Sunday, March 31, 2013

Facebook Fasts and Other Experiments in Going Without

I just have to say how much I have loved being home. Being home fills me with gratitude  I feel so loved and supported and it's just the greatest. I'm heading back to school tonight and wishing I had more time at home. But I'll have a full 2.5 months this summer and I'm sure that'll be way too long. Anyway.

So a few things happened right after I got my call. For one, I stopped sleeping. Case and point, this post was originally drafted at 4:30 am last week. Me not sleping actually started right before I got it, but it's gotten worse since. I just can't get to sleep until 3 or 4. Then I get up at nine, sleep through bio lecture, and fail quizzes. So that's bad. Another thing is that I'm distracted all the time. Everyone told me school would be harder once I had a call. And I was like, "no, that's silly, why would that be?" and then I got my call and proved them all right. It somehow just got infinitely harder to do homework. I do my mission prep super seriously and really focused. But work - even little work like readings - is an uphill battle. I've never been one to struggle with time management, but all of a sudden, it's hard for me.

I've decided these things are not going to work well, and that I really do want to stick to my goal of a 4.0 this semester, so I'm going for an April that I've titled "Facebook Fasts and Other Experiments in Going Without". I'm going to cut wasted internet time out of my life. I've blocked facebook, hulu, and netflix, and deleted my instagram, pinterest, and facebook apps on my phone for a month. Which means that if I'm on my computer or my phone, it's for something necessary (or vaguely necessary . Like talking to people or writing a paper or blogging (can't give up everything). I'm unplugging.

I was off facebook for most of my senior year. It was good for me. I think social networking makes me more judgmental and I'm working really hard to become less judgmental  Plus tv is a waste of time. I have to read 18 months worth of books between now and July 31. I don't have time to watch all seven seasons of Sabrina the Teenage Witch (because that happened, and it was embarrassing). And I can keep in touch with people without facebook. I'm sure of it.

So the big change starts tomorrow. I think I might go through withdrawals. We'll see. Wish me luck.

I feel liberated already. Phew.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Second Spring Break

So yesterday, I woke up to snow, which did not make me very happy. What made me even less happy was seeing online that the temperature was 18 degrees in Kiev. So happy spring to me. I'm going to buy a new (warmer) winter coat.

The good news is that second spring break - also known as Hannah skips two and a half days of school to go home, but commonly referred to as second spring break - starts tomorrow! I'm super pumped. It'll be a few days at home to gear up for the rest of the semester. Because one spring break didn't cut it for me. I get home Wednesday night, and I'm taking the Sunday night leaves-at-midnight redeye back to Swat. Which, if you do the math, means I get four whole days at home.

I think that's about right for a second spring break. It'll be nice to be at home and to bake in my own kitchen and go on pioneer mission clothes shopping sprees with Judy and go to breakfast at Ruth's diner with Lorin and do something with Sam. Plus I'll get to visit my favorite Starbucks, and my favorite BYU students, and my favorite mountains and my other favorites at home.

In other news, today Christy and the kids (aka my darling three little cousins) flew into Baltimore to spend the week with Christy's family (because naturally the weekend I come home, they had tickets booked to come out here). So I hopped on a bus to Baltimore to go see them and have dinner. Which was incredibly awesome. I love my family. Lucky me.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Lazy Weekends

I feel like I have failed at school this week. I really wanted to succeed, but I didn't quite manage to. I did a little work here and there, but I just felt so distracted. I did manage to do a full hour mission prep a day (finished New Testament!), so I felt good about that. Also, I'm taking back my promise not to turn this into a mission blog, because that is all that is on my mind ever. I promise to try to tune it back a little bit though. I'll try not to be horribly obnoxious. K? Deal.

Last night my favorite friend Winnie and I had a sleepover. Winnie's roommate ended up taking this semester off, so Winnie now has a giant single with an extra bed, making it the ideal room for sleepovers. Last year, I think Kat and I had sleepovers more weekends than we didn't (except for that two month period when I was super grounded). It was kinda super fun to have a sleepover again. We even did "final thoughts" and everything. 

