Tomorrow 05.27.2013 is Memorial Day back home. It’s a day that most Americans have off as a federal holiday, and we make the most of it – countless shopping sales, gatherings, parties, and the good ol American barbecue/grill-fest. But most importantly, Memorial Day celebrates & remembers those who fought & died while fighting for the United States in different wars. I dedicate this re-blog to my friend Jeff Lebrun, who died in Iraq over 8 years ago in the name of an unjust war (another debate for another time), as well as the countless others who died fighting for the U.S. military. Enjoy the day off, but don’t forget the day’s main purpose.
(This is the 04.12.2013 challenge. Whatever… better late than never.)
Highlighting (again) one of the negative aspects of living abroad – being away from loved ones when bad situations happen. I’ve talked about this a few times on here.
On April 15, 2013, at least 2 homemade bombs ripped through the finish line at the Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachussetts. So far, there are 3 dead – the youngest being 8 years old – and over 175 injured, some seriously/critically. I have 3 online friends who live there and, as happens online sometimes when friendships develop positively, their whereabouts & safety worried me. (Thank goodness, they’re alright.) I was off sick that day with a massive headache, so checking the news online & worrying about those friends worsened my headache. It also brought temporary flashbacks of 09.11.2001.
I was hundreds of miles away when the World Trade Center (WTC) buildings went down. I couldn’t reach my family for hours, including my mother, who worked 3 blocks away from the WTC. I later found out that my father was there too, coming out of New Jersey PATH train station, which was/is right under the WTC. I couldn’t reach my friends either. The days & weeks ahead were emotionally hard, partly because of the distance.
The only difference between then & now is that I’m thousands of miles (and a few time zones) away this time. If I was home, at least it’s easier to contact & see people. I can physically see that they’re safe & sound, and speak to them in real-time. I can’t always do that here. And that, for me, is the top negative aspect of living abroad. (I still wouldn’t change it for anything, though, no matter how hard it is.)
I don’t want to make this post about me. I just wanted to present an example of one of the negative aspects of living abroad. As I’ve said many times, living abroad isn’t all “partying & bullshit” (respect to B.I.G.). If you didn’t know, now you know.
As an expatriate, is this hard for you too? Or are there other aspects of living abroad that you think are more difficult than this? Do you know anyone who lives in Boston? Are they alright? Are you following the updates, or are you staying away from most news, like I am? What are your thoughts about everything that happened during & since this incident?
2013 Boston Marathon timeline http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/15/boston-marathon-timeline-_n_3087588.html?
Some media don’t know what they’re doing http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/17/boston-bombings-investiga_n_3104608.html
Vigils for victims who died http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/17/boston-marathon-bombings-vigils_n_3102257.html
D’NALI – prayers for Boston http://dnali.wordpress.com/2013/04/15/prayers/
Philosopher Mouse Of The Hedge – Two of a kind http://philosophermouseofthehedge.wordpress.com/2013/04/16/two-of-a-kind/
1. A woman who has remained single beyond the conventional age for marrying.
2. A single woman.
Wikipedia definition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinster
– Paying extra taxes [don’t forget to file yours (!)].
– Paying extra for travel insurance.
– Paying extra for auto insurance.
– Paying expensive single supplements on my travels & accommodation.
– Being a minus 1 at almost all events.
– “You’re in this country all by yourself?” questions.
– “Why do you live alone? Don’t you get lonely?” questions.
– “Why are you single?” questions.
– “When are you gonna have a baby/some babies?” questions.
– Buying in bulk, with things spoiling, because there’s too much food for 1 person.
The word spinster was originally coined as a negative term for unmarried women of a certain age. I call myself a spinster because the absurd notion behind the word is funny enough for me to take back the word, in a sense, and call myself a spinster in a positive way.
I can testify to the great things about being a spinster/single/solo. I can do whatever I want without worrying about the needs of others all the time. As a single introvert, I can spend time alone without feeling bad or weird about it. I can dedicate my time to whatever I want – travelling, volunteering, work, attending theatre, sleeping, drinking tea, etc. I can focus on paying down my debt without worrying about who else it’ll impact. I can explore the world when I want, however I want. And let’s face it – while being in a good relationship is a bonus, being single and “doing bad all by myself” is definitely a stress reducer in a world where the good pickings are slim.
But the things I mentioned earlier… those things are the typical nuisances that come with the spinster/single/solo territory. And some of those things are costly. For example, when I went to Portugal last year with one of my Meetup groups, one could get one’s own room… for a price. Single supplements are often at least £70.00. That’s the only reason why I opted not to get a single room. (Luckily, my sharing arrangement worked out well.) There are many other trips I’d love to take, but the single supplement alone holds me back sometimes, whether I’m in the United States or the United Kingdom.
