A Few Fuck-Yous…


…Brought to you by international air and train travel.

1. Fuck you for wearing your skunk perfume on a plane (also on the train…I’m looking at you, passengers of renfe who showered in old man cologne). I’m glad you’re making an effort to smell good but we’re all hurtling through the sky in a coke can so everyone can smell everyone else a little too well and I will sneeze on you.

2. Fuck you for wearing your nicest heels and jewels through the security line. I’m glad you’re wealthy and old, but there’s really no reason to hold up the line with your nonsense just so you can stick your fake nose a little higher in the air.

3. Fuck you for looking nice on an airplane, honestly. This isn’t so much of a fuck you as it is a how is this possible? I look like a gremlin who was caught in a flood and a tornado and a hornets nest. It’s just rude to look so much better than me, and to make it all look so effortless. I’m wearing socks with sandals, goddamn it, because I’m tired, these shoes were too heavy to check through, and my toes get cold. I’m a wreck. This is a PSA.

4. Fuck the system. Or…yeah. Fuck this whole first class business class nonsense. I get it, because I, too, would like to actually be able to stretch my (very long) legs out whilst flying. But I can’t, because I don’t have money flying off of trees and landing in my wallet.

5. Speaking of first class, fuck the stupid curtain. “Okay so what we’ll do is take the rich people and put them up front and then keep the plebs away from them with a mesh curtain.”

6. Fuck airports that don’t have free unlimited wifi. Sorry I have a six hour layover and wanted to write on my laptop but only had 30 minutes to do it, JFK. Sorry. So sorry I refuse to pay $5 an hour for shitty wifi. On that note, fuck writing a blog post on your cell phone whilst using data.

7. Fuck. I’m so fucking tired. I’m in that mood where nothing matters so I don’t understand why people put any effort into anything non-essential. Also I broke a nail and I’m annoyingly emotional about it.

8. 12 hours down, 8 to go. There’s no place like home. Fuck everywhere else.

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holaaaaaa


sunset 9:12Here I am, sitting in the dining room of a small Spanish grandmother, looking at a silver plaque of “La Ultima Cena de Jesus” (The Last Supper) whilst a cool breeze blows across my shoulders. It’s bright out — surprisingly less humid than the past four days — and I can hear the neighbors chatting over the lazy sounds of the occasional car passing by. Concha (who, judging by the many many many depictions of Jesus around here, is Catholic) is in Jerez visiting her sister and has left us her home for the next few weeks. Here. In Cadiz, Spain.

It still doesn’t feel real, honestly, that I’ll be in this city for another two weeks before heading up to Barcelona, then to Brussels. My mediocre Spanish skills, however, are very real. I studied the language until I was 20, but that was four years ago, and it’s disappointing how little of it stuck. But every moment I spend here, with my brother-in-law’s family, I improve. It’s out of necessity, really, since their English skills are worse than my Spanish ones. It’s like everyone says: I understand much more Spanish than I can speak, which results in me understanding entire conversations but being able to add very little. If you didn’t know better, you’d think the only words I know are “sí” and “me gusta.”

I’ve spent two of the past four days at the beach. Or, more accurately, floating in the ocean for as long as I can until the sun sets and I get cold. I’m so used to the frigid waters of Pacific Ocean on the Oregon and Washington coasts, so actually getting in the ocean is such a treat, and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna waste it. It tastes sooo salty (fun fact: I got some up my nose and it hurt like hell but suddenly my sinuses were very clear, so there’s an upside to everything) but all that extra salt makes me buoyant, and I’m getting a kick out of watching the sun set over the Atlantic whilst I prop my feet up over the salt water. The sunsets here, y’all. The sunsets.

So much has happened, so here’s a synopsis: eggs, potatoes, smoked paprika, white fish, gelato, humidity, a store called la cucaracha, tinto de verano, mediocre (and shy) Spanish, broken English, beach, sunset, more beach, boats, more sunset, mangoes, more mangoes (fun fact: the mangoes they sell here are almost as good as the ones we bought off the street in India, but I think these come from Brazil), and just a touch of jet lag.

