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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Be Better Than Nice

 I was scrolling through Facebook, when I stumbled across an article titled "An Open Letter to the Girl Who Let The Nice Guy Go" (feel free to read it for yourself). Based off the title I was expecting it to be written by a heartbroken/slightly jilted young man, but surprisingly it was by a girl (Though she sorta writes from the guys POV, so that was a little confusing. But I checked the authors bio and sure enough feminine pronouns, it's a girl). I wasn't surprised however when it felt like the article was shaped by less than stellar relationships, a tinge of regret, and a sprinkle of bitterness.Personally I wasn't too impressed with the article, while reading it I couldn't help but think that nice was not the appropriate word to use. She would have been better off  in my opinion referring to him as a good guy rather than a nice guy. But if she did indeed choose that word deliberately, as a girl who has been accused of letting a "nice guy" go (and feels no regret about doing it), I can't help but wonder aren't there better things to be than simply nice.

First off, gentleman if a girl calls you nice, and nothing else, it means you're boring (and most likely in the friendzone). Ok maybe not boring (but definitely in the friendzone) it just means that nothing else in your personality/being, besides your ability to be friendly and courteous, struck her as interesting enough to mention/remember. Don't get me wrong, being friendly and courteous are important, nobody with good self-image wants to date someone who treats them mean or rudely. But nice is typically a cop out that girls use when they don't want to be mean to a guy who has been "nice" to them (and I'm sure guys have done this too).

But am not writing this blog to attack nice guys or nice girls or even the concept of being nice for that matter. There is nothing wrong with being "nice". I'm not suggesting we walk around this world being jerks to one another. But I am proposing that we stop using nice as the only means of measurement when it comes to evaluating whether or not someone is a good person, and furthermore a good potential spouse. I just looked up the definition for nice and the results (via Google) were pleasant, agreeable, satisfactory, fine, and/or subtle. Now there is nothing inherently wrong with those things but considering that the original article was about a significant others desirability being exclusively centered around them being "nice", are you really sure you want your future spouse to just be nice.

I mean what if you flip that around, is that how you want to be described. I'm sorry I personally don't want my future husband to say I am satisfactory (hello that sounds like you are talking about a stay at a Best Western or Comfort Inn) and unless he is using the word fine as an adjective to describe me as good looking, I don't want to hear that either. Am I the only one who wants their spouse to find them more than satisfactory?

To me choosing someone just because they are "nice" is like choosing a vanilla wafer in a world filled with chocolate tortes, strawberry rhubarb galettes, and creme brulees (Pinterest may have influenced the direction of this blog). There is nothing wrong with a vanilla wafer, it is a fine snack. And sometimes when you're on a diet or simply trying to satisfy a craving for something sweet but don't want to consume 1,000 calories or go through the hassle of making something/going out to get it/waiting for it to get done, a vanilla wafer is fine. But as someone who has settled for the vanilla wafer figuratively and literally, I know that it may satisfy the craving momentarily, but it never takes away the want for something more. Because the reality is the vanilla wafer is never going to hold up in comparison to a real dessert. I mean imagine going into a bakery, filled with wonderful sugary buttery smells, with cases filled to the brim with every amazing dessert you and pinterest can think of, and all you walk out with is flippin vanilla wafer (whomp whomp how disappointing).

And honestly when I think about what kind of person I want to be, with or without a significant other (now that was a good blog) I want to be more than a vanilla wafer. Just like the amount of pins of pinterest, the possibilities of who we can be are unlimited, so why settle for just being "nice". In the same way Ryan Gosling told Steve Carell in Crazy, Stupid, Love  to be better than the Gap, I'm telling you to be better than nice <insert me saying that in nicest tone possible>. Nice is so one dimensional. Do things that add dimension to you and to your life. Develop your personality. Cultivate hobbies. Refine your natural giftings. Be passionate about something. My advice for you (and myself included) is that when choosing what kind of person you're going to be/who you are going to be with don't be on "diet", don't be in a rush, don't settle for what is easy, choose to be exceptional. Because the reality is we all have the potential to be a strawberry rhubarb galette (seriously I had this dessert recently and I've been dreaming about it ever since then). Choose to be better than just nice.

