Saturday, September 17, 2016

Captain Commando

I'm going to paint a scenario for you:

An hour before your flight takes off.
Pouring rain.
8 minute drive to airport made longer because of the sheets of rain coming.
Rental car gas tank on empty.
You're wearing shorts and a short sleeved T shirt.

This, my friends, is the situation I found myself in a couple months ago when I went to upstate New York for a weekend.

I stood in the rain coming down pretty steadily while gripping the gas pump, waiting for it to be full so that my frozen, little hands could be dry and warm again.

Now the stupid thing about New York is that the gas pumps don't have a little kick stand. So like, when you hold up the little lever to let the gas in, you can't put down this little kick stand to have it stay there so you can move about your business.

Oh, no. You're left standing there holding it and being exposed to the elements while you do so.

And then, out of nowhere, it began to pour heavy, heavy rain. The wind blew the rain ferociously on my back, soaking my whole body as I stood there hopelessly, holding the stupid little gas pump that couldn't do its own job.

Although I've never been hit with a fire hose or a sheet of glass, I'd imagine that the feeling of that rain  was similar to those two feelings.

My friend ran out of the car and stood by me.





I don't know how much time passed, but whatever it was it was it felt like hours.

I climbed back in the passengers side.

"Oh, Carmen. You're soaked." said my friend.

"It's not that bad-" I stopped and looked down. My shirt, pants, and hair were a full shade darker. The straightness of my hair was gone and replaced with the weird waves that I always have after a shower . . . or a rain storm.


*Note: Those pictures are not in New York. That is New Zealand. But the effect is the same.

". . . well, it doesn't feel that bad."

We took off driving, and my stress level continued to rise. Forty five minutes until our plane took off. Eight minute drive to the airport, and we still had to return the rental car, go through security, and print off our tickets.

I was an anxious wreck.

My friend had no issue driving in the weather, as she grew up driving through buckets of rain during monsoon season. Little Carmen from dry-land Utah, however, found herself chewing her nails and wondering how in the world we were suddenly driving through the Amazon; nothing but trees blurred by the heavy rain.

I mean, I've never been to the Amazon . . . but it's like that, right?

Eight minutes later, we were circling the rental parking lot desperately looking for a spot close by. Naturally, the only open spot was in the back of the parking lot.

"Okay. You ready?"

"Let's do this." I said, maneuvering the backpack onto my back, and opening the door.

I had taken no more than three steps away from the car when I remembered I had left stuff in the back seat.


I trotted back, open the door, grabbed the papers and my jacket sitting in the back seat, shoved them under my wet shirt in a vain attempt to keep them dry, and ran towards the airport.

Now, I really do wish you could get a good idea of how this felt. To do so, I would recommend hooking up a treadmill outside while having your friend spray you with a hose at full blast. Now run with a backpack on your back and stuff shoved under your shirt so that it looks like you're nine months pregnant with an oddly shaped baby.

While you're doing this, you'll notice that you can't see your feet, and water is dripping down your face to make you blink constantly. And if you're like me, you're probably not an every-day runner so your legs and arms are kind of strangely flailing around during this.

My friend and I splashed our way into the airport and over to the car rental return. Anxiously I handed over my keys to the manager, and he typed slowly on the computer and helping out the other worker.

Now I was trying to be all understanding and what not, but my nerves were speaking louder than my patience. I'm pretty sure I unintentionally rolled my eyes a couple times.

"Which flight you girls on?"

"Theonetodetriotandthentosaltlake." I sputtered off quickly.

Thirty minutes.

"Ah. That plane hasn't even landed yet," he said, continuing to type onto the computer.

"Really?" I said, and felt some relief.

"Yup. Still not here yet."

I was relieved. That made it seem like a good possibility that it'd get delayed, meaning my friend and I would for sure make it onto our flight.

The man finished typing, handed us our receipt, and we took of running to security.

Now, this airport is small. So, with no line in security it would've been probably a 3 minute walk total from the rental return place to our gate. Naturally, there was a line, and I could clearly see through the other side our gate. My nerves began to calm as I saw we still had enough time to get through security. I got even more calm when the people in front of us in line were also on the same flight as us.

Security consisted of those body-scanner things. My friend went through first, and the screen showed that basically every part of her body was lit up and in danger of hiding something potentially hazardous to everyone's safety.

"Oh, it's probably just the rain. This has been happening to everyone today because they're so wet," said the TSA agent, pulling my friend to the side so she could be patted down.

My turn came, and the same thing happened. According to the screen by the body scanner, I was a walking weapon.

I stood a few feet away from my friend and we both got patted down by TSA agents. After being cleared, we then had to get our hands wiped and scanned for bomb residue.

. . . and my friend's . . . came back positive for bomb residue.

The agent who was patting down my friend grabbed her and took her to a private room in the back, while the TSA agent who was working on me grabbed my friends luggage and also went in the back room.

The door shut, and two beefy-looking police officers with sun glasses on stood outside the doors, guarding them.

I estimated we had about 10 minutes till boarding.

It was at this moment when I was grateful for white privilege. Like seriously. If they were getting this intense with two white females, how would they have been with any other ethnicity? #TheWorldIsAMessedUpPlaceMyFriends

Not being allowed to leave, I leaned against the table behind me and watched the security line slowly get backed up and longer and longer, as there were no other TSA agents available.

Looking back now, I think the whole instance took about 5-8 minutes tops. But when you're stressed, time warps and either goes by too slow or too fast. In this instance, it was speeding by.

As the security line began to back up, they called in two more TSA agents. An old lady came up to me and used a different scanner for my hands, which came in clear for bomb residue.

I nervously fumbled to get my shoes back on as I waited for my friend to come out. A minutes later, the security guards stepped to the side of the room, the door opened, and my friend came out following the two TSA agents.

"What'd they do?!" I asked - now just out of plain curiosity.

"Checked all my stuff, scanned it, and patted me down. It was fine," she replied.

Five minutes later, we were boarding the plane while I carried my Tina Fey shirt,

a clean pare of underwear, and basketball shorts in my hands to change into. As soon as we sat our stuff down, I went to the bathroom and changed into my dry clothes.

It was oddly comforting to be back into dry clothes. I snuggled into my seat, wrapped my friends blanket around me, and enjoyed a peaceful flight to Detroit.

We found our gate pretty quickly, and had about two hours until our flight took off. After getting sushi, we were both still a little hungry so split ways to go buy food.

