Keeping It Clean

A while back I said I would address hostel cleaning. I will do that now and throw in some travel tips for good measure.

International Travel Tip #1 - You can find free accommodation anywhere in the world. Just offer to clean for a couple hours in exchange. That's what I did when I first got to Auckland. I used the money I would have spent on a room on far better causes, like getting drunk and going bungy jumping.

International Travel Tip #2 - Cleaning is hard work. Respect your cleaners. They don't inhale chemicals for fun like you and I. Stop pooping in the shower or behind the toilet. It's not funny and we know who you are. You're either a frat boy or really old.

That's not a travel tip. That's a life tip.

International Travel Tip #2 - When you clean in a hostel, you get tons of free stuff. Not because you're stealing, no no no. Because people don't plan out their toiletry needs well, and you reap the benefits of that. I have enough shampoo stockpiled to last me until menopause. I have two hairdryers I don't really use but carry around anyway. I have two bottles of nail polish remover, three bottles of body lotion, eye makeup remover, fancy face wash, sunscreen, toothpaste, tanning oil, cranberry tablets for urinary tract health, etc. etc.

International Travel Tip #3 - You don't need to pack a rain poncho. Don't waste your life like that.

To be continued...I promise.

Money Doesn't Make Cents

Maybe a lot of you have experienced this -- growing up you saw your parents struggling to pay the mortgage, feed you, clothe you, send you to rehab, whatever. These experiences planted a seed in you, the idea that financial security is the key to happiness.

You think I'm going to say "Bullshit." But no. Your parents are always fucking right.

But here's where I whisper a tiny tiny "Bullshit."

Ask any of them and they'll say the most fun they had in their lives was when they were young and dumb and broke.

Here's where I "coughBullshitcough."

Reminiscence is looking back at the past through rose-colored glasses.

That nearly career-ending incident where you were bitching about your boss via email and accidentally CC'd your boss? Or how about the time you farted poop during sex with the hottest girl you will ever get to have sex with? Or the absolute betrayal you felt when you saw your best friend making out with your boyfriend in the middle of what was supposed to be your engagement party? Give it 30 years and it all seems HILARIOUS!

I digress. And I don't remember what my point was so I'll stop here.

I'd rather YouTube-karaoke anyway.


I'm just a dog that eats poop

Mama Kim misses me. She has two pet names for me: honeypig (ggool-dwaeji) and dog-that-eats-poop (ddong-gangaji). I prefer honeypig. She knows this, so she mostly calls me dog-that-eats-poop.

I called her the other day and I don't know if it's just one of those mother-daughter things but, by coincidence we both started crying at the same time. We spent two minutes just crying like babies to each other.

Dudes, I'm homesick. I miss New York. I miss New Jersey. I even miss Mama Kim.

I miss you guys -- I miss how you used to buy me drinks all night. Remember how you used to do that? Can we get back to that when I come home?

I don't know when I'm coming home. I sometimes dread calling my parents because their first question after "Who is this?" is always "When you come home? We miss you lot." I use diversionary tactics to avoid answering, e.g. "APPA! David just told me he's gay!!" (David's my baby brother. He's not gay, but he accessorizes well and he can quote from The Notebook like nobody's business.)

Some things I'm considering for the future:

1) going to Australia for a few months before heading to Korea to teach Engrish;
2) going home to live with my parents (aigo -- a Korean expression of anguish); or
3) going to Germany to live in Patrick's pocket.

Some things I'll be doing in the immediate future:

1) eating dinner;
2) going on a Skype date with Patrick (it's really precious -- I get all dressed up and do my hair and makeup and even spray perfume on my crotch) (kidding! I can't afford perfume right now) (also I feel I should add that my crotch smells like heaven, with or without perfume); and
3) flying to Christchurch on Tuesday to roadtrip around the south island for a monthish with the best group of cunts this side of the equator.

I'll have internet access intermittently for the next month. Please send me e-Valentines. Let me know you still love me. I'm needy like that.

Too Little, Not Too Late

Do you ever wonder "What the fuck am I doing with my life?" I do. Constantly.

Sometimes I'll go on Facebook and stalk people who seem to have found their calling. I'm so happy for these people, but at the same time, incredibly envious.

I have a sneaking suspicion, though, that I don't always have the full story and everyone envies someone for something. I'm learning that the trick is being happy with what you've got. Don't get me wrong, feeling fulfilled doesn't mean you stop striving for just means you're not miserable on the way there.

Here's an exercise: instead of measuring your wealth by your career prospects, real estate holdings and stock portfolio (or lack thereof), measure it by the friends who would help you move apartments and family members who would give you a kidney. Numbers don't matter. If you have even one friend or family member who would do these things, you're blessed. That person is your treasure.

