Always a Birthday Girl, Never the Bride

And now, a study of why I chose to leave New York, unarguably the best city in the world. I was having a late-night conversation with my BRME (best roommate ever) Mariana* about life and love and immigration policy when she asked me the question every traveler itches to ask other travelers: Why did you leave your home to come here?

I'll start first with Mariana's story. She's a 23 year-old Argentinian photographer and a spritely lass if I've ever met one. She sparkles Spanish bravado and Italian lustiness. Witty as she is pretty. You know this girl -- she's the girl fronting a tough exterior to hide the mushy, lovey interior of a sweet summer peach. She honestly admitted she came abroad for the wrong reasons, which was refreshing to hear because it seems like a lot of long-term travelers have a defensiveness surrounding their reasons for leaving home. The wrong reasons she gave went like this:

- getting much-needed breathing room from protective parents
- the hope that new scenery would answer essential questions about her life direction
- getting over a failed love experiment

As she listed off her reasons I felt my eyes grow bigger (a dead giveaway that an Asian is reeeeally listening to you). I realized that I left home for the same wrong reasons! We had done the adult version of running away from home!

My mainest reason for running away from home was all this undue pressure I was getting from my parents to grow up, find a career, "Get marry already!!" and give them grandbabies to spoil and love better than me. Truth be told, if I were more adult about it I probably would have told them to back off or lied and told them I was a lesbian or something. That would have been the adult way to go about it. But I didn't. Because even though I just turned twenty-mumble, I'm still a child and I still care what they think about me for some dumbass reason.

So here we are, Mariana and I, lounging in our tiny dorm room in pjs. And even though we both know we're in NZ for the wrong reasons, we have huge smiles on our faces because we found our right reasons right here.

One of those reasons -- I'm warning you, the corniness factor is about to hit the motherfucking roof -- is the friends we've made. I'm just going to list some of the girls here because later on I'll tell you about the hen night/birthday bash.

Stacey* is Canadian, and contrary to form, awesome. (You're an amazing human being, Stacey K. I don't care if you're Canadian. I'll shout my love for you from the mountaintops.) She's the squeaky cheese to my poutine. We were sitting and sewing the other day and even though we're shit at sewing and kept pricking ourselves and the conversation was regularly punctuated with "Shit!" "Fuck!" "Shit-eating, Cocksucking, Motherfucking Cunt!"s, I felt completely at peace and could imagine us doing the same thing as wizened old grannies.

Gemma* is a Scottish Jayne Mansfield. She's absolutely brilliant and somehow manages to walk the tightrope between high class and rough brass. I once saw her cleaning toilets in a cocktail dress. Okay, not once; she always wears a cocktail dress when she cleans. (I'll address hostel cleaning in a subsequent blog).

Rhona* is also Scottish, and what car enthusiasts would call a "sleeper." Her angelic aura belies a beast undercover. She's got eyes in the back of her head, she drinks like a fish, and her laugh is fucking infectious. She's a joy to be around and she knows a buttload about drugs. (Rhona is a pharmacist. I hope this teaches you not to make assumptions about people, because the fact that she's a pharmacist is not why she knows a lot about drugs. Just kidding. But I hope I confused you enough that you learned not to make assumptions about people.)

Sam* was my coworker, now my friend. She's a budding writer from Zimbabwe, and probably the most thoughtful person you'll ever meet. She made me a scrumptious spaghetti bolognese for lunch one day. Bitch knows how to make a motherfucker fall in LOVE!!

I don't know Lucy* that well, but she was the designated drink wench so she has a special place in my heart.

There was this one girl* whose name escapes me. I don't really know how she got there or who she was friends with, but she was really quiet and didn't start any fights so I'm just going to assume she was supposed to be there.

Last but certainly not least, Cheryl*, the beautiful bride. She's a natural born social worker. She goes from helping drug addicts at work to being a maternal figure to all of us at the hostel. If you need someone to pour your heart out to, Cheryl's the person you want. She's also one of those girls who always smells good. You know what I'm talking about.

So on top of some of the most kick-ass friends I have back at home, I've met these amazing cunts. (Sorry, the Scottish lasses have added the casual usage of the word "cunt" to my vernacular. Said in a Scottish accent, "cunt" has less teeth and sounds fun, flirty even. e.g. "You dirty cunt. What kind of trouble did you get into last night?" = "What did you do last night, my dear darling friend?")

