2011/03/06 Su – Tethered

On Wednesday, almost three weeks after I had wished her well, the still-beautiful Lam Hoi Ching both gladdened and startled me by answering my e-mail with her news that I won’t yet re-tell, but that was a sad confirmation to me of my earlier pessimistic predictions after she rejected my interest… nearly seven years ago.  Still, she is a mother, and that’s to a person’s credit.

It took me a while to dare to open the e-mail.  Though she was candid in her note, I think her same old extra-friendship disinterest in me remains… so that my strange imaginations regarding her, incited by her mail, were only momentary.  Within a day and a half after receiving hers, I had sent my restrained reply that I expect no answer to.

On Thursday night were the two club meetings.  Last time I had volunteered to do a “third edit” on one of the papers, an editting-staff girl’s old class work about “Mein Kampf”.  I really was troubled by her presentation and conclusions, but there was not much I could do about it.  And weaknesses still exist in my own paper, too.  So, if this journal is ever fated to gain momentum and scholarly standing at this school, I’m afraid it won’t happen with the current edition.  Maybe I should have just stayed away from it…  I can always put my own papers up on-line, if they ever start to seem interesting enough.

The SID group chose to cut this year’s Hunger Banquet down to a single night.  Last year, it had been on a Friday and Saturday night with some thing like 1,200 people each time [4/24: actually, I recall a newspaper article estimating the first night at 700; so some of this math will be wrong].  This year, they thought to do it on a Saturday afternoon and evening, and the venue can hold 1,500 guests.  Recently, though, it was decided that the “mood” would be wrong in the afternoon, so the first event has been dropped, basically shrinking last year’s capacity by nearly 40% instead of growing it by 25% as expected, and limitting their impact as well as diminishing their profits, which they distribute among their pet humanitarian investments.  Any way, I was a little surprised by that decision — not to say that it other-wise detracts from the worth of this good project.  SID, like the Schwa journal editors, are, after all, just students.

On Friday at noon our Thai class had a very filling self-catered meal in another room.  I hadn’t agreed to bring any thing, so I thought I would try to reimburse some of the expenses of others.  The attempt failed.  After an hour, some of us left, and the rest started watching a Thai movie, “Seasons Change”.  Another hour later, I went to meet Jenjira, my study buddy.  She showed up about fifteen or twenty minutes late…  I brought her back to that movie, where we stayed a while, till 3:00.  After that, we studied for some time.

My other two study buddies for the semester appear to have died.  The Macau girl, Esther Kuok, had mis-scheduled me way back in January for a time that I’d already told her I couldn’t meet at.  After cancelling that schedule, surprisingly, I never again heard from her… and, after having wilted under her purposeful, businesslike drive in our meetings, I didn’t feel excited to push for another appointment myself.

My Taiwan buddy, Feng yu, scheduled me last in about mid-February.  She changed the location to the ELC, which proved problematic when several of my former students and other friends there started clamouring for tutoring help with their assignments.  Feng yu was a little late to our meeting, but even when she came, I wasn’t able to turn away the others, and I asked her to wait a little longer instead, which she did.  Eventually, we spent our time together, but I could tell she hadn’t enjoyed the delay.  I told her that we probably shouldn’t meet there again next time…  Unexpectedly but not surprisingly, she didn’t make contact again after that; neither did I, since she’s been the motivated one in this buddyship. [4/24: Feng-yu and I later reconnected.]

I think I voice-chatted with Yiu on Friday…  Yiu’s voice is lovely and perfect to me, especially her Cantonese.  In some ways, she reminds me of old Hedy’s cute voice.  I have a dated recording of Yiu stored some where here; I guess I should try to remember to try to make a new one.

I also have been talking more and more with Myeong-Seon…  We had something of a conflict this week, but it ended promptly.  I don’t know what to write about her.  I miss her, and I dreamt of her last night… but…

On Saturday was a Church history conference at BYU, focused on missionary work.  I saw several old-timers from my days at the Church Office Building, archivists there: Chad Orton, Clint Christenson, and Brian Reeves, whom I spoke with a little.  Besides them, several BYU religion teachers were there: Alex Baugh, Susan Black, Mary Jane Woodger, and others.  I guess it was fun.  Our former employer, Lynn Henrichsen, had invited us three research assistants to attend.  For the first session, I listened to Woodger, Christenson, and a graduate student named Dowdle talk about Hawaii and the Caribbean.  In the second, I started in one room and heard a man, Reid Neilsen, and then a woman, LaJean Purcell, review Hosea Stout’s China mission, then went next door to listen to Michael Goodman, a former Thailand missionary and mission president, review Elam Luddington and the later opening of Thailand.  Before him was a woman named Embley talking about LDS radio efforts in the early 20th century.

