Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The First Day of School

Fourth year of college. Fourth school down.

Yes, my friends, I am now attending BYU to get my bachelors degree, and this marks the fourth school I have attended since my high school graduation.

The past schools I have gone to (Weber, SLCC, and then I finally received my associates at UVU) have all been very similar to each other: Commuter, a good number of non-LDS students, small class sizes, big college campus. The work load was never overwhelming, but was just enough to keep me busy, stretch my mind and help me learn, and still leave me just enough time to watch one or two netflix episodes afterward.

And then, there were my roommates.

Starting at UVU, I began living in BYU off-campus housing, where all my roommates attended BYU. I saw that their workload was much greater than mine, the policies at the school much different than any other school I had been to, and their overall stress level was just higher.

So, why did I come to BYU? A lot of reasons, really. But the main three are:
- I felt like I needed to
- PHENOMENAL journalism program
- Good environment

Despite these positive contributing factors, this did not calm my nerves for the much anticipated first day of school.

And it was terrible.

Hilariously so, on the bright side.

It all started the Sunday night before classes started. I had spent most the weekend at my parent's home to gear up on sleep and some relaxation before I jumped into this semester. And because I was dreading the start of this school year, I procrastinated driving back to my apartment in Provo. And so, I got a late start to the ride home.

Anyone who knows the I-15 in Utah knows the ridiculous amount of construction that is currently taking place between Provo and Sandy. It just gets more ridiculous after nine p.m, when there are nightly lane closures.

Of course I had all intentions to head back to Provo before nine, but low and behold . . . that didn't happen.

Hello, slow moving traffic.

It wasn't too bad, but it wasn't the most relaxing of drives home either.

And then came the time when I arrived in Provo.

Now, anyone who knows Provo knows how AWFUL parking is. Trying to park in Provo is similar to trying to fit into a sardine can.


And because I had waited so long to get home, every single parking space was taken at my apartment complex.

I circled around and around for about a half an hour until I finally parked illegally, dumped my laundry inside my apartment, and headed back to my car to find a place to park.

Ten more minutes circling the block and no luck. I was becoming more and more frustrated and convinced that I would have to park my car at least a twenty minute walk away from my apartment when . . .

Wait seriously? Is that a spot right by my apartment? 

It seemed too good to be true, but I parked there anyway.

I stepped out and stared at the crumbling sidewalk.

Okay, so there's no red paint on the side . . . This is good . . . There's no sign saying no parking . . . I'm not like the guy in front of me and right in front of the fire hydrant . . . Seems okay . . .

Again. It seemed far too good to be true, but I was desperate, so I left my car and walked back to my room, declaring to my roommates that I wasn't sure if I parked legally or not.

I was pooped, but still had to shower, write in my journal, and socialize before I got to bed.

Before I knew it, and opposed to my liking, I finally crawled in bed around midnight. My normal bedtime is 11:30 at the very latest, but I like to be in bed by around10:30.

So you can imagine my overall frustrations with life at this moment.

Despite my exhaustion, I just couldn't sleep. My mind was racing and my nerves were wracking in anticipation for tomorrow. I felt like every cell in my body was on edge and I could only lay there stiff as a brick, trying to relax while my eyes lay wide open.

I woke up throughout the night, anxiously checking my phone to make sure I hadn't slept in. I woke up to every creak, cough, or sound that came from my apartment and roommates.

And before I knew it, it was eight o' clock in the morning: generally a half hour later than I get up.

As my alarm chipped happily, I did the only thing I could think of to do at that moment: pull the sheets over my head and say to my roommate, "I don't want to go to schooooooooooool."

I lay in bed for twenty-five minutes, going back and forth between deciding if I should drop my first class just because I was tired, and it was an elective anyway.

I pulled up my computer to drop the class . . . and then . . .

"This is ridiculous," I said to my roommate, but mostly to myself. "I have to at least give it a try."

I glanced at my clock.

I had fifteen minutes to get ready for class.


Frantically, I changed clothes, ran a brush through my hair, and threw on make-up.

Now with my current schedule, I am on campus on average from 9-5 everyday, so I had to pack a lunch. I threw open my cupboard and . . .

An overwhelming stench of death overtook me, and I covered my nose.

My potatoes. My poor, delicious bag of potatoes were now rotten and disgusting.
Nose and eyes stinging, I set the bag of potatoes by the door to remember to throw them away on my way out.
Guess I would just have to make a sandwich.
I pulled down my bread and peanut butter and threw a measly sandwich together. I tossed it in my backpack along with two granola bars and a handful of potato chips. As I closed my bread, I did a double take.
Was that mold I see on the large amount of bread I had left?
Well. Shoot.
Chucking it in the garbage, I went to the fridge and grabbed my last cup of dairy-free yogurt and a spoon.
Cautiously, I balanced my yogurt cup, spoon, planner and notebook, and the bag of rotting potatoes in my hand and hastily left my apartment, now with little to no time to get to my class.

I dashed across the parking lot to the dumpster, heaved the potatoes inside, and then . . .

No way! Is that a shortcut?! Sweet!

I raced down the grass-grown pavement that ran behind my apartment building and a neighboring fence. Judging by the direction it was headed, I suspected it would lead me to the sidewalk on the opposite side and closer to the school!
Dead end.

Letting out a low growl, I turned on my heel with my notebook, planner, spoon, and yogurt in hand, and sprinted back around my building and towards an actual pathway.

Now, anyone who knows BYU knows how many ridiculous stairs there are to get onto campus. And so I faced what I dubbed: Satan's stairs.

I took them two at a time, now gripping my maxi-skirt in hand so as to insure that I wouldn't trip over it.

I don't know why I thought I would be able to eat my yogurt on the way to class. I was sprinting and holding a ridiculous amount of items because I thought it would save me time to hold them instead of pausing to place them in my backpack!


There was no sense in carrying these things anymore. I could place my stuff down on the bench and place it in my backpack. Hiking up my skirt more, I began to sprint towards the bench and . . .

Running = sweat = sweaty hands = not being able to hold onto anything.

My planner, notebook, yogurt, and spoon fell to the ground, and I stumbled as my skirt caught around the tip of my toes.

I knelt down and shoved everything inside my bag, and took off once again.

