Sunday, July 12, 2009

Mi casa es tu casa

What's the first thing I heard upon disembarking the plane in Los Angeles? A. A bunch of gente speaking espanol. It was like chocolate for my ear drums. Where's the first place I went to eat? A. Cafe Rio. Of course, I ordered extra guacamole. Its funny that bits of Chinese have found their way into my Spanish.

People look much more diverse here in America...shape, size, skin, eye and hair color, etc. I'm no longer a celebrity who's being asked to pose in family photos with complete strangers. I'm starving because I've eaten out every meal for the last 6 months and can't seem to develop a desire to cook. I'm almost overwhelmed with the new prospects of eavesdropping on others' conversations and lazily avoiding creating my own. Most of all, though, I'm happy to be home with mi familia. I learned some great life lessons from the people in Taiwan and I'm excited to put them to the test in my upcoming adventures.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Miraculous Milestone

Remember how the 2.5 year old Lori would cry all day long when she came to English school? Well, now look at her! Its great to be able to enjoy her adorable personality since she's adjusted to the idea of learning a foreign language.

When the Men Volunteer to Cook Sunday Dinner...

Holly has a gluten allergy, thus the fancy steak and veggies. We made her surrender her fork immediately after the blessing of the food. Patrons were disallowed any usage of utensils throughout the duration of the meal. They drank water from bowls, but could not use their hands. I feel a greater connection now to our common ancestor, cro magnon man. Given my current hair growth pattern it will soon be extremely difficult to distinguish between the two of us.

The post-dinner spaghetti art gallery was also a hit. We fed the leftovers to our students because most of us were too grossed out to eat food that people had fingered so much...poor unsuspecting students.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Old Man and the Computer

First of all, a question. What is the most annoying ride at Disneyland? Yes, you're right, "It's a small world." You know it if you've been there. This song's capacity to completely take over the cranium is creepy. The message is true, however, and an experience this weekend reminded me of this fact. P.S. The small world decreases in size exponentially when you're a mormon.

Some of you may recall my experience of singing in the Chinese choir when Elder Bednar came to visit (see april post). It just so happened that my roommate this weekend in temple housing was the same guy singing next to me in the choir. What are the chances?

I will refer to him as "Om" (old man) from here on out since I have no idea what his name is. Om had rented himself a nice laptop and asked me to help him learn how to use it. First of all, my Chinese isn't that great yet. Second, I don't even know how to run a computer when everything is English. I obliged to do my best, though.

We both sit down on his bed as I put the laptop on my lap...imagine that. Om is wearing nothing but his underwear, a smile and glasses that needed to be amplified significantly judging by how close his face is to the computer. His ear hair is nearly tickling my lips as he is straining to see what's happening on the screen. He's negating every single move I make as being unnecessary and not what he wants. Finally, I find a large folder containing the church history in Chinese. He is thrilled and gives me an enthusiastic thumbs up. Om proceeds to attempt to read the whole Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints history to me in Chinese. I feel really close to Om. I'm sad that I am so hungry and leave to go get some fried rice.


Living in a bog
with dead sheep
has never smelled too great.
Rotting carcasses rarely appeal to my olfactories.

Some of my most cherished memories, though, are associated with mud.
The mind and heart are contrary historians...
Maybe it was the revelation wrought upon by lacy lingerie;
Perhaps it was the goose-pimple-evoking sprays emitted from the garden hose.
Possible neither mind nor heart were involved.
A certainty is this: a shower never felt so refreshing.

Sometimes the stench remains
despite the soap and shampoo.
I've just learned to put on lots of cologne.
(even though frequently the cost is too great for me to obtain it...
maybe I'm just a cheapskate?)

It is a rare occurence
but once in a while
someone will comment,
"Dane, you smell really nice!"
Moments like these
ignite desires in me
to build a real house
and burn incense
all day long.


wanders into my lusts
a botfly largely unnoticed
until my flesh changes color
pain envelops me
It must be removed

This time around the extraction afflicts more than the incubation
stretching my nerves well beyond the zone of comfort
weeping in agony
while secretly wishing for more bugs to impregnate my skin with their offspring
a gluttonous obsession with punishment
where all my days are spent
saturating myself with sugar water
and then standing underneath a neon-blue bug zapper
enjoying the smoky smell of burning insects
and larvae crawling through my skin

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What's in a Name?





I recently finished reading Freakonomics, where a study about names and how they correlate with the child's mother's educational level can be read. One of the kids was named, "Shithead" (pronounced---shuh TEED). What level of education do you suppose his mother attained?

All these odd-named (Angel isn't that odd, I guess) bambinos just happen to be in the lowest level class together. Is it mere coincidence that the students with the strangest names have the least proficiency in English?