Sunday, May 29, 2016

Ordering Indian Food

So here's the deal:

The closer you get to India, the more Indians there are. The more Indian's there are, the more Indian restaurants there are. The more Indian restaurants there are, the better the Indian food is.

There are quite a few Indians in New Zealand and Singapore and thus those countries are COVERED with absolutely mouth-watering, DELICIOUS Indian food . . .
figuratively.

I had never had Indian food until I went to New Zealand.

And I fell. In. Love.

Chana masala, tikka masala, korma, garlic naan, plain naan, all the naan . . . I love and wanted it all. And I got it often. Because our lovely study abroad didn't cover our meals as formally promised (still very bitter about that), Indian food became my main diet in New Zealand.

After finishing the study abroad, I met up with my sister and we toured Australia and Singapore.

Okay, okay, okay guys. Let me clear up some misunderstandings about Singapore that I have come in contact with since  I decided to, and actually went to, Singapore.



I promise this is important to the story.

- "Why are you going to Singapore?"
Singapore is one of those countries that very few people (at least in the US) think of going to, and once they go there they love it and want to go back. I wanted to go because I'm a geography nerd who studied the history, culture, and attractions of Singapore (and many other countries).
I also wanted to hit up Asia without having to worry about a language barrier or my safety.

"Safety? Language barriers?"

-"You're gonna get whipped or caned if you jay walk, or littler, or chew gum!"

First of all - no. You'll get fined.




Second of all, you don't want to jay walk anyway because the streets of Singapore are INCREDIBLY busy, so you'll die if you choose to jay walk because I guarantee you'll rarely get the chance to. In my six days there I only had one (maybe two) opportunity where I could've jay walked if I wanted to.

Chewing gum? Again. You're fined. And you'll be fine, I promise.
First of all: If you're that addicted to gum, I have sorrow for you. Your dentist would cringe at your teeth and jaw.
Second of all: If you're addicted to gum to the point where you can't go a day without it? Sorry. I've got no advice for you besides -


Thank you, Alan Rickman. I hope you're resting in peace.

Litter? How often do you intentionally litter right now? If you do, we'll have a little chit-chat about the importance of the environment and the problem of pollution.

Then again my friend just sent this picture to me today so . . .


*Sigh* and people wonder why I'm losing faith in America . . .

-"They don't speak English there!"
Actually, it's the official language.
"But that's just because there's so many different languages in the country they make that the official one and nobody actually speaks it!"
Wait what? Okay. NO. EVERYONE SPEAKS ENGLISH FLUENTLY. EVERYONE. Take a break. Let that sink in. Repeat that to yourself five times with conviction. Singaporeans speak English fluently. Singapore was under British rule (which also makes sense as to why it was in the third pirates film! Oh ho ho! The things you know when you're a geography bum! Ahem. Anyway.) It's an incredibly modern country. Everyone speaks English. Yes, there's also a lot of Malaysian, Mandarin, and Indian speakers. And everyone speaks English.
(I'm only annoyed by this because I've gotten it so many times and STILL people thing I'm lying or something.)

-"It's clean there."
Yes, very. You could fall asleep on the floor of the subway station's bathroom it's so clean.

- " (insert nothing about the weather here) ."
IT'S LIKE YOU'RE WALKING THROUGH A SAUNA.


LOOK HOW SWEATY I AM IN THIS PICTURE! LOOK AT IT! NOW LOOK AT HOW PRETTY THE SCENERY IS! THANK YOU!

Now there are four main ethnic groups in Singapore: Chinese (74 percent of the population), Indian (9 percent of the population), Muslims (which I think is mostly Malaysians; 13 percent of the population), other (3 percent of the population). When these groups settled, someone (probably some British person. Might've been Raffles. I heard about him all the time both in my research and while I was there. They even have a hotel named after him he's so influential.)



decided to put each . . . race? (Ethnicity? Identification?)  into their own community. Thus bringing to pass Chinatown, Little India, and Arab Street.

(See? Not only is my blog hilarious, it's also educational!)

*eye roll
Sorry, Alec Baldwin. I'll get onto the story now.

We had the opportunity to tour each one in the lovely sauna-like weather. No, I really did enjoy it! Despite the weather.

The day came for our tour of Little India.

(Hey - notice which language is on top. Gasp! Is that ENGLISH? They speak ENGLISH?!)


We learned about the history, toured the shops, looked at museums, and toured a Hindu temple.

                        


During the tour, our guide pointed out a restaurant and said it was one of the best in Little India. Following the tour, my sister and I went to the Indian restaurant the guide pointed out earlier.

A nice Indian man whose head came to my chest because of his height (like most of the people of Singapore. I found that generally the men were about my height, and generally the women were a bit shorter. I hit my head on the subway handles that dangle from the ceiling to hold onto EVERY TIME) and showed my sister and I up to the second level of the restaurant in a lovely table by the window. We thanked him as he handed us a menu and walked away.

And then, we read the menu.

". . . What is this stuff?" asked my sister.

"I uh . . . don't know."

I realized then that rarely did I actually looked at the names of the Indian dishes I had been getting. I had been solely relying on the descriptions of the food course.

This menu only had the names of the meals. No description.

The ones I did know? Naturally I couldn't find.

I scanned the long words with letters mushed together to form names of meals I wasn't familiar with. I bit my lip and flipped the menu.

"Ah! Channa Malasla! I love that stuff!"

My sister and I went to the cashier to order our food where I ordered Channa Masala (curry with chick peas. So good.) and plain naan bread.

We paid and took a seat. I began scanning the restaurant and looking around at the decorations, when I noticed something.

"Bethany!" I said to my sister, "We're the only white people here!"

Sure enough, everyone else was Indian. Now WHY this was so shocking to me I really don't know. Generally speaking we were the only white people anywhere we went. Maybe it's just cause usually there were Chinese among the Malaysians and Indians.  But nope. Just Indians with their beautiful tan skin and silky back hair knowing exactly what their order was. . .
And then this pale redheaded shoved in the corner layering on sunscreen and trying to figure out how to best control her hair in this humidity while she had been looking over the menu for something that looked familiar.

 After a few more minutes, the nice waiter who sat us brought my plain naan bread and . . .

"Masala chai," he said.

". . . thank you . . ."

A steaming hot, brown drink in a tall, metal cup with a saucer attached to it sat in front of me. I stared at it completely dazed.

He walked away and I glanced desperately at my sister saying, "What is this?"

"Did you order it?"

"No! I ordered channa masala. She must've misheard me. Is it tea? Can I drink it?"

My sister (who had data. Lucky butt.) googled the drink and said, "It has black tea leaves."

"Man. I can't drink that. Think I should give it to that guy?" I asked nodding to the guy at the table next to us.

"If you want."

I looked from the man, to my drink, back to the man . . .

and began eating my naan bread.

(Looking back I wish I would've just given it to the guy. #Regret)

I finished the naan pretty quickly, due to my hunger and obsession with naan bread. Then, I pushed myself up from the table, and walked back to the cashier.

"Um . . . hi. So, I ordered channa masala. Not masal--."

"Do you want more naan bread?"

"Uh . . . oh, no. That's okay."

The woman told me the price, I smiled sheepishly, handed her my money, and sat down.

Minutes later, the waiter brought my sister her food and turned to me saying, "Your channa masala is on it's way. Do you want more naan bread?"

"No, thank you,"

"You sure?"

"Yes, I'm fine." I insisted.

He left, and a few minutes later he brought out my channa masala - a curry.

I didn't realize it didn't come with rice.

And I had no naan bread.

For those of you unfamiliar with the ways of Indian food, eating plane curry isn't the best way to go about it. I mean I'm sure it's possible, but when you're as sensitive to spicy food as I am? Rice and/or naan bread with curry is essential.

Essential.

So I stared at that plan curry, dread filling my stomach alongside hunger as I realized that I would have to go to the counter and re order food . . . again.

