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    • dcby

      Officially my answer is “anywhere!” Because I looove solo travel. But the country I probably had the most fun traveling alone was in El Salvador, which might surprise people because of its reputation for seeing a lot of violence. However, as a tourist this was not something I witnessed. There are way fewer tourists than in Guatemala or Costa Rica or Nicaragua, and fewer options for lodging (save for in El Tunco) but this just means that you will have lots of company at your hostel or lodge - I met a ton of people. I was there for two weeks and spent a total of $600USD after flights on hostels, busses, food, and activities. Its only a smidge poor on the beach front - El tunco is a very popular beach town but the beaches are very rocky or have black sand (super hot!!) and when I was there the water was only enjoyable for experienced surfer. But it is a fun town besides that. The beaches on the eastern end of the country around El Cuco are a lot nicer - golden beaches, gentler waves, but not very many options for accommodations. Besides that, the people were great, lots of options for other types of ecotourism, your money can really stretch depending where you’re from, and although accommodations are limited what is there is very good.

    • dcby

      Not a novel nor a children’s book, but I think the memoir Son of the Revolution by Liang Heng and Judith Shapiro was the first book that really made me cry as a kid. The whole book is devastating (it’s an account of Heng growing up during Mao’s revolution from childhood to a young adult) but the part that really killed me is when Heng and Shapiro visit the ramshackle home of Heng’s father and (I believe) step-mother, and Heng notes how they have covered the walls in newspaper in an effort to hide their poverty:  “It was touching to see how Father and Zhu Zhi-dao had covered the cracked walls of their room from ceiling to floor with copies of the Hunan Daily. They hadn’t wanted the foreigner to see their poverty, but somehow their pitiful effort to spruce things up seemed to emphasize it even more. I wept inside to see once again the wretched conditions in which it seemed Father was destined to end his days. “The room looks beautiful,” I told Father gently, kneeling beside him and taking him by the hand, but he didn’t seem to have heard me, for he was weeping with happiness.
      (…)
      “”When I think that someday you’ll go to America… you’ll learn a lot of things you cannot learn here… Everyone has forgotten your old father, but I know you won’t forget me…” He was sobbing now, and I rushed to embrace his knees. The bones were sharp beneath the thick rough cloth, and the left leg trembled. “I’ll come back, Father. And I’ll write often, every week if you like,” I said. But even as I spoke I felt I was lying. Every time I said farewell to my father it seemed as if it was for the last time.” Needless to say, it was one of the first times as a kid that I thought about my parents growing old and fragile, and it *destroyed* me!

    • dcby

      The latest Godzilla remake. The trailer was amazing and they showcased the jump scene so beautifully. But the movie itself definitely felt like a tired rehash and totally wasted Bryan Cranston. Also, American Hustle… I was so excited for it, but all of the characters were a total let-down. Especially Jennifer Lawrence - the trailer gave her a real “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” vibe but her character just ended up seeming, well, sad. They made the film seem like a party but it was kind of a drag, and I couldn’t roll my eyes hard enough at the ending.

    • dcby

      Well, first, I started working a better paying job. This isn’t necessarily an “option” for anyone, so I want to get that out of the way. It is incredibly hard to get ahead, or even on top, of anything if your pay only just covers your firm expenses. This is why I am such a big advocate for living wages.
      The other big thing I should disclose is that I received a small settlement from an accident that allowed me to wipe out my credit card debt. From there, it just became about not allowing myself to fall down the hole again.
      I know where all my money is going every two weeks. My life isn’t terribly complicated since I’m single and I’m a renter, but I have my budget memorized at this point. I pay my bills when I get paid. No forgetting to pay bills or accidentally thinking I have more money than I do.
      Put away something every month if you can spare it. I know savings aren’t all that nowadays, but it’s good to have an emergency fund and it definitely becomes a nice feeling knowing it’s there.
      Finally, acknowledge that the emotional weight we attach to our finances causes us harm. Whether that means avoiding taking a hard look at your credit card or your lack of savings or whatever because of the shame it creates, or spending because you are depressed or anxious or just not feeling great. I worked in luxury retail for several years. The greatest lesson I took from that experience is that there is no shortage of “stuff” and if you use material goods to fill an emotional pit it will never fill up. This is something I still struggle with but I’m learning. Don’t be afraid to get real with yourself…

    • dcby

      (Reposting with context since buzzfeed won’t let you edit Dropbox comments)
      I really hate that people are still trying to make Bellarke happen on the 100. Who knows, I might be eating my words next season but it drives me up the wall. Sure, in the first season I was all for it but once she got together with Lexa (still mad what they did to Lexa in season 3 btw) I was over it. Obviously Clarke and Bellamy have a very important relationship but I don’t think it’s romantic. (I was actually rooting for bellamy and echo after mount weather but then she went all ice-monster) at this point if the writers pair them up I feel like it’s just pandering.

