Yet Another Poem

I’ve tripped and skinned my knees

Take the pain and pull it lengthwise

Never lose my sight, never stop and freeze

Keep tugging at the stinging skin

Stretch it out, stretch it paper thin

Can’t see the forest for the trees

I tried to clean the lenses of my glasses

But I got distracted by the slight breeze, felt the

Ice cubes in my palms

Press the edges along slender fingers

In hopes that it might melt the words that have been sitting in my mouth

Hold it still against lips that are already blue

Bite and clench the jaw, shatter molars

Crack my teeth into pieces

The wave is nauseating and I swallow every crest

The tide writhes like a sea of snakes

I feel in my stomach the baby birds that left the nest

I contain multitudes

I contain galaxies

I contain glaciers

The reality of how I live in the middle of a thousand different places that I will never fully explore heaves in my chest

Filled with restless energy

It’s made a home where it wasn’t even welcome as a guest

The fact that I cannot sit and relax for a while on every park bench, every shorline

Takes shape and oozes through the gaps in my rib cage

It is not violent or painful or explosive or fast

It is slow, it is seething rage

It is the relentless onslaught of falling snow

It’s not knowing how fast or how far you’ll go

It’s turning the page before you’ve absorbed the author’s message

All that’s certain is the knowledge that every day you’re fading a bit more

Losing daylight, blood, sleep, and hope

I can only sit and claw at my bones

Scratch designs into the calcium

Crush each individual vertebrae in an attempt to relieve some of the pressure

It’s the moment when your whole body crawls into your throat

Right before you empty the contents of your stomach all over the floor

It’s pressure, hot and thick and suffocating

And it’s being able to breathe all right and not knowing why you’re screaming at yourself to pull the fire alarm when you can feel the flames all around you but there’s no smoke and everyone looks like they’re doing just fine

 

I don’t know what’s wrong

I can’t fix what I don’t know

I can’t play detective when I’m spending all my time looking over my shoulder

If people hate me then why is my heart so full of love,

And my stomach so heavy with all the glasses of water I’ve had just to keep my mouth from asking for help?

It’s a fragment

It’s a series of fragments

It’s asking yourself why the fuck you left the fan on once again and can’t you just do something right for once and –

Stop.

It’s eating vague apologies for breakfast so you won’t slap your friends with another meek “I’m sorry”

What did I do?

What didn’t I do?

I pour more milk in the bowl and crunch the words until I can’t think anymore

It’s tight muscles

Rearranging your life a hundred times just to plan for the exit of people who swore they’d done this before and you’re not a burden and can’t you just calm down for once in a goddamn blue moon, actually, now that you mention it I can’t quite make it downtown just to rescue you, I swear to god I can’t take it any longer, get a grip, don’t make me responsible, I can’t I tried I searched far and wide for my last scrap of patience deep inside but we both know it’s true that it’s best for me and for you if I just take a vacation within my own blue skies, here’s hug and a kiss for the ride, you’ll get by you’ll see what I mean eventually you’ll see

I’ve sighed and skinned my knees

Take the pain and run with it

Can’t see the trees for the forest

I’m a big picture kind of person but it’s way too easy to get lost in the details

This time I might just have the common sense to close my eyes

If all else fails it doesn’t matter

If you can’t make sound you can’t even feel the release of crying out

 

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Another Poem

I haven’t posted poetry in a while so here’s a slam poem.  Warning for strong language.

“I’m Still Sad But What Else Is New?”

You said you loved me more, fuck you

I knew this was a lie

I don’t think you noticed my eyes or my lips or tried desperately to memorize the outline of the white sheets as they crumpled around my soft skin

I don’t think you stared so hard it brought tears to your eyes because you knew deep in the pit of your stomach that everything has its own expiration date

This doesn’t even matter because

I can’t eat when I’m sad

And a piece of fruit pressed to my lips only stains them cherry red, strawberry pink

Tip of my tongue

Juice dripping down the side of the kitchen sink
Or is that blood?
Hearts break slowly