Also yesterday, I had a comfort food dinner. I had a little money left over from my Florida trip budget, so we went down to the co-op - aka the close grocery store that is the local version of whole foods - and bought strawberries and crackers and three different kinds of cheese. And that was dinner, which was fabulous, because sometimes you just need to have food like that. Actually, yesterday was all kinds of perfect. It was so perfectly chill. 

On a related note, I'm learning how not to be a vegetarian. It's a bummer, because I really like being vegetarian, and it's not that hard, but Ukraine is not a very vegetarian-friendly country, so I'm gonna have to start eating meat, and the sooner I start the easier it'll get. So far I've managed chicken and turkey. It's not so much that meat tastes that gross, it's just that it's mentally hard to be like "okay, I know what this meat is, and I will eat it anyway." But I'm working on it. I'm shooting for eating meat once a week. Maybe I'll get up to twice a week! Red meat is going to be really hard. I just can't think about it. 

Anyway, study break's over. Back to school work. I'm going to be a better student today. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

In which I start learning Russian.

Seriously though. I'm embarrassingly proud of this. If you call me, this is how I will answer the phone.

Only 9,998.5 hours of Russian practice left!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Cестра Pugh

That's how you say "Sister Pugh" in Russian, which is important, because I'm going to the UKRAINE KIEV MISSION. I leave on July 31. And I literally could not be more excited.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Magpie Nest

When I was 7 or so, Lorin cut down a large section of the scrub oak in our backyard to make room for one of those fancy treehouse/backyard playthings for me and Sam. It's a cool one, with a tire swing, a slide, monkey bars, a rock climbing wall, a fireman's pole, a zip line, and a good hiding place for eating popsicles in summertime. Anyway. When he cut down the scrub oak, one of the trees had a magpie nest in it. It was intricately woven and incredibly sturdy. But what I remember most about it was the random things that were incorporated into it: a yellow game piece, a popsicle stick, some hairs from our horses's tails. Such random things. Tonight, my brain feels like a magpie's nest. With random things thrown together. Here are some of the things in my nest:

My parents are in Hawaii (because when you're 71 and retired why not send your son to the neighbors for a week and head out) and its funny to be 6 hours time change apart from them. Time change always makes people feel far away. I think because it's the biggest blockade to communication. I went to call them this morning to check on something, but I realized it was still 6am there. Weird. I remember the summer I went to Vienna - at one point I was in Europe and Kat was in Hawaii and we were 12 hours apart. It felt so far.

I'm feeling a little sad that I didn't make it home for spring break. I think I'm going to come home sometime in the next couple weeks. It just feels like I've been gone for a long time. I just want time to hang out with my family at my house. And I wouldn't have to miss that many classes. It can happen. It will happen.

I've been writing and revising poems up the wazoo. One of these days I'll post one. Being in a poetry class has me thinking about language all the time again. It's funny how as soon as I start writing consistently, language becomes a huge part of my world. I notice more the range of words that people use when they speak and that my history textbook uses to explain suffrage and that Bradford uses to describe "savages". It's just incredible to me the infinite ways language works. And it's incredible how beautiful tidbits of language are all over my world. I just have to keep my eye out for them.

Here's one I've been sitting on: "the advantages of having an anus are obvious". My professor gave us that quote in bio lecture. It's from a super fierce female biologist from back before it was okay for women to be scientists. I've been waiting to see if it will spawn a poem. Even if it doesn't, I sort of love it.

I love the rhyme of sunrise and brine flies.

I'm still celebrating the perks of being an English major. I love English. I love that I get to spend undergraduate studying it, but that I can still find ways to eat later in life.

I'm at my friend/roommate's beach house on the Jersey Shore (but the classy part - classy with a K and an I E!). It's just been lovely. There are sea shells all over this beach. And because it's March, it's thick-fleece-on-the-beach weather, which I think might be the best kind of beach weather. And the house has an incredible view of the sea. Oh, the sea. I really love being near it. I forget just how much I love it until I there. When I grow up, I'm going to live near an ocean. The ocean is one of those things that "fills up my bucket" (as Alex would say). Maybe I'll have to live in the Hawaii condo. There are worse things.

