Saturday, January 3, 2015

December 20, 2014

     These past two weeks have been so intense that I did not start writing this journal entry until a couple days ago. My fifth semester at BYUI has ended, and I am grateful that God blessed me that I passed three of my four classes. During the week before finals, the two classes that I had with Brother Harker, which were mechanical systems and electrical systems, pulled out a bunch of unforeseen assignments, and I had to give up on my accounting class, realizing that I could not pass it, since I failed the second to last exam. I was so busy that I had to pull my second all nighter of my Brigham Young University - Idaho career. My grades may have been higher if I neglected social activities, but I give a priority to family and friends especially Jessica. We gave each other as much time to each other as reasonably possible. We saw the Hobbit movie; and a neighborhood's Christmas lights, which were synchronized with songs that they set up as a radio station. We also attended a Christmas party that our friends put together. Mom invited me to attend my home ward, and I continued my friendship with a man named Russell. I told Jessica that when I was befriending him that people around me would try to bail me out of the situations where we would be talking because he has mental conditions that makes him think differently than most people. I am currently on a bus to work with him from his invitation. At the Ocean YSA Branch later that Sunday, I was invited to teach Sunday school, since Trevor is the Sunday School President. It was nice to teach again; although, my preparation was distracted, since people from the ward wanted to catch up with me. I also organized the track and field association's presidency. They are solid. I am unsure  what they were able to accomplish so far, but I was not able to accomplish my agenda before the semester ended, since I hoped to get the shirts of both of the teams approved and printing for people before they left for the winter, but the school did not approve the designs. I can't think of much more that happened; other than, I toured both the electrical and mechanical systems of the iCenter of the BYUI. Today is now the 29th of December, and I now have to add my Christmas break to the list of things to write about. I finally got around to contacting my internship administrators to see when they would like me to come up on Saturday night. That day was a little slow, but I was able to accomplish the critical things that I planned to do like enroll in my class for the winter and pay my bills. I was unable to get around to prepare for Christmas until the day before because at church on my first day back in Santa Cruz, California in a while, catching up with people, an old friend named Russell. I don't know how to pronounce his last name. It is like Detrick or something like that. He is working for a sister that home taught my family, and I worked with him on Monday and Tuesday. When I finally got around to deciding my gifts for my family and Jessica's family, thinking of gifts for my family was easy, and I used more creativity for the Christmas gifts for the Ledesma family. On Christmas Eve, we went caroling to the usual friends, but we visited that sister that home taught us, which we have not before, and she got emotional. Trevor is really into Yugioh, and I played with him and his friends. I decided that I don't like to play Yugioh because the community spends so much money on the cards.
     During the semester, I was worrying that I might fail out of school because I asked a friend if my classes this semester is a fluke how hard it is. He said that it will remain as hard that it is now. It will probably get harder. I told Jesse Kaupert that my mother failed out of nursing school twice. I can easily just not have the ability to make it through school, but I just worked as hard and smart as I can. I trusted that God will provide the way for me to pass my classes because he inspired me to be an architect.
     I was hoping to pass all of my classes. My methods and materials class of construction management was so easy. It felt like all the work for the entire semester was put into the take-home final. I got a couple Bs on my accounting tests, and it was bring up my grade to a state that I could possibly pass the class, but I failed the second to last test. I saw that it was possible to get a C in the class with my grades in my accounting class, if I did the extra credit for the class and got a 100% on the final; however, I saw that Brother Harker, who taught two of my classes, was pulling a bunch of assignments out of nowhere. For example, he was sitting on an assignment because most people failed it, and he let everyone do it over. He did the same thing with a heating and cooling demand assignment. My construction classes had so many expectations that I could not give any time to try to catch up with my accounting class. I had to stay up all night to complete the take-home final for my Methods and Materials class on the Sunday before finals week. I didn't have any time for accounting; insomuch that, I quit attending the class. On the Friday before finals week and crunch time, I quit attending accounting class to complete a wiring assignment to show Brother Harker that I can wire all the circuits that he showed the class.
     In previous semesters there were a special schedule made to make all the finals fit because the finals were oftentimes longer than the usual length of the class. There was no final schedule given to me this past semester, so I was a little confused. It was a surprise that we met at the usual times, and we had our finals. I was told what the finals were and what to review, and I did prepare, but I was amiss of the time and days of my finals. After a week of assignments popping out at me, I had to deal with finals popping out at uncertain dates, and I did fine on them. On my electrical systems final, I was required to wire several circuits from new angles. I am grateful for Chris Welton for being my tutor because he taught me the theory so well that I got 100% on all my wiring tests including the final. There were three parts to all three of my construction management classes' finals. There were a crazy long take-home final part for both of my electrical and mechanical systems classes. That took me many hours to complete. I basically worked on my mechanical systems take-home final for two whole days straight for Thursday and Friday, and I was supposed to make sure that my apartment was clean for