We have a general sense of rules concerning cordiality.

Like not peeing in a public pool if you're over the age of 5. Or covering your mouth when you cough. Or not cutting in line. Or not spitting into peoples' soup.
And then there is one rule that everyone should know.  Seriously, everyone. 
IF YOU BORROW SOMEONE ELSE'S PEN, DON'T PUT IT IN YOUR MOUTH. And if you somehow forgot this golden rule,
Due to recent events, I felt the need to make a public service announcement to remind everyone this is not okay. Ever. Just don't do it.
Here is your background:
I'm taking a beginning Yiddish class this semester (because duh) and there are three other grad students enrolled as well as one undergrad. And this poor undergrad, whom we shall call Millard for the sake of anonymity, is what some people might call a "sweet spirit" but they really mean vexing in every sense. And part of that isn't his fault because he's a…

You're doing what for the next seven years?

So many of my conversations with people these days end with me leaving my conversation partner in a stunned silence as I awkwardly excuse myself to find a drink or talk with someone else or maybe even go smell that tree over there.

What causes all of my conversations to go downhill so quickly? No, it's not the usual taboo topics of sex ed in schools, frog dissection, or the proportions of spinach to oreos I've eaten in the past week. 
It's actually about career choices and the amount of schooling such choices require. #beingaprofessor

Here's a sample conversation with every adult ever who's asked about my future plans in the past few weeks:

Real Adult: "Oh hi Claire, nice to see you again. What are you up to these days?" Fake Adult (a.k.a. me): "Yeah, it's good to see you too! Well I graduated from BYU and am moving to Indiana in August to start a PhD program for German Studies." Real Adult: "Wow, that's great. How long is that program…

Why God Gave Us Swear Words and Other Titles for Yesterday

If we were to write a children's book about my yesterday, we would call it something like Claire and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Except that we would probably run into some copyright infringement problems, so here are some other potential titles:
The Long Journey HomeAll Tired OutLife Changes Part 6Why God Gave Us Swear Words
I was dreading yesterday before it happened because yesterday was the day I left Provo. Forever. Well, forever meaning the foreseeable future. Because grad school in Indiana. Every time I've left Provo since August 2011, I knew I was coming back. I've always had a a handful boxes waiting for me in someone's house during my short absences and week by week, Provo became my home. *insert nostalgic music*

Admittedly, that took a while.  And if not for this past year, I don't know if I would have felt this sense of home as strongly. But as I drove home yesterday and replayed an eight-hour long montage of the past six years, I wept…

Coming to Jesus Day with Kindergarteners

Things people never say about me:
1. Claire definitely knows her stuff when it comes to computer programming. She basically built the internet.  2. Claire is a really good dancer. She should do Zumba in front of people more often.  3. Claire is an awesome teacher for young kids--she can connect and manage little people so well.

And thus we shall focus on this last point, for I've spent January through right now trying out teaching German at a K-9 charter school in the afternoons before heading off to pursue a PhD in German Studies (so I can teach at a university in the far distant future). 
If we backtrack a little, we can remember that I taught German at BYU and loved it.  I am, of course, wildly entertaining in my passion for German and relatively insightful as a teacher; generally, I seemed to convince my university students of this as well. Or perhaps they merely convinced me of this but regardless we all had fun together.
And then if we go back just a few months, we remember…

Thirteen Reasons To Save Worms

A few weeks ago, I was walking outside as the sun rose after a night a of rain. I love the smell and sound of rain--it's refreshing, soothing, and cathartic.

Worms like rain too. Whenever it rains, they always come out on the sidewalks and party like it's 1999.

Except then they are still partying with the sun comes and dries them up.

Such was the case on this particular morning as I looked down at the sidewalk and saw dozens of worms endeavoring to make their way back to the safety of the grass and several that had already failed and lost their lives in the struggle.

Laugh at me if you will, but I may or may not have started to tear up a bit.

This reminded me of afternoon looking at worms.

My brothers and I loved looking for and collecting bugs when we were little (my favorites were worms and rolly pollies, obviously). Anyways, there was this one afternoon when I was maybe 15 and my brother Logan was 13 (so we weren't that little anymore apparently) and it had just rained …

Quarter-life Crises, How to Solve Them, and How to Fall Back into Them

Two months of radio silence followed the release of the world’s Worst Christmas Movies, but it’s about time words spoke again.

Let’s review where I was at that point: graduated and excited for the future. Let’s look at where I was in January: graduated and questioning my existence and purpose in life and believing I would remain a peasant forever. Let’s look at where I am in February: graduated and excited for the future.

But soooooo much has changed since Christmas.

I started teaching German at a charter school at the beginning of January, which was great--except the limited hours available often left me whining to my mom as I stared hopelessly at the ceiling contemplating the lack of direction my life currently had. Much like onto this video of a girl running on a treadmill.

I called this month-long period part of a quarter-life crisis, which is similar to a midlife crisis but comes sooner. #luckymillenials

How did I get through the plagues of an unwanted existential crisis during such a t…

Claire's Top Five Worst Christmas Movies

You've been waiting all month for it. You've watched several yourself. And now it's here.

Claire's Top Five Worst Christmas Movies.

Disclaimer: I actually only watched twelve. There are probably hundreds more but I ran out of time and mental capacity. The seven that aren't ranked will get honorable mention at the bottom.

5. A Dogwalker's Christmas Tale
From the opening scene, it's already impossible to take the movie seriously. The main character, what's-her-face, springs up from bed exclaiming "5 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!" It gets better when she meets up with her boyfriend to exchange Christmas presents, only for him to say "I didn't know we weren't dating." And then she gets all huffy because as it turns out, he also doesn't like Christmas. Then she goes crazy and yells something like, "I am a flavorful, flawless peppermint milk and you're some day old coffee with a dinky packet of splenda." Classic, right? Als…