Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"Geraint Fychan dwi" - Welsh Class, Day One

Twmpa as seen from Blaendigeddi Fawr - Cymru Fach
Nine years ago Labor Day Weekend, I was fixated on the Weather Channel watching Katrina spin backwards pushing Lake Pontchartrain back on New Orleans against the Mississippi levees. I accurately predicted that disaster when all the news was exclaiming how lucky the city was that it did not get a direct hit. I also had to meet some W Bush politicos that Tuesday who threw me out of my job in Albuquerque for their nefarious purposes. What a difference nine years make.

Or 39. That's when I was a freshman at BYU, 1975, the centennial year. One of the best years of my life. It's also when a certain federal employee was fired who recently filed an appeal of that firing. I hope the Judge understands timeliness issues. Things like that drive me crazy at work. Oh yeah, and crazy in the head that I take home with me to distraction, despair, and migraines.

So, I'm on my quest to conquer the Welsh language of my ancestors. And hopefully to get new synapses firing to keep me from senility, oh yeah, and migraines. In broader terms, this fits the plans of my wife and I to get ready for post-retirement volunteer service. I want to volunteer at the Church History or Family History Libraries with some knowledge of Welsh to be able to help others. Then when my wife is ready to retire, I'm hoping we can get a family history mission in Wales. Oh, yeah!

So by popular request (a couple of FB friends) and in spite of the complaints of my children, I will copy in here the running commentary I put on FB to tell the story of an extraordinary day.

Ok. I think I can make it from work door to door in an hour before rush hour. That is as long as I can find the door here because the JKB is really freaking me out. Did they like build extra floors between the floors? And BYU cops are now where I used to go to church. — at BYU (Brigham Young University).

Photo: Ok. I think I can make it from work door to door in an hour before rush hour. That is as long as I can find the door here because the JKB is really freaking me out. Did they like build extra floors between the floors? And BYU cops are now where I used to go to church.

Ya know that dream where you can't find your class schedule and ya have to go to the admin building for the umpteenth time to get another copy? Ok. Maybe that wasn't a dream. But I just flipped my computer on and THERE WAS MY SCHEDULE!! OK. only one class and it's not til 4, but I know the room number now.

!! I just saw a guy older than me!!!

Wow! I mean WOW!!! That only took a minute and a half, too!
Photo: Wow! I mean WOW!!! That only took a minute and a half, too!

Cougareat. Survival skills
Photo: Cougareat. Survival skills

Ssh! In the library now. I just realized I CAN CHECK OUT BOOKS!!

And there is that bank of PC's, which I have actually used before as a visitor, where huddled freshmen are anxiously printing out their class schedules . . . So, the world hasn't changed that much.

  • KW Would you mind checking out my thesis? You don't need to read it, just check it out and put it into the return slot. It's my way of ensuring it doesn't get sold for a nickel at the used book sale. If it's checked out periodically then the library staff won't feel a need to discard. My nieces and nephews supported me in the cause over the last decade or so, but I'm in need on new on-campus recruits and you fit the bill. Thanks!

Maybe I should check my work email.

NO! I took annual leave to be here!

I am on my laptop now realizing that my phone was going to die soon. I have a charger line in the car I could go get. My laptop is good and charged and I have a cord to plug it in just in case. I'm just afraid that in this school-of-the-future, the teacher is going to start up by saying "OK, open up your laptop to this url." Because our textbook is ONLINE (another money saver). The Welsh government wants its people to learn their own language so there is a standard and official Welsh course online that we use which is rather socialistic if you ask me. But also OK by me. Payback for my ancestors in those coal mines or gaols.

I need to go wash my hands. I still smell Taco Bell.

There are a lot of guys with beard cards.

I saw one guy with a beard and a dog he was holding while waiting at Taco Bell in the Cougareat. I guess it was a helper dog or he was helping the dog or something. He probably has two cards, or the dog has one of them.

  • ET: beard cards? Does BYU require a recommend for having a beard? Come on!
  • Grant L. Vaughn No, beards are contra honor code but if you get a doctor to say you have sensitive skin that's aggravated by shaving, you can get a card authorizing a beard. It's one of those exceptions you can drive a truck through speaking as a sensitive man myself. I've just found a beard to be more irritating than the shaving.

    The honor code in dress is not what it used to be. Lots of shorts and sandals. caps on in classrooms. shoes off and feet up on tables in the library. Don't know what the world is coming to!

Baby crying in the library. You don't get that at many universities.

  • AEP: You can get it at CHL. Oh, boy, can you get it at CHL.

Aula de português bem terminou ao lado de mim. que saudades!

in the classroom. There's one young guy in a flat cap. The door is in the front of the room so it's going to be hard to slip in late. I have my college-ruled spiral binder and a pen, and the computer. One older looking woman. OK, we're doing fine.

  • Grant L. Vaughn Oh, Cousin Gwendolyn with the poetic Welsh name, you probably can speak it already from deep in your memory just as Queen Rhiannon could sing as beautifully as the birds!
  • GVK: Dear cousin Grant I do feel it in my bones, If only I could tap it. It would make my life full-filled.
  • GVK: Will look up Queen Rhiannon. I so like the birds song, as did my father, who named me.

AVU:posted toGrant L. Vaughn
You have so many posts I don't know which to comment on. Do you want to come to our apartment for dinner or are you going to taco bell again?

  • Grant L. Vaughn i think I need to go home. But thanks for the invite!!! I'll be around!
  • AVU: K you're welcome anytime but sometimes we just eat frozen burritos.

Whew!!! Dwi'n hapus i fodyma! but what a fire hose!!

The absolute weirdest thing, one of the oddest in my life, however, was when we wrote our first names on the card with our home town. I didn't know what to put so I put Nyssa, OR. Three seats down was a kid who wrote "Grant, Nyssa, OR" Major freakout. He is a H. He knows my cousins B and A, who is, of course, his Stake Pres. The other Grant is actually from Adrian and was born in Germany.
Grant L. Vaughn
4 hours ago
OK, a Stake Prez is interviewing people next door. I'm outta here.


I wonder what the Welsh is for "good karma." Have to look that one up.

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