Category Archives: Stories

Change in the Air

Change in the Air

I sat outside the Sydney Airport, scanning the rather empty parking lot for the shuttle to the city that seemed to have forgotten about me, when a old Australian man struck up a conversation with me.

“Got a light?” he asked,

“no, sorry, sir, but that man on his cell phone over there just finished smoking, he probably has one,” I replied while motioning in a direction off to my right.

The man got a light and returned to the bench where I sat.

“American or Canadian?”  He asked me while blowing his smoke the opposite direction of me.

“American,” I said as cheerfully as I could having just been deep in thought about how I just landed half way around the world alone, “I’ve never been to Australia before, I’m excited.”

The man looked around as if he too was in a brand new world, “yeah, change is in the air.”

At first I thought he was being sarcastic in a way that I just didn’t understand, but in that moment I realized he was really being contemplative, basing his words off some sort of wisdom that I had yet to acquire.

I looked around not feeling change being in the air because my arrival was the result of a natural progression of events for me, and said, “well, everything seems normal around here, like, I’m sure this is how this place normally operates.” My voice cracked midway as I spoke as the emotion of realizing that I had really flown here alone hit me again, it came in waves.

“But you’re here,” the man said, “that’s a pretty big change, and not just for you, I tell you change is in the air, I can feel it.”

Just then the man’s ride pulled up.  He put out his cigarette and a woman, who looked to be his daughter, helped him load his luggage into the car.

“You take care of yourself, and enjoy Oz,” he said to me with a grim as he got into the car.

“I will!, thank you!”I responded just before he closed the door and the car drove off.

I sat there for a few minutes thinking, “I have really done this.”

On Culture Clash…

On Culture Clash…

For an eighth grade project, I had to build a miniature bridge out of glue and toothpicks with a boy in my science class.  Of course we waited until the day before the project was due to complete most of the work, so as you can imagine, I was in the boy’s large garage for quite a long time after school that day getting the project finished.

I wasn’t prepared for the long haul, so when his mother came home around 8pm with a whole bag full of sandwiches, I salivated at the thought of eating one.

As she walked by us, his mother said something to the boy in another language with a nod in my direction.

“Oh good!” I though, “She’s asking him to offer me one.”

I was right!  A few seconds later he asked, “Do you want a sandwich?”

“Yes,” I excitedly replied, “please!”   There was silence for a second while he gave me a quizzical look before replying back to his mother in their native language.

After his mother’s response, he told me, “Sorry, but in our culture it is impolite to accept food at someone’s house even if they offer it to you.”  His mother then handed him one sandwich.

While he took a break to eat his sandwich, I continued to work on the toothpick bridge as I planned my strategy to get home just in case they didn’t let me use their phone to call for my ride.

Ants

Ants

Day Four of the Ant Infestation:

This day of our lord, the 5th of October, Two Thousand and Ten.

They keep coming back.  Honey is their main target.  They’ve ambushed all three jars, which we made the mistake of storing in three different parts of the kitchen.  I thought we had their liquid gold sealed away safely, but Mom didn’t put a jar of honey back in a zip lock bag last night and they found the jar.  By morning they had ambushed the last part of the Kitchen which has anything in it.  I’m hungry and I can’t find any specific food among the random bags and boxes packed into the living room.  The bug spray smell holds me hostage in my room where I have only limited space to play with my dog.  Homework and my computer are my only comforts.

