20 Things you should never say to a person with tattoos:

  1. Whats the point of permanently putting something on your body? Why not just keep it in your heart? You’re right. What is the point of permanently putting something on my body. Instead of wearing wedding rings, we should just use the love in our hearts to show everyone the commitment and love we have for our partner.
  2. Why not just draw a picture of what you want and keep that forever? Why get married? Why not just draw a picture of the two of you together. It’s basically the same thing as making a lifelong commitment to something you love and have committed yourself to. 
  3. Aren’t you worried about getting a job with tattoos all over your body? Tattoos are becoming a socially acceptable norm. Tattoos have been around since the 20’s. Most employers don’t care, and if they do, they only want you to cover them up during work hours.
  4. How are you going to feel about those tattoos five or ten years from now? Or when you’re old? First of all, if something is important enough to be permanent on my body, I doubt it’s something I will be over in five or ten years. As for not liking my tattoo’s in old age, I’m pretty sure I will have much more pressing matters to worry about than whats on my skin. And with medical advancement, who knows what tattoo removal could be conjured up next.
  5. You’ll never find a husband/wife with those tattoos! Tattoo’s are actually a turn on among many of the people of my generation. A lot of people say they are attracted to a person with multiple tattoos.
  6. You’ll never get a good job with those tattoos! It’s becoming easier and easier to cover tattoos and job policies are adjusting with society and becoming more and more relaxed. Most employers ask that the tattoo’s are covered. It’s not as big of an issue as it used to be. 
  7. What will you say to your kids when they want to get a tattoo? The same thing I wish my parents had said to me; if that’s what you want, go for it. Just make sure you’re sure. And don’t follow the fads. Do it for you. 
  8. (For women:) What if you have a kid and childbirth ruins the area where the tattoo is? I’m pretty sure that when I am pushing a kid the size of a watermelon out of my vagina I won’t be concerned with my tattoos. And I’m pretty sure I’ll be too focused on my little bundle of joy to notice anything else. 
  9. I don’t usually like girls/guys with tattoos. Oh, thanks. You’re a saint. Would you like a cookie?
  10. But you’re so good looking! So do the tattoos enhance that or nah?
  11. I would never get a tattoo like that! Well it’s a good thing it’s not on your body isn’t it. 
  12. Okay, but what does it mean? Now personally, I love it when people ask me about my tattoos. But a lot of people don’t. Be careful about the can of worms you’re about to open. 
  13. (If the tattoo doesn’t mean anything:) So why’d you get it then? Because I can.
  14. What would your parents say? My parents hate tattoos. But it’s not their body. They don’t have to live with it. 
  15. Do you only date other people with tattoos? Do you only date idiots?
  16. Couldn’t you have spent your money on better things? Like what? My tattoos are important to me. Its art and it’s there forever. If its quality work it wont be cheap.
  17. Don’t you regret it? No! This is something I put time and effort into. And even if I did. Are you happy with every decision you’ve ever made?
  18. Isn’t it against the bible to get a tattoo? A lot of things are against the bible, like wearing mixed fabrics, divorce and shellfish. 
  19. Your tattoos will make you look like a felon. Martha Stewart looks is a felon but she certainly doesn’t ‘look like one’.
  20. I don’t like girls/guys with tattoos. Well its a good thing we’re not dating then.

What its like to be a woman in the retail industry

I started working as a cashier in a store that will remain unnamed almost ten months ago. In the almost ten months I have been working there it never once occurred to me how difficult it is it to be a woman not only in retail but in the workplace but also in the world. Firstly, lets start with the fact that my male counterparts who have the same position as I and do the same work that I do; they earn a dollar while I only earn .78 cents. How about from now on I only do 78% percent of my work. I’ll come in later and and leave earlier and expect to get paid for my full shift. When bagging a customers items, I’ll only put 78% in and leave the rest. Lets play a little role reversal; to all the men out there, how would you feel if you busted you ass at a job and for every .78 cents you made, a woman made $1. Would that make you feel like you are less valued? Would you feel like you are not worth as much? How would you feel if you had to fight for the right to vote or to decide what happens to your body? How would you feel if the history of humankind deprived men of their rights and stereotyped them to ‘be in the tool shed’, or ‘get back to fixing the car.’ How would you feel if you still didn’t make as much money as a woman despite doing the same work in the same position with the same amount of experience. I can tell you firsthand it doesn’t feel too great. Why is it our society as well as many others has decided that a woman’s value, worth and her rights are not as important or crucial as a mans? Can you think of a reason? Any one at all?