My final thoughts are this, maybe the people you classify simply as nice, do have other dimensions to their personality but you just haven't noticed or you have a limited vocabulary. Get a thesaurus and invest in people. And maybe the expression is nice guys always finish last because satisfactory attempts don't usually win races. In the same way a vanilla wafer probably won't get you a blue ribbon in a baking contest. In the end, I believe we all have the capability to be something extraordinary, but it depends on whether or not we are willing to go after that. Again there is nothing wrong with being nice, in the same way there is nothing wrong with a vanilla wafer. But to be a well rounded person, or an actual dessert that can't be all there is. In the same way a vanilla wafer goes perfectly on top of banana bread pudding, let being "nice" be a topping to your personality and not the main component.

-Amanda XXOO

Thursday, May 8, 2014

5 Tips to Make Moving Not Suck

In the past two and half years I've lived in three different states (Florida-->Iowa -->Nebraska) and I've moved three times. I've moved twice in just the past seven months. I didn't really have a choice, my job decided we were going to relocate our residential facility across state lines and that I was going to be in charge of the move <insert your best oh crap face>. It's a long story but the process of us moving from Iowa to Nebraska took two moves. And I'm not talking about your college style move where you throw everything (garbage and dirty laundry included) into black trash-bags and pack up your car, and move. No I'm talking about a legit adult move. One that involves boxes, packing tape, and a serious risk of having a mental breakdown.

Prior to this, anytime I ever moved I was only responsible for my own belongings <insert I lived with my parents>. That pretty much consisted of clothes, bedding, and my Gilmore Girl DVD collection. My mom always handled the major stuff. Well sadly she could not come to Iowa, and do the move <insert my job> for me. But by the grace of pinterest I picked up some really good moving tips and my move(s) were practically flawless <insert human error and other uncontrollable variables occurred but the tips all worked>. Though I still hate moving, I've realized that it doesn't have to be a stress filled mess riddled with emotional breakdowns and packing peanuts.

So here are my five tips that hopefully will make your next moving experience not suck (as much).

Get rid of crap. I know you've heard this before. So I don't need to say much about it. Just do it. Have a garage sale, take it to goodwill, sell it on eBay, as Elsa would say let it go.

Moving like an adult doesn't have to be expensive. Grocery stores are great places to get boxes from. Also use containers you already have (i.e. baskets, suitcases, etc). Wrap breakables with things like towels, socks, or like me aprons. Crumpled up magazine pages work great as padding. In my moves I only paid for tape and sharpies. Save the green by being green.

Make a list of what is in each box. Super Simple. And if you have time write where each box is going in your new home. This tip helped me the most. You don't have to type it up <insert I'm crazy>. It not only helps direct where things are to go. But if you're like me and don't plan on unpacking every box the first day, this helps you know which ones you want to open first. Also it helps to be specific. Rather than just put kitchen, write things like spices, utensils, toaster, etc. That way when you're looking for a specific item you can find it.

To do tip 3, it is essential that you do this tip as well. This is really step 3b (but 5 tips sounded better than 4). On your list write the number, then write what is in said box. Again simple. I mean I guess if you have 26 boxes or less, you could letter them. Or if you had a lot of free time, you could get creative, and name each box (i.e Potter box, Black box, Lovegood box, etc.). That's for you to decide. Also I found it helpful to write the number on multiple places on the box.
And by that I mean have all of your essential supplies in one place. A basket makes sense since you will probably be moving around a lot, so you want something you can carry with you. Basically you put everything you need in here. Packing tape, scotch tape, masking tape, a measuring tape, scissors, post its, screw driver, sharpies, pens, five hour energy, crack, whatever you need to get the job done. Not only does this keep you organized but it keeps you productive. If you're constantly having to look for a sharpie or a pair of scissors, it will make this process suck more.

