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To Orlandoinians out there….

What is there to do in Orlando besides Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando, Epcot, Name-your-amusement-park Orlando….?

In my book, Jenna is obsessed with amusement parks and loves Halloween Horror Nights and Wizarding World of Harry Potter. She thinks that is all there is to life until she actually goes to Europe and realizes there is more to life than just amusement parks.

I live in Orlando and I get it… it’s “The Theme Park Capital of the World”…. but my God, how many times can you go to Disneyworld? I have guests from Europe coming over and they have absolutely no love for theme parks.

What do you, readers, recommend to see here in Orlando? I always thought it was a pretty dull place. Normally I take people to South Florida so they can enjoy the stereotypical imagery of beaches and snorkeling and gators etc. But by God, I have to find something really good in Orlando! What is it?? Please suggest, comment, advise! I want some originality!!

P.S: Oh and the terrible thing I just realized….I don’t know how a resident of Orlando is called… Orlandoinian?

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The Revenge of the Muscles

In pain. So much pain today. I went to the gym and lifted. Now, my muscles are crying and the only question that comes to mind, as I lay on the couch half dead, is: why did I do this to my body?

You see, I think anybody who works out should get a medal…and money. I feel like if I am going through all this pain and suffering somebody should reward me. Why am I paying the gym? They should be paying me! Or somebody else, perhaps the government, should give me money to get my ass off the couch. After all, I could have stayed at home, ate chips and watched re-runs of Downton Abbey. But I didn’t. I went to the gym knowing my biceps will revenge for the workout. I can’t walk. I can’t move. But it would be better if I knew I got 25 dollars I can spend on something, perhaps a massage afterwards.

Do you think you would workout more if they gave you money for each workout?

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Closed on Sundays

“Weekends…and particularly Sundays are reserved for family, they’re not like Americans who live to work like there is no tomorrow,” Maelie explained and took another sip of wine.   -Maelie Gagnon 

Jenna Gunner’s first few days in France were one big culture shock. The French don’t have a Walmart, the French don’t work 60 hours a week and stores are closed on Sundays! Who in their right mind would close their store on a Sunday?

As an American, like Jenna, I found myself with nothing to do on a Sunday in France. I couldn’t go shopping. I couldn’t go on a stroll through the mall. If I didn’t buy my groceries the day beforehand, I went the whole Sunday hungry.

After a few weeks there, I realized Sundays should be spent with somebody. Since my family was far away, I spent it with my friends. We went to the park and walked around. We fed the birds even though we were not supposed to. We went to the nearby lake and just gazed at the water. Then, I would invite them over for some pasta…. and we had wine. And we just talked…. Those Sundays, where I didn’t have to get up early to go to work, were on of the best Sundays of my life. That’s what Sundays were meant for. Not work, but one day of peacefulness with your family and friends….America should remember that again. Do you agree?

P.S: Thanks for visiting my site and reading my blog! Like, share, dislike, comment….whichever you please! :))

P.S2: Link to my book on Amazon- you know, since it is Sunday you should read!! :))

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Two new cars and a divorce, please!

Recently I came across an interesting read from 1998. So, not too long ago, but I guess “historic enough.” It was a wonderfully written chapter summary on a book called “The Overspent American” (link here).

The part that got me was the shift in values of Americans. Almost twenty years ago, same things defined the “good life” as they do today. Americans want material good and luxuries. Americans want swimming pools, new cars, mountain cabins, five TV’s in the bathroom, trips to Europe, a job that pays more than they deserve…. Our kids have to have Apple phones, motorcycles and tattoos…

We raised them. We influenced them. We showed them we don’t value happy marriages, reliable friendships, or interesting jobs. No, we showed them that true value hides in material….which is probably why I have a friend who is divorcing his wife of three years- she wanted to make more money, have a better house and spend more. He wanted to buy motorcycles and cars. Forget the eight years they spent together, they should divorce because their material greed isn’t compatible anymore and it is just not going in the same direction. I mean, come on??

You may say, hey, they’re just a bad example. I wish I could say I do not know people who are buying a big screen TV but their kids live in a shitty house with cockroaches occasionally strolling by because a big screen TV is their priority. I wish I could say I don’t know people who whine about being broke but buy $2,000 worth of furniture and eat Ramen noodles for weeks.

I guess what I’m trying to say is…. I just don’t get it. Do you?

P.S: Thanks for reading, commenting, liking, disliking… :)

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The hypocrisy of a Study Abroad

On the record, a study abroad sounds amazing. To quote Mrs. Kawczynski from my book: “All of our students have had great experiences with studying abroad; it creates global awareness, it may help you advance your career, you can meet new friends, learn another language-” Yada, yada, yada.

Off the record, anybody who has ever done a study abroad should full-heartedly agree…study abroad is really mostly about partying, getting wasted and spending money left and right. That is, if you have it. But let’s face it- study abroad is not meant for poor students. After all, which sophomore has $6,000 (or more) just laying around to spend on a trip to Europe? Either it’s Mommy and Daddy who send their baby off to Europe so he/she “can see places and learn about culture” or, in some cases like mine, I worked at a grocery store and saved up my own money because my parents wouldn’t give it to me. But all the people with me in my program never worked a day in their lives, and to them spending 200 dollars on a dirndl was nothing.