I wall to and from work. It’s not too far. About fifteen minutes from my house, ten if I leave from school. I quite enjoy my walk to work. My headphones are in my ears, I have a catchy song playing and during the spring or fall seasons, I look at the changing colors of the leaves or the blossoming buds on the trees. It’s the walk home I don’t enjoy as much. I always wear my jacket. Even during the summers when the nights are hardly any cooler than the days. I cover myself as much as possible. I don’t want to wear or show anything that could attract the wrong kind of attention. I keep my keys firmly pressed in my hand, ready to be drawn out at a moment’s notice if need be. I don’t have any mace, but if I did, you can bet it would be out and ready. I keep my belongings close to me. I Cross the street to make my commute as short as possible. If I see anyone at all on the side of the road I walk on, I cross to the other side despite my efforts to shorten my commute. If I see any men on their porch or stoop, talking, smoking a cigarette or hanging out, I keep my eyes on the pavement in front of me. I don’t look at them. I don’t make eye contact. I NEVER make eye contact. I never let them see how afraid I am. I hurry past them as quickly as I can without running. I want to get by them as quickly as I can without making it too obvious that I am trying to get away or in a hurry. I breathe a sigh of relief when I see the tower of my school building up ahead. I am close to home but I am not out of the woods yet. I continue with my fast pace until I am safe at home. I walk as fast as I can avoiding any male attention I can. When I arrive at home, I lock the doors. I work the night shift and often I cannot go to bed unless the doors are locked. I live in a good neighborhood, but I still always lock the doors. You never know now a days. You just never know. I heat up dinner I prepared earlier in the day for a quick meal before bed. When I get to my room, I take my running shoes off and leave them by my bedroom door. I always wear running shoes to work. Because like I said, you never know.

I didn’t realize how hard it was to be a woman in the workplace until yesterday. I went to work and I felt fine beforehand, I felt fine during my walk. I felt like everything would be okay that day. Let me start off by saying, before my shift, I usually go for a run or swim or get some kind of workout in. It makes me feel good, gets all the bad feelings out and its how I keep in shape. I didn’t go yesterday because I have been having sleeping troubles and I don’t fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning and when I wake up it is too late for me to get a workout in before work. (For the record, my workouts take a minimum of an hour and a half). Even if I get a workout in, I still have to go back to my house and shower and get ready for work and then actually walk to work. Back to the original story; maybe I didn’t feel like myself because I didn’t workout or I didn’t get enough sleep. But I just didn’t feel like the friendly, bubbly, exuberant Maddie I usually am. I just didn’t feel like it. I take a vitamin that has a mood support just to help with dealing with customers. That last sentence should speak volumes. I have to take a mood support vitamin just to deal with customers. I am not saying that to speak negatively about myself or any customer in any way. I have a hard time dealing with a lot of people at once and often times people forget that cashiers are people too. We deserve respect. My job has minimal requirements. Mostly anyone could work my job. My job has very little impact on the world around me. These are all true statements. However, I am a person. I deserve respect and I have feelings like anyone else. These are all true statements. I had two customers complain about me because I wasn’t ‘friendly enough.’ I get paid to be nice and kind to customers. Yes, that is a true statement. However, I will not bend over while one spreads his or her ass cheeks and kiss his or her hairy, smelly asshole. I have had customers curse at me, yell at me, scream at me, solicit me for sex and everything short of propose to me. A lot of them get upset when I say no to sleeping with a random stranger. I still have to smile and say, ‘It’s alright. It’s okay.’ What really grinds my gears is how while being a cashier, I cannot have any emotion. I cannot be upset because a customer false accused me of something I did not do, or a customer yelled at me because of a mistake they made. I cannot tell a customer to ‘stop making me feel uncomfortable’ because they were continuously commenting on ‘what a body I have’. I can only be friendly, and bubbly and perky. And perky. Being a woman, I often have to deal with unwarranted and unwanted attention from males. I wear a buttoned up polo shirt as a uniform. It is loose on me. I wear a sports bra to conceal my ample bosom. I wear loose fitting yoga pants and black running sneakers. I wear a scarf over my chest, In the winter I wear long sleeved shirts under my shirt. I wear my hair up in a pontyail or bun with a headband. I wear studs in my ears and a running watch on my wrist. I wear no make up. I am in no way trying to attract attention. Men still come up to me and talk to me, treat me, act like I am a piece of meat. ‘Hi how are you, beautiful. Boy, if my wife weren’t here, let me tell you what I would do to you.’ *Man licks lips.* “Ay, mama cita. Esta bien? How about you’s and me get together sometime?…No? Puta!’ (Puta means bitch in Spanish). I still have to smile and wish them a good day. Because I am a woman and I am a cashier. I cannot defend myself. I cannot stand up for myself. I must send them on their way with a smile and a wish of a good day.