Not in the mood for anything sugary or greasy, I picked up a big bowl of cut water melon. Twenty minutes before our flight took off, I began eating it.

Boarding time came, and as I stood up to get everything organized, I dropped my watermelon bowl and watermelon juice spilled ..... down my pants ..... which, because of the fabric, didn't absorb water very well.

To get the full affect of this, I want you to take some ice cubes, put them in a glass of water, dye the water pink, and pour it down your pants.

It was painful. At this moment, I was so grateful I am not a man, because I found myself saying through pain, "Ohmygoshthat'scoldthat'scoldthat'scoldthat'sreallyreallyreallycold" while being too shocked to even move.

"Go change!" my friend said.

I only had two other pairs of pants - and one was covered in dirty lake water and dirt from the Susquehanna River, and the other was still wet from that morning.

"I think I'll be fine once I stand up!" I said, cringing.

I stood up and gasped again as the water just stayed pooled in my shorts and underwear.


"Here," said my friend, handing me a pare of swim shorts. "Change into these!"

"Okayokayokay. Holdmystuffplease."

And I scattered off holding her shorts and my backpack.

What I didn't know is, as I was running away, my friend was mumbling to herself, "There's no way those are going to fit her."

I got into the bathroom, and yanked everything out of my backpack desperately looking for a clean underwear, even though I was pretty sure all my underwear was already dirty.

I couldn't even find any underwear in general during my chaotic dig through my clothing.

And so I did something a number of my friends have done numerous times that I had never done:

I went commando.

See, not only had I gone commando, I also discovered her swim shorts were WAY too big for me, and there was virtually no way I could tighten them. After trying vainly to tighten them, I gave up and let go to see if they would stay on their own.

Nope. They fell right off.

So, I swung my backpack over my back, pulled my pants back up, and ran back to the boarding line, holding my pants up like a weirdy as I did so.

Guys, I highly recommend running a short distance while wearing a backpack and pants too big so you have to hold them while running. You look ridiculous.

"Yeah I knew there'd be no way those would fit you right," my friend said.

"It's chill," I said as a spontaneous idea came to mind.

I grabbed a bunch of extra fabric from my pants and balled it together in my hand so that my pants fit well, and tied a hair tie around the ball so that they'd stay in place.

I gave my friends a thumbs up.

"You. Look. Lovely." she said, and we both laughed.

It was late at night now, I was absolutely exhausted, and my appearance showed it. What started out as denim shorts, a cute blue t shirt, and new sneakers ended up being bright blue swim shorts, a baggy, Tina Fey shirt, and flip flops.

And we just wont talk about my hair.

I truly had never looked better.

HOWEVER. Let me show you another terrible outfit I had to wear:

Basically what this boils down to was we spontaneously got kicked out of our apartment when I was wearing a red and tan outfit, so I grabbed another outfit for the next day - the black and blue one - and realized that I only had one pair of shoes and jacket and it was too cold NOT to wear horrible tights.

And although I was humiliated, I also pretended like I had no idea how terrible it was and owned it.

Anyway, whenever you're self conscious about what you're wearing, (question: are guys self conscious of what they wear or is that mostly a female thing?) just reflect on these experiences . . . and you'll feel better about life.

Have an awkward day everyone!


Hey guys!

I just wanted to give you all a little life update:

I am working on getting 50 Shades of Awkward published into a book. It will feature these blog posts PLUS some I haven't posted.

Because of this and the start of the semester, I have been unable to keep this blog updated, which I sincerely apologize for because I LOVE sharing my stories and appreciate every reader!

Please keep checking in, as I hope to continue posting blogs and soon should be back up and running. However, if weeks go on in between postings, you'll know why.

Thanks, and feel free to comment below with any questions and concerns. Or love letter. I like feeling loved.


Monday, August 8, 2016

International Interactions with Men

So I remember there was this week a few months ago when I kept having uncomfortable experiences with men one right after the other. Like, they just kept coming. Thankfully I was out of the country for these experiences, so my chances of encountering them again in my life are slim.

It all started with a sunburn.

Like anyone with pale skin, and/or a sun allergy (or the scientific name for my condition: Solar urticaria *flips hair for dramatic effect
I burn easily. And that burn does NOT turn into a tan. It just hurts, and then mocks me with the same whiteness it held before the burn. The bright side of not tanning? No farmers tan. My arms are the same shade as my stomach . . . You know . . . just in case anyone was wondering what shade of white my stomach was . . .
The other bright side of burning? The skin peeling.

Yes, I'm one of those weirdos who likes to peel off the skin from a sun burn. I think it's because peeling skin is a novelty for me because I'm overly cautious with the sun, so bad burns don't happen very often. I treasure such an event.

This one particular instance, I burned BAD. Like, really really bad. The day was cloudy so I thought, "HOORAY! NO SUN SCREEN OR LONG SLEEVES OR HAT FOR ME! FREEDOM!"
Funny thing about New Zealand cloud coverage . . . it doesn't cover you from the sun as well as, say, it does in the United States. #NoOzone


At this moment in time, I was hating my life. I quarantined myself inside and was sun-sick (meaning my skin was so hot I basically had a fever, complete with a headache, fatigue, muscle soreness, nauseated, all that fun jazz. ), my cheeks were swollen like I had just had my wisdom teeth pulled, my lips hurt, my eyes were almost swollen shut because I had BURNED MY EYELIDS (I didn't know that was possible. Learn something new everyday!), and my little legs and chest were coated in hives. It was . . . painful . . . to say the least.

Despite all this, I was mesmerized by the amount of skin that was flaking off of me. And things got REAL funky when my eyebrows and eye lids started to flake off skin.

This one time I was at church and everyone was socializing and eating refreshments in the gym after the meeting. I stepped out into the lobby area to take a phone call. Once I was finished, I noticed how much I was scratching my shoulder. Setting my phone down, I pulled the sleeve of my dress down and looked at my peeling shoulder. And boy, was it PEELING. It was every skin-peelers dream: the mother load of skin. So, I gave a little piece of skin a tug . . . and kept pulling, and pulling, and pulling. It was a never-ending train of skin.

Not gonna lie, I was a little frightened by how long this piece was getting. I was envisioning a potentially horrid scene involving blood. *shutters*

And then, it came to an end.

