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.

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.

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

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!

Taken from

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

Hasta la vista,


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

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.

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.

The Consulate General of Spain, Los Angeles.  Taken from

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.

Actual photo of me right now.  Taken from

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.

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.

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

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,


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.

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.

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.

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.

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,


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.


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,


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; 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
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
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,


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; 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. 

How to Eat at a Fast Food Place

Now, many of you will probably look at this title and think to yourself, “I can eat at a fast food place just fine, what kind of an unnecessary instructional is this?  What am I, an idiot?”

And in turn I shall inform you that most people have no trouble with this simple task.  The fact that you’re on the internet reading blogs tells me that you are probably a part of this majority.  But, as a fast food worker, I must urge you to spread the word to your misinformed counterparts.  Educate those who have neither manners nor common sense.

So without further ado, here are V’s Tips for Not Being a Colossal Asshole Next Time You Waltz into Your Nearest Fast Food Establishment:

1.  Don’t leave napkins on your table.


Even if you you have extra that you’re not going to use, don’t leave them on the table.  No one has ever walked into a fast food joint and made a bee-line for the table full of crumbs and the big stack of napkins.  No one’s thinks, “Oh good, napkins!  Now we don’t have to walk 5 feet to get our own, which we know for sure haven’t been contaminated by someone else’s dirty-ass hands!”

Please.  It makes the table look even nastier than it is, and the person who has to clean that table is going to throw them out anyways.

2.  If you have a problem with your order, be polite.

Taken from

Most of the time, the employees want to do an A+ job. They don’t look forward to slinking over to the manager and sheepishly informing them that they’ve screwed up yet again and a customer wants to complain to them.

But, it happens. Sometimes it’s our fault, and sometimes y’all don’t make it any easier. (Please, please, please don’t change your order more than once. We’ve already entered it. The cooks are getting everything together as we speak.  It’s a done deal, my friend.)

In the event that you get a double cheeseburger with onions when you specifically asked for no onions, simply let us know and we’ll take care of it.  Don’t be a bitch. If you’re a bitch, chances are you’re going to run into way more roadblocks than non-bitches.  All of the managers at my previous fast food gig had a strict you-be-nice-to-me-and-I’ll-be-nice-to-you-policy. If a patron threw a tantrum (like the guy who, in a fit of rage, grabbed a gift card off the little gift card rack and whipped it at our manager’s head like a tiny malevolent frisbee), you were told that if you didn’t like something, there were exits located at both the front and back of the store. Other people who calmly explained what the problem was walked away with lots and lots and lots of free food, sometimes coupons for a free meal, etc.

3. Please, for the love of all things holy, if there’s a cup over the ketchup dispenser that says “Out of Order” don’t touch it! Don’t do it!  It’s a bad idea, both for you and me and the future of your children and if you do touch it, I hope one day you ignore another equally important sign and get mauled by a bear or electrocuted or something equally horrible.

Taken from; By the way, don’t make the same mistake I did and Google “ketchup disasters.”

This is a real issue, people. Every. Single. Time.  Every single time the goddamn ketchup runs out, I run over and put my little cup over the top of it.

Two seconds later, I get an angry customer covered in ketchup splatters informing me in a snotty voice that “did you know your ketchup is broken?”

Yes!!!!!!! I did!!!!! You watched me put that cup on it, dammit. I saw you.  You watched me with your own two eyes test the dispenser, discover that it was empty, and get splattered by ketchup residue in the process. What did you think was going to happen, you stale-ass fruitcake brained Neanderthal?

Every time, I put out a little plastic container of ketchup packets and it’s heartlessly ignored in favor of an obviously malfunctioning dispenser.

4. Do let us know if there’s no toilet paper in the bathrooms.

Taken from

We’re sorry. Sometimes when it’s busy we don’t have time to check the bathrooms as often as we’d like, but if you take a moment to clue us in on the state of the bathrooms, God bless you. May you win a free order of fries on the little sticker cup game promotional thingy.

5. Don’t walk up to the first booth you see and demand to have it wiped down.

Taken from

Yeah, we know it has crumbs all over it. We can see that. But right now everyone is probably sprinting around the lobby, serving people, juggling orders, mopping up spills, and if literally every other booth is clean, we will resent you.

I can guarantee that if you put up a fuss and make an employee, say, abandon their post at the register when there are fifteen people waiting to order, just to wipe the only table in the entire establishment that’s dirty, we’re not going to go out of our way to wait on you.

This is a fast food place. We are not waiters, but most of the time I’m happy to do something for you. An extra dipping sauce? Sure, I’ll get it for you. A to-go box? Let me run and grab one!

