Do Cruise Ship Stops Count?

Sometimes when people find out that I like to travel, they’ll let me know how many states or countries they’ve been to and which ones. And I am genuinely interested to hear about it. However, I’ve found that everyone has different ideas about what counts as having visited a place. Here are some situations people argue about:

- airports

-driving through

-cruise ship stops

-living somewhere

I know that I 100% don’t count airports. All airports are the same everywhere, no matter the state or the country. You can see as much culture and as many different nationalities in the Columbus, Ohio airport as you can see in the Beijing, China airport. You don’t even step on the land itself. You see people from other countries more than you see the natives of that place while in an airport. I have been in more airports than I can count on my fingers and toes, but I don’t count a single one of them. Yes, I have been to the LA airport; in fact, I have even stepped on LA’s ground because you have to walk outside to change terminals. However, I have never been to LA.

Driving through. Oh, this one is argued about quite a bit. If you drive through a state to get to another state, does this count as having been there? If you’re going to South Carolina and drive through North Carolina, does that mean you can check North Carolina off your list? But what about if you stop to eat there? Or what if you just open your car door and plant your 2 feet firmly on the ground. Does it count? In my humble opinion, no.

When people tell me their cruise ship stops, I am a little hesitant to count those as countries visited. Yes, you may have stepped on the shore of Puerto Rico, but does 4 hours there actually count as having visited the country? Especially when you have only seen the touristy parts that your cruise guides you to….I know when I only get to stay in a country for a week, I feel like I haven’t got to experience even 1% of the country- its people, its food, its culture. How can a few hour stop allow you to understand a country’s essence?

I also wonder when people speak of “living” in a country. I heard a student say that she lived in Italy once when referring to staying for 2 months of the summer during a study abroad experience. I would venture to say that a person needs to have a permanent address before they can say they lived in a country. I guess my best bet would be to see if the locals consider you a neighbor, if they see you as a permanent part of their space in the world.

To know a place means to experience its food, its language, its religion, its people, its traditions, and its government. Perhaps you don’t have much time to spend in a country or a state. Well, spend some time learning about the place beforehand, so that you’ll know what you’re seeing when the time comes. Every time I visit a new country, or even a new area of my country, I try to read the history of the place, know what the racial makeup is, learn what the dominant religion is there and so on. When you get there, browse the local market or grocery store, walk around a college campus, try the local cuisine, and talk to the people. This will help you know the place you are. Then, you can say you have been to a place.

What are your rules about where you’ve been? Am I being too strict? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

State lines

I’m Sorry I Wasn’t in Class but…

Today I received the most epic e-mail since the interwebs have been created. I mean good. I mean I have reached the zenith, the culmination of my teaching career with this e-mail.

I teach at a small university. I ask my students to e-mail me when they miss, so I know that they didn’t just blow off my class and also so they can see what assignments they missed. Today, I received an e-mail from a quiet student, who I’m not sure I’ve heard say ten words since the semester started in late August. He wrote this very formal, professional e-mail. As an English teacher, I appreciate a student taking the time to do that. He apologized for missing class and went on to tell me why he missed the class:

“The reason I missed class was because I had diarrhea.”

Wait! He just told me he missed class because he had diarrhea?!

Did this just happen? Did I really just laugh so loudly alone in my office? Can I look him in the face on Wednesday without crying with laughter?

He went on…

“I’m sorry I couldn’t word that to make it less awkward.”

Uh, yes you could have. You could have said:

-I’m having stomach problems.

- I’m experiencing digestion issues.

-My intestines are hurting.

- I have a tummy ache.

Can we work on synonyms in our next class? At least he spelled it right, I suppose.

Well, I’m not going to work tomorrow, because I have diarrhea. Or just because I can’t deal with freshmen.

Your Resume Needs Help, and You Don’t Even Know It!

I don’t know how it happened, but people have started asking me for resume help- friends, co-workers, family.  It may be because I am an English person or that I work with university students. I am a jack of many trades in my current job, and I do have the chance to help students create or update their resumes. As I have done this, I have learned the newest requirements of resumes and also what should be left off. If you already have some experience, these resume-writing tips, should be helpful. 

Don’t:

-put references directly on your resume. In fact, there’s no need to even put the line “references upon request”. That’s a given; you better be willing to give those!

- put an objective. Sorry to say, but employers don’t care about what you want. They care about what they want. So an objective should only be added if you’re trying to fill up space. Even then, let’s admit it- they’re boring. And, if you have a great deal of work experience to include, you want to save this precious space. Let your experience and skills speak for themselves. If you must add it, make it a profile statement. This should just tell what you most want to be known for or as. 

