america

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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Don’t give up- your child can become bilingual!

One of the few memories I have of my Grandma, ma belle Grandma, were her attempts of trying to teach me French as a young child. Our family has some decades-ago French roots and she knew “intermediate French” from conversing with her Grandparents. There are many cognitive advantages for a child who is bilingual and by God, my Grandma was going to pass these advantages onto me.

As a child, I resisted. Fought against. Cried. Even just learning how to count in French was a crazy nightmare! Unknown sounds that were impossible to say, nose bleeds from all the nasal sounds (haha, just kidding). You get the drift though. She tried her best but I was just too stubborn to learn. I gave her the satisfaction of learning “un, deux, trois” and “je m’appelle” but anything more than that was a hopeless cause.

She tried, my poor old Grandma, but she just didn’t have the tools to teach me. No books, no entertaining visuals. Nothing. Just her and her tiny jazz hands. But now, in this beautiful world of internet, anyone can learn a language. Book market is flooded with language experts or language lovers as I call them. The main thing for any parent is not to give up. Particularly when you don’t have family members who speak another language. Why don’t you learn a language with your child? Start with new words… the grammar takes a while to learn anyhow, but if you give them the foundation/the vocabulary… it makes it so much easier!

P.S: In case anyone is interested, I wrote a children’s book in English for beginners and little ones who are just mastering their first English words available on Amazon. It is currently in process of being translated to French, German and Croatian. Give it a look and let me know what you think! Thank you for reading my blog, and leave some comments on teaching a second language to a child below 🙂

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How is London not the city of my dreams?

Out of curiosity, lack of desire to work and simply genuine boredom I surfed the web the other day, dreaming of my move to London. Why London you ask? I saw a musical there once and it was so good that I generalized that London is the city I should be in (not much of a logic, I know).

I browsed the sites for jobs, and I gasped at the salary ranges. 15,000- 30000 pounds were the most common salaries I saw! Of course, executives and managers had a better pay, but for an average shmo like me I couldn’t imagine living on that salary. I mean, simple room sharing (yay, it’s college time again) costs are starting 600 pounds a month. Rooms! I am an adult and I want to have my own damn studio, even if a tiny, tiny one! And those go for at least a 1000 pounds a month. So you’re telling me I cash in roughly 2000 pounds a month and more than half goes for my rent, not to mention the cost of food, transportation etc? Even commuting to London and finding a place on the outskirts seems so darn expensive. Do regular people in London ever save any money? How is such a low pay possibly worth living in London? You can’t go out and do things because you can’t afford them. So what is it, the prestige of saying you live in London?

As I was browsing this, I thought of the post I saw on Humans of New York, where a guy works 13 hours a day and he can’t save a lot of money. I kept thinking to myself: why do you stay there then? Wouldn’t it make sense to move to a less expensive place and save up there? And maybe work 10 hours instead of 13? Not have your wife worried about how you are going to pay for things?

People want different things in life, but I sadly realized my move to London seems to be unfeasible for time being. I can’t forgo my privacy, the fact I have a house (which, before you chip in, it’s really average sized and nothing fancy and a common thing here in Orlando), I don’t have to live like I am in college again and I save some money in addition to the expenses. Livin the dream, I guess, yeah?

Does you, dear readers, have a fantasy place in mind? Or do you perhaps live in London? New York? Leave a comment below, tell me I am wrong and that I should move to London! 🙂

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What about the young people, Europe?

Europe, the land of the kind socialists and good-hearted people, is exploiting its young work force. Every time I am done with my Skype session with my friends from Europe, I am astounded. Simply astounded. The stories they tell me….

Young, fresh out of college graduates cannot find jobs, for months, even years! Even in Germany, the amount of people seeking for jobs is so high that students are paying agencies to find them internships- INTERNSHIPS- which are UNPAID! They are willing to pay to to get a job and work for free just to get experience. Companies have young students, graduates and even those with work experience by the balls (pardon my French). And they are exploiting them just like cruel Americans make their people work. Before anyone goes on about American crisis, I assure you, it may have been bad a couple years ago but it has been picking up and my God you could at least get a job at Wendy’s.

Many in Europe complain about Americans…who “work hard all the time. No one has vacation, no break ever”- they say. “Your healthcare system sucks and you work like a slave.” But what happened to Europe I ask you? Why is Europe failing to see that the future is in the young, spirited and driven young workforce, and not the one that  has a degree but brings you coffee, makes copies for you and secretly hates you for doing it? And why are those lucky ones that find jobs significantly underpaid?

I leave you with these thoughts, those that have comments, type away in the section below…. 😉

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How broke are we, Americans

I cannot say how people are doing in other states these days, but in good ole Florida people are looking kind of rough, tired and miserable… and so do their cars, and their houses (please, disregard the retired folks, they are doing just fine).

I do not know how Americans are constantly broke, but we are. I mean, we really are. The banged up cars we drive on highways, the cheap clothing we wear, the trailers we live in….

Not seeing our family from up North in years because we can not afford to visit them.