And don’t get me started on the social implications. Travelling solo is cool for exploring however one wants to and meeting people… until they start asking “why are you all alone?” or “without your family?” or “without your man/partner?”. (And I just “love” the “I couldn’t travel by myself.” comments [and other variations]). Then come the explanations & justifications, since sometimes a one-sentence answer isn’t enough for some people. (The same happens even when not travelling.)
small rant do you know how many loaves of bread I’ve bought here, only for them to go bad a couple of days later? Yes… it’s a small gripe, but a gripe nonetheless.
While singles are nowhere near a marginalised group in the grand scheme of things, it’d be helpful for others to realise that being single ≠ rich, wealthy, care-free, or expendable income. We have bills to pay just like non-singles. We pay extra taxes, with no tax breaks at all, unlike non-singles. We have to survive & (try to) thrive, just like non-singles. I hope that the needs of solo travellers & solo expatriates come to the forefront sooner rather than later because damn it, I need a tax break and some extra discounts too.
Onely: Single and Happy http://onely.org/
Onely guest post in Psychology Today http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/living-single/201006/can-you-name-the-1138-federal-hat-tips-marriage-guest-post-onely
The High Price of Being Single in America http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/01/the-high-price-of-being-single-in-america/267043/
Singled Out (for the Single Supplement) http://travel.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/travel/singled-out-for-the-single-supplement.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&
The truth about taxes: Uncoupled singles always pay a penalty http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bella-depaulo/the-truth-about-taxes-unc_b_537861.html
1,138 hat tips (PDF report included) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-04-353R
When ‘Married’ Is No Longer the Norm http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eleanore-s-wells/when-married-is-no-longer-norm_b_2864140.html
Margaret Thatcher, also dubbed the Iron Lady, died on Monday 04.08.2013 due to suffering a stroke in her hotel room after surgical procedure complications. Honestly, I know very little about her, so I’ve not jumped on the “ding-dong, the witch/bitch is dead” bandwagon. (Here’s the original.) I say this because based on my observations & conversations I’ve had with British, Scottish & Irish colleagues since her death, Baroness Thatcher did major damage to the United Kingdom, as well as abroad. Falklands war, dismantling unions, job furloughs, job destruction, 3 million unemployed, increased racism, anti-LGBT speech(es)… all during her tenure. Those seem like unpleasant things to me.
It’s rare for me to speak ill of the dead, and Margaret Thatcher’s death is no different. Adolf Hitler and his ilk, such as Pol Pot, Idi Amin & etc.? Probably. Slave-holders and plantation owners? Possibly. Pedophiles, child molesters & rapists? More than likely. But overall, I don’t revel in a person’s death. Those rules apparently don’t apply over here, though. Upon news of her death, parties broke out in places ranging from the London neighbourhood of Brixton, up north to Manchester, and even further north to Scotland. (A colleague took a camera phone photo of people celebrating in the streets. She’s young though, so she probably took it out of curiosity.) And there will be parties & protests in the days leading up to, and on the day of, her funeral.
Since I’m still learning about her little by little, I can’t give a full opinion about her. I am annoyed, however, that the government wants taxpayers to fund her funeral. We’re experiencing (or facing) a triple-dip recession and extra austerity measures began less than 2 weeks ago (much of them via benefits cuts), and her family is certainly not poor, yet we the people have to pay for her funeral? I consider it despicable & insulting to our collective intelligence. But that’s just my opinion, and that’s all she wrote.
Are you from the United Kingdom? Were you around during Margaret Thatcher’s tenure as prime minister? What are your thoughts about her in life, and what are your thoughts about her in death? How would you feel about your tax dollars (or should I say pounds sterling?) possibly paying for her funeral? What are your thoughts about speaking ill of the dead?
Street parties break out in Brixton (London) & Glasgow, Scotland http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/apr/08/margaret-thatcher-death-party-brixton-glasgow
Thatcher opponents “celebrate” her death http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/09/us-britain-thatcher-idUSBRE9370DA20130409
Funeral cost: £10 million… by taxpayers http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/taxpayers-can-well-afford-to-contribute-to–estimated-10m-cost-of-baroness-thatchers-funeral-says-william-hague-8567102.html
04.10.2013 – Like me, he must’ve had a long day at work. The work uniform signifies that he works in either construction, public transport, or engineering works.
Oh my goodness, I wanna go! This looks amazing. All I’d have to do is swim 1 lap, and that’s enough exercise to last a few days. :-) Take a look at the blog post, and let it give you a reason to visit Chile.
At 1,013 meters (3,324 ft) in length with a total area of 8 hectares (19.77 acres), the swimming pool at the San Alfonso del Mar resort in Algarrobo, Chile is the largest in the world. It was listed officially as the largest swimming pool by area in the Guinness Book of World Records in December of 2006.
The pool holds a staggering 250 million liters (66 million gallons) of water and is the equivalent to about 6,000 8-meter long pools. Located about 90 kilometers (56 miles) from Santiago, San Alfonso del Mar is a major tourist attraction and popular destination for both Chileans and tourists from around the world.
Below you will find the most extensive gallery online, along with information on the technology behind this incredible pool. You’ll also find out why they bothered with such an elaborate construction when the resort is beside the ocean.
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