5 Signs You’ve Been Abroad Too Long

If you’ve been abroad for long you’ve noticed that your host culture has a way of creeping up on you. What was initially foreign slowly becomes normal. You begin to adopt the practices of your surroundings.

 

5 tongue-in-cheeks signs that you've been abroad too long.

 

Which, inevitably, comes back to bite you the next time you arrive on the familiar shores of home. Below are five signs that you’ve been abroad for too long. :)

 

1. You Pick Up Local Slang

 

You know you’ve been abroad for too long when you find yourself getting ridiculously excited by local slang from your home country. I never thought I used much slang until I traveled abroad and phased out my usage as I realized that non English speakers didn’t always understand what I meant. It’s perhaps no wonder then that when a fellow Brit I’d just met in New Zealand said she was ‘just nipping to the loo’ I became way too over excited. I was great hearing someone else use such a common phrase back home (FYI it means going to the toilet).

On the other hand, being English I say things like trousers instead of pants. We just say pants for underwear, and I still have a little giggle to myself every time some says ‘pants’, so living abroad can be pretty amusing too! It’ll be interesting to know how much Kiwi slang I’ve picked up while being in New Zealand, ‘Jandals’ have replaced ‘Flip flops’, and ‘no worries’ has replaced ‘you’re welcome’.

– Gemma from Gemma Jane Adventures

 

2. You Haggle

 

Signs you've been abroad too long.

Once upon a time the thought of bartering a price stopped me cold. It’s about as far from my American culture as you can get. But recently while in Sri Lanka I found myself talking a tuk tuk driver down on his price without giving it a second thought.

You’re never going to pay local prices, and that’s okay. But usually you can shave a little off the “tourist tax”.

 

3. You Expect Great Service

 

Signs you've been abroad too long.

 

Ideas about customer service completely morph while you’re abroad. Living in Korea, I’ve become somewhat of a spoiled-brat. Servers at restaurants come to your beck and call at the push of a button (literally) because tables come equipped with “ding-dong” bells to get the waitstaff’s attention. After every shopping purchase, you are usually given full-sized samples of cool products like socks and nail polish remover.

When I went back to the USA for a quick visit, I was appalled to see that a simple haircut with shampoo cost more than $40 after tips! In Korea, not only do you get your hair shampooed, conditioned, and rinsed, but you also get an unlimited amount of refreshments and snacks served to you including ice cream and to top it of, you get a head, back, AND hand massage! And you are almost attended by two people at the very least. The total cost: 12,000 won or $10, no tipping required. When my brother came to visit, I took him out for a haircut. Let’s just say his standards have changed too.

-Izzy from The Next Somewhere

 

4. You Cut In Line

 

Signs you've been abroad too long.

photo credit http://www.laflinesque.com/?p=747

 

Line? What line? Anyone who’s been abroad long learns that there’s no such thing as an orderly queue. And if you want to get what you need this side of Sunday, you’re going to need to assert yourself. And stand uncharacteristically close to others.

Recently at an airport in India I realized (in hindsight) that I had cut to the front of a line in a restaurant. Twice! The poor westerners in line must have thought I was terribly rude.

 

5. You Think in Too Many Languages

 

I am an Indian brought up in Dubai, moved to Uk and now I live in Belgium. I have lived long in Belgium and we order a beer saying ”een pintje” – One pint in Dutch. When I was in India last time for a trip, I ended up saying the same at a bar.

-VIshanth from Vishualization

If you’re attempting to learn the local language you’ll find your mind constantly working through how to say something in your language and the second language. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself in the shower conjugating verbs. Or lying in bed at night and have a wandering thought demand to be translated.

 


 

All of this is said, tongue-in-cheek, of course. Is there really such a thing as being abroad too long? :) And there are so many more that could be listed. We had a lot of fun coming up with a bunch over on our facebook page.

What would you add to the list? :)

 



Booking.com

Jessica

 

I took a selfie with a penguin and won $500.

