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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Anxiously Engaged

Are you ready for the news of the century? decade? year? month? OK... can it at least be the news of the week?! I'm engaged to be married to the beautiful Ms. Caroline Jayne Warner! We're planning on being wed on Saturday, April 21, in the LDS Temple in Oakland, CA. We'll have a reception that night in Morgan Hill, and an open house about a week later in Colorado Springs. We are both so happy, and are really enjoying spending time together. I'll be here in CO for a few more days, and then we're heading out to CA for a week with the Borgias. Anyhoo... I want to write down the story of how this happened, if not for y'all to read, for my own journalistic purposes. (I'm a terrible journal writer, but I like to blog).

First I'll give you the readers digest version of our relationship (if you already know this story and just want this week's update, feel free to scroll): Carrie and I met during high-school choir. I had a major crush on her throughout most of that time, and she somehow tolerated my cheesy advances. Junior year I took her to winter ball, and then we travelled together to Germany that Spring with the GHS Chamber Choir. Sadly, in between our junior and senior years her family moved to Colorado Springs. She visited a few times, and I ended up flying her out for senior prom. After graduation we started school at different colleges, and after a few months our relationship temporarily fizzled.

After returning home from my mission in Jacksonville, Florida, Carrie and I started talking on the phone again. We'd exchanged a few letters while I was in Florida, but not much. I remember the first time I called her I was eating pizza waiting to go into the movie theatre to see what ended up being the worst movie ever. (Never go see Duplicity, it's stoopid beyond belief).  It was nice to talk to her again, but those old lovey feelings were still kept at bay.  After a few weeks of talking every once in a while (once a week - ish) on the phone, Carrie told me that she was applying to go to the BYU Jerusalem Center during Winter 2010, and suggested that I should apply too. By this time I was starting to have feelings for Carrie, and Jerusalem sounded awesome, so I applied.  Both of us got in, and we started talking more often, excitedly talking about our preparations to go.  Sometime in early October, I was talking to Carrie whilst pacing in front of the HFAC (BYU's music building).  I remember that I sat down on a bench by the Wilk, and I told Carrie that I was having feelings for her again and wanted to see where it would lead.  She responded that she was feeling similarly.  From that point on (and much to the chagrin of my roommates at the time) we talked pretty much every night.  Our longest conversation was 4.5 hours!!!  Around Halloween Carrie decided to come out and visit to feel out where we were at.  We went to a concert, and drove up to Rexburg together to visit her roommates.  It was a lot of fun, and made me like her even more.  She felt good about it as well, although she wanted to go slower (ever the sensible one, she pointed out that we wouldn't be allowed to date in Jerusalem).  At the end of our trip we determined to try and slow down by talking only a few times a week.  That lasted roughly two days.

In January we both arrived in Provo, ready to go to Jerusalem.  I took her out for dinner, and I distinctly remember her snuggling up to me in the booth.  Amazing!  Then the next morning we got to the airport and flew all freaking day.  In Jerusalem things were good/complicated.  We were keeping things on the sly, which was hard for both of us since we're big on words of affirmation and physical touch.  It was driving me crazy not being able to cuddle with her or tell her how I was feeling.  After about a month we broke up.  This ended up being (in my opinion) really good for us.  We'd gone pretty quickly to romance after my mission, and we needed time to get to know each other again.  The rest of our Jerusalem experience was amazing, and was a good buildup for our future relationship.

After Jerusalem I went back to Provo and Carrie went to school in Rexburg.  She visited a few times.  Nothing too exciting.  I dated around, she dated, obviously none of that stuck.  I tried to get over Carrie, but it didn't work too well.  The way I said it to my friends was that I was "flammable", that the tiniest spark from Carrie would set me back aflame.  Then, in May of this year, I went back to the Middle East for a three-month internship in Jordan.  Within a week of my getting there, I received an email from Carrie.  It went something like "Why did you leave when I have so much I need to talk to you about?!"  I quickly replied that she could email/Facebook/Skype me whenever she wanted.  That night we had a long conversation over Facebook chat (long distance relationships suck, btw, particularly transatlantic ones!) where we discussed everything.  We talked about what happened in Jerusalem, what happened when we tried to date others, etc.  My favorite part of the convo was when Carrie suggested that we should try dating again.  My heart did flips and had a dance party; I was once more all aflame.  We determined that, since we were destined to have a mostly long distance relationship, that we would take it slow.  We would just talk more, not dating, and then we'd decide what to do when I visited her in Mesa in August.  Quite unsurprisingly, that didn't last.  By the end of May I had told her that I loved her, by June we referred to each other as boyfriend/girlfriend, and by July/August I was daydreaming about marrying her all over again.