Anyhoots, Cheryl, the cunt, got married last week! I know I promised you an inebriblog after the hen night/birthday bash, but I realized a few things the morning after, chiefly that it's fucking hard to find the willpower to blog when you'd rather pass out in the tv lounge, covered in your own vomit. Secondly, once you get to know me you realize -- I don't keep my promises. My promises are worth shit. Thirdly, I'm actually quite a private and prudish person and all of that fucking VANISHES with a shot of tequila. So if you want to know anything about the night, just check out the Facebook foto album of the same name as this blog post. That's all I remember of it anyway.

Ta, you fabulous cunts! I miss you! Yes, you. I know exactly who you are. I know a thing or two about IP addresses.


*names mispronounced to protect the innocent people who would probably be mad if they knew I was writing about them and then probably wouldn't tell me things in confidence anymore, but in a few weeks will probably forget about it and start telling me things again until the next time their private lives and thoughts are broadcast on the interweb, at which point the cycle will repeat itself.


Poopscapades in ... Pooping

Being a lady is tough when you´re traveling. You have to carry so much around with you, makeup, shoes, boobs. The heaviest thing? Your dignity. Dignity really prevents you from doing a lot of the shit you really want to do. Like hooking up with that skeezy Frenchman who really looks like he would know what to do with you in bed. Or on the other hand, it really fucks with your self-esteem when you lose some. Like when you hook up with that skeezy Frenchman and find out later you have gonneria. (There´s a reason why I don´t know how to spell it. My dignity is intact, thank you.)

I have trouble pooping. It´s not like I´m constipated or anything (thanks for saving my heiny from hemorrhoids, Metamucil! (there´s a joke here but you have to work for it)). I have no problems talking about poop, but I squeam to think about drafting a duplex and then watching helplessly as another architect presents his blueprints right after me. Whyyy?? Everyone presents blueprints, what´s wrong with me?!

I´m a girl. That´s what´s wrong with me. Society makes women feel like their assholes are entrance-only. Women don´t fart and they certainly don´t poop.

Clearly, ¨Society¨ has never spent a Beerfest weekend with me.

I know some women who are so cool about it. They actually believe it´s natural and nothing to be ashamed of. These are also the sort of women who say things like, ¨I don´t like to plan my life that far in advance. I prefer to live in the moment,¨ when you ask them shit like, ¨What are your plans for the weekend?¨ Bougie assholes.

Corporate pooping is like espionage. It´s clandestine. When I worked in an office in NY, there were two bathrooms for women. One was for smaller transactions and the other was for major business deals. If you saw a co-worker in the poop bathroom, you knew why they were there. No one wants to stick around and apply lip gloss or check for boogers in the poop bathroom.

One time I went in -- my straits dire -- and found both stalls occupied. I should have left immediately and come back later, but I hesitated (a combination of classic Libra indecisiveness and near-explosive street meat exodus). I pretended to wash my hands. I prayed to God, ¨Please, God. Open up a stall for me before I coat myself in Hana chocolate.¨

The clouds parted. I saw my coworker Jean* come out. Poor thing had that deer-in-headlights look that says, ¨Oh shit. You just heard me poop and now we have to be nonchalant about it.¨

I must say, we were two cool customers. I pushed her the fuck aside and made sure she had nothing to be embarrassed about. In comparison.

In New Zealand they call the bathroom ¨the toilet.¨ To Americans, the word ¨toilet¨ refers literally to the human waste receptacle; it sounds uncouth. Like noodles on a chalkboard.

I just started working for an environmental organization here that treats wastewater and monitors pollution. I don´t know why that´s relevant. Oh yes, we´re talking about poop.

Anyway, it was my first day and I was answering phones. (Shit, I forgot to give you some backstory. My brother from another mother Simeon* got fired from a job because his accent was too thick for Kiwis to understand. He´s from around Newcastle in the UK, methinks. He was selling health services to the hearing impaired over the phone. I shit you not. Why anyone would try to sell things to the hearing impaired over the phone is beyond me.) Keeping Simeon´s story in mind, I answered the phones with a Kiwi accent.

Okay, that was pretty irrelevant. But what comes now is relevant. I took a bathroom break, and because I was in the mood to adopt Kiwi ways, I asked where the toilet was. ¨I have to use the toilet,¨ I said. And then I burst into the kind of giggles that made everyone around me feel really awkward and fear for my sanity and their safety. It also clearly demarcated the time that I went into the toilet. So I felt like I couldn´t poop because when I came out, everyone would know the weird American had just pooped. So I waited. And I walked home. And the clouds parted for me once again.

I came upon a public toilet. It was like a mini-brick house for my pooping pleasure. A sign from God. Here´s a foto for your enlightenment.

Look at the image of the woman. Look at what broad shoulders she has! What a confident stance. This is not a squeamish woman. This is a woman who shamelessly poops in public. This is the kind of woman I aspire to be someday.

Yours pooply,


*names changed to protect the innocent