Happy clam at the beach

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Throwback Thursday

Yep, we're doing it. My friend Krystle from over at Harley and Jane wrote this post about their trip to Italy that summer in Vienna. It made me feel a little nostalgic, so I read some of my Vienna blog. I haven't visited that thing in a longgggg time. It was SO fun to go back. I'm feeling a little nostalgic. I'm so glad I wrote that blog. I remembered all these wonderful details of things I'd forgotten. I can't believe how incredibly unprepared/over my head/straight up stupid I was (how did I not get raped and murdered?) I can't believe that it's been almost three years. Now all my friends from the trip are married/engaged/have kids. And I'm doing my freshman in college thing. How funny. Anyway, here's a reblog about doing laundry.


Frau does laundry on Mondays. "Does Laundry" means that she throws everything we give her in the washing machine. Needless to say I don't have any clothes that are really white anymore. When it's done she pulls it out and puts it in a bucket. It sits in that bucket until we come home that night and hang it up on clotheslines in the attic.

I needed to do laundry today. I'm leaving tomorrow and have a weeks worth of dirty clothes that I need to take with me. I couldn't do it at home for two reasons: 1) asking Frau if I could do a load of laundry would be suicide and 2) it wouldn't be dry in time anyway. So I decided to go to a laundromat.

I arrived at Clean & Green with no idea what I was doing. I walked around the small room with 14 washers/dryers and asked everyone "Sprechen Sie English?" "Nein". Okay great. I walked to the computer where you pay and started fumbling. Finally a group of 3 men came up and took pity on me. The leader of the band communicated that I had to put my clothes in a machine that was apparently a washer. Then another helped me pay on the computer. Then the last one pointed to his box of soap. I don't have laundry soap so I told him "Ich habe nicht". He then opened the washing machine and put some of his in. The leader came back to turn a few knobs and my clothes were being washed.
The leader tried to strike up a conversation.
"Me? Oh no. Ich komme aus Amerika."
He pointed to himself and his crew"Macedonia"
"Oh that's really cool! Sprechen Sie Deutsch?"
I laughed very loudly. We really had no way to communicate.

The Macedonians laundry were finished. They headed out the door but before leaving each one kissed me on the hand and said "ciao". Ciao back at you Macedonian men.

My laundry finished and I had to conquer the dryer. This time I was on my own. I put my wet laundry in the dryer. I went to the computer and started pushing buttons. I put some money in. I pushed the power button on the dryer. Nothing. So I went back to the computer and pushed more buttons. I pushed the power button again. The dryer started to rumble. And so I had conquered the laundromat.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Update from Spring Break Land

So I'm writing this in a 110 minute line at Harry Potter world. Worth it? I think yes.

I'm on a seriously wonderful spring break trip to Orlando with two of my favorite Swat friends. Probably the most wonderful part is that I'm wearing shorts and a tshirt and my Chacos. Warm weather is my favorite. And we've been up to fun things. We did sea world on Saturday (Shamu is actually pretty cool, who knew?), and Disney World/Magic Kingdom yesterday (which brought back my childhood but also made my feminist senses tingle in rage) and today is Harry Potter world, which is shaping up to be awesome and totally worth the line. Also, sleeping in a hotel bed is incredible because I'm pretty sure the mattresses at Swat they bought second-hand from the prisons.

I celebrated the existence of break by reading the Hunger Games trilogy in 2.5 days. It was not well written, but I'm okay with that, because it was lovely to get sucked into a story for a while. I rarely read books for plot these days, and sometimes - like after a busy week at school - it's the best. Also, I can't get over how well cast JLaw was in that movie. And I'm not just saying that because she's probably the second-most incredible woman alive (Hillary is obviously number one).