But I’m also very good at ignoring the customers I don’t like. We all are.

You will be blacklisted!  *ominous but upbeat music plays in the background*

6. If we don’t serve something, it’s not a personal attack on your happiness. Take it up with corporate, bud.

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I worked at a place that boasted a pretty simple menu. We only served 4 things. None of them were particular healthy.

Day after day after day I had customers squint at the menu for approximately ten years, then confidently order eight different things that we didn’t offer.

“I’m sorry, ma’am. We don’t have kale salad with quinoa, drizzled lightly with balsamic vinegar.  Why don’t you try some of our fries?”

The woman’s face would inevitably twist into a pinched grimace.

“No kale salad with quinoa and balsamic vinegar?! This is an outrage! I’m leaving!”

I don’t pick what’s on the menu. I just work here.  Complaining to me isn’t going to do an ounce of good. You think I don’t like mashed potatoes? I love mashed potatoes. But if I wanted to buy some, I would start by locating a place that actually sells them.

7.  Don’t come in 5 minutes before we close and stay for 2 hours.

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This is possibly the most important point I’d like to make.  Do not do this.  Bad karma will come back to haunt you.  If you are a decent human being with a heart and a brain you will order your food to go.

I hate high school kids.  I know I was one not too long ago, but I hate them.  I hate my younger self because I’m sure I’ve done this is the past.  For some reason, only high school kids do this.  Maybe they don’t have anything better to do, or maybe they’re trying to avoid going home.

If you stay after close, we have to sit around and wait for you to leave before we do anything.  This means staying way, way, way later than we need to.

So get your food to go.  Eat it in your car.  Blast the radio.  That’s what I do.

Thanks for politely tolerating my rant!


A Bump in the Road: My Experience with Mental Illness

[Trigger warning: this post discusses mental illness and self-harm.  If these topics are triggering, feel free to read some of my other, more lighthearted posts!]

It’s not a good day for me.

I’m sorry to be writing to you all under such negative circumstances, but I’m determined to be myself in this blog, and days like these hold a certain significance in my life.  Not only that, but if there’s a chance that one of my readers deals with the same issues that I do, maybe I’ll be able to provide some measure of comfort through this entry.  Who knows?

For a long time I’ve battled generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder.  I was diagnosed with these only a short time ago, but when I look back on memories from my childhood I know that they’ve been a part of my life for years.

Taken from  I was tired of seeing the stereotypical black and white photo of a person hunched on the floor, cradling their head in their hands.  So, please enjoy this frowny face in a sea of smiley faces!  Come on, give me a little credit.  I’m a writer, not a professional image selector.
It was the last two years of high school when things became nearly unbearable.  I was a constant irritation to my parents, I was a mystery to my friends, but the one I pissed off the most?  That would be me.  I couldn’t stand myself.  Every day I woke up in the same body, riddled with ugly scars from self-harm, and I felt like I could scream.  I fantasized about running away.  My group of friends got smaller every day, and with every broken tie I sank deeper and deeper into the hole that I was digging.  For a while I thought it was a temporary barrier, a bump in the road, but as time dragged on I had a feeling that it might be my grave.

I had a best friend.  She was gorgeous and lovely and the light of my life, when I wanted to sink into my sheets and never wake up, she came over and dragged me out of the house.  When I wanted nothing more than to sit down and stare blankly at the wall until I couldn’t remember where I was, she picked me up and drove and drove and drove until we were in a new and exciting place and I was laughing and the music on the radio was the perfect soundtrack.

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I fell madly in love with her.

And then everything fell apart.  She got a boyfriend, I was jealous, we started to drift.  There weren’t as many sleepovers or movie marathons.  I stayed at home more.

Don’t fall in love with your straight best friend, readers.  Don’t do it.  It will ruin you in ways you can’t even imagine.

One day last summer, we had a fight.  It was one of many similar arguments.  I can’t even remember what started it, I just know that it happened at the pool in her apartment complex.  All of our friends were there.  They stayed by her, I sat on the curb by the parking lot by myself.

And then I went home.  I went home, I went into my medicine cabinet, and I grabbed a bottle of pills.  My palms were sweating.  I slipped it into my pocket.  The bottle made a harsh rattling sound that reminded me of hard candies.

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I spent that night in the hospital, high as a kite.  I couldn’t move, I could think but I couldn’t speak, I stared with empty eyes at a merry-go-round of hellish hallucinations.  When it was over a large, intimidating nurse came over to me and spat, “Don’t you ever do something so stupid again.  Don’t you ever do that.”