white glove check on Friday. Trevor Sweat, the same friend that drove me up to Rexburg from Heber City, drove me to Provo, Utah because I wanted to leave my luggage in Heber City, since my winter internship is going to be there. Trevor Sweat was uncertain if he wanted to go home on Friday or Saturday, but I was flexible. As I was working on my take-home on Friday, I realized that my time to prepare and do my necessary things to leave came. I asked my apartment managers how the storage system works, and when I returned to my apartment, I received a message from Trevor that he was planning to leave in about thirty minutes. I had not done any packing or anything. It is good that I am a very simple person. I basically packed all my stuff in my luggage and my storage spot in about 80 minutes; plus, Jesse had me store his property too. Trevor came late, and I finished just in time. I still needed to complete my take-home final while we were on the road to Provo. Early in the semester, I put my computer on a high contrast mode, which made it easier on the eyes to see at night, and it was good that I did that on the trip to Provo, since it was dark. I did complete the final, and we had to stop at a Burger King to fill out the multiple choice test with its WiFi. I am grateful to have gotten an 80% on that effort.
     The Hobbit movie was not directed the same way as the previous J. R. R. Tolkien book films. I do not like it. 80 percent of it was violence and destruction. I would give it a 5 out of 10 probably less. It is so bad that I don't want to give too much thought to the score that I would give the movie. I did not like how they were saying that this insane Orc army was coming, but the dwarfs were mowing them down like they were not even an army; plus, basic physics does not apply to Legolas. It was ignored like it was a low budget film. I could tell other people's low opinions of it, but I don't think that it is worth it.
     Over the past few weeks or so, we were planning to go to Pizza Pie Café. Paige can eat a lot of pizza. She ate like 26 slices, and she is planning to set the record with thirty the next time that she goes. She had a roommate join us, and I don’t know how she never hung out with us until basically the very last day of school. As we stood in line for the pizza for the first time, I suggested to Rachel that we go see the neighborhood that synchronizes with a radio station. Rachel was excited about it because she claimed to be one of the most enthusiastic of Santa's elves. My friend told me the location of it through Facebook.
     This friend made me sandwiches at the Crossroads for BYU-Idaho for at least a year. Her name is Cadison Shurtliff. She decided to quit a couple weeks before the semester. She has basically made me the same sandwich every day for maybe 3 semesters. I don't know how long, but she got emotional, saying good bye and making my sandwich for the last time.
     Paige is a master driver, and she found the neighborhood with the light show easily. We did not have room for me to sit with everyone, and Jessica joined me in the back of Paige’s station wagon. When we arrive, we were checking all the radio stations to see which one matched. One of the houses did not match the actual show, and we were confused at first. It was not just one house that had a light show synced with the radio station. I recall that it was three of them. When we approached these three houses, they had a sign that told us what radio station to listen to. Everyone was excited, when we found the actual station that it was synced to. There were about four songs that the radio station played over and over, so it must have been a private radio system. Jesse thought that it would be so cool if one of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s songs were part of the program, and we got so excited that one was. The show was more amazing than we thought that it would be. It was good that the producers of the show had the radio sequence only have for four songs to keep the audience captivated for only about fifteen minutes.
     My flight was the next day on Saturday. We stayed the night at a family friend's house of Jesse. It was chill to actually wake up to no assignments to complete. It was interesting to sit in on the conversation of Jesse and her family friend's mother, catching up because I knew everyone that they were talking about. When we arrived at the airport, it was a little slow, and we arrived a little early. Jesse and I bought tickets at different times, and we were unable to buy tickets next to each other, but I sat next to him anyways.
     When I sat next to him, he warned me of the duty that I just sat in. It is the emergency exit operator. We joked that we should add this to our resume. We made sure that we were trained, and they trained us on our duties in like 10 seconds twice. We saw the guy putting our luggage on the conveyor belt up to the plane. Since we had been trained and had the duty of emergency operator, we felt that we had an in to get the job of putting the luggage on the line. We wanted the job to get ripped. Jesse joked that it would be extra effective because the weights vary. We joked that we should invent machines that would change the weight each time that you lift it. Since the weight of an object can change just by putting them further apart, we joked that it would be funny to hang out with a friend at the gym; then, when the machine would expand, it would push the guy leaning against the machine across the room. We just had a super long series of silly jokes like that.
     The next day after arriving home was Sunday. Mom wanted Trevor and I to attend their sacrament meeting because there was going to be a bell choir. I don't know how, but we arrive late, missing the bell choir. We left with plenty of time. After Sacrament I sat and spoke to Russel to catch up with him, and I was surprised that he sounded more sane than before. He said the his doctors have figured out his medicine needs. He said that he has been working for Filis Forsyth, and he needed help to take the concrete that he taken from the floor of the bathroom to the dump. I took the opportunity to work, and this decision did not give me much time to prepare for Christmas. I wrote a letter to Jessica's family explaining why I was late in sending my gift package to them. I will copy and paste now a quotation of the letter because I wrote of my experience as a Christmas message. Jessica's father didn't know what to make of the letter, and I agree. It was an awkward two days.

