adventure

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What is Christmas with no snow?

As you may or may not know, I live in Florida. Right now, it is 79F outside, sunny and it does not feel like Christmas at all. My inflatable snowman in the front yard looks a little ridiculous surrounded by green palm trees. Same goes for the Santa and the reindeers display since if Santa ever landed by my house his landing would have been really rough, having no snow and all. Or maybe his team is used to a grassy terrain?

So it’s Christmas…. but with no snow it is missing that…. je ne sais quoi. I can’t enjoy a hot beverage by the fireplace since I am already in a tank top and shorts. It is too hot to have the fireplace going. My only snowflakes are the ones I hung up on my tree (DIY for the win, ya’ll!!).

I probably should have gone to a snowy place this year. But money is tight and I don’t like to spend money on what I cannot afford. I am sitting on my couch, reminiscing my days in Europe. Honestly, I am re-reading parts of my book because the way I described Jenna’s snowy days in France are legitimately what takes me back to the days of snowy bliss.

So what is Christmas with no snow? Well, it is weird. It feels like something is missing. You may say Christmas is about Christ. Spending time with your family. For some it is about presents. And it is all that. But there is something even better about going to church on Christmas, marching through the snow, hiding your cold hands tucked deeply into your heavy jacket, breathing heavily into the wool scarf, and snowflakes falling on your head.

***Merry Christmas everyone!!***

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Rio 2016- the most authentic Olympic games

For the last couple of months there has been an absolute uproar over Rio being the host of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Even I was against it at first- like many, I raised my fist with the rest and roared: “Say no to bribing! Say no to corruption! Say no to human rights violations! There are people starving while the corrupt politicians and officials make money! It’s disgusting!”

But after seeing the picture of favelas illuminated by the fireworks coming from an Olympic stadium in the background, I changed my mind.

The Rio Olympics represent the cruel reality of our society, of our world really. The games represent the best but also the worst. We cannot protest only when our athletes are not treated right. What about all those people living in poverty, crime and hunger on a daily basis? Why are we not making a bigger deal out of that?

No matter what you hated or loved about the Rio Olympics, at least it was not pretending to be something it was not. It was real, dysfunctional, dangerous, exciting, sad and challenging at the same time. It was not the pink-eyed version of our world, but rather an authentic one. Even athletes, many of which come from destitute backgrounds, gave us their best and their ugliest, their rawest, just like our world really is, in case you forgot.

 

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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 remarkable overly air-conditioned rides

 “It was a remarkable morning; the lake was quiet, the light blue color of the sky was reflecting on the surface of the water and green trees were peacefully resting nearby.”– Jenna Gunner

Jenna Gunner, in my sort of cliché description, lives for the moments by the lake and finds those moments to be remarkable; the sense of peacefulness, tranquility and connectedness with nature astound her.

I, on the other hand, am a little simpler with “remarkable”. When you lead a crazy-busy schedule, you start finding simple things remarkable. I love my long rides in an overly air-conditioned car (Florida heat is terrible, ya’ll). I love them because they bring me peace and serenity (on those instances I avoid rush hour).

The point is, we all have different ideas on what is remarkable. What is worthy of remark in your life? Comment, like and share!

P.S: Another remarkable thing in my life: my book “Six months of Croissants, Café crèmes, Parties and Love” for FREE on Amazon from August 8th to August 12th! Please check it out and leave a review on Amazon, whether you love it or hate it 🙂 Thank you!

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Weekend is the new vacation

“What about you? How have you been? How long are you staying?” “Same as last year, about two weeks,” I answered.-  Jenna Gunner

As Americans, we don’t often get the short end of the stick… but when I look at my vacations days, I can’t help but feel envious. Damn Europeans. As I hope for maybe two weeks (including weekends!), there is an Italian out there with 42 days of vacation, a Frenchman with 37 days and a German with 35 days…. and I get 13 days? When did we allow this to happen?

Do you know what happens in Europe in the summertime? Companies shut down. People are gone for a month and little work gets done in July and August. But guess what? Everybody comes back happy and rested.  Sadly, for Americans a weekend is a vacation these days, and quite frankly that is horrendously bothersome.

How many vacation days do you get? Do you think Europeans have too much time off?

 

P.S: Thanks for reading my blog! 😀 Check out my book on Amazon, and don’t forget to comment, share or like!