I visited her in August, which was wonderful, and secured our relationship.  That's when she told me that she loved me back, and it was blissful.  During fall semester she visited me in Provo twice, and I went down to Mesa two more times.  We also talked on the phone pretty much every single day.  One day towards the end of October we were on the phone, and we started talking about marriage.  I had always imagined that that would be really nerve-racking and awkward.  On the contrary, it felt completely natural.  I remember getting off of the phone and thinking "Hmmm... I think I'm sorta engaged now!"  A few weeks later I bought the ring, and soon we were wedding planning (all to the teasing of my dad: "You kids, when I was your age I proposed before we did any of this!").  It's true, we did things kind of out of order, but that's what happens when you live in different states.

Anyhoo, on to the good part!

I had been planning on proposing on a sleigh ride with dinner for two near Denver; I had the reservations about a month in advance.  However, the day before I went out, I called to confirm the reservation; I found out that the dinner and sleigh ride were with a group.  Frantic, my brother Jonathan and I went over to my cousin Deveren's house.  We brainstormed with him and his wife Kiara, and came up with a wonderful plan... stay tuned.

I flew in to Denver Sunday morning (Dec. 18th).  Carrie picked me up and we went to church with her brother David and his family (who, btw, are awesome).  After spending some time with them we headed off to Granby, CO, where the sleigh ride was.  It was fun, cold, and romantic, and we had a very good time.  Then we drove to her parents house in Colorado Springs.  When we got there, I invited Carrie (and her mom) to watch a YouTube video with me.  My little brother, Jonathan, is an awesome musician, and Carrie and I had kind of adopted one of his love songs as the theme song of our relationship.  I told Carrie that Jonathan had just finished a new version, and wanted our feedback.  The video started like normal, but when it got to the bridge, the music faded and I came onto the screen.  I acted like I was being interviewed about Carrie, and I talked about all of the things that I loved about her.  That's when I got down on my knee, pulled out the ring, and asked her to marry me.  When the video had come on, Carrie's mom was kind of like "Uh, do you want me here?".  Then we I started proposing, she booked it out of there, wanting to leave us alone, although she came back down later to offer congrats.  Then we Skyped with my family, and Carrie fit right in, goofy faces & accents & all.

So, there you have it!  We are so excited to be engaged.  I am still growing to love Carrie more and more every day.  I'm so happy that I get to be with her for the rest of my life and for all eternity, and can't wait to have a family with her.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Cast All Your Votes for Dancing

A really good friend shared a poem on her blog, and I loved it so much that I stole it and am sharing it with you.  It's by Hafiz and was translated by Daniel Ladinsky.  I love the imagery it provides, and to me represents my relationship with God.  Read... and enjoy!

Cast All Your Votes for Dancing

I know the voice of depression
Still calls to you.

I know those habits that can ruin your life
Still send their invitations.

But you are with the Friend now
And look so much stronger.

You can stay that way
And even bloom!

Keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From your prayers and work and music
And from your companion's beautiful laughter.

Keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From the sacred hands and glance of your Beloved
And, my dear,
From the most insignificant movements
Of your own holy body.

Learn to recognize the counterfeit coins
That may buy you just a moment of pleasure,
But then drag you for days
Like a broken man
Behind a farting camel.

You are with the Friend now.
Learn what actions of yours delight Him,
What actions of yours bring freedom 
And Love.

Whenever you say God's name, dear pilgrim,
My ears wish my head was missing
So they could finally kiss each other
And applaud all your nourishing wisdom!

O keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From your prayers and work and music
And from your companions' beautiful laughter

And from the most insignificant movements
Of your own holy body.

Now, sweet one, 
Be wise
Cast all your votes for Dancing!

Sunday, May 08, 2011


OK everyone, I know I promised a post, and here it is... even if it is a day before I leave.  The past 2 weeks have been crazy busy but fun.  Here's a crazy fast yet oh-so-fun recap:

Finals sucked, but then they were done.  My Arabic professor even brought homemade hummus!  Then, I packed up my stuff, picked up my BORING riders from the rideboard (they never talked... weird), and drove the windy road back to California- making EXCELLENT time, I might add.  I spent a lovely three days at home with the fam (minus Jonathan).  During these restful days I got to see Andrea's awesome play, Thoroughly Modern Millie, plus the weird-yet-good movie 'Hanna', and have Easter dinner with the fam.  Then it was off to DC...

The trip to DC was mostly boring.  However, it has an exciting conclusion!  You see, the whole time I carried Jonathan's acoustic guitar with me.  But alas, when I arrived at Dulles I forgot it at baggage claim.  I didn't realize this problem until 10 minutes after we'd left the airport.  Deveren turned the car around (which is an entirely different story), even though we both knew the guitar would be gone.  As I ran into the baggage claim area, I heard a voice over the PA system announcing that someone had left a guitar, and that it was at the Southwest office.  Alhamdulillah!  The guitar was saved!!!