I am a feminist. I am not against men or mankind. I believe in equality for all. I do not believe in advantages for women and leaving men in the dust. However, I want my voice to heard and it to be known that I am a woman. I am not a piece of meat. I am not someone to be fought for in the hopes of winning. I am not a toy or a prize. I am not a damsel in distress. I am a woman. I deserve equal rights. I deserve equal pay. I deserve to work in a job where I can stand up for myself, I deserve to feel things and emotions beyond happiness. I deserve for those emotions and ideas to be seen as more than ‘a woman’s thinking’ or ‘its her time of the month’ or ‘shes too emotional’. I deserve to be taken seriously. I deserve to feel safe. I deserve to feel like a man in a man’s world, instead of a woman in a man’s world.

35 thoughts you have when you swim as a workout

  1. Okay, I have an hour to swim. And its only an hour right? I can do this.
  2. yeah, I can definitely do this.
  3. It’ll take me five minutes to change out of my sweaty clothes. Putting on a bathing suit over a sweaty body is like wrestling with the devil.
  4. And then I have to go get my gear. And I’ll probably stop to chat with the lifeguard. So its really more like a 45 minute swim.
  5. And that’s what, a warm up, swim and a warm down. Psh, that’s nothing I’ve got this.
  6. Oh god I hope I don’t see anyone I know here. I hate wearing my bathing suit in front of people I know.
  7. I look fine when I’ve got my shorts on, if only my shorts were, like, permanently attached to me.
  8. oh crap. Of course two of the fittest guys I know are here and meanwhile I had twizzlers for lunch.
  9. Oh shit. None of the lanes are open. That means I’ve got to ~gulp~ share.
  10. Okay, just ask that old lady if you can share her lane with her. Yes, you can do this. Just ask. Just do it. Like ripping off a band aid.
  11. Okay so at least the old lady let me share a lane with her. She shouldn’t be in the way too much. Now I can really stretch out.
  12. Oh good the fit guy has left. Now I can take his lane AND go as slow as I want.
  13. Oh no. He’s back. He just went to the bathroom.
  14. Ugh that means I have to actually try during my workout.
  15. I wonder if he thinks I look like a drowning cat when I swim.
  16. Alright. That’s gotta be, what fifteen, twenty minutes past so far? I’m almost half way done!
  17. its only been three minutes?!
  18. I’m quitting. I’m quitting life. I’m just going to float here like a piece of wood until my time is up and then go home and order take out.
  19. Okay, warm up is done. Just a quick workout and you’re almost done. Only thirty minutes left. And that’s fifteen times two. And one of those fifteen’s is a warm down. Warm downs are easy so you really only have fifteen minutes to go. Okay, okay. You can do this.
  20. I cannot do this.
  21. Thank god the old bag has left.
  22. That was mean. She was nice.
  23. If I decide to do the butterfly will it look like I’m showing off? Well what if I just add it into my workout? There is no way I can do more than half a lap of the butterfly in a row. Okay nix the butterfly. I REPEAT; NIX THE BUTTERFLY!
  24. I going for the fly
  25. Why did I do the butterfly? The cute guy probably thinks I had a seizure while swimming.
  26. Okay, workout, done. Now time for a warm down,
  27. Just fifteen more minutes. You’ve come this far, you’re almost one.
  28. Okay, fifteen minutes should be up fairly so– what its only been six minutes? Ugh. Fuck this. Just fuck this.
  29. I might as well keep going. It’d be a shame to quit now.
  30. Tell ya what, you can order pizza if you finish.
  31. What kind of pizza do I want? Or do I want a calzone? or a burrito?!
  32. Definitely taking the mexican route tonight. Can you say Chimichanga? No I want a burrito the size of my face. I deserve . I definitely deserve it.
  33. Oh time’s up! When did that happen?
  34. I really should use food more often to motivate myself.
  35. Good workout. Same time tomorrow?

