First Impressions Aren’t Everything

Check out my Garden Route trip around the southern coast of South Africa!

You're Off to Great Places

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I hopped off the bus at Wild Spirit, with a bag and a couple rand, welcome to the land of HIPPIES. A lot of damn hippies. With my backpack slung over my shoulder and my friend in tow, I got off the Baz Bus to a gravel road, some wooden sculptures, and chickens running around. I felt like I had been transported 10,000 miles back to Eugene, Oregon. I was horrified. White girls with dread locks and guys wearing shawls upon shawls walked barefoot around the grounds and bugs buzzed around my ears. Nope. This is NOT what I signed up for. Still blinking in astonishment that I wasn’t in fact at the Oregon Country Fair, my one chance of a getaway bumped away down the road – the bus was gone. I looked at my friend, hoping to find some agreement in her face, but instead, what…

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Why Generation Y Kicks Ass: A Rebuttal

Gen Y and why we don’t suck, despite what many people think.

Unwritten

I’ve heard it all when it comes to my generation, people born in the years 1985-1995, otherwise known as the Millenials, Generation Y, and my personal favorite, Generation Me.  We’re spoiled.  We’re lazy.  We’re selfish.  We’re entitled.  We’re responsible for the way our society is “the way it is.”  We skip class to watch the Bachelor and we drink too much Moscato and we can only pay attention to things for 5 minutes at a time. Whether it’s having “premarital relations,” texting during meals, or just all but throwing the concept of chivalry out the window, there are plenty of cited examples of the decay of society as we know it, and it’s all our fault.

Ahem.

Look, I get that we have some annoying tendencies.  Every generation has their way of making life a little more miserable for everyone else. But perhaps the most annoying tendency of our generation…

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7 Things to Do Alone in a Hotel Room

So you’re alone in a hotel room. Maybe it’s your first time and you’re about to go somewhere new and exciting; maybe you’re a veteran traveler whose flight got cancelled and you’re stuck in a godforsaken hotel that the airline will actually pay for. Either way, here are some good ways to pass the time while you’re alone in your hotel room:

1. Watch Law and Order: SVU. Maybe on multiple channels at once. This is something to do always, but especially when you’re alone at a hotel.

SVU

2. Order room service. A lot of room service.

3. Jump on the bed. Or both beds, if you’re lucky enough to have two.

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4. Eat as much vending machine junk food as you want.

5. Use all of the outlets.

6. Pee with the door open.

Peeing with the Door Open

7. Use all the shampoo and conditioner in those tiny bottles without worrying about saving any for anyone else.

Good things come to those who wait: Why you shouldn’t settle in your 20’s.

This article has gotten a lot of exposure and backlash; what do you think?

Unwritten

As we get into our early to mid-twenties, ew gag me…I swear I was just sixteen yesterday, love becomes a more popular topic of conversation every day. It seems like I can’t go anywhere, family parties, work, the grocery store, hell I can’t even go to the bathroom in a public place without running into someone who is bound to ask that dreaded question, “so are you dating anyone.” My answer is always the same, “no, why would you date one person, when you could be dating five.” Then comes the awkward chuckle followed by the look, you know the look,  usually accompanied by the aw honey, you’ll find someone. Well…thank you? I know I’ll find someone, well duh, I’m fucking awesome. It’s not a matter of finding someone it’s a matter of finding the one.

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“Disney lied, there is no such thing as fairy tale love.” Well call me crazy, but…

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Being Doubly in Love

Until about three weeks ago, I’d never been in love. I’ve loved people, sure, but I’ve never been in love. I love my family and my best friends, I love the camp I work at, that kind of stuff. But now, now I’m in love twice – I’m in love with a place and a person. First off, I’m in love with Cape Town, South Africa, where I’m studying abroad. As my facebook friends know, I’m having a fantastic time, and not exactly being subtle about it. The weather is amazing, I’ve met some really cool people, and this is by far the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. I haven’t started classes yet, so I’ve had a lot of time to explore – last week we had no obligations with orientation or anything like that, so some friends and I traveled the garden route and stayed in hostels along the way. We met some really awesome people from all over the world and did a ton of fun, adrenaline-filled things (shark diving, bungee jumping, you get the idea). And while I’ve only been here a few weeks, it just feels right; I can’t imagine another place I’d rather be right now.