A Rather Fun Text Message Conversation

A Rather Fun Text Message Conversation

Girl: I’m bored, tell me a story.
Boy: Once upon a time I got a sunburn aaaand a midnight craving for fruity pebbles.
Girl: I got a sunburn too… it feels awesome! But that can’t be the whole story
Boy: And now I’m trying to alleviate the burn by soaking in an Epsom salt bath….
Girl: Exciting times I see…
Boy: I need a little inspiration
Girl: Come on, you’re the one in the entertainment industry! You’re supposed to, ya know, entertain me.
Boy: Yes, now if I start entertaining you from the tub that represents a whole other side of the industry.
Girl: Is that salt stuff bubbly?
Boy: Bubbly if you make it right
Girl: Fizzy? Scented? Did you light candles for yourself? What about mood music?
Boy: I sing, does that count?
Girl: eh…a few points, how long are you spending in your romantic bath tub?
Boy: why until the candles burn out of course
Girl: the sun burn can’t be that bad
Boy: True but the bath is nice… and the company isn’t too bad.
Girl: How many people are in there with you? Now I want to take a bath, but I’m more of an oatmeal bath kinda girl.
Boy: Ha, just me and the phone. Don’t be shy hop in if you wanna take one.
Girl: Alright, in I go! You’re right, it is kinda bubbly, I even brought my bath crayons to draw on the walls with.
Boy: I didn’t know they even had those
Girl: Perfect for tic tac toe, or hangman, or drawing on your face. Green eye brows really suit you.
Boy: Please, like I’d even let you start playing with crayons
Girl: Naw, you’d hog them all
Boy: Especially the green one
Girl: I could always swindle a trade for it.
Boy: Ah but I’m holding all the crayons, so what’ve you got to trade for?
Girl: Fine, I’ll get out of the tub
Boy: How Come?
Girl: Give me the blue and red and yellow and I’ll stay
Boy: No, you can’t just give up and earn three cool colors, I’ll give you white, brown, and yellow to sit back down and stop trying to leave.
Girl: I’m not even worth one cool color? Okay I’ll take them, but move over you’re taking up all the space.
Girl: Ha, Ha I stole the blue
Boy: Well squeeze in, get friendly and jokes on you. That’s just a fake plastic one.
Girl: Bastrad you’re right!! But how and I going to draw the sky without the blue one? ☹
Boy: Gotta make a trade
Girl: How about…hmmmmm.. I’ve got nothing, can I just borrow it and I’ll give it back with interest?
Boy: Don’t sell yourself short, you’ve got plenty to offer!
Girl: alright, I’ll trade the blue for my necklace…
Boy: Nope
Girl: but its an emerald!
Boy: Pass, what else ya got?
Girl: A beauty mark on my butt crack….
Boy: Which I noticed as you got in and its nice but that’s not really something you can trade
Girl: Damn it, how about this yellow floating duck?
Boy: Already mine
Girl: Liar! Fine, I don’t want the blue anymore. I’ll just use the white to draw the night sky with all the constellations because I’ve been hiding the black crayon!
Boy: Quiter!
Girl: Call it what you want… I’m busy drawing Taurus….
Boy: That’s me!
Girl: You’re not the only one! Can’t hog everything to yourself!
Boy: Guess you didn’t really want the blue…
Girl: Well I’m going to have to draw the sunrise eventually… please may I have it? For a kiss on the cheek?
Boy: It’ll cost you a bit more than that
Girl: What?!?!? That’s a good offer for one color!
Boy: For blue? Better pucker up and make it a good one!
Girl: Okay, but I get the crayon first. I have to make sure you’re not giving me another fake!
Boy: You can put your hand on it, but I still keep a good grip until the deal is done…simultaneous exchange
Girl: Well it feels like a real crayon, okay. MUAH! Hey! I didn’t agree to any tongue action! For that, I get blue and red!
Boy: Blue and red what?
Girl: Crayons! Don’t act like you don’t know, cause you do!
Boy: I forgot about all those things… and we never discussed the duration of the kiss.
Girl: That one wasn’t enough?
Boy: Fantastic but now I’m hooked…better run for it if you know what’s good for ya….
Girl: Yeah I was going to tell you the same thing.
Boy: HMMM I’m not scared, see I told you the bath company was good.
Girl: You will be… thanks for the red, I’ll give you a better kiss for the green….deal?
Boy: Done. I’m too easy
Girl: Yes! I’ve got them all!!!
Boy: The End. Good Story?
Girl: Yes, Thank you! You might want to get out of the bath, its freezing!

The Best Good Bye Letter Ever Written

The Best Good Bye Letter Ever Written

” ‘Jane Doe’ the name I will always remember and the name that always will be close to my heart. I have been away from my home country for almost 5 years, I’ve been to Europe and Australia. During my stay in Australia, in Sydney, I met many interesting people and made many friends. But if someone in my country asked me, “Hey who was your favorite person, who did you like most?” I will say, without doubt, Jane was my favorite and always will be my favorite girl because she rocked my world. Jane, you always made me smile all day, your funny messages made me happy all the time. As I told you, I never said to someone “I love you” but maybe I was one inch from saying ‘I love you’. Well, what the hell, I love you!

