The 2017 Year in Review

Love and loss. Travel and food. Heartburn and indigestion. Weather. These are a few words that stand out and define the past year.

2015 involved Matt interviewing and exploring different options for graduate school.

2016 was the year of moving to Texas and beginning school.

2017 is the year of completion, seeing Matt finish his classes in what is the culmination of nearly 20 years of school. It’s possible that he could have done something else worthwhile in that time such as cultivating a small forest or raising a teenager, but it is nevertheless a proud accomplishment. He has accepted an administrative residency with Texas Health Resources hospital system in Fort Worth and will relocate and begin work in January. This company has consistently ranked on Fortunes list of top places to work for diversity, so he should fit right in. Unfortunately, he now has to start his search over for the best taquerias.

Having fully embraced the Texas food scene this year, I’ve experienced both positives and negatives. There is a Filipino word, “umay,” which doesn’t directly translate to English, but indicates having eaten so much of a particular food that you grow to entirely loathe that food. My umay list has grown exponentially to include the following:

  • Fried butter
  • Fried turkey legs
  • Fried deserts
  • Anything fried really…
  • Trashy Trailer Park tacos from Torchy’s Tacos
  • Whataburger (only ate once)
  • Eating more than 2 lbs. of brisket at a time
  • Eating more than 2 lbs. of most food at a time
  • Anything from Buc-ee’s
  • The 4-pack of guacamole from Costco

Luckily with 2018 looming near, this list may be wiped clean and I’ll continue as if my metabolism isn’t actually slowing down.

In March, Matt was hitting those reps at the gym when he experienced a sudden pop in his upper back. After various doctors poked his back and professionally asked if it hurt (it did), he was prescribed a foam roller, with which he entered into a deep and committed relationship with. Every night and morning, that roller was there for him. In addition to physical relief, the roller also provided relief from neighbors back home who continued to ask if he was dating anyone. Some continued to prod and ask insensitive questions such as “why would a parent name their child “foam roller”?” Funny, coming from parents who give their children names such as “Rexalyn*” or “Roczek.”

By the summer, my back was feeling better and our relationship ended amicably. However, there was another relationship that perhaps did not end as well. This was difficult to deal with the rest of the year, as it is never easy when someone you care about exits your life, but was also a source for self-improvement. Love and loss is a part of the game of life. Additionally, I happened to lose my jacket in London and a pair of gloves in Italy recently. Loss is never easy.

I had the opportunity to visit 8 countries this year, drove to Canada twice, drove back and forth from Texas, and spent countless hours in airports and on planes through Europe. Here are a few things I’ve learned:

  • Everyone in Europe is overdressed and you WILL stand out in khakis
  • Netflix has a much better selection outside the US.
  • Chocolate is much better outside the US
  • Europeans like you more if you pretend you’re not American
  • Making friends with airport staff overnight gets you good food and better places to sleep
  • When driving from Utah to Texas, most of your drive is across Texas
  • Jim Dale is essential to any road trip
  • It is possible to drive 19 hours straight
  • Americans love singing the Canadian National Anthem “O Canada”, but only know the first two words (which happen to be the title)

May your holidays be merry and your cheer be many. I truly wish the best to anyone reading this (but only to those reading this).


*Ask your doctor if Rexalyn is right for you

A Year End Review


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What an eventful year it has been!  I am so grateful to Facebook which reminds me that one of my biggest events this year was purchasing a shirt displaying a cat in an astronaut (a cat-stronaut, if you will) suit. #blessed

Similar to the individual who writes the family updates, this year-end summary will be written in the first and third person perspective.  Keep in mind, the same person is being talked about the whole time (Matt).

Like most people his age, Matt decided to start a blog this year.  Unlike most people, he has managed to write more than five posts without relapsing and going the way of most New Year’s resolutions.  Originally, he wanted to be featured on the many LDS web sites to “go viral.”  Now he realizes that to be featured, you must make obscure references on how being LDS is like [insert pop culture reference here], or make absurd, eye-rolling lists.  Refusing to lower his writing abilities to these levels, he now uses blatant sarcasm to make fun of these same things.

Having seen his writing skills improve with each post, he became inspired to write a memoir of his life – until he realized that no one wants to read about the time he stuck two rocks in his ear, or when he sliced his butt open while working in a kitchen.

In April, I concluded a 7-year road to obtain a 4-year degree and graduated with a degree in finance (pronounced “fin”-ance by graduates to appear more mature (pronounced ma-tour by old people)).  Although I was constantly made fun of by both students and teachers for my decision to go more into nonprofits, that hasn’t stopped BYU from continually asking for donations.  My friends who graduated in film and humanities have yet to be solicited.

Matt has decided to pursue a career in healthcare administration and has been spending the year working towards that goal.  In March, he attended the ACHE Congress (which means nothing to most people) and had the opportunity to brown-nose with some of the biggest names and leaders in healthcare.  Unfortunately, most of these people will not remember him due to the fact there was an open bar during the closing banquet.  While the leaders of large healthcare systems and the deciders of national health policies were getting plastered and saying things they’d regret later, the straight-laced Mormon kid stood in the corner finishing off the hors d’oeuvres.

I had the opportunity to travel to Asia this summer for business and pleasure.  To avoid swarms of Asian women (and ladyboys) attempting to come back with me to the States, I shaved my head.  It wasn’t until I arrived that I realized my mistake: I am Caucasian and hair had nothing to do with it.  Being able to maneuver out of some potentially compromising situations, I made it back to America single and alone.

Despite putting it off as long as possible, Matt has finally embraced adulting (not to be confused with adultering).  After he returned from Asia, he subscribed to the Wall Street Journal to become a more informed citizen, was hired at SelectHealth, dresses up for work, and listens to NPR during the commute.  His friends still in school have noticed these differences and do not like who he has become.  It’s a good thing he is making new friends twice his age at work.  Now instead of discussing things such as dating and marriage with his old friends, he now talks about the shifting political climate, pet health, appliances, and health insurance.  He lives an exciting life now.

It has been a good year.  I have my health, family, and a new recipe for Oreo Truffles.  This time next year, I will be in graduate school based out of either Washington, Texas, or Alabama with my shiny new gift from Uncle Sam: $100,000 in student loans!

Singing Hymns and Hymns about Him,