 

That’s no click-bait, friends. That is the honest to God’s truth.

 

It all started when I got an email from my favorite hometown store – Big Lots. I love Big Lots. It’s close to my house, has cheap international foods, a decent clearance section, and most importantly, everything I’d ever need to go to Walmart for. Because we avoid THAT place at all cost.

Big Lots Selfie Sweepstakes

 

So when I found out about a certain selfie sweepstakes at Big Lots I thought, “Sure, why not. I can take a reel full of selfies for a chance to win a shopping spree.”

 

 

So I texted my BFF and the conversation when something like this:

 

Me: Want to go to Big Lots later and take a bunch of selfies for a sweepstakes?

Her: Of course.

 

And after only seven days and seven selfies I won. I don’t know what the odds were but they certainly weren’t in my favor.

 

penquin selfie

Naturally, I was jazzed. Because seriously. People actually WIN these things?

 

But another side of me was a little disappointed. I had taken upwards of 30 selfies thinking I would be entering once a day all month. And all those other poor selfies have gone to waste. It was a sad day for vanity.

 

So, in honor of all the forgotten selfies, I present you with some of the best.

 

IMAG2442

The affectionate fox selfie.

The scentcicle selfie.

The scentsicle selfie.

The novelty wine glass selfie.

The novelty wine glass selfie.

The garland scarf selfie.

The Charlie Brown Tree plunger selfie.

The Charlie Brown Tree plunger selfie.

And last but not least . . .

The HEY MOM LOOK WHAT I CAN DO selfie.

The HEY MOM LOOK WHAT I CAN DO selfie.

 

So, to recap: you really can have it all my friends – vanity, $500 gift cards, and the ability to avoid Walmart.

 

And people say there’s no good left in the world.

 

Jessica

 

Parenting – What It’s Really Like

Parenting. No one thinks they’re ready, and yet at the same time most of us start out thinking we know exactly what it’s all about. Parenting is easy before you ever have kids.

 

But what is parenting really like? Well, follow this easy 15 step program and you too can experience the joys of parenthood.

 

What it's really like to live with kids.

 

Step 1. Take the toilet paper roll off. Put an empty one on.


Step 2. Invite someone else to poop in your bathroom. Leave the fan off. Occasionally leave the door open as well.


Step 3. Do not flush.


Step 4. Repeat this every few hours throughout the day.


Step 5. Pay someone to lock themselves in the bathroom for at least 5 minutes whenever they see you walking towards it.


Step 6. Have someone randomly approach you 5 times an hour and ask, “What can I eat?” Have them reject all your suggestions.


Step 7. Have two other people paid to repeat step 6. Make sure they wait until you finally sit down after having successfully fed the first person AND make sure they reject what you fed the first person, unless that was the last one of those. Then have them want it, and only it.


Step 8. Pay three people to wrestle in your living room until one of them gets hurt. Make sure they understand not to stop when you tell them to.


Step 9. Pay one of the 4 people to whisper whenever they talk to you, and yell whenever they talk to everyone else.


Step 10. Have one of these same people open every door, drawer, bag, lid, etc in the house. Have one of the other people be unable to do any of this, ever.


Step 11. Wet a dog. Leave it in your house, just for the general dampness and smell. Not because you own a dog. If you do own a dog, it will have escaped during step 10.


Step 12. Have someone turn on everything. If it has batteries, leave it on until the batteries die.  Make sure they tell no one.

 

Step 13. Take one bite out of every fruit you own. Display them on bookshelves and dressers.

 

Step 14. Pay someone to pee in your bed. Make sure they wait until you have no clean sheets.

 

Step 15. Last but not least, have someone come into your room when you’re fast asleep and stare at you until their sheer presence rips you from peaceful slumber and into the horror movie that is now your life.

 

You did it!

