HOW TO GROW A SAM (recipe)

by Sam(antha Renard)

★★★★★ rated 5 stars (see reviews)

Prep time: 20 years

Note: The 2020 Sam was unfortunately still warming in the toasty oven of <Pandemic Craziness>. She required another year to bake. Let’s try this recipe again, shall we?

What you’ll need:

  • A spotify premium account (download lots of indie music)
  • 5 cups of poetry books
  • Graph paper (she likes when her notes have a sense of order)
  • Sam. (You will need a vessel to pour her essence into)
  • A dash of confusion (and some indecision, maybe?)
  • Fuzzy sweaters, anything with stripes, many high-waisted jeans
  • Airheads xtreme sour strips, dried pineapple
  • A reusable bottle (she chooses to hydrate, rather than die-drate)
  • A guitar 🙂

What you do:

1. To grow a Sam, you will first need a warm, kinda dry California climate — preferably Los Angeles. Sams are grown in Sherman Oaks, near Los Angeles, and love to be surrounded by tall trees, glowing orange sunsets, and really cold pools of water. 

2. Add family. She’ll need three older brothers and two nieces to love and play Mario Kart with, as well as a Dad to make the best food ever, and a Mom that over-worries and probably over-loves. Her family will be kinda weird, but all families are — she’ll need these lovable folks to get her through hard times. Her family will supply her with all the books she could want, and provide her with endless markers and construction paper to craft birthday cards and origami bouquets out of. For your Sam to grow up big and strong, she’ll need her family to never fear showing her love and support — by growing Sam in this environment, she will only show love and support to her later friends. 

3. Teach her English! Sams always knew how to speak english, but to make your Sam especially Sam-like, she will need to develop an overwhelming love of putting her feelings into words. To help Sam, offer her with poetry books and ask her philosophical questions concerning how to be the best version of herself. Note: after asking such questions, allow Sam to chill in a nearby refrigerator and thaw with her thoughts. She will require marination in spices of curiosity, kindness, and complexity to produce juicy answers.

4. Show her some science! She’ll fall in love with research methods and spend her summers at UCSD, interning at molecular biology labs and growing corn (she can teach you about corn when she returns). Given time, the relationships she fosters with her teachers and community will make her feel whole. You will notice your Sam thrives in such environments where she experiences mutual respect and feels like she matters. She will work for her teachers in research positions, but she will also treat them like people — her favorite lessons will be taught by her teachers outside of the classroom. Maybe she’ll be a teacher someday. 

5. Sprinkle a dash of music. She’ll make a playlist for every month and ask you to listen to it and give her recommendations (but she may or may not take your recommendations; something has gone awry – she’s become incredibly stubborn). Given the opportunity, she will learn to play double bass and ukulele and insist she cannot sing even though she does it all the time when she’s alone (and she probably won’t think kindly of the author of this recipe exposing her like that). 

6. Add friendship. 5 cups. Wait…did you just dump the entire thing in?? The friends she’ll meet will be kinda weird, but she’ll be wholeheartedly in love with them, and she probably won’t shut up about them anytime soon — they make her life so wonderful. She will insist on traveling to Europe with them, planning murder mysteries, visiting amusement parks, wearing capes, dancing at pool parties, and obnoxiously singing anything Disney at any karaoke party. These friends are especially important to her development of gratitude skills. Every night, she will be so grateful for having these amazing people in her life that she will write down a list of why she’s happy. Her friends will know and love her and begrudgingly accept it when she decides she wants to record every waking moment of her laughter with them. You gave her a camera a while ago and now she keeps trying to take pictures of people smiling. 

7. Send to college far, far away, in the land of Massachusetts. By now, your Sam is ready to leave her home in California and tackle the East Coast. You’re sad to watch her go — California is deep in her blood by now, and the poor thing will be clueless when snow starts falling out of the sky — but you’ll encourage her to go, because both of you know that if she doesn’t leave California for college now, she’s never going to leave. 

8. Give her too many options. She’ll arrive at college, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, thinking she wants to double major in chemistry and philosophy, but she will discover her loves of English, German, Psychology, International Relations, Anthropology… oh no, you made Sam love too many things! She’s overwhelmed. Allow her to de-thaw for several months — college is confusing. She’s too indecisive for this. But at least the people and professors here are nice. She rather likes them, and she likes it here. 🙂

9. Show her the Camp Augusta Website. She’s confused – who is she? Who is randy? Who is narrating? What is life? What is camp? What are embers? What is this new world: Manzi Village? What adventures could be in store? She seeks to re-ground herself with nature, crafts, and campfires. In addition to studying chemistry and asking the biggest philosophical questions, she will spend her upcoming time studying the Augustan ways and testing her communication skills. At this point, your Sam is pretty sure of what she wants to do in life, and she’s getting really excited for the summer….

10. Uh, scratch that. Something’s gone wrong in the recipe… somehow there’s an Pandemic? Okay. This wasn’t part of the plan and honestly we didn’t account for this recipe, it was supposed to only take 19 years but now we’re looking at 20. I don’t think this is your fault. Remove your Sam from college — yes, I know she loves it there but she’ll be okay — the outside world is a bit too scary right now, but that doesn’t mean her inside world has to be scary! Return her home. Gosh, she missed her family more than she thought, didn’t she? 

11. Give her a break. She’s always doing so much – allow her the summer to learn to play guitar, braid hair, bake, surf, embroider, paint, and do calculus (she will hate calculus). Surround her with socially-distanced friends and take her on road trips, give her some new podcasts, and give her time to think about things… strangely, she actually enjoys this whole quarantine thing. She’s growing in all these cool ways and developing confidence. Your Sam has grown up a bit more this summer. She had really wanted to go to camp and she missed people she had never even really met, but she decided maybe this was for the best. She’s learned so much and she likes herself even better.

12. Send her back to college. I know they’ll take good care of her there… oh? She loves chemistry again? Wow, when did she learn to speak German so well? She’s making more friends, that’s good. She’s using all the stuff she learned back over the summer and she’s thriving. She’s now volunteering her time with tutoring, editing a culinary magazine, and watching silly movies with her suitemates. She sleds often, meets with professors too much, and really enjoys Biochemistry. She actually likes it so much that she barely notices the summer is fast approaching…

13. Say hi. She really wants to meet you, she’s been asking me about you all day (and all year, actually). She’s practically jumping up and down, knowing I’m typing to you. She keeps poking me trying to look through the computer — hold on, be right back — hey, would you please stop that? No, Sam, they can’t see you… stop trying to look through the computer, you can’t see them! That’s creepy! Stop! it! The shouting isn’t helping and quite frankly your excitement is distracting me right now. Oh gosh, I’m sorry love, I know you’re just really excited…we’re just going to have to wait for camp to start. Yes, I know 2020 happened and you missed camp and it was super disappointing! Yes…yes… hey, Sam, can we talk about the cute dog you saw a little later? I’m trying to write your staff bio! Is there anything I forgot to include? Okay… Sorry about that. Anyway. Yes. She’s quite excited. She really likes hugs but won’t hug you without consent and will do her best to respect your personal space and should actually probably reconsider the whole ‘hugging’ thing’… She really just wants to be your friend and she wants you to get psyched about this summer, which she knows will be the best one yet. 

14. Let her say thanks. Above all, Sam wanted me to include how much she appreciates your patience — it’s been a year, to say the least. She’s so grateful for another opportunity to be with you, and she’s even more grateful that this last year, no matter how weird it was, will make it so that we’re all the more grateful to be together now. 🙂