Step Up 2

So, these two weeks have been a vacation from work.  On Tuesday I’ll go back for the final six weeks.  It will have been slightly more than two years at this job, not counting summers.
 
The job has given me a small increase in patience towards young people.  It has held me to an early schedule, which I’ve gotten a little better at keeping.  It’s increased my standing endurance for the short term.  It has now funded my visit abroad.  It has provided a few fertile social contacts.  And it has given me what seemed an endless monotony of watching the brilliant skies and the somewhat less-brilliant people of this city… and of remembering the past.
 
And in remembering the past, again and again, and doing my best to send off those few children with a smile on those many cold, lonely, muted mornings on that busy roadside…
 
…I have endured the past.
 
At least this far.
 
If I can’t forget how much I loved her, at least I can survive the memory.  Bless her.
 
 
So, on Tuesday I tried going to my Institute classes, but the 223 bus driver chose not to keep his shift or something.  I had already missed one class, and after then missing two, I changed my mind and took another bus, making my way to Provo.
 
In Provo, I inquired about a job and walked around trying to find a cheap apartment from the list I’d made.  It didn’t take long to reach "Southridge Apartments" at 665 North 500 East, a block south of the edge of the campus.  The location was ideal.  The manager there, Katie Carling, was very pleasant, and the price (245 plus utilities for a 4-person, 2-room, 1-bathroom place) was still within my upper limit.  The last place I’d gone to at 9th North 9th East ("Plaza" something) was a little cheaper but had only one room left, and the office girl seemed pre-occupied.  Southridge now had 4 openings left for autumn.  I indicated that I would return the next day with money for the contract.
 
On Wednesday, my mom let me take her car after driving me to her work.  I withdrew money from my credit union and then went to meet Tugsuu, as we had appointed, and did some minimal pronunciation practice.  After taking her to work I went by the school to pick up my graduation costume.  I’d received an e-mail reminder of the date (April 9, Thursday) just a day or two earlier.  (I’d wrongly remembered the date as falling later in April, and my mother later chided me for not giving her sufficient notice to be able to excuse herself from work.)  From LDSBC I headed down to BYU, trying to make it in time for the BYU Catering hiring orientation.  Since I was unwilling to speed very much in my mother’s truck, I arrived about 12 or 15 minutes late.
 
Afterwards, I went back to Southridge.  By then, there was only 1 opening left for fall, which I signed up for (room 14).  I paid a total of 600, covering the "first and last month’s rent" (the few weeks of school overlapping August and April) and the deposit of 200 (which is 85% refundable), with 109 left over for utilities over the next few months (which Katie instead applied to September’s rent because rent had the possibility of late fees).  From there I went to the campus bookstore, where I spotted a Mongolian dictionary but very little else.  At last I drove back to meet my mother at her work.
 
On Thursday was graduation.  I’ll put the pictures in a new album here if I can get the extra ones off my brother’s camera.  We gathered underground in the Tabernacle to gird ourselves, get our name cards, and line up, then we walked over to the Assembly Hall.  The teachers were lined up outside and were  applauding the students as they passed.  I found that backwards and returned the gesture.  Inside, we were circled once through the aisles and seated.  The ceremony proceeded with the school president’s (Larry Richards) introduction.  There was a prayer and a choir song, then the president spoke.  Next, he introduced and awarded Joe Sorenson, the selected "distinguished alumnus", who gave a brief thank-you.  There may have been more singing at that point.  Then came two non-memorable student speeches and a very un-ornamented student duet, followed by an insufficiently relevant introduction of Elder Paul V. Johnson, Church education commissioner, and then his speech.  At last, we all began to file up to have our names read, hands shook, and pictures taken, and to be awarded our empty degree covers — the degrees were to be mailed separately (mine, in fact, had come months ago, and it would have been far cleverer of me to have smuggled it in and slipped it inside the cover).
 
As I approached the stage, I noticed Shane and Shanna sitting in the front right corner, opposite me.  Shane said later that they had "snuck in the side door" (in fact, just walked in and been directed to that front corner) about 20 minutes after it started.  As I came down from the stage, Shane snapped my picture.  I was near the end of the line.  We sat down, sang and prayed, and then were dismissed row by row.  The crowd mingled outside, and after recovering my jacket and bag from where I’d stashed them, I searched in vain for my siblings.  (They had left to move their car, returned, and then left again.)
 
From there I walked back to the school where there was a "reception" (snacks).  I happened to run into Tugsuu, who works there.  There were little school pins for graduates to collect.  After a short time the graduates and faculty were directed outside to the amphitheatre to have their picture taken.
 
"She" and her friend were still outside as the group dispersed… but before I could think very much, the train came.  I squinted and thought I made out the destination of "Sandy", so I sprinted to the platform and got on.  There were Tugsuu and a Mongolian guy (also a graduate) sitting there.  Tugsuu was going to the JSMB or somewhere, apparently still working.  That guy and I talked a little about Mongolia before he got off.
 
At home, my parents brought me with them to dinner.  For reasons I would probably not agree with, they have been eating out very often these weeks, and they’ve started to invite me with them if I’m home.
 
So this, of course, was a 2-year school, leaving most students to transfer up and graduate again 2 years later.
 
 
Anyway, I still have to prepare my room and files and things before I go, since I won’t have hardly any time after getting back before going to Provo.  I also have to choose and register for classes, and probably apply for more school jobs.  I have to finish my Institute and Korean classes, and possibly take a motorcycle class with my mother (Dave bought another motorcycle).  I have to pack my bags.  And last of all, the day before I leave, I have to finish being a crossing guard.
 
-Steve Foster
 
[Edit:
Well, I left out something about Tugsuu.  Maybe two Wednesdays ago I learned of a new financial urgency she was having.  Then last Friday, she found out from her (unplanned) tax preparers that she was due a much larger tax refund than what she had calculated.  The news was a gracious answer to her necessity, and to at least one person’s prayer for her.]
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