Doesn’t that feel great? And remember, there’s no guarantee you’re not screwing them up and making crappy adults. But hey, at least they’ll be out of the house one day and dealing with their own little bed-wetters.

 

P.S. Now go offer to babysit for your frazzled friends who need a break.

P.P.S. We love our kids. This is satire.

P.P.P.S. What would you add to the list?

 

Jessica

 

School Is A Waste Of Time – A Helpful Breakdown

Obvservations about school.

A few observations about school from a 32 year old man who has studied nearly his entire life.

***


Elementary School: The first half is pretty unnecessary if you watched a healthy dose of PBS, or had parents worth a crap. The second half is the same junk every year.


Middle School: Needs to not exist. They need to send every child away from the ages of about 12 to about 16. Teach them a trade, or something. Then, when their brain cuts back on, they can come back to school.



High School: Is mostly about crowd control. Very few people are learning. This is when the drama part of your brain develops.

Associate’s degree: All the stuff you should have learned in high school, you learn here.

 

Other (2nd, 3rd, etc) Associate’s degrees: Those are just embarrassing. Why did you even do that? Don’t talk about them. Ever.

 

Bachelor’s degree: About three classes that blow your mind and change your world–finally! Then you get to repeat that information in about 12 other classes so the college makes money.

 

Master’s degree: You start learning a whole lot about one little thing. Choose wisely. Also, you take about 3 classes that blow your mind–AGAIN. Most of them will also tell you that what you learned for your Bachelor’s was wrong, for some reason. Then you get to repeat yourself, recycle papers for other classes, and generally want to die for about 5 to 6 more semesters… once again, so the school can make money.

 

2nd Master’s degree: This is what you get to do when you chose wrong for the first one. You really don’t want to have to do it all again, but that’s what you get for being a dummy. That’s right: You’ve been in school for about 30 years now, and you’ve finally realized that you’re the Biggest Loser. You’ve finally realized that you’re dumb. Good job.

 

Avoiding doing homework,

-Jeremy

 

Me and Sleep vs. Things – Part 4

I have at least one more really epic war story, but I thought I’d fast forward a bit for this one.  The year was 2011.  The War had been “over” for nearly 8 years now, and I had indeed moved on to Bigger and Better Things.  I was on a Trip to India.  India makes missionaries get a special visa, so I definitely WAS NOT on a “mission trip”—if there even is truly such a thing.

 

I’ll skip all the details and just say that I had gotten as far as Manali, where 4 of us guys were going to have to spend the night, before setting off on an epic mountain hike the next morning.

 

Manali is a nice town.  Lots of hotels.  The one we checked into was considered to be “clean”.  The bottom of the door to my room looked like this:

 

me and sleep vs things

 

I’m including this picture for your own awareness, just in case you ever see a door with a really huge gap under part of it, and a corresponding carpet trail that’s been worn threadbare.  That means something walks there.  A lot.

 

Now, as usually happens on these kinds of trips, you get to sleep in a lot of missionary positions.  Being 4 guys, the hotel manager put us in 2 rooms.  Each room had only one big bed.  That makes sense.

 

But you see, there are certain ways two dudes can sleep together, and certain ways they cannot.

 

There are certain ways two dudes can sleep together and certain ways they cannot.

 

In Configuration 1, both parties can get adequate rest, but there is potential that their hands might occasionally brush each other.  Also, if one of them is a snorer, laying on one’s back will definitely exacerbate that situation.

 

Configuration 2 is by far the highest-rated configuration.  It aims any snoring away from the other person, and keeps all appendages pointed in the appropriate direction:  AWAY.

 

Configuration 3 gets a mention, and bonus points for Homophobic Creativity, but also a word of caution because it puts your face in close proximity to another man’s feet, and generally aims their farts towards your head as well.

 

Configuration 4 is completely unacceptable.  That is all.