"It's not that big of a deal, Camilla," my little brain said to me.

Yes, yes, I know.

But here's what I discovered about myself:

In America? I have close to no issues telling sales people or the like to back off, and that I'm not interested. Waiters and waitresses? I don't care. If my food was ordered wrong, I will politely correct them. If I'm shopping for clothes? I don't CARE what looks good one me. If it's 300 dollars, I'm not buying it and I will let them know that!

In other countries? Oh man. I have SUCH a hard time doing so. It's like, America gets such a bad rap already (#ThankYouTrump. Oops did I just type that?) that I don't want to ADD to the bad reputation by seeming mean by telling sales people to back off and just let me look, or in this case . . . I didn't want to seem dumb.

I tried eating it plain, but I can tolerate spiciness as well as hair can tolerate chewed gum.



Not at all.

"Hey," I said to my sister. "Can you go up and order me some white rice?"

"Nope."

"Please?!"

"This is all you."

"You owe me! You almost left me on the train!" I tried to argue.

"Don't pull that card with me."

"Uuuuuuuugh. Fiiiiiine."

I pushed my chair out and walked over to the lady once again.

I smiled uncomfortably and said, "


Can I get rice?"


"What kind?" she said, and I swear I could see humor and mocking amusement in her eyes.

"That kind," I said as I pointed to the menu.

As I walked away, the waiter walked past me, and I heard him and the Indian woman talk. I knew they were talking about me.

"Aren't you paranoid?" you may be asking.

Nope. Cause the woman motioned towards me.

Thankfully I had my rice within seconds, and devoured the channa masala like there was no tomorrow. This was partly due to deliciousness, partly because of hunger, and probably a large chunk was because of embarrassment and I just wanted to get out of there.

I was pretty relieved to get out of there for my self esteems sake, and I wouldn't be surprised if the waiters were happy to see me leave, too.

My overall review of Little India? Fantastic. Just like the food. It - along with Arab Street especially- was one of the highlights of the trip.

(I didn't have any memorable awkward moments in Arab Street, so here's a highlight of the beautiful Mosque we got to go to.)





I truly did fall in love with Singapore. I guess if there's anything I want you to get out of this blogpost specifically it's that Singapore is an amazing, clean, safe, underrated, undiscovered, humid, hot, cultured, curious part of the world with some interesting history behind it.

I guess all I have left to say is . . .


 


 









Go there.

Have an awkward day, and an awkward meal everyone :)

ps - I can't figure out how blogspot works with pictures. They're displayed SO organized under the editing section, and then I push publish and the little world is like bwahaha see what your organization looks like NOW, Camilla! Sorry, guys.



Monday, May 2, 2016

Two Mormons Walk Into a Bar

Hello my people!

I apologize for my neglect towards this blog. I'm sure you all have been in great distress over what awkward adventures I have partaken in during the last five monthsish of my life. Don't you fret, because I am back in full force of awkwardness.

One in particular took place on my favorite holiday - St. Patrick's Day.

Why is St. Patrick's Day my favorite holiday? To be honest, I'm not really sure. I don't drink, I'm not even really Irish (although I look 100 percent Irish), and leprechauns kind of freak me out. Honestly I think the main reason it's my favorite holiday is because I look good in green, and so I generally go all out in what I wear.

. . . Well, okay not ALL out like those people you see who wear the leprechaun hats and Irish flags as capes, but I just wear a lot of green. In fact I just bought this pretty green dress that I'm already planning on wearing next St. Patrick's Day. That's how excited I am for it.

So anyway. For no particular reason at all, I love St. Patrick's Day.

. . . . Aaaaand I've never done much to celebrate it.

I know. I know. How can one just adore St. Patrick's Day and not even do anything for it? Well really the only way I knew (and still know) how to celebrate it was to go to a bar, and my friends ain't about that life, and it's not really my go-to hang out spot either.

But this year was different. I was on a study abroad in New Zealand, and was staying in Auckland - my favorite city that we had visited. So why not take advantage of being in one of my favorite cities and celebrate my favorite holiday?

It was decided that we would celebrate St. Patrick's Day the "traditional" way; going to a bar.

As I mentioned earlier, I don't drink alcohol because of religious reasons, and honestly because of personal experiences I have witnessed in my life,  I probably wouldn't drink it even if I wasn't religious. I've seen my friends drunk, and it's weird because they just totally change. I could go on, but I don't think y'all are keen to hear my rantings.

So I knew this experience would be one for the books.

My friend and I dubbed our headbands with a tiny leprechaun top hat attached to it, green outfits, and set off to Father Ted's Original Irish Pub.

The pub donned a archway made of green, white, and light orange balloons; the colors of Ireland's flag. The crowd and music were loud, and people spilled out of the front door and crammed into the front patio area.

My friend and I approached the bouncer. As we handed him our passports he yelled over the crowd, "You girls may want to head downstairs to the basement. It's much less crowded there!"

I dug through my purse, desperately trying to find my passport. Finally, with my hands completely full with a random hodgepodge of stuff, I handed the passport over to him.

. . . What I forgot was that I had grabbed some pass-along cards before I came to New Zealand that just had some simple information about the LDS/"Mormon" church believe in.
 . . . they have a picture of Jesus on the front.
. . . and what I also forgot was that I had slipped one into my passport.

The bouncer flipped open my passport and caught the picture of Jesus before it hit the ground. He promptly burst out laughing. I think my face showed some kind of mixture of bashfulness, awkwardness, and humor. It was weird.

Head turned down slightly, I took back my passport and my friend and I maneuvered through the crowd and into the basement of the pub.

I had no idea what to do at this point. There were a few circular tables, a main counter with one bartender and hoards of people surrounding it, a live band playing Irish drinking style versions of modern day music, and in the middle of all this stood us. Clueless, sober, us.

Amazingly enough, this was the first time either of us had been in a bar. I mean, we had both been in restaurants that had a bar attached to it, but never a straight bar.

Still standing awkwardly in the middle of it, I said to my friend, ". . . What do we do?"

"I think we order our drinks."

"Oh. Right."

We walked over to the counter and I stood in what we thought was a line. I began getting decently annoyed when a bunch of business men kept cutting in front of me to order their drinks.



"I think we just walk up there," my friend said.

"Oh. Right. Yes."

We pushed through some well-dressed men in suits and approached the main counter, where a flustered woman whose hair was pulled back so tight I thought it was stretching her face out, served drinks.

"Hi," my friend yelled to her over the crowd, "Weird question. What do you have that's non alcoholic?"  

Confusion ran over the woman's eyes for a split second. She recovered fairly well and said, "Well, uh we got water, sodas, lemonade, virgin margaritas, or ginger ale from the tap."

"Lemonade," we said in unison.

"Medium or large?" she asked.

"Large," I said at the same time my friend said, "Medium - No wait, large!"

The woman nodded and returned back with two large, non alcoholic, carbonated lemonade.

Fun fact: "Lemonade" in New Zealand and Australia is more like Sprite than it is "American" lemonade.

My friend and I stood awkwardly for a second once more in the middle of the crowd, then went to the back of the bar, where there were a few circular tables standing by themselves with a perfect people-watching spot.

We had just been there a few moments, when a shorter, balding man ran up to us, iPhone in hand.

"HEYYY LADIES!" he yelled.

Okay I wonder how drunk this guy is. 

I wish I could tell you what he said next, but the next thing I knew he was scampering off to the back closet of the bar and came back with three versions of two different St. Patrick's Day hats (one version was a black and green tall hat that had the brand name of that one beer that starts with a G or something, and the other was a light green top hat with a leprechaun and a rainbow on it . . . cause as I mentioned before I LOVE leprechauns), and two enormous four leaf clover glasses.

We donned our hats on top of our headbands, and wore the giant glasses as well. Then, the man leaned forward and took a selfie with us on either side of him.

