Monthly Archives: August 2011

Late for a Very Important Date

WHY can’t I consistently be early, or on-time?

Professionally, I am always on-time, if not early. I get frustrated when meetings start late and run over.

Personally speaking, I’m not early. I’m usually on-time. Or, more often than not, a few minutes late. This is when I am banking on walking, or taking a subway or a city bus to my destination.

Because I rely heavily on public transportation, I am bound by specific schedules. I have to do the backwards math to get me to the transportation. I figure out which time is the ‘ideal’ train, bus or boat time in my head and then the second best. It’s getting to that ‘ideal’ train, bus or boat that being late kicks in.

Once I am en route on one of the ‘ideal’ timed transport, I’m going to arrive when I say I will.

If I’m not running for transportation, I just feel like I am running late.

Many years ago, I had to sprint from the parking lot to catch a train that was already at the platform. Once on the train, the train conductor told me that “People wait for trains, trains don’t wait for people.” I try to avoid repeating that situation as best I can.

In college, I was in a sorority – Phi Sigma Sigma – and everyone was always at least five minutes late, so consistently that we coined it ‘Phi Sig time.’

The boyfriend is very much an ‘early to on-time’ kind of guy and he was abruptly introduced to ‘Phi Sig’ time when we arrived somewhere to meet friends about ten minutes early. Which meant we were waiting for my friends for nearly twenty minutes. So many years out of college, and some of us are still on Phi Sig time…but it makes it easier to plan accordingly knowing it’s kind of okay, and pretty much expected (those of you reading this, know who you are).

I am taking an official stand and making a mid-year New Year’s resolution to heed Vince Lombardi’s words in my life: “If you’re not 5 minutes early, you’re late.” I will be realistic about it though. Two to three minutes early, or even exactly on time would suffice for me.

Hate being late? Check out these proven tips. I know I will.

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Are you a Flake?

“While you may not consciously be trying to tick off people, the problem is that you aren’t consciously making an effort not to either. This thoughtlessness can derail your professional and personal relationships.” — Susan Kim

Take a read.

Well, are YOU a flake?

As for me, where I do really well…I’m the queen of follow-up both professionally and personally. So those that don’t follow through with what they say they will do happens to drive me crazy.

And my other peeve is not saying thank you after someone went out of their way for you. I’m not from the South but you would think I was. I love thank you notes. I don’t care how it’s sent – whether it’s a handwritten note, an email or a call. It doesn’t need to be on fancy stationery or contain long-winded paragraphs or be a long phone call but there should always be an acknowledgement of thanks.

And since I am absolutely not perfect, check out tomorrow’s post when I point out where I don’t do so well.


A Warm Welcome…Or Is It?

I always get a little skittish going through Customs, even though I have nothing to hide. When the customs officers flip through my passport, and ask a few questions about my travels, I always get a little bit nervous. Why? I don’t know. Maybe because the fear of not getting ‘let back’ in is a little bit nerve-racking.

Did I go over my allotted money to spend abroad? Am I going to get asked what I was doing (traveling!)? When I lived in London, it was during the foot and mouth disease outbreak, was the chocolate I brought back going to get confiscated? Milk products were iffy and I made the call to bring it in the country. There was no major outbreak from my decision if I recall correctly and I believe I did tell customs about my purchase.

Then there are the things you want to bring in but are not certain they will make it. Like the British man I sat next to on a flight from London to New York. He had a cheese wheel. A serious cheese wheel in the overhead compartment. It was his entire carry-on. We parted ways as I entered through the US citizen line and he did not so I have no idea if that cheese wheel made it in, but I imagine if it did not, the customs agent had a field day eating it.

And then there are those items that you are absolutely certain you can take home, but don’t make it farther than the gate at the starting airport.

Wandering Earl, a permanent nomad, has had some amazing travel experiences, and some ‘not-so-great returning to the States’ experiences, like when US Customs found a bullet in his pocket.

But when he was recently welcomed home, with open arms, it makes you wonder, why does this agent stick out? Shouldn’t there be a lot more of these agents, than not?


Walk to Walk…

Funny that no matter how many times I am in the Village…I always seem to get lost and found.

It’s no longer a grid but just a mish-mosh of streets that ultimately connect in a fairly logical way when I’m not thinking about it. But when I am leading the way, as the “local,” it’s all but assumed that I will get myself turned around.

Case in point…walking, walking, looking for Bleecker Street…only to realize a few blocks later, we have been walking on it. All I can do is shake my head and laugh.