We make good money in America. How is it that we are so broke? Perhaps if people knew how to save money better, they would not have to put a newspaper and some tape over the broken car window. Have you ever seen Trailer Park Boys? It seems to me like we are turning into a bunch of Ricky’s and Randy’s, walking around without our shirts on and eating cheeseburgers…. what is going on?

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Letter to Nutella

Dear Nutella,

You are like a bad boyfriend. You lure me with the sweet sugar and hazelnut combo, only to make me feel like a horrible person after I finish the jar within a couple of hours. Everyone keeps telling me you are bad for me, but I don’t care most of the time. I need you.

You are like a drug. Probably worse. Because when I eat Nutella, there is no self-control. You turn me into a spoon-licking monster who always wants more.

I first indulged myself during my study abroad in France and I probably gained 10 pounds from gobbling down slices of bread drowning in Nutella each morning. And afternoon. And right before bed.

For Americans it is hard to understand the Nutella obsession. Because you, Nutella, are either loved or hated. David can’t stand you. But I will pay whatever price to get a jar. Like crack-addicts I will sell my TV if I have to just to get a taste.

But lately, I’ve been having to avoid you. It just doesn’t work, Nutella. You swoop me off my feet with your sweet flavors and trick me into eating so much I end up hating myself. I will probably never have a bikini body, and mostly, it is because of you, dear Nutella. Like a bad boyfriend, you make me feel bad about myself… so it’s best I stay away. I have to (even though I don’t want to). It is for the best.

Love,

Leah

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Boring koi ponds and private theaters

I read the gossip websites. I know every celebrity home should include all/ or most items listed below (and more):

Koi poind greeting the visitors. Lagoon-style pool to jump into. Wooden beams. Ornate chandeliers. A theater. Arched doorways. Multiple fireplaces. Spa tub and mood lightning. Private elevator. A gazebo. Waterfall spa. Nine-stall barn.

I’m assuming most celebrity houses entail that. And while they might be happy to live in such overabundance, I can honestly say I would never want to live in such a home. Why? Well…..

1. If I got anything dirty, it would cost a fortune to replace

2. Too many rooms (I already get disoriented in a hotel, why would I want to get disoriented in my own home)

3. I don’t want my Mother to move in (The excuse “we don’t have enough room” would be gone out the window)

4. Higher chance of a murderer hiding in my house (more rooms= more opportunities to hide)

5. I hate being hot so there’s no way I can put that sauna in a good use

6. Presence of fountains would increase my urge to go pee

7. A private elevator would make me even lazier than I already am

8. I don’t pay enough attention to my doorway to truly appreciate the value of an arched one

9. Multiple TV Screens would be neglected as I barely watch TV anymore

And more… but, above all, I believe in being modest. I would prefer to sell the house, live in a smaller home and donate money to a good cause than to compensate for whatever lack of insecurities I am trying to hide and show off to other people by buy buying a house that should probably be a hotel in the first place. So, no, Beyonce and Taylor Swift, I don’t want your damn mansions! 😉

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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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Thanksgiving aka the best holiday

Once Thanksgiving came, Mom opened up more and we secretly played French music when Dad wasn’t home. We danced to Edith Piaf’s songs filled with struggle and bitter love; or at least that’s what the internet said they were. I helped her with our Thanksgiving ritual; browsing through old recipe books to find the perfect Turkey stuffing recipe.- Jenna Gunner

Controversy aside, Thanksgiving for me is THE day for family. THE day to stop for a second and realizing where everyone in your life is. THE day to realize what you have and what you lost. THE day to realize the changes are happening around you. THE day to be grateful.

No other country in the world has Thanksgiving. Sure, they know the “commercialized” movie version of it where we all spend hours in the kitchen, begging the turkey to turn out right and we all end up laying around with unbuttoned pants on the couch. I mean, it happens. But there’s nothing better than giving thanks for all that you have. Because every time I hear myself say all my thanks out loud, I realize how lucky I am; how much I have- and all the stuff I want to have are exactly that, wants. The needs are covered- and I should be more than grateful!

Thanks for reading my blog! Leave a comment, tell me how you feel about Thanksgiving!

P.S1: You can get my book for FREE on Amazon only on Thanksgiving!

P.S2: Gobble, gobble! 😉

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Gosh, how I hate Halloween.

Personally, there’s absolutely nothing exciting about Halloween. Specially if you are a grown-up. I am done dressing up in slutty nurse or naughty school girl costumes and I don’t exactly go door to door to trick-or-treat anymore.

I hate to be scared; the last time I watched a horror movie with creepy clowns, or perhaps devil-obsessed babies I had nightmares for days. The writer in me keeps thinking of these characters and I create even creepier horror stories in my head. So, uh, definitely not fun.

BUT, there is one thing I love about Halloween: candy corn. Most co-workers of mine tend to buy it since it is “season appropriate” but they never eat it. So by the time we are done with Halloween, I am able to take home the leftover piles of candy corn and selfishly eat it by myself at home while browsing the internet. Now that, to me, is the only bright side of Halloween!