The power of an american smile

I come from the country where we smile when we are happy and look upset when we are upset. Pretty simple and also common sense, right? Well, living in US changed this logical biological mechanism to something very strange. To smile when you are upset or angry.

Every foreigner knows it from american movies but when you actually see it and use it, it really means only one thing. You’ve got “americanized” and it’s time to think for a second. Why are we so fake? Why we think it’s better to pretend we are happy even tho everyone else knows we are not? I am not saying to be rude or angry but being “fake nice”, in my opinion, can only make the situation worse.

I’ve been working in customer service for 10 years and I have to admit that I am more and more fake nice than real me when I am upset. It hit me at the post office 2 days ago. They had a lunch break from 1-2:15 pm (go state jobs) and I literally came there at 1:01 and the door was closed but people inside were leaving so I sneaked inside and asked the cashier very nicely (really nicely) if she can send my mail because it has to be send today and I wouldn’t be able to come back after their lunch break. She said very cold “no” but I kept trying, this time I was bagging, explaining my baby throw up situation in a car what made me late (I know nobody is interested in people’s reason for being late but I was really desperate). She said “I am sorry but we are closed” with the smile on her face and she woke up me american fake nice beast and with the biggest sarcastic smile you can imagine I said “thank you for your great service” and left the building. On my way out I met very confused old man who I saw getting out of a car when I was pulling in and I just realized it took him that long to walk to the post office. So he was there actually on time but nobody could serve him because he was too slow to get to the building. I teared up because we started to talk and then his wife appeared with 2 big boxes what they now have to bring back to the car. I offered my help but they didn’t want it, this old man gave me the biggest smile and said, “we have no place to hurry sweatheart, we will sit here and wait”. I just nodded, wished them a nice day and ran to the car to cry it out.

I understand the point of business hours. I understand the hunger. I understand people go to work and have their own life afterwards. But I will never understand why we act like the machines and forget we are human beings. I am not going to lie and say I always served customers after my store closed or was always nice to them. I had my moments thru the years and even if it takes a lot to make me angry when I am at work of course it happened. If you want a favor and come to me very rudely or disrespectful and after my fourth option you are still not on my page then I turn to a fake nice monster and send you out of my zone with the biggest smile. Working in hospitality taught me a lot how to reverse the guests’ mood and I would say 90 % of the time I was able to satisfy them. And those are angry upset people I am talking about. I’ve never turned my back or was disrespectful to anybody who was nice to me and many times didn’t even have my lunch break or stayed opened later. I worked at the surf shop before I started to work at the resort and my store was very famous in Japan so when I had a tour bus coming at 6:30 when the store closes, of course I am not going to turn them away. Or if I had a family knocking on the door at 6:40 while I was counting the register, bagging me this is their last day on the island and they leave early tomorrow, what a human piece a shit I would be if I said, no we are closed. Yes, I have a life after work and the fact I had to stay at work longer or make my lunch shorter didn’t make me happy but also didn’t hurt me.

I wish the world would be an easier place to live. I wish we all had infinite patience and put other’s needs in a front of ours. I can’t make this happen. But what I can do is to at least stop pretending I am nice to you when I am not and don’t make the situation even worse.

I was always very bad in math but I remember -+-=+. So maybe when we both are upset we can help each other to snap out of it and find a positive solution 🙂

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When you hit the jackpot on Sunday morning

The last few years where pretty rough financially for my family. We moved to another state to have a better life but so far we are still falling. Are we at the rock bottom yet? Having $62 for another week sounds like we already hit it but who knows. 

The whole night I was tossing and turning and trying to figure it out the ways how to come up with second income. My husband already works 50-60 hours a week and it’s super frustrating that it’s not enough so it’s up to me to find some quick solution. But this morning when I was playing with my baby in a bed she stood up and gave me this gorgeous smile. She can’t talk much but I felt she was saying, “don’t worry mommy, everything is going to be all right”. And she was right. We have each other, we are healthy, have the roof above our head and some food to eat so we will survive. There are people out there who don’t have any of that and I can’t believe how they do it. Especially with children. So instead of complaining I am saying thank you for everything I have. I keep forgetting how rich I actually am. Most of a time my mind gets stuck from living this hectic materialistic world and I forget what is really important. I was truly blessed with the best baby ever and she makes me a better person each day. She is my jackpot, my billion dollars and I wouldn’t trade even one of her smiles for all the money in this world. 

 

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Seven years in 3 suitcases or how to become a minimalist.

Moving across the ocean was definitely an experience. Lot of emotions and even more packing. When I moved to Hawaii from Slovakia I did it with one suitcase but only because I came there just for a summer with no intentions of staying more than that. But I fell in love with my husband and we decided to get married. Long story short, all of a sudden I lived on the other side of a planet in totally different environment with few clothes, laptop, camera and cellphone. That was a first time I became a minimalist.