Facing Fears

Facing Fears

On was on this mission to face my fears. I managed to:
-Handle gardening with huge, meaty Australian spiders in Byron Bay,
-Walk boldly through brown snake infested areas at night with only a flash light
-Not freak out too much after finding a well fed leech glued to my arm in Daintree Rain Forest
-Scuba dive with Reef Sharks and Sea Snakes in the Great Barrier Reef
-Wade in a river where crocodiles have been spotted in the Palm Forest

But I had yet to face the bees. I couldn’t do it alone, so I decided to stay with some Beekeepers for a few days. Luckily, the bees were in the far side of the yard, so for the first day or so, I was out of the hazard and only dealing with the fun aspects of bees: beeswax. I made scented lipbalm, candles, and all sort of little random things these beekeepers sold out of their little shop. But the day came when I had to put on a netted hat, long sleeves and pants, and gloves and take apart some bee hives.

I learned a lot about bees, even that there are bees that do not have stingers! They’re so cute! Little black Nat looking things that make a unique tasting honey. If only all bees didn’t sting.

But talk about riding the fear. They were crawling on me and flying near my face. And here I am listening to my host tell me all these procedural things about dealing with bees, all while desperately holding myself back from sprinting into a chaotic run.

Later they got a call. A bee swarm has overtaken the backyard of a town resident and they wanted the bee keepers to come remove the bees. Upon arrival at the scene, it was clear that removing the bees would be no easy task. Even the bee keeper wasn’t crazy enough to climb the tree and capture the clump of bees that were grouping around their homeless queen. “Give it a few hours,” the bee keeper told the resident, “they might just be stopping for a rest, hopefully they’ll move on.”

He was right, hours later, just as a swarm of bees had moved into the bee keeper’s yard, the resident called to report that the bees had gone.

It is an uneventful story from the outside, but I was proud of myself, because by the time I left I was able to stand in the middle of a bee swarm and without flinching.

On Meditating with a Buddhist Monk

On Meditating with a Buddhist Monk

While meditating with a Buddhist Monk in New Zealand, I was watching my thoughts about the recent conversations I’d had with all these foreigners I’d met at this stop in my journey. If someone could take a picture of the thoughts floating around me as I saw them in my mind, they’d see heaps of little scenes floating fluidly around my head:

—-

The french guy talking about how he doesn’t like girls who have square football player shoulders, then, realizing that I do, he backed down off the topic and said, “But with bodies, all that really matters is how it feels.”

—-

The annoying little 11 year old boy, who, after insisting to his parents that he could help me dig a trench across the driveway, didn’t help. He just wanted to tell me stupid dirty jokes that only an 11 year old would find funny.

“Why don’t you find my jokes funny? Everyone else does.” he wondered.

I replied, “Everyone else is just humoring you.” Frustrated, he stormed off.

“Good,” I though, “it worked.”

—-

How the people I was staying with for a few days insisted that I carry buckets of water up the hills on their property from their stream to water the newly planted trees.

“You should really invest in a water pump and a long fireman-type hose, you wouldn’t even need to lay in pipes, just plug it in, walk it up and you’re good.” I suggested to the owner of the property, as he struggled to carry two buckets of water with his back brace on.

“No, a little hard work never hurt,” he said after pouring water over the last of at least 30 newly planted trees that needed to be watered.

“But it would save you’re back,” I said as it started to sprinkle.

—-

The man’s wife asked me to hang up the new drapes she bought.

“Do you have an iron?” I asked, “these creases won’t hang-out anytime soon. I can iron them really fast and it will look so good.”

“Oh no!” she condescendingly said, “you can’t iron this fabric, it’s polyester, a type of plastic, it will melt. The creases will hang out in a week or so.”

“Umm, I’ve ironed plastic before, you just use a low setting.” I replied looking really confused, but then remembering that she just doesn’t know I am the master of fabric, I command and fabric obeys, “But okay, I’ll put them up like this then.”

After hanging the curtains, I smiled at how shitty it looked. And thought, this is business, the customer has to have it their way.

—-

That same french guy who, when asked if he’d want to take home a New Zealand girl with him after his year-long visa ended, responded, “No, I could never make a woman choose between me and her country.”

