Posted by: topher274 | June 12, 2011

A New Spring – Come and Gone

A fleeting glimpse of life in Dallas. Almost all of these friends have left for good.

Well, it’s been about six months, time for another attempt to restart the ol’ blog. Each of these paragraphs should probably be its own post, but if I did that, I probably would get up the momentum to restart, so it’s a number of vignettes.

I have just finished my first semester at the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics in Dallas, Texas. It was a bit of an experiment in coming down here to Dallas, starting a new phase of life and education and it has been a bit of a bumpy ride, but that’s how it goes :) I suppose I should talk about school, employment, and PMI.

After moving down in January, I found it exceedingly difficult to find good work, and ended up working a night or two per week in the school Library while looking for more options. I don’t need to tell you that the library of a linguistics graduate school some kind of a wonderland for me. I remember one night, I was reading the Wikipedia article about the !Xóõ language which is one of those fantastic click languages in Namibia. I looked down to the bottom of the article for the references, and sure enough we have the monograph on our shelves! I read up on the phonotactics to my heart’s content. So it has been a wonderful job.

Also, through a friend, I found out about a job in the box office at the Dallas Symphony. She recommended that I submit my resume, along with a cover letter. It’s funny – I’ve never used a cover letter and it made me stop to think about how something so small and simple could mean the difference between getting called back for an interview or not. I was called back for an interview, and was informed that it would be a “group interview” – though I wasn’t quite sure just what that was supposed to mean.

When I showed up, there were about ten interviewees and four interviewers. The interviewers sat against the walls of the large conference room, and had us sit around the sizable conference table. They then threw out questions which we were to answer, in any order – and not to address the interviewers, but to our fellow interviewees around the table. It was a truly bizarre experience. The interviewers wanted to know how we communicate and relate, so everyone was really considerate and kind to each other, even though we were all competing for the same two or three openings. I believe it was on a Wednesday or Thursday evening, and they told us that they would let us know who had the job the following Monday night, then start training on Tuesday. Well, all’s well that end’s well: I received the call on Monday that I was offered the job doing patron services/customer service/taking phone orders along with 2 other wonderful folks, and our training and employment began. It’s been great!

Classes were good, though I was unable (for financial reasons) to take as many as I would have liked. I took Semantics and Pragmatics (one course) and also Advanced Grammatical Analysis. It was a wonderful to get back into the academic lifestyle, and to study linguistics: the academic thrill of my life. The classes went very well, but I will spare you the terribly long winded technical details of my work. Let’s just say that the final papers of each course were the longest papers I have ever written in my life :)

What I’m really thinking about these days, though, is my last week at the Pioneer Missions Institute (PMI), where I learned about Pioneer Bible Translators (PBT). There is really a lot for me still to process and work through, so more information and thoughts will probably be in a post to come. I have certainly thought long and hard for years about becoming a linguist-translator for a missions organization, and this might be the very one. So I’m thinking and praying about that now.

Other things that may or may not find their ways into future posts include: Whether attraction is needed for a relationship, my other job working for the Ethnoloɠue (!), and what to do when you just can’t find a wife. Stay tuned!



  1. It’s good to see you following your academic dreams. I’m enrolled in KU’s electrical engineering program for this fall.

  2. Sweetest Deals! I’m super excited for you, Rob. You go electrically engineer the everliving shillelagh out of those classes.

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