While living on Oahu we moved only once from a beach house where we were renting a room to a condo with finally no roommates. That was a first time I was shocked how much stuff we gained in 4 years. And we were only renting one room! So when the second time came around I knew at least what to expect. Plus having a baby adds to your belongings 100 times more. Shipping to or from Hawaii is ridiculously expensive so I decided we are taking only our suitcases. You end up paying twice more so it’s logical to sell everything and buy new items when you move. Luckily we got a deal with our landlord that he bought most of our furniture. Everything was brand new and when I did a math we spend over $4000 and we offered him $1500 and he agreed. I realize we lost a lot of money but doing everything by myself (my husband was always at work and no big help on his days off) saved me a lot of precious time than selling it individually.

The other category was my baby’s stuff. It was breaking my heart slowly selling her outgrew clothes, toys and furniture. I wanted to bring at least her clothes and toys but except one onsie what I brought her home in from the hospital, her newborn hat, hospital tags and sonogram pictures I couldn’t pack anything more. Maybe you think, why didn’t I just ship one little box? Well, I could have but we had very tiny moving budget what actually didn’t end up being tiny at all due to our crazy spending time once we arrived to Oregon, but at that time I really couldn’t spend more money.

Originally, I wanted to have 4 big suitcases, 2 carry on bags and 2 personal bags. The cost of one suitcase up to 50 pounds was $25 per person and you were allowed to have 2 suitcases for this price. The third one would cost $75 and more. So two of us could have 4 suitcases for $100 what was 200 pounds. Way better than post office! But my husband decided to take his golf clubs so I had to cut down on one suitcase to have it checked for $25 instead of paying ridiculous price. So at that point I realized I wouldn’t be able to take any kitchen stuff. I planned to pack at least 2 of each because the apartment where we were moving in to was unfurnished. But I couldn’t do it.

The pressure was rising with the time. I repacked all the suitcases maybe 15 times, kept throwing out more and more valuables such us our framed wedding pictures, books, older but favorite jeans, t-shirts, shoes pretty much everything what wasn’t absolutely important had to go. I use Wic for ma baby’s formula and I had 8 cans left so of course I am going to take that instead of our pictures. It wasn’t easy I have to tell you. I secretly cried over few things even tho I do realize it’s just a stuff. Materialistic stuff. But when you add memories to it, it changes everything.

The last day of packing was also the same day we were leaving. Our flight was at 11 pm so we had to leave the North Shore at 8 pm because it takes an hour to get to the airport. We left so much shit for the last day (not my choice but my husband it’s the last-minute guy and I really needed help for a big stuff) that I am still amazed we actually did it! Our good friend came over and took all our kitchen stuff with food, my precious plants (I grew avocados from the seeds and pineapples), all the bathroom items and pretty much everything what was leftover. He loaded his truck twice! I didn’t want to stress as much because that was a first time we were going to fly with our baby and doggy so I wanted to keep the same night-time routine. I bathed Leila, fed her and luckily she fell asleep around 7:30, I put her in to her car seat ready to go when my husband just got done with cleaning, we both took super quick shower and with little bit of a delay sat in to our car at 8:15. I can’t believe how my husband fit everything in to our Volkswagen Jetta but he did! Our friend was giving us a ride so our poor car fit 3 adults, 1 infant in a car seat, 3 big ass suitcases, 1 set of golf clubs, 1 carry on bag and 2 personal bags. We sold our car to my husband’s coworker who picked it up from our “ride” friend the next day.

How we arrived at the airport and flew to our new home, that is another crazy story what I definitely write about soon. But for those who are about to move on a low budget, especially doing a big move, my advice is, don’t hang up on stuff. Take the big garbage bag and start to throw stuff in it. Apply the golden rule – if you didn’t use it for a year you definitely don’t need it. If you have to get rid off more, just keep adding everything what is not absolutely necessary. If you want to cry, don’t worry and cry. This world made us very materialistic and you are breaking this habit so it’s ok to be an emotional. If you need glass of wine or two, go for it. You are also leaving one life behind so get all the support you need. My baby Leila helped me every minute, every day and she still is the biggest motivation and mood cheerer of all. We did this move for her better future so I hope it was worth it.

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How to pay bills when you are broke

My husband (Mr.M) supposed to cook a dinner last night and of course he passed out on a couch. He promised me a B-day meal so I chose a steak cause he can prepare it so well you dream about it for another week. But his golf game made him super tired as usual so while I was putting our baby to sleep he fell asleep as well. So I ate leftover pizza and for some stupid reason opened my calendar to see what bills are due and when.Read More »

Big 30

Tomorrow is my birthday. Not any kind but da kind! I think turning 30 is a big deal for every woman. My best friend refused all the party invitations and went to hide to her parents house. Totally understandable but I would actually appreciate some kind of action. Not having family and friends around makes you feel pretty lonely and especially on the day like this.Read More »