I stared at it in complete awe and wonder at the length of this piece of skin. I held it up high so that the light was shining on it and I could get a proper look at the masterpiece I had just made. Even Buffalo Bill would be amazed by this piece of skin.

"Woah," I said.

And as I did so, a highly attractive man walked out of the gym to see me holding my piece of pale glory high in the air.

I made eye contact with him, realized that the sleeve of my dress was still hanging way below my shoulder, felt like a Mormon prostitute, balled the skin up, and tossed it on the ground. I was trying to act casual, and I KNOW my eyes held an emotion that read: "Nope I'm totally guilty and yes, you DID see what you thought you saw."

The man looked at me a second longer, then walked off. I pulled my sleeve back over my shoulder, ran to the crowded gymnasium and began to hide myself, being determined that I would NOT be seen by him again . . . even if I was one of nine white people in the crowded room and the only redhead there.

So, this next instance ALSO happened the same day at church.

Now, this was a bad day for me. Church was over, and I was just overwhelmed, frustrated, and finished with the crap taking place that day. Grumpily, I plopped down on a chair in the main lobby area while I waited till we were supposed to go, trying to entertain myself until then.

That's when good ol' chipper Wesley sat by me.

(We're calling him Wesley because I can't remember his name. And, well, this gif of Liz's brief boyfriend Wesley describes this guy perfectly:


So Wesley plops himself down all fancy and comfy and I'm like, ".....Hey?"

"HEY!" and he went on into thee LONGEST slew of words in this history of words. To be frank, I can't remember anything he said, only that it was bizarre and I couldn't even understand half of them because the dude had a New Zealand accent and throughout the trip my ability to decipher their accents was pretty . . . iffy I guess you could say.

Now I probably wouldn't give this guy the time of day, except that he looked like Kylo Ren . . . who I am strangely (and somewhat shamefully) attracted to.

Who's Kylo Ren, you may ask? He's this guy from the latest Star Wars:

"...Wait, Carmen, you're attracted to him?!"

I know, I know. Again, strangely (and shamefully).

As I mentioned earlier, I'm disappointed to tell you that I don't remember anything he said to me, only that he told me meaningless jokes I didn't understand and gave sympathetic laughs to, and that he talked a million miles per hour about himself.

I'm not entirely sure if he even asked my name, actually.

Finally, at the end of the conversation, he handed me his business card and said, "Do you have a New Zealand number?"

"Yeah," I said. This was one of maybe five words spoken in our 10 to 15 minute conversation.

"Great. Give me a call or a text sometime," he said. "Do you need a ride?"

"Yea—n—Wait . . . to . . . where?" I asked.


"Oh — uh — no. I'm good. I'll just . . . um . . . wait for my group. Yes. Thank you. Yup."

He walked off (still talking to me) and I continued to give him sympathetic laughs, willing him to leave.

I plopped back down in my chair and began texting some of my friends who were in choir practice about what had just happened. Soon after practice, a small group of my friends asked me which one he was.

I looked at the business card to remember his name and said, "Uh . . . Wesley?"

"I HATE THAT GUY!" said two of my friends almost in unison, and my other two friends nodded in agreement.

"He's SO mean! He insulted EVERYTHING I liked after I told him I liked it, and basically said I was stupid!"

"He didn't do that with me," I justified, and then remembered that I didn't really SPEAK.

"He's a weird guy," said another friend. "Like, I think he means well. He just struggles socially, I think."

"Well, that makes two of us," I said, giving a big ol' cheesy smile.

"So, I shouldn't call him?" I asked.

"Well, I mean it might be fine if you just wanna kiss someone while being in New Zealand."

"Hey, that's true!" I said.

. . . . or maybe not.

I never did call him. Probably broke his heart so much, he had to block me out of his memory, and that's why he didn't even recognize me the next Sunday.

Sorry, little guy.

The last story took place later in the week.

I was walking down the street to go grab some grub (dinner. I'm tryin to be hip with the lingo). It was in the heart of Auckland, so it was always pretty busy, and this evening was no exception.

Here. Enjoy this screen shot from google maps to visualize it. #ILoveTechnology

So I'm struttin' my stuff down the street in my big, floppy hat, massive sunglasses, sun gloves, long maxi skirt, and a layer of sunscreen making my skin all shiny and reflective when I hear, "Carmen!"

I ignore it. There's no way someone would recognize me in this city, and I probably misheard it anyway.


. . . Wait what?

I turn around.

. . . was someone really calling my name? NOBODY shares my name.

I walked slowly and kept hearing the calls as I went. I saw a car at a stop light with two guys hanging out the window yelling and waving.

I looked around me, and didn't SEE anyone else reacting . . . and I could be missing someone. I didn't recognize these guys in the slightest in the slightest.

Were they from the church congregation? How did these guys know me?

I pointed at myself and said, "Me?" even though I could barely hear myself say it. There was no way they heard it, too.

They kept yelling undecipherable things.

I stood there and stared at them, and finally said, " . . . What?!"


". . . Sorry — what?!"


I ran up to the car and said, "Uh . . . hey guys!! How are you? I didn't recognize you!"

I still didn't.

They stared at me.

"What'd you say?" I asked them.

They pointed in a general direction and said words I couldn't understand at all.

"You . . . want me to go over there?"

More pointing and blabbering. I was pretty confident at this point that they weren't speaking English.

"Uh . . . got it. I'll meet you guys there! Yeah? Okay!"

And I scurried back to where I thought they were pointing. I stood there for probably 45 seconds, pretending to be busy on my phone and came to the following conclusions:

I'm now pretty confident they were NOT yelling Carmen. The pointing thing? I think they pointing at someone else and trying to tell me they were talking to them. Maybe.

The other possible solution is that they were cat calling me and I was unaware of it, and then when I approached them, my beauty stunned them so much that they forgot how to speak English.

Yup. That's it.

And so I put my phone away, took off my large hat, and ducked into the crowd, once again determined to blend right back into the crowd so that those guys couldn't find me on the slight chance they recognized me.

I guess this can be a lesson to us all:

We cannot run away from our problems - we only run into different problems.

The same applies with awkward moments.

We cannot run away from awkward moments - we only run into different awkward moments.

If I had a beard, you can bet I'd be stroking it right now.

Good awkward to you, my friend.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Orange Shirt Guy

Here's something I learned from my travels:

If there's not a picture of the place online, it's because it's sketchy and they don't want you to know the truth.

