life

The loser leaving work at 5pm

I normally start my work count down to 5pm roughly around noon.

I take my lunch  at 12:30pm so in my head, I am closer to that 5 o’clock in my head. Since I take an hour lunch, I get back by 1:30pm and, hey, that is just 3 hours and 30 minutes away from that wonderful 5 pm!!

Then I try to do some work, maybe be productive for about two more hours which gets me to 3:30 pm. Then the second count down to 5 o’clock starts. Any work that would require more than two hours gets pushed onto the next day. I probably get up and go to the bathroom and/or get some coffee. Then I do some more work, hoping for no last minute complications that would impede me from leaving at 5pm.

I don’t know how your workplace is, but where I work people are serious. 5pm means nothing to them. They don’t care if they don’t see their kids, spend more time with their spouses, no, work has to get done because there is not always another day.

So that means that I am usually the first one to get up at 5:00pm. I look around as business chatter continues as if in fact, it is not 5 o’clock in our very own office. I shut down my computer and I sneak out.

I sneak out like a plain traitor that has the audacity to leave work at 5pm! I try not to attract too much attention. I know most of these people will stay at least half hour/an hour late to finish up whatever they were doing. I feel like I am being watched, being judged- “Look at Leah leaving work exactly at 5pm! Who does she think she is?!” So I try to duck down in a way that will get me fastest to my car. I  feel their stares, they are piercing me with fierce judgement but I continue. As the proud leader of the 5pm rebellion, I see some other people follow behind me.

I get inside my car and drive away before my boss comes behind me, chasing me to finish something that can be done tomorrow- and once I am off the company parking lot, I feel like I am winning! I get to go home and see my family even if for the measly 2 hours. I may be a loser that doesn’t work hard and leaves at 5pm, but I am a winner in my family’s eyes!

How about you, readers? Do you also feel weird leaving work at 5pm on the dot or is your company more understanding when it comes to it? Do you feel the peer pressure as well? Leave comments below……and don’t forget to leave at 5pm, sharp!!

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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 purpose of having dreams

Blah, 2016 did not start well for me. I mean, all the problems I’ve had so far have been first world problems, but since I live in a”first world” I tend to consider them to be actual problems.

I’ve been stuck deliberating at what point will I give up on my dreams. When will I just say, you know what, I’m done. I am done trying. My dreams of becoming a published author (Idk, self-published on Amazon just doesn’t have that ring to it), dreams of becoming a good illustrator (not great, just good- even solid is ok with me), dreams of having all the stories I keep having in my head read by hundreds of people.

They are ambitious dreams to have, I realize that. Not many are fortunate enough to ever get loyal readers and most of their books, their stories end up in a folder called “my book” on their computer where it sits as a sore reminder of unfulfilled dreams.

However, I realized this the other day as I was jotting down the first few lines in my new diary (it’s really pretty, a little old school but I don’t mind it)- I realized that succumbing to reality is why you should never let go of your dreams. Perhaps you should modify them, change them, alter them, make a few alterations here and there but no one should ever give up on their dreams. Because if you give up on your dreams, you let reality win- and reality can be so dull, so cruel and so factual. And I refuse to ever be dull or cruel or factual. Ever.

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When you’re down, down low….

Weird. I have one of the Eurovision songs stuck in my head. I am down, down low. It’s been a rough, ROUGH week and I have little energy left. Or will to do anything, really.

How to cure the down, down low? Here are some of my tips:

1) Hug your kitty/ dog. They may have disgruntled faces (or are about to scratch you) but the feel of that soft fur will make you feel like the world is a better place.

2) Watch “Pursuit of Happyness”- when you realize Chris Gardner was homeless, with a kid, working like a maniac…. you realize you should probably get off your ass and be more productive.

3) Have a glass of wine. No, forget wine. Have a mix- maybe vodka and coke. Rum and coke. I’m not saying to drink your problems away, but sometimes alcohol can get you more relaxed.

