to class to home where I pull out my computer and do my homeworks until the wee hours of the morning. Monday through Thursday I generally get about 3-4 hours of sleep and then try to catch up on the weekends, except I have to go back to work and the cursed homework that just won't let me be. And sometimes I just want to scream AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

And then I remember something really great. Something amazing. Ready? This is the last of it. This is the end. And I'm going out strong. And sometimes it sucks. But in the end, it will ALL be worth it. Do you want to know why? Because come January 1st, I'm moving to

Yep, I know. Worth it, right? I'm SO excited! We finally had a meeting last week where they told us that we will all be accepted to do our student teaching in the nation's capital. Really? I get to teach American history in the heart of America? Yes please.
So in those moments when I'm stressed out of my mind and my eyeballs feel like they're going to explode from lack of sleep, I just have to remember that it will all be worth it. And then I find my motivation again.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Home Stretch...

Well, let's set the record straight. The rumors are true. My last semester on BYU campus has commenced. I've been to almost every class once and have started mapping out what this semester is going to look like. As it turns out, I'm having some emotions about it. So, without further ado and in no particular order, here they are:

Anxiety about writing a 25-page research paper for my History 490 class (Senior thesis...ugh...). I'm sure I'll probably be complaining about this throughout the course of the semester so allow me to apologize in advance. Sorry.

Hesitation about having the same teacher for two really hard history classes. With just one class, I can sometimes fool them. With two right in a row, he's bound to figure out I don't know how to write a research paper.

Excitement that I get to study a lot about Italy this semester. Right now all I know is Venice and Pizza. This may lead to a mandatory educational journey to that beautiful land sometime soon to really make sure I've got it all down...

Anticipation for the day I get to start teaching in a real classroom. We begin our practicum in 6 weeks (observing and teaching in a classroom setting) to prepare us for our student teaching which is only FOUR SHORT MONTHS AWAY! Seriously, in preparation for our practicum our teacher today was discussing why history matters and how we can show that to our students and my heart just started pounding with excitement. I'm scared, but I really can't wait!

Nervous Joy at the thought of doing that student teaching in Washington D.C! I started filling out the application today and it's going to take a big leap of faith if it's what I really decide to do. But if I do...wow.

Fear when I think about how I'm going to be able to find the time to observe SEVENTY-FIVE HOURS in a classroom with ESL students (while also taking 19 credit hours and working 20 hours a week).

This last one might be the most surprising of all...

Sadness that it's ending and Gratitude that it happened. You'd think after 6 years of FULL-TIME school here (not counting the mission) I'd be ready to leave. Truthfully, parts of me are but I was looking today through a bunch of classes that I still really want to take that I'll never be able to. I've had access to hundreds of amazing classes taught by masters in the subject area. Even after the amazing experiences I've had, I still feel like I've missed out on so many more fascinating classes I could have taken. Weird? Yes. Unexpected? Yes.

So there you have it. I can honestly say that my outlook on this semester has made me both more EXCITED and more TERRIFIED than any that have come before.

Bring it on.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Flying High

1 airplane + 1 parachute + 1 instructor + 13,000 feet = The best, most exhilarating experience of my life!
On Saturday at noon I jumped out of a plane for my very first (but hopefully not last) time and it was


I might use that word a lot in this post but it's hard to find another to adequately describe how it felt. I suppose the best way to explain it would be through pictures. I have added a few visual aids for your enjoyment (I had to pay the big bucks for these pictures so I better put them to good use). Please do not feel guilty for laughing when you see how gomer-ish we looked. I think they dress us like that for their own entertainment value. Can't say I blame them. We laughed. A lot.

Gettin' all suited up. The jumpsuit was almost the greatest part second only to...

...these super awesome coneheads we got to wear. Mine matched my jumpsuit. Very retro. Very cool.

Almost the whole crew that went. From left to right Alex Jepsen, McKinley something, Jake Later, me, Steve Middleton, Robbie Irion, Richard something, Chantyl, Chalice, and Rachael (This picture is missing Courtney, Kristin, and Chantyl's brother....Josh...?)

Our plane: Chalice, Chantyl, me, Richard and Rachael. Before the big drop.

Our best terrified faces...or excruciating pain faces in Alex's case. At this point the terror was just pretend. We were tough.

Are you ready yet?

In the plane! This expression is 100% genuine "Holy-crap-what-the-heck-am-I-doing?!?!?!"

My first view of what they were telling me to jump into. It was right about here that the panic started setting in.