I have walked these streets countless times, but always to get to a specific destination…a restaurant, an apartment or to get from point A to point B.

I also realized, that I don’t think about or pay much attention to the places I pass. Our group stumbled upon cute boutiques and jewelry stores. Places that have probably always been there, but I just never stopped inside.

It was nice to ‘smell the roses’ today.


To and fro

Took a bus to a subway to a train … and then a train to a subway to a bus … all to get to and fro the beach in Long Island today.

While the beach was absolutely lovely, the beach wasn’t the final destination, but the fabulous company the boyfriend and I traveled to see.

What kinds of routes and/or transportation have you traveled and/or utilized just to spend some quality time with good friends?


For Better or For Worse

I’m a fan of getting advice from locals. How else would you find out-of-the-way places to stay (getting a room on a coffee plantation after the storm of the year finds the Belize soccer team needing your hotel room for the night), drink at a gem of a wine bar near Mickey (Orlando, Florida), and sent you to a smaller, less populated day-trippers island (and according to the water taxi captain, supposedly with a better restaurant) off the island of Hvar (Jerolim, Croatia).

While I am a huge fan of doing your research before, research about a place, reviews about places, etc, there’s something to be said about interacting with the locals and getting their opinions on what’s great. Their perspective is absolutely 100% going to be different from from a guide-book. They will get you off the beaten path and they will get you

What’s the best and worst travel advice you have ever received — while on the road? You know, the advice you get from actually talking and interacting with the people who live there 😉

Share in the comments below.


The basics seem to be the same

Sometimes I get asked, how do you find food you are accustomed to when you travel?

WHAT?! Not knowing what are the staples to the local country is one of the best parts of traveling!

My grandpa is laughing somewhere in heaven right now. Once I got addicted to sushi, he was amazed that the same girl who would only eat grilled cheese and cereal as a child would like such a thing. Especially because some of my favorite pieces of sashimi are some especially strange, but that’s a story for another time.

Truly, the basics are the same all over.

Several years ago the boyfriend and I were traveling from the San Jose airport in Costa Rica en route to La Fortuna, where the famed Arenal Volcano sits. We were famished. The drive is about 60 miles so somewhere halfway, on these back roads, we pulled over into a Sam’s Club kind of place. It was a big food shopping warehouse. We got some water and some small snacks. (You didn’t need to buy everything in bulk, just most of it!)

The woman in front of us had several dozen eggs, huge sacks of rice and a couple of loaves of bread on the conveyor belt. These three items are pretty basic no matter where in the world you may be.

Also in Costa Rica, there was a dish called ‘casado.’ It is a large plate with rice, beans, plantains, tortillas, salad and your choice of chicken, beef or fish. We were told it means marriage in Spanish but it’s called that because that’s a dish that men eat when they get married. I guess because it’s a real meal. It’s not all that different from what you might eat in America either.

And again, in Costa Rica, one of the parts of breakfast we were once served was cheese. I had never met a cheese I did not like enough to eat the whole thing. Until that one piece. A thick piece. It almost looked like you were served a large square of a sponge soaked in butter. I had thought, cheese? I told the waiter, of course, I will try it, and I did. And when I did, I realized I had met my first kind of cheese I could not even stomach. I took a second bit just to confirm I hated it. I absolutely did.

I don’t know what kind of cheese it was, I don’t remember what it tasted like, I just remember I covered it with another plate because there was no way I could take another bite. I was so embarrassed because before I tried it I had told the waiter I loved  all kinds of cheese. Note to self: never tell anyone you love cheese until you try what they are serving.

But let’s go back to basics that you count on at home. What about all the pizza and pasta in places other than Italy? So many options in Argentina and Croatia because they are influenced by Italian cuisine, just like the US.

Of course in some places, you can get your ‘American burger’ or your ‘New York pizza’ – but what’s the point of adventurous eating then?? Obviously sometimes you are homesick, or craving a certain something, but don’t think for one second that the ‘New York pizza’ somewhere outside of Edinburgh is going to taste like New York pizza.

Although once while in Amsterdam, my dad (who is not at all an adventurous eater) managed to find a Chinese restaurant. That had the biggest eggroll we had ever seen. Ever. I don’t recall if it was any good, but most eggrolls that I’ve seen fit into a little paper bag, and are an accompanying piece to the meal. I will never forget that it was so big, it came out on a properly sized entrée plate.

More on adventurous eating in another post. My dad may not be an adventurous eater but my mom certainly is!

And when you are out and about trying to figure out your meal, having translation trouble is really fun too!