Dealing with tragedy away from home

It’s better to feel pain than nothing at all.

In a world full of people, differences outweigh similarities. These likenesses include things like laughter, family and pain. This post will be focusing on the latter and how to deal with it while away from home.

Tragedy strikes with no rhyme or reason. There is no pattern or enigma when it comes to tragedy. The thing to remember when tragedy occurs is everyone deals with it a different way. I am the type of person who cries at everything. I hold funerals for beetles and have memorials for pets. I am a sensitive person who feels everything; good and bad. When tragedy hits my life, I find it helps to process things out loud with only my closest friend(s) to listen. I seek religious reason and read my bible. I spend time by myself thinking and reflecting. Sometimes I go to members of the clergy to seek answers. The point of this rant is to understand that there is no right or wrong way to process grief. There is no right or wrong way to feel. Emotions are a common union. We all feel.

How to cope with tragedy away from home:

  1. Tragedy means something different to everyone. A family member falls ill, a beloved one passes away, a parent loses their job, a pet dies. Everyone feels saddened by something. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to feel. Do not apologize for your emotions. They are real and valid even if you cannot make sense of them. First step in dealing with tragedy away from home is acknowledging your feelings. Validate them. Once you do that you will be closer to grieving and moving on from the tragedy.
  2. Once you have acknowledged your feelings you can start to figure out why you feel that way. (It sounds silly but some people don’t know why they feel a certain way). Did your parent lose a job and now you feel like the burden is on you? Did a sick family member pass away and you felt like you should have been there instead? Did your parents divorce and you feel like you were powerless to stop it? Figure out why you are feeling this way. Why the tragedy impacted you the way it did.
  3. When you learn where your feelings come from you can start to grieve. Everyone grieves differently. It isn’t black and white. There are multiple ways and multiple steps for grieving. For example: When I grieve, I first like to be by myself. I need to process whats happened. After that, I eat. Like really eat. And not the good stuff, but the bad stuff. Chocolate, pizza, burritos. Usually after I grieve about the tragedy I grieve about my waistline. (Wrong time for a joke?) after my feast, I talk to people I trust and who i know can weigh in on how I’m feeling. Sometimes I need someone to listen and not say anything and other times I need someone to speak the words I can’t fathom myself. After that I can usually start getting back into the old swing of things. The length and time of grief isn’t set in stone. Some people take longer than others.
  4. Post mourning period doesn’t mean the grief is over. People often live with grief for years, tucked neatly away in the back of their mind. Sometime grief never goes away. My nana and pops lost one of their children. A couple of years ago I interviewed my nana for a school assignment and she cried at the mention of her late daughters name. Sometimes grief never goes away. Sometimes you learn to live with it and learn to carry on your everyday life with a shadow following your every move. Don’t be afraid to seek a therapist or professional help. Plenty of people see counselors just to deal with the hardships of everyday life. If your grief follows you like a shadow, please seek professional help.
  5. Sadness isn’t a walk in the park. It isn’t easy. It’s no picnic. But remember, you will smile again. And when you do, don’t be afraid. Don’t feel guilty. It doesn’t make what you went through any less real or your loss any less difficult. What happened was real. But the world will keep turning if you smile or enjoy yourself or have fun.

