Monday, January 6, 2014

January 4, 2014

I should introduce myself. When writing journals, I don't know if many people think about this, but I write in my journal with an intention that people will read it. If I just start writing about my life without an introduction, the journal would be confusing.

This journal has an interesting beginning because I will be typing it on a word processor. This will be more convenient and innovative from what I am use to, which was hand-writing. I used to write in pencil because I make a lot of mistakes. The technology of today will let me put pictures in my journal easily. I will print these journal entries, and put them in a binder. My journal entries will also be posted on a blog; now to introduce myself.

I am Alexander Nielson Hicken. My mom is Thai, and my father's heritage comes from England, Sweden, and Denmark. I count myself as half Thai, quarter English, eighth Swedish, and eighth Danish, for my father was raised in Utah. I recently have changed the course of my life. During my past semester at Brigham Young University in Idaho, I was inspired to change my major from K-12 Special Education to Architecture. This inspiration came from a conversation that I had with my mother this past summer, and I sparked the same conversation with my grandparents during this past Christmas. I will describe my life changing conversation with my mother; then, the grandparents’ replies afterwards. This conversation started by this question. Can you tell me about your childhood?
When I asked my mother this question, she went off for an hour or more, talking about her life. I wish to record as much that I can of this conversation, for she doesn't keep a journal. The life changing part of the conversation was that my grandfather was an architect. His name is Chanai Aksorntup, and my mother's name is Chanintorn. My mom told me that he was an apprentice for years, raising his family. He would travel all over Thailand accomplishing tasks for his master; although, he did not have a car. Transportation needed to be arranged a lot of the time. My mother surprisingly said that her mother had some mental problems, saying that she always bugged him about fixing up the house and other things. My grandpa designed and built their house eventually, and he even designed a private school, where mom was able to attend for free. I want to see my grandfather's architecture.
My mother also said that my uncle and cousin are architects. Although I always wanted to be an artist, I never considered this profession. Mom said that her brother's career in Architecture was her means of migrating to the United States, for he was employed by the government. His housing and everything was paid for by the government, and he was paid a salary too; therefore, all his salary went to savings. My uncle's saving paid for her way to attend Brigham Young University in Hawaii. I have no idea how much my uncle paid for her education.
One story that my mother told was that Pee Utai, her brother, was given a construction job. He was told to take the job easy, and not to work hard by his uncle as a construction director. Pee Utai was confronted by another administrator for his lack of effort, and he said that he was okay because his uncle told him not to work hard. My mother also told me that my cousin is an architect, so architecture and construction has been in the family for at least three generations. My mother's father, brother, and nephew were all architects.
Before I will write the stories of my grandparents’ childhood, I will tell of as many stories of my mother's childhood as I can. I just found out tonight that my mother's father was orphaned in Bangkok, and they traveled to Chiang Mai to live with the supervision of relatives, so my mother was raised in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
She was a normal girl according my perspective of her stories, but she says that she was a tomboy, running around and playing with her brother's and wearing their clothing and short hair. She told some stories of what boys that she liked, saying that she would watch him from the distance as he played in the river. Another story that she shared is that she liked a friend of her brother, and she made sure to hang out with them, enjoying playing guitar and singing together. Those were the stories of her childhood; other than that, she had an aunt that would always tell of how the Japanese traveled through without resistance during World War II. The story that my mom remembers of her aunt's is that the Japanese soldiers would bathe together at night in a river, and the aunt saw this.
Her late teenage years are more deeply understood from her stories probably because I have wanted to understand the conversion story of my mom. The missionaries knocked on the door of my mother's residence in her late teenage years, and the family did not receive them well; however, Chanai, her father, encouraged her to take the English Classes that the missionaries taught. Eventually she came to church and took the lessons from the missionaries. I don't recall that it was excruciatingly difficult for her family to accept that she was baptizing in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
One story that was a fruit of receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost at baptism saved her brother's life. During one night she heard a motorcycle drive up to the house, and she was prompted to go out to see what was going on, finding that her brother was going out to meet the cyclist. My mother watched from a distance until she saw that the cyclist had a sword. The sword did not frighten her brother, but my mother yelled for his safety. The situation scared off the cyclist, and violence was avoided. Mom explained that the Holy Ghost told her to follow her brother outside that night.
In these days, mom was pressured by her father to be a school teacher. Although she did not want to be one, she graduated from teaching school. In the times of awaiting a job offer, she applied to serve as a missionary for the church. She wrote in her journal that she wished that she will be called to serve before a job offer would be given to her. A familial story that she shared in relation to the journal entry was that mom would store her money in her diary, and the money went missing. When she confronted her siblings, a sister confessed that she stole it or borrowed it without telling her, yet she assailed before the family that she didn't want to be a teacher, planning to serve a mission; evidence that she read her diary.
Mom never did teach, and she served a mission in Thailand. Now I have reached full circle for I already said that she was able to convince her brother to sponsor her university studies in BYU. Somehow she made it to Utah. I think that mom transferred to BYU Provo, and she there met my father never accomplishing her academic goals until the past decade many years after her marriage. I believe that she always wanted to be a nurse, but she has had to settle with being a Phlebotomist for now.