There were still a good amount of students on campus, so I knew I still had a bit of time to get to class.

I was breathing heavily at this point. I knew without having to look in a mirror that my entire body was as red as my hair. I began to wonder why I had even showered or put on make-up if I was just going to sweat it all off.

I found the building I needed to be in, and passed a kid holding a bloody tissue to his nose.

Well it could be worse. I could be like that kid.

I sped walked through the second most confusing building on campus, and breathed a sigh of relief as I found my classroom. As I walked in, the bell rang, and I jumped and let out a slight gasp.

A bell? Seriously? This school has a bell? I haven't had a bell since high school!

I took the nearest seat, and the teacher began class. I, unfortunately, was still panting and could feel sweat dripping disgustingly down my forehead.

I had cooled down and had rebuilt my energy by the end of class, and then headed to my second class which, thankfully, wasn't too far away. To add to this, my professor had even let us out of class a couple minutes early! There was no way I would be late to my next class!

I got lost trying to get out of the building, jumped when the bell to leave screeched through the hallways, and managed to find the exit on the side that was farthest away from my next class, simply because it was the exit with the lowest crowd. I figured out why as soon as I saw my surroundings and figured I had just added an extra minute to my walk to class.

I sped walked to my next class. As I entered the door, I saw that the entry and hallways were congested with students attempting to do just what I was doing: get it.

"You have got to be kidding me," I muttered under my breath.

When I managed to squeeze my way through, I saw that one of the stairwells was under construction, and that students were having to slowly snake their way through the crowd to the stairwell on the other side of the building.

"Oh, heck no." I said, and I took off downstairs as opposed to the direction I actually needed to head to: the second floor.

I raced down the stairs, sprinted across the building to another set of stairs, ran up that one, and it gave me perfect access to the staircase leading to the second floor.

"Brilliant!" I said once again to myself.

I maneuvered easily to the next staircase, and saw a kid on crutches squeezing his way through the crowd.

Well it could be worse. I could be that kid. 

I ran upstairs, and quickly found my classroom, as well as my friends who were in that class.

I plopped down in a seat next to them, and placed my water bottle, pen, notebook and planner on my tiny, pull-out lap desk.

I reached down to put my backpack on the ground and -

BOOM water bottle down
BOOM pen down
BOOM notebook down
BOOM planner down.

My friend let out a laugh and said to me, "Next blog post?"

"Yuuuuup." I said, gathering everything up.

Next was work. I love my job, and was excited to be able to sit, relax, and do something I actually knew I was good at for a couple hours.

Absolutely fatigued, I hobbled into my work, with my water bottle in hand. I unscrewed the top to adjust the straw that allowed me to drink out of it when -

BOOM. Water bottle down.

Water splashed my skirt, shirt, and shoes.

I was too exhausted to react at this point.

I refilled my water bottle, and sat my little soaked self down at my desk. It was now around 11 o' clock, and I had yet to eat anything. My body was NOT happy with me. I ate my now warm yogurt incredibly slow, munched on my granola bars, and then pulled out my sandwich.

I unwrapped the plastic bag protecting it, then looked at the bread.

Little speckles of white dusted the edges of the sandwich. My stomach growled.

. . . was it worth it?

. . . maybe I was just imagining this.

I turned to my coworker and interrupted the conversation she was in.

"Does this look like mold to you?" I asked.

"Yeah." she said, then turned back to her conversation.

"Dang it." I said, and chucked it in the garbage.

I ate the handful of potato chips I had packed, and found another bag of potato chips shoved in my cubby. I thanked my past self for putting those there, and then ate three milkways laying around the office.

A feast made for royalty.

I had begun to wonder why I had come to BYU. Why on earth had I done this to myself? Was it a mistake?

I logged onto Facebook and saw that BYU had posted pictures from the first day of school. And thus lead this conversation:

I was grateful to know that BYU had my back. Perhaps I COULD do this.

Five o' clock came with no more mishaps beside me just being tired.

In my first class, I was informed that I needed a textbook I had neglected to buy. So, I made my way to the bookstore on campus . . .

To see a line that was about as long as the rides at Disneyland. Rolling my eyes, I grabbed my one little textbook, and waited in line.

The boy in front of me turned around and flashed me a dashing smile. But I was noticing his sweatshirt:
Year of 2013.

Okay, so he's two years younger. That's my limit when it comes to younger guys. But the way he was acting . . . he had to be younger than 20 . . .

He began to talk to me, and I could tell he was hitting on me. Knowing how old (or young) I look, I knew I had to set boundaries quick. And thankfully, he walked right into it.

"So, this your first day at BYU?" he asked.

"Technically, yes," I said. "But it's my fourth year of college. I just transferred here after I served my mission at age twenty. What about you?"

"Oh yes. Yes, it's my first day. I just graduated high school a couple months ago. I'm 18. How old are you?"


Glad we established that quick. The conversation turned to him asking me for college, mission, and life advice.

He will do great things . . . without me in his life.

We were winding through the isle, when a friend standing across from me stopped me.

Let me rephrase - we're acquaintances. He remembers me and my name and how we know each other, and I just take his word for it cause he only looks vaguely familiar to me.

"Hey! Camilla!" he said to me while giving me a high five. "You're engaged to Eric Lane, right? Or just got married? Congrats!"

I stood there dumbfounded for a split second, then came to my senses and said, "What? No, no, no, no, no. That's the OTHER red headed flute player that was in band with us who married him. Not me. Still single."

"Oooooh! Ha Ha Ha!" he cackled, "I mixed you two up ALL the time."

"Ha. . . yeah I mean it happens . . . " I said awkwardly.

I bought my textbook, then met up with a friend. As predicted, we were late to an appointment we both had to made.

As we sped walked back to my car where I would drive us, I began relating my day to her.

"I mean, the only thing that could possibly make this day worse, is if I got a parking ticket." I said, and we turned the corner and continued to half walk, half jog to my car.

I walked to the drivers side of the car . . .

And saw a little, yellow paper sticking out from under my windshield.

I laughed. I legitimately laughed at this point. There was nothing else I could do.

I pulled it out from my dash, and glanced over what it was for:

Blocking the entrance to a sidewalk.