I have my nana and pops, my stepdads parents and my gran and grandpa, my mothers parents. I am very close to my gran. I am close to her because I wasn’t overly close with my grandpa. It still hurt when he left us. It hurt my mother even more. My mom is a daddy’s girl. She was so close with my grandpa. She had a very hard time with the loss of my grandpa. Holidays and his birthday and trips to see my Gran are still hard for her. She grieved and she felt her loss. But she still smiles, she still enjoys life and sees its value. Nothing can last forever, not the good and certainly not the bad. Remember that your hard time will pass. **

*I am not a professional therapist. I STRONGLY recommend seeing a professional when you experience loss no matter the degree. 

*This post was inspired by a beautiful and kind family of angels in my town who loss one of their sons in 2010 and most recently another one this past July. Please pray for the Ellsessar Family. 

How to properly piss off an American

‘Murica. The land of the red, white and blue. Land of opportunity, dreams and apple pie. America is a melting pot and known as the place to go to achieve a dream. I’m American born and raised and I am proud. As an american, there are some things that piss me off. So here it is; viola. A guide to pissing off Americans. Because if you’re going to do it you might as well do it right.

Número uno: I am American. Yes. We’ve established that. I come from Germany. My parents, my grandparents. We all hail from Germany. I’m not the first one who’s roots are from a different country. The truth is, most of us, most Americans, our heritage lies somewhere else. Very very few of us have ancestors that were native Americans and are actually native to America. Most of us come from somewhere in this big, vast world. That’s what makes America so beautiful. What divides us unites us. We are all from different places but we all came to America. So please, I emphasize please do not assume that we are all the same. What makes us beautiful is how different we are. There is no one else like me! Except maybe my mom. But the point remains the same! If you ask me what I am I will say American (unless we’re already in America; then it’s implied and I’ll say German).

secondly, I know there’s cartoon photos and memes going around of fat men on handicap scooters with deep fried donuts in their hands with an American flag on the back. ‘Murica. I take no offense, I like a good ‘Murica jab same as anyone else. But you have to realize, that’s not real America. Yes we’re a fat nation (I don’t even think we’re number one!) and yes I have seen a real life fat man on a scooter with an American flag but not everyone is like that. Not everyone is a republican from the south with a gun. I can’t use myself as an example because I AM a republican who OWNS a gun.but nonetheless, America is founded on the idea of change. As much as I disagree with the Westboro baptist church and their protesting; it’s an American right to protest! America’s founding fathers built the country by protesting. The Boston tea party and the revolutionary war! We are a nation that is constantly evolving. I was born in 1992 and at that time I don’t belover interracial couples could marry. Maybe I have my dates wrong, but nonetheless, that changed! Now we are fighting for the rights of gay couples. America is a progressive society that is constantly changing. We are not these wheelchair bound, fat, flag toting, deep frying, republicans that we are made out to be. If you come to America and are sorely surprised at the lack thereof, you will be deported immediately.

Lastly, personally I can’t stand it when anyone assumes that because I’m American, I’m stupid. I got my fair share of that while I was abroad and I’m ashamed to say that one of those people who made said assumptions was from my own university that I was studying at. My being American has no contribution to my IQ. I realize that America has fallen short in the education next to places like, Norway, Switzerland, Finland or Sweden. However, America has housed some of the finest minds. Do not go out of your way to assume that an American is stupid. You will be sorely let down.

At the end of the day, there isn’t much that pisses me off. I’m a hard person to anger. Americans are known aside from deep fried food, guns, and freedom for our friendly, selfless personalities. We really just want to make you smile. That’s all for now.

Till next time.