And let’s not forget the schools. They make money too. For example, when you pay for study abroad they say they cover tuition of the foreign country too. Well, in Europe, most schools are for free so there actually is no tuition to pay. So who do you think keeps the money? And why do you think they encourage you to go? To get more funding…..

The hypocrisy of the benefits of a study abroad is immense. Classes are meant to be easy because they want the exchange students to be happy and recommend their school so they get more people to come. There is no real work actually expected of you, a few projects here and there so you can say you had something to do. Language classes? Sure, they exist, but no one really bothers to learn the language after they find the groups of other fellow Americans, Germans etc…People stick in groups, and the only thing uniting everyone is alcohol, and constant partying.

As someone who has done a study abroad, I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it. I am just saying don’t pretend you’re doing it for noble reasons and under cliche excuse that it will help you with your resume.

I don’t take anyone who has been on a study abroad seriously. To truly live in a different culture, to learn from it and embrace it…you must be, at least once, on the verge of tears, stuck at the electrical company in a foreign company, trying desperately to explain to the guy (who obviously speaks no English at all) why you need electricity in your apartment in his native language. And understand what he says back. That’s a real world experience.

Thanks for reading this, comment if you like or dislike what I wrote, I want to hear your opinions!

P.S: My book about an American girl who does a study abroad in France is available on Amazon…. Free for Kindle Unlimited!

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The lonely shoe on a highway

It is an arbitrary thought, but it boggles my mind every time I see it.
The lost shoe. The lonely shoe. In the middle of a cemented highway. Never in pair, always just one, lingering, sad looking shoe by the side of the road. Abandoned by the owner. But why? Where is the other shoe? Why one had to be thrown out at a crazy high speed?
Most importantly, even more crucial to the story of why is how. How does one lose a shoe? How is one happy with the unmatching existence of the what once was a pair? How does anyone think it is a good idea throwing shoes out the window?
The riddle of lonely shoes out there in the vast world still fascinates me. Does anyone know the answer?

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Forgive for selfish reasons

She was never a good Mother. Her constant abuse of alcohol lead to abuse of us…abuse of me. She hurt me in so many ways, and I resented her for years. After five years of not talking to her, David convinced me to give her a chance.

I had lunch with her today. I saw her curly white hair and her tired eyes. The story she was telling me was the same as the one I heard the last time… and the time before that…and ten years ago. She is still fighting her demons, and keeps giving me the same promises; same promises of upcoming change and how things will turn around. Today she told me she was proud of me and she can’t wait for me to be proud of her.

I used to believe her, but I don’t anymore… and that doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. I have accepted her and her bullshit stories.

What I want to tell to anyone who has been in a situation like this….if you decide to forgive them for what they have done, don’t do it for them. Do it for yourself- and don’t expect anything back…it may be selfish but it will help you sleep at night. Some people never change and you shouldn’t be the one suffering because of it.

 

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cokeVSwater

When kids think H20 means Coke

Nobody else in the world understands and can possibly grasp the American obsession with soft drinks, nobody.

It’s almost a phenomenon. Europeans would get a heart attack at the thought of drinking Coke on a normal day that’s not birthday or some other type of celebration, and would possibly die at the thought of drinking Diet Coke (since it’s artificial and contains all those E’s!!)
Even though Coca-Cola is not moving as much as it used to, Americans still love their Diet-Coke, Coke, or whatever else soft drink. Pop. Soda....I know people who cringe at the thought of drinking water. Cringe! They prefer to go a whole day thirsty than drink water.

It’s a sad situation because even with the rise of bottled water consumption, customers buy flavored water which is just another soft drink (only with a different label). Heck, it’s produced by the same companies. Who do you think makes Dasani Plus? 

It’s a sad world we live in. Water has become too boring to consume and kids are drinking every artificial drink out there… without realizing that water is the best drink in the world.

What do you think, readers? Comment, like, dislike, share…. :))

P.S: Thanks for reading my blog! 

P.S2: Check out my book on Amazon! :)

Coca-Cola Sales Slide Article

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It takes one year to be forgotten

Don’t worry, it’s not official statistics. I am talking from my personal experience. In my book, Jenna comes back from her half a year study abroad in France. She was lucky- half a year wasn’t too long. Things were different, but she could still fall back into the old pattern.

I, on the other hand, couldn’t fit in anymore. I was gone for a year and a half three times. I’m sure those of you that have been gone from home for a year or more, you noticed things changed. Not only did they change but they changed in a way they didn’t include you. People you love so dearly started having excuses. They didn’t have time to Skype, they didn’t have time to talk….the time difference became a hassle. They didn’t send you photos and they forgot to scribble a card for your birthday.

After a year of being gone, your friends are still happy to see you but they started living a life without you. Even if you still do everything as it was, things have changed. You feel like you are dispensable. Life goes on without you. 

Have any one of you had similar/different experiences? Thanks for reading my blog, please like, share or comment! :D

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