Despite the awful start, there were still so many incredible blessings poured on my day. I saw many friends I love and who I hadn't seen in a while. I was generally happy throughout the day, and I had a good story to tell later. I also had air conditioning, which I could NOT complain about, especially after running up 114 stairs in the morning.

Yes, I counted.

The days following were less eventful, and less awful. I knew it could only go up from there. But I also have no doubt there are many awkward doors ahead for me.

Have an awkward day, everyone!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Foot in Mouth

Guys. I hate how much I put my foot in my mouth. Seriously?! HOW CAN SOMEONE BE SO AWKWARD?! And then when I try to fix/justify what I just said? It's like pouring gasoline on a fire I already started.

The following are conversations in which I stuck my foot in my mouth (Figuratively. Not literally. Though literally sticking my foot in my mouth probably would've been a better response than what I actually said.) :

Girl I just met: What's he look like?
Friend 1: Blonde hair and blue eyes.
Girl I just met: I LOVE blonde hair and blue eyes!
Me: Hey! So did Hitler!

Friend 1: I'm Kelsey.
Me: I'm Camilla.
Friend 2's Fiance: Very cool! How do you two know each other?
Me: Oh, from high school.
Kelsey: We're high school sweet hearts.
Me: Yup.
Friend 2: So . . . when did you guys get back from your missions?
Me: Oh, the same week. Kelsey was waiting at the airport for me. *Grabs Kelsey's hand* Like a good girlfriend.
I froze as I saw the strange look forming on Friend 2 and her Fiance's face.
Me: I mean . . . we're not lesbian. It's just a joke. I like men! They're really attractive! I mean, YOU'RE really attractive. Well -- no. I mean, I'm not into you. You're hers. I'm just saying. I'm not a lesbian!
(Well . . . that certainly helped things. . .)
We continued to talk, then as Friend 2 and her fiance left, he said to us, "Good to meet you both! And I'm glad you're not a lesbian!"
Me: Hey! I'm glad I'm not a lesbian too! And . . . nice to meet you too!

I entered an elevator.
Other man in elevator: Floor four?
Me: Yup.
Other man in elevator stifles a laugh.
Me: . . . Did you ask which floor?
Man: Yes.
He burst out laughing.
I punched the number four button.
Me: Sorry. Thought you said floor four. Guess not. But. HEY! You're going on floor four too. That's good. It's a good floor.

I walked into a room that had a TON of flowers.There were about three people commenting on how beautiful they looked.
And then . . .
Me: Oh wow. It looks like a funeral home in here.

Friend 1: Did you know Virginia is for lovers?
I look at the car in front of us, and saw a bumper sticker donning those exact words.
Me: We should go to Virginia and tell people we're lovers AND cousins.

I knocked on my roommates door. I didn't know this roommate well at all, and I thought she hated me. But, she had had a guest, and I went to go give her what the person left for her.
I knocked on her door, and she beckoned me in.
Me: OH! HEY! I like your poster. And your bedspread. And your shirt! And your hair! So um. Here's this for you. Nick brought it by. I thought you weren't home. But I think you actually were. Anyway. Goodnight! I like that poster, too. And that lamp. And your bookcase. And shoes. Bye!

 It was the day of cleaning checks. I fell asleep in my underwear. The next morning, I woke up to my landlord knocking on my bedroom door.
It was pure shock. I sat straight up, gripping my blanket to my chin.
Female Landlord: Um. Hello. You sighed up for cleaning checks?
Me: *My head is still in a daze as I attempt to wake up.* YES. YEAH. I cleaned the kitchen!
Female Landlord: Okay . . . I'm gonna go check it.
Me: YEAH! Okay, I'm um . . .
I sunk further under the blankets
Me: . . . gonna get dressed.
Female Landlord: *Nods slowly* Yes . . . getting dressed is good.

Me: How are you?
Friend 1: Oh . . . I could be better.
Me: Well you could be worse, too!

Coworkers were all have a friendly chat about weight.
Me: I once knew a man who weighed 400 lbs. Actually, I think he just died recently because of his weight.
. . . . . . . . .
Coworker: Well. Way to kill the conversation, Camilla.
Me: I'm just sayin'!

Coworker: Don't get back in your car while filling it up with gas. It could create static electricity, which in turn could cause and explosion while starting the car.
Me: Do you remember that sniper in DC like . . . forever ago?
Coworker: Yeah.
Me: People got in their cars while filling up gas!
. . . . .
Me: Cause. . .you know . . . people were getting shot at gasoline pumps! So . . . it was safer for them.
Coworker: Well. This took a dramatic turn.

There are countless others of these stories, I assure you. So, if you ever feel bad about something you said, just remember, "You could be worse, too."

Have an awkward day, everyone!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

My Medical History

I feel like visits to the doctor are just awkward in general.

I mean, they're asking you questions about your body you don't usually discuss freely with your friends. And I don't care HOW comfortable you are with someone, I really am not keen on describing my "stools" to people.
Don't worry guys. This post has nothing to do with stools.

So, Monday, I had to make yet another trip to the doctors. I suspected this appointment would last no longer than ten minutes, because it was just was a follow up on a prescription I was on. So after FORTY FIVE MINUTES of waiting, I finally get in to see the doctor.

I sat awkwardly down on that . . . I don't even know what they call it. That long, chair/table/bed thing that they cover in paper that always makes the LOUDEST sound at the SLIGHTEST movement.
I crossed my legs and sat up straight as a pin, cause I didn't know how else to sit.

We chatted for about five minutes, and we were good to go.

"Before you go," she said. "I want to check your heartbeat."

She checked my heart beat, my ears, and then my throat.

". . . Do you have family history of thyroid problems?"

". . . Yeaaaah. . ."

"Well," she said, putting her hands on her hips, "I think you might have thyroid issues. We'll have you take a blood test and an ultrasound on your throat just to be sure. I'll show you to where to go get your blood taken."

We walked to a separate lab where my blood would be drawn. As soon as I sat down, my stomach growled loudly, and I knew this was bad business ahead.

A nurse walked in and said, "How are you with your blood being drawn?"

My first thought?
. . . but that's a story for another time.

What I actually said:
"Oh, I'm usually fine, so long as I don't look at the blood. But I haven't eaten in a few hours . . ."

