Welcome to America: Yes, I have gotten horribly lost. Already. Twice.

I didn’t check the time on Friday.  I slept in until 2 pm.  I’m pretty sure my daily Adventures involved trying to open a can of beans without a working can opener (this turned into a 15 minute, 3-person job) and rocking an hour-long game of Wizard.

If this is the “relaxing” thing all you kids have been talking about…I could get used to it.

We spent the day at a big cottage in the-middle-of-nowhere, Pennsylvania (est. never, really). These cottages, set up as retreats in the middle of state parks, cost about $80-100 a night and give you (in our case, at least) a monster of a house overlooking the lake. There was a full kitchen, beautiful wooden furniture, board games from the 80s, and (most importantly) this awesome lamp.

So, this is my selling feature. There's a reason I'm not a real estate agent. BUT ISN'T IT COOL?
So, this is my selling feature. I may not have future in real estate, BUT ISN’T IT COOL?

Frozen lakes are kind of boring to look at, but they’re definitely pretty.  I was really feeling the “peaceful” thing. I probably could have stayed there forever.


^nothing like that.

I think my parents were tempted to stay there, too, for fear of leaving if nothing else.  The drive in is currently being referred to as “Hell.”  “Hell” took us up and down steep mountains in a brutal snow fog.  For a good 30 minutes, my ears were popping (altitude problems) and my father was breathing out G-rated cuss words: FRIG.  FRICK. DANG. (Repeat).

Don’t worry, I evened the language score by referring to the cottage’s location as “a**-f**k nowhere”–which was totally allowed, because even though that phrase makes zero literal sense, it was (f**king) accurate.  Isolated was an understatement.  But I suppose that’s what gave the place so much charm once we arrived. (And yeah, yeah, I did just bleep out my own swear words on my own blog. Feeling dainty today.)

But Shauna! I thought you were going to DC to be a big strong, independent young professional! What’s with the stopover in a**-f**k nowhere? And why in the world are your parents in this story, risking their lives (slash being adorable)?

Well friends, it seems that where I come from, “Shauna’s moving to DC!” sounds a whole lot like “ROAD TRIP!!!”

I value my parents’ love of the family vacation much more now than I did back in the day.  This is mostly because “back in the day,” family road trips meant being strapped in the backseat with 3 dudes for an 8-hour showdown over whose turn it was with the Nintendo DS (“I don’t even want screens being used on this trip. This is ridiculous.” — Mom, every single time).  These days, the road trips are a “whoever wants to go, wherever we want to go” thing, and have more to do with taking a break from routine than corralling four kids. On Thursday, four of us (my parents, one of the middle brothers and I) packed into the car, crossed the border, shopped, chilled at a cottage, and generally burned time/midnight oil/gasoline until my moving day came.  January 5th.  The move in was quick and painless, which is something I have never been able to say before.  I was sad to see them go so soon, but it was amazing to have the company en route.

…and to have a day to relax, which I totally did, contrary to my usual curse of not being able to. I even wrote half of this blog post by hand in a notebook on the cottage couch, because it just felt like the right way to do it in a place like that.

DSCN5687
Barefoot and everything. Kickin’ it old school.

Once I reached DC (yesterday), I wasted no time releasing my awkward self around town.  This is my first full day in the city, and I have already gotten horribly lost (Twice. I want you to look at a map of the lovely, grid-like DC and tell me if YOU could get lost twice.).  I have also already had a 3 hour political conversation with a Republican from Mississippi (we disagreed on most things, but we listened to each other and we both liked Football, so I think it worked out okay).  I also wore a t-shirt outside while everyone else had jackets on because it was 10 degrees and sunny and I’m Canadian, dammit.

With that, I think it’s fair to say: Welcome to America, folks!

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I Have Chosen My Word for 2013 (and it’s going to make for one interesting year)

I’ve been seeing a few 2013 “year in a jar” projects around the interknots.  It’s a super cool idea. Here’s how it works: You get a jar. You get pieces of paper. You proceed to write down things about your year as they happen (milestones, quotes, et cetra). You place these things in the jar. You read them at the end of the year…and hopefully, feel awesome about what you’ve done.

That’s the plan, anyways.

Coming soon to the jars: cool stuff.
Coming soon to the jars: cool stuff.

And so I made one. My friend Laura made one, too, since we were having a catch up night near the end of 2012.  We were armed with $2.00 jars from Wal-Mart, ribbon, sparkles, leftover craft supplies, and letter stickers.

Ah, letter stickers.  What have you done to me?

Short on inspiration (or maybe high on it, in a way) I messily spelled out the words 2013: HAVE AN ADVENTURE EVERYDAY. I stared at the word Adventure for a while. This was mostly because I was tired, but also because I like that word. I like it a lot.

This.
This.

And here is the part of the post where I declare my word for the year ahead to be “Adventure.” 

(I even have a fancy Adventure jar, so you know it’s legit.)

This, of course, makes HAVE AN ADVENTURE EVERYDAY more than just some adorable words on an adorable jar. This is a full-out goal; A messy, beautiful, terrifying, inspiring goal (<<adjective overload, my flowery friends).

My jar, I have decided, will hold Adventures. Not quotes, not cuteness.  This is purely business. The jar will be reserved for daily proof that I try new things, face fears, make friends, laugh hard, and love harder.  Because in the end, my goal is to wake up each morning, look the world in the eye, and say “What, Life? Yeah, I’d tap that.”

Fun fact: This was my desktop background for MULTIPLE years.  Inspiration, y'all.
How’s that for perspective? This was actually my desktop background for well over a year.

The way I see it, there are two necessary steps to fulfilling the HAVE AN ADVENTURE EVERYDAY goal:

1)      Do more Adventure.

2)      See stuff as Adventure.

The first one seems obvious.  Adventure involves a steady process of keeping your hands feeling dirty and your soul feeling clean. But it would be a mistake to underestimate the power of mindset.  Yeah, skydiving is an adventure. But so is reading an amazing new book. So is eating alone in a restaurant (It’s easy for some people. It terrifies the rest of us).  So is the epic quest for strength, grace and dignity in the face of disappointment—or even putting oneself in a position where disappointment can go down.

The way I see it (subject to change…as always, I am as fallible as it gets), every day has the potential to hold a badass story or two. Sometimes, adventures are right there, photobombing our lives.  Other times, we have to get off our butts and say “Yes” often enough to create them.  If I want to HAVE AN ADVENTURE EVERYDAY, I need to be active: move to DC, get out of the comfort zone, dance in the grocery store (in that order, probably).  But at the same time, I need to be calm enough to notice the adventures that find me.

That won’t always be easy. Actually, it’s supposed to be messy/beautiful/terrifying/inspiring, which really means that it can’t be easy. But In the end, I will hopefully have a jar stuffed with memories and a life stuffed with stories.  That qualifies as “worth it.”

January 2, 2013

Dear self this year,

Find adventure. Let adventure find you. And please, write it down when it does.

Sincerely,

A terrified little girl (aspiring to be: a terrified little girl doing cool stuff.)