 

“But, why not just sleep on the floor?” you may ask.  Because it’s really cold in the mountains, and we’d been stuck on a crowded bus all day long, and when we weren’t on a bus, we were wearing a huge mountain climbing backpack.  And the altitude is slightly higher in the Himalayas than it is in South Georgia.  By like a mile or two.

 

SO, we were all tired, and we wanted to get as good of a rest as we could before our epic hike.

 

Well, I ended up in bed with a guy who I had only met the day before (thankfully, NOT one of my life’s themes) who was going to be our “guide”.

 

Then, in the middle of the night, I felt something.  Something bumped my head and brushed through my hair as my neighbor rustled around in the bed.

 

I forgot to mention Configuration 5, aka “The Bed Hog”.  It is also completely unacceptable, for obvious reasons:

 

The bed hog. Unaccpetable.

 

But, this wasn’t a true Configuration 5.  So my brain—once again trying to make things make sense—says to me, “Well, maybe he’s going for a Modified 4?”  I did feel something playing with my hair, after all.

 

me and sleep vs things

 

I was beginning to distrust my new friend, to say the least.

 

Also, this was the 10-year anniversary of one time me and a different Guy I Didn’t Know ended up staying in a hotel room together (wait, maybe this IS a theme…).  We flipped a coin for the bed, and the other guy got the couch.  Halfway through the trip, we agreed to switch.  Well, the first night of The Switch, guess who “forgot” to get in the right bed after he’d gotten up to pee in the middle of the night?

 

Yeah.

 

It wasn’t me, by the way.  To be fair, we had been drinking A LOT of beer that night, and we were both fairly sleep deprived.  I “pushed” him off my bed with my feet—thanks once again to my Super Ninja Military Sleep Defense Training.

 

We didn’t talk about it the next day.

 

Aaaawwwkwaaaaarrrrrdddd.

 

And that, kids, is why you never drink beer.  Because it’ll make you gay… or something….

 

Anyhow, thanks to my pile of emotional baggage involving Sleep Trauma, I was beginning to distrust my new friend.

 

Well, my Super Ninja Military Sleep Defense Training was already kicking in, and as my leg began to activate Defense Move Number One, I realized that my “friend” wasn’t actually the culprit.  Big surprise.

 

me and sleep vs things

 

Apparently, I’m quite popular in the rodent community.  Word has gotten around.  Unfortunately, this was a huge rat, and not a mouse.  I backhanded him off my pillow, and as he ran under my door, I figured out why there was a gap there.

 

And then as all good soldiers do, I went back to sleep.  I DID NOT roll over this time.  That would be a Configuration 4 Violation.

 

Unfortunately, I opened my eyes a few minutes later, and saw this on the bedside table:

 

i can has thumbnail

 

I went into Full Attack Mode, and the rat went back under the door.  Utilizing my Super Ninja Military Sleep Defense Training, I put my shoe in front of the hole, and wedged it there with… I don’t know… a standard issue book or something.

 

The rest of the night was spent in fits as the Rat Department of Transportation attempted to unblock their road.  The next morning, my hard-sleeping, yet Configuration 2-loving, new friend said, “Dude, what the heck was wrong with you last night?”  I don’t think he believed me, and he probably has a blog of his own about me now.

 

-Jeremy

Further reading:

Me and Sleep vs. Things – Part 1

Me and Sleep vs. Things – Part 2

Me and Sleep vs. Things – Part 3

 

 

Me and Sleep vs. Things – Part 3

 

The year is still 2003.  I’m still living in Tent City in Kuwait.  This story takes place about 6 months after the infamous thumbnail incident.

 

Remember back in 2003 when George W. Bush stood out there by that “Victory” sign and talked about bringing the troops home?  That was fun.

 

You see, we had decided that we had “liberated” Iraq so well that we needed to go there more completely and make sure that they all knew about it… or something…

 

Anyhow, since we were moving out, Tent City needed to be torn down, and all the human occupants were going to go off in all directions to Bigger and Better Things.

