life

Sometimes, it’s all about luck

My entire life I was taught if you work hard, you will get far. And guess what? I did. I worked hard, got good grades in school. Went to college, didn’t drink much or cause trouble. I worked during my college years and did internships…. the whole nine yards.

And then it was time to apply for a job. I got a good offer resulting from my internship. I came home, celebrated. The fruits of my hard work paid off!

But then luck came to take a dump on my celebrations.

A colleague X, who had a history degree and a measly work experience, got a job through connections- not only did the X get a job without any effort, X got a better pay to… and X flaunted the pay right in my face.

I was wide awake for hours.. I kept thinking, why and how is it fair that X does better than me? What happened to the work hard and you will get far?

Well, years later, X kept getting higher raises. Abnormal raises. I don’t know how. And no, there is no… “and then X did something and X got fired.” No, X is still climbing the corporate ladder. Successfully. Making ever more money. Hiring friends.

And I just don’t get it. But I hope, one day, I will understand.. that sometimes in life…. you got to have luck. I can work hard all I want but if I am at the wrong place at a wrong time… there’s nothing I can do.

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The secret lives of the cruise ship staff

You’re not supposed to talk to the staff on a cruise ship and they are not allowed to talk to you. But you see, I’m no Lady Mary material. Despite my status of the guest, I talk to the staff. I feel for the staff. And above all, I like to chat with the staff. Some are terrified when I approach them. They don’t want to be seen talking to the guest about anything else but guest-related topics. But I come back. Maybe when the store is not so busy, or when the buffet is fully stocked. I may be terrible with languages, but I know some basics. I know enough to communicate.

After the initial reluctance, they tell me things. I ask them about how life on a cruise ship really is. Are they happy with the work they chose? Do they ever think of giving up?

“They work us like slaves,” Józsa tells me. She’s a thirty-something Hungarian working as a server. She’s smoking a cigarette like it’s her last. We’re standing at a “staff only” hidden smoking corner. I am not supposed to be there. I am getting ugly stares from the Asian crew. I don’t know Chinese or Tagalog or Siamese to calm them down. They don’t know English and they don’t like my presence.

“Don’t worry about them,” Józsa notices my stare. “They’re good guys. You see Emmanuel?” She points to a short Filipino whose luscious hair is tied in a bun. “He’s dating Jana, a girl from Poland. They met on one of the cruise lines and now they are trying to work on the same ship at least, you know.” “Where is she now?” I ask. “I think she has a year contract for the Western Caribbean that will expire soon. He’s been doing everything he can to get her here. They’re really cute together.” “Oh, do you know her?” I ask. “No,” she responds. “But I’ve seen pictures. Anyway, where was I? Yes, they treat us like slaves. Our rooms are tiny and we have to share shower areas. There’s no privacy at all. We work 12 hours a day minimum. It’s shit.” I watch her frowned face. She looks so unhappy. “Will you return to Hungary?” I ask her. “Maybe you have a better chance there.” She almost giggles. “It’s same shit there. I am just paid less. Here I can at least save some money.”

Next day, sometime after my fourth slice of pizza, I notice a tall, handsome man with a chiseled jaw of Orlando Bloom. He is “Luka from Croatia” his tag tells me. I find out he’s always wanted to work on a ship; he even went to a special maritime school in Dalmatia. “I love this job!” he tells me. “Isn’t it hard work? Don’t they work you hard?” I ask. “It is, and they do,” he says and grins. “But I love it! I’ll tell you a secret, Leah, are you paying attention? The secret to this job is that you must love the sea! If you don’t love the sea, you won’t be happy. I get to see places I have never been, I don’t have to pay for my room and I make more than I would in Croatia. I love it!”

And so I meet the photographers, the waiters, the cleaners etc. I find out the jobs no one wants are taken by Asians; if you speak English at least somewhat decently you get to work at a cruise shop. The captain is (of course) a guy from Western Europe or something like that. It’s a hierarchy of positions based on your country of origin. Less third-world you are, better your chances of making good money. There are people who can’t wait for their contract to be over, and then there are those that want to stay. And those that stay, hope to save enough money to go back to their home country and maybe buy a little tiny place they can call home.

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The Pre Mid-life Crisis

I often consider moving away from Western culture, perhaps to find a new life somewhere in Asia, purely for the fact I wouldn’t have to deal with the obsession of youth. 17-year olds  jumping around me with their perfect not wrinkled faces, wide smiles, and bodies to die for. I can’t stand it!

I’m getting older (early 30’s, woah there!) and no one views me as wiser in this country, just older. I want to be the Senex, the Sage, the Sophos when I get older! (The only result a wise woman title showed up on Google was a “wise woman botanical supplement”, so yeah, I am taking the wise men titles, pardon me).

I want to have something to look forward to. I spent my youth obsessing about my weight and appearance. Now that I am finally somewhat comfortable with myself, I am getting older and that’s all people see me as. Just another old(er) fart. I dread the next 20 years because the trend seems to be “just let yourself go.” Of yourself, your goals, your ambitions. They don’t matter because you’re just getting old and less capable.

So call me a Senex, find my knowledge useful. If I have to deal with the loss of youthfulness, at least appreciate me for my distinguished wisdom and sound judgement.

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The Mother of excuses

My entire left I felt bad for my Mom; she always made it sound like she was the victim of the (whatever) situation she was in. Whether it was because she didn’t have any money, had problems at work or something else. I, as a very sensitive and observing child, felt bad and guilty. I wanted to help her and it saddened me she was miserable.