Don't worry my friends. You can close your mouth and take your hand off your chest. I, myself, probably would've been more worried if it wasn't for the fact that he was completely drunk and the selfie was slightly blurry and really only showed my face from the nose up anyway.

We stood a few more minutes in the basement, and then decided to see what the upper level was like.

Who knew going up a flight of stairs, through the front patio area, and inside another room would've been so adventurous.

As soon as we hit the top of the stairs, we were engulfed in a sea of people; drunk, loud, unpredictable people. My friend and I pushed our way through the crowd all while holding our lemonade, hats, and glasses. I also found myself cradling my purse, although looking back I don't think there was anyone that was sober enough to even figure out how to unzip it.

My friend was a few paces ahead of me. I was pushing through the crowd trying to catch up, when I saw a woman drop her phone right in front of my feet. I stopped and picked the pieces of the phone up. It now had the back pop off and the battery fly out.

I handed the parts to the woman who it belonged to - a short, skinny woman who shared my blindingly white skin tone and red hair that was pulled back as tight as humanly possible and make up that exaggerated her features. She held a glass of . . . I'm assuming it was white wine (It was white and it was in a wine glass) in one hand. I handed her the pieces which she gripped in her free hand and said, "Oh [explicate], is your phone okay?"

. . . wait what? Oh. Drunk. Yes.

". . . No, honey, that's your phone!"

. . . Oh my gosh did I just say honey? I hate when people call me honey! Was that out of sympathy or sass?

The woman stared at her phone with a confused expression a bit longer. Once she registered what had happened she said, "Oh that's fine my phone is [explicate] anyway."

An uncomfortable smile came on my face and I gave her the best response I could think of:


(Tina Fey and Liz Lemon are my hero)

And then I slithered off.

I caught up with my friend and as I was explaining what happened, when I noticed that my leg and foot were soaked.

"Ah man my foot's wet."

"What?" my friend asked loudly over the loud music and people.

"Nothing!" I yelled back. "Just . . . alcohol."

I retold her the story of what happened with the woman and she responded, "How drunk was she? It's barely eight o' clock. She's got a loooong night ahead of her."

We didn't last long upstairs. The people were as loud as the music and my friend and I had to scream at each other in order to hear one another. After probably thirty seconds tops, we headed back downstairs.

There wasn't much left to do at this point. The lemonade was gone, and really it was kind of dull. Mostly there were just drunk people singing along terribly to the music. Please, if I wanted to hear Mumford & Son's "I will wait for you," I would rather hear the band play it rather than a bunch of off tune drunk people.
Although one lady loosing balance and falling to the ground and laughing hysterically was pretty entertaining.

Before we headed out, we decided we needed to document our evening and the free swag we received. Donning our hats and classes, my friend approached a man who came up to about my elbow. I watched as my friend asked him to take our picture, then him grabbing his friend to take the picture.

My friend came back to me to pose for the picture.

"What did he say?" I asked.

"I don't know. Something like 'murmur too drunk murmurmur no murmurmur my friend. I guess his friend is taking the picture." she responded.

We stood and smiled for the picture . . .





and stood there . . .



and stood there . . .



"You taking a selfie?" asked my friend.

The guy laughed hysterically, and finally another friend stepped up to take the picture. He argued at first, saying that the friend was going to drink his beer, and whilst doing that, the friend snapped a picture of us, gave us the phone back, and we went on our merry way.

(Those glasses really aren't that flattering, are they?)

As we pushed through the crowd once more to leave, we handed the bouncer one of our free hats (and when I said handed, I mean my friend set it on his bald little head), and went out to explore the city.

"Man how long were we in there for?" I asked, glancing at my watch. "A half an hour."

This experience taught me a lot of things:

- Bars? Not my scene. But they're doable for a half hour because you get a good story in that amount of time.

- Drunk people? Pretty stupid.

- I now know how to celebrate my favorite holiday: Get a lemonade at a bar, stay there long enough to get a good story out of it (preferably no longer than a half an hour), and spend time with one of my good friends who will go into bars and stay sober with me.

And thus ends the tale of the Mormon who walked into a bar. And stayed. And got alcohol spilled on her. And free swag. And a new experience.

Have an awkward day, everyone.

Stimpson out.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Ginger Kiwi Bird

Kia Ora!

Uh - What's that, Camilla?

That's a white girl saying "hello!" in Maori!

*instert cheesy, opened mouth smile here*



So it has now been exactly four(? Or three? Maybe even five?) of twelve weeks that I have been here in the beautiful country of New Zealand, and it truly has been amazing.

I honestly feel very, very blessed to be here, and I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity. I have experienced so many wonderful experiences while I've been here and I couldn't be happier.

This trip has had quite a lack of extreme awkward moments, which has been surprising to me since they seem to follow me everywhere I go. My life, however completely void of awkward moments either. So don't you fret, I'm sure this awkward drought will end as soon as I am back on US soil, or . . . just soon in general.

Now. I have categorized the awkward moments I have experienced into these subjects:  Accents and different word usages, random cultural things, interactions with people in authority, and other.

I will, however, just be touching on two of these. Don't worry, I've saved some more gems for future blog posts, and even have them typed up to So without further ado, let me begin with . . .

Accents and different word usages


When I first arrived in New Zealand, there was probably a 2-3 second delay in my responses to people because I could NOT understand what they were saying. I had to dissect every word. Just when I thought I was getting used to it, in would come in a different kind of accent, or someone learning English with a New Zealand accent, so it was like a New Zealand accent on top of an Indian/Asian/Italian/French accent, you know?

It can be rough.
Well let me rephrase.
It HAS been a little bit rough.

Although I've gotten used to it (mostly), I still have moments when my only response is an awkward laugh followed by, "Yeah!. . . ." and hopes that satisfies them. This especially occurred on a bus ride to a location we really weren't familiar with. The bus driver was very kind and helpful . . . and his accent sounded like a mixture between a thick, Texan accent and a Kiwi accent.

(Kiwis = native New Zealanders. Yes, I know. It confused me a bit too and I'm still paranoid I'll misuse the term and accidentally offend someone."



Needless to say this whole bus ride conisted of him asking us a question, us looking at each other, me saying "yeah," him saying "no" and repeating the question, and then someone else in our group answering for him.

I have also learned from my experiences that this is not a completely one sided problem.

I attended a forum on racism held on the university campus to write an article on it. After one of the speakers finished, I began to interview some of the people who attended. I approached a young woman and asked if I could interview her. She eagerly agreed.

After a few questions I asked, "Do you feel that the comments expressed at this event were accurate to real life?"

"Sorry?" she asked, and I repeated the question.

A look of puzzlement came on her face, and this  is when I knew she couldn't understand my accent.

"What about real life?" she asked.

"Oh, um. So like, do you think the things people said were accurate to how real life is?"

"I'm sorry - accu . . . what?"

"Accurate!"

More confusion.

"Accurate! Um . . . is it . . . realistic . . . to real life? Similar? Um . . ."

"Yeah. I mean . . . yeah. It was people's opinions. But, yeah."

And that, my friends, is exactly along the lines of what I say when I can't understand someone's accent.

They also use different words for different things here, which has led me to situations such as the following:

Me: "Where's your bathroom?"
Person: ". . .you mean toilet?"
Me: *eye roll* "Yes your toilet. Where's your toilet?"

Me: Excuse me, where is your restroom?
Waiter: *confused look*
Me: Oh. Um. Sorry. Toilet.
Waiter: Right over here, miss.

It's just . . . these words sound so WRONG coming out of my mouth. I know that's what they mean here, but when I say it I just feel silly, and like I'm trying too hard to be Kiwi (cause lezbereal. Who wouldn't want to live and/or be from New Zealand? If you answered "not me" then go educate yo'self by watching LOTR or something.) It's weird. And leads to even more awkward situations such as these:

Me: "Hey, do you know where the trash - garba- RUBBISH THING? DO YOU KNOW WHERE THE RUBBISH THING IS?!"
Person: "I don't know."
Me: "Man! Okay, thanks."
I walked over to a different person.
I held up the wrappers and paper plate I was holding, and pointed to them.
"Just up the stairs and to the left."
I gave them a thumbs up, then hoped that wasn't an offensive sign in this country.
If so, I have offended at least two dozen people since I've landed.