Well, I can’t imagine another place I’d rather be except in the arms of my love. Never having been in love before, I didn’t know how overwhelming it would feel – he’s the only person I can think about and the only person I want to think about. It was kind of a whirlwind romance and it is crazy and illogical and entirely too complicated to explain, but none of that seems to matter. He is wonderful and perfect and makes me feel like I am the only person in the whole world who matters. I’m not going to write any more mushy things because that’ll get kind of annoying, but anyways. You get the point.

So, what’s the problem, you might ask? Well, the person I love is not in the place I love. Thus, my head and my heart are both in two different places – New York and Cape Town. And while it’s great to be so happy because of where I am and who I love, it’s also awful. It’s almost impossible to get the internet to work for long enough to contact people (sorry Mom and Dad), so talking to him has been a mess of viber, facebook chat, iMessaging, and paying for international calling on my African burner phone. It’s totally worth it, but it hasn’t exactly been easy. As TSwift so eloquently put, “we’re happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time… it’s miserable and magical.” So as much as it hurts sometimes to know that the man I love is 7,867 miles away (or a $600 one-way flight), I know there’s no other situation where I’d be as happy as I am now.

15 Stupid Things We Need To Stop Doing

Is This Why I'm Still Single?

1. Jumping into the shower without checking the temperature of the water.

Because what says “Good Morning” better than getting sprayed by water hotter than the fires of hell.

2. Giving yourself 5 more minutes of sleep instead of getting out of bed when your alarm goes off

When you get up on time you can go about your morning activities without any unnecessary stress. And every time you don’t get up on time you end up leaving your apartment looking like a mole person.

3. Justifying buying an outfit or article of clothing you don’t need by saying you just got paid.

Oh it’s totally cool I’ll just spend a week’s  paycheck on pre-ripped jeans.

4. Telling yourself you’ll only take a 5 minute “Facebook break” while studying for an exam.

IT’S NEVER 5 MINUTES!

5. Surrounding yourself with people you can’t stand.

I don’t like how I act…

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“I’m on the Bottom of the World!”

You're Off to Great Places

Yesterday was the first day of UCT orientation, so the 200 CIEE students met up with American students from other programs and we all loaded onto ten tour busses and had a “tour of Cape Town.” Our first stop was Chapman’s Peak, where we spent about ten minutes just taking pictures and soaking up our surroundings before getting back on the busses.

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I don’t know how many times I can say it before it’ll get redundant, but this is the most beautiful place I have ever been. I am so happy to have the opportunity to visit this amazing country.

Our next stop was the township of Ocean View. A lot of my friends and I felt slightly uncomfortable with the idea of invading people’s living space, but it ended up being okay – none of us wanted to be inconsiderate to the people who live in the township. While…

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“I Guess We’re Rooting for Libya”

You're Off to Great Places

Yesterday, on our first entire day off, two of my flatmates and another friend and I decided to go on a bike tour of our area of Cape Town. After getting our bike situation squared away and truly learning what it means to run on “Africa time” (at least half an hour late), we were on our way. We almost got hit by basically every car, and it didn’t help that we kept using our left hands to signal (they drive on the left here… it still confuses me). We drove through some really interesting areas – from new hip areas to poverty stricken areas to gang neighborhoods. Our first stop on the tour was a farmer’s market, called Old Biscuit Mill, which had lots of gourmet food and crafted goods.