But at least you did some gardening first

Uprooting the weeds in my belly

Planting wildflower seeds in the furrows you made when clawing at my skin

The love for me you left behind is like finding blood on a bath towel

and not knowing where it came from

You’re sure a wound must exist and conclude that the pain just went on hiatus

I really hope I don’t bleed out in my sleep
I know I loved you more, fuck you

I remember the incredible thump of your heartbeat

Hot and strong and made from the stuff that glues together even the most wild of pages

The book that is your body is bound by sea salt and sunshine

I never liked holding shells to my ear when I went to the beach

because I couldn’t hear anything and the sand that got caught in my hair

stayed long after I’d left the shore

When I laid my head on your chest

I could finally hear the ocean the way that I’m supposed to

I didn’t know that your scent would be harder to scrub away

than a few grains of sand

And it would rub my skin twice as raw

I tried to memorize the imprint of your body heat,

the topographical map that was left tattooed on me by the warmth of your torso

I want our tectonic plates to collide again and create more islands

Never mind the sand

My memory isn’t worth much more than the change I have in my pocket

but I’ll be damned if I forget the sharp bite of your fingernails

into the smeared canvas of my back

and the eager blossoming of pain

when your teeth rent through the fabric of my frayed common sense

exhilaration unfurling like ropes of light from cheap drugstore fireworks

You turned an abandoned art project into a goddamn masterpiece

Spun gold cobwebs over paint that had long since dried

 

I know I loved you more, fuck you

The way your touch felt on my skin,

pressed against the shower wall

grinning while rivulets of warm water trickled into my mouth

Your eyes in the half light

gray light

soft afternoon light

oozing all over the walls

smudged into corners that had been dark for too long
Fuck you, I knew I loved you more

when I realized that I’d slashed my own parachute to shreds

just for the pleasure of falling together

I didn’t think far enough ahead to realize

that when I hit the ground my spine would telescope

Part of me doesn’t care because this gave me a chance to stare down the moon

The sun will blind you if you look for too long

but no one tells you that the moon will drive you stark raving mad

 

I know I loved you more, thank you

For opening dusty windows I never even knew existed,

for watering plants that had long since been forgotten

and proving that the monsters under my bed would stop biting me

if I’d simply turn around and bite back

For demonstrating that it’s okay to choke back up the water of clean,

Christian thoughts that flooded my lungs instead of my mind like they were supposed to

To scream through a mouthful of lake sludge and saliva

that sex is not something that will be wrenched from hands

You did not pry my palms open

You were the first person who let me uncurl my fingers on my own

You were the first person who let me help you take off my clothes

 

Baby girl the thought of you struck me across the fucking face today

and I haven’t seen you in 58 days

I traced the outline of your fingertips,

stroked the raised welts on my cheek,

tried to hold the imprint of your hand

because I’m still sliding backwards down the canyon wall

And the girl who was once my safety net

is now halfway across the world catching butterflies

I used to love the outdoors but after you gave me vertigo

I don’t like hiking all that much anymore

It’s hard to stay on solid ground when every time I look over the edge of a building

I think I see a flash of your hair down below

and I have to stop myself from jumping to maybe catch the end of your sleeve

before you disappear around the corner

But you’re not a butterfly,

and even if you were I know I’m not supposed to pinch your wings
Either way, I miss falling for you

The General Consulate of Spain, Los Angeles

The General Consulate of Spain, Los Angeles

A little over a week ago, I submitted all the paperwork for my visa.

That’s right!  My nights of staying up, poring over the checklist and getting tangled up in bureaucratic red tape is over.  I’m still knocking on wood, because I know (heaven forbid) there’s still a chance I may be denied the visa or it could get lost in the mail or eaten by a crocodile or run away to seek its fortune in Las Vegas.  But let’s not think about any of that right now.

Sok7RYD
I won’t be able to sleep properly until I’m holding my passport in my own two hands.

The appointment itself was a lot easier than I thought.  However, I’d give yourself plenty of time to get there especially if you’re unfamiliar with Los Angeles.  I arrived with twenty minutes to spare, but it still took me nearly all of that time to navigate the building.  The biggest problem I had was (don’t judge me) finding the door.  First, I walked right past the building because there are no signs or evidence that the consulate is located inside.  Then, I walked around the whole place twice because I didn’t know which door led to the consulate.  Finally, in desperation, I asked the guy working the little yellow arm that lifts up to let cars out of the parking garage.  He said I was in the right place and so I entered through the garage.