And after all my goal of this blog was to help your next move suck less. In the end the best thing to do is to pick a system that works for you, stick with it, and stay organized. Happy Moving Days, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

Bonus Tip: Check out Pinterest. There are so many brilliant ideas on there. One pin that helped me a lot was from a blog called I Heart Nap Time . For all you soon to be movers, it is worth checking out.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Planner Problems

The last time I wrote I was 2 months away from turning 25. Now I'm 5 months away from turning 26. So needless to say it has been a while since I wrote. I originally planned on writing a completely different blog. But then some news came today, that could possible change what I was originally going to write about, thus I don't want to publish that blog, because it may not come to pass.Sorry for being so "mysterious". I promise it's nothing serious, but it does consist of some confidential <insert work related> matters, so I can't really talk about.

So you may ask why even mention it? I myself hate when people put vague statuses on Facebook. I know you know what I'm talking about. They go something like this "I wish some people would just realize <fill in the blank> or "This can not be happening...what am I going to do". And if you try to ask said Facebook person what they are talking about, they reply with "I can't really talk about" or my favorite "message me". Both are obvious cries for attention.

Well I can promise that I'm not crying out for attention...ok maybe a little attention. I mean aren't all statuses or blog entries somewhat attention seeking. Anyways I'm not being vague to entice you to ask about my personal life, again it's nothing major. And my purpose for mentioning it, is solely that it ties into my new blog.

I'm a planner through and through. I've done very few spontaneous things in my life. And typically afterwards I am filled with an overwhelming dread that I've made a horrible mistake. I am a pros and cons list kind of girl. I analyze every decision down to the core. I love schedules and structure. I literally get excited making to-do lists. Each time I cross off something off, it is as if inside my spirit I get hugged by a unicorn <insert I am very happy>.

I know sometimes people look at my tattoo and think ooh wild spontaneous side. False. It took me over 4 years to plan my tattoo. Down to the color, the placement, and the font, I invested more time than I'd like to admit on the 7 letter script tattoo that resides on my left wrist in plum ink.

I like facts. I like knowing exactly what I'm getting into. I love guarantees. I hate fine print. I can't stand when there are contingencies to things that I didn't know about at the beginning. I really struggle when plans change at the last minute. I'm rarely a go with the flow kind of person. Maybe when someone else is in charge of making the plans, and they change the plans, can I possibly be flexible and fine. But if I make plans (or help make the plans) and they change, and I'm not the one changing them, it is as if a battle of Modor level begins within me.

I don't necessarily like this about myself. And I'm starting to believe to some extent that God doesn't either. Because in the last year it's as if I can't make plans to save my life. Even something as simple as writing a blog gets interrupted. and before I can hit publish the plans have changed (maybe I'm still not sure). If it was left to me, everything in my life would be planned. And I know some people are like whats the fun in that. And I would reply that I have more fun when things are planned out, and I can anticipate what's going to happen next (true story).

But I think the problem is that I'm someone who once I make plans in my mind they are pretty much set in stone. And this is an issue because that mentality leaves me rigid. And I realize that this rigidness doesn't leave a lot of room for God to work in me and in my life. The bible refers to us a clay and God the potter. Well as a Play-Doh aficionado, it has been my experience that there is nothing worse than hard Play-Doh. So when I choose to set myself in stone on plans that I've made, I don't allow for the plans that God has for me.

Originally this comeback blog was suppose to be about some of the new "plans" that are taking place in my life. But since they keep changing, I'll have to hold off on that blog (it will come though, eventually...I hope). Did I mention that God is also teaching me patience. So I guess I'm learning to release some of my planner tendencies, and just accept the "plans" as they come. But can I just say that makes it really hard to make a to-do list. I guess I'll learn to deal. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Dear Ten Year Old Self

So I watched this video from SoulPancake today, and it inspired me to write this blog.     Hope y'all enjoy! (Oh and Damien from Mean Girls is in this video <insert clapping>)

Dear 10 year old Amanda,

Don't worry, your bangs do eventually grow out. And you also learn the beauty of a flat iron. Though now we've kind of accepted the wavy craziness that is our hair. But we have learned to style it, so you no longer resemble a poodle.