—-

When the meditation ended, I boldly asked the monk a question. “In yoga they teach to clear the mind of thoughts and to give the mind a break from them, but you said that in Buddhism, one is supposed to embrace the thoughts as if you are one with them and think them through. How do you cope with having too many sad thoughts in succession? How do you keep pushing through the same sad thoughts that come to mind every time?

“You just keep thinking them through…all the way to their end, every time, until the the mind is satisfied with it, then it will no longer plague the mind. And you will be free of it.” He replied.

On My Way to Prague

On My Way to Prague

As I got to my seat on the plane taking me from Barcelona to London, an elderly woman was desperately holding her plane ticket in the stewardess’ face while speaking in some eastern European language. The stewardess was desperately trying to tell the woman that she didn’t understand the language the woman was speaking. I interrupted the situation and blandly told the stewardess, “She’s going to Prague and she’s worried that she will not make her connecting flight in London.”

Suddenly the woman turned to me, thinking I spoke Czech, and pushed her ticket at me. I then found myself desperately trying to motion to the woman that I didn’t speak Czech. Through body language, I got the woman to calm down and showed the stewardess the proof in the ticket that the woman was indeed going to potentially miss her connecting flight to Prague.

The stewardess, Britishly, asked me, “Do you speak Czech?”

“No,” I replied, “I just heard her say the word ‘Prague’ and since I am probably going to miss my connecting flight to Prague, I just guessed that this woman is worried that she will miss the same flight.

“Ohhh,” said the stewardess with some sort of amazement in her voice.

That was just the beginning.

The Czech woman took a liking to me and suddenly, with wide eyes, I had agreed to rush through Heathrow with her in an attempt to make our connecting flight. Chances were that I couldn’t run fast enough on my own to get to my connecting gate, let alone with a tiny 60 year old woman flanking me. Regardless I wasn’t gonna leave her stranded, how difficult could it be?

We were let off the plane first and rushed down the miles and miles of terminal passageways only to find chaos at security. (yes we had to pass through security again)

“No Druggas! No Druggas!” The woman accentedly kept telling the security agents while she kept attempting to grab her bags from them. Meanwhile, they were wondering why this random American girl was hanging around waiting for this random Czech lady who was giving them so much trouble. There was no telling her to calm down, she still thought we had to hurry to catch our flight, which, at that point, I realized we weren’t going to board. No big deal because at least my luggage would be going with me to Prague.

In questioning me, I honestly responded with hands confusedly in the air, “Our airline requested that I stay with her.”

“Then tell her to we have to check her bags,” the security guard told me.

“I Can’t, I don’t speak her language, we’re just on the same connecting flight,” I said, palms up with a shrug.

After rolling his eyes, the security guard got someone to pull the woman from her bag as they checked it. All the while, the woman was telling them, “No Druggas! No Druggas! Aeroplane, Aeroplane” as she pointed in the direction of the terminal.

After security had checked her bags and found no druggas, I took her straight to the ticketing counter (as I was instructed to do had we not made our connection) to get the tickets issued for the next flight available.

The ticketing agent indicated that the woman had reserved a wheelchair and wanted me to ask her if she still wanted to use it. I tried explaining to yet another person that I don’t speak Czech, but the ticket agent said, “We need to know if she still wants to use it.”

Creatively I tried speaking in body language by making a sitting motion and waving my hand in a circular motion around where my knees bent, only to get a blank stare from my new found Czech friend, who kept pushing her passport at me, “Passa? Passa?” Apparently she had no idea that a wheelchair was ordered for her. Even drawing a wheelchair on paper didn’t set off any light bulbs. So I asked them to bring one out for her to see, upon seeing it, her face lit up and she pointed to me saying “aaahhh,” as if to say “That’s what you were asking.”

She tapped my shoulder in thanks but indicated that she didn’t want to use it.

I was hoping my duty was done at that point, but more work was to be done. The ticket agent asked, “Since you’re on the same connecting flight, would you mind showing her to the waiting area? She seems quite attached to you.” I agreed, wondering how these airlines function without traveler assistants who actually get paid to do this sort of thing.

By the time we got to the waiting area, I was exhaust as I usually am when confronted with situations requiring all my attention to be focused outside of myself.