Keep in mind that I was running on zero sleep and I’d just walked two miles to get to the consulate because I was afraid I might get on the wrong bus if I tried to use public transportation.  You’d probably have better luck than me.

tenor
My struggles with Google Maps weren’t quite this bad but it sure felt like it at the time.

Anyways, I walked in and was directed upstairs by a grumpy man who simply gestured to a small sign on the front desk when I asked where to go for my visa.  A boy who was also looking for the consulate wandered around the hallway with me for a while until we found the right room.  He was just as lost as I was, which made me feel a little better.

The waiting room was packed, and since I couldn’t find a sign in sheet or anything of that nature and my appointment was scheduled in 5 minutes, I went up to one of the windows and asked the man sitting behind the glass what to do.  He wasn’t much older than I was, and after squinting at his computer for a moment, told me to take a seat.

The windows were like the ones they have at movie theater ticket booths and some banks: a sheet of glass with a metal grate where your mouth is and a slot in the bottom.

6x8 Ticket Booth
Something like this, except not outside of course.  Taken from guardhousesonline.com

I’m not really sure why the people working there needed glass in between them and the applicants, but maybe it had something to do with money?  Even though I believe all money paid to the consulate is in the form of money orders, which would be useless to someone who wanted to rob the place.

But back to the appointment.  I was nervous and sweaty and nearly dropped my thick stack of papers all over the floor.  The boy behind the glass just told me to give him everything at once if it was in order.  He shuffled through them, plucked out all the copies except for my passport and license, and slid those back to me.  (I was a little bit salty about that part; I’d agonized over all these stupid copies when the whole time they weren’t even going to use them?!)  The only question he asked was which date I’d be arriving in Spain and when I’d be leaving.  After scribbling that down on my application, he took my money order and said I was good to go.

“Thank you, it takes about four weeks.”

In a sleep-deprived daze, I gathered up my sea of photocopies and headed for the door.  The whole exchange took about two minutes.  I felt empty as I stepped back into the elevator.  While the floors ticked by on the screen above my head, I wondered distantly if everything had gone as well as it could have.  There wasn’t a clear answer to that particular question.

Once I stepped outside and returned to the sunny streets of Los Angeles, I was able to let out a breath I’d been holding for who knows how long.  I was free!  Free and in one of my favorite cities in the world!

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Taken from indietravel.net

You really can’t have a bad day when you’re in LA.

Hasta la vista,

V

Side Note:  So over a year ago I went to Venice Beach and I got the greatest shirt that I’ve ever owned.  It was a long-sleeved pink t shirt that had “Venice Beach” across the shoulders in big white letters, and it was amazing because you could wear it in the sun and not be hot, you could wear it when it was cold and stay warm, and you could wear it inside and just be super comfy.  I loved this shirt.  It looked good with leggings or jeans or shorts, it was over-sized but it still made you look skinny, it was pure magic.

But then one fateful day, someone stole it out of the dryer in the community laundry room while I was working for Disney.  (Which only serves to reinforce my belief that everything goes lost or missing in Florida; it’s the state equivalent of that one backpack or purse or center console that eats all of your valuables.)

While in LA, I made the trek back to Venice Beach, and by “trek” I mean that I got off the bus at Santa Monica and walked all the way over to the boardwalk which was not easy when you’re so tired that you could curl up on the hot sand and be asleep in five seconds.  And, I’d also walked two miles earlier in the day to the consulate.

But it was worth it because my efforts paid off.  I know probably no one cares but I found the same exact shirt again and I bought it and now I am content with all of my earthly possessions.  I only want peace and love for my fellow man at this point because I have found my own source of peace in the form of a pink sweatshirt.

The Visa Process

So, one of the first steps you have to take when preparing to study abroad is get a student visa.  This process is, in a word, terrible.  There’s so much bureaucracy and the road to a visa is riddled with minor to major inconveniences.  And, every consulate is different.  It varies country to country, and it also varies within the consulates of one particular country.  The visa process is a minefield.  I’ve had a constant feeling of dread in the back of my mind that something will go wrong ever since day one.