"Dear Ledesma Family,

Hi. I am Alex Hicken, and I am grateful that Jessica and I have been led to date steadily. For this reason, I am writing you this holiday season. As you may tell by the personal letters for each of you, I love writing. I write letters for Jessica each week even when we live only a couple blocks away. I am sorry that my gifts for you will be late. They are coming in the mail late because I believe in the counsel of Christ in 3 Nephi 12:41 "Whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain." I say this because I was given an opportunity to work with a man Monday and Tuesday, who fights for his sanity with prescription medicine, for he turns into a very weird person without them. He gave me two days of work and great experience; although, the work that I was paid for was only a small part of the first day. I believe that the second day was him, seeking a closer friendship with me, since I am one of a few friendly people to him. When I was working with him, I had a revelation as he was teaching me skills of self-reliance.
     It felt very fatherly to serve each other. He was teaching me skills, and we were fixing his car together. My family has a cartoon of how Christ was born and raised. I think of a scene of Joseph teaching Jesus carpentry. Since I thought that the man was treating me as his relationship with his father, I asked him whether he worked with his father like this. He said no. He is so used to repairing everything on his own that working together was natural. Although his father's relationship was not like that for him, it felt fatherly to me to teach someone of less experience how to work, sharing your wisdom with them. I love learning the nature of how parents can be, and the special relationships that they have to their children, looking forward to applying this to my life. This is my Christmas story for you learning from Joseph, raising the Christ child.
     I don't expect that you will read the letters to each individual directly after this first one. I don't want to dominate your Christmas. You can read each personal letter privately at a later time. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Alexander Hicken"