Now I can get to my grandparents' stories. My grandparents grew up together, so it was cute to see grandpa, asking about the people who she was talking about and knowing them, and it was cute to hear grandma finishing grandpa's stories. Their stories are definitely not as detailed as my mother's.
Grandpa mainly spoke of working on the farm, storing hay. He had a job, where he would walk cattle to and from a pasture to eat, which took a few hours one way. Glen Irwin Hicken is my grandpa's name. The grandparents that I allude to are my father's parents. I barely know my mother's parents. They died early in my life. Grandpa spoke in deep detail of the processes of the mechanics of working on the farm. He did not say much more of his childhood; although, he spoke of family trips to Mexico and travel to the Caribbean Islands as a father.
Mexico was a lot more safe back then, and laws and police were not corrupt as it is now. He did not tell much stories; other than, the road trips were very long. His neighbor was a travel agent, and they went on a number of trips together. The most interesting story that he told was that in the Gulf of California the tide goes out far down the coast, and the boat would get stuck on the beach, when they are not careful. Boats can be docked for maintenance, and they did not even have to lift it from the water, since the water would leave with the tide. My grandpa liked to tell stories with a map, pointing out the paths that they went and the places that they visited.
My father told me a more enlightening story about my grandpa than he did himself. My father called him innovative, edgy, and ahead of his time. One thing that he would do was filter oil with toilet paper. I have no idea the purpose of filtering oil, so this is beyond me. These toilet paper rolls would be stored for another purpose during the winter to be burned in the fire place, and this rolls of toilet paper would burn like a geyser of flames. Grandpa has another energy producing system in his house that is beyond me too.
My grandma's story were more pondered, for she could not think of much at first. Her name is Carrollee. I think that the first story was that she worked at her father's hospital a little. She was also a Cougarette at Brigham Young University Provo, but this was before the time when they did all the dancing and cheer leading. She said that they would mainly sit in the stands, and I would assume cheer for the teams. Grandma and grandpa grow up in Heber City, Utah, and I don't know my great grandparents' names. I know that my grandfather's father's name is Irwin because it is his middle name. He meaning Glen Irwin Hicken; however, Carrollee's father had a horse, and he was part of a horsing association.
My grandma's first experience on the horse was dangerous, for she was young and placed on the horse without a saddle. The horse did not buck her off, but it ran, and Carrollee fell off. She said that this experience was not traumatizing, and she used to enjoy horseback riding with a friend, whose family owned a hotel at the crossroads. I asked if they horseback rode some trails, but she said no, so I have no idea what they did on the horses together.
Grandma's stories revealed that both of my grandparents were in high school bands. A big thing for them was the Pioneer Parade. These stories were a little ridiculous because it was in summer and so hot. Their school uniforms were wool too. During one parade she said that the drummers passed out one by one until there were none, and they could not play anymore.
I could tell some more stories, but they would be random. This sums up the stories of my relatives, encouraging you to learn of your family. I know that it is hard to be humble enough to consider the lives and wisdom of others to apply it to your life, but it is for your good if you do so. Counsel with your family, and let their wisdom abide within you. This sentence is somewhat a transition to my next journal entry.
The pictures below are from my hiking trip this past weekend, which I said that I would post in my new journal from my last journal.

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