Hate to break this to you but you do not marry Freddie Prinze Jr...he marry's some blonde chick and pretty much is never heard from again.

You do however end up going to Paris when you graduate high school...and you hate it. It's a long story. But you travel to other cool places and have a wonderful time.

You also end up going to South Africa...when Grandpa warns you about the danger of lions and not keeping beef jerky in your pockets, just go with it.

Don't panic but you won't meet your best friends until college...though you won't actually meet them in college per say. Well you met one on a college I guess that counts. But trust me when I say they are worth waiting for.

With that said you are going to have many friendships along the way. Listen to mom when she tells you someone isn't a good friend...she's right.

You're indeed going to get that baby sister you always wanted...but you'll have to wait another decade to meet her.

Math will get easier for you...but then it will get harder...but then it won't matter because there will be this thing called Google, and that will answer any question who have. And I mean any.

Yeah speaking of which, I know you're only 10, but if you get a chance to buy stock in Google, YouTube, or it.

Don't sweat the fact that that girl is bullying you now. One day you'll drive by her house, and you'll understand why.

Oh and that girl that you and your friends aren't very nice to...the one y'all wrote a song about. You end up apologizing to her...but not for awhile. So realize now that your words are powerful, and be nice.

Even though it's green and weird looking, try guacamole. Trust me you'll love it.

Swearing isn't as cool as you think it is, and it's a nasty habit to break later. Get a dictionary, develop a more extensive vocabulary, and leave the bad words for sailors.

Speaking of  bad choices...avoid brownies, just do it.

But since you're me, you won't listen to this. But trust me when I say when you think your world is over, it's not. It's only beginning.

Enjoy your summers, one day you'll be an adult and have to work...even on your birthday (I know I can't believe it either)

Soon our dog, Casey, is going to rip off all the feet of our stuffed animals. And you're going to be really mad, but don't be mean to her. One day those stuffed animals will still be there and she'll be gone, and you'll wish it was the other way around.

Don't be embarrassed that you still play with barbies. The "cool" girls who are telling you that barbies are for babies, all end up with babies in the next 5 years. And no matter what MTV tells you teen pregnancy is not cool.

Accept your paleness and wear sunscreen

And if you only listen to one thing that I write on here, listen to this. When a girl in your freshmen chemistry class in college asks you to go to church, even though you don't want to...

Say Yes.

Pretty much that one decision changes the rest of your life. So say yes.

Love, Almost 15 years older Amanda

Saturday, March 16, 2013

5 Positive Things About Being Sick

  1. Last weekend when I was doing laundry, I washed all my bedding. But I was too lazy to put it back on my bed. So here I am a week later and my clean bedding is just sitting in a chair. But the positive thing is I don't have to feel like a lazy bum. I can just blame the fact that I'm sick. And really I'm just being eco-friendly, if I had put the clean ones on, I would just have to wash them again, plus the sheets that are on my bed now. So really the planet should be giving me a high five because I'm not wasting water or polluting it with my none eco-friendly detergents. You're welcome earth. 
  2. Being sick has reminded me how much I love popsicles  I haven't been eating many cold foods recently due to the fact that I live in Iowa...and it's winter. But hey since being sick, I've gone through like 2 boxes of Eddy's popsicles (they allow me to forget that my throat feels like someone rubbed it with sandpaper). And they say it's made with real fruit, so yay for being healthy (well not physically healthy because again I'm sick, but you know making healthy choices). 
  3. I can lay in bed all day, doing nothing but watching videos on Hulu and Netflix, and no one is going to say anything to me about it. Actually people are going to encourage me to do just that. It's an introverts dream. 
  4. I changed out of my pajama pants yesterday and put on yoga pants, and people actually applauded (ok there was no real clapping) my efforts. When you're sick, putting on yoga pants is deemed as going above and beyond what is expected. It's amazing. 
  5. And last but not least, I can go around without any makeup or hair styling products and if people ask me if I am sick, I can be like yes, yes I am. Why is this a positive  because regardless of whether or not I'm sick, if I don't where any makeup, I get asked the same question. And at least now I don't have to feel bad about myself but instead make people feel sorry for me. 
So though it feels like I'll never be healthy again <insert being sick brings out my dramatic side>, I know I will be, but until then I'm going to try to stay positive  Now please excuse me while I go overdose on some Vitamin C and open a new box of tissues. Hope you enjoyed this! 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