Drinking in different countries

Welcome. Its five o’clock somewhere. This post is all about drinking. Remember, it is illegal to consume alcohol if you are underage. But I’m not your mom. You do you.

Drinking is an art form. To drink well and cheaply; its not easy. But we love our nights out. If you go out, you WILL have to spend money. It might not be a lot but you will still be spending it. If you’re saving for a car or for a trip or in general, try not to go out too often. It is draining on your bank account (and liver). But you work hard, so let your hair down (for all the ladies and sometimes men) and have a much deserved night out. (Note: a much deserved night out is not every weekend.)

Drinking ages are different in every country. In America its 21, in Canada its 19, Japan 20, England 18, Germany 16. If you are traveling to a country and you are under the drinking age and you want to drink, be careful. You are underage, in a different country. Their laws are different there. Police officers may not let you off with a warning if you’re caught. Live your life (just be careful). Secondly, know your limits. I know sometimes you just want to get DRUUUUUUNK and rage but honestly, I speak from my own experiences and watching others when I say its not a good idea. First of all, getting wasted to the point of getting sick and stumbling and blacking out; its not cute. Nobody wants to be around that. No one wants to play mommy or daddy when youre drunk and no one is interested in dating someone who cant hold their liquor. You wont be any fun if youre constantly being taken care of. If you are drinking in a different country, be careful what and how much you drink. You are in a foreign country, Youre not at home out with the squad. You have to be careful. Especially if you dont know the people youre partying with too well. You could get lost, you might not remember where your hostel is. Its dangerous. Getting shitfaced just allows for preventable accidents to occur. Go out, drink, get tipsy, but just remember not to get too drunk. We all have our drunk personalities. Some good, some bad. Know what your drunk personality is and if youre a mean drunk, be careful . Theres nothing worse than burning bridges and not having a clue why the next morning. Also, be careful if youre a slutty drunk. That creepy guy with the catepillar lip might seem like a good idea after six tequila shots but you dont know where its been. if you want to go out and have a one night stand, go ahead. live your life, you do you. However, be careful. Use protection. Birth control protects against pregnancy but not STD’s. use a condom. Be careful about who you go home with. No one wants to end up in the trunk of a car. Seriously, thats sketchy stuff. Also, watch your drink! True story, I saw a friend of mine put something in my other friends drink. I did everything but flip the table over. Turns out it was just a cigarette butt and I was several drinks in. But the point is, he didnt notice anything in his drink. So its easy to miss if your drinks been spiked. Watch the bartender make it. Get it directly from them. Never accept a drink from anyone except for a trusted friend (even then!). Girls, I know what youre thinking. We use the two gifts God gave us to get guys to buy us drinks. By all means, use what your momma gave you but stay at the bar. Flirt with some guys, ask them to buy you a drink, watch the bartender make it. Then you can leave. If you go to the bathroom, take your drink with you or get another one. Lastly, go have fun. Going out is about being young and stupid. Making mistakes so we know better in the future. Everyone gets drunk and sick and everyone does dumb shit while drunk. Just try not to make a habit of it. Going out for a drink and fun times with friends is what its all about. No memories were made by staying in. Enjoy yourself.

And now for the good stuff…drinking on a budget.

Remember, beggars cant be choosers, so if youre going to drink cheap you cant always get what you like. Sometimes you gotta plug your nose and take it down. Mixing drinks is bittersweet. I’m talking about a glass of wine and a pint of beer and a shot of vodka. Its gets you drunk faster but it also makes you blackout. Be careful about it. And I guarantee if you mix drinks your hangover will be ten times worse in the morning. A good tip for drinking cheaply is to buy a flask. Fill it up and drink at the club or at the bar. A drink is what, $6-$10? you can buy a bottle for that much and fill up your flask as well as pregame. Speaking of buying bottles, you may not like it, but if youre drinking cheap you gotta buy the cheap stuff. Its gross and it burns but its cheap and it gets the job done. One thing I learned, in the united kingdom theres this stuff called squash. Its not a vegetable. Its juice concentrate. you mix it with water to make juice. I mix the squash with the alcohol (because I like sweet stuff) and it makes it easier to drink but you also get the buzz you were looking for. If you can drink that cheap gin or vodka straight, go on ahead. But for the rest of you normal people who cant, try the alcohol and squash. Another way to drink cheap is to buy nips! buy some nips and stash them in your pockets or purse. get a soda or juice from the bar and when no ones looking add your nip. My local liquor store sells nips for $1 and the bar across the street has shirley temples for $1.75. Thats a three dollar drink instead of $6. Voila. Its not a sex on the beach or slippery nipple or kamikaze but it is a drink. When I was in Wales, we went out almost if not every friday night. Here is a list of my expenses:

Bottle of Gin 10 pounds (lasted for two weeks so 5 pounds really)

bottle of squash .80 pence

entry to the club 2 pounds, sometimes free

So for a night out I spent not even 8 pounds. In dollars thats about 12. Another good tip for drinking cheaply is bring cash with you. But bring a fixed amount! Sometimes when I had no money to spare, I only brought club entry with me. and then I just flirted to drink. Sometimes I would leave with only a five. One time I only had a twenty. I brought it thinking id only send five and I spent it all! Do not bring your credit card or your debit card. True story. I went out with a guy friend and he spent 200 pounds at the bar (thats $500!) and the drinks werent for him. He was so drunk he bought everyone a shot! Good for you but not good for him. Another true story, I met a famous football player (again in England) at a bar and he opened up a tab and bought everyones drink. He spend 1,500 pounds. So be careful. Dont bring your credit card. Be aware if customs and ways while drinking in different countries. I was at a bar with friends in Paris and the guys were all over me. Because thats their culture. Thats the way they are. Know how the culture is and act appropriately. A lot of places in Europe, like the UK, Germany, France, theyre all party places. But places like the middle east and asia arent as drinker friendly. Make sure not to get into too much trouble, it could cost you.

Lastly, hangovers. When youre young you can drink all you want and run a marathon the next day. Its not the same as you get older. Hangovers are brutal. Alcohol dehydrates you. Thats why you get sick and dizzy and headaches. So to prevent hangovers, make sure to eat. Before, during and after you drink. Sip water while drinking and chug some water before going to bed. Sometimes we’re too drunk or things happen and we cant always prevent a hangover. So if you wake up and youre miserable, here are some tips for getting through the hangover. Everyone is different. I know people who like greasy fast food for a hangover. Personally, I cant. Ginger ale, saltines or toast is a good one. Some people say a shower, bananas or coffee. One thats really worked for me are pedialyte popsicles. Pedialyte is make for little kids who are sick and dehydrated (essentially a hangover) If you drink the juice, its too much for your stomach and youll vomit everywhere. Where as the popsicle slowly gives you back the electrolytes and hydration you lost. If you cant get pedialyte popsicles I suggest sherbet or sorbet. Its water based, it has sugars and electrolytes. It wont make you puke (unless you eat it too fast). Thats my cure-all for hangovers. Sherbet. Sometimes youve just got to get it all out of your system. Being sick and throwing up sucks but once its all out, you can start to bounce back. hang in there. Its a toughie, hangover but youll get through it. thats all for now. Remember to have a good time, but be safe. Mommy and daddy arent around to protect you anymore. You do you but remember, the law is the law and not everyone is so nice.

Until next time.

Maddie out

Its a Wale of a tale

Now that the days of my stay here in Wales are coming to an end, I feel inspired to write a how to guide on all that is Wales. Buckle up, its a Wale of a tale.