I shivered but said nothing.

That was the worst night of my life, by far.  My eyes still get misty when I think of my parents leaning over me in that hospital room, asking, “Why?” over and over with tears running down their cheeks.

Things got worse before they got better.  I tried living with my best friend in college.  It didn’t work out.  I ended up in the hospital yet again, this time spending a brief period in a psychiatric unit.  That was where I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety.  And, it turned out, borderline personality disorder.

This one came out of left field.  Borderline personality?  There was only one me, I didn’t feel like there were different personas all crowded into my brain.  But that’s not what borderline is.

Borderline personality is characterized by having an unstable sense of self, volatile relationships with others , impulsiveness, emotional outbursts, black-and-white thinking, etc.  People with borderline feel emotions more strongly and more exaggeratedly than other people.

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For instance, I’d have a fight with my best friend and it felt like the world was ending.  I’d be sure that this was it, this was the argument that signaled the beginning of the end of our friendship,  she obviously hated me and never wanted to see me again.

Ironically, this type of thinking was probably a big contributor to the actual, literal end of our friendship.  But I didn’t know that.

If you think you might have borderline personality disorder, I encourage you to research it and go to a professional in order to get diagnosed.  I am not an expert.

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Furthermore, a large percentage of those who engage in self-harm have BPD.  So I guess I fell into that category.

Anyways, today is not a good day.  I’ve drastically improved since everything went down last year, but I still have days where I don’t like what I see in the mirror and I feel like a failure and who am I kidding?  My writing sucks and I’ll never get published and I might as well just fucking give up.

I guess that sums up today:  I want to give up.

But I won’t.  I can’t.  Without writing my life is infinitely boring.  I know it’s cheesy, but I feel like writing is what I was put on this earth to do.  And even if it isn’t my calling, that’s too bad.  I’m going to make it my calling.  Take that, universe and fate and God and whoever else calls the shots around here.

Taken from;  This is basically what life feels like right now.
Also:  The search for a literary agent isn’t going very well.  Lots of rejection letters.  I’m constantly revising and editing my novel, so hopefully that will pay off soon.  We’ll see, I guess.

And now it’s time for:  V’s Tips on How to Keep it Together if You’re Struggling with a Mental Illness!  These tips won’t work for everyone, but they’ve worked for a real live person who’s going through some Stuff and Shit, so maybe they’ll work for you, too.  Many times I’ve come across advice on the internet that seems to have been written by someone who doesn’t know what it’s like to have a mental illness, and it’s not very helpful.

1.  Get the hell out.

Get out of the house.  Just leave.  Go somewhere new, where you don’t have access to things that could hurt you.

2.  Surround yourself with people.

They don’t have to be your friends.  I know for me, sometimes I didn’t have any friends that I could hang out with.  Just go to a public place and watch people.  Lose yourself in their lives.

3.  Listen to happy music.

I’ve found that when I’m sad, I want to listen to sad music.  This is a terrible idea.  Listen to something happy, and it’ll start to lift your spirits too.

4.  Escapism.

This is where good old-fashioned American escapism comes into play!  Go to the movies.  If you can’t get to the movies, watch one at home.  (A happy movie, of course.)  Read a book.  Play a fun video game.  Do a crossword puzzle if that’s your thing.  Read Calvin and Hobbes.  Do anything that will make you forget what’s going on.  There’s nothing wrong with trying to forget your feelings until the wave of emotion passes and you’re in a better state to deal with the situation.

I know that wasn’t a lot of tips, but if I’m going to be completely honest, there’s not a lot that could help me until I got on medication.

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That’s another thing:  There is absolutely no shame in going on medication.  It changed my life, guys.  I was scared at first, but my meds didn’t take away my personality or dull my emotions or turn me into a completely different person.  It just gave me the push I needed to be happy again.  It quelled that uneasy feeling I always had in the pit of my stomach and allowed me to just relax.  For the first time in years, I could sit on the couch and do absolutely nothing and not feel like I was going to burst into tears, or have a vague inkling that something bad was about to happen.

If you feel like it could help you too, once again, see a psychiatrist.

Thanks for listening to me,


P.S.  I’m currently watching Scream Queens to cheer me up.  It’s a fabulous TV show, and I highly recommend it to anyone who’s an Emma Roberts fan.

My mom wanted to watch it with me, but I think it would be weird.  Too many gay characters, too many attractive actresses, too many necrophilia jokes.  She wouldn’t be able to handle it.

But, Chad Radwell?  Chad Radwell is a stellar character.

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