New Year {1 month down, 11 more to go}

{So I wrote this article for my work newsletter, and I thought it was worth sharing. I've made some revisions, and made it more "blog" like <insert more of my personality> and definitely less business like}

Christmas is over {just in case you were confused on that, Christmas ended over a month ago, tragic I know}. By now all the presents should be opened (unless you forgot one or hid it in a place and now can't remember where or you're my little sister and Christmas just kind of flows into your birthday without any real distinction between the start or finish of either holiday). If you have any eggnog leftover from the holidays, it's for sure bad by now (well it was bad to begin with <insert eggnog is disgusting>). And  one would hope that all the ugly sweaters were packed away until next December (sadly from the fashion choices I've seen recently, this is not true).

But with the holidays now behind us, here we are in January, trying to stick to our resolutions and remember to end our dates with 2013. For some, it seemed that this year would never come <insert the Mayans hanging their heads in shame> and for others, it seemed to come upon us all too fast. I myself cannot believe that it is not only 2013 (hello I'm going to be 25 this year...what?!?) but that January will be over in 2 days. The holidays feel like a lifetime ago which makes me sad, since I am someone who thoroughly enjoys them. Though some try to just get through the holiday's, I find myself to be on the Buddy the Elf end of the spectrum, and I relish every minute of it. I love the traditions that come with celebrating Christmas; the gathering around with loved ones, and the overwhelming sense that God is everywhere. Isn't it lovely to walk into a store and hear "O Holy Night" or "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" playing instead of some of the usual crap (I don't typically enjoy the music that most of the world deems as popular or dare I say good).

 Anyways, I get sad when the Christmas lights start coming down, and I'm thankful for the people who leave theirs on till April. January has always been a month that I didn't like very much. The spirit that is created during the holidays seems to go away. And I'm not talking about the manic craze that takes control of some folks and makes going to a department store a nightmare. No, I'm talking about the sense of overwhelming compassion, generosity, and of love. And again it's the overwhelming sense that God is near, that makes me love the holidays, through this is true all year round. He is God Immanuel, He is with us. Yet each year when the Christmas tree is taken down, and weight loss commercials begin to fill my TV, I realize how easy it is to forget that. It's easy to get caught up in my agenda and my schedule. Even though I spend the month of December focusing on the Lord, and the gift that Jesus Christ was and is to our world, January comes and I'm more focused on my New Year's resolution than on Him. I don't want to be the kind of Christian who lets my calendar dictate whether or not my focus is on the Lord. Or whether or not I have a  spirit of compassion, or generosity, or love. I want to be aware of His presence all the time, and I want that awareness to be evident in my actions and in the way I treat others.

I believe one of the reasons it's easier to see God throughout the holiday season, is because so much around us is drawing our attention to the good things in life. Family, friendship, giving, kindness, and love, just to name a few. I realize that it's rather simple, when I focus on the good, I see the good. If I spend my time focusing on the negativity around me, that's what consumes me, and I live out of that negativity. But when I consume myself with the goodness that is all around, than that's what I'm filled with. Scripture is clear about this, Proverbs 23:7 says "For as a man thinks, so he becomes." And Paul told us in Philippians 4:8 "Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."