-limit yourself to one page. It is unlikely that you’ll only have enough info for one page at this point in your life. 2 pages is the norm and 3 pages is the upward limit. Usually it’s only fresh college graduates who have 1 page resumes. 

- add photos or graphics. This makes resume vetting programs confused. Do you want your resume thrown out before a real-life person even gets a chance to look at it? No? That’s what I thought.

- list high school education or experiences. Unless you are still a college student, there is no need to. If you have been in the work world for a while, there’s not even a need to list college experiences. 

-use Times New Roman font. It’s tired. It makes my eyes hurt. I don’t even like when students use it in papers. Calibri and Arial are both nice choices. 

-include your address. Do you think this potential employer is going to write you a letter? Probably not. It may even cause discrimination based on how far away you live from the potential job. Instead, in this spot, you may want to include a clickable link to your Linked-In profile. There, you can give more professional information about yourself in a more informal way. 

 

Do:

- make your resume easy to read. There needs to be plenty of white space. Bullet points with phrases instead of full sentence contribute to ease of reading. A recruiter doesn’t have time to read your life story in essay format.

-Google yourself. This technically isn’t a part of your resume. However, once your resume passes the initial scan, that potential employer might look you up online to see if you really are who you say you are. They can get a general sense of you from your online presence. Therefore, you need to know what’s out there. Make sure you put your name in quotes when you search. Otherwise, Google will bring up every Bob on the internet, not just the ones with your last name. 

-tailor your resume to every single job you apply for. You should have a 4 or 5 page resume that includes allll your experiences and skills. Each job is looking for different skills, so pull those out of your big resume and pop them into your tailored resume. Don’t include things that aren’t relevant unless it created a major hole in your work experience. Make sure you try and use the same key words used in the job description (assuming they really do relate to your experience). 

- include most relevant job experience first. Yes, some like to see work experience in chronological order, but most want to see if you’re a good fit for the job right away. 

-write out any abbreviations at least once. I know what TESOL stands for in my degree when I put it on my resume, someone else in my field does as well, but the person doing the first run through of the resumes may not. So, write out Certified Public Accountant the first time, and then use CPA throughout the rest of your resume. 

 

The average time your resume will be scanned by a potential employer is only 20 seconds, so you better make that resume easy to scan, stand out, and able to make the next round. If you found these tips helpful, please share!

 

resume tip

Photo from greatresumesfast.com

Beating Jet Lag (With Brass Knuckles If I Could)

Jet lag. I hate those two words, but they seem to find me several times a year and cuddle up beside me in bed while I stare at the ceiling at 3 am. I  returned recently from a 3 week trip abroad for work to Taiwan and South Korea. Since I’ve been back, my family, friends, and co-workers have all asked how my trip was and how I’m doing now that I’m back. My reply is usually that I am tired and grumpy because jet lag woke me up too early this morning,and that my body is confused so I ate the tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich I was craving for breakfast. I discovered that many don’t know what jet lag is, because they haven’t traveled through time zones, so they don’t understand why I want to take a 5 hour “nap” or can’t go to bed until 4 am when I come back from a trip abroad. Please allow me to graciously explain so that you’re not offended next time jet lag causes me to snap at you. (No really, it’s not me!)

According to the Mayo Clinic, jet lag is a temporary sleep disorder when the body’s internal clock is confused about when it is time to be awake and when it is time to be asleep. Additionally, the body is confused about when it is time to eat.

If I arrive in Taiwan at 11 am, because of the 12 hour time difference, my body thinks it’s 11 pm and wants to go to sleep. When it’s 6 am and time to eat breakfast, my body thinks it’s 6 pm and dinner time and wants some pizza.

There’s also a general feeling of sickness. Many people compare it to having a hangover- a slight headache, nausea, a general feeling of unwellness. But imagine having a hangover for 2 weeks! Many sufferers also complain of stomach problems and difficulty concentrating.

Doctors say that it takes one day for your body to readjust for every hour of time zone change you go through. Taiwan was 12 hours ahead, and South Korea was 13 hours ahead, so it should take me about 2 weeks to fully get rid of my jet lag. I will admit that the first week is the absolute worst though.

Usually when I am on the trip, I do better with jet lag because I am there for a purpose, have things to accomplish, and am generally excited to be there. When I come home though and have to go back to the daily grind, it’s much harder to readjust.

So here are a few tips I have for beating jet lag.