38603276 - us passport on the world map
Taken from passportinfoguide.com

Even so, I’m going to relate my experiences to you guys so that you know what you’re in for.  If my struggles can make the road a bit smoother for you, then it’ll all be worth it.  If anything isn’t completely accurate, feel free to correct me in the comments.  (Note:  This post is US-specific – I have no idea what the visa process entails for countries outside of the US.)

1. Identify the type of visa that you need.

visa-2012
An example of a Spanish visa.  Taken from this blog, check it out!

The first thing you need to figure out after choosing to study abroad is what kind of visa you want.  How long will you be studying in your host country?  My program is one semester, so I needed to get a short-term visa.  For Spain and other countries in the Schengan territories (check out a list of all the countries here) any program less than 90 days may not require a visa if you have a valid US passport, but always check with the country first.  For students at Northern Arizona University studying in Spain, a visa is not required for less than 90 days.  For one semester (between 90 days and 180 days), Spain requires a short-term visa, and for a year (longer than 180 days), a long-term visa.

For a short-term visa, there’s a laundry list of things you need for your visa appointment.  This is assuming that your consulate requires an in-person appointment; though some may not.  It all depends.  You might be able to get your visa through the mail, but that seems to be more common for tourism visas if you’re simply visiting a country that requires one of these for leisure and not for school.  But, I’m going to continue under the assumption that you are preparing to go in person.

2. Identify your designated consulate and make an appointment.

consulate-general-of-spain-los-angeles
The Consulate General of Spain, Los Angeles.  Taken from virtualglobetrotting.com

Make the appointment way in advance, because spots tend to fill up quickly.  Make sure you’re making the appointment with the correct consulate as well.  For Spain, I was directed to go to the Consulate General of Los Angeles based on the address of my permanent residence.  I’m not sure why I can’t go to the consulate in Phoenix, Arizona, but that’s just the way it goes I guess.  Check on the country’s consulate website to find the one nearest to you.

3. Find a list of the paperwork needed for your visa.

paperwork
Actual photo of me right now.  Taken from tibco.com.

Visa regulations are always changing, so I wouldn’t gather your materials based solely on this list.  However, as of right now, this is what my short-term, Spanish visa requires:

  • The visa application form.
  • One passport photo.
  • A valid passport that doesn’t expire within six months of your return to the US.
  • A valid ID that proves your permanent residence is within your consulate’s jurisdiction.
  • An acceptance letter from the foreign learning institution confirming your participation in a study abroad program.
  • Evidence of funds.  This one’s a little tricky, and I’d say the easiest way to prove you’re not hella broke is to get a notarized statement from your parents, along with their bank statements.  Basically, you need a notarized letter from mom and dad saying “We will support our child’s broke ass while they’re having the time of their life over in Europe/China/Australia/Wherever it is that you’re going” along with three recent bank statements proving that your parents aren’t broke either.
  • Proof of medical travel insurance.  This should be taken care of by your home university.
  • Visa fees.  The Spanish visa is $160.
  • Prepaid express mail envelope addressed to yourself so that your visa can be shipped back to you.
  • A signed disclaimer.

4. Wear out that copier.

Photo copy everything.  Just do it.  You will need ten million copies and that won’t even be enough.  Photocopy your passport, your ID card, every letter you receive, photocopy your face so the workers at the consulate can see how much you cried over this visa, I don’t care.  Just photocopy everything and then photocopy it all over again.

photocopy
Just photocopy the whole damn computer while you’re at it.

The long-term visa process is similar to the short-term visa process, just with a few extra steps.  I know for a long-term visas you need to get a physical from your doctor confirming that you’re in a good health, and you also have to complete an apostilled FBI background check which is usually completed by a third party service for a fee, of course.  But, I don’t have to worry about that, so I can’t give you much information.

FBI-background-check
Here’s what an apostilled background check looks like, at least.  Taken from SpainGuru.com.

This is really all the tips I can give you guys right now, seeing as I haven’t successfully gotten my visa yet.  My appointment is soon, though, so I’ll be sure to give an update on how my appointment went!