 

001a

 

So, the plan was that as people shipped out, we’d tear down a row of tents, until eventually we were the last row (remember how I was in the Nether Regions of Tent City?) and with no one else left, we’d pack up and leave, feeling a sense of fulfillment and closure because the War was finally over.

 

Nice plan.  In theory.  I’m talking about the Tents Plan, not the War Plan.  

 

002a

 

Here’s the problem.  The “leadership” forgot to account for the OTHER occupants of Tent City.  The… not human things.  The not humans weren’t shipping off to Iraq.  Instead, as we tore down a row of tents, they’d just move over to the remaining tents.  The “leadership” probably forgot to plan for them, because of a certain theory of mine, which I mentioned last time.

 

Anyhow, eventually, I started noticing that there were way more not humans in my tent than before.  I was laying on my cot one night reading, when I looked up to see this:

 

003a

 

 

A mouse.  He ran down the ghetto bulb cord, down the string, and then turned around and ran back up again.  I guess he was just checking the place out.

 

Kind of like a scout, for The Others.

 

Well, see, I was sort of used to noises in the night by this point, because the helicopters would take off right over my tent, and tents flap in wind, and helicopters make some of that stuff.  And because of the bombs and whatnot.

 

But, seriously, the level of scratching, crawling, scampering, squeaking, and Things Fighting noises was really reaching a crescendo.  The more tents we tore down, the more the pile of Things snowballed until finally I was in the Last Row left, and the entire Horde was at my door (flap), at deafening levels.

 

004a

(By the way, if you’ve never read Bram Stoker’s short stories, they are great.  There’s a really cool one about this pile of rats bothering a guy at night.  It’s either called The Judge’s House or The Burial of the Rats.  I think it’s the one about the judge.  They’re both in the same book, so just read them all.)

 

Anyhow, I’m laying there one night (near the “end of the war”, back in 2003) and Something Heavy hops up onto my feet.  Not a rat.  Way, way bigger than that.

 

005a

 

Since my brain has this weird habit of trying to make sense of things, it just gives me a dream:  In Germany where my wife and one kid were, we had this HUGE cat.  He was really massive.  I think they’re called Himalayan Snowshoes or something.  And this one was old and fat, even for one of those.  He weighed as much as my kid, like 25 pounds or so.  He’d lay on my feet at night and I’d have dreams about my legs being stuck in cement and struggling to get out.

 

So, like all good soldiers do, I start having a dream that I’m back home, in bed with my wife, and the (25-pound) kitty is on my feet.  And I’m super happy.  For a second.

 

006a

 

Then, the “cat” starts to walk up my body more, and I start to wake up more, and then I’m like, “Wait a minute…  If I’m back home, why can I still hear The Horde?”  

 

Reacting to the Beast, my super ninja military training kicked in, and I employed the fighting skills developed for exactly this kind of situation:  I bicycle-kicked it through my sleeping bag, yelled, and then did a sort of worm thing just to make sure it was off.

 

The Beast was launched off, banged into my locker knocking it down, and then scratched the ground and grunted, snarled a few words in the unspeakable language of Mordor, and then ran off.

 

Now, I didn’t get to turn on the light, so I don’t actually know to this day What Was On Me.  But, using a highly scientific rendering process (the same one The History Channel uses for their “history” shows), I’ve been able to finally recreate with 99% certainty, the image of the beast:

 

007a

 

Then… as all good soldiers do…I rolled over and went back to sleep.  Because tomorrow was going to be another busy day, now that The War was “over”.  Back in 2003.

 

-Jeremy

Me and Sleep vs. Things – Part 2

 

In 2003, I was stationed in Kuwait as part of the massive buildup of troops who were about to go “liberate” Iraq.  Kuwait is a desert.  We stayed in tents.  Tents don’t have toilets, so usually people ended up doing something like this:

 

proximapee1


Now, as any good soldier knows, you NEVER PEE BESIDE THE TENT.  It attracts… things.  Now, imagine a massive City, all built out of tents.  All without a built-in toilet.  Each tent has about 12 men in it, all well-equipped to pee anywhere they want on God’s soon-to-be-green Earth.  Imagine what happens if this entire city of soldiers decided to pee by their tents, and not in the toilet-hole they’d dug outside the tent city.