The conference offered refreshments between the two sessions, and concluded with a talk by Lanier Britsch, a Church historian of Asia of considerable renown.  He’s old now…  I met him only once before, as a missionary at the archives, but I also helped with some of the “audit-checking” of transcriptions of interviews he had done with Church pioneers and notables during an Asian oral history trip he took with Brian Reeves.

Later Saturday, I took a bus back to Salt Lake.  I just missed the bus I was aiming for, but since the traffic for a basketball game was stuffing up the roads, I tried to pursue that bus on my bike all the way up the street (University Avenue), never quite approaching it before it turned left, partially because of my baggage.  I thought it might wait for a few minutes at the Orem shopping centre station, so I continued down the road (University Parkway) and struggled up that hill.  I think I missed it by at least five minutes, any way.  I kept on down the road for a while, wondering whether it were still possible to catch it before it left UVU…  At last I gave up and turned around.  Enough of the hour had been spent pursuing that bus that I didn’t have extremely long before the next bus, an hour later, would be arriving.  I rode back down University Parkway and that hill.  I decided I still had time to try to go all the way back home and get some thing more to eat, which I did, arriving back at that first bus stop a few minutes ahead of the next bus.

On that bus, at the Orem mall, I saw a familiar face board: Temuun, a young man I’d met in Mongolia.  He sat by a Mongolian girl who had gotten on before him; it turned out to be his wife, Azjargal.  I moved up to the seat adjacent to them.  Temuun recognised me quickly, and we reminisced.  I most remembered him because he had once given me his name and number on a scrap of paper, inviting me to go to the Young Single Adult camp-out that summer (which I’d felt too unconnected to attend).  He had met Azjargal there; I forget how long they’ve been married now.  Over a year, I guess.  He had come to Orem two months ago to study English at the UVU program; his field is computer science.  His wife was interested in BYU’s business school; she had taken a practice GMAT from Kaplan early in February (I had seen the advertisements for that one, but forgot about it, and therefore had made an increased effort to go to that second one on the 26th, which was over-attended).  They debarked at the UVU stop; their apartment was across the street. [4/24: Temuun will study at the ELC in the summer.]

Later, on the train, I met an interesting man named Lewis, a Blackfoot tribesman, who called upper Montana home, as well as lower Alberta.  He was on foot in Utah for another month. (I had just been reading more of my step-grandma Trudy’s book about Jacob Hamblin, so I was doing my best to appreciate Lewis’ historicity.)  On the second bus, 39, I very briefly spoke with a Bhutani woman and her daughter.

Back home, my mother informed me that she and Dave had made an offer to buy a little house she had liked down in Alpine, just north of Provo, Orem, and Lindon, couched up near the canyon.  I think it was selling for 300,000, but the second creditor hadn’t yet approved their loss with that price, and so my parents offered an additional 15,000.

My step-father isn’t so interested in the house as my mother is, but he would go along with it.  This morning, though, I over-heard some of the strain it was putting on them, to still be dealing with their slow, labour-intensive expansion of the Manila house, as well as a backdrop of recent concern about Dave’s health (among other worries, he recently underwent a surgical repair of an inguinal hernia), added, I think, to Dave’s tension over the fact that the three of us still room here, and his slight but sustained dissatisfaction with living here.  I felt bad about their argument… and knew I hadn’t done my part to alleviate their difficulty by being less dependent, or by being skilled enough to give any help with the house work.