I probably should've been more specific. I had a light lunch at one o clock, and didn't have time to eat anything after that.
It was now currently 8 o' clock at night.
My stomach was making the rumblies.

"You should be okay. Have you drunk anything?" asked the nurse.
"No." I said.
She handed me a water bottle and said, "Here you go."

And I started to chug that bad boy down.

"Which arm do they usually draw from?" She asked me.
"The right, I think, but both usually work."

So, I stretched out my arm and she poked it . . . and poked it . . . and poked it.  I cringed with pain. I was hungry, it was really cold in the office, and I knew she wasn't having luck sucking my blood.

"Hmm . . ." she said, taking out the needle and replacing it was a new one.
"Do you want to try my left?" I asked, holding out my left arm.
"No, let's try your hand." she said, holding my right hand.

My thoughts:
. . . .THE CRAP?!

I had NEVER had that done before, or even heard of such a thing being done! And I did NOT want it done. But, not really sure what else to say, I let her prick my hand.


Seriously. It stung SO bad, and the most accurate words I have found to describe the pain was that it felt like, "Satan was digging his teeth into my veins and attempting to paralyze me."

For a split second, I had an irrational fear that she WAS going to paralyze me. I thought, "This pain will SURELY leave SOME sort of lasting issue in my life!"

"Are you in pain?" the nurse asked me, seeing that my eyes were shut completely, and my face twisted in pain.

"YES." I said through clenched teeth.

"I'm sorry," she said, taking out the needle and replacing it with a new one once again. "The hand usually is more sensitive than the arm."

I was now squeezing my hand where she had pricked it in vain hope that the stinging pain would go away.

". . . But I don't think I needed to tell you that. You just experienced it." she said to me.

"Yeah. . ." I said, holding out my left arm.

She pricked my arm with the needle once more and SUCCESS! Blood instantly started to flow from the vein and all was going smoothly . . . and then. . .

Hello, dizziness.

I rested my head on the palm of my free hand.

"Are you feeling woozy?" she asked.

"Yeah," I said, shutting my eyes once more.

"Well, we have enough blood," she said, taking the needle out once again. "Lay your head down and I'll come in with a snack."

A few seconds later, she came in with a basket full of snacks. I grabbed a granola bar and fruit snacks.
No fruit snacks and granola bar had ever tasted so good before.

"Feel free to lay here for as long as you need. I'll come in and check on your in a second."

I finished my granola bar, and immediately started to feel much better. I went to cross my legs, when . . .


I had forgotten my Harry Potter book and my glasses case were sitting in my lap.  They fell to the ground with a clatter.

"Ah, crap," I said, bending over to pick them up.


Two  nurses burst into the room, with terrified looks on their faces. I stared at them, my eyes wide, bent over with my arms extended towards my items.

"ARE YOU OKAY?!" one nurse exclaimed, gently helping me back up by the shoulder.

"I'M FINE! I'M FINE!" I said, a little bit in shock and embarrassed. I raised my hands up as if to say 'I'm innocent' and explained, "My book and glasses case just fell off my lap! I didn't pass out! I'm fine!"

"Are you sure?" asked one nurse. "I've heard that crash before. It's not usually a good sound."

"I'm fine! I promise!" I assured them, picking up my book and glasses case.

I held them up and said, "See? I'm fine. I'm fine."

"Lay back down," ordered the first nurse. "Stay as long as you want. We DON'T want you passing out. Are you sure you're fine?"

"Yes! I promise!"

"Okay. Stay as long as you want."

They left. I sat there, and then laid my head back down.

A couple of seconds passed, then I thought, "This is a stupid waist of time."

I stood up, swung my bag over one arm and held my book and glasses case in the other arm, and marched out the door.

"Are you okay?" asked one of the nurses.

"I'm fine! I PROMISE! The food was all I needed, and I feel much better now."

"You promise? You don't need to be a hero," said the nurse. "If you're not feeling alright, you can lay back down. We don't want you passing out again."

"Nope. Nope. I'm good. I didn't pass out. I'm tote-tah-lee good." I reassured her for the upteenth time.

"Okay . . ." she said with obvious hesitation.

I continued to walk backwards out of the doctors office shouting, "I'll eat more food next time, I promise! And I WONT pass out!"

I went home and proceeded to eat some dinner. A hearty bowel of cheerios. As I scooped up my cheerios out of the bowel with my right hand, I glanced at the top . . .
To see a MASSIVE bruise taking over.

I set the spoon down and breathed, "Are you kidding me?"

Two days later, the nurse called me and said, "Good news! Your blood results came back and everything, including the thyroid, looks normal."

I looked down at my bruise once again.
What I thought:
. . .So I went through this pain for nothing?!

What I actually said:
". . .Fantastic."

Don't worry. My had wasn't paralyzed, the pain ceased soon after I had "passed out", and the bruise is well on the way to recovery.

Have an awkward day, everyone.

These pictures make me strangely aware of how white I am.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Moments With My Mission President

I have a strange relationship with people in authority.

90 percent of the time, when I first meet them, I'm very quiet. I don't say much. I just sit back and listen to what they tell me to do.
And then, generally about four to six months later, I totally and completely, 100 percent break out of my shell, and I am totally and completely, 100 percent myself.

I had one of my teachers put it best. I was one of her helpers, and I went back to visit her. She said to me, "You always just treated me like your equal. At first you were quiet, and then you just acted like we were best buds, even though I told you what to do. It was a shocking turn around."

I had the same thing happen with my mission president.

Mission president = in a nut shell, he's the man who watches over all the missionaries. He assigns them to a companion, to an area, and makes sure they stay out of trouble and remain obedient. He's kind of in control of receiving direct revelation from God over your whole life for 18 months to two years.
He's kind of a big deal.

I absolutely loved my mission president. He and his wife were two of the most humble, loving, and spiritual people I have ever met. They were in their 70’s, and as soon as I met them, I felt instant love from them. I knew they cared about me, and wanted the best for me, and all my fellow missionaries.

But it was same thing in this situation than before. When I first got to New York, I was very quiet and inside my shell. I wasn't really myself. I didn't know what to do. I was completely shell shocked!

And then six months later, I became very much myself. Almost too much of myself at times, really.

