That Time When a Stranger Gave Me Money for a Boobjob

It was the last night of a long trip in Europe. The final destination was Dublin, Ireland. To start our evening, two friends and I headed to the Jameson Factory. We were planning on taking a tour through the factory; however, all of the tours were booked by the time that we arrived. Little did we know, this minor disappointment turned out to be the factor that started our night of a lifetime.

Bummed out, we decided to at least grab a drink at the bar before leaving. They had delicious and fresh whiskey drinks. Boone drank a whiskey straight up while Katy and I both ordered a drink that involved lemon, thyme syrup, orange peel, and honey.

Our attitudes were all the same, let’s drink these and go home.

To top off our disappointing night, there were no more tables available. After noticing us looking very tired and lost, a very kind man offered for us to sit with him. The three of us were always trying to meet new people during our trip, so we didn’t even hesitate to sit and get to know him. As I sat down, I couldn’t help but notice that there were seven or so empty drinks already on the table. So, either this guy had friends that already left, sat at a used table, or he was already very drunk.

He was hammered.

For the next three hours, Katy and I sat in humiliation. This man was an extreme pervert and with every drink he lost the little social filter he already had.

At first, his jokes were funny. He poked fun at himself, complaining in detail about his sex life at home (or the lack of one). He showed us pictures of his dogs and wife. Then, he dropped a bombshell on us.

He boasted to us that he was a multimillionaire. I’m not sure about Boone or Katy, but I didn’t believe him. I thought to myself, this is some sad, drunk man trying to talk himself up. I entertained his stories about flying on his private jet and about his winning racehorses. There was no way this guy was seriously rich. He could barely speak a sentence without drunkenly drooling a little down his chin.

Throughout the course of the evening, this man bought us five drinks each, at ten dollars a drink. Katy and I were only able to finish about half of a drink before he got up to grab us more. We didn’t mind though, it’s not like we were wasting our own personal money. Boone wasn’t enjoying the five free drinks as much as we were. Whenever the man went to grab more drinks, Boone would grab my drink and tell me that he wanted a fruity drink instead of another straight up.

Each time he bought us a drink, he would toss a fifty euro at the waiter. (Im not kidding, the poor waiter had to pick it off the ground. He didn’t seem too annoyed to be earning such large tips though.)

As the evening wore on, the man apparently noticed my boobs, or the lack of them. He decided that I needed to do something about this. Handing over his credit card, he told me to go get a breast enhancement surgery. He wanted to help me.

It was very difficult to explain to this man why I wouldn’t accept his money. Finally, I was able to persuade him to put the credit card away. He said to me, you’re right! I shouldn’t take the credit card, his wife would notice!

Instead, he pulled out seven hundred euros and put them on the table.

The stack of crisp euros sat on the table for the next hour untouched by everyone except the man. He would pull a fifty off of the top to tip the waiter. Don’t worry, he told me, we will go to the ATM and get you more money after this.

Almost five hours after sitting and talking with this man, Katy, Boone, and I began to give each other the ‘lets leave soon’ look. We had heard enough of his drunken stories and were finding his come-ons less and less humorous. Instead, his comments just became more vulgar by the minute.

For those reading this article, I have spared you all of the disgusting and demeaning comments he made, especially towards Katy and myself.

Never again do I want to hear about the things an overweight, drunk, old man wants to physically do to me. I do not want to hear any more detailed questions about my own sex life. And I definitely I do not want to be told to “move my arms” so that someone can get a better look at my chest.

Having said all of that, I can still say that this was the best last night of my trip.

After making an excuse to leave, the man said he wanted to take us to dinner. No, I said, and please take your money. He told me to hold it for a minute while he went to get his limo for us.

And then he disappeared… without taking his money and without leaving a name.

So I got a boob job.

Just kidding. Boone, Katy, and I treated ourselves to wine, dinner, and dessert at one of the most famous restaurants in Dublin. It was amazing.

The next day, out of curiosity I attempted to find him online. I searched the phrase “canadian multimillionaire horse racer” and there he was.

Looking back on it, I wonder if he remembers anything that happened or if he just woke up with an empty wallet. Either way, it doesn’t matter to me.

It was a delicious meal.

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Finding Love Abroad

This post is about my summer abroad and my Italian romance that bloomed while there. If anyone who reads this is inspired to go travel, I have accomplished my goal.

I first learned about my study abroad program from a hippie professor during a lecture. She was teaching a course I was enrolled in, Public Relations 270. I was intrigued by the way the program sounded, so I went home and dug into thorough research. I found that the city was small and beautiful. I could totally see myself living in Italy.

I had hundreds of concerns that overwhelmed me at the time. What if I didn’t receive scholarship? How expensive will travel be? Is it going to be safe?

All of my concerns faded with time and with all of the encouragement from study abroad alums, friends, and family. I received a generous amount of scholarship, allowing me to make the final step into changing my life.

Finally, the day came. I was leaving America for Siena, Italy.