Firstly, transportation. The taxis are pretty cheap, you can get most anywhere for less than £10, sometimes less than £5. Make sure to bring friends with you, it will lower the cost even more. If you need to take a taxi, whether you’re in Cardiff or in Carmarthen, call ahead of time. If there are taxis waiting, their waiting for their caller. Its not like America where you can flag down a cab on the spot. Aside from taxis, the busses are cheap and if you know where you’re going, it will only cost a couple of pounds. Either get a bus card or buy one on the bus. They give you a ticket right then and there. Getting to and from cities and town you’ll have to rely on the trains or busses. Megabus is a great line for cheap busses but warning, their hours of service are awful. I took a bus from Swansea to London at 4:30 AM. The trains are cheap as well. If you plan on doing a fair amount of traveling by train its smart to invest in a rail card. They’re about £30 but it will save you a third in rail fees. It pays for itself in no time. This is a must have for students and penny pinching business men. Flying in the UK can be cheap. You need to do your research to find cheap flights however. You can get from Manchester, England to Dublin, Ireland for $17. Easy Jet and Ryanair are the cheapest ways to get around. But be warned, they are cheap for a reason. They lack amenities other airlines provide for free. Do your research before buying.

Housing, living in the UK is expensive; even for me a student! I cried when I saw my bank account after submitting my housing payment. So look into couch surfing, cheap hostels, sharing an apartment or house with friends. As with anything, there are ways to cut corners, you just need to find them. However, be warned because your housing in Wales will most likely be the most expensive part of your stay.

Food! I love food! I love eating and I love cooking. One of the things I love about living in the UK is that I can cook much more for myself than I ever did as a student in America. So a couple money saving tips; don’t go shopping on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. its all more expensive because everyone flocks to get groceries on the weekend. Go on a weekday evening if you can. Second, go at night. Tescos is open 24 hours a day. So go later in the day. The store is trying to sell off things that have gone so you can buy a loaf of bread for pennies. That’s right I said pennies. You can bring it home and freeze it for later use. The expiration dates in Wales are different for two reasons. One, the expiration date expires early so there are no lawsuits over food gone bad. They cover their bases unlike America, land of the lawsuit. Secondly, the expiration date simply says when the food is no longer at its peak. its the best it will ever be the day of or the day before the expiration date. You can eat food for weeks after the date has gone. I’ve eaten break for two weeks after the date went. Just smell it, look at what you want to eat and use your best judgement. Buy value brand. If you buy value brand you will save so much more than just buying a nice brand. The food is the same. Look for the deals. Sometimes you can get 2 for 1. Also, check the weight. A pack of cheese may only be a £1 but if its 1KG and theres a 3KG pack of cheese for £1.5, well the better deal is the £1.5. I love to cook, so you can do what you like on this one, but I buy a lot of my own meat and veggies and I cook it myself. It lasts for several dinner and its healthier. I bought a whole chicken today for £3 and it’ll last me long past the weekend. Put some veggies and rice with it, you can have a home made meal for less than a pound. A little effort goes a long way when it comes to food shopping. Don’t be lazy and you’ll have no problem cutting back on the costs.

Party! Buy a flask! store it in your sports jacket or in your purse. Then, if you want buy a drink or two, but drinking in the UK can be really expensive. So look for bars with cheap drinks or discounts. Or you can be a cheeky girl like me, I use a flask and I buy nips (small bottles of alcohol) and I order a coke or lemonade and make my own drinks. It’ll save you about £3 per drink. If you’re a girl and you want to drink for free, I hate to say it, but suck that waist in, push those boobs up and strut your stuff. You’ll have a drink in your hands in no time. For you students, I go to the union. Sure, its not London or Cardiff, but its cheap, its on campus and its fun.

Lastly, the people! I find people in Wales to be extremely friendly and kind. I met some of my best friends the night I arrived in Wales. Again, I tell you the night I arrived in Wales. I forced myself to go outside and mingle and I met some amazing people. They welcomed me in right away. They were so excited that I was American and we’re still my close friends today. If you want to meet people in Wales, just go up and talk to them. They wont bite (unless you ask). They’ll either welcome you in with open arms or if they don’t, then shrug it off and try again; who needs them anyways?

Wales is a hidden gem. It doesn’t get too many tourists or foreigners as everyone wants to be in London. But I assure you, this country is just as homey and nice. There are rolling hills everywhere you look, green surrounds you, and the nightlife in the cities is unforgettable. Its the place that I’ve come to call home and I learned to love. Give Wales a chance and I promise you, you will love it, too.

til next time.