We sat down, she grabbed my pillow (I travel in comfort) and jacket from me, and indicated that I should go look at all the shops and that she’d stay and watch my things. I took my backpack (I wasn’t going to leave everything with her) and went to the bookstore. After buying a Czech to English mini dictionary I returned to my friend with the page open to the translated word for “food” to see if she was hungry. Then to “water,” then “bathroom.” She assured me she was fine, but took the little book and found the word for “name” and I told her my name was Stephanie, she brightly repeated back “Steffie” as she motioned her hand toward me, then said her name (which I don’t remember) as she motioned with her hand towards herself. I shook her hand with smile.

For the next three hours we took turns going through the dictionary, communicating through single words. Eventually we made it to Prague where I met up with my American friends. While waiting for my bags the woman came up and introduced me to her family members who met her at that airport, they all said, “Thank you,” as if I was some sort of hero.

And that was what happened on my way to Prague.

Boys Who Get My Number but Never Call

Boys Who Get My Number but Never Call

Practically two weeks after getting my number, Chase finally called me. I don’t know what took him so long, maybe he was busy or nervous, perhaps I scared him off somehow, or he never intended to call in the first place, regardless, he finally called on Saturday.

“Thinker, Hi, it’s Chase,” Came the somewhat reserved voice over the line.

“Hey, Chase, What’s up? You finally called,” I responded.

Nervous laugh, “Yeah, I did, I uh, I’ll be down by the Beach today and I just, I just want to see if you’re free later to go do yoga on the beach for an hour or so,” he said.

“Today?” I quizzically repeated back to myself as I fumbled for my planner.

I opened my planner to see what I have going on, “Oh let me see,” I whispered to myself. “Okay,” I told him, “I have a test to study for, but I’m sure I can make time to hang out for a bit.”

“That’s great!” Chase said.

Later that day:

He picked me up from my place as planned. It was slightly awkward because I’ve never really hung out with him before, but he’s a cool guy so I managed to feel comfortable.

I don’t know if it was morning or evening; most likely it wasn’t the middle of the day because that would have been too hot. Regardless it was fun to hang out with a guy who would legitimately do yoga with me for once. He even showed me some of his Kung Fu moves.

In actuality, Chase hasn’t done any of that yet….

On if all the men of my dreams were one guy: he’s holding me hostage…

On if all the men of my dreams were one guy: he’s holding me hostage…

I just had a crazy dream that I was being held hostage. Like literally i just woke up and typed this… i’ll edit it later, maybe…. I just wasn’t allowed to leave. I remember the date was june 11th because the guy asked me if I we were doing something today and I asked, “why because it is june 11th or because we just need to go out. “what is june 11th? they guy asked. I just shrugged because I really didn’t know, but but i felt like he should, he said “June 11th is your day” or something like that. The guy kept coming and going and in the beginning we were in some sort of hotel and he kept going in and out of the hotel and there was someguy who was trying to catch himdoing something but was furustrated and showed me the data out of his machine and he still couldn’t catchhim doing anything . That guy eventually left. I think in the beginning theabusive guy was talking with my parents and they liked him. But slowly, by the june 11th point I was isolated. He bought other girls to stay too, and they thought they were better than me until I asked the other girls if the abusive guy had ever beatenthem and one girl described her situation just as I was remembering mine. He was hitting me with things. From there I was determined to leave and started gather all the keys to various houses. Then my sister brought my dog over and I had to try and figure out how I was going to get the dog out with me. I had already gathered my most prized possessions in a specific place and was hurrying try to collect more plastic keys that needed assembly so he couldn’t get into the place I was going. Then I look downstairs over the balcony and Hannah had just driven up she said “Woman!, just get in the car right now, let just go, lets just go.” I grabbed a pile of papers and money which were my most prized possession as well as what ever else I could fit in my arms, the other girls were in hannah’s car and we had to hurry because he was coming home. I couldn’t get in the car properly because she kept moving forward. I finally got in and the other girls in the back seat screamed he’s coming, he’s coming, just then he noticed that we were escaping and pulled out a gun and started shooting at us. At that point it turned into a comic book with just colorful scenes of us getting shot at in the car with bullets bending all around us, while we were being shot at in the car, the scene was being mixed with a past scene of when he had done something similar of killing a bunch of people before in some large mansion where the peole were running down the main foyer with seas of bullets passing them. Then my alarm clock went of even though it is a holiday and I can sleep in, all because I forgot to set the alrms to off last night.