     I arrived late to the first day of work because my parents misspoke telling me that I had a dentist appointment. Russell got easily frustrated especially on the first day. He just jumped into doing the work, which was to replace his bumper. For some reason, he felt that using power tools were more effective than manual man strength tools. We had to take apart some bolts to put in some spacers, so it can fit better on the car. In his frustration, working without much thought, he broke two or three wrenches with the strength of the power tools. We figured out how to get the bolts of the bumper only after breaking a bunch of tools. I never imagined this experience in my entire life. We could not fit the spacers after all because his destructive work ethic stripped the final bolt. Rus claimed that he had a very high IQ, and I believed it because he figured out how to get the new bumper on.
     His high IQ was evident in his self-reliant personality. He figures out everything without education or instruction. He was unable to graduate with a degree. I was surprised that I could relate to him well. One lame thing which indicated that I could not relate to his high IQ is when he was driving me home. I was just reminding him of the exit which was most convenient to get to my house. I did not expect him to remember where I lived because he only been to my house like once a couple years ago, and I did not give him my address again. He accused me of backseat driving and hassled me about that. Going down 41st Avenue, I asked him if he was going to move over a couple lanes, so he could turn without mistake. He again hassled me, and he was surprised that I did not remind him where to take the last turn to get to my road.
     Russell asked if I would like to help him work on his truck on Tuesday, and I consented. He said that it would let it be more convenient for me to receive my payment. The second day moved quickly, for we were planning to fix the bumper and put some lights under the tailgate. When we got the tailgate off the truck, after fixing the handle, Rus thought that it would be fun to repaint the tailgate, so it can match the car better and look nice. We did this, and it took a long time sanding it. I wanted to leave early in the afternoon, but this new project forced me to stay until after 5 PM, since it takes a while for the paint to dry. I wanted to leave after lunch, and he provided me lunch; however, he turned on a film that should have been the conclusion of a show that he has been watching, which he invited me to join him. I felt manipulated. Even after we finish getting his car put back together, he wanted me to help him take off a flat tire from his trailer. I was not as anxiously engaged to help because how I felt, and he pointed out that I was not as helpful as before. A family standard of mine is to be home by 6, and I knew that if I continued to work with him; I would not get home on time. He wanted me to help him put his tools a way after. I decided at 5:30 that I was going to run home, so I left. I got home a little before 6, and Rus left a message on my phone saying that he finished putting away his tools about 6, assuming that I had not made it home yet. I obviously did not need his generous ride home, which he offered. He, defying my trust, made me think of his ability to do unspeakable things.
     The hardest person to shop for was Jessica's sister, Jasmine, because I had no clue of her interests. I know that she likes to play on the computer a lot and she likes a pop artist, but I forgot his name. That is basically all that I know about her; other than, education is very hard for her. It took me about 2 hours to decide on a gift for her. Gifts for everyone else was simple after a little thought and exercise of creativity. I purchased a new plant for Jessica to take care of and her favorite snack that I shared together the first time that we worked out together, which was dried sea weed. Trevor is really into Yugioh, so I got a gift certificate for him to the place that he hangs out a lot at.
 An interesting thing is that he spend all of the money on that account on me to build a deck. I will now explain my opinion of Yugioh.
     Yugioh is a game that demands a lot of knowledge and money. The culture of communities from what I saw are very generous and friendly, but the generosity takes the spending of hundreds of dollars. I would expect that one needs to reciprocate the generosity to be taken into the fellowship well. Trevor bought me cards to make a good deck, and it was good enough that I can beat him practically every time. He said that he would have to buy more cards to make a better deck. It is not fun to beat Trevor over and over. Do you see the perpetual spending of money? It's a very expensive hobby. I don't want to waste my time and brain on a game.
     My friendship with Jessica is going well. We keep current with each other like we did before by having meals together, but we talk over the phone or Skype with each other every day. We share pictures of each other's lifes with each other to learn more about our home lifes.

My middle school is named after this beach. It is called New Brighton. 
This beach is famous for a boat that is made out of concrete. 
     I really like the situation that was proposed by Brother Stutz. He explained a vision of purchasing the T-shirts. It is by personal order at the T-shirt press at the BYUI bookstore. I really like this because it is not the conventional way that business is organized. Usually many shirts are ordered and manufactured on expected or guesstimated count. This vision of selling shirts does not even require the funds of my sport of Track and Field. The logos of the shirts have not been solidified. I am still waiting for that; then, I will inform everyone interested in the shirts that they are available to be printed.
     The last thing that I have for you is a video that I made from a fun PowerPoint that I made explaining the heating and cooling process of the university and the iCenter.  I hope that you enjoy it as much as enjoyed the variety of humour and fun that I put into the presentation.



     I have been basically working on writing this journal entry this whole week. The time has slowed down a lot this week. Staying up late makes me wake up late and nap in the day. I want to get into a routine of going to sleep early tonight. I wanted to make sure that I caught up on my journal before I move on to other things. I am waiting for my internship administrators to tell me, when I should come up. They told me that they would tell me Monday, but it is Friday today. Trevor and I bought my parents Settlers of Catan for Christmas, and it took us a while to get to play a game. We have played two nights in a row, and I have won both times. The way was basically the same both times, but Jesse Kaupert are coming tomorrow to play a game with his brother and Naomi hopefully. I expect that they will dominate.


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