First Day of Europe: Get Me A Drink.

Before departing for Europe, I spent weeks bracing myself for traveling with my parents.


After an 8-hour flight, a 1-hour layover in Frankfurt, and another 3-hour flight, we arrived in Venice. My elation at finally being able to get the hell away from the 500 crying babies were quickly abolished by my parents’ faces. They were gearing up for crazy.

Upon stepping into the airport, they were on a mission and they were determined to take the most stressful, and longest route in order to accomplish it.

We had four goals before we could start our vacation, in no particular order:

  • find an ATM
  • call the guy for keys to the apartment
  • buy a bus/boat pass
  • get bathroom tokens

The bus/boat pass was obtained easily enough—and when I mean easily, I’m saying an hour’s worth of wandering in the airport, asking the information desk, going outside to try out an automatic machine (why this would work when we don’t speak Italian is lost to me), and then going back to purchase the tickets at the information desk.

Only then were we able to start heading towards Venice via a 30-minute bus ride.

buy a bus/boat pass: accomplished. Time taken: .5 hours. 

While they were buying the bus/boat pass, they were also trying to figure out how we were going to call the guy. But, mistakenly (?), they decided to think about that after getting the passes and arriving at the city.

So, 30 minutes later, tired, hungry, and cranky, we arrived at what seemed like a giant ticket booth entrance to the city.

“Ok. Here, we’re going to get bathroom tokens,” my mom stated, like an army general. “After that, we need to figure out how to call the guy.”

They took care of the bathroom tokens while my brother and I sat there, sweaty, and dehydrated. This was a mistake.

bathroom tokens: accomplished. Time taken: .5 hours

My parents are the type of people who get visibly and verbally upset when they feel frantic and others don’t. They are under the impression that four frantic people are better than two frantic and two calm people, whereas I believe at least one person should stay sane. So when it came time to find any phone we could use to call the guy and they saw us walking around calmly, even the fact that we were all in Venice couldn’t pacify them.

“Kids! We are a team here! Why can’t you help us right now?” my mom asked, shrilly. I swear, we were walking out of an information office as she said that.

We found a pay phone and learned that US credit cards don’t work the pay phone, so we traipsed over to the other side of the street to try and use a bar phone, which couldn’t be done either.

By this time, we had walked about 5 miles in the 1-mile-radius area, the only thing accomplished was getting even hungrier—damn cheap airlines—hotter, and more upset. We couldn’t even purchase food because we didn’t have money yet.

So, finding the ATM was promoted to first priority.

That’s easy enough, I thought. ATMs must be all over the place!


We needed a specific ATM. One deep within the streets of Venice.

It was like a pilgrimage through streets paved with sins—food, drinks, dinky souvenirs. Having never been to Europe, their city layout was completely foreign to us. We didn’t even know where the street signs were.

“We’re all tired, ok? Stop complaining and help us find it!”

As my brother and I were about to expire, we happened upon THE ATM.

“Oh, thank god. Get me a drink,” I said, as we ran to the nearest take-away restaurant.

obnoxiously-specific ATM: accomplished. Time taken: 3 hours. 

As we sat and ate like Aladdin and Abu on the street corner, we dreaded each bite that would lead us back into my parents’ frantic world.

My dad struggled with the phone, and when he figured it out, he struggled even more. 

As he hung up, he looks up to ask us, “So, did everyone hear that?”

We stared blankly back at him.


“You guys were supposed to be helping me listen!” he explained, clearly getting frustrated.

“How would we know that…” my mom asked, speaking slowly.

“Did you think I’d be able to remember it myself?!”

“I think that’s not too much to ask from a grown man,” I muttered.

Angry, that no one was able to read his mind, he punched the phone numbers in and dialed again.

An hour later, we let ourselves into our apartment.

key to apartment: accomplished. Time taken: 2 hours. 

“Why are you drinking again??”

Social No-No #1: Being TOO Happy

Did you know that here’s a stigma against being too happy when first hanging out with someone/a new group of people?

Totally ridiculous.

But, unfortunately, true. And, of course, I’ve learned about this stigma firsthand.

This may not be a problem for everyone. It might just be me. Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s just me because never have I had someone utter to me the words, “damn, I think I was too happy.”

I think many people are just nervous of the first hang out being awkward, so there’s no room for extreme happiness. Or that people are a little too inhibited for fear that the other person won’t like them or vice versa—I understand: sometimes I get myself deep into friendships that I realize, too late, was a mistake. And when people hang out with someone who is just… happy about hanging out, somehow this translates into desperation. 

And we all hate desperation, don’t we?

Oh, she doesn’t have friends, which is probably why she’s so goddamn happy to hang out with me even though we’ve never done so before is probably what many people think.

It’s ironic how someone who’s desperate for friends is impeded by their own desperation to make friends.

Still not talking about me, by the way.

But you’re telling me I can’t laugh for 5 minutes straight? That I can’t drape a permanent grin from cheek to cheek? All because I might scare people? Because I might be too intense; too desperate? 


I do what I want.

Yes, sometimes it’s awkward. But that doesn’t mean I can’t be happy that we might bring our relationship to the next level. Forging new connections, even when extremely one-sided, is like a drug to me—but only with the people that I actually want to be friends with.

And! There’s a difference between desperation and happiness, I promise you. Desperate people want to move the friendship along too far, too fast and start suggesting future hangouts before even finishing the current one. Happy people are just happy to be in the moment and are more laid-back about when the next—if there will be one—hangout will be.

That being said, just because I stare a little too deeply into your eyes, laugh at everything you say, and get a little too enthusiastic about the mundane things you’re saying, you should be flattered. Why? Because that means I truly like you and would like to continue the friendship.

That doesn’t happen often.

It doesn’t mean that I like you like that, if you’re a guy. And that doesn’t mean that I want you as a best friend, if you’re a girl.

All it means is that I enjoy your company.

Let’s just leave it at that.

Anyways, the real danger sign is when you see me outside your house.

Letter of Complaint to the Lovely Dining Halls

Dear Dining-Hall-Whose-Location-is-Unknown-Yet-Still-Causes-Me-Distress,

I appreciate what you’re trying to do. I really do. You’re extremely kind for letting your students jam out to the same tunes every day–they probably wouldn’t clean the dishes as cleanly or mop the floor as hard if it weren’t for your loud music.

But please remember that your music is probably as loud a concert held for deaf people and you are subjecting other non-working students who live somewhere–ANYWHERE–near this music that they may or may not like while studying.

There’s a reason I don’t listen to the Top 20 station radios, dudes. It’s because it’s the same song every single fucking time. I can pretty much predict what’s coming on next, I’ve listened to this playlist so fucking often. There are definitely around… all of Ke$ha’s songs on there, the most popular LMFAO songs, some Adele to mix things up. I don’t enjoy any of it. Maybe another time, when I’m not stressing about major exams, I would participate in this rally of music currently being shoved down my throat.

And don’t even pretend it’s not you. Every time the music starts, so do the clinks and clatters of dishes being hosed down and put into the giant industrial monster of a dishwasher.

I’m just saying.

Hoping for a quiet afternoon,

A struggling student