    • dcby

      I really hate that people are still trying to make Bellarke happen on the 100. Who knows, I might be eating my words next season but it drives me up the wall. Sure, in the first season I was all for it but once she got together with Lexa (still mad, btw) I was over it. Obviously Clarke and Bellamy have a very important relationship but I don’t think it’s romantic. (I was actually rooting for bellamy and echo after mount weather but then she went all ice-monster) at this point if the writers pair them up I feel like it’s just pandering.

    • dcby

      Also… after Cristina’s miscarriage on greys when Burke climbs into bed with her after she has to be sedated. Even if their relationship was doomed, it was such a tender moment and made you really feel the love even though they were always butting heads as a couple. She also had great moments with Owen - particularly in their first season together. The whole icicle removal scene was incredible, as was the angry make-out, and when Owen tells her about his best surgery, and the vents scene… man, I loved them and I hate that the writers drove their relationship off a cliff.

    • dcby

      All Kala and Wolfy moments on sense8, basically? The actors have so much chemistry and even though they have “star-crossed lovers” written all over them I still hope they get a happy ending in the series finale/film. If I had to pick one it would be their “first meeting” in What’s Going On? When Jim finds pam’s note and the medal during The Job and comes back to ask her out just as she is about to decide to move on. Also, Holly and Michael’s engagement. Despite their mutually corny humour the moment is still beautiful and romantic.

    • dcby

      Dean (of Gilmore girls) was a good character, but the writers sabotaged his character after season 1 so they had a reason to pair Rory with Jess. A lot of people seem to support the Rory/Jess coupling because of Dean’s suckage but after rewatching the first couple of seasons there was definitely a big shift for the worst after season 1.
      Pam and Jim’s later season drama was cringeworthy. I get that no relationship should be portrayed as perfect but it was a weird shift in tone.
      Rachel should have ended up with…. no one! She and Ross had not been “on” in any significant want since they originally dated. Her growth from spoiled ex-sorority girl who had never had a job to executive for one of the biggest fashion houses in the world was probably the most significant growth that any character on the show had… I feel like if the finale had aired in 2017 she might have gotten the justice she deserved!

    • dcby

      Like other people said… people who are rude and find any excuse not to tip or to tip poorly. I still remember serving a table of about 7 friends and one of these girls just hated me and I couldn’t figure out why. The 7th friend joined them after they initially said they would be only 6, so I dutifully offered to pull a 2-top over (this was a pizza place so the food took up a lot of space on the table) to make room for her. The girl who hated me bitched me out for adding another table instead of capping it because “then our friend won’t be able to hear the conversation” (?). She was totally unpleasant the entire time, even angrily accusing me of charging her twice for the same drink when the bill came (I was very happy to inform her that one of her friends had ordered *the exact same thing*). The table split the bill between them and she tipped me so badly that I think I got less than 10% on the table even though everyone else was happy and nice and tipped decently. I also remember a customer when I was working at a host at another place. We had an autograt on tables of a certain size that was always communicated to customers when they made a reservation and noted on the menu. This woman had attempted multiple times to get us to remove the grat even before they set foot in the restaurant. When they got there, she seemed otherwise perfectly fine… until the end of the meal when she rolls up to the host stand asking if she could speak to the manager about the grat, again. We asked her if there was a problem with the service and she couldn’t say enough nice things about her server - except that “he was really busy, so he couldn’t spend as much time with my table as we would have liked”. Yep - he, like everyone else, had a full section on a busy weekend night. The manager caved, removed the grat, she tipped less than 15%, and the customer even had the gall to interrupt the server while he was with a number table to hug him. He had no idea that his tip had been annihilated until after they left.

    • dcby

      For simple memorization I swear by mnemonic devices. A lot of times this just means coming up with silly acronyms, but for more complex memorization I take to the internet to see what other people have come up with. For example, when I had to memorize Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development in psych, I used this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2HRFhMFMlg). Now, judging by the comments, this technique does NOT work for everyone, but personally despite how ridiculous the method is I memorized it extremely quickly. So, like other people have said, no method works for everyone.
      I do use flashcards a fair bit - although I don’t find it to be the most effective method sometimes it’s the only one that works (like memorizing a lot of vocabulary in language course). I’ll usually divide a batch of cards into smaller groups (5-10 cards) and work through them while separating cards I’m struggling with to do more intensive review later on.
      I also used to always ignore the chapter review questions in textbooks, but when I finally started making use of them I was kicking myself for not using them earlier! When I have to learn more complicated ideas, I definitely do best when I practice teaching or explaining it to others.