I’d forgotten how exhausting it can be to live in another country for a while, but I think my Spanish is improving daily and I’m honestly enjoying not really knowing what’s going on anyway. This entire world is catching fire (both literally and figuratively) lately, so I’m allowing myself to ignore all of that at least a little bit and just enjoy my time abroad.

And now, I head to the beach once more. ¡Adios!

If You’re Ever Feeling Ugly


Maybe you look in the mirror and notice that your chin hair (mine’s named Vern, so don’t be ashamed of yours) is growing back with a vengeance. Maybe you have a huge zit right in between your eyebrows, and it’s totally blocking your third eye. It’s possible that your butt grew two sizes overnight (sort of like the Grinch’s heart but in a really inconvenient butt way) and you suddenly can’t even fit into your sweatpants. Or perhaps your lips are so chapped that they’ve ripped apart and you can see the earth’s core in them, the cracks are so deep. Maybe your hair, which is typically voluminous and bouncy like a perpetual shampoo ad, is sticking up in 50 different directions and the when you try to comb it your brush gets stuck and now you have comb hair which isn’t even in style right now…

In any case, here are a few ways to feel less ugly!

1. Pluck your eyebrows. Sometimes they get scraggly and you don’t even notice until suddenly they’re covering your entire face and you have to go at them with a bush whacker.

2. Use a face mask to hide your entire face from the world. They usually feel nice and have weird things like peppermint bobos or teatree monkeys in them. Mine has volcanic ash in it, and that isn’t even a joke; my face is slowly turning into a volcano.

3. Make new pants out of your curtains. Who said only nuns can get creative with draperies?

4. Wear a cat on your head. We’ve all heard the story of The Cat in the Hat, but what about The Cat IS the Hat? That’s a long lost tale from biblical times, I think. Esther had just saved the Jewish people when she suddenly realized she was having a terrible hair day. She knew that she could not be taken seriously if her hair looked bad, so she picked up an alleycat and went about her day. Women are so resourceful!

5. Chuck all of those other tips in the trash. You’re not ugly. Ugly is a stupid social construct, and lately I’ve been on a “damn the man” kick. So say it with me! My chin hair is beautiful!

First impressions


…aka a whole bunch of babbling about this beautiful, crazy city. I sent my family an email and figured instead of writing a new post, I’d just post parts of it here (lightly edited for clarification purposes) because I’m exhausted and it’s only 8 pm. The sun sets here around 6:30, so…it’s hard to stay up super late because we feel like it’s so late already. 

Jet lag hasn’t really been a problem, which I’m surprised about. My sister always takes like a week to adjust, and her husband does too. Even one of the girls in the program who has travelled extensively said she’s surprised none of us are too jet lagged because usually she just sleeps for like a day or two when she arrives in Europe. So I guess we’re lucky! Or maybe we’ll feel it tomorrow? Haha  who knows.
 
It’s gorgeous here — I love the trees, they’re super tropical looking. There’s one kind that looks kiiiiinda like a jacaranda but with less blossoms that’s so gorgeous. They have bright orange/red blossoms and every time I see one I feel so happy. :) 
 
I think mostly the weirdest/most different part is all the trash on the streets and sides of the roads. It’s everywhere, and people sit in trash heaps sometimes and pick through it. There’s also a lot of cow dung on the sidewalks that you have to avoid (it smells so bad!) and cows just chill on the side of the road really peacefully. There are donkeys too. The cars barely even slow down when people cross the street, but when cows cross the streets every single car comes to a complete stop and waits for the cow to cross, because they’re sacred here and slaughtering them is illegal, etc. They’re really beautiful animals — I don’t think I’d ever realized how massive they are. 
You have to look down almost all the time when you walk because there are often huge holes in the sidewalk and if you fell in you’d seriously hurt yourself because they’re several feet deep and usually filled with icky water. We also live across the road from the open sewer-river thingy and it smells pretty bad but…honestly I’ve already gotten pretty used to the fact that everything here just smells a little bit decomposed. Sometimes I walk by shops that smell like incense and stop for a minute to cleanse my nose :)
 