I can think of a few times when I slowly warmed up to him, but the first time I remember really being myself was in an interview with him.
It was the dead of winter in upstate New York. I was going through - looking back now - the hardest time on my mission. We were in an interview, and I started to tear up. Not like, sobbing or anything, but there were tears in my eyes.
My mission president began to dig through his bag, looking for tissues.
"Oh, shoot. I know I had some, but I think I used them up on the last missionary." He said.
I can only imagine what he thought when he looked up. I was leaning forward in my chair, my head down towards the floor. As I sat like this, I said to him, "Don't even worry, President. If I lean forward like this, the tears fall straight out of my eyes and onto the ground. That way, my makeup doesn't smudge, and no one will have any idea I was crying, and I still look good."
". . . Okay . . . well . . . hang in there." he said, and sat back in his chair.

And from there, it slowly escalated.

The next took place three months later, when he showed up at a meeting where there were about 12 missionaries gathering. After the meeting took place, an elder pulled him aside to talk to him.
I glanced at his iPad which he left sitting on the table, then I glanced at him. Earlier in the meeting, he was showing off his new iPad to everyone. He even showed some of the missionaries some of the new apps the church provided.
I glanced back at the iPad.
I glanced at President.
And I instantly grabbed it.
It was locked, of course, but I could still access the camera. It was then that I went crazy with selfies. I kept striking a weird face, a pose, or a dashing smile, and would take a picture.
A few minutes later, he was done speaking with the missionary and walked back to me, where I stood with his iPad.
"President!" I said, jumping next to him, iPad in hand, "Take a selfie with me!"
I lifted the iPad and we took a couple pictures together, then he took it away from me while saying, "Very good, Sister Stimpson, but that's enough."

A few weeks later, I was at a meeting in Utica. I wanted to ask him a few questions, but I had to wait for him to be done with a private meeting before I did so. While I waited, I stood by the water cooler outside his office and filled a little plastic cup with water.
No sooner after I had done that, his door opened, and he beckoned me in.
I sat down and we discussed the couple questions and concerns I had. I didn't drink out of my water, but I did hang onto it so I could drink out of it later.
The meeting didn't last long. Probably two minutes, tops. As he opened the door to escort me out, he patted me on the arm while saying, "You're doing good work. Never give up. Don't settle for failure."
Of course he patted the arm with the cup of water in it.
And water splashed all over my arm, my dress, my leg, and my foot. I smiled at him, shook his hand with my wet hand and said, "Thanks, President."
And I threw the cup away, which was now only one third full.

The following month, I was at a similar meeting in Utica. Here, around 15 missionaries would gather together and discuss the needs of the mission.
Partway through the meeting, we took a lunch break.
I wasn't hungry yet, so I headed to the main office in the building. It was there that they held all the mail the missionaries got, before forwarding it to wherever the missionaries were located.
"Did I get any mail?" I asked the sister missionary in charge of forwarding mail.
"Take a look," she said, cheerfully showing me where the incoming mail was.
I dug through the pile, and found a letter addressed to me.
I smiled, and plopped down comfortably in a big, cushioned chair. I draped my legs over one of the arms of the chair, and draped one of my arms over the opposite arm of the chair, and read my letter.
No sooner after I had comfortably positioned myself this way, did my mission president walk in.
He stared at me, and I stared back at him. I could feel my face flushing. This certainly wasn't a proper way to be sitting.
And so, I did the only thing my racing mind could think to do.
I nodded my head once, and said, "'Sup."
He stared at me a second longer, then said, "Sister Stimpson." and walked away.
My companion, who was standing nearby, looked at me questionably.
"What?" I said, defensively, "He already saw me. It's not like I'm gonna pretend I WASN'T sitting that way."

Similar meeting, the following month. Lunch break, once again.
We rarely saw our mission president in anything other than a suit. I was at a table with missionaries, and my companion and I brought up the subject of what our mission president wore to bed. What kind of pajamas did this man wear?
"I'm guessing a giant 'Syracuse' T-Shirt with sweat pants." said one.
"No, I think a big night gown with a cap." said another.
"Silk pajamas. Definitely silk pajamas."
“I still can’t picture him in anything other than a suit.”
"Think he wears socks?"
"In this weather? Of course he does."
"I don't think he does."
"Think his pajamas match?"
"Nobody wears matching pajamas."
"I wear matching pajamas!"
"Sister Stimpson! Go ask him!" said one.
"What? What? Why me?" I blubbered.
"You're the one that brought it up!"
"I can't!"
"Sister Stimpson, what's the worst that could happen?" he presented to me.
"Don't ask her that! She's the queen of worst-case-scenario!" said my companion.
"I could get sent home early." I responded, living up to my royalty.
"He's not going to do that for asking him what pajamas he wears!"
"You don't understand," I said, "You have no idea the weird things he has seen me do!"
"So he'll be used to it. Go ask him!"
I stood up, and marched over to President.
"Heeeey, President," I said. "So, I'm just wondering . . . what kind of pajamas do you wear?"
"Flannel." he responded without missing a beat.
"Do they match?"
"Oh, yeah."
"Okay, thanks."
I walked back over to the table and said, "Matching flannel pajamas, no socks, no cap."
"OOOOOOH!" said the missionaries, followed by some cries of “I knew it”, “Wow no socks”, and “That fits him”.

Similar meeting, the following month. I came up to him, and asked him if I would be remaining in the leadership assignment I was currently in. When he told me I wasn't, I expressed my disappointment and sadness to him, and although I don't remember what I said, I have no doubt it had a touch of sass with it. To which he responded, "Well, you've still got time. I could call you to be in this position again."
"Buddy, I've only got three months left! OH MY GOSH I JUST CALLED YOU BUDDY. I am SO sorry! That just slipped out! I'm so sorry! Can I call you buddy? Is that okay?"
"Sure, you can call me buddy."
"Thanks, buddy! You're the best!"

Jump forward to the second to last month on my mission, when President arrived at our church meeting that Sunday.
"Hey, President. So . . . I never really knew my grandpas . . . I don’t think they were the best of guys . . . but I guess what I’m asking is . . . well, can I adopt you as my grandpa?"
I got a huge smile on my face and said, "Thanks, grandpa! Can I extend my mission and stay a little longer?"
"No." he said sternly.
"NO." he said even more sternly.
"WHY?!" I said, matching his tone.