4) Get your best friend on the phone. Or when you don’t really have a best friend, talk to your dog/kitty. They are great listeners, often better than people. And they will listen to your problems for hours.

5) Pet your dog/kitty for good measure. Again!

So that’s kind of what I do. What do you do when you have a bad day/week/month? Leave comments below 😀

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P.S: Thank you to those who took advantage of the free promotion of my children’s book “Ginger’s missing glasses”– don’t forget to leave a review! 🙂

Forgettable Wedding Day

After ten years of marriage, Sally still had to think which ring went on her finger first- the engagement ring or the wedding ring? “Wedding ring is closest to the heart,” she remembered her Mother’s words and put it on first. She fixed her hair and went to the kitchen. Her cravings for a peanut butter sandwich were strong for some reason. Her thoughts continued to lead her to the past… to the day she said yes to Michael.

The memory of it was very hazy. She remembered Michael drinking a lot because he was nervous. Her nervously walking down the beach. Not being able to eat a whole lot because she wore a waist cincher. It seemed so far away, a remote event which only marked the beginning of the adventures her and Michael experienced.

For a second, it almost seemed irrelevant. Wedding day almost had no special meaning to her. The other ten years spent together.. that was more important. Thinking back on their wedding day, she realized how little she knew Michael and how little he knew her. How much they have changed since. How many better moments they had together than that one day on the beach. “Funny how no one tells you this,” she thought and bit into the sandwich.

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Modern Hoarders

She was frantically pacing around the room. “I don’t know why you have to throw anything out! Don’t touch those books, someone gave them to me as a gift!” She looked livid. “Then why are they in the drawer?”

We’ve been looking for a battery charger all over the house for more than an hour, and still no sight of it. “This house has so much shit it in,” she grunted. “Finally!” I thought to myself. She was finally displeased with the piles of useless material items around the house. Maybe this is the opportunity to throw out some of it and clear out the dressers, the closets and the hallway.

Ten minutes into it, she got really mad. At me. For messing with her things, for trying to get rid of things. “You are ruining the order! You are making a mess! I can’t find anything anymore.” Her face was red from screaming at me and I haven’t seen her this upset in a while. I threw all the stuff back to where I found it and left.

I got home and Googled hoarders definition. I’ve seen the shows- Hoarders, buried alive! But my Mom’s place doesn’t look like that! She doesn’t have cockroaches laying around! She can still walk around the house without stepping on things. It did not match. She’s not a hoarder by definition. But what is she then? Why would a sane person get so upset over a pile of things she did not even know they were there?

I called David to discuss what I witnessed with him. His Mom is similar to my Mom- she has expired food in the fridge but she won’t throw it out. She still has the box from David’s first PC purchase. The blender box. Clothing from 1970’s. What is going on here? If they are not hoarders by definition but have separation anxiety, what are they?

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The optimal number of New Year’s resolutions

Let’s face it: a random date on a calendar won’t make you change your ways. I have had my share of New Year’s resolutions; from eating lean meats four times a week to losing weight, to walking 5000 steps a day, to getting a new hobby, to smiling more, knitting an OK sweater, go scuba diving in Australia, planning a candlelight dinner, oh, learn how to cook better etc.

But what I realized is that only a true cause or reason for why you want to change or do something different will change you. We are creatures of habit and old habits are hard to break. So if you want to change something (not do something anymore, or start doing something), then do it when you are inspired to do it and you mean it.

Happy New Year!

P.S: I have to ask- did you ever stick to a New Year’s resolution? What was the reason behind it?

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Best plane ride of your life (you’re welcome)

Since I am leaving in, oh, 24 hours and 15 minutes to Ireland (because my best friend in the whole world decided to move there because she fell in love (I guess it is reasonable to fall in love with a freckled, red-haired man named Killian and leave Florida for it)), I thought I would share my experience on how to make your next flight the best yet. I’ve used this techniques various times and they brought me nothing but joy when flying.

