Monday, December 15, 2008

B-Y-U've Treated Me Well

Christmas is just around the corner (woo hoo!) and this time of year I always find myself feeling sentimental. Perhaps more this year than any other because I am leaving the life I have known for four and a half years behind.

I can remember my very first day of school in the Summer of '04. So many fears, hopes, nerves, and expectations filled my 18 year-old round-faced chubby head. I reminisced tonight with my freshman year roommate about how different our lives were just a few FAST years ago. She returned last week from a mission, I am graduating, and our original group of friends have all but vanished into their own lives of careers, marriage, and children. To know then what I know now....

But each year of college I can think of a few defining moments that has helped shape my current outlook on life. Here are the highlights:

Freshman Year: I took a Career Development class, which is supposed to help undecided undergrads find their major. For the final, each student has to stand in front of the class and declare what they want to do for their career and the reasoning why. Well, this sweet girl who I sat next to the entire semester stood and said something like this:

"I am smart. I get good grades, but I just am not loving college. I have always loved doing hair, and I know it may be looked down upon by university students, but I have decided it's what will make me happy. So as scary as this might be for me to tell my parents; I think I am going to try to go the hair school route. I just want to do something I enjoy. Okay?"

Last winter I went to my normal hairstylist for a trim, and who do I see there cutting hair about two booths down from me?? Yep, you guessed it. The girl from my Career Development class, who dropped out, went to hair school, and looked genuinely happy..... I am pretty positive she made the right decision.

Sophomore Year: Grounds Crew. Enough said. The biggest character building period of my life. Ever. I needed a job, and learned the hard way (for me). While the job was exhausting, humiliating, and difficult, I sincerely LOVED my co-workers, and grew to love landscaping. I can now mow a very straight lawn can I just say. But this opened many doors for me; among them a very stable and fabulous Research Job on campus which has carried me through the last 3 1/2 years.

Junior Year: Sam Nielsen. My little bro came up to BYU at the perfect time. I had just moved into a new apartment with random (and interesting) roommates. But nearly every weekend he and I would go up to Salt Lake together to visit family. And then we would meet on campus for lunch. And oh yeah, it was just me and him as he opened his mission call at my apartment... And I got to go to the MTC to drop him off. A week before he left on his mish, we got in the biggest argument we ever had while in my car. I felt sick to my stomach for three days. His first week in the MTC he sent me the sweetest note/apology ever written. I still read it to this day. He gets home in T minus one month. He truly was a blessing for that semester we were together, and an even greater blessing as he rocks his mish. Love him.

Senior Year: As a reporter for BYU Daily News I have been given some profound and not so deep stories to cover. But last winter, going to the Utah Army Base for a soldier deployment goes down as one of the most emotional experiences in my life. I cannot write or say with words what it was like to witness the farewell of 300 soldiers from their families on their way to Iraq. "Heart-wrenching" is the best I can think of. Even thinking of it now, makes me feel a little foolish for my selfish worries and complaints of late.

I am in the midst of finishing my LAST school project as I finish this blog, and the emotions are mixed. Relief, anxiety, sadness, excitement are all mixed together. But hey BYU, we had a good run right??? You've taught me well. Brought some amazing people in my life. But now this Coug is moving on... and I will let you know where I'm going when I get there.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

No More Lemonade

Citrus is in season I know, but today I am just sick of taking the lemons in my life and making lemonade. Let me just surrender to the sharp, sour, and painful taste of those ever prevalent little yellow fruits of hell. And can I just be bitter for one day???

Without giving too much detail... let's just say life is a roller coaster; for everyone. I think I am riding through the lows, and wishing the train would move a little faster back up. These last few weeks have felt like a ticking time bomb to a COMPLETELY UNCERTAIN future. But that's not the real lemon in my life...

It's Guilt. Guilt about being flaky with friends, guilt about not working enough, guilt about waking up late, guilt about my car getting towed, guilt about not eating healthy, guilt about not being completely honest with my feelings, guilt about missing my holiday work party, guilt about not working hard enough to find a job, guilt about never writing my brother on his mission, guilt about EVERYTHING I buy, guilt about how behind I feel in life compared to my sisters, guilt about not asking for help when I need it, guilt about doing too little too late, and guilt for feeling guilty when I have SO MUCH to be thankful for.