The hotel we stayed at in Dunedin, NZ? It falls into this category.

Now before we dive right into this experience, let's back up a little.

When I went with a large group of students to NZ, we spent the first six weeks in Auckland.

Here, we had our own rooms located in the heart one of the greatest cities I've been to. We had Wifi that would occasionally log us off so we'd have to put in the password again, and we would complain about it. We had one tiny fridge that fit barely any of our food. We'd complain about it. There was no A/C. We complained about it.

Oh, how innocent we were.

At the end of the six weeks, we moved to the southern part of New Zealand to Dunedin. And I mean south.

I mean, look how close NZ is to Antartica. Look at it!

It's close. And it's cold.

So anyway.

We woke up at probably around 3ish a.m.? I can't remember - all I remember is it was TOO early to function, and I hadn't gotten to bed till midnight, so I was one cranky, little redhead.

It was chaos loading everything onto the bus. We had to drag two large suitcases and one carrying bag up a steep, steep, STEEP hill.

Here, allow me to show you, thanks to google street view.

See the bottom of the hill? Now find the SECOND bottom of the hill. Found it? Yup. All of us had to hike up that with two large suitcases and a backpack/purse.

I was hating my life.

I dragged up suitcases with a backpack slung over my shoulders. Thanks to the heaviness of my backpack, the steepness of the hill, and the angle I was holding my suitcases at, I couldn't feel my arms or fingers - and I wasn't even halfway up the hill.

One of my three water bottles (I loose water bottles like a champ, so I just kept a bunch of cheap plastic ones on me at all times) fell out of the side of my backpack and roll down to the very, very bottom of the hill.

I stared at it and pathetically said, "Noooo."

"You have to leave it behind! Go on without it!" yelled one of my friends who was also struggling to drag up his suitcases, as he had grabbed an extra one to help out.

By the time I reached the top, I was sweating profusely, and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't seem to catch my breath.

Everyone else seemed to be in the same shape as I was.

We were already behind schedule as we all loaded the bus. From this moment to getting to our hotel in Dunedin, this is all that took place:

-My friend lost her phone and threw up multiple times
-My sweet, sweet professor didn't take into account that there were 26 of us who had to check TWO bags before getting on the flight.
-This left us literally running to our terminal right as they were seating people, and being the last ones to board.
-I didn't sleep a wink
-We got to the airport starving, and had to wait at LEAST an hour for our bus to come pick us up.
- I realized I left two of my water bottles in Auckland, and the other one slid to it's death.
-It was pouring rain.

By the time we pulled up to our hotel, everyone was tired, hungry, exhausted, and . . . well at least I was cranky.

We were all looking out the window to get a glimpse of our new home, when one girl said one thing that altered ALL of our views of the place.

"It looks like an orphanage!" she yelled.

And. It. Did.

Suddenly "a hard knock life" was running through my head.

Everyone laughed and started yelling various comments in agreement. I tried to keep a positive attitude about it, but let's be real here. I was going off of just a few hours of sleep, so everything was just obnoxious in my eyes.

We were dumped off to wait for our rooms to be ready in the dimly lit dining area that looked like it hadn't been renovated since the 1800's. Even the tables looked original.


(these pictures are courteous of the hotel's website, so naturally it looks MUCH brighter and better than it was. The exposure has to be SO high on this.)

You know what it reminded me of?

A VERY classy version of this room in Oliver Twist.

At the end of the dining hall was the entrance to the backpackers room: the room the students would be staying in for the next ten days (or 14? I think 10. I don't remember honestly.)

. . . . yeah the exposure was definitely brought up on this.

Okay so see that arch? See how it's all "open?"

Bull crap. It was filled with the most random junk. Like, chairs and stuff.

Oh and that brown door? See that brown door? You know what was above it that ISN'T pictured here? A painting of a woman's face that looked like a tree trunk . . . and she had blue hair.

". . . this place is haunted," someone said.

This is where I would meet my death. I was sure of it.

Two hours later, our rooms were finally ready.

I was with a group of eight girls. I chose for us to stay in "door number one."

Bad. BAD. Decision. I mean, the other room wasn't great either, but holy crap.

I felt like . . . guys I can't describe to you what this was like. DIS.GUS.TING.

And NATURALLY the website doesn't picture the hell hole that is hidden in the back of the hotel.

Here - maybe this video will do it justice:

So, yeah. We found ourselves living in a haunted orphanage with a fridge that sounded exactly like a jack hammer, a community bathroom, and drug dealers for neighbors.

Us, and the professor whose family's room had mold growing in it were not very happy. The professor who had the newly remodeled room? He couldn't care less. And we rarely saw him anyway.

Psh. I don't respect people who act 14 when they're in their late 50's.

Wow okay, sorry. Sassy Carmen just broke out of her control room. Let's get back to the story.

Within a few days, I had adjusted to my newfound reality of being an orphan, sleeping in what looked like an over-sized closet turned into a jail cell with a door and window that didn't lock properly, and WiFi that only worked for about 20 minutes once every 4 hours (even though they said it should work for one full hour every four hours), and actually started do enjoy being in the town despite the chaos around me.

The drug dealers turned out to be super kind and chill, and we became friends with them. We'd swap stories, share meals next to the jack-hammer fridge, and share a mirror while brushing our teeth in the community bathroom.

Probably four days after we moved in, they moved out and were replaced with the man we dubbed the one and only . . . Orange Shirt Guy.

Orange shirt guy got his name because he wore the same BRIGHT, BLINDING, BRIGHTER THAN A CONSTRUCTION CONE, ORANGE SHIRT (Caps lock emphasizes how bright it was) every. Single. Day.

Orange Shirt Guy first approached me in the evening while I was sitting at the table in the Oliver Twist room, right before our class had scripture study. We shook hands and he sat across from me as I was busy doing . . . something. I don't know what. Doesn't matter. I asked where he was from and he told me Alaska, and was born in Pennsylvania. I told him that I lived for a while in upstate New York, and he asked why. When I told him it was for a religious mission, he said, "What religion?"

"Church of Jesus Christ of--"

"So you're Mormon."

Oh boy. I knew where this was going. His tone and eyes said it all.

"Yes," I said.

He gave a long sigh, and began doing my very favorite activity: explaining to me why my beliefs are wrong, bad, and what I ACTUALLY believe.