Working in DC has been sweet.  Not only have I made some moola, but I've been able to geek out over historical stuff!  We spent both of our post-church Sunday's in DC at the Smithsonian museums checking everything out.  I even took some sweet pics, observe:

And now for tonight's story: Jonathan and I went with some friends to see 'The Conspirator', which is a totally awesome movie!  On the drive home I was checking my emails and I saw one from Continental Airlines.  Now, I should explain that for the past 2 weeks I thought I was leaving Tuesday the 10th for Jordan.  However, as I read this email I realized that my flight leaves tomorrow, not Tuesday.  Oops!  Holy freaking crap oops!  So, thank goodness for the otherwise useless email that served as a much needed reminder of when I was leaving.

So, tomorrow I'll be gone for 3 months.  But do not despair!  I'm keeping a blog while I'm over there, and I'll still be checking my email.  So keep tabs on my adventures, and keep in touch!  Love y'all!

Saturday, April 16, 2011


So my awesome cousin Adam is about to graduate from BYU's illustration program.  He did a head painting of me, and it's awesome!  And yes... I was able to hold still for a whole 2 hours!

Also, I know I haven't posted in a while... finals are this week.  Afterwards...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Single's Awareness Day

In light of tomorrow's holiday:

But that doesn't mean I'm stopping!  ;)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Look Not Behind Thee...

Why hello y'all!  It's been an interesting past month, and I have lots to share.

I'll start with my most recent exciting news...  I'M GOING TO JORDAN!!!  No, not the small town in Utah... the country in the Middle East!!!

It's an internship through BYU.  Most likely I'll either be doing office work in Amman with one of their government ministries, or I could end up teaching English in a rural town.  How freaking awesome is that?!?!?!  I am really excited to be able to practice my Arabic skillz, and hopefully become more fluent.  I'll be leaving at the beginning of May and returning in August.  On the way back, I'm going to visit my mission peeps in Jacksonville, FL!

Speaking of Arabic, it continues to go well.  102 is great, and so far much less stressful than 101.  I do have another swear-word-but-not-really to offer to you: فكر, pronounced (fakkar), which means "to think about".  Who knew that Arabic would be so racy?!  ;)  The rest of my classes are pretty awesome.  I'm in a 2-in-1 English class that reviews both British and American literature while looking at the relationship between the two.  So far my only HW has been to read awesome books, so no complaints there!  I'm also in an international development class that's required for my internship.  Even after just the first 2 meetings I've been thinking about minoring in it!  I totally love it.  And of course there's choir, which continues to be amazing.  Speaking of choir, there's going to be a free concert on the BYU campus on Jan. 28 for any of y'all here in Utah that would like to go.  I mean, I'll be there, so it'll be a par-tay!!!  Ask me for the info!

And now for the traditional Arabic-vid.  Please enjoy:

Now I'll step back and talk about Christmas break.  It ended up being really busy and stressful, but was also great and fun.  A few days after I got home was my Grandpa Borgia's funeral service in San Jose.  It was a beautiful service.  The Spirit was so strong in directing our grief into a faith-promoting experience.  Rather than getting up and weeping about our grandpa, together we testified about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  [Just in case you were curious, I didn't cry.  Alas, I'm now at 14 years of dry eyes (except for when I yawn...)].  Anyhoo... back to the overview.  My grandma Borgia was able to stay with our family through Christmas and New Years and it was such a blessing to have her.  She is such a strong and amazing woman.

Now that we're in the New Year, I've been thinking a lot about changes and progression and all that cliche stuff that I'm supposed to think about around this time of year.  There are some more obvious changes I'm making: I just started P90X along with a healthier diet, my new classes, new study habits, new goals regarding my time management and my spiritual progression.  However, with that being said, this year I haven't felt an overwhelming desire to change my behaviors.  Rather, I feel that I need to work on changing my attitude... the small things that I'm now realizing have been dictating my life.  And so I'm looking forward to this New Year as a time to change for the better, even if in small but simple ways.

Love ya!

PS- is anyone even reading this?  I mean, it's useful for me to keep this as a type of journal anyway, but I wonder if anyone else is even interested enough to read this...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fall 2010

Wow!  So this past semester was a bit crazier than I anticipated.  Sorry for the post-drought (if anyone's even reading this...).  Anyhoo... a lot has happened, and I'll try to talk about some of it.