 

proximapee2

 

(If you’re wondering why I went with green for the pee, partly for fun, partly because guys in the desert take a lot of muscle-builder supplements and lift a lot of weights, so their pee is usually any color it wants to be.)

 

Well, see, here’s the thing.  You’re fairly busy in this desert, and you don’t exactly “hang out” in your tent.  You pretty much only sleep there.  Which means that the only time you’re in Tent City is when you’re Asleep, or wanting to be.  Which also means that the only time you need to pee in Tent City is when you’re Asleep.  Who wants to walk a mile in a desert to go pee in the middle of the night?  No one.  I get mad when I need to walk across the house to pee at night.  I usually just hold it and sleep like crap for hours because I need to pee, and I end up having weird dreams that try to trick me into peeing on myself in various dream-scenarios—all involving me getting splashed when I pee.

 

“But, it’s all cool!” My Brain always says.

And I’m always like, “No, Brain, this just feels wrong!”

“Ignore the splatter, dude.  That’s what happens when you’re an astronaut peeing in a space hose,” My Brain always tells me.

Usually, about that time, I’m like, “Wait just a dang second—when did I go to astronaut school?”

Then I wake up, and I’m like, “Ok, screw this, I’m walking to the bathroom.”

 

But, let’s face it.  When the bathroom is across the desert, and not across the living room… Well, I drew a chart.  I think it speaks for itself.

 

proximapee3

 

So, if you care enough to not attract… things… that are attracted by pee… you pee in an empty water bottle, and not on the ground.  But, then you have to do something with the bottle, and usually Someone out of the other 11 guys in your tent is going to hear you peeing in a bottle and whack you with something, so you might as well have gone outside to begin with, because peeing into a water bottle is pretty technical, and getting hit with a boot while doing it is a sure way to pee on yourself, and maybe spill half a bottle of pee on your Sleeping Bag.

 

At this point, you might be wondering, “Why not just put the toilets closer to everyone, and not just the lucky, Higher-ranking Guys on the NE Corner of Tent City?”  Something, a little like this, you say:

 

proximapee4

 

Because, the military likes to do everything the hard way.  And because if you ever mention making anything into a circle, instead of a square, they call you a hippie and start singing/yelling “kumbayah” at you, and usually try to punch you in the arm or slap you on the butt.  Just because.

 

This is a symptom of a much larger problem.  I have a theory, which I’m patenting eventually.  This isn’t just for the military.  This also happens in any authoritarian-style regime…like… I don’t know… church?

 

proximapee5

 

See, smart people really hate working for dumb people.  They can tolerate it, if they see a light at the end of the tunnel, or if they think they’ll ever be in a position to change anything.  But, basically, once this process starts, it grows exponentially, and it never turns itself around.  Never.  In any organization.  You just have to scrap the whole thing, and start over.  Like church, or government.  Because you have a dummy infestation.

 

Even if one smart person made it to the top, he’s got to contend with nothing but dummies in leadership.  Dummies hate change.  And, let’s face it, Mr. Smart also doesn’t have a lot to work with, because all the smart workers are leaving like rats on a sinking ship.

 

So, eventually, when Dummy Generation One gets ready to retire, they look for new people to promote, and the only people left are the ones dumb enough to be able to put up with working for a flock of Dummies for most of their career.

 

It gets worse.  See, eventually, even the Mildly Dumb people get fed up and leave.  So then, you have an even dumber pool to draw from when you look for new leaders.  So, not only does the leadership get Dumb.  It gets Dumber.  Continually, exponentially, again.