Another time, I went to the front desk of the place we are staying at to get a new trash bag. I leaned against the counter and said (in a somewhat "seductive" voice for no apparent reason. My guess is that's the voice I use when I'm trying to sound cooler and more calm than I really am), "Hello. I was wondering if I could get a new tttttttrrrrrrrrrubbish bag for the rub-b-bish bin type thing you know?"
Smoothness gone.
"Oh! Just a small one for the ones in your room?"
"Yes."
She handed me one and smiled, I said thank you, and walked away.

Oh man guys. Now let's talk about the word thank you!
Their response everytime?
"It's okay." or "No, it's fine."
It throws me off every. single. time.

"Here's your ice cream!"
"Thank you so much!"
"It's okay!"
What? No. I was thanking you. Not apologizing dang it!

"Have a good day!"
"Thank you!"
"It's alright!"
Uh-

"Alright so I will email you and give you a time where we can meet up for the interview."
"Thank you! You have been a big help - I really appreciate it."
"Oh no, it's okay! I think this is for a good cause!"
NO. I AM NOT APOLOGIZING. I AM EXPRESSING MY GRATITUDE. HOW DOES ONE EXPRESS GRATITUDE IN THIS COUNTRY?

So after pondering how on earth I could express my gratitude here, I finally came up with an idea, and I decided to test it out on the taxi driver.

We arrived at the building we're staying at. I handed him the money, turned to him and said, "I appreciate your service. Than------kyou."
He gave no response, I felt uncomfortable and guilty, and I jumped out of the cab.

Then there's the metric system. Let's not even get me started on my bitterness against the United States for trying to be all hipster and using Fahrenheit instead of Celsius, and feet instead of meters. Ugh. Lead me to believe that the boat we're in is on a river that is 5 feet as opposed to 15 feet deep.



Let's move on, to:

Random conversations 

We don't have a full kitchen in our dorms. We have our own rooms, a common room with couches,



and a mini fridge, a microwave, and a sink.

A MINI FRIDGE.

FOR AT LEAST TWENTY PEOPLE LIVING ON THIS FLOOR.

AT LEAST.

I'M NINETY PERCENT SURE THERE'S MORE BUT I DON'T WANT TO EXAGGERATE.

SO I KNOW TWENTY IS AROUND THE RIGHT NUMBER.

One day, I opened up said mini fridge to get salami.

All I wanted was a nice, delicious, salami sandwich.

I opened up the mini fridge, to see a large bottle of chocolate milk spilling everywhere.

"UGH!" I yelled, "SOMEONE'S STUPID CHOCOLATE MILK SPILLED EVERYWHERE!"

"Oh, shoot!" said one of the guys, who took the chocolate milk from me and handed me a rag to clean up the mess with.

Annoyance filled me that A) There was now a bunch of chocolate milk on my hand, and B) That I now had to clean it up.

The guys started to chug the chocolate milk, and I went to move some sour cream aside to reach for my salami when-

BAM.

Lettuce down. Sour cream down. Multiple cheese packages down.

My hand was now soaked in a bunch of unknownables.

Fury raging in my stomach, I clenched my fists and stood up, raising my wet hand in the air and exclaiming, "PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT! I HATE THIS FRIDGE!"

My group has learned how to turn me out, so I'm not entirely sure if anyone actually heard me. I shoved everything back in and gave up on having a salami sandwich that night, when one of the guys held the chocolate milk towards me and said, "Hey, will you put this back in?"

"No." I said, teeth gritted, and pointing at him. "I will not. I'm learning to not take other people's problems on me, and now is a GREAT time to start."

I marched away, and past two of my teachers when I heard one say, "...take care of your own responsibilities and get off your butt!"

I whipped around and yelled, "YOU DON'T KNOW ME! AND YOU CERTAINLY DON'T KNOW MY LIFE!"

The teacher didn't hear me and said to the other professor, "And so THEN I son that he had to....

"Oh." I said.

Feeling silly, I walked away.

The next conversations took place the day after this happened:

*DISCLAIMER: I AM CLOTHED IN THIS PICTURE!

To answer your questions:
Yes, I have sunscreen. Plenty of it, actually.
No, I'm not allergic to sunscreen - just the sun.
I DIDN'T WEAR IT BECAUSE IT WAS CLOUDY AND COLD, OKAY?! CLOUDS ARE DECEPTIVE.
Yes I KNOW that the sun can burn me through clouds. Don't you see my skin?! I'M NOT STUPID ENOUGH TO NOT LEARN FROM MY STUPID DECISIONS OKAY?!

I've gotten those questions multiple times.
And good news! It's actually a lot better and my face is in the pealing stage.

But the day after was super, super rough. My entire body radiated heat, I was absolutely exhausted, and thanks to my eyes being swollen, I could barely see.

That morning, I hobbled out of bed ten minutes before class started, brushed my teeth, changed, and hobbled downstairs to the room we meet in.

I got there late, and the class discussion was already in progress. My teacher saw me, stopped talking and said, "You got sunburned!"
Still waking up, I stopped, looked at my arms, looked back (more like squinted back) at him and said, "Really? I hadn't noticed."
I sat down.
"That doesn't look good." he said.
"It's pretty bad." I grumbled. It is surprisingly difficult to stay awake when your eyes were forced shut against your will. 
"Your eyes are swollen. I can barely see them." he said. 
"And I can barely see you." I replied. 

Later, the same professor and his wife walked into the common room where I was collapsed on the couch in a heap with cold water and aloe Vera.
The wife hadn't seen my burn yet, which caused her to gasp audibly. 
"How's the sunburn?" my professor asked. 
"Oh you know. It's there."
The wife, however, went into mothering mode and said, "WHAT HAPPENED?! DO YOU NEED ALOE VERA? VINEGAR? TYLENOL? IBUPROFEN?"
I couldn't help but smile.
"I've got it! Thanks, you're the best."
And in this situation, she knew that when I said thanks I was expressing my gratitude and not apologizing. 
"Your eyes are still swollen." he said.
"Trust me. I know."

The next day was still pretty bad, and it was also a lot better. I walked into class on time and sat down.

"Your eyes are still swollen." he said.
This time, I could see a lot more clear and began to worry a little bit.  What if my eyes weren't swollen, and he was just pointing out the puffiness of my naturally small eyes?
"Yes, but I also have naturally small and puffy eyes, so you might  just be pointing out my biggest insecurity." I said.
He shrugged, and began the discussion.

GOOD NEWS! Today, my eyes were NOT swollen, and my professor noticed. Which means, my eye puffiness is not as severe as it could be or as I think.

My forehead also looks like a snake shedding it's skin. It's all good fun.

I am eager for the adventures ahead of me during this experience; and I'm sure I will have many more stories for you all to enjoy. Have a fantastic and awkward day everyone!

Porahurahu!
#ThankYouOnlineMaoriDictionary


Thursday, December 31, 2015

Dating Tips From My Dentist

Oh, hello there.

My name is Camilla, and I am single.

*silence*

C'mon guys. I at least expected an audible gasp or something.

But it's really no secret. Not to my family, not to my friends, and not to my dentist.

Yes, my friends, you read that correctly. My dentist.

My dentist and I have a very intimate relationship. Well . . . okay, it's intimate for a dentist/patient type of relationship. I estimate I have seen this dentist every six months since I was twelve. So, I've seen him now for around ten years, minus the year-and-a-half for when I was serving a mission. And it seems like as soon as I hit the rightful age of dating, he has asked me the same question every six months: Are you still single?

