Several months ago at least, I was at an externship fair at school. I went to the area where Tibet-in-India studies abroad were being discussed. What a dream, I had thought. Far too expensive.
Surprisingly, enough students have thought otherwise that BYU just now decided to offer a preparatory Tibetan language course. The youths will go there during spring term; the class will be in winter semester.
I was informed by a departmental e-mail earlier today. Within about a minute, I was enrolled in the class. Part of that minute was spent considering what I would have to trade for it… I have eleven mandatory credit-hours, and can squeeze in two language classes of 4 credit-hours each by boosting my cap of 18. I’m already signed up for a repeat Thai 101 class, and I had been leaning for some time toward enrolling in Merideth’s Hebrew class once and for all, and getting that alef-bet firmly implanted in memory. Recently, though, having felt some pressure in my Viet 101 class to continue next semester (and besides, having heard a month ago that Merideth was engaged to marry), my plan had vacillated somewhat. But seeing Tibetan offered…
…Why, that’s almost… -almost- on the level of a Manchu class, or Sanskrit, or, goodness — even Ainu, bless that missing tongue. You couldn’t pass up such an opportunity without feeling embarrassment toward history. Tibetan study will perfectly round out my BYU experience, which, if not Sino-centric, has been Sino-circumferential. Cantonese, a good helping of Korean, a bit of Japanese and Mongolian, a pinch of Mandarin, double doses of Viet and now Thai… and finally, Tibetan. It fits precisely… though I’m not blind to the gap that has arisen in Southeast Asian studies.
Strangely… the class is only two credit-hours, not four. That puts me at 17… I won’t try to fit in anything more, having seen last winter how easily I lapsed from my auditted classes, diminishing their returns. I guess it won’t be quite as focused as a regular class. Mostly, I hope the teacher isn’t some local — unless they’re really on top of the language.
Well, I would take what I could get.
It almost didn’t matter what time it was offered… but fortunately, it was an open evening hour, twice weekly. A number of things could still interfere with the class on either end, primarily a shortage of interested students. There was one enrolled already before I got there. And now… there are two others after me [edit: and now on Tuesday, the enrollment has dropped back to three]. The e-mail said that the class was for the study-abroad program (to India), but that others were welcome to enroll. I guess that means they expect the usual limited turn-out.
It’s a very good turn of events. I had gone about a year ago to the foreign languages office to request class offerings of a few pertinent rare languages, checking back a few months later to update the request. I think I ended up asking for introductory Mongolian, Sanskrit, Manchu, and Tibetan.
Now I’ll be able to go back next semester and have them cross my name off… not in resentment of unfulfilled hopes, but in satisfaction.
Myeong-seon came with us to my grandmother’s birthday party, and then to Thanksgiving at the Taylor’s and Manila after that for tree-cutting.
We have entered very much more into each other’s confidence over these several weeks. My family likes her, and her simple cheer and generous way has won her my endearment. Since going to Manila, I have been the closest so far to thinking about possibly retaining her companionship into the future — but not in a permanent form. There’s the paradox. The more I like her, the closer I get to needing to refuse her. I told her she would realize it if she thought about it. Apparently she’s forgotten what I explained to her about LDS marriage… having only remembered that I told her I wasn’t going to take away her faith, and that our adherences of belief were actually complementary. Person to person, it was true. I remember once writing about some Hong Kong sisters I knew who, by rejecting belief, rejected me also; and I remember struggling with my former friend from Shillim over belief; but at this point, though I have given as much persuasion as I have thought reasonable between human beings, I would feel it blasphemous to try to pressure somebody romantically in matters of free conscience — not that I would care if I “destroyed” anybody’s atheism, which is the willful negation of knowledge; but I must respect her choice of religious affiliation. To sway somebody out of their beliefs with “love” would seem very much like spreading faith by the sword. Emotions can be as deadly as swords.
From the start, I knew it would be this way, and so I’ve been diligent to whittle down our relationship every time it sprung up. Maybe that has incited her ambition and made her want to be ever closer, when naturally she wouldn’t have been so interested…
Anyway, she has been a joy to me. Every time we disagree, I feel more and more convinced that rejecting her has been the right choice; but our refreshed peace and happiness outweigh it every time. I look forward to continuing our association into the future… yet I have endeavoured to convince her that she doesn’t have anything to feel sad about. …I think I have convinced myself.
I’m grateful to know her. She has helped me in many ways; especially academically. The semester hurries to its finish…