As you've been able to tell from my previous posts, this really irks me . . . and happens a freakish amount in my life. But anyway. I politely said that we all have different beliefs, and that that's okay, and I'm sure we could find a common ground.

But he wasn't having that. He then began to say things that didn't make much sense, like . . . at all. I sat there, only half listening to what I "actually believe" because his sentences weren't complete or made any logical sense at all. I began to wonder if he was drunk, but there were no other signs that he was.

Finally he said something about New York and I jumped back in and said, "SO YEAH I LIVED THERE AND ONE TIME I DROVE THROUGH PENNSYLVANIA WHILE I WAS THERE HOW FUNNY IS THAT!"

My friend came to my rescue at that time and grabbed me. I said goodbye, he went off about the Mormon church, and (my personal favorite) said, "Hey - don't talk to my friend I came with. He's like, super horny and is just here to have sex with girls. He'll say the same thing about me, but really it's all him."

"Uh huuuuh . . . kthanksnicetomeetyoubye!"

 and I sat down at the table where we were having scripture study.

"He got in an argument with one of us earlier over the same thing.  He's not all there," my friend said.

"Yeah, that makes sense," I said.

After scripture study, I did NOT want to take a shower in the community bathroom, so I used a private shower in one of the hotel rooms.

On my way back, I walked back to my room with my wet hair, T shirt, no bra, basketball shorts . . . right past Orange Shirt guy, who abruptly winked at me and said, "Hey beautiful."

After running into my room, climbing on top of my jail cell bed, I camped out there and was determined NOT to leave the room, because Orange Shirt Guy was camping out in the hallway and pacing back and forth.

No where was safe.

And that's when I realized . . . I had to brush my teeth.

So what did I do?

I climbed out the window,

ran to the front of the orphanage - I mean hotel -

and used the public woman's restroom in the lobby of the hotel to brush my teeth. After doing so, I ran back to my bedroom window, and climbed back through.

(This is why I don't want bathrooms to combine genders. The female restroom is my escape from men . . . specifically men like Orange Shirt Guy.)

Now. Orange Shirt Guy took camp in the kitchen with the jack-hammer fridge, when my friend (who we will call Jason, though that is not his name) walked in there and struck up a conversation with Orange Shirt Guy.


The following are messages I sent to my friend, mostly to keep myself updated of what the heck was going on with Orange Shirt Guy:


Drug Dealers moved out and was replaced by an anti-Mormon
He keeps hitting on us
This includes him talking to us, insulting the church, prefacing that he doesn't drink while driving, and talking about how horny he and his friends are. 
Later he winked at me on my way back from the shower. And called me beautiful.
My hair was wet and I was in a T shirt and basketball shorts. There was NO way I looked good.
I then had to brush my teeth, but the thought of me sharing a sink with him scared me to the point of where I climbed out our window and ran to the entrance to use a different bathroom. 
I can't be sure, but I think I prefer the drug dealers. 

At this point, one of my friends came into the room.

"Did you see Jason is talking to Orange Shirt Guy? He just told me he was here to have sex with girls!" she said.

He has now told us he is here to have sex with girls. 
Based on various actions, we are all about 70 percent sure that he has some sort of mental disorder. 

Another friend came in.

"Guys, I was outside in the dining room, and you know how that door leading here has a window in it? His friend stood by that window, started doing some sort of body roll, and began unbuttoning his shirt!"

"I think his friend is high. Earlier I saw him just staring at the door laughing."


His friend belly danced for a girl here. 
And then he unbuttoned his shirt while doing here.

Thanks to our paper-thin walls and door, we all quietly sat and listened to Jason's conversation with Orange Shirt Guy.


We are now all listening to this guy talk and wondering to ourselves how we got into this situation. 
He just said, "Jesus was crucified on a tree FIRST . . . and the tree had NO BIRDS NESTS." 

A friend walked into the room.

"Guys - Orange Shirt Guy's friend just DOWSED himself in ax cologne and he was like, laughing uncontrollably to himself. It seriously smells like a middle school gym out there."

"Yeah we think that guy's high."


His friend doused himself in ax while laughing hysterically. As we speak, we can now smell it as it seeps slowly into our room. 

"Oh, that smells AWFUL." said one of my friends, burying her face in a pillow.

A friend walked into the room.

"Guys. Guess what Orange Shirt Guy's friend was doing."


My friend has now stumbled upon the belly-dancing guy leaning against one of the bathroom stalls door. Just leaning there, not doing anything. 

We were then all quiet as we continued to pick up pieces of Orange Shirt Guy's conversations.


"If you work for Jesus, can they steal from you? No. I work for Jesus, and do I let people steal from me? No. I don't." 

"You know how God manifested himself to me? He manifested himself to me by giving my friend breast cancer."


"I own 20 guns."

"Oh, dear goodness," I said. "He's the last person I want to own a gun. Let alone 20."

"I wouldn't worry about it. Half the thing the guy says doesn't make sense."

We listened once again. We heard Jason say, "Yeah" like a New Zealander (which drove all of us nuts), to which Orange Shirt guy responded saying, "What's with the accent, man? How long have you been here?"

We all had to cover our mouths to stop ourselves from laughing out loud.

We kept listening, when Orange Shirt Guy began bashing the church once again. Before he could get his whole response out, someone opened the jack-hammer fridge, filling the room with nothing but the sound of a construction sight.

"A hero we didn't expect," said one of my friends.

At this point, a girl in our room pushed herself off her bed and walked into the bathroom. A few minutes later, we hear Jason yell:


"Hey, I have some files I want to show you later," said Orange Shirt Guy. "Some videos and stuff. I want to show them to you later, okay?"


They returned to our room, and Jason slammed the door shut behind him, resting his back against it.

"That. Dude. Is. CRAZY. I don't know HOW he's allowed to leave the country on his own. HE'S INSANE. THERE HAS TO BE SOMETHING MENTALLY WRONG WITH HIM."

He stayed a few moments as we filled him in on everything we saw his friend do, and determined that we would now have to enable the buddy system when going anywhere in the hotel.

Two girls accompanied Jason back to his room as he swung the door open  yelling, "So there I am, two dead bicyclists, all my fault-."

And the door closed as we filled our room with laughter.

The next day came and we informed our professor who stayed in the moldy room of the events. He told us to make sure to always have a buddy when going anywhere in the haunted hotel, and to avoid using the community bathroom at all costs (which we were already under direction to do).