    • dcby

      Ha! These stories are terrible, although I hope they don’t put people off of hostels. I’ve always had pretty great experiences in hostels, and it’s unfortunate that a lot of the uninitiated seem to believe that hostels are dangerous or dirty. TripAdvisor has always been my number one friend in terms of finding a hostel that suits me (and in turn can give you a better idea of what sorts of behaviours will go on there, as “party hostels” are sometimes more preferred by people who will have sex in public areas or vomit all over themselves) and is well-managed. Honestly, the worst thing that I’ve experienced in a hostel was sharing a room with a girl with very poorly managed sleep apnea, and the weirdest was a bar drinking contest that involved a drink spiked with ketamine.

    • dcby

      NETWORKING. I work in non-profit human services and when I started it was next to impossible to find an “entry level” position that didn’t somehow also require 2-5 years of prior experience. When I finally got hired at my current organization, it was because a former classmate also worked there. I had applied previously and not heard anything back, but she encouraged me to send her my resume and she handed it to HR personally (when I was hired they were receiving hundreds of resumes weekly). Also, not being too picky about the position - the role i started in wasn’t my first choice but after a while I was able to apply for a position that I really wanted within the organization. I also recommend volunteering if it’s relevant to your field. I know people who really got a leg-up because on top of having the right education, they also could demonstrate they were going into their community and were passionate about the work.

    • dcby

      The thing about “Queer” is that it doesn’t just refer to people who are gay, it can be used by any individual who does not identify with heteronormative, cisgender categories. If anything, it’s a term that identifies that gender identify and sexual/romantic attraction is far more complicated that gay or straight, man or woman. In many places in the western world, people are a lot more accepting of same-sex relationships but still think that trans* people or people who reject the gender binary altogether are sick or making it up.

    • dcby

      Sorry, but yes, they can. If your race, gender, sexuality, etc etc are treated with more respect and considered the “default” or the “norm”, then your perception of the world is going to be different. You are going to make assumptions and generalizations that may be very untrue for a lot of people. For example, a lot of white New Yorkers assume(d) that Stop and Frisk was no big deal, since most targets of S&F are black or hispanic. This isn’t to say that they didn’t care that black or hispanic people were being singled out, but if you don’t experience something like that on a regular basis, it’s not going to seem like a big deal unless you practice empathy. So the opinion of white New Yorkers who didn’t think that stop and frisk is an invasive, demoralizing, and traumatizing policy really had no place making that call because they generally were able to go about their day without getting bothered by cops. Privilege isn’t a “yes” or “no” thing. You can have certain aspects of your life that give you privilege in some situations and certain aspects that take it away.

    • dcby

      “She came from the shower wrapped in a towel and she sat on the bed and took his hand and looked down at him. I cannot do what you ask, she said. I love you. But I cannot. He saw very clearly how all his life led only to this moment and all after led nowhere at all. He felt something cold and soulless enter him like another being and he imagined that it smiled malignly and he had no reason to believe that it would ever leave.”
      -Cormac McCarthy, from All the Pretty Horses. First time I read it it just murdered me. :(

    • dcby

      We don’t talk about it because of hypocrisy, and because it doesn’t fit in with the western rhetoric about terrorism. People want to keep believing white people good, brown people bad. Clearly these people weren’t even Muslims (and even then, I do not buy into the Islamophobic climate in the west) but since any Sikh man wearing a turban is game for hate crimes by any vigilante ignoramus, I shouldn’t be surprised. People will continue to use 9/11 and the Boston bombings as a reason to outlaw Islam, deport Muslim immigrants and blow up the Middle East, but events like this? Oh, he’s just crazy. Let’s move on. We don’t need to talk about prejudice.

    • dcby

      I sincerely hope you’re joking. Men are not “controlled by women”. they are the bosses of themselves. Do you learn everything about relationships from King of Queens or something? Only 40% of senior management positions are held by women (and around 4% of Fortune 500 execs); 71% of women in the military have been raped or sexually assaulted; 3.5 times more women than men were murdered by their partners in 2005, and women are more likely to be made victims of domestic violence. Please tell me again how men have “no control” over their lives. Clearly when people think it’s funny to trivialize rape and the continued subjugation of women in professional capacities, women are not the boss of men.

    • dcby

      Whatever - she sounds like any other old person complaining about how the music is too loud and the skirts are too short, etc etc, we just elevate her opinion because she’s skilled at convincing wealthy insecure people to part with their money for things they don’t need. And #3 is stupid. I like style, and I like fashion, but I don’t think that this CULTURAL activity that arose from extreme wealth and boredom is some measure of femininity or right to identify as a woman. Give me a break.

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