Now, the following is sick and I apologize, but sometimes it takes a mite of the macabre to understand something so beyond everyday comprehension.

Imagine a normal day. You wake up a little later than usual because you pressed the snooze button a couple times. You turn on the tv to find out that everyone you love has been killed in a horrifying natural disaster.


The iPhone you left in the cab last night, the missed deadline, the guy who won't call you back, the car you rear-ended, the shoes you covet but can't afford, the annoying neighbor, the procrastination, the coverletters that aren't getting you job interviews.


There's a great Op-ed in the NYTimes by Nicholas Kristof. I will never be able to explain this as well as he can, but basically he says that doing good things for others makes you feel good. Generosity has a selfish benefit; ain't nothing wrong with that. Check it -- Mama Kim cuts her own hair and uses the money she would spend on a monthly haircut to sponsor children through World Vision. In the beginning she looked like Bruce Lee, but now she's a pro and looks tres chic. People stop her all the time to ask her where she gets her hair done. Her pride is doubled and her smile shows it.

I'm not saying you have to donate (although if you want to and you're just not sure where to, this site will help you), I'm saying the key to happiness is cherishing your life and loved ones more than anything else.

I'm saying reevaluate your shit.

Stop asking "What the fuck am I doing with my life?" and start living it. Meanwhile, I'll try to take my own advice.


Happy Returns

Y'all, I just had the happiest month of my life.

I know it seems like I exaggerate sometimes but I'm just a passionate person, so while these superlatives may seem grandiose to you, they are quite genuine from me.

Anyhootenanny, my beloved boyfriend came back to New Zealand to spend Christmas and New Year's with me. I was a nervous Nancy when I went to pick him up at the airport. I had the sort of panic (not that this has ever happened to me) that one gets when one goes shopping alone and, boldly tries on a dress which is slightly smaller than one's usual size because it was on sale and, after deciding with a critical eye that the dress simply does not suit, realizes that it was a very bad idea to zip it up all the way. The panic really sets in when one realizes:

  1. one cannot stop breathing long enough,
  2. thinking thin thoughts won't make one's hips slimmer, and
  3. dislocating a shoulder is painful and doesn't guarantee success.

The panic then deepens when one begins to debate the merit of calling a salesperson for help, thereby exposing one's sweaty, red-faced state, hairy armpits and mismatched underwear OR ripping the dress and evading the real or imagined "Haha, you're fatter than you think" smirk from women waiting in line for the dressing room. That sort of panic.

Or, to simplify, you can imagine the sort of panic you would feel if you left your firstborn infant son on the ground, walked 100 feet away to get some diapers from the car and saw a dingo charging toward him or a dub step-blasting, neon yellow Hummer backing up in his direct path. Point is, I was really fucking panicked, okay?

I just kept thinking stupid thoughts like, "What if he thinks I'm fat?" or "This visit is months in the making, I have so many hopes riding on this. Fuck I hope we don't bump foreheads when we kiss the first time because that would just ruin evvverything," or "How am I going to fart or poop while he's here? What if I do a bang-up job of holding my farts all day but I end up farting non-stop in my sleep? What if I become so constipated that I need to go to the hospital?"

Well good news, pals. After this heaven-sent month I no longer have any of these fears. First of all, he says he doesn't think I'm fat. I'm pretty sure he's not lying because Germans are commonly known to be brutally honest. Secondly, we didn't bump heads. We bumped noses...but it was kind of cute. Thirdly, I got so drunk on New Year's that I threw up multiple times while it was still daylight and he carried me to the bathroom, whence I requested he depart -- and even though I had a suspicion he hadn't really left (I think because he was worried I would pass out and crack my skull open), I was drunk enough not to really give a damn and so let loose, wiped, and passed out. If he heard what I think he heard, then we're way past the point of trivial things like the fact that I'm human.

I apologize for my crudeness. I joke because Patrick's gone now and my sadness is unbearable. I can't sleep because I keep searching for him in my sleep. I can't focus on conversations because I keep thinking of all the small but hugely significant ways he showed me his love. I can't bring myself to throw away the garbage in my room because it has garbage that he left behind.

OMG is that like a Freudian thing? Am I afraid he'll leave me behind like so much garbage?

I apologize for the self-psychoanalysis. I'm just madly in love with a man who flew to the farthest reach of the planet to be with me. How romantic is that?! But now I have a whole new set of reasonable fears. Like what if he breaks up with me or cheats on me? I know I shouldn't think about such things, but it's hard not to be afraid of losing something that precious and rare.

New Zealand has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. Patrick and I drove around the North Island to take in all the breathtaking views. There were tropical flowers, crystal blue waters and sunsets that made you think the sun was melting into the ocean.

And yet...the most beautiful thing I can remember from the trip is his green-brown eyes and how they looked into me when I looked into them.