Now he doesn't word it this way. The man is very kind and has social skills. No, instead he phrases it in a variety of ways.

"Any cute boys around?"
"Anyone you're interested in?"
"Dating anyone?"
"How's the dating scene?"
"How're the boys around you looking?"
"You got your eye on anyone?"
"Anyone got your eye on you?"
"Do you have a special someone?"
"Gone on any dates lately?"
"How's the pool of guys in your congregation looking?"
"So . . . anyone neeeeew in your life?"

And every six months for about the past ten years, I have always responded to this question by
saying . . .

"No."

To get the full effect of just how this sounds, please place your fingers in your mouth, just as he was doing in the moment, and say audibly, "No."

This is always followed by the exact same dating advice, somewhere along the lines of:

Telling me the story about his beautiful and single 24-year-old daughter who isn't married yet and has no hope in the guys around her. (She really is drop-dead gorgeous. She went to my high school and sometimes I would just stare at her in awe.)
Saying he's sorry that I'm single, followed by an apology that I have to marry and deal with men.
Telling me to make marriage a priority
Telling me not to marry too fast
Telling me not to settle.
Telling me which kinds of guys I shouldn't date.
Telling me which kinds of guys I SHOULD date.
Then apologizing cause all those guys are taken, and I'll be left with the guys I shouldn't date.
Analyzing the possible reasons for me being single. Generally it's the guys fault. He'll say something along the lines of: "They just don't realize how great you are." Or, "Some guys are intimidated by smart girls." Or, "Guys never notice the girls that are worth it."

This is generally responded by (again, put your fingers in your mouth and repeat what I write to get the full effect), "Mmm." "Aaaah." "Yeah." "Mmmhmmm."

As mentioned before, this has occurred EVERY dentist appointment to memory. So, when it came for my six month check up once again, I expected this to be the case.

Yet for some reason, this time really seemed to push me over the edge.

It could be because of the current situation I'm in: 22. Single. Getting on Facebook and seeing at the very LEAST 3 weddings, 5 engagements, and 1-2 relationship announcements, followed by around 1-4 gushy "I'm so grateful for my husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend on our something-month anniversary!" that is INCREDIBLY long.

It gets overwhelming, especially when you feel an intense amount of shame around the fact that you're still single, and you feel like nobody will ever romantically love you because you're not good enough and worth anyone's time, so you'll end up an old, ugly, lonely, hag.

. . . it's complicated, guys. I'm working on it.

But I had prepped myself mentally that this would happen, so I felt ready as I headed into the dentists office.

First, it was the hygienist. Or, as my family has nick-named her: Flake-O. It sounds meaner than it is. Guys, she's a 100 percent flake.

She opened the door and said, "Camille?"

I automatically stood up, knowing that Camille (Kuh-MEE-ell) was equivalent to Camilla (Kuh-MILL-uh. . . encase you need a pronunciation guide).

"I'm sorry, did I pronounce it right?" she asked.

"It's Camilla, but I respond to a number of variations, so you're totally good."

"Oh, I know how that goes! People pronounce my name Laura (Law-Rah) when it's really pronounced Lora (Low-Rah). If I wanted to go by Laura, my mom would've named me that! My mom gets so mad when my husband calls me Laura instead of Lora!"

(To all the Laura's/Lora's/however you choose to spell it AND to the mothers of these children: CHILL. OUT. IT'S BASICALLY THE SAME NAME. EVERYONE IS HUMAN AND MAKES MISTAKES SO GET OVER IT. AND IF YOU CHOOSE TO NOT BE MY FRIEND BECAUSE OF THIS PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT, THEN THAT IS OKAY BUT PLEASE NOTE THAT I THINK THAT IS A VERY STUPID REASON TO STOP BEING SOMEONE'S FRIEND. THANK YOU.)

I literally had no response to that comment, so I followed her in silence to my chair as she laughed uncomfortably to herself about her funny comment.

After a couple x-rays, I sat down in the chair that she lowered to an abnormally low height so that I thought all the blood would rush to my head and I'd pass out.

As she began cleaning my teeth with that terrible-tasting, high-scale toothpaste or whatever they use to clean teeth, she asked, "So, anyone special in your life?"

Woah.

The hygienist NEVER does this to me. I didn't expect this! I'm not  prepared for this! So this can ONLY mean that both her AND my dentist will catch up on my romance life . . . or lack there of. 

I thought of a couple possible sarcastic responses.

"Why yes, my roommates are quite special to me and I'm happy to have lived with them this past semester." 
"Oh, yes. My sisters are quite precious and special to me, as well as all my family!" 
"As in the good kind of special, or the bad kind of special? Cause I have examples of both."
I also considered listing off every friend I've ever made ever.

But her fingers were in my mouth, and I didn't want to be like that annoying kid in your class who always gives the smart-aleck responses thinking he's soooo funny and clever, and really you just want to punch him in the throat by the end of the semester (Oh man, guys. I've been that kid), so instead I said:

"No."

"Aaaw I'm sorry."

Apology for me being single? Check.

"Eh." I said, which in my mind interpreted to: "It's really fine, but your fingers are in my mouth so I can't give you a longer response. Can we please change the subject now?'

Amazingly enough, Laura/Lora couldn't read minds, so she asked, "Any friends setting you up with guys?"

The full response would've been: "Ummm a couple of times, yeah. It happened mostly over the summer. And a lot didn't follow through, but yeah. I've been set up on some dates, just not recently."

But again, I felt uncomfortable with her fingers all up in my mouth so I said, "Yes."

"Any worth a second date?" she asked, filling my mouth with water.

As the blind dates I went on flashed through my mind, I was able to give her a full and true response after I spat out my water.

"No."

"Well you never know who will walk into your life! Are you flirting?"

. . . Is she being for real right now? 

Thankfully her fingers were back in my mouth, so I resulted to giving her a variation of the "eh" response in hopes of her going off on a tangent about her own marriage or something.

But no.

Instead, she said, "Well, you just gotta bat your eyes and flash them your pretty smile! Boys will come flocking to you!"

Yeah, because every guy likes a girl who smiles constantly while blinking her eyes at an unnatural speed that makes it difficult for even yourself to see. 

Time to spit again. This time I took the opportunity to change the subject. Before I laid back down to have her fingers go into my mouth, I said, "Well I'm going on a study abroad to New Zealand for 3 months, so I haven't really been looking to date anyone if I'm just gonna leave them."

I hate pulling the New Zealand card cause I feel like I'm bragging, but I was desperate.

Her fingers went back into my mouth as she said, "Oh, honey-

Please never call me honey ever again.

"That's the best time to get a boyfriend! Don't you want someone to write letters and emails to while you gone? Don't you want someone to look forward to calling while you're gone?"

. . . Is she being for real right now? 

What I wanted to say:
"Um. I have that. They're called friends and family. Dear goodness.:

But again, I just said something along the likes of, "Mmmhmmmhmmm?"

Last time to rinse and spit, and then she was off to get the dentist. As she walked out the door she said, "Well just work on those flirting skills! I'll go get the X-Rays ready for the dentist to look at."

I watched her leave, then promptly laid back down in the too-low chair and pretended to be asleep. She came in a couple times (to do what? I don't know), and I didn't dare open my eyes.

. . .  I'm pretty sure it was her anyway.

Finally I heard footsteps and someone say, "Hellooooo, Camilla (Kam-EEL-luh). Or is it Camilla (Camel-uh)?"

The dentist! I opened my eyes and sat up.

"It's Camilla."

"Shoot! I'm sorry. We have another Camel-uh who comes here, and the Spanish way to say your name is Cam-eel-uh. I should've reviewed."

"It's really fine. I get it a lot and respond to all." I said.

He began doing his dentist thing, and asking me the usual update questions. School, work, family. I reminded him of my age, and told him a bit about my major. It was a good chat. I really do like this guy.

Anyway.

There was a slight silence as he scraped at my teeth, and then came the question I had been long anticipating.