Later that day, we returned to the hotel after being out for a while. We were almost at the dining room area, when I heard:

"Heyyyy Carmeeeeeennnn," in a flirtatious voice.

I stopped and looked over my shoulder to see Orange Shirt Guy sitting on a couch the same orange shirt.

Why, oh why, did he remember my name?! Why did I even tell it to him?

I turned back around an said shyly, ". . .Hey."

"THAT'S ALL I GET?!" he hissed angrily.


We walked through the dining hall, where High Guy sat at the piano playing the same tune over, and over, and over again.

I didn't really register it, until I walked into my room where one of my friends was already sitting on her bed.

"Ugh, I'm gonna KILL that guy. He seriously wont stop playing that stupid tune! He's been playing it for FOREVER!"

"What song is it anyway?" I asked.


Orange Shirt Guy's weird friend is playing the same tune on the piano over, and over, and over again. 
I've never heard the song before, but according to my roommates, the lyrics say, "So let us get drunk, so let us have fun, so let us go out and roam free." It seems pretty fitting for this whole situation.

Later that day, Orange Shirt Guy came up to every single one of us asking where Jason was. Well we knew better than to send Orange Shirt Guy Jason's way, so we kept saying we weren't sure. Cause in reality, the majority of us weren't . . . 100 percent sure . . . where he was . . . maybe just like, 98 percent sure.

Though this didn't work out real well. He chewed out a lot of us for lying.

We kept Jason updated through texts where Orange Shirt Guy was and that he was looking for him. Jason pulled a me, and climbed out the window of his room to go brush his teeth or just leave the hotel in general.

So instead of tracking down Jason, he presented US with what he wanted to show Jason - more Anti-Mormon material. Just what EVERY member likes to see and hear. Cause who doesn't like being chewed out for something they hold sacred?

We were grateful when the day came that Orange Shirt Guy and High Guy left. Finally, we were free!!

. . . . until some friends saw him outside a bar NOT wearing an orange shirt, and he recognized them, and proceeded to present them with more anti-Mormon material which drove one of my friends to tears.

Needless to say, he was not missed. At all.

I learned a lot from this experience: 


Especially if that guy wears the same orange shirt for at least 3 days in a row. 

Sometimes, It's okay to be rude. 

There is great power in running away and avoiding situations, and I excel at it. 

Everything truly does make a good story later. 

Have an awkward day everyone, and if anyone disrespects you, run away. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Diving into an Awkward Situation

I'm one of those weirdos that loves heights.

(Ellen Huish took that picture cause she's a rock star.)

I don't know why, but I get this thrill from standing on the edge of a cliff, building, or bridge. It's like, I'd love to leap off of it if I knew that wouldn't lead to my untimely death.


So most my life, I've just pushed my limits and have gotten as close to the edge as I could without risking my life.

Now because of this weird obsession of mine, I have always wanted to go skydiving. Jumping safely from an insanely high height? Dream come true!

So after months (seriously, months) of searching for a friend to come with me, I was more than thrilled when a friend asked ME if I wanted to do it. Instantly I agreed, and we set up a time to go.

After both of us almost backed out without telling the other, we found ourselves driving down to Nephi, UT (AKA: The middle of nowhere) for our skydiving adventure.

The whole drive down, I found myself feeling the exact same way as I felt on my way to the Missionary Training Center; thrilled, excited, and absolutely terrified while wondering what the heck I was doing and why I even chose to do it in the first place.

. . . . how on earth is it that the feelings surrounding an LDS mission are comparable to jumping out of a blasted airplane?


So, my friend and I made reservations with a company in central Utah to go skydiving.

First of all, I knew there had probably been fatalities in skydiving, but I had never heard of that happening . . . until I signed up to go skydiving.

I had this EXACT conversation FOUR times with FOUR different people:

"You're going skydiving?"
"Yeah! I'm super pumped!"
"I know (insert someone here of some relation or a person of a person) who went skydiving and their parachute didn't come out!"
"Did they die?"
"....their parachute had to have come out then, because you don't just fall from that distance with no parachute and live."

Let this be a lesson to your all: when your friend is doing something, don't tell them the life threatening situations you've heard of. (You're pregnant? My cousin died from giving birth! You're going to Africa? My friend died there!)
You get the point.

Anywho. Where were we?

Oh yes. Central Utah.

For all my friends not familiar with the geography of Utah, allow me to give you a brief introduction:

This, is Salt Lake City, which is the northern part of Utah:

Oooh, yay, buildings, city, trees, mountains, yay!! 

The more north you go, it's more of that plus more snow and residential areas. But that doesn't matter. 

Here's southern Utah, which is most popular amongst the adventurous:


Ooh, red rocks, mountains, national parks, pretty things, yaaayyy!

And then, here's central Utah:

Nothing. Well, I mean there's sagebrush. And dirt. And hills. So, yeah. Basically nothing.

So, we drove through a whole lot of THIS, to get to our skydiving location. As we got closer to the destination, there was nothing but fields were in sight. Just as I pulled out my phone to double check the address, my friend stopped in front of what looked like an oversized garage.

"Is this it?" I asked, and looked over to see a big, red sign hanging from the "garage" saying: Skydive the Wasatch.

I looked at it and said, ". . .This is so ghetto. We're going to die. We . . . are going . . . to die."

Note: from this point on, the pictures gradually get more and more embarrassing.

We parked in a dirt parking lot and got out of a car, where an adorable dog greeted us and showed us the entrance to the "garage." The walk from the car to inside I got a horrendous vision of getting a parachute duck tapped to my waste and being thrown from the airplane and promptly dying.

I didn't even get to tell my parents I was doing this! That's gonna be a terrible phone call for them!

Relief filled me an an audible "oh" came out of my mouth as I walked in to see a nicely set up area with snacks, a fridge, some old couches, a bucket labeled "puke bucket: put anything you puked on here," an office area, shirts, set up area for jumpers, various balls that the friendly little dog was playing with, and a platform to watch skydivers. Nervousness left me . . . but only for a brief moment. It returned when I found myself almost literally signing my life away, as I had to initial lines that said things like "Incase of injury or DEATH I understand I cannot sue the company."

And each time, DEATH was capitalized.

As I signed my life away, a large family came to skydive, including a grandpa who had to be around 70.

"Don't worry everyone," he yelled at the large family. "I brought the DEPENDS!"

He lifted up a large bag of adult diapers while cracking up, and the family joined in the laughter, including my friend and I.