Traditionally, I am not someone who does New Year's resolutions. But this year I've decided that  even if my nativity scene is packed away, no one is sending me gifts, and my family is far away, I will be the kind of person who is aware of God's presence. And I think the easiest way to do this is to focus on the good in my life. On the first of the year my status on Facebook simply said "In the new year I would like to read more books, craft more projects, and bake/cook more delicious recipes. Pretty much I actually want to do the stuff I pin on Pinterest! Oh and I want to write more." (well here is me writing more, check) That status was all about how I planned on bringing more  of my own personal blend of"goodness" into my life. But beyond doing those things, I've decided that I also want to bring "goodness" into the lives and world around me. So my goal is to do just that in these next 11 months. I'm believing that my simple logic is true. And that  the more I'm aware of His presence, and focus on the good in my life, the more I'll live with the spirit of generosity, compassion, and love <insert the spirit of Christmas that I love oh so much>.

So maybe some of you out there will join me and do the same. And maybe when Christmas rolls around next year, it will be as if that beautiful spirit never left. Now if you also want to join me in the whole leaving the Christmas tree up all year, and just changing the decorations to match the seasons, that would be great too. I mean hello what a waste taking all that time to put up a tree and decorate it. To only leave it up for a month. I say we change this. Are all my procrastinator friends with me or what? Well anyways, I hope y'all enjoyed this blog! Thanks for reading!

{Quick side note, I wrote this article originally over two months ago (yes I wrote it before the holidays were actually over).  I must say it is rather difficult to write an article about something that hasn't happened, but you're writing as if it has. And at the time I had no idea  how pertinent this message would be to my own life right now. It's almost as if God had me write it, because He knew I would need to hear it. I felt like sharing this because it's evidence that God is indeed present in my life, as He is in all of our lives. I just pray that y'all become more aware of that fact throughtout the new year.}

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Airports: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

