And we come to the final round. Some of these are pretty self explanatory bits of advice, and some of these are more broad sweeping values, both equally as important.
21. Proper grocery list writing.
Obviously, the correct way to write your grocery list is to write the items down in the order you will encounter them in the store. Otherwise, you get yourself confused, having to double back and whatnot. I’ve met people who don’t do this and I honestly don’t understand how they move through the store. Let me tell you that I am responsible for some EPIC trips to Costco throughout the academic year, and I can get 4 people with 3 carts in and out of that store in 45 minutes. Thanks mom.
22. How to eat like a Pennsylvanian.
This could also be called ‘Kristin’s favorite foods that people in California think are weird’ and a list would include Scrapple, Pigs in a Blanket (in cabbage!), Crab Ball, Gobs, Chip Chop Ham, Hoagies(just the word hoagie), Squirt, and Snyder’s BBQ chips. I love this part of our family culture, and if people don’t like it…more scrapple for me.
23. Shop, shop, eat. Shop, shop, eat.
When I was a kid, I went out Christmas shopping with my dad – probably relatively close to Christmas day, as we are both procrastinators. But I remember him giving me this speech about you should shop at a couple of places and then always get a snack. Repeat this cycle as necessary. At the time, I thought it was awesome because I probably got Mrs. Fields cookies out of the deal. Looking back though, he was clearly onto something – after a full day of shopping, I can be wiped out. Important to keep the strength up!
24. Always, ALWAYS write a thank you note.
The end. You write a thank you note when you get a gift. (Dad, one is in the mail for my birthday present!)
25. Going to the movies alone is great.
My mom goes to a movie by herself on the occasional Friday afternoon, and she loves it. You can sit wherever you want, you don’t have to share your popcorn, and you get whatever candy you pick. This is something she’s been doing awhile, so I think it’s pretty normal and I go to the occasional movie by myself for fun. It’s always interesting to tell people this and watch them be horrified – you do what?? Yep. You should try it.
26. Why not?
This isn’t something my dad says, it’s more of a lifestyle. He is the master of spontaneity. I used to tell people that if someone suggests something to do, a lot of people will ask ‘Why?’ but my dad responds ‘Why not?’ On any given weekend, he’s in New Jersey visiting family, in Happy Valley at a Penn State game, or in Charleston visiting his friends (see lesson #15). Now, over any given weekend, my inclination is to wear yoga pants all day, read a book and drink a pot or two of tea. However, I’m trying hard to shake off my initial reaction to invitations and say ‘Why not?’ more often.
27. Best pick-me-up ever.
Fountain coke over ice. The end.
28. How to score a baseball game.
When I was younger, my dad would occasionally wake me up, throw me in the car and make the 4.5 hour drive to Pittsburgh to see a Pirates game. If this sounds crazy, please refer back to lesson #26. At the games, I don’t particularly remember any food (unusual for me) but I do remember that we would buy a program and over the years, my dad taught me how to score a game. I won’t lie, I have demonstrated this skill as a party trick, or when I’m interacting with someone (usually a man) who thinks I know nothing about sports. In yo face! While baseball is not my favorite sport, I think these early experiences increased my appreciation for the game, which came in handy this year. Maybe you’ve heard, the San Francisco baseball team is pretty good.
29. An appreciation for Starbucks.
Look, judge us if you will, but my mom and I both love Starbucks. My mom taught me an appreciation of Starbucks the summer that I did an internship at NASA, and I drove in with her to work every morning. And every morning, we would pull off the highway at a certain stop to go to her favorite Starbucks, where they knew her and her drink (Venti 2% 8-pump vanilla latte people, get it right). And every morning, I got a drink of my own (usually Passion tea, hot or iced) and became hooked. While I know that folks have lots of opinions about Starbucks and it’s practices, I know that no matter what Starbucks I go to, my Earl Grey Tea Latte will be the same, and it will be tasty. There’s some comfort in that, and I appreciate it. [Also, I realized this year for the first time that the Starbucks holiday red cups come out on my birthday! The red cups make me really happy.]
30. What support looks like.
Obviously, this could be supported by my entire life story, but the examples that stick out the most are from my college years. When we were ‘college shopping’ and doing the campus visits, I had been on campus at Tech for…not long, when I told my parents that I wanted to go there. We hadn’t been on the tour, or heard a lot of substantial information, but they believed me. The next day, we were at JMU and halfway through the tour, I told them we could leave because I didn’t want to go there. And we headed back to the car. I think that support comes from both parties trusting the other. My parents trusted my judgement, and I trusted that they would hear me. After I started college, and decided to major in Sociology, all I ever heard was how they thought my major was a great fit for me. I never got the ‘What are you going to do with a Sociology degree?’ question, which I’ve come to realize is incredibly rare. I’m not sure if they were just trying to be supportive of my choices, or they really trusted that I would figure it out, but it felt great to have them in my corner in that way – I know that not all of my friends had that level of support. (Although when I discovered student affairs, I bet they were relieved!) Thank you for teaching me how to make good choices, and then supporting me in them.
Obviously, this list isn’t comprehensive, and I know I have lots left to learn. But I wanted to, publicly, say thank you for everything you’ve done for me. Thanks mom and dad
Thanks for reading everyone! I’m trying to post every other day this month – lots of adventures to post about.