Two Roads Diverged

Life is all about choices – so which choice is coming next?

VIP Unexpectedly

“Jillian, it’s slow – go ahead and clock out.”

This could’ve been the most beautiful sentence I’ve ever heard on a Saturday night when I haven’t gotten clubbing for weeks and I knew that at.that.moment. my friends were getting ready to head out.

I jumped on the phone,
“Girls! I got out early!! Where are you??”
“We’re at the Precinct, meet us there!”

I rushed home – got ready in record time – rushed out.

When I roll into Precinct – well, it’s crowded! 5 top at the bar (aka, the bar is at least 5 people thick all the way down), the dancefloor is a writhing mass of people, and there are even shoulder-to-shoulder amounts of people standing and talking.

I attempt to get a drink at the bar – as I’m stone-cold sober and my friends are, less so ^.^ After 20 minutes, I give up. I figured – it’s late already, I’d rather save my $10, I’ll just go dance!

Sadly, after just a short while, the DJ switches to a live band.

While this can sometimes be cool – in this instance, it just killed the vibe.

It’s getting near 1am.

“Girls, I don’t want to quit, but my feet are starting to hurt, and I just, this band is killing it for me…”
My friend looks up from her phone,
“Well, this guy I’ve been talking to says he can get us into a club in South Melbourne. Wanna try?”

So we jump into an uber – and down to South Melbourne we go.

As we’re waiting outside for the guy to come collect us (and get us past the line to get in),
“So, how did you meet this guy?”
“Tinder. I’ll admit, I’m so worried – you know my luck with Tinder, he’ll probably be tiny and ugly… but hopefully this club is good!”

Minutes later, a not-scrawny, rather attractive guy goes to the bouncers,
“These 3, they’re with me.”

And inside we’re ushered.

Busy – but good music, no mood-killing live band in sight. Al (my friend’s Tinder man) walks us right up to a roped off table.
“These girls are with us! Let’s get them a drink!”
Who needs that much Belvedere?

Out pops a gigantic bottle of Belvedere, some glasses, and red mixer.

My friends look at me with a slightly evil glint in their eye,
“Hey!” they yell, “She’s sober you know!”

Al looks at me incredulously.
“WHAT?! GET THIS GIRL MORE DRINKS!”

Yes, that IS a penis straw.

Yes, that IS a penis straw.


Soon my friend asks me to finish her drink.

Then the Belvedere bottle mysteriously fills up my glass.

Again.

And again.

And probably some more agains…
The bottle buyer and I
Of course – these things all lead to me being not-so-stone-cold-sober anymore…

I wake up on a couch in the morning.

Definitely looked just like this.

Definitely looked just like this.

The night comes racing back.
We left the club. Came to a house. We’re safe. I know exactly where my friends are.
Now it’s time to find my belongings and make sure I get to work on time…

I walk into the bathroom. Tiny shampoo, conditioner, and lotion bottles on the sink. With nicely folded towels.

Am I at a house?! Or a hotel…

I look out the window.

Tennis court.
Pool.
Yard.

Definitely a house. Just you know – a mansion-y house…

I tiptoe down the stairs to the kitchen.

“Good morning.” says a gray-haired man who’s cooking eggs. “You look lost. Looking for your things? Downstairs.”
“Um… thanks,” I say, thoroughly confused as to where we are now but I CLEARLY remember no gray-haired gentlmen. “Um… what, what time is it?”
“8:30. I can’t believe you’re up to be honest. You guys didn’t get in until past 3:30 last night.”

Hmm… so he wasn’t with us. Owner of the house then?

“Um… could you tell me the nearest tram?”
He looks surprised, “You’re going to tram it? Not taxi?? Well, just down the street, turn left, you’ll walk straight to it.”

I go down the stairs, grab my things, run out the door.

It takes 1.5 hours to get home, but I manage it (looking utterly and completely walk-of-shame. I totally understand why the man asked why I wasn’t taking a taxi.).

The girls wake up a couple hours later and text me when they’re home.

“Hey – so was that Al’s mansion?” I ask later.
“Yes!” my friend writes excitedly. “I won Tinder! Woo hoo!”
“And did you meet the old guy??”
“No – his dad was out to brunch by then!”

So, mysterious old man explained.

And for the rest of the day I had to laugh. I went out sober – and woke up in a mansion. WHAT?!

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That time I was offered a threesome…

It’s just about sundown – the end of my first time really trying Yom Kippur – defiitely the end of my first time fasting on Yom Kippur.

G’mar hatimah tovah!

So did I do what other Jews do on Yom Kippur?
Go to synagogue, surround myself with other Jews who are holding together in our fasting?

NO!

I went to Chinatown.

And watched 7 other girls down delightful looking dim sum, honey sesame chicken, and other fantastic looking (and smelling!) dishes.

[I never said I was a good Jew! The running joke on my Birthright trip is that while I have a seriously Jewish last name, I’m pretty much the worst Jew ever…]

After dinner we went clubbing – starting at one bar and later migrating to another.

The decision was made that the girls wanted to move on to another suburb of Melbourne, but I stayed behind at the club we’d just gotten to.