Have a lovely weekend,

V

A Few Months Later…

Okay, I definitely, 100% did not keep anyone updated throughout my adventures at Disney.  I know.  I’m terrible.  I was stretched so incredibly thin I got an average of 4-5 hours of sleep a night (and my schedule was an enviable one; I didn’t have nearly as many hours as some of my coworkers) and I was also constantly terrified of being fired for something I’d say on this blog.  It was so easy to get termed at Disney.  I knew people that had gotten termed for less than a disgruntled blog post.

Yeah, at the time I didn’t have a lot of nice things to say about Disney.

IMG_0672
I had an awful cold here and was dying from working through the holiday season, but at least I got a cute pic.

 

I think my main issue with the Disney College Program (though there were plenty) didn’t come from Disney at all – it came from requirements put in place by my university.  In order to get the internship credit offered by my college (and, if I didn’t complete the internship I would lose my scholarship) I had to complete 540 total work hours, take and pass a collegiate course offered by Disney, and take one additional online class offered through my university.

This was too much.  Oh my god, it was too much.

If you do the program, make sure that’s your main focus.  My peers were having fun going to clubs, exploring the state, and taking advantage of our free access to all Disney Parks while I was stressing about homework and dragging my tired ass out of bed at 6 am in order to make it to my morning class.

I took the Creativity and Innovation class that was offered by Disney, and in my opinion?  It wasn’t worth it.  I felt like I didn’t learn very much and I nearly failed due to attendance absences because I ditched class so often.

Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe?  I hated this work location.  The leaders there were angels, and most of my coworkers were also angels, but I just despised the incredibly repetitive tasks that I would be assigned to for hours.  Once I bussed tables for 6 hours before finally (mercifully) getting my break.  You could be in charge of changing trash cans for a whole day.  That’s it.  Just trash.  You’d wheel around your trash cart, stopping at all your assigned trash cans, change the ones that were full, and repeat this process for hours and hours and hours.  My coworkers were the ones who made it bearable.  I love them all to death and I’m still in contact with quite a few.

IMG_0551
The Pecos crew in our iconic Christmas uniforms, taken after hours in the iconic Pecos lobby.

I also worked in the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, and I liked this location much more.  The work was hard and hot, but I felt like the time went by more quickly and I made a lot of friends through the festival that I was sad to leave when it ended and we all returned to our original work locations.  There’s a reason they call it Tragic Kingdom.  The smell of the tunnels underneath the park will haunt me for a very long time.

IMG_0092
One of the only pictures I have in the hideous but functional Epcot flag shirt, taken backstage in the Epcot cafeteria.

My roommates also ended up becoming a huge reason why I was able to do so well in this program.  I became very close with my french roommates and I’m currently planning to visit them in France.  Who would’ve thought, right?  Disney will definitely introduce you to incredible people from all walks of life.

IMG_0246
My roommates and me in the Chatham stairwell before a night of clubbing in downtown Orlando.

In short, I struggled with the Disney College Program, but now that I’m gone I do miss the constant excitement that the Disney culture provided.  I’d recommend the DCP if you don’t have to worry about any classes in addition to work and if you’re looking to push yourself to your limit, both mentally and physically.  You will cry, and you’ll probably cry a lot, and it’s likely that you’ll cry in front of guests.  So just make sure you have tissues.  I’ll probably work for the Mouse again after I graduate, and tissues will be my first purchase in Orlando.

You might be wondering why I decided to resurrect this blog 10 months after abandoning it.  Well, I’m going to be studying abroad in Spain this fall, and one of the requirements of a scholarship I was able to get is to keep a blog.  So, this time you can rest assured that I won’t drop off the face of the planet and you’ll be able to read tons of new super interesting, not-garbage posts created by yours truly.

Thanks for stopping by,

V

Week One

I’m here! Actually, I’ve been here for a week, but everything’s been super overwhelming and I haven’t had a spare moment to give y’all an update.  Boy, Disney’s pretty crazy.  But crazy in the best possible way, of course!

I moved into my apartment last Monday.  The check in process was quick and easy, which was nice, but (unfortunately) I was placed in a two bedroom apartment with five roommates.  This means three people to a room.  I’d done my very best to avoid this scenario.  When signing up for housing, you listed all your different housing options from most desired to least desired.  I put every combination of two people to a room, regardless of the housing complex they were located in, at the top of my list.

