Punta Cana. The worst vacation. Ever.

Let me start by saying…

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I will never, ever, ever again go to an all-inclusive resort. NEVER. So while I try to make my posts include recommendations this one, will not.

This was the worst vacation. Ever.

Upon landing in Punta Cana, we were welcomed with a $10 charge per person for entering the country. No mention of what this charge was for, they were simply not letting people enter customs before forking over some cash. Second, the workers were very short with us. Perhaps it was the language barrier, or maybe Alex’s man bun, but either way, it was an unpleasant first impression. We found our pre-booked transportation and wearily walked to the unmarked white van.   From the airport to the resort, it was a bit depressing. There was garbage everywhere, and people seemed to just be. There were people standing around, everywhere, and I swear I saw a man standing alone in a field with what looked like an M16 (or the like). We got to our resort and there was literally a fence around it: one side, “paradise” the other side, slums. I immediately felt guilty for being there.

Location: Punta Cana, Dominica Republic
Hotel: Grand Bahia Principe Punta Cana “Golden Club”
Dates: 27 Nov – 1 Dec
Overall Ranking: D (for DON’T ever come here)

As part of the “Golden Club” we were promised welcome drinks, which must have drank themselves. The lady pointed us out to a man who would drive us to our room – and upon meeting him, he snidely said “go over there and wait”. We went, and after 10 minutes of nothing, we walked back and he said “I said go here”. By this point, my resting b*tch face had set in, as he wasn’t even attempting to be friendly. He drove us to our room (there’s constant shuttles going so this was not special treatment) and opened the door for us. We said thank you and waited for him to leave. Instead of leaving he lingered, took off his hat and waited for a tip. Having worked in the service industry for quite some time… I felt absolutely no obligation to tip if I don’t think it’s deserved. This man was rude and I didn’t feel the need to validate him.

It was around 6:15/6:30 so we decided to go to the buffet – as we were too late for any restaurant reservations. Friends, don’t take this lightly – the food was awful. They had about 30 – 40 options and they all were awful. Awful. Seriously, I just can’t believe how awful the food was.   After every meal I felt… weird… I progressively felt worse and worse after each meal.

The following 2 days included lying by the beach in overcast, rainy, windy and humid weather, eating as little as possible (did I mention the food was AWFUL) and drinking plenty of Miami Vices. While reaching for a beverage in my minibar, I was greeting by a flurry of cockroaches. I immediately called customer service, and an hour later they sent 5 people up. Upon overturning the dresser, they discovered all the cockroaches in all the land lived underneath my dresser.

We came to this resort for a friend’s wedding – which was actually quite nice. We had the morning and early afternoon before the wedding, and it was the first day of sun – so we went to the beach. Unfortunately, the beach and swimming area was inundated with ocean weeds making it quite miserable – and smelly.

They warn you not to drink the tap water (though they wash all the food in it…) and I am pretty sure they use reclaimed water to water the plants and the entire resort had a sewagey stank to it… like, bad. Walking home from the wedding reception, the stank was exceptionally bad. Once we got to the room, I sat down to upload some photos and got greeted by another cockroach. At this point… I’m on the verge of tears, but grateful to be leaving the following morning.

Following this event, into the morning we were supposed to head to Las Galeras, (“heaven” compared to here), my beau got extremely sick. Boo prides himself on never getting sick, so when he says he is sick… he’s sick. We went to the doctor on the resort, and he wanted $130 to answer the question “are these symptoms consistent with anything you have seen?” Seriously?? You’re charging people for a “consults”? Pathetic.

At this point, we decided it would be best to just head home. We had had such a terrible experience, had already checked out of the resort (though we couldn’t bear another day there anyway), and didn’t feel it was a good idea to travel 4+ hours by van and ferry to the next location – not knowing how sick boo really was.

After 22 hours, lots of money and refunds declined, we safely made it home. It has never, ever felt so good to be home.

12/3 – my birthday, still sick.


Have you ever…?

 …just packed up and left? Realized where you are at this moment is maybe not where you’re supposed to be.  

Have you ever…
Had the feeling that “this can’t be it”.  This can’t be my life for the next 40 years…

Have you ever…
Taken a risk, left it all and hoped for the best?  Knowing it may be a challenge, a struggle, but oh so worth it?

If so, I’d love to hear about it. I’d love to hear how you got the courage, the strength, and just left.  
Lately I’ve been day dreaming of moving to another country, starting life over, simplifying everything… It sounds like a dream. Perhaps temporary until the real world sucks me back and forces me into a career …  But I feel like it’s an adventure I need to indulge in before real life happens.

God is good friends. God is good.

Apparently I suck…

at taking constructive criticism

Photo from markhowelllive.com

Photo from markhowelllive.com

It’s funny, for the last two weeks I have been assisting with interviewing youth for jobs – and one of the questions we asked was: “describe a time when you were given constructive criticism, and how you responded”.  As I sat on the other side of the table, I didn’t bother to think about how I would answer this question… but, today, I figured it out.

I recently interviewed for the position I have been working in for the last 8 months (on assignment).  I felt confident – as I was praised for the work I had done thus far, I knew I had made a positive impact, and I walked out of the interview feeling relatively confident.

