How Not To Go From Paris To Prague: Prague (Kind of Solo) Part 1!

A couple of months ago (I know, I’m way late posting this) I got falafel with a friend, took out my recycling, and left my flat in Paris for my first European trip – 3 days in Prague! I decided to be very budget friendly and booked a night bus to and from Paris and Prague. 14 hours on a bus? No big deal! I am super great at making good decisions. So I took my polka dot backpack and made the 50 minute metro trip from my side of Paris to the other.

After getting to the bus station and wandering around, I realized they wanted me to pay to use their toilet, so I went with the budget mentality and held it. I finally found my bus and, after squishing with the crowd, claimed my window seat. A French girl sat next to me and after I tried to say hey I realized she did not, in fact, want to be my friend. I began to realize that the journey was so long because of the numerous stops that were relatively out of the way. Along the way I napped a bit, read, listened to music, and took in the scenery of France, Germany, and finally, the Czech Republic!

After the God-knows-how-long bus ride I hopped off and followed some people (and google maps) to the closer than I thought Florenc metro station. I descended the stairs and found a hoard of foreigners trying to buy metro tickets from old ticket machines that had an “English” button, but never actually changed to English. Through trying to buy these tickets and staring at the machine for 10 minutes, I found 2 fellow travelers struggling to buy tickets. At first we considered just getting on the metro without a ticket, but a local (possibly homeless) man warned us of the hefty fee if we were caught.

We gave up on the metro and decided to walk. They needed to get to the main train station, just one stop away, and I was also headed in that direction, so we used our offline google maps and turned around a few times in pursuit of the train station. We ended up following some savvy backpacker boys into a park where the station sat. I finally found a metro ticket machine that would take my card, and lost Sada (?) and Mikal (?) (my metro finding buddies) in the process. I took my ticket down the stairs, took the metro one stop, and found my home right outside the metro exit – Starbucks.

As I got in line I realized the wifi wasn’t working and I’d have to use all of my collective life knowledge to get to my hostel. So I took my very berry hibiscus iced tea and prepared to brave the streets of Prague.

 

Part 2 of my Prague series coming soon!

Why I’m Moving Abroad Even Though I’m Terrified

I’m scared y’all. In fact, I’m terrified. A week from now I’m moving to a country I’ve never visited to live in a city where I have almost no friends. I’m putting my life in two suitcases and leaving the only country I’ve ever known to go on a crazy adventure. And although I’m excited, I’m also really afraid.

I’m afraid that I won’t make friends and the family I’m working for won’t like me. I’m afraid I’ll say something horrible in French and embarrass myself out of the country. I’m afraid the stylish skinny people will turn up their nose at my frumpy frame and trying too hard outfits. I’m scared that I’ll be alone in the city of love. I’m scared because I’ve never been out of America, no matter how cool and cultured I try to be. I’m scared I’ll lose my friends back home and everything will be different when I return.

I’m terrified of change.

But what I’m more afraid of is never doing anything. I’m terrified of never doing anything and never going anywhere. I’m afraid of sitting on my laptop for the rest of my life watching other people accomplish what I dream of. I’m scared of staying in my comfort zone and missing out on adventures and relationships. I’m afraid of living a stagnant life.

So I’m leaving my safe comfort zone. I’m going to live so that I don’t ask what if. I’m going to follow my dream and go on an adventure that will change my life. I’m moving abroad – because I’m terrified.

Red Keds in Red Hook

The saying goes, “If you don’t got nothin’ nice to say, don’t say nothin’ at all.” Well apparently tween girls in Brooklyn do not follow this wise advice. Let’s be clear, I don’t follow this rule all the time either – but at least I don’t do it to your face on public transportation.

Last summer I bought a cute pair of red Keds before I flew to NYC for 3 months. I wore them on the plane and was excited to take on the city with my new shoes. I enjoyed wearing them in my favorite park and all over Manhattan. A few weeks into the summer, a friend suggested we check out a free music festival in Brooklyn. So, of course, I put on my red Keds and we boarded the subway. Somewhere along the line a group of preteen girls joined our car. This is where our story really begins.

As a cool New Yorker, I never considered talking to strangers on the subway – I’m not trying to get robbed. Or stabbed, because my friend back home heard that was a thing. Anyways, the girls chatted for a while, and then the head of this tween gaggle starts talking louder – and she starts talking about my shoes. She continues to talk to her friends about my shoes, so I proceed to stare at her with a blank expression. I’d dealt with bullies before, but never in the form of strangers in an enclosed space.

