Vem comigo Day 0: IAH > FRA

My body has no idea what to think right now. My concept of time is already screwy enough as it is with the midshifts, so throw in the international flight and I don’t know what day it is anymore.

To backtrack a bit, I’m going on the Marian pilgrimage with my parents’ church in Houston. We’re hitting up Fatima for it’s 100th anniversary, Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes, Paris, and a bunch of places in between. I’m particularly excited about seeing Loyola in Spain because my Confirmation saint is St. Ignatius. I got to see his tomb, the first Jesuit church, and the apartment he lived in at the end of his life. Now I get to see the beginning.

But before we get there, we have to fly out. We got to IAH three hours early, and there were still group members that beat us to the airport. Anyway, nothing eventful. Just your basic airport stuff. Check in, TSA, you know. But while we were waiting to board, some Hispanic lady sat next to my dad and started talking in Spanish. My dad just played along to see if she’d notice that he had no clue what she was saying. We told her she was surrounded by Filipinos that didn’t really speak Spanish. She didn’t seem to care. One of the Mexican men that are in the group with us chatted with her and gave her a heads up. She seemed to have a grand old time with it. You do you, Abuelita, you do you.

The flight was fine except for the fact that I was trapped in a steel tube hurtling through the air for 9 hours with a crying urchin and a mother making no effort to soothe her child. For my friends with kids, please do us all a favor and if you do decide to bring your child on a flight before they can handle discomfort without crying, do SOMETHING. I don’t care what. I don’t care if it works…well actually I do, but I just want to see some effort to show that you’re not an asshole. And for airlines, just putting this out there…I would pay extra money for a childless flight, especially international.

Then we landed at Frankfurt Airport, and police lady checking my passport asked me about the matching shirts. I told her we were on a pilgrimage and they wanted us to match. She asked how long we were going to be doing it. I said two weeks. She gave me this look and asked if we were wearing the same shirt the whole time. I gave a resounding hell no. She seemed amused.

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Does it count as a carry on? Was he wearing anything underneath? Am I going to be in the background of a video on some German Youtube channel? I have so many questions.

Then we got to the gate, and this mofo was the first thing I saw. Not sure what was going on. My first thought was thank God I checked in ahead of time and made sure I was sitting with my family. Because being anywhere near chicken suit on a plane would be miserable. I had so many questions, but unfortunately, I never got answers because I had to go to the bathroom and by the time I came back, he was gone. I’d like to think that he’s very Flula Borg-y.

Well, I have two hours left of this layover before we move on to Lisbon and start our pilgrimage, and I still have a shit ton of Duolingo to do on both Portuguese and French. Oh well. Boa sorte to me, I guess.

Andiamo: A Traveler’s Rant

Bah. I started typing the post about yesterday last night before going to bed, and then intended on finishing this morning. But now it won’t let me publish it, and it’s stuck on “saving…” instead of letting me save the draft. I may just email to myself and try again at the next hotel if it doesn’t work.

Anyway, quick backstory since my other post isn’t published to explain my frustrations. Yesterday, we explored Venezia and Padova. I’ll let the main post describe specifics, but let’s just say that there were many moments when I was ashamed to be a part of this tour group. I’m pretty sure our bus driver isn’t a fan of us as a whole, and I know the staff of this hotel will be glad to be rid of us in a few hours. At least, that’s how I would feel if I were them.

So this group is with my parents’ church, so the demographic is primarily Filipino and Hispanic, which neither culture is really known for their subtlety. But the behaviors I’ve noticed are pretty much a cultural equivalent of a bull in a China shop.

I already hate being in large crowds in general. It’s even worse now that I’m actually supposed to be a part of one. But what drives me nuts is that everyone seems to have lost their sense of common courtesy. There’s almost 40 of us. We are easily able to congest crosswalks, streets, etc. But we are not the only ones here, which brings me to my first point: Stay out of the way. We are not the only tourists here. On top of that, people live here. Leave space for other people to be able to get around us.