Most of the people here are very dark skinned and pretty short, with rounder features than Europeans. They definitely seem tiny compared to me and a couple of the other people in the group, and when we bought a few clothes yesterday I didn’t fit in many tops because everyone here has narrow shoulders and really small chests, whereas I don’t. But the pants are all long enough, and I found a nice tunic. We have to wear a chulidar  (tunic and pants with a headscarf) to the temples, and our heads have to be covered in those. Whenever you buy pants or a chulidar outfit they give you a matching headscarf, so I have two now. The clothes here are so diverse for the women, it’s hard not to stare at the women because they’re all so beautifully dressed and I always want their outfits! Hahaha. Even the poor women typically look really nice in their clothes — appearance/nice clothes are really important to them here. If they have nice clothes but they’re badly wrinkled, etc they’d almost rather not even go outside. 
 
We went down one street today that had more beggars than usual, but there were only like 4 or 5. Usually they have children, too, and they follow you for a bit because they assume all americans are very rich, but unfortunately we just have to walk by. I want to help, but I can’t really do much for them and hopefully they’ll find luck elsewhere. It’s hard seeing the really poor children, though, because you know they’re likely to be poor all their lives. It’s more common up north to see people begging in commercial areas. Here there are some slums nearby and I’m sure those are more devastating than anything I’ve seen yet, but there’s much less poverty here in Bangalore, whereas up north there are more people, less space, less education etc…
 
There have been a few womens shelters though that we’ve walked by, and a YWCA with free counseling and I think cheap housing for working women, which is really nice. This city is pretty progressive for India, and they have a school for “spastics” as they call them here that I think we’re gonna tour because it’s a pretty big deal here to educate them instead of forcing them to be destitute. We met one man yesterday who is getting his PhD who has a developmental disability and was so lovely, and he goes to that school so we will see him again. He was so happy to see us :) We’re required to do several hours of community service/volunteering here at a non-governmental institution, so I might look into helping at the womens shelter. I’m not sure yet. 
Everyone here is so friendly at the university, and they smile a lot when they talk and are typically very pleasant. They also bobble their heads a lot which is so lovely. It’s a side to side motion that is SO adorable and endearing, and they say it when they agree with you or as “ok” or just when they’re talking and want to make a point. 
 
Almost everyone here speaks English, unless they’re very poor, because there are over 20 languages in the whole of India (here it’s kannada) and not everyone speaks Hindi (it’s more common in the north) but people are from so many places that their only common language is English. I’m pretty sure almost all classes here are taught exclusively in English, because we’re allowed to sit in on psychology classes etc, which I think I will do. 
 
Everyone in the program is so happy to be here and has a real passion for India. We all wanted to come here to be outside of our comfort zone, and we all have different things we loved about India that we came for. Our apartment is nice sized, and we have a nice living room (with a fridge in it haha) and a water purifier so we don’t have to boil all our water. We have a bathroom in our room and the shower is just a shower head like a foot away from the toilet…the entire bathroom is essentially the shower, and then you get the whole room wet when you bathe haha. It’s actually really nice. I’ve taken basically cold showers every time so far because it gets so muggy. I think typically people here fill up a big bucket and then scoop water onto themselves, so I did that today because our drain was a little clogged and I wanted to try it. I actually think I might bathe that way a lot here — it was really easy and nicer than using a ton of water to shower. 
 
We live in a “suburb” of Bangalore, Koramangala, and even though it’s outside of the main city of Bangalore it seems so huge. We walk about 45 minutes to the university, but there are lots of places to eat and shop nearby which is nice. I haven’t taken an auto-rickshaw yet but I will soon. That will be a whole new adventure!
 
I still have to get used to how many people stare at us when we walk around. They just love to look at us…we’re “exotic” which is something I’d never experienced before. I was surprised, though, because people set up stands on the side of the road to sell fruit or shoes, but they never shout out at you to buy their goods. They just sit patiently and wait for you to come to them, which is really nice and less overwhelming. 
 
