A Big Week of Firsts

There comes a time in every recent returned missionary’s life where they have to face a lot of realities. One of which is that they literally have nothing in order as far as the world goes. There’s this rosy perception in your last few weeks as a missionary that somehow you’ll come home and all of your carnal affairs will be in order.

… Wrong.

So, because I’ve just now started to get my life somewhat in order, I’ve had a lot of first experiences with certain things.

1. Bought my first Mac.
Granted, that’s not a necessity. Other computers suffice, hopefully. I’ve purchased a computer in the past. But it had terrible issues and was so unreliable that I decided to play it safe and go with a MacBook Pro and I am so very pleased with my decision. #hatersgonnahate

2. Bought my first CAR.
So.. That’s a bigger one in all honesty. I was kind of just flyin’ solo down here in good ‘ole P. Town for a while. Honestly it was really difficult for me to feel a loss of a sense of freedom. You’d think anything would feel free after being bound under specific and intense rules and regulations while a missionary. But I found it to be quite frustrating to have the opportunity to have freedom but no means to do so. Anyway, say hello to my first car!

2005 Volkswagen Jetta. 5 Speed Manual Transmission. Never been in an accident. Super cute.

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3. Today, I went to Shoots with my Nana. (Actually just quick shoutout to Nana. She is the best. Today she took me to get my haircut from my favorite hair stylist, Bethany. She took me to lunch. Then she insisted we go get our nails done. And, even though that’s not super my thing, I was super thankful for her pampering me. Aaaaanyyyywwwaayyyyyy). We were ordering our food and “Hot Garlic Chicken” sounded really good to me. But what was that? A little icon indicating that it was, in fact, “spicy?” … Did I dare? What if I just hated my whole meal after that? What if it was painful to eat? What if I walked out with burning red lips and an upset stomach?

… But GARLIC CHICKEN. It sounded so good.

So, for the first time in my entire life, I intentionally ordered something spicy from a menu in a restaurant.

Big deal people. Really big deal.

A few other less significant firsts for your enjoyment: first time being caught up in my Twitter feed in two weeks, first time missing my Doctrine and Covenants homework because of an intense group project, first time seeing The Count of Monte Cristo musical (actually it was everyone’s first time because it was the world premiere at BYU!), first time hearing this great band called Bear’s Den (look up “Above the Clouds of Pompeii” … thank you Josh Rasmussen), first time seeing a handful of people I haven’t seen since I got back… And many more.

It’s pretty neat that I can just have a whole slew of first time experiences in one week, isn’t it? Man. There’s a heck of a lot to look forward to in this life. So here’s cheers to firsts!

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A Big Week of Firsts

Well, Since You Asked.

I’m going to take a minute and do a bit of a selfish post.
First, let me just say that this isn’t easy for me. I’m fairly independent and I don’t like to ask for things, let alone admit that I need help. But after a great weekend of General Conference, I have been humbled. And no matter how silly it seems, I’ve been humbled to realize that I simply just don’t have enough time in the next 16 days to get everything done that I need to get done on my own.

A lot of people keep saying things to me like “Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you!” or “If  you need help preparing for your mission, I can help you!” and other kind and generous offers. It’s really sweet that so many are willing to help. But in the reality of it all, “help” is such a broad thing that when I’m up to my ears in things to do, it makes it seem like another task to complete to think of something for someone to do. I know that sounds kind of backwards and non-progressive, but that’s the best way I can explain it.

I decided to make a list of a few things that people can do that will actually help me prepare in the next two and a half weeks.

