Thursday, February 28, 2013

I'm surprised I'm even alive to write this.

{By the way, have I told you how dramatic I can be? No? Oh, okay, well...I can be.}

Yesterday, we left beautiful Bali to embark on a 20 day journey in Vietnam. I may have mentioned before that I know nothing about Vietnam. Other than the fact that my sister was adopted from Vietnam when she was 7 and I was 10 (more on that later), and my favorite nail lady from San Diego grew up there as well, I really don't know much.

But then over these last few months, so many of you have graciously left comments and sent emails giving wonderful suggestions for our time here. So we're definitely excited about exploring so we too can love this place as much as most of you do.

I'm not going to lie though... My thoughts so far? Meh.

After scrambling for the correct paperwork to be allowed into the country, we arrived at Ho Chi Minh airport around 8:30pm last night and followed the signs for "Landing Visa."

Us and a million other people, as well, apparently had the same idea on getting visa approval upon arrival. #poorplanningonmypart


This place was a Mad.House. It was like we were a bunch of 2nd graders pushing and shoving to get to the front of the line for snack time.

Except we were adults. Pushing and shoving to get access to Vietnam.

...Not quite as appealing, in my opinion.

Also, apparently everybody else, but us, knew that $45 AMERICAN dollars were needed to get this visa approval. Where were we when that memo was sent out? We only had about $80 worth of Indonesian Rupiah. Whoops. Again...poor planning on my part.

So we got to the window and desperately tried to convey that we needed an ATM as she stared at us blankly and then told us to wait.

Two hours of waiting later...

Our names are called and she approves me, but not Verner, to go through customs and find an ATM, complete with a handwritten note in Vietnamese saying I could come back in so I could pay for V Dizzle to get through.

So off I went to find an ATM, asking several airport workers where I could find one only to be returned with a blank stare. {I thought most people here spoke English??} Finally, I found it, and made my way back. The lady overcharged us and wouldn't listen to us explain her mistake, so we just paid and got out of there.

Me = huffing and puffing.
V Dizzle = Calm and collected.
Typical for these types of unexpected situations.

{I feel like this story is droning on and it's not even that interesting.}

Aannnyyywayy...Long story long: We made it. We're here. It's hot as balls.

Oh, and I fear for my life every time we try to cross the street. It's rare to see a proper crosswalk and even rarer to see a car adhere to supposed "pedestrian rights."

Basically, it's like playing real-life Frogger.

See for yourself:


See what I mean?

Anyway, we're going to try and do a tour of the city and maybe the Cu Chi Tunnels. I promise my next report of Vietnam will be much more interesting...hopefully.

So with all of that nonsense aside, here is something that will be of interest to you!


Yeah, you heard me.

HOW can you get $25 to spend on Etsy, you're probably wondering?

Because I have a kick ass sponsor named Justina and she's just cool like that.

Enter Below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now I'm going to hand off the rest of this post to Justina herself so you can get to know her a little better and hear what she has to say about relationships!

Enjooooyyy!
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Justina on Long Distance Relationships
My boyfriend and I are in a long distance relationship. He lives in Los Angeles, California; I live in Vancouver, British Columbia; a total of 2,077 km worth of distance is between us.
 Never would I have ever thought I would be dating an American.
(Just kidding I love you guys.)

Our story
Chasen and I met when my sister and I decided to go on a 10-day vacation to LA. As a new and passionate rock climber, I convinced my amazing sister to come with me to the rock climbing gym. We went on the first night and again on the second night. By the second night, we had already made many friends. That night, being the brave little souls that we were, we asked if anyone wanted to go to Disneyland with us, and among the 3 who said yes was Chasen. Now let me clarify that this was not "love at first sight" on either ends. He actually admitted after we began dating that, that first night he wasn't as interested in me as he was in the rocks, (thanks babe.)


After Disneyland on the 3rd day though, we all had a lot of fun, and I had a chance to get to know him better. Almost every day after that, my sister and I would hang out with Chasen a lot.
He would take us sightseeing and even surprised us by packing a picnic lunch and taking us to the Pirate's Cove beach. By the 8th day, I had begun to develop feelings for him. After we left, I kept in touch with him via email, and soon we became really good friends. A few months later, he realized his feelings towards me, and the rest was history.


Long distance relationships are hard.
 I like to describe long distance relationship as one that consists of heartbreak and tears, lots of tears, and unless you are eternally positive and optimistic, it's not always fun. Don't get me wrong though, I love my boyfriend and never want to give up on our unique relationship, but if any of my friends ever consider going into one, I would advise them to think very, very carefully about it. It's the kind of relationship that asks for extra trust and communication from both ends, as well as patience.
 It has been 1 year, 2 months since we started dating, and still we continue to learn with each passing day.

Long distance relationships are a tease.
 I mean, I am no 'expert' on LDRs but I do know a thing or two, mainly from personal experience. Like how Skype is simultaneously your best friend and your mortal enemy. I can't imagine how hard it must be to be in an LDR 50 years ago before video conferencing was born (snail mail anyone?) but sometimes it is so frustrating to settle our online arguments, that it makes me want to chuck my laptop to the ground and dance all over it with 5 inch heels...but I won't because laptops are expensive. So instead, we resort to the dreaded Skype.  The whole idea of a LDR is like watching super long previews before finally getting to the movie.