Fast forward to near the end of my mission. I think President might have been losing tolerance with my craziness.
He and two other missionaries came to our apartment to drop off a dresser. They did their duty, we shook hands, and they left. Soon after he left, however, I remembered a question I needed to ask him. So I said, "Oh, shoot!"
I took off in a sprint across the wooden floor in my fuzzy, purple socks and black dress.
I neared the door, and shouted, "PRESI---"
And at that moment, I slipped on the yoga mat that was laying on the ground.
And so, it came out as:
My hip and arm were already throbbing, but I crawled over to the front door and yanked it open as I whimpered "president" to myself. I stood up and ran to the front steps, where President raced back to the bottom of them.
"What is it?!" he asked, pure terror in his eyes.
"Heeeey! Good, you're still here. Sorry, I fell. So, we were talking with the elders in this area and were wondering if-"
Instantly, all terror in his eyes left, and he got this look on his face that read: 'Are you kidding me, Sister Stimpson?' and he said, "I already talked to them about it. You guys are fine."
And he turned around and walked back to the car.

We had a really awkward last interview together. I won’t go into detail. You just had to be there. And I have no doubt he was thinking to himself, "Oh Sister Stimpson. You never fail to live up to your legacy."

The final day of being a missionary. He stood at the airport with all the missionaries who were waiting to go home. Tears were in my eyes as he shook hands with missionaries one-by-one. He got to me, and shook my hand. I held onto it and said, "President . . . can I hug you?"
"No." he said.
And then he gave me a quick side hug before walking away, and a tear escaped my eye as a huge smile spread across my face.

I said, mostly to myself, "He hugged me! President hugged me!"

I had the opportunity to go back to New York a few weeks ago. I knew he'd be at the Tabernachal Choir concert we were attending. Diligently, I sought him out in the crowd. And when I saw him? I hugged him, and cried tears of joy.
"You okay?" he asked.
"I'm just so happy to see you!"
"Good . . . so . . . what are you up to?" he asked me.
"Just . . . seeing the mission. You?" I responded.
"Oh, you know . . . getting ready to come home."
"Crazy. Are you excited?"
"Mixed feelings. Much like you had."
I nodded, then said, "President, can I take a selfie with you?"
I whipped out my phone and said, "Look! I have my OWN iPhone, now!"
"Fancy." he said.
We smiled for the picture. He shook my hand once more, and walked away.

A few Sunday’s ago, I got to see him at his homecoming talk.
"Hello, again!" he said to me.
"PRESIDENT!" I said in a voice far too loud for the chapel.
"Long time no see."
"I know, it's been a while."
He shook my hand, and as he shook it, he turned to the missionaries around me and said, "This sister saw me in New York and just laid one on me."
"Yup. Yup. I . . . I definitely did that." I said, unsure of what to say exactly.
He gave me a quick hug, then trotted off.
Before I left that day, I shook his hand once more and said, "President . . . can we be best friends?"
" . . . . Sure!"

And just think. These were the stories of just one of the two hundred plus missionaries President was over. And these are just SOME of the stories! I didn't even touch on my protestations to get push scooters approved, or my pleas to allow me to open a super, super, ghetto, and scary area of the mission for sister missionaries. Let's not forget the time I was motioning to him during a talk he was giving in church to fix his tag because it was crooked. Or the time he gave me good news over the phone and I screamed in excitement right into his ear.
There are many small side conversations him and I had that really influenced me, no matter how strange they must've seemed to him.
Think of all the stories he and his wife have.
Think of all the missionaries they presided over.
Think how many bizarre missionaries like myself they had to deal with.
Think how much love they had.
Think how many people they influenced.
Despite my weirdness, I am so grateful they were patient and loving with me, because through that patience and love, both  taught me so much that I know nobody else could. They truly exemplified the Savior.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Good morning, Awkward

Hello my friends!

Now, a couple weeks ago, I posted a story about the very first morning with one of my companions. We got off to a really weird and awkward beginning.

Well, if we're being honest here, that companionship? We got ourselves into WAAAAY too many awkward moments. It was hysterical, really. Sure, missions in-and-of themselves are awkward, and I had had QUITE a few of those awkward moments. But for some reason, this companion and I got ourselves into more awkward moments in a such a short amount of time than I had my whole mission.

Since last time I talked about our first morning together, I find it appropriate that I talk about our last morning together, because it was just as awkward, and made a pretty good story, too.

We had gotten calls a few days earlier finding out that my companion would be moving areas, and I would be staying and receiving a new companion. Our instructions were, the day that everyone would have to move, we would meet up with the elders (male missionaries) at 6:45 in the morning, and drive to Utica; the central location for all the missionaries that were leaving.

We talked to the elders the night before to confirm plans.

"Okay, so we'll meet you at the church at 6:45?" they asked us.

"Yes." we responded.

"You PROMISE us you'll be there then?"

"YES! We PROMISE! We wont be late!"

My companion and I crawled into bed that evening, setting our alarm clock for 5:50 a.m. Too early for my taste, but what could you do?

As with every other night on the mission, I was so exhausted that I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Before I knew it, I was waking up to the gasp of my companion. Still groggy, I opened my eyes. . . to hear her say, "SISTER STIMPSON. IT'S 6:40 RIGHT NOW."

Instantly, I shot out of bed. Probably within thirty seconds, I had changed into a dress, and as my companion changed, I was throwing her bedding into a suitcase.
As she continued to quickly get ready for the day, I dragged her suitcases towards the door and frantically called the elders.


"Uh, hey guys! So, uh, you know how we promised you we'd be there on time? Well, we woke up at 6:40, so we're gonna be late, BUT DON'T WORRY! We'll ALMOST be on time! OKAY SORRY BYE!"

I hung up, and began to throw on some makeup as my companion finished gathering the last of her unpacked items.

Probably about a minute later, the elders called back. I grabbed my companions last suitcase with one hand and dragged it to the door, and answered the phone with the other.

"HELLO." I said.

"Yo." they replied.


"No." the responded.

"Okay, so, we woke up at 6:40, so we're going to be late. But don't you fret, because we are on our way now. So we will ALMOST be on time!"

