france

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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Time to go

A week or so later, the plane crash tactically planned by the German co-pilot still haunts me. I mean, it has been in the media so much too that I can not look away anymore. But that’s almost beside the point.

What haunts me is the conversation I had with my friend. He’s in the military, and I know he has seen a lot of things already and he definitely has a different take on the world than I do. He is much more brave, that’s for sure. But I remember talking to him about it, and he felt bad, of course, but then he added: “maybe it was their time to go.” How was this their time to go? They did not decide upon it, but some other asshole decided it for them.

There is really something scary that so much of our lives are dictated about other people’s actions. Accidents happen every day, and those are inevitable. But mass murders like this? It is not in any way, shape or form fair to have a life ended this way. Yes, before you comment, life is unfair but there is just something so fundamentally wrong when you have to go that way. And I do not think that is your time to go. That is someone else deciding that for you- your time to go is when you die of natural cause.

What do you think- would you accept the fact if something like this happened to you? Does it even matter in the end how you go or when (since it is after the fact?)

Either way, R.I.P. innocent victims. This world can be a cruel place.

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The EU Fiasco- thinking in capitalistic terms

Ah, the idea of united Europe. So simple, yet so complicated. Greece has been in the news the last few days, battling the Iron Lady of Germany on their debt payments. “You gave us too much money,” they claim. “We took more than we wanted and now we have no way of repaying it back.”

Debt problems aside, there is a prevailing problem in (Eastern) European countries. Nobody wants to acknowledge it, but EU will have a hard time sustaining itself if it is not fixed. Countries like Greece, (recently joined) Croatia, Hungary, Latvia etc… they all have poor financial background. Croatians lived in socialism for decades. Do you really think the politicians, who ruled in Yugoslavia and have left behind a socialist legacy, know anything about debt? Managing? Investing?

There’s a certain discrepancy between reality and theory. In theory, they are all “educated” enough to make financial decisions. The reality is they are not used to the mind-set of capitalism. In their hearts they carry socialism. They are used to corruption. Nobody gets penalized. Greece has enjoyed creating government jobs for everyone for years, but they don’t see that they won’t survive if they do it again. Even if they leave the EU, the mentality the way people do business/ run the country will be their fall. It will also be the fall of Croatians, Latvians etc. The mentality of people needs to change. Old habits have to die out. They may not like capitalism, but their previous way of doing things didn’t work out either.

The key to EU’s success will be changing the mentality of people to not only accept capitalistic thinking but know how to use it too. Throwing money at countries without fixing their operating structure has never benefited anyone.

Name of the rose (Je suis Charlie)

Cowardly killings that took place yesterday in Paris triggered absolute shock and horror in me. As someone who lived in France for almost a year, it was surreal to see the video which was replayed over and over again on all the news stations.

Amid the initial reaction, I remembered a book I read in my teenage years. The book is called “Name of the rose” by Umberto Eco (and I highly recommend it). The reason why it came to mind was that the people that died in the book were also killed in the name of “comedy.” Laughter. Ridicule. As a teen, I couldn’t fully understand it. How is laughter so powerful? Is it really this powerful?

As I grew up, laughter is the only thing one has left. It is a cure for everything and without it, world is horrific and scary.

William of Baskerville: My venerable brother, there are many books that speak of comedy. Why does this one fill you with such fear?

Jorge de Burgos: Because it’s by Aristotle.

William of Baskerville: [Chasing after Jorge who runs with the Second Book of Poetics by Aristotle intending to destroy it] But what is so alarming about laughter?

Jorge de Burgos: Laughter kills fear, and without fear there can be no faith because without fear of the Devil, there is no more need of God.

William of Baskerville: But you will not eliminate laughter by eliminating that book.

(excerpt from the Name of the Rose)

There will always be cowards, murderers, terrorists who think they can kill the freedom. Freedom of laughter. Freedom of ridicule. Freedom of life. But we have to fight them back. #JesuisCharlie #CharlieHebdo

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3 Tips on how to avoid being THAT tourist/guest

We all know them. They whine. They complain. You wonder why they even visited another country if everything is so bad. Here’s some tips on how not to be THAT tourist.

1) OK, YOU CAN’T COMPLAIN ABOUT THE WEATHER. There is nothing anyone can do about it; I can’t make the rain stop, I can’t make the wind stop blowing and I sure as hell can’t change winter to summer. It’s winter time. Why is snow and wind such a surprise? Just because your delicate little feet are from Florida or Mexico or some other warm place and you are essentially a person with a weak immune system and practically a germ-cold-disease-cough-bate, I can’t help you with your cold intolerance. Of course, weather is always a point of conversation but I don’t want to hear about how you are going to die for the billionth time.
2) FOOD is the best part of going somewhere else and getting French fries does not mean you are trying. But OK, even that is better than making a face with everything that’s not American food. Just don’t compare everything to American food…. it is just a waste of time. Germans know how to make better beer. Fact. Italians know how to make better pizza than Papa John’s. Fact. Just because your palette isn’t capable of differentiating, it does mean you get to complain about how bad and weird the food is.
3) WALKING IS SOMETHING PEOPLE DO ALL THE TIME– they even pursue this method of getting from a place A to place B in American cities such as New York, Boston etc.What a surprise! As Americans, we have the beautiful freedom of having a car and driving it everywhere BUT when you are in a country where they actually walk more than 10 feet because that is, another surprise, normal, then don’t complain about having to walk. I get it that the back hurts sometimes with too much walking but avoiding places just because they have to be walked to is just ridiculous.
So, don’t complain about weather, different food and walking– and everyone will love you.
And….. P.S: if you are staying at someone’s house, don’t complain about the quality of toilet paper. We all know your ass is delicate and it bleeds if you don’t use a 5-layer soft toilet paper with sheets of gold, but that’s really not something worth complaining about. Maybe you have too much of a heavy hand, have you thought of that?

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Do you really know what Eiffel Tower looks like?

Ah, the one and only view of Eiffel Tower! The most famous of them all, the beautiful latice, the majestic iron hiding among the streets of Paris! Majestic beauty of architecture!

Well, actually this is not the Eiffel Tower. This is the Funkturm in Berlin- quite a deceiving little fella. Here’s the actual Eiffel Tower:

Look at this beauty! The stormy sky highlights its structure, the lean design and one can only say: “Quelle beauté il y a dans cela !”

Well, you thought wrong. That’s a fake replica Gomez Palacio, Durango in Mexico.

And there’s roughly 40 more replicas around the world. But it’s funny how people don’t actually know the real Eiffel. I showed a picture of the Funkturm in Berlin to quite a few people and they all assumed it was the Eiffel tower.

So the symbol of France is actually quite unrecognizable. Here’s another example of a replica:

Lovely, isn’t it? Or is this the real one? It’s hard to tell anymore, isn’t it?

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Take a risk!

“It is not my first choice to go to the same vacation spot for the past twenty-one years of my life, but we are not the type of people that enjoy change.”

Jenna Gunner plans her whole life around the same cycle- school during the year and vacation in Syracuse at her Uncle Bruce’s house for the summer. The steady routine seems to work for her; she enjoys family BBQs and swimming in lake Oneida….and above all….she is in love! Jake Hudson, the love of her life, will notice her. One day. She just has to get his attention.

So how is it that she ends up going to France for half a year one day?

Read more in my new book, “Six months of Croissants, Café crèmes, Parties and Love” available on Amazon :))

Picture credit: Wikipedia

P.S. Thanks for reading my blog 🙂