To my surprise, my interview was described as “vanilla, low energy, not your A game…”

<insert blank look here>

As I let the feedback settle, all I focused on was the word “vanilla”.  Urban Dictionary describes “vanilla” as unexciting, conventional, normal, boring.  Ouch – that hurt.  I felt myself getting internally defensive, thinking my work had proven my worth, what did I miss, what didn’t I say, I answered all the questions, what else were they expecting?

My response was “perhaps I’m not the best candidate for this position“, and perhaps I’m not, but by golly, I wish I taken this feedback with a little more grace.  Yes, tears are welling in my eyes, I’ve already perused other jobs, and I am accepting that this may not be where God wants me – but I wish I would have sat up tall, smiled boldly, thanked the person for the criticism and expressed my goals of improvement.

Now, on top of feeling vanilla, I feel disappointed in myself for how I reacted.

So what’s the point of this rant?   To not let words cut so deep, to take them for what they were – honest feedback – and to be grown up enough to accept them and move on.

Thanks for hearing me out.  If anyone has any tips on interviewing, staying strong & positive, accepting criticism – etc., I would love to hear them.

God is good friends.  God is good.




The Truth About Lying. But You Already Know All This.

Warning.  This is meant to be a slap in the face for everyone, because we all lie and all need to read this.  Yes, even me, the goody goody.
May the truth set you free
Lying is something we all experience, on a daily basis.  Whether we’re being the victim of deceit, or we ourselves may be the liar.   It’s something that happens constantly – and truthfully, I hate it more than most.   
Being called a liardoesn’t bode well with most, so we make up excuses to justify our lies to avoid this title.  Or, we lie to cover up our lie.  Crap, we have to lie again to cover that lie.  It’s a vicious cycle and a slippery slope.  And in the end, you’ve not only lied to the poor fool or multiple fools, but you’ve lied to yourself.  Think about that.  You are lying to yourself by trying to justify your lies.
So what?  Why lie?  Here’s what I’ve deduced:
I think if you’ve decided to lie, because it is a choice, especially to someone’s face, it’s because you’re scared.  You’ve made the decision that covering your butt is more important than showing this person respect by being honest.  You’ve chosen the cowardly route because you’d rather take the easy way out, than face it head on.  Yes, it sucks to read, but am I right?   One thing I have always said is “I’d rather have you willing to fight with me, then able to look me in the eyes and lie to my face.”  But people tend to lie anyway.  For me, it’s very black and white when it comes to lying.  For many of us liars, there are probably a million reasons why we decided to lie.
 “I didn’t want to hurt your feelings.”  Why not? Because we don’t have a strong enough relationship to withstand the truth?  #justbehonest
“I didn’t know how to tell you.”  You just say it.  #justdoit 
“I told you about that.”  Yes, you mentioned it, but you omitted a crucial part.  Omitting the whole truth is lying. #wholestory
You can put a lipstick on a pig my friend.  But in the end…. It’s still a pig.
Here’s a few of my favoritelies told to my face:
“That text message is from a gay guy I met last night…I think he liked me”
This brilliant ex of mine had met a girl – cheated on me with her and stored her name in his phone under a guy’s name.  When I saw the message “I had a great night with you last night sweets” he claimed it was a gay guy he had met.  Funny…when I called her to discuss the message, she didn’t sound like a man.  #over
“I swear I didn’t take your pants.”
Sorry to call this one out – if any of you remember this scenario.  My best friend – actually, my first friend ever, decided to steal a brand new pair of pants from me in high school.  She lied to my face about it for 6 months until finally giving me the pants back.  Our friendship was destroyed.  And for what?  A PAIR OF PANTS.  #nopoint
And a classic “I’m not married.”
That sure didn’t seem true as his WIFE AND CHILD storm into my restaurant, haul me outside and confront me about my relationship with HER HUSBAND.  I was completely, and I mean completely, blindsided.  #myfirstandlastmarine
A lie is a lie is a lie.  And friends, that just skims the surface of the things I’ve heard.
I think one of the worst things about lying is we all lie so regularly, it has become a habit.  Even with the little things.  If you’ll lie about the small things, chances are you’ll lie about the big things too.
I’m sure we’ve all had plans with friends but really would rather stay home, so we say something like “ah sorry man something came up.” Why not just say “I’m not in the mood.”  We’ve all been there.  We get it.  Doing something that doesn’t honor your relationship?  Suck up your pride and admit it.  Got caught?  Lay it all out.  Didn’t get caught, but do things to cover it up just in case?  Stop it.  Even better yet…don’t do it in the first place. 
If you’re doing something you have to lie about WHY ARE YOU DOING IT?!?  STOP IT.  RIGHT NOW. STOP THAT!

Here’s my challenge.  Be honest about everything.  Even if it’s painful to admit, puts you in a bad situation or just sucks to actually have to say out loud.  Just be honest about EVERYTHING.  I’m intentionally trying to carve this thought into your head – because I don’t think we realize how much we actually lie about.  Even the little things – where there’s no reason to lie, but we do anyway.  Just think about it.  Digest it a bit.  Catch yourself.  Be honest with yourself about what you’re not being honest about. 

Just be real friends.  Be good.  Be humble.  Be someone you can be proud of.  Be honest.

God is good friends.  God is good.