Breaking and mending hearts
Significant differences for me being in a long distance relationship are the hellos and goodbyes. I am an emotional person by nature so perhaps it affects me more than others in my predicament, but being in a long distance relationship is like having your heart break and mend with each visit.
For example; my boyfriend and I make an effort to see each other every month (and yes it is easily the most expensive relationship I've ever been in.) He flies over one month, I fly over the next, and so on and so forth.  Usually visits are anywhere from 3 days to a week. The challenge is that every time he leaves, my heart shatters and I am devastated.  From then on, I have approximately one month for my heart to recover. Then when it is my turn to visit, I fall in love with him again, and in a deeper way. But as soon as we part ways, my heart breaks again, and we are back to square one.
It goes something like this;
1.     Heart breaks
2.     Heart heals
3.     He visits
4.     We fall deeper in love
5.     He leaves
6.     *See number 1*

Make sure you can stick it out
When I was a freshman, the president of my University gave us a speech. One valuable advice I remember was, "don't fall in love." She didn't mean that you shouldn't be in a relationship, but that falling in love would really distract you from your studies. I have come to realize how true her statement was now that I am deeply in love beyond repair. Though I am doing very well in my classes right now, I would be lying if I said that it doesn't still affect me greatly. Please understand that I am not trying to scare you away from it, this has been a beautiful experience in where I learned a lot about myself and found the love of my life, but if you ever find yourself in that predicament of either entering a LDR or considering one, take my experiences and try to find a balance for yours. If the man or woman is worth it and you can stick it out, you will find that a long distance relationship is extremely rewarding, and you will build a very strong relationship.
Much love,

Justina 


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xoxo



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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My 100th Day Surprise

I feel a little back story needs to be shared here before I get in to the 100th day surprise I had yesterday.
Way back when, oh we'll say how about 6 years ago?, my Mom and I were visiting San Francisco and had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe at Fisherman's Wharf. At that time, The Hard Rock had coasters on the tables with pictures of different Hard Rock Hotels from all over the world.

That day, my coaster had a picture of their hotel in Bali, Indonesia. It looked a little something like this:


I remember showing my mom and telling her that, "One day I would go to that hotel, dammit!"
Okay, I'm pretty sure I left out the curse word, but I feel as though I said it with the same ferocity.

Anyway, when The Dizzle and I were making plans to come to Bali a month or so ago, I remember telling him about this little dream of mine. So we looked up the prices and was this close to booking a night or two. But then my Asian Genes kicked in and I reminded him that we were on a $33/night budget if we wanted our funds to last as long as we did. And well, this place was definitely not $33 a night. So we kicked that idea to the curb and I just hoped that maybe we'd at least be able to visit the pool.

Fast forward to yesterday.

We had just spent a night at our new hotel here in Kuta (west coast of Bali). This is the hotel that we'll be in until we go to Vietnam tomorrow. And may I also add that this hotel has a luxurious pooper/shower combo bathroom like the one in Malaysia, to which I was unaware of until checking in. #gross.

So yesterday morning, over breakfast, I was telling The BaliDizzle that I thought we should attempt to sneak in to the Hard Rock pool for the day. He agreed, but wanted to prepare me that they may not let us in and we might have to think of other plans. Anyway, we went back to our room to get ready for the day.

Upon entering our room, I was immediately drawn to the bed instead of changing, all the while holding my pee vigorously so as not to have to use that bathroom, when The BaliDizzle said:

"What if I told you I got us a room at The Hard Rock for tonight?"

I gasped! I jumped up on the bed! I said, "You didn't!"

But he did! He did!

He said that in addition to celebrating our 100th day of travel (100 days, can you believe it?), he knew this had always been a dream of mine.

We packed an overnight bag and kissed that pooper/shower goodbye and good riddance!


After 3 months of budget hotels, gecko and bug-infested rooms with who knows what kind of stains on the bed, plus gross bathrooms aplenty, I can't even tell you what an amazing 24 hours I just had. But you bet your sweet booty I'm going to try.

We got to the hotel around noon, after a short walk from our other hotel.


After checking in, we headed straight for the pool! The oh-so-magical and glorious pool!
Let me tell you something - - Half of the pool had SAND at the bottom. Sand! At the bottom!
I couldn't get over it.
I've been to some amazing Vegas pool parties in my day, but nothing compares to this bad boy!


I was a happy camper.

After several hours at the pool, complete with swim-up bar, we headed up to our room. A room with a proper bathroom! A bathroom that had a separate toilet and shower! A shower with an actual tub! A TV too, in the room, not the shower. With American channels. Say what??

And the bed! Oh, the bed! It was King sized. It was double-pillowed. It was cool and clean and smooth! No weird stains here!

We threw our hotel bathrobes on and lived like royalty for the rest of the afternoon. Room service? Yes please! Oscars on the big screen? Even better! Want to take a nap? Sure! Want to order more room service? Why not!


^^^ I should note, to save The Dizzle's manhood, that this "sexy" look was for photo purposes only and his towel/robe/slipper/leg-up ensemble was immediately removed after he allowed me one click, and one click only, of the camera. But I mean, what a sport.^^^

The next morning, after the.best.sleep.of.my.life, we continued our royal treatment with some room service breakfast and another dip in the pool.

Now we're back at the pooper/shower combo hotel and I'm reminiscing on one of the best days I've ever had. I am so thankful for this wonderful man in my life who literally makes my dreams come true.

Tomorrow, we're off to the airport to attempt our entry into Vietnam territory. Dun dun dun...
We did an expedited Visa Approval thing online, printed out the paperwork, and are now crossing our fingers. Here's to an adventure...and not being deported.
{Thanks for all of your well wishes yesterday, btw!}


xoxo


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