I’m as familiar with airports as most people are familiar with their local grocery store. It doesn’t really matter to me which airport it is per say (I do have my favorites…O’Hare is definitely not it <insert I hate O’Hare>) I’m truly comfortable in all of them. I would go as far to say that I love airports (yes you read that correctly I love airports). My love for airports is a kin to Lorelai Gilmore's love for snow (if you don’t watch Gilmore Girls, you should, but just know that she loves it a lot). People can of course point out a myriad of things wrong/terrible about airports, but in the end I don’t care. The airport is like my home away from home. I know that must sound weird for most people since typically airports are not seen as a fun place to be. I guess too many bad memories of near missed flights, lost baggage, and/or less than enthusiastic flight attendants. Also there are still people out there who have never flown or only done so maybe once in their life (how that is I don’t know), so I can imagine that it would be very uncomfortable and foreign walking around an airport for them. I didn’t have an option really on whether or not I wanted to like airports or flying for that matter. My dad lived in Michigan, I lived in Florida, and flying was the fastest way to see one another. So it was that simple, flying just became a normal part of my life, thus I spent a lot of time in airports. In a lot of ways I’m very thankful for that.
Also one main contributing factor to my love for airports probably has to do with that fact that I’ve had tremendous luck in them. My baggage has always arrived (hopefully I didn't just curse myself), I’ve never missed a flight (though on this last trip I almost did, but I’ll talk more about that in a little bit) and typically I come in contact with very friendly workers (this past trip a flight attendant told me after a brief conversation that I seemed like a good kid, and to have a great life. And another person told me I had a princess name...which what girl doesn’t like hearing that). Honestly I’ve spent more time in airports than most people probably will in a lifetime. And like most things, the more time you spend doing it or around it, the more comfortable you get. With all that said not much can happen to me in an airport that hasn’t happened before. At the age of 14 I was traveling through airports by myself the way most teenagers walk around a mall. I’m pretty well versed in all things airport. I know how to check in, get through security effortlessly, navigate my way through the terminals, and how to stay asleep during takeoff and landing (very impressive skills I know).
Though this past trip home I had something happen to me not once but twice while traveling that had never happened before. I was bumped off my flight (ok well I was actually only bumped off once but they tried twice, I’ll explain more down below). Now I titled this blog the good, the bad, and the ugly for a reason, but surprisingly this is the good part and not the bad. See when I was flying home to Jacksonville, they told me I was bumped. You can imagine that I was not happy about that at all (I mean hello I'm only going for the weekend, so I want as much time home as possible). Thankfully I put up enough of a fight <insert I stood at the counter and just kept telling the ticket agent that is wasn't possible, when she tried to tell me I was bumped> and a lovely woman happened to be nearby, who had time to spare, and offered to trade places with me. The reason I'm including this part in the story in the good section was because I learned a few things from this woman, whose name I don't know (but I'm really thankful for her). While I was waiting for my boarding pass to print, I listened to this woman skillfully negotiate with the ticket agent over ticket vouchers and meal vouchers. It was obvious that this was not this woman’s first time at the rodeo.
You would think with all my traveling I would know more about how to handle a situation like that but I was (notice past tense) quite the novice until this last trip. So back to my story, flash forward to 5 days later, when I leaving Jacksonville (which was amazing but I'm not going to write about it because...well I'll cry) and heading back to Iowa, you can imagine my surprise when my flight was once again over sold but this time they were looking (not just rudely selecting people hunger games style) for volunteers to be bumped. Well I start thinking "hey I'll get to stick around in Jacksonville with my mom for another night, why not". So I enter into my little kiosk that yes I'll volunteer to be bumped (for those that haven't traveled in a while, you no longer check in with a human being unless you are checking luggage. But even so you still start off by signing into a little computer). Anyways having watched the woman negotiate with the airline earlier in the week, I knew that $400 was the most they would give. So that was the number I told them I wanted, and they said <insert the computer said> that they would call me up to the desk at the gate if they selected me to be bumped. (So I guess technically I only got bumped once, the second time I volunteered but whatever). 
I end up not being Jacksonville that is. It was when I arrived at the gate at my connection in Atlanta that they informed me that they would indeed like to take me up on my offer. It wasn't originally what I had planned, but when they offered to get me a hotel (my flight to Des Moines was the last flight of the night) and give me meal vouchers galore, it was an offer to good to refuse. And oh yes they gave me the $400 voucher that could be used any time during the next year <insert I'm using it in two months...seriously I'm not waiting another 5 months to go home>. And let me just say that Delta took care of this girl. They put me up in the Hilton, in a beautiful room, with a very comfortable bed that had 8 pillows on it (if you know me, you know I love a pillows and lots of them). From the driver of the shuttle, to the concierge at the hotel counter (she was the one who told me I had a princess name), to the guy who brought up my room service (I was surprised when the hotel said they took meal for me) everyone treated me wonderfully. Even though my stay in Atlanta was only roughly 13 hours, I had a wonderful time and zero complaints.