Falling out. Panic. Terror. Excitement. Adrenaline. Ahhhhhhhhh!

There is no possible way to know what this moment feels like until you experience it. Sheer terror.





Unbelievable feeling

All the fear was gone, replaced by pure joy


I wanted this part to last forever!

That's us!

Coming in for a landing, pretty much just sat down right on this big gravel pit.

I just kept screaming over and over, "That was AWESOME!!"

Quick pic after my jump before the boys went

Best day ever.

Let's go again.

What do you do when...

you get 6,000 comments on your blog in Chinese? I am at a loss.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Let Freedom Ring



Why is it that when you don't have to read you suddenly have a HUGE desire to? I mean like lay in the hammock all day and read your life away? I am here to tell you that it's one of the greatest feelings in the world.

Due to my spring term classes having come to an end, the past few days have found me with an abundant amount of free time and

I already started three books and am loving each of them.
Sunday afternoon was spent on a blanket on my front lawn with The Peacegiver.
Monday morning introduced me to the seventh Harry Potter (which I still have never read).
And today during my lunch break at work, I started Les Miserables. You'd think that the obsession I've had with the story since I was eight years old would have led me to read it before now but surprisingly it's never happened. However, let me say that it jumps right into grabbing your emotions from the start. It's slightly embarrassing to sit in a fairly empty campus food court BY YOURSELF with a book and have to wipe your eyes because you can't see through your tears. Ahhhh....such a good story.
So on that note, there are a lot of books on my summer reading list. I know I probably won't get to all the ones I want, but these are some of my top choices for the next few months.
  • Three Cups of Tea
  • The Book Thief
  • Hunger Games
  • Catching Fire (the sequel)
  • Rough Stone Rolling
  • Kite Runner
  • The Sweetness of the Bottom of the Pie
  • The Great and Terrible Series
  • Into Thin Air
  • Undaunted Courage
  • 1776
  • Killer Angels
  • The Alchemist
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • A Tale of Two Cities
  • The Power of One
  • Mere Christianity
  • The Life of Pi
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin
  • Man's Search for Meaning

What about you? Any recommendations? What are some of your favorite reads?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I like people. In fact, I really like people. But sometimes I just have to wonder. Like when I'm sitting at the library surrounded by dozens of empty desks and tables and then a stranger comes and sits right next to me. Literally right next to me, so that our chairs are touching. It's especially mind-boggling when that same person does it two days in a row.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Words of Wisdom

A friend of mine posted this on her facebook status and I liked it so much that I decided to share it with you. Enjoy.

“Instead of studying for finals, what about just going to the Bahamas and catching some rays? Maybe you’ll flunk, but you might have flunked anyway; that’s my point.”

— Jack Handy

Monday, March 22, 2010

The problem with my brain...

This is what happens when I try to write a 12-page paper for my history class:
This is what happens when I let my mind wander away from thinking about my 12-page paper and ponder on ideas of what I want to do with my life:

Problematic? Perhaps.

Every once in awhile I get inspired with an insane amount of things I decide I have to do. Coincidentally, this usually tends to occur right about when I'm supposed to be focusing on something else (say for example....homework....?). It's when I get my best ideas about the path my life is taking. Let me fill you in on what the past two days of the attempt (and avoidance) of writing this paper has brought into my mind. Here is my (tentative) three-year plan:

  • Stick it out in Provo until December. This will be the longest I have stayed in one place since I was in high school. It's a big deal. I'm planning on having my first summer in Provo which I've heard is a party. I personally feel dedicated to making that rumor true and already have several ideas in the works (while also working a lot a lot and making money I promise Dad!)

  • Begin my student teaching in January, but not just anywhere. No no, not just anywhere. In the city I've been dying to travel to for the last five years of my life....drumroll please......Washington D.C! It will be fabulous. BYU has an option giving teaching majors an alternative to student teaching in the too-highly-saturated-teaching-field-of-Provo. You can opt instead to teach in D.C. or Houston, Texas. With all due respect to all the Texans out there, I can't think of any other place I'd rather be than D.C. My plan is to stay until April when I will come home for.......

  • COLLEGE GRADUATION!!! I know, you thought it wasn't gonna happen right? Sometimes I wondered myself if this seemingly eternal schooling would ever end. But there is a light at the end of my 8-year tunnel. Faint, still distant, but it's there. In April 2011 I will officially be a college graduate in History Teaching with a TESOL minor.