1.) Forget the drugs

Don’t drug yourself with Dramamine, Melatonin or whatever other “remedy” you could find to sleep during the flight. How often do you fly, huh? Are you a business man who goes on business trips four times a week? I didn’t think so. So enjoy the flight by being alert. Awake. Conscious. I mean, you should be awake and drug-free in case the airplane goes down anyway.

2.) Choose an airline that offers free booze

I know you are trying to save by flying Delta (or some other 3-star American airline), but you are truly doing yourself a disservice. It’s an international flight; you want to fly in style, even if you are crammed in the back of the economy class. So choose an airline that offers free booze; come to the flight hungry and start of your flight with a glass of wine. After you feel buzzed, start ordering stronger alcohol because by the time lunch/dinner comes you will be able to gobble down the mini airline packages of food. They may not seem like a lot, but guess what, you can always ask for seconds (which brings me to the next point)….

3.) Ask for seconds!

Come on, we all know those Barbi meals they serve us never satisfy our food cravings. We are bored, we are on a plane, and we are hungry! Don’t feel shy asking for seconds. The flight attendant may think you are a greedy pig (but, honestly, will you ever see him/her again?? Probably not). So ask! I always order seconds politely, and flight attendants are never mad at me for asking. If they have some food left over, they always bring it to me. I mean, the thought alone of that food being thrown out is so horrendous I prefer to salvage the food and dump it inside my belly.

4.) Bring 3 pillows

They don’t have to be XL pillows. Just bring three. One for your head (that you will eventually lean against anything, trust me), one for your belly section (because you will be leaning that part of your body against something too), and another pillow for your butt (because after hours on the plane any extra seating softness is a blessing).

5.) Bring A4 blank paper and a colorful pen

Start drawing. You liked drawing as a kid, didn’t you? What happened? Did the society tell you that adults don’t draw? Baloney! Pick up a nice green pen and draw a flower. Monkey. Monkey and donkey playing a guitar, I don’t care. Drawing is therapeutic no matter what age you are.

6.) Write a letter to your special someone

I know, it is waaay “pre-internet”, but people still appreciate it. Pour your heart out for the one you love and hand them the letter as a surprise when you make them a lasagna from Costco. The romantic date is bound to be a success (but don’t tell them you wrote it on a plane because they will just think you were extremely bored).

7.) Think of the fact you are flying thousands of feet above the Earth (in a “wow-this-is-pure-magic” kind of way, not the “I’m-sick-to-my-stomach-at-the-thought-of-that” kind of way)

It’s one of the (wo)man’s finest inventions. Flying! You are flying through the sky! You! People before you centuries ago would have killed for the opportunity. People in 2014 would still kill for the opportunity. Enjoy it! Look outside the window. Is the sky filled with clouds? Is the sun just coming up? Can you see the stars? Did you just fly through a cloud? Can you see the beautiful Earth below you?

Unless it’s a night flight and it is obviously pitch black outside, I always stay awake for my flight. There’s a sense of serenity on the plane you just can’t get anywhere else. You’re stuck in a place above the ground for ten (or more/less) hours with people you don’t know. For me, it’s one of the few moments in my life I truly know the meaning of word serenity (or it’s all that red wine I had I don’t know anymore). Either way, enjoy your flight 🙂

P.S: If you have other tips for a great flight, leave a comment!

P.S.2: If you want to read a great book while bored to death on a plane, buy a copy of my book on Amazon.

P.S.3: Thanks for visiting this site and reading my blog! ❤

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The key to everything in life….

CONSISTENCY

Noun.

Consistent behavior or treatment. The key to everything in life. How so you ask?

Consistently being good. Consistently working out. Consistently working hard. Consistently caring about yourself. Consistently caring about others. Consistently making this a better planet. Consistently trying to be a better person. Consistently supporting others.

Once you stop being consistent about the good things you do, you fail. You don’t work as hard, you get bad results. You don’t workout consistently, you get fat. You get selfish. You get lazy.

No more excuses. All the stuff you are not being good at, get consistent with it. Simple as that. Maybe someone will take my advice.

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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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