Sometimes when I wanted to play dress up, she let me try on her “skinny” clothes (the ones she couldn’t fit in anymore). Every time she looked at the smaller jeans or M-size sweater, her face turned into a regretful facade, and she almost whispered a new promise of trying to lose weight again. Even if just a couple of pounds! I gladly backed her up, and hoped that this time she meant it.

Fast-forward to yesterday, she messaged me on Facebook that she is going to the gym. “Is that the gym where you lay on your back and you have the machine massage your fat?” I had to ask. She joined that scam fitness a few years ago. Obviously, it didn’t do anything for her but provided her with an excuse that she was “trying.”

Twenty made-up facts later, she was determined that she is “too fat” to go on a running machine and can’t possibly run. I wanted to send her the video of The Biggest Loser or something like that. But I didn’t. I decided I was done. Done trying to help her. Done trying to support her. Since I have known her, she has every excuse not to lose weight. She won’t accept other people’s help. She won’t listen to anyone but herself and the lies she makes up in her head. I won’t listen to her stories about bad investments she has made and lost money. I won’t listen to her complaints about how everything is wrong at work and she can’t do anything about it. I’m done. DONE.

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Taking a semester off

“I took the summer semester off to go on an adventure with Timm. The plan was to spend the next three months together, travelling around the States.”- Jenna Gunner

Taking a semester off is a dangerous matter. Jenna feels like she will get back to the studying rhythm in no time, but it is not always that easy. Once you leave school for a semester and go travelling, it is ridiculously hard to return back to a routine which doesn’t allow you to do whatever you want.

Even if you leave school for a semester to work more or earn more money, the rewarding paycheck coming in every two weeks makes it much more tempting to not go back to school and spend money on overpriced text books and university fees.

I will always support taking a semester off, but make sure you know what you are getting yourself into. Make sure you know how hard it is to integrate in the boring, daily routine again. Because sometimes, people quit school and become wanderers; they don’t want to go back to where they were, but they are not happy with the status quo either. Money eventually runs out or the “good money” you thought you were making with no degree is actually not that good when you realize they are working you for little money but pay someone more because he didn’t quit and finished his/her degree.

Did any of you take a semester off? How did it turn out?

P.S: Thanks to all the visitors of the blog for coming and taking the time to read my stuff!

P.S2: Link to my book on Amazon. Check it out!

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Plain sailing baby-making

Since my Facebook page has been swamped with, no, let me rephrase that….soaked, flooded and overloaded with people who have babies and people who are successfully announcing their pregnancies…. I have to say, looking back on it now, as I kid I thought having a baby was something special. I thought getting pregnant was a special process. It didn’t happen in the back of the car or on the bathroom floor….I guess I thought it was more meaningful than that. And it didn’t happen because two people forgot to use a condom but it happened because they wanted to create a new life. Well, I was quite a naive kid.

It’s bizarre how easily people make babies. People who don’t have their lives together and shouldn’t at all take care of babies, have them in multiples. A little “ooops” there and a “pull out method” here….. and voilà! A brand, new beautiful baby is ready to join us in this world. Isn’t it amazing?

P.S: Thanks for reading my blog, comment and like, dislike and share! 🙂

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The desk that knows too much.

As I sit at work on this gloomy Monday, I can’t help but think my desk reveals too much about me. If I look around, I see photos of me and David. Photos of my Mom, my sister. My nieces. It’s like my entire family tree is displayed for everyone to see. Oh, and pictures of my dog. Everyone must know I am an animal lover.

There’s also an over-watered plant which tells everyone I have no idea about how and when to water plants. To the left of the computer are postcards I bought while I traveled. France, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, India, China etc. A little elephant souvenir from India right next to the Stork from Alsace, France. A little statue of Eiffel Tower. Tissues hidden behind the computer for the days my allergies are bad. A big coffee mug my friend got me that says “got stache?” So I think I qualify as a hipster too. A boring looking box which actually is full of cookies. Yes, I am addicted to cookies! Pens that have stopped working long ago (but I am too lazy to throw them away). My emergency candy stash in the first drawer, my emergency Tylenol stash in the second drawer for long days…and extra cutlery for the days I forget to bring it from home. A Swiss knife hidden in the third drawer in case I have to open bottles of Champagne or what have you. And God knows what else is there, the point is, I practically live here and this damn desk knows way too much about me!

P.S: Thanks for reading my blog! Don’t forget to comment, like, share or whatever else you can do with this post! 🙂

P.S2: If you are bored at work, check out my book on Amazon! ❤ Thank you!

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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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Dante Alighieri forgot that hell is in “waiting”

As I wait for important news to shake up my life, I wait in agony. Gosh, the waiting! There’s nothing worse than aimless standing by; I can’t eat, I can’t sleep. I feel sick. My writing is even worse than usual.

Old Egyptian’s described lake of fire and iron walls as the ultimate hell. More familiar, Alighieri’s description starts with inferno, where people have to “chase after their self-interest while being followed by a swarm of insects and infected by maggots.” Sounds bad, but none of that compares to the mental hell one goes through when waiting.

“It’s like my insides are being murdered,” my friend said once. And it’s true. Waiting is slowly tearing apart your insides. Please, I’ll take the weird maggots, just tell me the news already!

Have you ever felt like I do right now? How did you handle it? Tell me, leave a comment, I want to know.

P.S: Thanks for reading my blog! I also did another re-edit of my book on Amazon, I always listen to reader’s thoughts! Check it out! 😀

P.S.2: Here’s the link to the different hell descriptions. Interesting read!

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