 

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Here is a photo of Katy and I about to head for our gate to Siena. You may not be surprised to hear that this picture was forced by our parents.

I studied in the quaint city of Siena, Italy for a total of five weeks. During this time, I took a 400 level Public Relations course and let me say, the professor was not easy. That woman isn’t playing around with grades. Luckily, outside of class she’s a pretty chill woman with millions of fascinating stories from a rockin’ career. Also, she’s very earthy and hippie, which makes her pretty cool in my opinion.

Waking up early every morning, I would get coffee from my block’s coffee shop, attend class, eat pasta, buy wine (which was very cheap), study in the park, and eat more pasta. My roommate and I had picnics all of the time; sometimes we brought bread and cheese to eat with the wine, which we always brought.

During the weekends, I would travel to other cities. That is how I met Leonardo, my Italian hunk.

During my first weekend in Italy, four friends and I went to Elba Island. After taking a ferry, we were picked up in a small, red truck by a small, Italian woman. She was our Air BnB host and spoke no english. The roads were windy and she had terrible driving skills. This made my poor friend Robert, who was forced to hover in the bed of the dinky truck, scream like a girl a good half of the time.

Lorena, the host, had prepared everything prior to our arrival and it was beautiful. Perfect, in fact. She was extremely sweet and eventually called her son to help her translate. That is how Leonardo and I first met, in a way. We spoke on the phone multiple times in order to communicate with his mom.

Although I didn’t see any photographs of her son, our WhatsApp conversations had become flirtatious. I joked with his mom about marrying him. She thought it was hilarious when I said Leonardo, pointed to my wedding finger, and called her mom. Maybe she was just laughing at me and didn’t actually understand….Actually, she was probably just laughing at me, now that I think about it.

Back in Siena, I was able to watch something called The Palio. The Palio is a six horse race that has been performed since the city’s creation. Siena’s twelve districts compete in it and there are many long-lived rivalries. The race lasts about five minutes in total. But after learning the history, living among the month long preparations, and standing four hours to see the race, I might say this was my favorite day of all my travels. I highly recommend researching ‘Siena Palio’ on YouTube.

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This photo was taken the day of the Palio. If you can’t tell, there are thousands of people crammed into the city’s center. The horses race around the circle of people.

I also got to do things like take a cooking class, wine tasting, hiking, and eating. SO.MUCH.FOOD. I left America disliking wine and came back a connoisseur, I’m sure all of my American friends hate how nerdy I am about wine now.  Also I’m pretty sure everyone hates me for talking about my summer constantly. How could I not? I miss it every single day.

Aside from Elba, I visited Pisa, Florence, Napoli, Capri, San Giminano, Grosseto, Cinque Terre, and Rome.

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Here we are in front of the colosseum in Rome. After this picture we discovered a local restaurant and I had the best lasagne of my life. That is what I remember best about Rome, the lasagna.

In Pisa, I scheduled a time and place to meet Leonardo. I was very nervous, thinking of movies like Taken and Taken 2. What if he was some weirdo who just wanted to drug an American girl and take advantage of her? Or worse… what if he was ugly? Just kidding. I was excited to meet him no matter what, although looks were going to be a bonus. I knew he was in college as an aerospace engineer, his mom was a sweetheart, and he had been very polite over text. What could possibly go wrong?

To my pleasant surprise, I arrived to see a handsome, nerdy, and very Italian boy. He brought along his dog, a gorgeous golden retriever named Achille and met me at the train station. He wanted to go for a walk and get gelato. So that’s exactly what we did.

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He would probably kill me for posting a picture of him but oh well. Here he is on our first day of meeting. Does he look in love with me yet?

After my program ended, I took three extra weeks to backpack around different countries. I spent time in Switzerland, Spain, The Netherlands, France, Germany, and Ireland. I hiked the Swiss Alps, ran with the bulls in Pamplona, walked down the red-light district in Amsterdam, drank wine by the Eiffel tower, stayed with a German family in Stuttgart and hiked through the black forest, and drank beer in Dublin. None of this would’ve been possible without the push to study abroad.

My favorite of all of these countries was Switzerland. Although the prices were ridiculous, the views made it all worth it. Below is a photograph of a portion of the hiking in Switzerland.

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As for Leonardo and I, after spending many days together in Italy, he decided to come to Ireland with me. After an amazing week of being together in Dublin, we agreed to date. Basically, I just completed every girl’s dream of falling in love with a beautiful Italian man. We have now been dating for two months, which is pretty good for an across-the-ocean relationship.

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Here is Leonardo and I after spending a long morning exploring Dublin.

All in all, I spent eight weeks in Europe and I cannot wait to go again.

The language barrier can often be uncomfortable. I once got locked inside a bathroom stall and no one understood what was happening because they did not speak English. I was sweating like a pig inside an un-air conditioned public restroom, with ten minutes before my ferry left for Capri. In Switzerland, I missed a train because I could not find an English-speaking person to guide me the correct way. But these are the memories I love, the excitement of being in a foreign country and immersing yourself in it.