The cars honk ALL the time, mostly just to let you/other cars know they’re there. People ride lots of motorcycles here and weave in and out of traffic, so sometimes they zoom up on you out of nowhere while you’re walking. But strangely I never feel afraid here. They truly live without fear, and I think I’ve accidentally adopted that. Caution, yes. Fear, no. You just walk out in front of traffic when you need to cross the street, and the cars/busses etc slow down but normally don’t stop. You just have to keep walking at a steady pace — don’t run — and you’re fine. It’s always a minor triumph every time we successfully cross the street, and we’ve gotten really good at it, even on big 4-6 lane streets. 
 
Don’t worry Mom, we’re all ok :) It’s very normal here. 
 
I haven’t gotten sick yet — I’m expecting to, as are we all, but so far it’s been ok. They eat heavy meals in the morning, lighter lunch, light dinner. It’s strange to eat spicy food in the morning, but also really delicious. I had a butter masala dosa (kinda like a rice pancake with mushed potato, onions and spices that you dip in a sauce) this morning. I ate it all with my right hand and was so proud of myself :) I also had fresh mango juice (more like a puree) that was so amazing I thought I might cry. Mangoes are in season for one more week — once the monsoon season starts they all rot and don’t make it to market. I plan to stock up soon because MANGOES ARE MY EVERYTHING. 
 
All my love from India! xo

Between


I guess I can cross “drink a Heineken in Germany” off my bucket list. While I’m at it, I could create a bucket list…

So I’m halfway to Bangalore! I’m sitting in the Frankfurt Airport eating pineapple slices and drinking beer. It seemed like a good purchase at the time. To be honest, it still feels pretty good. People were looking at me strangely for a while and I thought maybe I wasn’t supposed to drink beer in this particular part of the airport until I realized, it’s 9 am here… Whatever, it’s midnight my time and I just flew in a tin can for 10 hours, so I deserve a beer.

I’ve already learned a few things during my short travels, and I thought I’d tell you about them before I pass out in a corner from confusion and early-onset jet lag (that’s a thing, right?):

1. I’m apparently a nervous pee-er. I don’t think I’ve ever used the restroom this many times in two days, much less 12 hours.

2. TSA agents in Seattle tend to be friendly. TSA agents in Frankfurt…not so much. An extremely sassy (and when I say sassy, I mean grumpy) German man told me to leave my sweatshirt and shoes on as I went through security, which then caused the scanner to beep and then I got aggressively patted down. I’m always patted down at airports. I should just expect a subtle grope, at this point, when I travel. In the States, they usually tell you they’re going to use the back of their hands and then they’re really gentle about it, but here the lady (who was really nice, thank god) basically gave my boobs a squeeze and it was a little bizarre. It wasn’t creepy or bad, it was just bizarre. Anyway, screw that noodle-brained man for making me leave my shoes on and causing me to get fondled.

3. Apparently I give off a German vibe. I’m flying on a German airline, so all the flight attendants speak both English and German. Even though their default language for addressing most people was English, they always started nattering on to me in German and I could barely get a word in to tell them I couldn’t understand anything they were saying. Even an Indian lady started talking to me in German. I should’ve made a sign (I’m Very American) and worn it the whole flight.

4. Hot towels are a gift from the gods. I love them, and they love me, and my face loved them, and they loved my face.

5. Children like me. A lot. The little Indian girl sitting in front of me kept playing peek-a-boo between the seats with me. It lasted a really long time, and I didn’t really know what to do because we didn’t speak the same language, so I just kept puffing my cheeks out and waving. I probably looked like an idiot. She didn’t care.
I was also slobbered on by a small German child who looked like he was my offspring and it was both weird and awesome at once.

6. You can tell what people are saying usually, even if you don’t speak their language. Sass and hand gestures are universal.

7. Seriously, guys. Everyone thinks I’m German. At this rate, I’ll be making wiener schnitzel for the entire airport before I board my flight.

Auf Wiedersehen!

Oh. Bye!


I leave in 2 days. I don’t entirely know how this all snuck up on me so fast, because it feels like yesterday I was pulling all my hair out studying for exams and suddenly…my bag is almost completely packed (full of malaria pills and anti-diarrhea medications).