Also, part of traveling whether it be for a pilgrimage or for pleasure is observing another culture and to an extent participating in it, whether it be the language, customs, etc. One thing that took me off guard was that when we were in Venice, I asked the tour guide if there were any cultural taboos to watch out for before we got let loose on the general public. She first misunderstood the question and then seemed genuinely surprised that I asked. I guess this is yet another reason why people generally don’t like American tourists. Point #2: We’re the guests. They live here. We fit into them, not the other way around. When in Rome, people. And we’re freaking going to Rome in a few days. Try the language, try the food, be aware of what to do and what not to do. For example, my default pose in pictures is do the UT hook ’em hand sign (which is basically “I love you” in ASL without the thumb). I learned prior to the trip that doing that is a BIG no no. Guess what I have not done in photos since I’ve been here…That. Last night, we had what I’m assuming was a stracciatella (not the gelato, but the Italian egg drop soup that the gelato was named after). Was it the best thing I’ve ever had? No. Was it even something I particularly enjoyed? No. But it’s an Italian dish and I’m in Italy, so I tried it. Didn’t make a scene, nothing. Some of the more vocal members of the group, not so much. Much of what was said was in Tagalog, so the odds of the staff understanding what they said was slim to none, but between intonation and body language, I’m sure they could pick up on what was happening, and that was incredibly rude.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not the best traveler at all times, but I try to be conscientious of my surroundings and blend. My Italian consists of a grand total of 3 days on Duolingo. But I learned the basics to try to get by so I’m not the American in a foreign country presuming everyone speaks English. I was proud of myself yesterday. I had a couple of interactions entirely in Italian. Granted it was all single-word sentences on my end, but I did it.

I guess the whole point to this rant is what’s the point in traveling if you don’t take the time to absorb some of the culture?

30DBC Day 15: My Biggest Pet Peeves

Oh here we go. I get annoyed really easily so there’s a whole laundry list of these.

  • Driving under the speed limit in the passing lane. If you’re not passing anyone, get the f*** over so that I can.
  • Going through the express lane at the grocery store with more than the 15 or 20 items you’re supposed to. Bitch, do I need to throw in a couple of Sesame Street videos to teach you how to read the sign and count your items?
  • Tracking dirt onto a newly-mopped floor. Fool, if I’m mopping your ass is going around the long way.
  • Adding dishes to the sink while I’m washing them. I don’t take late entries.
  • Not being able to admit that you’re wrong…even when I have proof
  • Making a scene in public. I don’t get embarrassed easily, but if you get me kicked out of a place before I’m done doing what I’m doing, I’m going to be irate.
  • Drama. I work too damn hard dealing with headaches at work, that I ain’t doing it for free. GTFO and come back when you can act like an adult.
  • Improper grammar in formal settings. I am a firm believer that there is a difference between the spoken word and the written word. I give lots of leeway when you’re talking, texting, even on the internet (as evidenced by half my blog). But if you’re going to turn in a formal paper or chart something on a patient, and you sound like you’re gossiping over mimosas, fix that shit.
  • People that don’t know what they want in a drive thru. I’m doing this because I’m trying to get in and out. If you don’t know what you want, go park, walk inside and stare at the menu where you’re not holding the rest of us up.
  • On a similar note, people with large orders going through the drive thru. If you’ve got 10 people in the car, your shit’s gonna take forever. Just pick a person, send them inside to order, and clear the way for the rest of us.
  • People messing up my system. I love having people over, and I appreciate it when they offer to help clean up after a dinner party. But it drives me up the damn wall when they use my hand towels for the dishes and the dish sponge on the counters. But I’m so neurotic about those things that it’s easier to just go with it than to give everyone an orientation. But this is also why I’ve labeled my kitchen drawers.
  • Hypocrites. Don’t act all high and mighty about something when I know for a fact you do the same damn thing. And don’t get me wrong, I know I’m not perfect. Have I been hypocritical at times? Yes, I’m sure. But I make every effort not to be. One of my coworkers has an awesome mantra: Be correct to correct.
  • And the big one that most people that know me are expecting: Uncontrolled children. Don’t get me wrong, I think children are the future, and they’re cute and all, but keep them the hell away from me until I can talk to them like a human being. I can nurse-face my way through dealing with pediatric patients, but it’s painful. But my biggest pet peeve is children running around unsupervised acting a damn fool. The worst is when the parents are around and just not doing anything about it. Bitch, get yo urchins in check before I have to be the one to discipline them. I get it. Parenting is hard. But don’t do it if you’re not going to teach your child how to act in public. It’s one thing if I’m walking into a toy store or a park with a playground. Those are places FOR CHILDREN. If they want to act a fool there, that is a place dedicated to serving kids, so I entered at my own risk. However, if I am on a plane, in a restaurant, or in a place where people are meant to act like adults. I do not want to have to listen to your screaming child and I will certainly not apologize if I accidentally trip over your child because they ran out in front of me. There was one time, I was at HEB just doing a quick trip. It was supposed to be real quick in and out. I turned the corner and nearly got run over by two fools drag racing those little scooters. I was going to say something but the staff had already taken care of it. But in my head, I was just like where the hell are your parents?! Ugh.

*realization that I’ve ranted way too long about this* *deep breath* Okay, sorry about that tirade. I’m back now. But to be fair, this entry was about pet peeves. …I should go now.