  • Next, (this is the new exciting part which I may have forgotten to mention to my family just yet) I'm hoping to be a part of HELP International. It's this awesome humanitarian group that I've been learning a lot about lately. They have programs in six different countries and their projects are really beneficial to the communities they serve. I could tell you all about everything I've been learning but it might just be easier (and more eye-pleasing) to check out the details for yourself http://www.help-international.org/

  • After I get home from wherever I end up going during that summer, I will need to start making money, being a college grad and all with student loans to pay back. But here's what I'm thinking just to mix things up a little. I will start teaching as planned. However, not history just yet, but English! (as a second language). I've been learning lately of a lot of really cool programs overseas where governments will pay for your flight, housing, PLUS pay you monthly wage to come teach English in public schools. So I'd still get to teach the age that I love if I can find a job in a secondary school somewhere. And I figure, I'm still using my college education since TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is my minor. I don't really know how long I'd stay, maybe a five or six months, maybe a year. It just depends on what happens between now and then.

  • Finally, after returning home from this golden opportunity, I will dive into teaching my favorite subject: history. Who knows where. Somewhere exciting though. But still in the states because U.S. History is my favorite and I don't see a lot of international opportunities to teach it.

So there you have it. That's the tentative plan. I realize that it sounds crazy, I'm not so naive as to think that I can pull it all off easy-peasy. I also realize that what I want could easily change with each new day I have. But I have a pretty strong will (some might call it stubborn), and I know that if life continues to lead me in the direction I'm going now, this is all possible.

And that is exciting.

And if somehow life leads me down a different path that is even better, well, that is even more exciting.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


It's 11:22 pm. I am at the library. I have a list as big as China of stuff I have to get done before Thursday morning at 11:00 so I can go to Disneyland. And I CAN'T MAKE MYSELF WORK ANYMORE!

Nevermind the seven page research paper I have to write. Nevermind the two ugly midterms I have to study for. Nevermind the technology teacher tests I have to take. Here I sit. Blogging.

Is there something wrong with me?

This must be why people shouldn't take 8 years to get through college.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Good news everyone! I'm pretty sure I chose the right career! (Awesome, right? Since I've been out of high school for seven years).

I decided a while back that I wanted to be a history teacher, and I've been super excited about teaching junior high aged kids. But every once in awhile I get a little freaked out. Am I really gonna be able to control 30-40 kids? Am I creative enough to come up with fun lesson plans? Do I even know enough about the subject material? Although I know I love history, these questions sometimes haunt my dreams.

Well, in one of my classes this semester, we've had the chance to teach a number of times, including an elementary school, a charter school, and to our fellow classmates. But today, my friends, was a big day. Today I taught a junior high class for the first time. And seriously, it was the funnest 45 minutes of my week.

And that leads me to believe that I chose the right career.

And that is a very good feeling.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

the lucky one.

That’s 2009 in a word. Lucky. It was one of those chapters of life that you could never forget. And you’d never want to. Somehow, the stars aligned and life led me through a series of unbelievable experiences that are etched in my mind and hopefully will stay there. Here’s a little taste of what made such an impact this year:

A growing family with three new babies (and two more on the way)

A Holy Land

A weekly trip to the Garden Tomb

A camel ride along the Nile

A dance party in ancient Roman ruins accompanied by bagpipe playing Jordanians.

A hike up Mount Sinai to see the sunrise

An Indiana Jones reenactment in Petra

A better and truer celebration of Palm Sunday and Easter than any other

A verse of "Master the Tempest is Raging" on the Sea of Galilee

An unbreakable bond with 77 new friends

A new perspective on an ancient conflict

A trip back to Romania

A chance to see the people that changed my life

A chance to show my parents my home of 18 months

A reunion of three close friends

A quality week with the ones I've missed

A reunion with delicious Romanian sarmale

A summer sales job in Washington and all the growing that comes with daily frustration :)

An occasional break from the blessed job to swim in the ice cold Columbia River

A necessary slurpee run almost daily to the 7-11 with 18 flavors

A camaraderie of kindred spirits I worked and lived with there

A happy hour at Applebees as needed

A first-ever car accident and a blessed soul who fixed my headlight for free

A Lake Powell extravaganza with the Hales and their 20 newly adopted children

A near-death experience

A move back to Provo

A new addiction to SYTYCD

An apartment full of the greatest roommates a girl could ask for
Like I said, it's been a lucky year. And I've been a lucky soul. I've laughed and cried and felt every other emotion on the scale. And I've loved every bit of it. 2010, you've got big shoes to fill. Let's see what you can do!