I’ve been trying to take mental pictures/videos for the last few days, realizing I won’t see certain parts of my life for several months. The wheat fields I drive past every day. The tree in my back yard I’ve always loved the most. My cat (I’m still thinking up ways to sneak him into India). The sound and smell of nighttime out here. And every time I eat something (tacos, mostly) I think “I’ll miss this.”

But then I remember…I’ve wanted to go to India for so long, and now it’s finally happening. Sure, I’m scared (I’m really, really scared, because there are so many unknowns and my brain can’t keep up with all the possible death/illness scenarios I’ve been conjuring up for the past few weeks), but my fear can’t hold me back this time. My life’s about to be turned upside down, inside out, sideways, backwards. And I’m so glad, because there are a lot of things about the way I passively live my life that I need to change. I’ve got to wake up and smell the curry, people! I’m forcing myself to be so far out of my comfort zone I’ll probably never return to it. I’m pretty proud of myself for that.

So for now, goodbye! I probably won’t write again until I’m in India (yeeee!), and I’ll probably be so jet lagged my brain drips out of my ears, so get ready for some semi-incoherent posts in the not-so-distant future. Wish me luck!

Image

India


So uh…in case you guys were wondering…

I’M GOING TO INDIA.

This summer. Study abroad. INDIAAAAAAAA. Whatevs.

I found out today while I was studying for an exam (I may have been so heavily caffeinated that upon receiving the email I had an excitement- and caffeine-induced seizure in the library) and was immediately distracted, so I walked home to shake off some of the jitters. After studying a bit more at my apartment, I made the mistake of taking a study break and looking at some of the documents I was given about traveling abroad/housing info/class registration/plane tickets/visa info/don’t get malaria/this is gonna be a huge culture shock and…

Now I’m super overwhelmed. Super super excited, but also super overwhelmed. I have to constantly remind myself (seriously, every three seconds) that I have time to deal with all the paperwork and that I should just allow myself to be happy I got into the program and now it’s time to study for my test.

YOU GUYS. I’M GOING TO INDIA. I. AM. SO. HAPPY.

This must be what doing cocaine feels like. Except…not? I don’t know, my test tomorrow is for my drugs and alcohol class, so maybe if I was studying I’d know what the effects of cocaine are. Oops.

I’ve gone insane. The caffeine hasn’t worn off yet. To prevent myself from further embarassment, I’ll just stop here, but I’ll leave you with this lovely gem:

There’s an SNL episode in which Zac Effron explains the differences between attending a musical high school and actual college. He talks about a song he made up called “nervous but excited” and that song needs to be written (probably by me) because it’s exactly how I feel about India. Nervous, but excited.

So yeah, click here for the clip of that…

Love you all! Wheeeee!

A Few Guarantees For My Wedding


I’m getting married, y’all!

Psych. I should probably actually talk to boys first. Well, actually, I should talk to men…but I’m easing my way up…I’m still shy around 10 year olds. Anyway, if I were to get married, here are a few things I can guarantee about the wedding.

1. There will be no tulle involved. None. A lady came into the fabric store I worked at and ordered 30 YARDS of tulle because she was making her wedding gown. And to that I say, no. No no no no no. One inch of tulle is too much.

2. No garters for you. Nobody needs to see my leg on my wedding night except my husband, and he will definitely not be removing a garter with his teeth (I saw that once and was very uncomfortable). People don’t wear garters anymore, guys.

3. I will mandate that everyone wears incredibly bright colors to my wedding. None of this taupe nonsense, please. We’re celebrating, and colors will be involved.

4. I will be allowed to make several awkward and not-funny jokes while at the altar. No one will laugh, and that’s ok. I will also probably trip as I walk down the aisle, and that’s ok too. My husband-to-be will also make awkward jokes, and I will laugh because I like awkward jokes, and then we will kiss in front of a bunch of people which is also technically super awkward.

5. I will not be bridezilla because this is not my day, this is just a day. A very happy day, of course, and I will be ecstatic, but I will not turn into The Hulk and murder people when I don’t get my way.

6. I will more than likely wear a red dress at the reception.

7. I will give a toast at my wedding because I like attention and also I have never given a toast and really want to.

8. You are required to dance. Also, there will be no soul music. Most likely there will be one or two Mark Knopfler songs for the slow ones, and after that if you’re not jitterbugging and/or limboing, you’re not welcome at my wedding anymore.