Oh! Also in the news is that my mission call has been assigned! We went on "it's a small world" yesterday and I literally almost threw up I got so excited/nervous. Every time a new (fairly offensive) representation of a country came on I was like "I could go there! Or I could go there! Or I could go there!" I'll get to actually open my call a week from today. Good thing I have theme parks to keep me entertained until then.

Sorry, I know I promised not to turn this into a missionary blog, but that's pretty much the only thing on my mind.

Anyway, I'm about to go into Hogwarts, so I guess I'd better sign off. I'll let you know how the butter beer is.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pump Up

I get into I-don't-want-to-do-school funks. It's those weeks when I just want to sleep and read novels and watch movies, but instead I have to go to class and do the readings and write papers. Actually, one of my happiness project goals was to not whine about the privileges I have. Sometimes I get hit in the head with the whole "my parents are paying for me to get this awesome education and I'm whining because I can't skip class without my professor noticing" thing and I just feel so incredibly guilty. So I've been working on being grateful for school and not complaining about the work.

Nevertheless, I have hours/days/weeks when work makes me want to hide under the covers. However, I've found that the best way for me to counteract that is some good old fashioned feminism. I know, it sounds dumb. But it's actually highly motivating. It's my version of pump-up music. I read some essays or articles or books, watch some interviews or documentaries, and I'm all fired up to work and succeed because damnit the fight's not over.

Last week, I was stressed about/not wanting to write these 3 papers I had due this week. (Let's take a moment to celebrate that I've since finished them and am all done with work, hello sping break and hello FLORIDA). So Friday night, before I'd even started writing these papers, I put off work to spend 3 hours watching this new PBS documentary about women in America. It's embarrassing how much it motivated me. I finished it and I was just like Yeah, I can do that! I'm going to write my history research paper and my bio report because I want to succeed because I love feminism. I know, it's not a totally logical train of thought, but it never fails to pump me up. I think it's just seeing these incredible women that literally changed the country and wanting to be like them. Their lives are just so driven towards a goal. I want my life to be like that.

Also, feminism reminds me how much women haven't won. Yes, the world is kinder to women now that it has been, but it's not equal yet. Not by a long shot. I think there's another wave of feminism stirring. And I'm going to be part of it.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Logistics

So, first, thanks everyone for the myriad of supportive emails and texts and calls. Once again, it's been affirmed that I do, in fact, have the best people in my life. I expected people to be nice, but I didn't expect everyone to be this incredible. Also, I think a special shout out goes to Kat for being the best. I love that every time someone asks me, "So how does Kat feel about this?" (because a surprising of people asked me that), I get to say, "She's really happy for me and she's been incredibly supportive."

A ton of people asked me about the logistics of this whole mission thing, so I figured I might as well write a post about it. (I promise I am not turning this into a missionary blog!)

1. My availability date is June 26. This also happens to be my 19th birthday. Good thing it's a Wednesday. On my form (and my bishop's form and my stake president's form), I wrote that I need to leave by July 17, in order to be back for spring semester 2015. So hopefully, I'll be leaving somewhere in that window.

2. My papers went in on February 26. So, according to Lorin's friend at the missionary department, assuming all goes right, my call will be issued March 7th or 8th, mailed on the 12th, and arrive sometime that week, WHEN I'LL BE IN FLORIDA FOR SPRING BREAK. Which means I'll probably get to open it on March 18th. The waiting game is on.

3. I'm planning on coming back to Swat after my mission. In fact, I'm planning on being back in time (even if it's by the skin of my teeth) for spring semester 2015, which starts on January 19. Between my extra class this semester  and my AP credits, I'm on track to be able to graduate in 7 instead of 8 semesters. So I should just graduate a year late. I'm good with that.

4. I've been going to the Philadelphia YSA ward, and let me tell you, it's an awesome ward. It's mostly students from the schools around here - Bryn Mawr, West Chester University, Temple, Drexel, and Penn - but there are also some real adults. I've got some really good friends in the ward, and it's just been great.

5. Since "announcing" this, I've realized that many people expected I'd be some sort of off-the-deep-end mini-alcoholic by now. Isn't this a nice alternative?