  • HELP ME STUDY
    Now, this may seem silly. Especially since you might think there’s no way you can help me study because  I just need to do it on my own. But you know when you have SO much to do that you seriously just don’t do any of it? I’m kind of at that point. I really need to run for the roses and kick it into gear, but motivation for school work is at an all time low. I’m currently taking Church History from Susan Easton Black, Living Prophets, Marketing Management, and Advertising. The two I need the most help in are Church History and Marketing Management. It’s not that I don’t understand things–I legitimately need people to say “I can study this time, this time, and this time. Which one works for you?” and then let me figure out which one works. It’ll force me to do it and it will give me motivation to actually study. I know. I sound like a baby that needs coddling. But… At this point….
  • GIVE ME INSIGHTS
    There are a few things that I need some inspiration/knowledge/enlightenment on. My farewell topic is to “relate my thoughts to the Restoration.” I’m not sure what I want to do with it. So any thoughts or insights that you have relating to that would actually help me a lot. I’m going to complete my finals and have my farewell the next day so my time for focusing on the content of that is extremely limited. Also, if you plan on following my adventures in Pennsylvania, I’d love to hear how you think is best for that. Email list? Blog? Something else? What works best? Aaaaand if you have seen or know of any places to purchase the following items, I’d love to hear it: luggage, blouses, skirts, cardigans, scarves, sturdy shoes, winter boots, toiletry carrying case, and any other missionary items that you can think of.
  • SING TO ME
    Okay, not really. But I’m looking for good missionary music. If you have any appropriate CD’s or artists that you’d let me burn onto a CD or put onto a flash drive, that would be awesome. I want to have good music so badly! But I don’t know how much time I will have for that.
  • THINK OF STUFF
    Honestly, I’m practically a basket case at the moment. If you ask me if there’s something you can do that will probably just grind my gears a little bit because I probably don’t know. But, if you think of something that you could ASK me about instead, that would take off so much stress. For example, “Hey McKann, do you have your pedigree chart done yet? No? Great, I know how to do it. Can I help you? I’m available these times: ______.” <—— Ask me how much I want that exact example to happen…. A LOT.
  • PLAY WITH ME
    I’ll be honest. The thing I am stressed about the most is that I’m leaving behind a lot of people I love for two years. I am not worried about leaving my family (sorry guys). But my friends are a huge part of my life that aren’t set in stone. I’d like to think that I can just leave for eighteen months and I’m going to come back and everyone will still just be at their exact same spot in life and I won’t have missed anything and nobody will have changed… But that’s simply just not the case. I can’t say that I’m feeling like there’s a bajillion people I vitally need to spend time with before I leave, but there’s definitely a handful. I really do want to see you and spend time with you! But the same principle applies here that if you say “Oh my heck we HAVE to do [some specific activity] before you leave!!!!” and then when I ask you when you just say “Just soon because you’re leaving soon!” I’m probably going to not be super happy because you’re telling me pretty much the only thing I already know: I’M LEAVING SOON. Tight schedule, kids. But if I love you, we can pencil it in. 🙂
  • GIMME YO DIGITS
    And by digits, I mean address. I would love to stay in contact. But it’s going to be hard for me to remember to get everyone’s contact info before I leave (just being honest). So if you give me your address  or email (because missionaries can email!!!) then I will be way more likely to write you and keep in touch. I really want to! Sincerely.
  • CUT ME A BREAK
    Okay. I realize that I’m not perfect. And I’m trying really hard to be sugar and spice and everything nice before I leave but I’m honestly super stressed. Sometimes I’m more stressed than I realize and I take it out in dumb arguments over nothing. Neither of us want that to be our last memory of each other for the next year and a half. Try to be patient with me. That would really help a ton. And if I’m wrong in an argument just drop it and we can readdress it in 18 months. Deal? Awesome.
  • COME TO MY FAREWELL
    Seriously, I just want to see people there. I want to say goodbye, as much as it sucks.

Also, just because those headings were in all caps doesn’t mean I was shouting them. I just like formatting stuff. So deal with it. 🙂 But really. I would love help, and I appreciate all the offers. Hopefully this doesn’t come off too self centered. If anything, it’s a reference for me so that when people ask I can just pull up this post and not have to put too much of my brain into it.

Love you all. You’re the best.

Well, Since You Asked.

Thoughts on Sick Days.

When I was little, I remember wanting desperately to be sick. Not because I wanted to actually be physically ill, but because I wanted to stay home from school, have food made for me, lounge around in my pajamas and watch movies all day.
When you’re sick in college you can stay home from school, eat yesterday’s leftover PastaRoni, lounge around in pajamas and watch movies all day… But there’s just major guilt and stress on your shoulders.
You either stay home and wallow in your guilt-ridden self pity, or brave your classes with the plague. Today, I did the latter.
What do I have to show for it? Lazy notes, and tired eyes.

And I still came home, instantly changed into pajamas, cooked some ramen, and watched two movies in a row.

Thoughts on Sick Days.

College Cooking: Garlic Shrimp Pasta

Desperate times call for desperate measures. When you haven’t been grocery shopping for roughly four weeks (that’s a month, people), I’m pretty sure nobody would expect anything short of a delusional version of healthy and nourished self. I was no exception to this until I regained some sanity and went grocery shopping yesterday.

Over the last few days of the break, I got the flu. I didn’t eat much for couple days (as in, I ate a bagel and a Jamba Juice one day and threw it up so I ate like a bird for the next four days) and on Monday I was ready to eat something real and filling! I guess the delusional side was kicking in because with the limited food I had in my cupboard, I was under the impression that I could create this:

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Much to my dismay, it did not quite work out. But, considering I used some slightly different ingredients, it seems pretty clear that it wouldn’t have tasted nearly as good as that looks (or as good as it tasted in my mind).

I had these things:

plain couscous made with chicken broth
1 can of tiny shrimp
garlic seasoning

And that’s it. Made the couscous, drained the tiny shrimp and put them in a pan with the garlic seasoning and a little bit of olive oil, and then put the falsely sauteed tiny shrimp on top of the couscous.

This is what my decadent meal turned out to be:

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It was terrible.

Thankfully, I’ve been shopping since and can hopefully survive without going into a full state of deliriousness onset by culinary catastrophes before finals are over.

College Cooking: Garlic Shrimp Pasta