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Stats on Vacation Days

Nice fat rolls and a kick-ass swimsuit

“I grabbed my swim bag and I locked myself into the bathroom on the first floor to put on a black one-piece bathing suit. I wrapped the biggest towel around me to cover my body. I always wore a one-piece because I didn’t dare to show my belly to anyone, no way in hell.”- Jenna Gunner

It’s hard being Jenna. It’s hard being any other “curvy, fat, shapely, obese, not-skinny, overweight, large, plump…” woman… specially in the summer.

I went to the beach today, and I decided not to be like Jenna. You make the same choice. Wherever you go, don’t feel bad for how you look. Don’t feel bad because you are not a chiseled powerhouse. It’s ok to have fat! I will rock my bikini today….along with my flabby belly. Who’s with me?!!

P.S: Thanks for reading my blog, and don’t be afraid to comment, share or like! 🙂

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French don’t eat snails anymore

“I can’t tell you what to do. If you want to go, you can go. I think you’re a little crazy, and foolish. I don’t know why you want to go there; French are lazy people who can’t finish a war. You’ll have frog legs for breakfast and snails for dinner…”– Albert Gunner

We (Americans) are familiar with many clichés and stereotypes about the French; we think they eat baguettes all the time, women don’t shave their armpits, everyone smokes etc.... In my book, I describe French lifestyle a lot… because I think the existing stereotypes don’t describe modern France so well anymore.

Here are a few facts:

  • Most French people really don’t care about Paris. It’s Paris vs. everyone else. Parisians dislike people from other regions, and other regions dislike the snotty Parisians. In recent years, Paris has become highly commercialized and living there is ridiculously expensive. French don’t consider Eiffel Tower sticking out of every corner is a symbol.
  • Some still hang up their clothing and let it dry in the wind (remember Americans, time before washer-dryers?)…
  • Or the emerging African/Middle-Eastern culture and the influence of their cuisine, lifestyle? I can’t tell you how many times we had a late night kebab (a typical Turkish meal).

The posh days of eating snails are out. French nowadays eat kebabs on the street and watch synchronized American movies. And they love fries and McDonald’s no matter how “unhealthy” it is for you.

Do you, my readers, agree with me? Can you add more “stereotypes” about France from your own personal travels?

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Age:32 Real Feel: 65

I don’t know if it is the modern pace of life, or I am just really bad at aging….but I feel exhausted all the time. My mother who is 65 has more energy and willingness to do things than me. And that’s scary!

By the time I come home for dinner, I don’t want to make it. I just want pizza and the couch.

Nobody really tells you once you hit your late 20-ies, all of a sudden you feel tired constantly. It’s an unnerving process and it’s even worse to think what happens after 30…or after 40. Or maybe I am just a special case….but I don’t think I am. Does anyone else feel that way? Any tips on how to not feel tired all the time?

Thanks for reading and commenting!

P.S: Link to my book that I spend all my energy on…check it out, it’s cheaper than coffee 😉

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Go cocoon yourself

It’s Sunday.

Get off the internet (like I am about to do) and take a nap.

If you need to read something to relax, read my book. If not, hit that comfy bed, jump underneath the covers and cocoon yourself among the sheets. Rest your head on the pillow and slowly fall into the bliss of sleeping.

You need it, I need it.

Let’s do this! Who’s with me?

P.S: Thanks for reading my blog :)))

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7 years of hoping

“Jake Hudson, the perpetual thought in my head and a recurring topic of conversation in our family. It’s my fault, really. For the last seven years, I have been hopelessly in love with Jake; he’s my friend, the boy of my dreams and the man I hope to marry one day- he just doesn’t know it yet.” -Jenna Gunner

Today I’m posting about love, since I am in the mood to bash the stupid things our hearts do when we are in love (not talking from a personal experience at all, akhem…. )

Jenna Gunner’s biggest flop, if you want to call it that way, has been her devoted love for a guy who never promised her anything. Granted, her poor teen brain is filling her up with hormones which lack the ability to think rationally, but I see this happen with adults too. All the time. Has it ever happened to you?

In our minds we create silly delusions and block the reality from ever entering our brains. Every psychologist would say it’s a defense mechanism but I think at some point it is stupidity. Just how stupid can we get when we are in love, and just how much can we suffer when our love is unrequited? The simplest solution is just to get things straight….ask the person and be done with it!

 Anyone has good stories about unrequited love? Tell me all about them! 😀

Oh, and THANK YOU for the likes and new followers, I am so excited!!! Please, share your COMMENTS too, I feel like I am talking to myself otherwise 😄

P.S: If you have Kindle Unlimited, my book is free…Check it out!