Studying abroad taught me so much about myself and my future. It exposed me to new experiences, encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone, and allowed me to embrace other cultures in a way that is impossible to do in America.

I believe that everyone should get an opportunity to study abroad. Whether a student wants to study in Africa, India, Italy, or Australia, it doesn’t matter. There is exciting food, music, people, and customs just waiting to be explored. The world is an amazing place and by exploring it, you are learning more than you ever thought you could.

And maybe, just maybe, you’ll be lucky enough to find a foreign romance.

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Throwing my coin into the Trevi fountain in hopes of returning.

 

 

God, Give Me Guidance!

I can’t express how many times my journal has read ‘God, give me guidance’ over the last few months. It pains me to ask for answers time and time again, knowing in the back of my mind that He is constantly giving them to me. Instead of constantly asking for guidance, I should be seeking the ones that are surrounding me daily.

But here I write, once again, God…give me guidance!

As many of you know, I just spent the last two months in Europe exploring the countryside as well as myself. I learned so many things. I learned that I have a knack for finding kind strangers to guide me in any country, that I love traveling more than anything in the world, that being away from everything does nothing but pull me closer to God, and so much more. In addition to the plethora of things I learned, I also came back with many questions. Will I ever see Italy again? Will my new relationship last? Will I continue to seek God everyday? When will I be happy to be back?

Don’t get me wrong, seeing my family and Mikey (of course) took so much weight off of my shoulders. Being away from them always reminds me of how blessed I am in so many ways. I hoped that being able to reach out and be with my family would take this longing away, this longing to return. To travel. To explore.

With this in mind, I pray. I pray not to travel but that God will show me what my purpose is in life. Instead of praying for a successful romance, I have prayed for God to show me his purpose in this relationship. I constantly pray for the Lord to be with me, to let me think of Him in all that I do. I have asked, pleaded, and cried out to God. I have gotten on my knees in over seven countries, all asking the same thing from God.

God, why do I feel so unanswered? Give me guidance!!!

The thing is, whenever I sit to write a blog, I begin to write whilst very emotional and clouded. I almost always come out of writing very clear-headed and smiling. I wouldn’t claim to be quite clear-headed right now, but I sure am smiling.

God has been guiding me this entire summer. He guided me to a random island in Italy, where my romance began. He guided me to my best friend and roommate this summer, who helped me grow so very much. He is the reason for my life changing summer. He pursued my heart. Although He kept me questioning, which at times gets a big annoying, He kept my eyes on Him.

I guess what I am saying is, by asking God for guidance, I am exactly where I need to be. And that puts a smile on my face, no matter what continent I am in.

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Falling in Love with Italy

Ciao! Italy is a wonderland of beautiful nature, mouth-watering pastries, and passionate people. The images stuck in my mind of the vibrant green scenery will forever keep me yearning to return. As I sit here with a glass of Sangiovese red wine in my left hand, a Pulitzer Prize novel on my lap, and a breathtaking view of rolling mountains and the Mediterranean ocean, I already wish I could stay in this wonderful country forever. Aside from the piercing blue ocean and endless vineyards, I have come to appreciate the culture.

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Being American, I came to Italy expecting it to be not much different; I expected to see heavy Americanization. I couldn’t have imagined how wonderfully different it is. The peacefulness of the people and country is constantly surrounding me, a quality rarely found in America. This persistent quietness has allowed me to appreciate things that I have never thought to before. The food, oh the food. Where to begin? While I did expect the meals to be maginificent, I didn’t expect the culture of eating and speaking quietly and appreciating every bite as you take it. Everything I have eaten has been organic, grown by the locals that rely on your business for their living. Due to the lack of chemicals and preservatives found in almost every meal in America, I feel healthier than ever! So although I am constantly eating goodies such as gelato, pizza, calzones, pasta, and just bread in general, I know that I’m putting decent food in my body. In return, my body is gratefully staying healthy.

 

Then there’s the drinking. Last week, I sent a selfie of myself with a beer to my dad as a joke. He wasn’t amused in the least. What is often misunderstood in America of under 21 year olds drinking in Europe is that the drinking being done is purely for taste. I haven’t had a meal without at least a beer or a glass of wine. I learned to appreciate the taste when mixed with my meals. I am not drinking for an end goal; I am drinking in moderation. I can appreciate Italy’s famous vineyards with each and every sip.

My life here is a dream come true; I now know how much I would enjoy living here in the future. Italy has been wonderful to me and I know who to thank; God has been constantly showing me His light during the duration of this trip. From strangers finding a way (despite the language barrier) to stop me from getting off on the wrong train stop, keeping me safe in dangerous areas of towns while traveling, and leading me to a wonderful summer romance (yes, I like an Italian college student here). I have no idea what the Lord has in store for me but I cannot wait to find out. For now, I can only continue to pray for His hand to continue showing me His plan.

So far, I have visited Florence, Pisa, Elba island, San Giminano, Voltera, Naples, Capri, and next week I will visit Venice! Stay updated for more!