Arabic 101 has been an awesome class that has nonetheless kicked my teeth in.  Really once I learned the alphabet the language became much less intimidating.  Still, a language where hocking a loogie translates to 'sister' can be confusing.  Also, there are some fun words that sound like swear words.  Examples, you ask?  موظفك (moowuthuphak) means "your male employee", الشتاء (shitta) means "winter" (and quite fittingly, I might add), فقط (fukat) means "only", and كنت (koont) means "I was".  I'm sure I'll have more to share as time goes on.  Stay tuned for that!

I feel victorious because my roommates have informed me that I now speak some Arabic in my sleep.  I have yet to confirm whether it's actual Arabic or just jumbled jibberish (which I speak fluently in my sleep), but I would love to believe that even as I slumber I'm practicing my vocabulary.  However, no amount of practicing could have prepared me for the final that I took yesterday.  It kicked my teeth in hardcore.  After 2 1/2 hours of agonizing over it, I had done all that I could.  Even with that, I estimated a 68% for my score.  Pretty optimistic, eh?  Grrrrr...  The upside?  Homemade hummus that my professor brought.  So, it wasn't a complete waste.

Along with my study of the Arabic language, I've been able to study the Arabic and Islamic cultures, which has cemented my standing as a liberal hibby here in Provo.  I never realized how Islamaphobic America was until I got back from the Middle East.  As the "Ground Zero Mosque" debate exploded (which is ridiculous, btw... don't even get me started) I saw so much bigotry and naivety and it really frustrated me.  My facebook became the site of some political bashings as my redneck mission friends battled with my CA liberal hippy friends with my fellow Jerusacruisers attempting to mediate (or initiating more bashing).  So, with that backdrop, my study of the Arabic and Islamic cultures was even more rich and rewarding.  In my language class, we focused on the general Arabic culture, and it's fascinating.  We read a book, called "Understanding Arabs", that I really wish I had read before I went to the Middle East.  I highly recommend it for anyone interested in that beautiful culture.  I also took a class on the Humanities of Islam this semester.  Although it was more difficult than anticipated, it was still interesting.  My favorite part of the class?  Film!  We had 2 or 3 weeks where our HW was to watch movies from the Islamic world, and then we would come to class and watch more!  Amazing!

Please excuse a short "YouTube" break...  Enjoy the Arabic singing!!!

OK... now back to our regularly scheduled programming.  I shall now rant to you about my crazed English teacher.  I had 2 English classes this semester.  One of them=sweet!  My night class=terrible.  It was British Literature, and all my teacher did was go off on tangents.  What's the problem? you may ask.  Well, she would test us as if she'd stayed on target the whole time.  Ugh.  For one test review, she actually suggested we look some people up on Wikipedia because she hadn't gone over them in class but they would be on the test.  Which brings me to my next point... I have no idea what my GPA is going to look like this semester... even here at the end of finals week.  With my kamikaze Arabic final (excuse the possible non-political-correctness), the vague expectations of my Humanities teacher, and the ramblings of my BritLit teacher, my expectations are still pretty ambiguous.  So... I guess it'll just be a surprise.

Still, I consider this one of my favorite semesters at BYU thus far.  For one, I finally feel at home here, rather than feeling like a foreign visitor.  (Even if the snow does test my commitment...)  Also, even after describing the chaos of my classes, at least I'm finally studying the things that I'm actually interested in.  Never again will you catch my butt in a science or math class!!!  I've loved my roommates this semester. Once again I'm living with my cousin Adam, and I get along really well with everyone else.  Our only incident has been the great dish meltdown of October... but we've moved past it.  ;)

I know I'm beginning to bore you (and I realize I have a final in 10 minutes... oops!) but one last thing just happened this last week.  At Thanksgiving, Grandpa Borgia was admitted to the hospital to have his gallbladder removed.  About two weeks later, on Sunday December 12, he passed away.  It's been an interesting time, since finals have dictated that I still have to be productive with my time.  Although there is some sadness, I am surprised by the calm that I have felt.  I found out Sunday night as I was singing in a devotional at the MTC.  There, we sang a spiritual about those crossing into the next world.  The words go like this:

"On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand,
And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan’s fair and happy land,
Where my possessions lie.

O the transporting, rapturous scene,
That rises to my sight!
Sweet fields arrayed in living green,
And rivers of delight!

Filled with delight my raptured soul
Would here no longer stay;
Though Jordan’s waves around me roll,
Fearless I’d launch away.

I am bound for the promised land,
I am bound for the promised land;
Oh who will come and go with me?
I am bound for the promised land."

As much as I miss my grandfather, I am confident that he has moved on the the "promised land", to continue his work in the service of God.  The Spirit has been an amazing comfort to me and to my family, strengthening my testimony of and reliance on Him.