"So . . . is there anyone . . . significaaaaaaaant?"

You're asking me if I'm still single. Why don't you just flat out ask me, "Are you still single?" It's just expected at this point, and you HAVE to be running out of creative ways to ask this question.

I wasn't gonna mess with this guy. I respected him too much.

"No." I said.

"Oh, I'm so sorry."

Scrape, scrape, scrape.

"Erh uh."

Scrape, scrape, scrape.

"Anyone you got your eye on?"

Mirror in mouth.

The truthful answer?
Yeah. A couple. Buuuut they're not interested in me.

What I said?

"No."

"Ugh. Boys these days. Have you noticed the shift in dating? Well of course you wouldn't. You're so young you haven't seen what it used to be like! Men used to ask women out all the time, but now it's resulted in hanging out and only noticing a few girls. There used to be more dances and free activities, but now it's just all hanging out and nothing formal. Not to mention TWENTY year old guys are getting married! Could you imagine getting married to a TWENTY year old? They're so immature at that age! But if we're being serious, they never really stop being immature. Take me and my brother for example."

I did something that imitated a laugh. I think it sounded like, "Hur-hur-hur."

"I'm not saying there's anything wrong at all to get married young! I had a daughter get married right out of high school! But it's hard for those who aren't married yet! The dating scene is rough out there, I'll tell yah."

Oooooh here we go. Buckle up, everyone.

"My daughter is having the hardest time dating. The only guys she's around are losers! Which results in her dating losers! It seems like by the time women are 22, all the good guys are taken."

. . . He DOES realize I JUST told him I'm 22, right?!

"So they'll either have to marry that 28-year-old who lives in his mothers house, or the immature 20-year-old."

. . . I will pray every single day that there are other options besides that. 

What I wanted to say was, "Oh, I'm sure there's other options too." But again. His hands were all up in my space.

"Eruh."

"A lot of guys are just SO intimidated by smart girls, you know? I mean, you're smart and-"

You don't know my life.

"-my daughter is in dental school, and one of her friends told her that he wouldn't date her because she is so smart and it intimidated him. Now she wishes she had just done something else instead and acted like an airhead."

This time, I said exactly what was on my mind.

"NUR. NUR. NUR. NUR. NUR. FATS SUS WONG."

Translation?

"NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. THAT'S JUST WRONG."

"I know! Not to mention I dated some of the airhead type, and there's nothing in there! You're out of things to talk about on the second date!"

"Erh."

Talking about his beautiful daughter's awful dating situation? Check.

He turned to look at my X-Rays.

"You gotta get married, Camilla," he said, and had reverted back to calling me the Spanish version: Kuh-MEEL-ah . . . or whatever I defined it as before. "But be sure you don't settle. You can't marry someone with no ambitions living in the basement of his mothers house, but be sure not to marry someone who is a child, okay?"

Telling me to make marriage a priority? Check.
Telling me not to settle? Check.

I scratched the back of my neck uncomfortably, wishing his hands were still in my mouth, because I didn't know what to say. It's amazing how I've gotten this lecture so many times, and yet it still leaves me speechless."

"Okay," I said.

Just then, my dear friend Laura/Lora returned with toothpaste, a toothbrush, and floss.

"You need to floss more," said my dentist. "You're on the verge of getting a flossing cavity."

I groaned and said, "Dang it. I HATE flossing!"

"Well nobody does!" he said.

"My roommate does. But she's studying to be a dent-."

"Well yeah there's always those people. But I'm just saying the general population doesn't like flossing."

. . . Yeah, bro, I know what you meant.  

"Well, you'll get married, Camilla! Keep your chin up! See you in six months!"

Reassuring I'll get married? That's a new one. But . . . check.

Lora/Laura showed me to the reception desk to set up my appointment.

"Well, have so much fun in New Zealand!" she said.

"Thank you."

"Take lots of pictures for me! I love living through other peoples lives by looking at their pictures! Hahaha!"

Woman, when would the opportunity even arise for me to show you my pictures?

"Haha. . . I'm sure I'll take a lot!"

"And have fun with the meeeen!" she said in a playful and unusually high voice.

I was speechless, and I'm pretty sure I was failing at attempting to NOT look annoyed.

"Maybe you'll meet someone in New Zealand!"

Filter = off.

"The main purpose for me going on a study abroad is NOT to get married." I said, trying really hard to sound polite, but I just made my voice sound flat.

"You never knoooooow! But either way, this'll be the PERFECT opportunity for you to practice flirting. Just think of the MEN!"

Facial filter = off. I stared at her with a look that I'm pretty sure translated to pure annoyance and disbelief. But if it did, she had no clue.

"I mean, no commitment! You can just flirt it up with aaaaaaaall the attractive local guys, and you'll get so good and confident in it that you'll come home and you'll have no filter with guys, and you'll just flirt with everyone!"

My filter IS already off, woman. 

"Yeah. I'll have fun."

She said more stuff that I completely brushed off, and bounced away. I turned to the receptionist, who had a huge smile on her face and said, "I went to New Zealand a few months ago. It is beeeeautiful. You'll love it."

Pure relief filled me as she talked about the scenery, the activities, what she did to stay entertained on the flight, and how grateful she was that she went.

And not one mention of dating.

My heart was warm as I thanked her, left the office, and thought about New Zealand, and the reasons I chose to go.

It occurred to me after that I'm going to the dentist right after I get home from the study abroad, and I will probably be having the exact same conversation once again. And it'll be interesting to see how his daughter's dating life is doing six months from now, because I'm SURE he'll fill me in.

I'll keep you posted on that, guys.

Have an awkward day and an awkward date, everyone.

May I please take a moment to list everything wrong and inaccurate about this picture? 
Nobody looks that good when they go to the dentist. 
Someone with that white of teeth should have graduated from going to the dentist.
Nobody looks that happy when they're at the dentist. 
I don't usually look my dentist lovingly in the eyes as he's checking out my teeth.
The end. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Bathrooms

As soon as you enter the bathroom, the chances of you encountering something awkward raises approximately 20%. After that, your chances grow about 10% - 15% depending on the location of the bathroom every minute you are in the bathroom.

*these stats come from Dr. Camilla Stimpson. They are totally reliable. 

Recently, one of my friends (Jabarious, actually. See? We're still on speaking terms!) texted me saying while he was in the bathroom, another guy there was blasting Michael Buble loud enough for my friend to hear. I nodded, and as soon as I went to respond, a repressed memory as latent as my TB flooded into my head. 

And it was then that I knew this memory would be my next blog post. 

It nearing the end of summer, and school was just around the corner. It was one of the last weeks where I was  just working full time. This particular day at work, I went to the bathroom . . . as most people do.  

It was while I was washing my hands when this moment occurred. My phone went off signalling that I had a call. Quickly, I wiped my hands on my skirt (cause ain't nobody got time to rip off a paper towel when a phone call is coming) and saw an unknown number calling. 

Now normally I don't answer numbers I don't know, so I'm not totally sure what possessed me to answer such a call. But I did!

"Hey Camilla! This is Brian!" said the voice.

". . .Brian?" I said, thinking of every Brian in my ward that I knew and wondered why one of them would be calling me.

"Brian . . . Kate's friend? She introduced us to each other a couple weeks ago?"

"OH! BRIAN! HOW'S IT GOING?!" I said, sounding FAR too enthusiastic in order to compensate forgetting who he was.

"I'm good!"

Now I know he said more than this, but those words were just wasted in cyberspace because at that exact moment a friend of mine walked into the bathroom.

This friend had gotten married probably about a month ago, and as per usual with my married friends, I hadn't seen her since.

"Oh my gosh, Camilla! What are you doing here?!" she exclaimed with a smile on her face.

I covered the mouth piece with my hand and whispered to her, "I work here! What are you doing here?!"

"I work here, too! Just upstairs! What department?"

"I work in the deans office. Where do you work?"