The family roamed around looking around the room, while grandpa sat down next to me with his depends, signing the same papers I was.

"Whoo. Look at that airplane," said one of the daughters of the grandpa. "I think I'll want to jump out of that when the time comes."

I snickered to myself and continued to sign the document, that had rid myself of all good feelings and replaced them with "oh yeah, I'm going to die, and it's not going to be anyone's fault but my own!"

Thanks to said family of ten cutting in front of me and my friend in line, we got delayed 2 hours. Yes, my friends. Two hours in tiny Nephi. Thankfully, we got Wendy's to kill some time. You're probably wondering what this family looked like. Some looked like this:

Wait, Carmen, how did you get that?

I purchased pictures to go with my skydive. I got all my pictures . . . plus theirs on accident. I'm not complaining.

I like to consider this "sweet revenge" even though this is technically the end of my "revenge."

I wish I had pictures of Grandpa jumping. Seriously, that guy was my FAVORITE. Loved him.


Two hours later, my friend and I were introduced to our instructors. I was no longer nervous to jump - I was eager, and almost impatient. Two hours was way too long to wait for a skydive (thankfully we got free T shirts because of our wait). Now the thing I was worrying about most was being strapped up to a stranger and having to make conversation with them as we plummeted towards the ground.

My instructor was a nice little fellow who asked the casual get-to-know-you questions as he strapped me into my gear. He was also probably about 3 inches shorter than me.

Boy did I look hot.

I should make this a fashion trend.

Knowing my instructor and I would get to know each other a little too well this hour, I glanced at his left hand and was relieved to see he had a wedding ring. I don't know WHY exactly, but that made him way less creepy in my eyes.

"Okay guys. Who's going first?"

I raised my hand, and they told my friend and her instructor would get into the airplane first, followed by my instructor, and me last.

"Let's head to the plane."

I literally had no idea how to walk in this weird . . . rope thing that seemed to be imitating some sort of bad swimsuit. Not to mention it was gripping my crotch area so tightly I now have a bruise there.

The four of us climbed into this small, propeller airplane. It only had one seat, which was for the pilot. The door slid up as opposed to out, and the inside looked exactly like the inside of a tin can, only with a cushioned floor. 

I took my seat in front of my instructor, and he closed the door to the side of us. Minutes later, we took off. 

Have you ever walked past a construction sight where there's a jack hammer going off and you can't hear a thing? Or have you ever been in a sketchy hostel with a fridge that sounds just like a jack hammer whenever you open it up, so you avoid opening it and let your food rot in there instead? 

Well that's exactly how loud this plane was. I couldn't hear a thing, so my friend and I communicated mostly through raised eyebrows, head nods, and mouthing words.

I watched as we went higher and higher into the sky, and the scenery got more and more beautiful. We were so close to the mountains! I could see the top of them, and saw that they were covered in trees and slightly red dirt!

And then, the wind grew stronger. The plane started to move up and down and side to side. And I registered I was sitting backwards.

I began to feel light headed and dizzy. My stomach was churning. Curse you, Wendy's fries.

It was bearable right now. Maybe I could make myself feel better.

 I tried closing my eyes, but that just made things worse. So, I looked out the window and tried to distract myself with the beautiful scenery.

The puke bucket I saw earlier started to make a lot more sense now. Scenery is a lot less pretty when it seems to be shaking. 

Minutes dragged by, and I found myself looking out the window thinking, "Are we high enough yet? How about now?"

And it wasn't because of anticipation. Oh, no. It was because I wanted my stomach to go back where it belonged and stop showing up in my throat. 

I looked around the airplane, not sure if it was good to look out the window anyway. I stared at the door and saw a screw rattling. 

Oh, I'm sure that's safe.

I turned my head back to the window, and saw two other screws rattling.

You've got to be kidding me. Am I in danger here?

I could feel myself heating up. Yes, the plane was hot, but this was the kind of heat that I only experienced in times of severe motion sickness - it's like I'm heating up from the inside out.

Guys, I can't even begin to describe to you how awful I felt in this moment. I was shaking, sweating, and my stomach felt like it was turning into slime and sliding back up my throat. I felt terrible. I began to pray that I would NOT puke, and that I would feel better.

I focused on my feet, my mouth draping open like a dogs would.

"Alright, it's time to get buckled up. Sit on my lap," said my instructor.

I think this was the first time I have ever complied to a male demanding that. The other time was Santa Clause.

I scooted back and sat on his lap as he began to strap us together.

Dude, I'm sitting on your goodies. This canNOT be comfortable for you. I thought, but let's be real here. If this was the best way to insure my safety and get me off of Satan's plane, I didn't care . . . that much.

He finished, and I scooted off his lap so that we were now spooning while sitting up.

"Alright, here's what's going to happen," he said into my ear as I focused on not puking. "I'm going to open that door and put my foot on the step. You're going to put both feet on the step, and I'm going to push us off. We're going to do a black flip off the plane, so make sure your legs bend pack into your butt, and your head goes back, okay?"

"Got it," I said as I prayed, and prayed, and prayed, and PRAYED to God that I wouldn't throw up.

"If you keep your eyes open during the back flip, you can see the plane. It's my favorite part. Are you ready to skydive?" he asked.

"Yes!" I said, and I was. I was ready to finally jump from an insanely high height and not have to worry about dying, and I was PUMPED to get off the plane. I was relating so much to the woman I heard earlier - I was ready to jump out of this plane just because of how I felt, and how sketchy it was.

Funny thing about motion sickness, though, jumping off an airplane doesn't help it go away.

My instructor opened the door, and wind rushed into my ears. He maneuvered and put his left foot out onto the step, and I followed with my two feet.

Before I could even register what was going on, we had launched off the step and into nothingness.

(I told you - the pictures get less and less flattering as the post goes on.)

I kept my eyes open for the back flip (which, honestly, it didn't feel like we were flipping at all. It just felt like . . . I don't even know. Nothing.) and saw the silhouette of the plane. The guy was right - it was pretty cool.

And then, we were flying. Well, technically falling.

I wish I could describe to you how it felt but, in the words of my dear friend Princess Jasmine, it was truly an indescribable feeling.

He tapped my hands, which he told me he would do when he needed me to let go of the straps on my harness. I did so, and he stretched my arms out like a bird.

