2010/11/11 Th – Utah: Industry

I guess I’m on the verge of employment again, after about eight months.  I applied for a tutoring job of two hours a week with a local Korean high-school student, and her sister, who put out the advertisement, selected me; I assumed, but heard nothing about, other applicants.  I have now met twice with Min Seulji (besides the short time I met with her and her sister, Seulah; I had also briefly met with her sister once before that), and have enjoyed the experience of the struggle to come up with a suitable curriculum for her.  My teacher, Dee Gardner, gave me a little advice.  I’m still a little uncertain of where to go from here, and it’s weighing on me.

Besides, I applied for two jobs in the past few days, research positions.  I had an interview for the first on Wednesday and for the second today.  I was told that I was among the three out of perhaps two dozen or more applicants for the first, and among the three out of eight or so for the second — both times were because of my previous work experience as listed on my résumé.  I think I’ve been equally qualified for the custodial and driving jobs I’ve applied for, but I was never even asked to show a résumé for the cleaning jobs.  I guess they just take the first respondent.

I’m slightly more hopeful for the first job, researching sources for a linguistics professor’s (a teacher of mine, Lynn Henrichsen) publishing aspiration, scheduled for ten hours per week, possibly not lasting past this year if the project’s funds aren’t re-extended (the project lay dormant for about a year already after his previous assistant had conflicts).  Doctor Henrichsen was interested in my language-study experience as well as my time as a Church History missionary at the former Church Office Building archives, since his topic is the development of language policy in the Church, specifically as found in archived records of the planning of the Language Training Mission (the MTC’s predecessor) as well as BYU’s Foreign Language Institute previous to the LTM.  The other job is twenty hours per week and is explicitly to last between three and four weeks, at least in this stage of the project; it deals with data entry and processing for an on-going, federally funded survey of primary-school math programs.  The interviewer, Sue Womack, in the education department, liked that I had (as I recall) the highest typing scores of the applicant, and that I had been a linguistic corpus assistant with Doctor Davies.

If I got both, because of the temporary duration of the second and possibly also the first, I would go ahead with both…  It would be a little difficult, maybe.  I would have to hurry up and finish some homework I’ve been slacking with this semester.

Thirty minutes ago, I received an e-mail from Sister Womack.  This was earlier than I had expected.  Either the other interviews went disappointingly for her, or she connected better with one of them.  I’ll check it now.

Well, she said that she enjoyed our visit, and that I had strong data entry skills, but that they have selected somebody who more closely meets their needs.  I wonder if any departmental preference was shown.  Professor Henrichsen had expressed a hint of gratification that, if I were hired, the funds would be helping a student in the linguistics department.  Afterward, he also wondered if he might not take on two assistants instead of one, since he’s unsure if he’ll even still have the funds next year.  For that matter, he might as well take all three.

So much for a busy end of the semester.  If I get this job, I won’t look for a second one.  In truth, this job is a better fit for me.  Before the interview, Brother Henrichsen had sent a copy of his decade-old paper which this project was to expand.  It dealt with early Hawaii missionaries, but didn’t mention the 1852 Asian ones.  During the interview, he seemed to take well my suggestion to include information about the three Hong Kong elders and the others in South Asia; I cited my red Lanier Britsch book, "From the East".  He knew Brother Britsch and recognized the book.

I guess it’s better to take the shorter job.  Still, though, I need to work hard at it.

I might have soured him a little at the end of our interview when I mentioned certain obstacles with the internship class he supervises, necessitating my repeated attendance this semester.  Fortunately, his wife called right then, and our chat ended.  That, of course, constitutes most of the "homework" I need to hurry up with this semester.

I took the second of our three tests for my religion class on Monday.  On the first one, I think I got 93%, plus a fair score on the additional essay portion.  I was surprised at the result… but this time, I thought I saw a 95% on the grade screen outside the testing centre.  That persuaded me that the teacher, Susan Black, is playing tricks with her grading, marking multiple answers as "correct" or something.  I was almost certain I had gotten a lower score.  With any luck, I’ll at least get from this class something of a counterweight to my anchored syntax class grade from that missed mid-term test.

I dreamt of Oh Eunhee last night, and awoke with a wounded heart, knowing that I was cut off from her.  I should have valued her more…

Some weeks ago I also dreamt of Lee Bomie; it was a pleasant reunion, though imaginary.  I happened to see her at the Asian ward last week-end.  It’s nice that the pain of missing her has left me.  By chance, I also thought… yes, I think it was him.  I thought I saw a former missionary friend of hers, a guy named Baird.  He looked… old.

I always suspected that he would turn old… and she, and everybody connected.  I always knew the surface would wear away.

In this case, time has been my friend.

Myeong-seon has been very kind to me lately.  It seems like she’ll be leaving for Washington on or around the ninth of December.

I will forget many, most, or (eventually) all of these BYU students… but I will remember Lee Myeong-seon.  What a blessing she has been to me…

-Steve Foster

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