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After having a delicious lunch (I don’t even know exactly what it was, but it was good), we headed out…

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Free Days

You're Off to Great Places

Friday was our first semi-free day of orientation, so I went with my orientation group to an area close to the water, called Kalk Bay. We went for lunch at a Cuban restaurant that overlooked the water – we all ordered cold drinks (I had a strawberry daiquiri because I can actually drink here) and had another fun time struggling with paying for food. Since I wasn’t with my closest friends, I had a good time getting to know some other people on my program.

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After lunch I met up with some other friends in my program and we walked around the town and explored some of the shops, where I found these amazing beads:Cape Town 2 014

Later that night, after heading home on the train and showering, all 200 CIEE students loaded onto busses and headed out to Stellenbosch. We were treated to delicious food and good company and had…

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Sunburn: 1, Ileana: 0

You're Off to Great Places

It’s day three! I am absolutely loving it here in Cape Town. This is 100% the most beautiful place I’ve ever been in my entire life. The city is gorgeous and perfectly framed by the mountains and the ocean. It’s incredible.

Okay, so part one of my trip was the flight. It was actually not as terrible as I was expecting it would be – I watched a bunch of movies, slept a lot, and got really confused about the time. The run through the Johannesburg airport was hectic and a little overwhelming, especially when a man wouldn’t return someone’s boarding pass if we didn’t pay him… that was fun. Anyways, we finally got to Cape Town and got to sit in the airport for two hours.

The first few days of orientation have been crazy; it feels like freshman year all over again. I moved into my flat, which…

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Proof That Cosmo Has the Dumbest Flirting Tips Ever

Solid flirting tips, Cosmo…

Unwritten

Alright, how many times has this happened to you?  You’re at a bar—or a house party, or a frat basement, or whatever.  You see a cute guy across the room.  He can still stand and talk coherently, he doesn’t have his hand down his pants, and he isn’t peeing into a trash can.  Score!  You decide that you’re going to get him to talk to you—because of course he has to initiate it.  Duh.  So you saunter over, find a good friend in the vicinity (say, somebody that you had class with 2 years ago and haven’t spoken to since), and strike up a conversation, making sexy eye contact with Cute Seminormal Guy the whole time because that’s GUARANTEED to make him come over, right?  And he……..starts macking on some other girl.  Or macking on some other guy.  Or peeing in a trash can.  Awesome.

Or how about when you

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Pale Person Probs

Pale

1. People telling you “oh my god, you’re so pale.” Wait, really? Yesterday I was so tan. Do you think I didn’t notice my paleness? Thank you for pointing it out though.

2. Sunburns.

3. Showering after getting a sunburn.

4. Sleeping after getting a sunburn.

5. Sunscreen. SPF 100 anyone? Also, why haven’t they created sunscreen that feels and smells like lotion yet? There’s no way it can be that hard to do…

6. Not being able to wear white. Because… you know… it clashes with your skin.

7. Looking like a vampire if you ever wear red lipstick.

8. Freckles and foundation.

9. Trying to find concealer/foundation/face powder that’s the right color… “Fair” and “ivory” are just not the same as white.

10. Trying to wear light pink.

11. Dark eye makeup. Eye shadow or black eye? You’ll never know.

12. People being confused about whether or not you’re wearing white tights in the winter. Nope, those are just my legs.

The 5 Ways to Survive The Super Bowl

Bruno Mars will not compare to Beyoncé. And Grenade IS a terrible song.

Is This Why I'm Still Single?

1. Sit next to someone who understands your situation or someone you loathe entirely

When watching the Super Bowl it’s important that you sit in the right place. Generally I like to sit next to the person who is just as lost as I am so that we can be together in our confusion and giggle over how overly serious everyone is being about the game. If this person isn’t available then sit next to a person you completely hate. That way you won’t feel the urge to talk at all during the game.

2. Always be next to the snacks.

Whenever I’m worried about saying something stupid or offensive I eat so that my mouth is too preoccupied to spew bullshit. The same goes for the Super Bowl! If you don’t get what the fuck is going on or you’re bored to tears, make sure you have a snack…

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