"Wait, you woke up when?!" he asked.

"6:40. I am so sorry! But we're on our way!"

That was a half lie. Dragging her suitcase to the door was kind of on our way . . . to the car . . .

"Sister Stimpson."

"What?" I said frantically.

"It's 5:50 right now."

I stopped dead in my tracks. I looked at the clock hanging above our desk. Sure enough. 5:50.
A second later, the alarm went off on our phone. I quickly hit dismissed, dropped the suitcase, and said, ". . .I hate my life."

"What is it?!" my companion asked, one shoe on, the other one in her hand.

"Sister . . . it's 5:50."


She looked at the clock, and saw what it said. She then stormed, furious, back into the bedroom, flopped down on her bed, and yelled angry things into the pillow.

I put the phone back up to my ear.


"Yes?" he responded, sounding fairly amused.

". . . we are most definitely going to be on time."

And that we were. We were also accompanied by a series of laughs and questions from the elders.

"How did you guys think it was that early, anyway?" asked an elder.


"Did you not look at the clock when you woke up, Sister Stimpson?!" one asked.



"Cause I already knew I was late. There's no sense in looking at the clock if you're late. It's not gonna speed you up - it's just going to stress you out. So if I know I'm late, I just hurry."

"That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard."

I scoffed and said, "Okay. Let me know how on time you are when you're already late and keep checking the clock."


"I know."

And, as awkward as my time with that companion started was, it ended just as awkward. Though I have to say, thanks to the people I served around, it was one of the best times I could ask for.

Have an awkward day, everyone.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Real Time With Camilla: Episode 2

Occasionally, I like to just write down my thoughts and feelings about life, like most bloggers do. But, I hate reading those kinds of blogs, so generally I don't write them.

However, I've made a few observations about my future career that I wanted to express, because A) There's a lot of awkwardness behind them and B) I don't know. I felt like it.

So, without further ado . . .

Welcome to Real Time With Camilla: Episode 2: My Thoughts and Feelings of Being a Journalist in Training.

For Episode 1, please see this. Although it's WAY more serious than this one.

I guess you can say I'm a journalist in training. Yes, I have a LOT to learn and a lot more experience to gain, but I still have some baby experience with journalism that really has opened my eyes for whats ahead in the future. Recently, I've noticed some trends that seem to keep reoccurring throughout my history of being a journalist in training.

I suppose I've been "in training" since my senior year of high school, when I was on the journalism and yearbook staff. From there, I took many journalism course every single semester to get more experience. My second year of college I was on the school newspaper. And now, I write for a marketing team. From the time I was 17, I have been telling people I want to be a journalist.

Throughout all of these jobs and tasks, I've seen these reoccurring patterns of a "journalists" life:

1. People either flee from you, or flee towards you.

Journalists don't usually blend in. Who else walks around with a notebook, pen, and some sort of recording device in hand? Maybe a detective. But if you think about it, journalists are a different type of detective.
So, right away, people know you're . . . up to something. 
And that's when they decide what to do with you. Generally, there are two types of people:
A)Those who flock away from you before you have a chance to hunt them down
B) Those who want to make their presence known and run towards you.
So who are these two types of people?
Well, let's start with Group B.
Group B: With my experience they're, well, generally the people you don't actually want to talk to. They LIKE publicity, which is good! . . . they're just usually really weird, too. They remind me of those attention seekers in class who just want to get noticed, so they answer most questions with an answer that's totally and completely wrong or just flat out bizarre. . . but they got what they wanted! Attention.
And then there's Group A.
Group A: These people flee away from you. This usually occurs after you cornered one of their friends. They take advantage of you being distracted and just RUN. Generally, they're the people you actually want to talk to. They're just uncomfortable with it, which I get. It's not a comfortable situation to be standing there with a recorder in your face while you answer questions you were NOT prepared to be presented with. (For the record, it's not very comfortable being on the other side of the recorder, either.)
To these people: Chill. It's really okay.
Especially when it comes to a school newspaper or something. We're not CNN. We're not here to make you look stupid. We're both feeling uncomfortable right now, so embrace it.  All we want is a good, intelligent quote from you that we can use in our article. And that's all. No big deal.
So chill.

2. People have very skewed visions of who journalists are.

Which is sad, really, but I do get where they're coming from.
Allow me to get on my soap box, which seriously? I NEVER DO THIS PUBLICLY.
I can't tell you HOW many times people have rolled their eyes and scoffed at me for my career of choice, and have said something along the lines of "all journalists being biased" and that they "never report the truth."
What have I noticed about this? Generally, those who think that, don't like the truth. Or, they're watching/reading the news with a particular biased in mind.
I could seriously give you a HUGE rant about how journalists handle biased and seriously, for the most part, they do a good job of dealing with it. But I'm not going to cause I doubt any of you care. But if you do, just google "transparency vs. objectivity." and that'll give you some answers.
So I will leave it at this:
Oh, the truth doesn't fit your own personal biased and beliefs? So sorry. Cry me a river, build a bridge and get over it. Accept that life just ain't fair. 
Thank you.
Oh? Also? T.V. shows portray journalists to be absolute idiots or complete jerks. Just know that in real life, journalists generally DON'T break the law to get a story.

3. Your awkward moments are really, truly recorded for you to blush at for years to come.

So . . . one question that's required to start out with is always asking the person how to spell their name. My first journalism teacher POUNDED this into our head. It's EXTREMELY important that journalists spell names right.
I remember sitting in the 6:30 a.m. class, third row, as he would howl, "I DON'T CARE IF THE NAME IS BOB JONES. YOU NEED TO ASK THEM HOW TO SPELL IT!"
Now that in-and-of itself is a pandora's box for weird looks.

Me: How do you spell your name?
Person: It's Jake Smith.
Me: So . . . Like . . .
Person: Jake. Smith.
Me: J-A-K-E, S-M-I-T-H?
Person: . . .yeah. . .

Feeling stupid level: exceeded.

I've been working on a less-stupid way to approach this, but let's be real here. Smoothness is NOT my strength, and I really haven't found a good way to tackle it.