- When you get to your destination, if it’s night, you must go to sleep even if you’re not tired. If it’s day, you must stay awake, even if you’re about to pass out. You need to get your internal clock adjusted to the time at your destination. This also means trying to take as few naps as possible, which trust me, is SO hard!

- Get as much sunlight as possible. This will help your body produce more melatonin to regulate cells in your body. It’s all very scientific. Don’t ask me the details; just get more sunlight!

- Cool it on the caffeine. Caffeine messes up sleep, so it’s no wonder this can enhance the symptoms of jet lag. Also, drink as much water as possible. Dehydration makes jet lag worse.

- Take sleep aids. But, be careful with this one. Usually for the first 2 or 3 nights I’ve crossed a considerable amount of time zones, I take a few Tylenol PMs or the like to help myself sleep through the night. If I don’t, I’ll wake up at 3 or 4 am no matter how tired I am. Doing this helps me sleep until at least 6.

Well, I’ve been back from my trip for about a week now. I’m still consistently waking up at 6 am, but at least I’m not taking naps at 7 pm anymore, because I just can’t keep my eyes open for a single second longer. I’ve been eating breakfast food for breakfast and dinner food at dinner time. I don’t feel nauseous for no reason, and I haven’t yelled at anyone today because I’m grumpy. I’d say I’m on the up and up!

Until next time, jet lag. Until next time.

United Airlines 777

Danshui River Walk

Taipei City is a huge metropolitan of more than 2.6 million people. There always seems to be hustle and bustle. And heat. On the weekends, many city dwellers like to go a little outside of town to get away from it all, cool off  from the ocean breeze, eat some snacks, and play a few games. Recently I had a chance to visit Danshui, where the Tamsui River meets the Pacific Ocean. It was a perfect respite from constantly being in the city center. travel in Taiwan

Taiwan Danshui mountains

The mountains were beautiful!

Snacks in Danshui Taiwan

Yum?

Yum?

Danshui Taiwan

Is this not the tallest ice cream you’ve ever seen?!

Taiwan Beach

Playing games

Playing games

Temple in Taipei Taiwan

There were even a few temples there

 

Danshui Danshui Taiwan

Man's Silhouette in Taiwan

Why Did I Just Pay Someone To Injure Me?

Tonight I had a Taiwanese/Chinese foot massage.

When I lived in China, a few American friends and I used to get a massage almost weekly. I don’t know if it’s that I’m not used to them anymore or if this one was just extra intense, but yowzer! Did I really pay someone to hurt me?! Did I actually hand a man money for jabbing his elbow into me?

20140714-215410-78850058.jpg

One can clearly see in this picture that my dude was trying to break my ankle.

Ok, ok. It wasn’t too bad. There were times when he pressed on certain parts of my feet, and it hurt though. You know how your feet are supposed to correspond to certain parts of your body? Well, maybe my spleen is bad, or perhaps my windpipe is in bad shape. (Hey, it’s on the list, along with genital gland!)

20140714-221103-79863662.jpg

Chinese massages are said to be healing. They can increase blood flow, remove blockages, help the lymphatic system, and remove toxins and waste. Maybe they’re not supposed to be pleasurable but just beneficial. My friend thought it would be a great idea for me to have one tonight since I’m sick. Traditional Chinese medicine for the win!

And I’m kinda obsessed with the sounds that are made during a Chinese massage. Watch my ultra, super-secret iphone video to see what I mean.

While living in China, I also had fire cupping done on my feet, and I also had a blind massage (massage done by a blind person). There was also that one time we had Chinese women hanging off ropes on the ceiling and walking on our backs, but that’s a whole other blog post! Have you had a Chinese massage before? If so, how did you like it? I fully expect my diaphragm to be feeling better by the morning!

I Now Know What A Taiwanese Hospital Is Like

Yesterday I started feeling really poorly, and I mean pretty bad, so my friends insisted I go to the hospital today. Doctors’ offices are closed on Sundays, so off to the Taiwanese hospital it was for me!

American goes to Taiwanese hospital

Turns out I have an acute respiratory infection, probably from the high humidity, a low-grade fever, and am very close to having heat exhaustion. I was prescribed 3 medicines and sent on my way.

Taiwanese Cough Medicine

 

I was also told not to stay outside so much and to drink more water. I wasn’t kidding when I said it was hot here! And when you’re out walking around in it for 9 hours a day, that doesn’t help much either.

20140713-145810-53890114.jpg

And my colleague thought it’d be a fun idea to take a picture of me during this adventure.

20140713-145859-53939523.jpg

Thanks Mackay Memorial Hospital for helping me get on the road to recovery! Oh the adventures I always seem to have while traveling!