From what I can surmise, the reason I got stuck with one of my last choices for housing is because I wasn’t that picky.  Ironic, right?  I was fine with random roommates since I thought that might give me a better chance of getting the housing unit I wanted.  But, everyone I talked to who found people they wanted to room with in advance got nicer housing.

What I didn’t know was that some of the housing units here have people checking out and checking in at different points in the year.  Not everyone moves into their apartments at the same time.

So, when I walked into a decidedly lived in place (located in Chatham Square, which is actually pronounced “Chattam”), I was confused.  There were bags of food all over the couch and the dining room tables and the counters, dirty dishes in the sink, laptops and books on the coffee table…  Did I have the wrong room number?

But no, there was a sign on one of the doors that said “Welcome!”  Inside was one empty bed.  The top bunk, of course.  No one ever wants the top bunk.

As it turned out, all my roommates are ICPs, or international students in the Disney College Program.  I think this is awesome.  There are two girls from Africa, one from Italy, one from France, and one from Norway.  A girl moved out of their place and since I was alone, I simply took her spot.

While I enjoy hearing about my roommates’ cultures and they are all super nice, I kind of wish I had the experience of moving into an apartment with a bunch of other newbies.  All my roomies already have their own lives, their own groups of friends, they’ve already been working for a while, etc.  (I think it’s kind of funny that most of the ICPs work at Epcot in their respective country.)  I can’t really hang out with any of them, so I had to go out of my way to meet new people.

This was fine with me.  I was up to the challenge!  I came to Disney to get out of my comfort zone, after all.

This brings me to another problem: because the CPs in my apartment have come and gone on a rotating basis, I don’t know the last time this place has had a good, deep clean.  If everyone moves out all at once, the tenants have to scrub the whole apartment from top to bottom in order to get it ready for the next batch of CPs.  That’s not the case, at least not where I’m staying.

Remember how I said I arrived to find a ton of food strewn everywhere?  That was because our place has roaches and the girls had to move their food out of the cabinets so the bug guy could come spray.

Ew.

I haven’t eaten in a week.  I refuse to go near the kitchen.  Once I walked over to put my dirty coffee mug in the sink, and a roach was scuttling over the dishes.

Granted, this is partially our fault.  Before I got here there was a ton of dirty dishes in the sink and multiple bags of trash.  I got the place back in order, though, and hopefully if we’re all a little bit cleaner the bugs will find another apartment to terrorize.

I was complaining about this to some people at the bus stop and another girl chimed in.

“Oh, yeah, when my roommates and I moved into our apartment in Patterson, we decided to clean it.  We tried moving the fridge to sweep underneath it, and hundreds of cockroaches scuttled out.  The exterminator came to spray, and immediately he went right back to the front desk and declared our apartment unlivable.  We had to move buildings, and Disney had to pay for us to wash our laundry because the roaches lay eggs in everything.”

Now, keep in mind that this is just a story I heard and I have no idea if it’s true or not.  I’m not trying to defame Disney’s good name.  And most of the other places I’ve seen have been pretty nice.  I guess I just got the short end of the stick this time.

I do think it’s kind of ridiculous how much rent is.  It’s about $100 a week for me, which means between the six of us we pay $600 a week.  That comes out to $2400 a month for a roach-infested two bedroom apartment.  Orlando is expensive, but not that expensive.

Other than my housing arrangements, I love it here so far.  The people are nice and friendly, I get free access to all the parks (and I’ve visited almost all of them so far, except for the water parks), and I’ll be working at Pecos Bill’s Cafe in the Magic Kingdom!  It’s basically a cowboy-themed fast food place in Frontierland.  I know Magic Kingdom is the busiest of all the parks, but I’m glad that I’ll be in the center of the action.  Plus, you get a tiny bit of a raise if you work in MK.

Today I had my first day of training, which was basically eight hours of safety videos, food prep instructionals, and lectures on Disney’s core values.  Nothing too bad (I was thankful just to be in the air conditioning) but it was very difficult not to fall asleep.

I’m champing at the bit to get out there and actually start work.  I’ve heard mixed reviews about the program from my fellow CPs (last night on the bus, there were two guys from custodial who didn’t have a single nice thing to say about Magic Kingdom), but I’m still confident that I’ll enjoy it.  I like people, I like interacting with them, and I hope I have lots and lots of chances to brighten someone’s day.