Ok so now that I’ve shared the good, here's the only bad part about this story. I was not the only one to take a voucher, a lovely elderly lady, by the name of Beverly did as well. And being that there was just the two of us, they booked us at the same hotel. So it just made sense that we would walk down to the shuttle and take it to the hotel together. Well I’m not one to not talk to people, so I took that time to chat to Miss Beverly. We shared what each of us did, why each of us were traveling, and had a nice little chat about how neither one of us particularly liked winter, and were ok with not going back to Iowa just yet. Again like pretty much everyone else I came in contact with on this trip, Beverly was a lovely human being. When we arrived at our hotel, we both retired to our rooms, but had decided in advance to meet at the shuttle the next morning at 730am. So all goes as first. We ride the shuttle back together, get onto our first flight (see we had to first fly to Detroit and then go to Des Moines)and all is going well.
Until we get to Detroit late...leaving us less than 30 minutes to get to our next flight before it leaves. Now in some airports this wouldn't be a problem. But we arrived at gate 72A and our connecting flight was leaving out of gate 32B. Again doesn't sound too bad, right, A and B are typically close. Well not in the Detroit airport. Pretty much it's like over the river and through the woods, and running up an escalator later, and you finally make it from gate 72A to gate 32B with only 5 minutes to spare (yeah that was pretty much my experience). And by escalator I mean a giant escalator, the kind that when you get on it you have to duck your head down to be able to see the top. Not only did I run up that escalator but I also power walked what felt like the length of a football field practically pushing people out of my way just to get to my gate before they closed the door. {Side note word to the wise when the conveyor belt style walk way has writing on it, that says walk on one side and stand on the other. Pick a side, don't stand in the middle. Or you can't wait for someone like me to come along, who will help you pick a side} Now that wasn't the bad part, see I've had to do that kind of stuff in the past and that's why I recommend not wearing heels or flip flops to an airport. The bad part is that in all the hustle and bustle, I selfishly forgot about Beverly <insert hanging head in shame>. Over the years I've predomitaly traveled alone, so I'm not use to having to think about others. And it wasn’t like we had made some pack to always stick together, but she was kind to me, and I try to never under value kindness. Sadly it wasn't until I was seated and we were pulling away from the gate, did I think "Oh no! Where is Beverly"? I soon realized, after scanning all the seats, that Beverly did not make it. My “everyman for himself” mentality kept me from feeling too horrible about leaving her behind, like I mentioned before she was elderly and never would have been able to keep up at my pace, but that was definitely the bad part about this trip.
 So now moving onto the Ugly, literally I could have spent this entire time talking about the atrocious fashion choices people make when traveling. I will admit up front that I’m a bit of an airport fashion snob. I have standards of what appropriate apparel is and I've come to realize that few people meet said standards. In general I appreciate good fashion sense. But I’ve learned that US airports is not a place that you will come across this often. Somewhere along the way it was deemed socially acceptable to wear velour tracksuits and pajamas to the airport and to not brush your hair before boarding a flight. Like I said I don't recommend wearing high heels but please if you are reading this blog, have some self-respect the next time you fly and put on real clothes. Even on my 23 hour flight to South Africa, I managed to put on pants that didn’t have an elastic waistline. Again if I’ve learned anything from Stacy and Clinton from What Not to Wear, you can be comfortable and not look like some FEMA refugee. That's all I'm going to say about that.
But I will mention a few of the fashionably challenged people I came across while traveling. Starting with the women who was wearing the black spaghetti strapped top, that was paired with what looked like two black dollies strapped around her waist <insert her whole a%$ was hanging out and it was obvious to everyone around what color her thong was...disgusting I know>. She accessorized this outfit (if you can call it that) with fishnet stockings and black leather high heeled boots. I'm not saying she was a prostitute but if I ever want to dress up like one, I planning on copying her look, though I may tone it done a bit. Another set of winners <insert this is what sarcasm looks like> I came across were two brothers who were both roughly middle aged, wearing mandels <insert man-sandals> and matching t-shirts, that looked like thing 1 and thing 2 t-shirts, but instead they said bro 1 and bro 2. All I have to say that is no. I could go on, but actually I’m going to stop there. I feel like I've shared enough for y'all to get the picture, but not so much as to scar you.
But even with people committing horrible fashion crimes in my beloved airports, I still love them (airports, not the fashion criminals...actually I kind of love them too. I have a love/hate relationship with them <insert I love to hate on them>). But truly it’s the hustle and bustle, the opportunity to people watch, even all the little shops that draw me in and entice me to buy overpriced water and magazines that I love. Walking through an airport alone at the age of 14 gave me my first real taste of independence. And I'm pretty sure my wanderlust spirit was birthed by me just staring at the departing flight board, thinking I had so many places that I needed to go to (I still have so many places that I need to go to). I love the way it feels when a plane takes off and I know I'm heading to either a new destination or a familiar face. From the age of 9 airports have been a constant presence in my life, and like I said before I'm very thankful for that. And even with all things considered; the good, the bad, and the ugly, I love them. Ok now I'm off to go look at planes tickets to Jacksonville…and possibly some far away destinations. Hope you enjoyed this blog.