9. We will smoosh cake in each others faces, if only because I really want to know what that feels like.

10. I will drink champagne out of the bottle, because that is both classy and stupid which are the two words that I want to epitomize everything about my life.

You’re all invited. I’d like cookware for presents.

My Cat is Cuter Than Yours


20130309-231848.jpgThis topic is not up for discussion. My cat. Is cuter. Than yours.

Because I’m a nutcase cat lady and my cat is legitimately my boyfriend (He’s already wearing a tuxedo! He’s such a classy little gent!), I thought I’d show you a million pictures of him on my blog. I’m like that weird lady that keeps hundreds of pictures of her children in her wallet and accosts you at random moments to brag about their ballet performances, etc.

But you have chosen to be here. You clicked this link, and there’s no going back now. Look. Look at my cute cat.

20130309-231741.jpgAt this particular moment, Mickey had just murdered someone (probably one of my dear relatives, but apparently she wasn’t that dear because I haven’t noticed my cat ate her) and had that crazed look in his eyes. “Hello, Cappy. I am a serial killer. Blooood.”

20130309-231825.jpgThen he decided that tissue paper at Christmastime = snowbank. What a doll.

20130309-233139.jpgHe used to be a little midget! We got him from the Humane Society and I honestly wanted to name him Midge…thankfully, that didn’t happen because he’s 17 lbs now, all lean and fluffy and long. Meow.

20130309-231953.jpgHe lets me snuggle him sometimes in the sunshine. Ain’t nothin’ better.

Seriously, guys, I love my cat way too much.

I’m on Spring Break, muffins! This is very exciting, as I am 2 hours away from boarding a train to the midwest. Stay tuned for updates, since I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a murder, or someone will be stealing a diamond, or maybe we’ll be boarded by drug smugglers in Fargo…either way, something scandalous is bound to happen! Cheers, wish me luck, and TOOT TOOOOOOOOT!

I Got Married at a Party


With this ring, I thee...see ya.

With this ring, I thee…see ya.

Once, I was married for about three seconds. Well, okay, that’s a lie, but it felt that way.

I should start by saying that I don’t really go to parties, because:

1. Drinking is illegal for me, as I’m only 19 and in the U.S. you have to be 21. Which I personally think is a mistake, since everyone in college wants to drink and will find a way to do it whether it’s legal or not, but that’s beside the point.

2. Most parties in college consist of a lot of alcohol consumed by a lot of people.

3. See number 1.

So I don’t tend to go out to parties much, but about two months ago I did, (and didn’t drink, Mom!) and was having a lovely time dancing on my own (because boys are afraid of my sick moves) when my friend noticed a guy standing behind me, staring at me. She thought this meant that he wanted to dance, but I personally thought it was because he was out of his mind on a whole lot of illegal substances which could potentially have put him in the hospital. But at this point, he was at least semi-responsive and looking at me, and somehow managed to ask me if I’d like to dance. I said yes, mainly because I am an awkward monkey and don’t know how to talk to someone whose blood is half alcohol and half weed.

We had been dancing for about 3 seconds when he rubbed my butt. With his hand. In a very…rubby…way. And then he removed his hand from my trouser area (thank goodness) and held my hand. Really strongly, in an “I am now dating you” sort of way. I know this sounds so ridiculous, but I think it was one of the nicest hand-holding experiences I’ve had, creepy guy/butt rub aside. And then he looked deep into my eyes, and might’ve continued to my soul had he not been so wasted that his gaze shifted to my ear.

The point is, I got a butt rub, hand hold, and soul-searching gaze all in about 10 seconds before he walked away, at which point I busted out laughing for about a year. Because really, I could’ve been creeped out or offended, but this sort of thing would only happen to me. My friends? Would’ve danced with a normal fellow and had nice conversation. Me? Butt rub hand hold all the way.

Oh, and did I mention that I sat about 10 feet away from him in my class two days later? Yeah. I see him all the time. Best part? He doesn’t remember. But I do. I remember. And he is my husband. My creepy, slightly rapey husband.

Wink.