 

So, thanks to No One Smart running the planning process in Tent City.  I spent about 5 months of my life sleeping in a huge pee puddle at the opposite end of Tent City from the “real” bathrooms.  Because, for some reason, everyone would walk to the edge of the city to pee, just not the correct edge.  I think it had something to do with the aforementioned theory, and the resultant average IQ of Tent City inhabitants.

 

Which, somehow, brings us to the end of this chapter in our story.

 

I open my sleepy eyes one morning, and can’t seem to focus.  Like a camera, when something is too close to your face.  Finally, my eyes zoom out to Hubble Distance, and I’m able to focus on this:

 

proximapee6

 

A tiny mouse, eating  my thumbnail.

 

Why does this stuff always happen to me?

 

-Jeremy

Me and Sleep vs. Things – Part 1

 

If my wife will permit me, I’d like to run a really high-brow series through here. I don’t know exactly what I’d like to call it, maybe something more like “Me and Sleep vs. Things”.  Because that’s pretty much the theme.

 

See, life has themes.  One of mine is “things crawl on me in my sleep”.  I wish I didn’t have enough stories with this theme to run a whole series, but I do.  Let’s begin.

 

 *****

The scene opens in a room.  A very tiny room.  The tiny-ness is important, because if it were larger, I could have just moved out of Hell’s way.  But as it was, I couldn’t.  It was so tiny, in fact, that I’m pretty sure it was a pantry once.

 

My parents were missionaries in Nigeria, so I was there for 9th grade.  It was my fourth year in the country, and I had pretty much lost my grip on reality by that point, because that’s what Nigeria does to you.  That’s why they arrest goats there.  So I was operating pretty much within the framework of, “Oh screw it, sure, why not?”  As in:  anything’s possible.

 

BUT, as most people go—sane or otherwise—I like stuff to stay out of my bed.

 

That, as it turns out, is not a luxury Nigeria affords.

 

So, I’m in my tiny room, asleep one morning, when the impossible—once again—happens.  I’m laying in bed.  I open my eyes to stare up at the bare rafters of my tin-roofed bedroom.  I see a magical creature.

 

Sure, why not.

 

I’m not explaining well enough exactly how tiny my room is, and exactly how few places there are in it to run from Magic.  So here’s a picture:

 

me versus sleep 2

 

Now, the key element in all of this is vulnerability.  I’m in my tiny room.  My happy place.  BUT, I’m in my bed.  In my underwear.  I’m not wearing good heavy stomping-sized shoes.  I’m not wearing jeans to deflect Satan’s bullets.  I’m wearing boxers.  Heck, in 9th grade I didn’t even have any chest hair or a sweet beard to protect me.  I feel completely vulnerable and unprepared.

 

So, I’m laying there like a baby lamb, still half asleep.  Waking up to a sunny African morning.  The birds are chirping away outside.  I open my innocent, sleepy eyes, and hanging from my rafter, I see this:

 

me versus sleep 1

 

Immediately, I notice that it’s twitching back and forth.  It has 8 legs.  It has 2 tails.  It is not a spider.  The flow chart for my reality doesn’t accommodate this.  I notice in the very center of its body, a single massive, bulging eye staring down at me, while the body continues to twitch.

 

Usually, when I first wake up and Something That Doesn’t Exist stares at me I’m like, “Ok, this is one of those crappy dreams where you think you’re awake, but really you still have to trick yourself through like 8 of these fake wake-up dreams that they only use in crappy horror movies.”  But then my brain convinces me I’m really, truly awake.

 

Then, Insanity twitches one last time, slips off the rafter, swings desperately by one of its 8 legs, and then falls on my bare, hairless, innocent lamb-like chest.

 

And, I commence to lose my crap.

 

I make a sound like a choo-choo and run in place on my pillow—because I can’t go anywhere in that Stupid Tiny Room.  Satan’s Minion slowly thrashes on my sheet.