I vaguely registered where she worked, but was more taken aback by the silence on the phone. SHOOT! What had he just said to me?

"Oh! Um, yeah!!" I said.

"Great! So I'm going home for this upcoming week, but maybe the week after that we can go out?"

"Hey, I gotta poop," my friend said to me, dodging towards a stall.

"That's fine, I'll talk to you after." I said.

"What?" said Brian.

"Nothing. What were you saying?"

"Who are you talking to?" asked my friend.

"I was thinking we could go out next week on a date." replied Brian.

"It's a random guy asking me on a date!" I said, this time being SURE I covered the mouth piece as I whisper-yelled to my friend in the stall.

Then, the poop sounds started. And so did my friend's giggling at this whole situation.

"Yeah. . . next week . . . is . . . great. . ." I said, trying to stifle my own laughter.

"Awesome! I don't have a good idea of what we'll do yet, but let's plan on next weekend, okay?!"

By now, my friend is full on laughing, I am hunched over in fetal positing, clutching my stomach so as to not laugh while this kid is explaining everything to me.

Finally, the conversation ends, and I gave an incredibly brief goodbye just as the sound of a flushing toilet rang in the background.

I quickly hung up, and couldn't stop laughing as my friend got out. We both laughed as my friend washed my hands, and I washed my hands a second time because I wasn't sure if I put soap on my hands or not the first time.

My friend and I managed to catch up and return to work. Here's the real kicker of the story, however: this guy stood me up!

I mean, I guess that's predictable with how the whole asking-out situation went. It was obviously a bad omen.

And now for some awkward bathroom photos  . . .

 Hoping your dating life is going better than mine, and wishing you a very happy awkward day.









Monday, November 23, 2015

Weddings are hard

I'm not gonna lie; I love weddings, I love receptions, I love love! I go to nearly every reception I'm invited and able to go to, because I always have so much fun at them.

But the desire I have to have a reception, dinner, lunch, ect. is ALWAYS gone after I actually SEE someone planning a wedding. I remember how stressful it is, how time consuming it is, and how expensive it can be. Whenever this happens, I always say to myself, "Nope. Not doing this. I'll just have a temple ceremony with family and friends. No reception. Sounds good!"

But again, I never remember this until I see the planning being done.

Recently, I got invited to one of my good friend's wedding in St. George. I love my friend, I adore her fiance, and I love weddings, so I eagerly agreed!



 She arranged for me to stay at her families house that weekend. And so, I headed down to St. George the day before the wedding so I could attend the wedding dinner.

The drive down was fun, even by myself, and I was excited. But then a thought crossed my mind.

"I am literally going to know nobody by the bride and groom."

Slight panicking.

"It's fine. It's fine! Just become friends with three people you can stick with the whole weekend."

Four hours later, I rolled up to the family's house in my sweatshirt and jeans, and instantly felt how inappropriate that was for the weather. I could feel sweat formulating quickly, and my face began to flush slightly.

The front door to the house was open, and various people ran in-and-out of it while holding decorations that could only be for the reception tomorrow.

I approached the front door just as my friend's younger brother walked out of the door. I had never met him, but he looked enough like my friend and the pictures I had seen of him.

"Hey - is your sister here?" I asked.

"I have no idea. I just got here myself." he said.

"So . . . can I just like . . . walk in?"

"Sure."

I trotted into the house and began the search for my friend. No sooner after I had stepped into the house did I stumble slightly. I looked down to see . . . an oxygen tube.

"Shoot," I muttered under my breath, and followed the tube to see my friend's grandfather standing in the kitchen.

I did what I do best: I ran away from confrontation. Meaning, I ran to the basement and checked every room there.

I didn't find my friend, but I DID manage to find the entrance to the back yard. Slowly, I walked outside and observed my surroundings.

People were running around and organizing objects under a large tent. I stood there for a second, not really sure what to do. I didn't want to interrupt what they were doing just to simply introduce myself, but what else could I do? Stand there awkwardly until someone acknowledged me?

Yeah. Yeah, that's probably what I'll do.

Then, from behind me I heard a soft voice say, "Hello."

I turned around to see a sweet grandmother sitting properly on a bench by the side of the house. AHA. I found one of the three friends I would be hanging out with this weekend. I trotted over and sat by her, and introduced myself. We began talking, and I knew we would be kindred spirits whether she liked it or not.

. . . . mostly because she was the only one talking to me at the moment and I love old people.


I asked if she knew where my friend was.

"She'll be home any minute now. They're driving down from Provo today," the grandmother explained.

What I didn't know was as I was talking to the grandmother, the rest of the relatives were glancing at me while they organized things.

"Who is she?"

"I don't know. Maybe she came with the son."

"Is it a girlfriend? Why didn't he tell me he had a girlfriend?"

"Maybe he was keeping it a secret."

"A secret girlfriend?"

Just then, the brother who I had talked to earlier, and who they thought I was dating, joined the group.

"Hey - who's the redheaded chick?" he asked.

"We thought she was with you!"

"Nah, I just let her into the house!"

I continued talking to the grandmother completely unaware as to what was going on. Then, an adorable dog came over to me. Aha! Friend number two! Well, actually, a back up friend. I love dogs even more than I love old people, so I eagerly began to pet it, when I heard someone say, "Oh no. He'll get hair all over you."

I looked up to see who I could guess was an aunt or the mother of my friend.

"I don't mind. I miss my own dog so . . ."

She introduced herself to me and said, "So you know my daughter?"

"Yeah - we're friends. I met her after we both came home from our missions."

"Okay. She should be here any minute."

"Can I help with anything?" I said, though I said it too softly and the mom walked away.

"Oh. . . awkward. . . "

"It's okay, dear. There wasn't much I could do so you can just sit here with me."

"Great. I'm real good at sitting on benches and . . . stuff. . ."

Though no sooner after I said that did the grandmother rush over to the group to direct them, and the dog trotted away to another group.

And so . . . I was left alone . . . on the bench.

The next fifteen minutes consisted of me weirdly hovering by people, petting the dog, and exploring the house. Finally, my friend arrived with her fiance.

She wrapped her arms around me and said, "Thank you so much for coming! Sorry we didn't get here earlier!"

"It's fine! I'm--"

"Oh, mom! Wait a second!"

She ran off and dutifully helped set up the rest of the decorations. I stood there, not really sure what to do with myself. It was getting to that awkward point where I was being more of a hinderance than a help.

Within time, however, I was helping decorate the tables and chairs and getting everything set up for the reception the next day.

Sweat was still formulating on my forehead, and I realized how thirsty I was. I asked my friend where I could get a drink of water. She smiled and showed me to the kitchen (where I once again tripped over the grandpa's oxygen tube), grabbed me a cup, and hurried off to the garage to grab something for the back yard.

I glanced over to see the grandma and grandpa in the kitchen. They smiled at me, and I turned to the water filter. I pushed the water button and-

"AAAAH!!"

The water dispenser was way more forward than I thought, and it resulted in water being spilled down my leg, foot, and ALL over the floor.

My first instinct was to do what I do best: Run away from conflict and problems. But grandma was there, and I wanted to be friends with her and impress her! So I knew I had to clean it up.

Panicking, I set the cup down on the counter and glanced around the whole kitchen like a mad woman. I couldn't find the paper towels or extra towels. I was too embarrassed and shy at this point to ask the grandma and grandpa where they could be, and so I resulted in pulling off the beautiful, white, clean hand towel hanging on the oven to wipe off the floor.

A) It didn't soak up the water well enough, so I was more just sloshing the water around the floor
B) I turned the beautiful, white, clean hand towel black.

Even more embarrassed, I put the now filthy towel back where I got it, and ran off. I honestly don't remember if I actually got a drink or not.

The rest of the day mostly consisted of me helping out here and there, following my friend around like a puppy, and getting ready for the wedding dinner.

Ah, the wedding dinner.