I could hear him cheering as we fell. I opened my mouth and did what I THOUGHT was cheering, but the wind was rushing SO quickly in my face I couldn't hear, and really whenever I opened my mouth so much air POURED into me that I forgot how to exhale momentarily.

Again. Weirdest sensation ever. It did not feel AT ALL like I was falling. I was just . . . I don't know. Flying? Floating? Not plummeting towards the beautiful mountains and fields below me to my death.

Then, my entire body JERKED up.

He had released the parachute.

And my entire stomach churned once again. 

We had slowed down, and were now floating gracefully through the air, and he had me hold onto the straps of the parachute.

I was happy. I was thrilled. I was skydiving. And my entire body was shaking and sweating - and not from nerves or excitement. This was pure motion sickness. As a pair of elders on my mission, passengers on an insanely bumpy airplane ride, and friends with me on a car ride on a winding road through a forest can tell you: when my motion sickness gets severe, I puke. And this? This was the exact same feeling I always experience right before I puke my guts out.

I found myself praying, and praying, and praying, almost YELLING to God, "NO. I WILL NOT THROW UP ON MY FIRST TIME SKYDIVING!"

I'm pretty sure he sent a little guardian angel to pat me on the head and say, "There, there, Carmen. You'll be just fine."

"How are you feeling?" my instructor asked.

"Great! And a little motion sick!"

'A little' was certainly an understatement. Maybe I thought I could trick my body into feeling better if I pretended it wasn't there. And lying to the instructor would TOTALLY help my stomach feel completely better.

He began to give me clear instructions for when we landed. I listened intently while I stared at the mountains, the fields that made the ground look like a giant, green quilt, your grandmother would give you for your birthday, and most importantly — I focused on not throwing up.

My body began to dry heave heavily.


"How are you feeling?"

"Okay. Just sick."

"Let me know if you start feeling worse," he said.

"I will," I said.

Psh. I wouldn't. If I admitted defeat, my body threw up. If I kept psychologically convincing myself I was okay? I would be okay.

Funny. It didn't seem to work.

My instructor pointed out some locations, including a train that was buzzing by. I looked at them, tried to comment on how pretty everything was from up here . . . but I was so focused on not puking.

"Are you okay?" he asked as I started to dry heave for the umpteenth time.

All I could do was pathetically shake my head no. I feared vomit may come out of my mouth if I dared open it. I could feel it creeping up my throat and I willed it to go away.

"If you're going to throw up, raise your arm up and do it under your right shoulder, okay?"

I nodded, and followed his instructions. I leaned to my right and turned my head, and he leaned WAAAAYYYY over in the opposite direction.

I felt bile come up into my mouth, and once again I refused to open my mouth. Not today, not today.

There was throw up in my mouth. I thought about spitting it out, but I feared more would follow if I did.

So. I swallowed it. 

Like a weird sicko. 

"We're almost down," said my instructor, to which I didn't respond.

I made sure the last few moments in the air were worth it, even if my legs were shaking in their little harness and begging for ground to rest on.

"Okay, here's the landing. Do you remember what to do?"

"Legs out together and straight," I said.

"Good. Now, it gets pretty fast when we land. Keep your legs out."

This is how I felt about speeding up, when I was already struggling to keep my stomach down and under control:

We couldn't speed up again! I would throw up! I didn't want to throw up! And I certainly figured the instructor didn't want to be puked on either!

The ground came faster and faster, and the bile returned to my mouth. This time, I just held it in there. My whole brain had shut down and just was willing my body to reach land.

Ground . . . ground . . . ground . . . GROUND.

My feet slammed into the ground. Now, I'd see one person before me land on his feet and run it off. And I was NOT about to be a part of that life. My heels hit the ground, dug into the dirt, and my little booty and legs slid on the ground to a stop.

My instructor began unbuckling himself away from me and began to collect the parachute. I sat there for a few moments, taking in deep breaths as my body seemed to yell at my brain: HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?! WHY WOULD YOU BETRAY ME IN SUCH A WAY?! YOU PROMISED TO KEEP ME SAFE AND NOW YOU PUT ME ON A TERRIBLE AIRPLANE TO MAKE ME THROW UP?!

I swallowed the throw up again.

A little farther ahead, I saw my friend land. I stared at her, wondering if she could tell how terrible I felt.

I pushed myself up, legs still violently shaking and my body ridiculously hot from the inside out. I began fumbling with the buckles around me. I had to get out and be free. My whole body was SO weak and SO shaky, it was hard to click down on the little buckle around my chest.

"Smile!" said my instructor, sticking the GoPro in front of my face again.

And so I did.

He helped me unbuckle and told me to put the harness inside. I nodded and said, "Wait- where do I go? Where are we?"

He pointed at the garage, which was on my left and said, "There."


And I hobbled over, staring at the ground. As I lumbered into the garage I was asked a dozen times, "HOW WAS IT?"

"Great." I said. I meant it, and I'm sure how I said it wasn't convincing in the slightest.

The adventure dies down from here. I thanked my instructor and told him he did a great job, and was glad I didn't puke on him.

"I'm glad you didn't puke on me, too." he said.

I think that's the most romantic exchange I've ever had with a man.

"Has anyone ever thrown up on you?" asked my friend.

"Oh yeah. It's not . . . fun."

We grabbed our pictures, certificates saying we skydived, free T shirts, and loaded back into the car. My friend felt light headed from forgetting how to breath due to the increase wind in her face, I felt pretty sea sick the whole drive home, and we were both just wiped out.

"Did you like it?" one would ask.

"Yup. You?" the other would reply.


Three second silence.

"I'm glad we did it." one would say.

"Yup. Me too." agreed the other.

"And now we know."

"Yup. And now we know."

I spent the rest of the day watching 30 Rock and doing random things around the house, and slowly my body began to recuperate and trust my brain again.

Would I do it again? Yes.

Would I do it tomorrow?

My goal is to do it one more time, preferably in an exotic location (Hawaii, Africa, Jamaica, etc.) and HOPEFULLY not sitting backwards on a plane that can't handle wind.

Would I recommend it to you? Yes. I felt completely safe the entire time during the jump. In fact, the time I felt the lease safe was signing the document that had DEATH written all over it.

And besides, my life goal is everything is either a good experience, or a good story. And this? This is was a good experience WITH a good story.

So yup. No regrets.

Have a very happy day, and embrace the awkwardness that may befall on you.

Carmen Out.