 

Eventually, I notice that it’s actually TWO things.  Two lizards, that we all called Push-up Lizards (duh, because they like to do push-ups—again, welcome to Nigeria).  They have glossy black bodies, and bright orangish-yellow heads and tails.  They are about a foot long, tail and all.  So about two feet long, in this case.

 

Somehow, one fine African morning, these two lizards had gotten into a fight, and one of them had been like, “Oh yeah, PONK?  Well—I EAT UR HED!!!”

 

And thus, was my grip on sanity ever-so-slightly-more loosened.

 

 

 -Jeremy

Seven Simple Social Media Steps For Success

 escape button

Recently I was talking to an old friend on facebook about this crazy industry that I work in.  He’s an aspiring fantasy writer but is also mildly interested in this whole blogging business. So when he posed the question, “How exactly does one get into this “work in Social Media” thing…?” I immediately slung some sarcastic bullet points at him. In hindsight, though said tongue in cheek, they’re fairly accurate. So I decided to compile them in a list post for your enjoyment.

 

Wondering how to get your foot in the door of this blogging/social media thing? Just follow these seven simple steps.

 

Step 1.  Be narcissistic and yet needy enough to develop a fan-base.

 

Do this by having strong opinions and sharing them as if you know what you’re talking about.

 

Step 2. Tell people how much you suck.

 

They love that crap. Makes ’em feel better about themselves. Do this for a few years so that a decent amount of people care about how much you suck.

 

Step 3. Make Friends

 

It’s all about the networking. It’s a domino effect of opportunity.

 

Step 4. Teach yourself crap about the internet.

 

Then have other bloggers pay you to do the crap they either don’t have time or don’t know how to do.

 

 Step 5. Practice

 

Write 5 to 7 posts a week that are 500-1000 words each for 2 or 3 years. Apply wit and a dash of self-deprecation. Stir.

 

Step 6. Be Funny

 

Seriously, wit will get you far. People will forgive crap writing if you’re funny.

 

Step 7. Have very little time-management.

 

Spend a lot of time on facebook and twitter

 

——-

 

And that’s it, folks. It’s really that easy. Master these simple social media steps and you’ll be well on your way to social media success in 2013!

 

You’re welcome.

 

-Jessica

Five Things You Didn’t Know About Me – Link Up.

 

Believe it or not, even with all of my “transparency” there are things you don’t know about me. Seriously. And since there are quite a few new eyes around here, I thought I’d do a sort of getting-to-know you type post where I say things about me and then you say things about you. It’s a whole us-saying-things-to-each-other thing.

 

So, without further ado – Five Things You Didn’t Know About Me.

 

1. I Have a Funny Birthmark On My Arm

 

And a weird, pointy elbow, apparently. As secret birthmarks go, it could definitely be worse. Seriously, the longer I look at my elbow, the more deformed it looks. *shudder*

 

2. I used to have my tongue pierced.

 

Sadly, I cannot find photographic evidence of this anywhere on my computer or the internet. But it really did happen. I rushed out spontaneously with my best friend at 18 years old and got my tongue pierced at a pretty not kosher (in hindsight) little tattoo shop. Kept it for years until I finally just, I don’t know, grew out of it.

 

3. I Love My Name Is Earl

 

Not my classiest secret but I can deny it no longer. I love Earl and the whole gang. If you’ve never truly lived in the deep south you might not appreciate it but trust me – the caricatures are spot. on. Joy may be my favorite T.V. character of all time. And I don’t care what that might say about me.

 

4.I Can Sing Every Word of Jewel, Alanis Morisette or Fiona Apple’s early records.

 

Test me and see. I’ve got mad 90’s skillz

 

5. I had spinal meningitis when I was a baby.

 

 

Yep. Almost died and everything. But I didn’t. You’re welcome.

 ——————

 Okay, now it’s your turn. Tell me 5 things about you and come link up so I can get to know ya better.