As the girl and her friends continued to laugh, I slowly raise my hand to wave at them and smile. The head tween says something like “Oh no she didn’t” and her friend proceeds to apologize for head tween, laughing and joking that “She got problems.” Just at this moment, it’s our stop, so we exit as I tell them to have a nice day, feeling confident that they won’t chase me off the train.

 

The moral of this story is: tweens in Brooklyn will notice your footwear, and your Keds will soon wear out. However, while your Keds are breathing, you should wear them in Brooklyn just to give tweens conversation pieces.

A German on The Jersey Turnpike

In 2014 I spent the summer working at a camp in New York with staff from all over the world. The camp was about two hours from NYC and was structured so that all staff got a week off in the middle of the summer. Basically they forced us off camp for a week with nowhere to go, so we made the best of it and chose to live it up during our week without evil children. I had made a few really great friends, so a few of us made random last minute plans for the week, starting with a few days in NYC. I planned the week trip with my best friend from Germany, let’s call her Elsa. Our other friend, let’s call her Candy, planned to be with us for the first half of the trip.

So Candy drove us from camp to the city where we had booked a hotel on the edge of Brooklyn (with free parking!) just a few hours ago. We’re great planners. Anyways, we had fun being tourists in the city and hanging on our roof at night looking at Manhattan. We left after two nights for Philadelphia, with our friend Oliver joining this leg of the trip. We were going to drive Candy’s car to the house of someone I connected with on Couchsurfing. However, Candy was a bit under the weather and really needed to sleep in the car. I didn’t have a license, and Oliver only had a NY limited permit. That left Elsa, who had a German license but had never driven in America before. Elsa was very hesitant, as she had only been in the US for a month and was a bit frazzled from being with demon children during that time. But after a bit of convincing, Elsa agreed because Candy was already falling asleep.

So Candy took a nap in the front seat while Oliver and I squeezed into the back among all of the luggage, promising Elsa we’d help her navigate. She was nervous but we promised she’d only have to drive on this one road – The Jersey Turnpike. I mean, we were a bit nervous as well, but we knew the worst outcome would end with us not returning to camp, and in our hearts we accepted that and left it up to fate. Somewhere in Jersey the GPS voice lulled me to sleep, and I was only vaguely conscious when we stopped at a toll. I woke up and Candy soon followed. However, we had unknowingly lied to Elsa, as we made her navigate the way into Philly so we could eat lunch. The lunch was meh. Candy took over driving in Philly and to DC later on. Elsa may or may not have been permanently scarred by this event.

We all lived through this experience and “Elsa” and I are planning to meet up this summer. But no worries, she’ll be taking the train, not driving.

I’m Back! / Summer in NYC!!!!!!

Hey Guys! I haven’t posted in so long, life has been crazy and I’ve been lazy. I have been writing, but it’s either in my draft folder or published elsewhere…mostly in my drafts. I’ve been really into poetry lately, so I have a bunch of poems I hope to publish somewhere, sometime.

Anyways here’s my big news – I’m going to be in NYC all summer! Last summer I worked at a camp and got to spend a week in NYC on a break. So this summer I decided I didn’t want to work at a camp and I wanted to work in a big city. I think it’s fate that I got this amazing job at a dance school! I’ll be living and breathing NYC all summer! I am beyond psyched and had some ideas for what to do, but I also want your input! Do you know of anything I should absolutely do this summer? Do you have a #nycdare for me? Ask me to do anything, even if it seems to crazy! I’ll do my best to do them all and document the summer through blogging and/or vlogging! I already have quite a few ideas, but I really want your ideas!!!

Here are some of the things on my NYC Summer Bucket List: read in central park, take the subway by myself, explore Williamsburg, go to the Met, go to a fancy party, meet some celebs, do yoga in central park, go to Taylor Swift’s gym, go to a concert, get on TV somehow, audition for acting opportunities, perform on the street or at an open mic night.

So comment or message me with your #nycdare for me! Share with your friends (especially those who know NYC or just have crazy ideas!) and don’t be afraid to ask me something insane! Here’s to a crazy amazing summer filled with awesome adventures!

When Life Hands You Lemons…And Then Takes Them Back

Yesterday was interesting. A week or two ago I had submitted to work on a film that Alex Wolff was working on. Because of transportation issues I wasn’t able to get to set to be an extra, so I was pretty bummed out. Just for the record, I don’t usually do extra work, much less unpaid extra work, but it’s Alex Wolff, ya know?