As usual, there were assigned seats at the wedding dinner. I sat down, and within a few minutes, the table began to fill with people I was somewhat acquainted with. . . .

Including . . .

A kid I had gone on a blind date with way back in March.

Just a little snippet as to what exactly happened on this date:
He asked me to pay and I just stared at him until he paid.
I went in for a hug when he went in for a handshake.
I still squirm inside when I think about that last moment.

I was dying. DYING. I tried to hide behind my hair, look busy drinking my glass of water, or trying to talk to the girl next to me who was already engulfed in a conversation with the person next to her.

"Wait. Maybe he doesn't remember me. I mean, it's been like, 8 months."

So, I set down my cup, and didn't look directly at him, but tried to look open.

"How have you been?" he asked.

Maaaan.

"I've been good! How have you been?"

We had a cordial conversation, but if we're being straight up here, I just felt like we were both trying REEEEAL hard to show that we DON'T hate each other despite that we went on a date and didn't talk for 8 months.

And if I continue to be straight up here, I kind of had forgotten about this kid until this very moment.

The rest of the dinner was fine, I continued to talk to grandma, and then I was off to the house once again.

Everyone was in panic mode getting everything ready for tomorrow; the cake, the bouquets, the flower crowns, the speakers, ect. I stood on the side lines until things had settled down so I could know what needed help - but had to move once I realized I was standing right on grandpa's oxygen tube.

I was put on assignment to help grandma (score!) and the sister complete the flower crowns. After twisting a few wires together, I soon realized that I was FAR more of a hindrance than a help in this situation, and I excused myself to bed.

My foot caught on grandpa's oxygen tube once more, and as I stumbled and shook it off my foot I mumbled to myself, "I am going to accidentally kill this poor man."

I was assigned to sleep in the younger sister's room, due to the fact that all the other guest rooms were taken. Of course I felt bad about this, but not bad enough to stop me from sleeping.

And helloooooo nightmares!

I dreamed of my car exploding and not being able to make it to the wedding, my teeth rotting out so I looked terrible in the pictures, and family members dying so I couldn't go to the wedding.

Needless to say, I was pretty exhausted by the time 6:30 rolled around, and I was woken up by a family member saying they were going to the temple pretty soon.

Dazed and confused, I sat up and said, "I'll . . . drive . . . separately."

And flopped back in bed.

My slumber didn't last long . . . and didn't really start, for that matter, because this scenario repeated three more times.

I gave up, got ready in close to twenty minutes, drove to Einstein Bagels, and got to the temple for the ceremony.

Honestly it was one of THEE best ceremonies I have been to. It was so spiritual and my heart was so warm as I saw my two friends get sealed together for time and all eternity. The only disaster that took place was grandpa ALMOST fell, but he didn't! So we're good!

The rest of the group waited outside for the bride and groom to come out of the temple. Meanwhile, the bridesmaids began to don their flower crowns on their heads.

Now, I hate how flower crowns look on me. Some girls can pull them off real well. Me? Not in the slightest. However, I was a bridesmaid, and I was NOT gonna throw a hissy fit about this. Besides, we're our own worst critics, right? I'm SURE they didn't look as bad on me as I thought.

I placed one on my head and it instantly fell down to the tip of my nose.

"Oh come on." I muttered to myself, and messed with it once more.

Again, the tip of my nose caught the flower crown just in time so that it didn't slide around my neck.

I squeezed, rotated, and replaced the crown over and over again until it finally sat on my head properly. All I had to do was not move my neck too quickly.

"I brought bobby pins!" said one of the cousins to the bridesmaids.

"I should be okay," I said.

Of course, right after I said that, I moved my neck too fast and the crown fell to my nose again.

I grabbed two bobby pins. As I attached them to the crown, I heard a voice say behind me, "Well. You look miserable."

Maaaan.



I turned to see the brother-in-law of the groom, who I had met last night at the wedding dinner.

"Honestly I'm just exhausted. And I hate flower crowns."

He glanced at his wife who was donning a flower crown on her own head and said, "There are many times when I'm grateful I'm not a woman."

"Yeah," I scoffed, "Like you don't have to worry about labor."

"I was just thinking along the lines of doing my hair, but you just jumped to the worst case scenario."

"I'm really good at doing that." I said.

The wife soon joined us. I patted my hair once and said, "How's it look?"

"You've got a weird hair bump going on, but don't worry. I'll fix it."

She fixed my hair and I chatted with them until the bride and groom came out of the temple. I coupled them together and dubbed them my second friend.

Dozens of pictures and hours later, it was reception time! I was pumped for this. The reception set up was beautiful, and that had so many fun things planned. And so, after a dozen more pictures, I grabbed some pie, soup, and bread, and sat down at the table.

No sooner after I had done this did the brother-in-law and sister join me.

"So tell me," said the brother-in-law to me, "Before this reception, were the only people you knew the bride and groom?"

"Yes," I said.

"That's gotta be absolutely terrible," he said, "Those are usually the type of weddings I avoid."

"It hasn't been THAT bad. First of all, I LOVE the bride and groom, and I LOVE weddings. And besides, I've gotten to know great people like you! And grandma!"

"Still. I run away from those weddings." he said, and I couldn't help but laugh.

I danced with the two of them on the dance floor, and then later I saw grandma sitting by the fire place and joined her. We talked for about twenty minutes, and my friend (who knew that I wanted to become friends with her grandma) saw me, burst out laughing, and gave me the thumbs up.

My time with grandma was cut short as she had to go upstairs to help organize food. I continued sitting by the fire when another couple joined me. I had sat by them at the wedding dinner, and talked with them at the wedding/earlier in the reception, so I had dubbed them friend number 3. No soon after they had joined me, did blind date kid come and sit by me.

Cool. Okay.

Blind date kid is a good guy. He really is. But I'll be straight up with you; I was NOT in the flirting mood at all. Nope. I mean, I can't even flirt, and besides, this was just weird. I doubted he would hit on me if we HADN'T gone on that blind date months ago. Did he feel bad he had never called me? Cause he really didn't need to. We were SOOOO awkward with each other. Just so not comfortable being in each others presence. Trust me, buddy, I had moved on.

But hold up. Maybe he was just being nice. I might just be jumping to conclusions here. I had to test this. So, I excused myself to eat some s'mores.

And he accompanied me.

Yeah okay this was not a coincidence. Where was grandma when I needed her? AH! The younger sister! I dodged over to her.

I made some sort of mindless comment to her, when suddenly, blind date kid popped up again.

"Ooooh did you find a friend?" she said flirtatiously to me.

"Yes." I said plainly.

And then . . . I ran to the dance floor.

And he did NOT accompany me, because earlier he told me how much he hated dancing.

After dancing, I finally decided to stop dodging him. That was just mean. And so, I went back to the fire place where he accompanied me, and we made really uncomfortable small talk the rest of the night.

As we saw the bride and groom leave, I quickly said to the blind date, "Oh my. Look at the time. I've got to be off!"

Here's what took place the rest of the night:

I hastily packed up my stuff, and realized I lost my cell phone charger.

I left a thank you note, said goodbye to grandma because she was the closest one to me, tripped over and rolled my suitcase over grandpas oxygen cord on my way out, and had a brief goodbye with blind date kid who was waiting near my car.

I drove to best buy to buy a new cord, and nearly fell asleep while the guy rang up my stuff.

I got lost.

And I checked into a hotel.

That's right, I checked into a hotel.

And I promptly fell asleep, where I dreamed of bonfires, Alan Rickman being the blind date and kept following me around creepily, and more exploding cars.

Now I don't want you going away with this thinking I had a terrible time. Was it filled with awkwardness and discomfort? Absolutely. But I was also very amused and had to laugh at everything that seemed to happen ALL. AT. ONCE. And besides, in the words of one of my dear friends,
"[Awkwardness] is in your nature. You may want to begin on the path of accepting it."

Have an awkward day, everyone.