I don't deserve the wonderful family, friends, and coworkers I have. They make my life fun, exciting, and always surprising. But just for now, let me go outside of the box and simply say, "I am frustrated with life." Okay.

There. I am done. Bitter Maddie vented and is moving on. Back to the same old shenanigans and belligerence tomorrow.

It's just that I am over the sweet taste of lemonade. Today I really wanted to bite into that lemon... and I did.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Indians and Pilgrims (well not quite)

I love Thanksgiving. Maybe because my one true love in life just happens to be food. And since I don't see that changing anytime soon, I am living up this holiday season and all of its calorie-laden glory. (I am hiding my scale till february.... seriously though)
But this Thanksgiving was extra special for me.
1. Because I was in Arizona
2. Because ALL of my fam was there (minus sammy on the mish)
3. We had some very interesting AND foreign visitors

My dad's job at Intel requires him to travel to India a few times a year, and in reverse a few Indian employees also travel to the states. Well, my dad being the guy he is, heard some of his Indian employees were in town over the holiday.... and so opened his house to them.

To be honest, despite initial apprehensions about our "exotic" friends, it actually turned out to be one of the nicest Thanksgivings we have had. The Indians struggled with our accents and we with theirs, they didn't eat any of the meat, and they seemed initially slightly uncomfortable in our house full of family and noise. But despite it all, conversations came easily, commonalities were found, and 6 Indians played RockBand and Basketball for the first time in their lives.

And while my family are no pilgrims, and these Indians were not the "Indians" in the American understanding of the word; Thanksgiving 2008 brought together two very different cultures and backgrounds on a historic day for the Nielsen Clan. And as we embarked on the monstrous task of Thanksgiving dishes, my mom noted, "That of all the Thanksgivings we have had, this will be one we will always remember."

And on this Thanksgiving I will remember and be thankful for two parents who believe in giving to more than just their family and friends. They see an opportunity to extend a hand and they do it. And now today, I feel like "thanks" just doesn't say enough.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Guilty Pleasures

Well in case you haven't met my new, hot, sex-on-a-stick boyfriend.... here he is:

Yep, Zac Efron, you may have heard of him. But seriously, let's not talk about how many times this 23 year-old has seen HSM 3. It's ridiculous! But sooo sooo good!

Sometimes I wish I were 16 again, when life's stresses seemed just a little less important than finding a career in 6 weeks, or figuring out what bleak middle-of-nowhere town you will choose to put down roots.... (and here's the kicker).... all by YOURSELF.

But that's why there are such things as Zac Efron, Gossip Girls, the Twilight Series, 32 oz. Diet Cokes, Conan O'Brien, Steve Nash, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Wendy's Chicken Sandwich meal, SATC, Costco clothes, Hot Tamales, Spider Solitaire, and a bazillion other things that can almost make me forget I am a real adult with real issues... or at least I'd like to think I am.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Very Merry Unbirthday to Me

I have been calling today "Black Tuesday" for the last month as I knew it was approaching. This is the first time I have dreaded a birthday, and I have no idea why! I told people to send me condolences, rather than happy birthdays. I left Provo for the day just so I could avoid any unnecessary birthday hoopla. I even took the year of my birth off my facebook profile so people wouldn't know that I am... wait.... gasp.... ahh.... TWENTY THREE.

But today has been anything but black. I wore my fave white shorts, and bright pink shirt, and put on a smile that actually made me believe today should be happy! And as I blew out the candles on a delish ice cream cake with my two little cousins.... I realized this is what I wanted.

Just some good family, an adorable cake, and some new spanx from Target that make me feel 5 pounds thinner on my fat days. Life doesn't get easier than it is right now. And so it has been a very MERRY unbirthday for me.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

No Shame

I used to believe that blogs were only supposed to be used by married women with children. Their main purpose was to show off their adorable children, and the adorable activities and projects they do with their children. Well, I am neither married nor have children, but (dare I admit) I have a blog. This is mostly for me, but I figure it's a good way to keep family and some close friends informed on my extremely interesting (not) life. You don't have to read this, and I am not really sure what I will post... but here I am..... with no shame.