It seems impossible for me to get rid of all my stuff here…  Too many books.  It seems such a shame to think of just throwing them away.  They’re worthwhile…

I just have a lot of junk here, a lot of memorabilia.  I have old rocks I collected as a kid… an old kid trophy or two… some little statuettes I’ve been given mostly by siblings… loads of old coins, and foreign coins… old card sets I played with, Magic game cards… my old film pictures from Hong Kong, plus some mission trinkets… some aviation books from my father, Kelly… my LDSBC notes… all my summer trip notes and scraps… other gifts from people, like Kelly, or Heidi… my collection of little Ding Dong (Doraemon) dolls that I once bought to share with Sister Lam… some trinkets from Toni Yu’s pretty friend who passed away, and whose friends gave away her stuff at the funeral… and a few small things from Bomie, from back when she liked me.  Plus a bunch of foreign candy wrappers, primarily Russian and Mongolian stuff from Tugsuu.  I like to save foreign bags and containers and things, just since they’re weird to compare with our local bags…

Anyway, what can I do with it?  I haven’t any where to start putting it…

Shane isn’t excited about their talk of moving, because he is invested in this community, and especially because of the landscaping work he’s done with our back-yard here.

Shane shared his latest religious interest with me yesterday: the Urantia Book (the “Earth Book”), a cryptic, sciency type of syncretic belief that was apparently produced over time by one, but possibly more than one, authors between about 60 and 90 years ago.  I found it mildly fascinating; it reminded me strongly of a book I had read at BYU, “Last Men”.  The “other religions” section kind of betrays its authorship as the work of a very thoughtful and well studied literary man who, as many others have, caught the syncretist bug, and who was apparently straightening out his own ideas on the subject.  Science fiction or not, do we not allow inspiration from thoughtful men in any context?  Like others, he has tried to draw out truth’s unity as he saw it.  Aside from an impressive but occasionally limited collection of historical sources; ignoring some issues with names and wording; and despite its denial of the Atonement, and thence its denial of justice, I thought it was a very well written and thought-provoking book… though far too thick for me to spend much time with.

So, early on Saturday morning, Kim Hyunjoo had left me some notes on Facebook asking for my e-mail address.  After the elation subsided, I felt sure that she just needed more English consultation…  Late last night, after talking with Myeong-Seon, I almost refrained from answering KHJ.  I was tired of having kept an interest for her buried for so long, with never any returns, only a kind of hollow acquaintance.  Monthly or bi-monthly pretensions of familiarity are better than nothing, but… they quickly wear thin…

But I couldn’t get my self to ignore her…  In some ways, she seems helpless.  She doesn’t seem overly technologically clever, like Bomie was, since she couldn’t find my e-mail on her own, and had to delete two public notes to me on Facebook before settling on a third private one (and some hours ago, she responded again: four Facebook notices now await opening in my in-box).  Her English seems to have plateaued, and I feel a little sorry that I’m the best she can do for an English-speaking contact.  My advice is certainly sound and good enough for her general editting purposes; but for a teacher in Korea, I think she needs some body more professional, whom she can pay, and rely upon, and who entertains no vague, hidden romantic notions.

Above all, I feel used.  I would happily help her how ever I could… if she was a friend… if she talked to me more than when she just needed help with work…

Any way, she’s a darling.  She was the first Korean I ever thought I liked… really, the first Korean I ever met, besides Peter Kim in high school.  He was nice too.

Way, way back in 2003 autumn, I think… during my first semester… in that interpersonal communications class… she called me “cute”, with her interesting diction and winsome smile.  Since then, she has always had a little place, a little home, inside my heart… though I wouldn’t say it has been “love” by any means, since I’ve never known her well.  But, I have liked her… and she is one of my anchors in Korea, now, one of the things tugging me there, or nudging or hinting or whispering me there, instead of any of the other countries I need to visit.  …Not that it would materialise, with her.  Instead, I would just meet some body else, while there thinking of her…

Well, I’ll open the new notes later.  Probably she has asked her English question in Facebook, or she wants to say something polite like that she wasn’t trying to reach me just to use me for English.  What ever it is, I’ll try to quickly forget it.

Fan has lately reconnected with me, displaying no such things as previously offended me.

I regret having been so aurally annoyed by my room-mate, Chris Cunningham.  He, actually, is an admirable person, while I’m a selfish one.  I’m lucky to know him.

-Steve Foster

[3/7 M
Well, they withdrew their offer on that house yesterday, after their disagreement.  Looks like we won’t be moving to Alpine.  But this is the closest they’ve gotten to making a purchase.

KHJ, other than making some polite picture comments, only wanted to say that she had a new e-mail address, and wanted to up-date her contacts.

Yiu talked to me late last night…  We spent some time jokingly considering our compatibility…  Aside from the jest, I began to see that we were in very different categories, and might have a very difficult time merging well.]

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