Now, the second very important question to always ask someone is the person's official job title, just to double check it's right for my article.
But then I run into this:
Me: Okay, and what's your official job title?
*Professor gives blank look*
Professor:  Um. I'm the head of the department.
Professor: . . . I'm a professor.
Me: . . . .COOL.
I find it's much easier to pull the "I'm a naive college student" card rather than explaining, "well, sir/ma'am, it's just procedure to insure that I refer to you with the correct job title cause sometimes your internet profile is not up to date or, in a crazy situation, you don't have an internet profile at all, or, in an even crazier situation, the internet profile you have was so obviously created by you and not a professional that it is absolutely blinding to look at because of how hideously made it is."
Naive card is so much easier.

Now you're probably all like, "Camilla, what does this have to do with your embarrassing moments being recorded?"
I record ALL of my interviews.
And listen to them MULTIPLE TIMES while working on stories. So I get to relive that uncomfortable moment over and over again and squirm each time I listen to it.
And sometimes I do embarrassing things DURING the interview.
One time I dropped the pen while interviewing someone. So, in the middle of the interview you hear *clink*
"Oh, shoot. Hold on a second. Just let me. . . *rustlerustlerustlerustle* THERE we go. Okay. What were you saying?"
"Uh. . ."

I've also realized just how obnoxious my laugh is. I've REALLY had to learn to control it, cause sometimes I'll laugh in the MIDDLE of a good quote. So then I'll have to slow down the recording and try to decipher what they were saying through my obnoxious haha's.
Let me tell you. My laugh slowed down? Sounds even weirder than my normal laugh.

I'm excited to see what the future holds for me, really. How many more embarrassing moments will I get myself into? How many more weirdos will I interview in the future? How many important people will I interview? Will I influence anyone?

Well. I guess time will tell. And in the mean time, I'll continue my training in becoming a journalist, and feeling like Rita Skeeter whenever I go out to interview someone and they run away from me.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Welcome to the Area

I recently took a trip back to upstate New York, where I served my mission. While I was there, I was able to visit one of my old companions, because she was working in an area I had worked in during my mission.

I visited her, as well as many other people I met during my time in that city. One of the families brought up my blog and we began talking about it.

"You know," she said to me, "Your companion told us a story about the first morning you were together. Why haven't you written on that?"

"Oh, crap. I forgot about that. That was pretty uncomfortable."

And so, here it is.

To fully understand and appreciate this story, it is important to understand the whole process and set up of a mission. If you are unfamiliar with the set up, please refer to my post on May 5th. Or, if you just need to feel better about your life by reading by far my MOST uncomfortable, embarrassing, awkward situation on my mission, and possibly my whole life, please refer to that story by clicking the big red "May 5th."
If that doesn't work, just know that I hate technology.


It was time that time of the mission: time for a change. After 7 1/2 months of being in the same city, I was told I would be moving to a city I had only heard about, but was not familiar with, to be with a sister I had only seen once before, but had never talked to and did not know.

I was sad, but I knew it was right, and I really didn't have a choice otherwise.  And so, I went.

It was a two hour drive to the central location where all the missionaries moving would meet up. From there, it was another three hours to the area I was assigned to. I was packed into a van with 5 other missionaries I knew. They crammed our suitcases in between us like a sardine can, and there we went.

I knew nearly all the missionaries I was in the van with, and one of them knew the sister I would be serving with.

"What's she like?" I asked him.

"She's great. Very obedient. Passionate. She wears tights no matter what the weather," he responded.

"Okay," I said, still nervous and sad to be leaving the area I was familiar with. "All I know is that she has pretty hair."

". . . I can't really be the judge of that." he responded uncomfortably.

It was late in the evening by the time we got to the area and I met my companion. We talked. It was chill. But two hour later, we were crawling in bed and falling asleep.

The next morning. 6:24 a.m.

We crawled out of bed, said our prayers, and then it was time to exercise.

"So, I like running, but my previous companion wasn't the biggest fan." she said to me.

"Well, I don't mind running. We can go, if you want. " I responded.

It's true. I don't do it as often as I should, but I really don't mind running. I always feel great afterwards, and once I get going, I quite enjoy it.

"Really?!" she responded excitably.

"Yeah." I said, still groggy and really not understanding how anyone could be that chipper in the morning.

"Okay! I'll get my running shoes."

We both put on our running shoes, and took off.

The air was cool and sticky. Still waking up, I jogged next to my companion. It felt great! It had been MONTHS since I had run this long and this hard!

We ran through a few neighborhoods. I was feeling pretty good and then . . .

Side ache.

I gripped my side, and slowed down to a walk. My companion still had plenty of energy, so in order to stay near me, she ran in zig-zags in front of me. Up and down the street she went, zig-zagging. The pain in my side would not go away.

Oh, I was not going to be like this. I was young! I needed to get in shape, pronto!

So, despite my ribs and lungs yelling at me, I began running again.

We left the neighborhoods and went to a main street, my companion not tired at all, and me feeling like a fat kid who had just eaten a pound of cake. My ribs still screamed at me, but I refused to be held back by them.


We crossed the street and entered into another set of neighborhoods. And that's when it really hit me.

It had been MONTHS since I had run this long and hard. I was not in shape in the slightest, and here I was, making my body run on an empty stomach while half asleep . . . BY MY OWN FREE WILL. Not to mention the fact that my finger was in a ginormous bandage. (That's a story for another time.)

I not only began to sweat, but I began to be shaky, and I could feel the color draining from my face.

"I'm . . . I'm gonna walk," I said to my companion, gripping my side.

"Okay." she said, taking off in her zig-zag up and down the street thing.

I began to walk slower than molasses, my entire body shaking. I felt so weak and so nauseous. Sweat was pouring down my face. My ribs were still screaming at me.

We turned the corner, and I walked pathetically over to some random person's front lawn. My legs gave out, and I collapsed helplessly on their grass.

And promptly threw up. Right in this person's front yard.

Then I just completely gave up on this whole running thing and laid completely flat in the grass, gripping my retainer in my hand which I managed to take out before I threw up.

My companion raced over to me and said, "Oh my gosh are you okay?!"

"Yeah. I mean . . . I just I threw up." I groaned.

She was quiet for a moment, then said, ". . . We can walk from here."

And that was how the relationship between me and this sister I didn't really knew began to grow.

From throw up.

Have an awkward day, everyone.