Even in the short time I’ve spent exploring the parks, all the employees are so nice and friendly.  With luck, all the guests will think the same thing about me!

More later,

V

P.S.  Disclaimer:  None of my views in any of these blog posts reflect the views of Disney in any way whatsoever.  (Please don’t fire me, Disney!)

P.P.S.  Three of my roommates know that I’m gay, and they seem fine with it.  I feel really safe being open about my sexuality with Disney, since they’re such a big ally.  I’m lucky to work for an inclusive company!

Tomorrow’s the Day!

Hi guys, I’m coming to you live from Orlando, Florida!  It’s been a week since I touched down in the Sunshine State, but I’m still in the process of adjusting to my new home.

Things are different over here, that’s for sure.  No one has heard of pizookies (tragic, I know), everyone says “highway” instead of “freeway,” and there are tolls everywhere.  It rains almost every day (sometimes more than once a day) which I don’t think I’ll ever get used to.  I can be lounging around by the pool in the blazing sun one minute, and then the next thing I know I’m caught in a torrential downpour.  There are tons of frogs, lizards, and a surprising lack of mosquitoes.  I was fully prepared to douse myself in repellent before going outside, but I haven’t gotten a single bug bite.

Taken from bjsrestaurants.com; oh beloved dessert, how dreadful are the lives of those who’ve never consumed you! 
So far I like it here, though!  Once you make it through the horrendous traffic, there’s no shortage of things to do.  SeaWorld, Universal Studios, and Disney are all around the same area, but there’s more to Orlando than just the big amusement parks.  There’s the beach, of course, as well as a bunch of shopping areas with cool, local cafes and stores.

Personally, I’m most excited for the Halloween nights at Universal Studios, but that doesn’t start until next month.  This year they’re creating American Horror Story themed haunted houses too which is quite possibly the greatest idea in the entire universe.

Taken from insidethemagic.net
I must admit, I’m a little bit homesick, bu not in the way I expected.  I’m homesick for California.  Which doesn’t make any sense at all, because I didn’t live there.  It just feels so far away, and that means there’s no chance of me taking a quick weekend trip over to San Diego.  I’m looking into spending my next semester over in LA on an exchange program.

Taken from pinterest.com
Homesick or not, I’m here for the next four months so I might as well make the best of things.  Which I’ve absolutely been doing!  I already went to Universal Studios, Cocoa Beach, and walked a ferret on a leash.  All while battling humidity that makes it feel like you’re swimming through the air.

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This was the little walkway down to Cocoa Beach, which I thought was prettier than the beach itself, to be honest.

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This is the view from Cocoa Beach Pier.
I had a lot of fun (the beach is my favorite, after all), but Cocoa Beach really made my heart ache for the SoCal beaches that I’m used to.  There were no pretty mountains in the background, dotted all over with big mansions.  No cute little beach shops or street vendors or anything like that, and the weather was hot and humid instead of a little bit chilly.  I couldn’t even smell the salt from the ocean.

It was all very touristy.  You could order fried gator at the pier.  (Which, by the way, was a single, gargantuan restaurant and not a wooden walkway that jutted out over the water like I expected.)  The water was warm, which was nice.

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For a hot minute I got to wander around Universal after it closed and got a nice picture out of it.

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This was the biggest record shop I’d ever been in.  I can’t remember the name, but I think it was in Ivanhoe.

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I know, I’m a nerd, but I was still excited to see the SunTrust building.  Margo and Q break into it in Paper Towns, remember? 

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And finally, please enjoy this picture of ferrets on leashes.
I’ve gotta run guys, still getting everything ready for tomorrow.  I’ll write again once I get settled into my apartment -in Chatham Square!

Much love,

V

P.S  There’s a girl back home I’m kind of hung up on (she definitely doesn’t feel the same way about me, unfortunately), but I downloaded Tinder in an effort to get over her.  Let me tell you, Florida has some super cute girls!

Taken from popsugar.com; This is basically my gay self right now.

P.P.S. As a gay girl, I feel really welcome here. Nearly every establishment I’ve passed has an “#orlandounited” poster in the window, and I’ve seen a ton of people wearing t-shirts that have the same logo.