Also a week or two ago I decided I wanted to study in LA next fall. Honestly, I’m still not sure if this is a desire of mine or God’s, but I’m praying about it. Anyways, I was (and am) worried about how to find the money for this endeavor. I had also interviewed with a camp that I’d really like to work with and really wanted to get an offer for that camp for next summer.

So yesterday morning a I got an email from a casting person with the Alex Wolff film asking for my availability on Friday and Saturday. So I said I’d love to come to set Saturday. The casting lady says that’s great, that I’d actually get paid(!!!), and that she just has to check with the AD. After waiting all day, I get an email saying I’m “on reserve” and that they went with women who looked a bit older than me. So basically if someone dies I get to drop everything and go to set on Saturday.

Also yesterday morning-ish I got an email form that camp offering me a job – at their day camp in Chicago. I was really excited! However, after calling my mom, I was less excited. She reminded me that I’d be making significantly less than last summer, and obviously this wouldn’t help me raise enough funds to study in LA next fall.

So right now I’m really confused – why does life keep handing me lemons and then taking them away? Also, could you pray for me/keep me in your thoughts about this LA thing? I really, REALLY want to go, but I’m really discouraged because of my money situation.I thin it would be a great learning and missions opportunity. I would study film and acting in a Christian environment, but be out of my comfort zone in a huge city, and I think it could potentially be the best semester of my college career.

Love you all,

Celina

Celina’s Weird Travel Adventures – To and From NYC

There are many different ways to travel in these fifty nifty states. There are planes, buses, and trains. I have done all three in my travels to and from the Big Apple.

Before I was officially offered a job at a summer camp in upstate NY, I looked at flights. And I actually found a reasonably priced first class ticket. I have flown a decent amount in my life, but have never flown first class. I wanted to book it, but I had to wait until I was offered the job.

Well, literally the next day I was offered the job.

So, I went online to book my ticket…and, of course, it was gone.

I ended up flying with a really cheap company which I will not name. It pretty much sucked. I had to pay extra for everything. However, I got a window seat and the middle seat was empty, so I got to talk to the old lady in the aisle seat when I got bored of my music and magazines. She was a nice old lady visiting her daughter.

I loaned her a magazine because she was THAT nice.

That’s pretty much it for my trip to NYC. Oh, and by the way, Laguardia is very strangely shaped. It’s basically a long skinny line. And it’s old and dirty. But there are many nice people in vests that help you.

Now, my ride back was just cray. I had to leave camp early due to school, which forced me to make some weird travel arrangements. I was broke at the time because I was waiting for a paycheck, so my options were extremely limited. It was either a sketchy Chinatown bus or the more expensive train and bus combo. So I chose the bus.

And immediately regretted it.

I was so freaked out that I started asking the campers if they had ever been on one and whether I would die if I rode one. At one point I almost bought the train ticket, but then I stopped because, oh yeah, I’m poor. Even though I was sure that I would die all by myself in NYC traveling via bus, I decided to buck up and do it.

The day comes for me to leave camp. Luckily, my favorite Australian friend came with me (to ensure I wouldn’t die). We took a train to the city (which was pretty nice, but more expensive than I thought) and then took the subway to Chinatown. We proceeded to find somewhat good food and then Dunkin Donuts. Because who doesn’t love Dunkin, especially up North? We finally get to the bus station and wait. Finally, an elderly woman says my bus is leaving, so we all follow her as she runs and yells at us in a language that is not English. We all run across the street and miraculously don’t get hit by oncoming cars. We arrive at the bus, which is ready to go. I shove my suitcases in the luggage thing and say a teary goodbye (good day?) to my bestie from down under and head onto the bus. This nice old lady lets me have the window seat! There are so many nice old ladies in the world.

Anyhow, we drive for a bit and then stop for gas. I go get a drink and return. Then the nice old lady offers me fruit! Can you believe it? Strawberries AND grapes. Some might say it’s risky to take fruit from a stranger, but I was already on a sketchy bus, so what the hay! I couldn’t sleep the whole time, so I got to see the beautiful and boring countryside of Delaware and Maryland. Oh, and the ocean.

When we finally got to my destination, my family was waiting for me and freaking out because the area wasn’t the best in town. I laughed because of the sketchiness I had been through.

This is not a complaint post, because I do not regret traveling the way I did. However, if you have the funds, I’d say first class all the way. If not, Chinatown buses really aren’t that bad, even when there is a crying baby. Bring a good book and ride it out. Trains are also fun, and less expensive than planes for shorter distances. And budget airlines are okay if you either want to bring very little or are prepared to pay extra…lots of extra. So here’s to happy traveling! Stay tuned for more of my weird adventures!