Being as I’ve killed a lot of my shyness these last weeks living in Melbourne (which you have to when you move somewhere with no friends!), I found a couple girls in the bathroom, and ended up hanging with them for a portion of the night.

A little later, I started dancing with another girl. I’d been watching her, and felt protective of her – these two guys were hanging around, and she seemed a bit harassed.
She kept dancing with me and kind of pulling me off to the side – the girl signal for, “Save me! Let’s stay together and keep these guys at bay!”

Near the of the night I went to grab a water from the bar – and one of the guys walked up to me.

Smirking, he looks at me and says, “Boy – I’d just really love to kiss you right now.”
What????
“Seriously, my girlfriend would be ok with it.”
“WHAT?! GIRLFRIEND? Who?”
He looks at me funny, “The girl you’ve been dancing with.”

The girl in question walks up.
“Are you dating this guy???”
“Yeah,” she smiles, “I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but you are so beautiful. Seriously – so beautiful. You are just stunning.”
I look at her uncertainly.
“I would love if you came home with us tonight. You should consider it.” She winks.

I was stunned.

Honestly – I don’t remember what I said after that, but I’ve never run out of a place so fast in my life!

Yom Kippur is the day of atonement – the day where you ask God to forgive your sins.
I figure at least I didn’t end up having any sins to ask forgiveness for!

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Human Kindness

Going to preface this with:  in this story I make stupid decisions. I know this – no need for comments lectures, I’ve lectured myself and others have lectured me already. This is just a story about human kindness.

Last Saturday was the Grand Final game of the Australian AFL (don’t ask me what it is – I still don’t really get the rules…)

Kind of like the Superbowl – it’s a day of sports, drinking, bbq-ing.

Only, since it’s on a Saturday – you can go out after!! (Which means, more drinking, more partying!)

On this night, I went out with the girls, we ended up at a club, and I’d been texting this guy.  All night he’d been trying to convince me that all us girls should come meet his friends. Finally, at like 1am I think, “I’m gonna go meet him. Be spontaneous – I’m gonna do it!”

So I catch a taxi and I go to meet him.

$50 later I’m in the middle of a suburb I’ve never been to before. Most of the shops are closed around me. I have no coat. And now that my taxi left I see no other taxis.

And the guy isn’t answering my texts.

I’m on a street corner, in a dress, lost, slightly drunk, with no taxis in sight.

So I did what felt right in the moment.

Began to cry.

As I’m standing there sobbing, this man walks up to me and asks, rather tentatively,

“Um… are you ok?”
“I… not texting… and closed… just… ugh… cold…”
“Do you want me to call you a taxi?”
“I’m sorry… I don’t wanna be THAT girl crying… I just… you know…”
“Um… well, can I give you a lift home? You seem pretty cold… and upset…”
“I just… if it wouldn’t be a burden…”

And

He drove me home.

Just that. Nothing else. No expectations. Just a nice guy who saw a sad girl and drove her home.

I actually took his number. So I could take him to dinner a couple days later. To thank him.

He admitted to me, “I wasn’t sure what to do. I saw you and I thought, ‘Do I go to her? See if she’s ok? Does that come off as weird? Do I leave her alone?’ But, well, I just had to do something.”

And he did.

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Two weeks in…

Man. I can hardly believe it myself –

I’ve been in Australia for two weeks!

So I quit my jobs in August. Moved out of my apartment, back home. Had my brother’s engagement party. Saw friends. Packed for two days.

And flew to Australia.

Now trust me – the buildup to leaving the US? I was terrified.

“But you’ve lived out of the country before!” Friends and family said to me.

Yes, but there’s a huge difference for me between leaving the country for school, or for a job I already have, than leaving the country to a new place where I know no one. Have no place to live. And have no job nor any idea how long it will take me to get one.

I had to take a lot of deep breaths before I left. Had to calm myself down.

Then, I got here.

Australia

How Australia greeted me

How Australia greeted me

I hit the ground running. I landed, check in, went to the bank and opened an account, went and got a phone, found the Greek Precinct (and got free food!).

Fell asleep at 6pm. Whoops…

By Friday I had two jobs.

A week in? Two jobs, a potential third, and an apartment to look at.

Two weeks in?

Moved out of the hostel and into a house.
Quit one job already.
Got a paycheck.
Met loads of people.
Hugged a koala.
Pet a kangaroo.
Saw wild penguins.
Go out most nights of the week.
Been on several dates.

Still haven’t been killed/nor tried to be killed by anything.

I think Australia and I are turning into best buddies.

Feeding a kangaroo!

KOALA!

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It’s been a while for a lot of things

Today marks that the day that for the first time in two years I’m completely unemployed.

But don’t worry! It was by choice – and I’m looking forward to having some free time!

You see – in 25 days, I finally begin my next adventure.

Australia, I’m coming for you.

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Quarter of a Century Discovery

So last week, I turned 25.

A quarter of a century.

I can now rent cars without an extra underage fee!

But I didn’t do that for my birthday.

See, I like to try and keep things interesting.

For my 21st – I was in Scotland.
22nd – Skydiving
23rd – Bungy Jumping in Greece (technically it was months later, and my 23rd was just celebrated in Greece, but I’m including it anyway ^.^)
24th – Hang-gliding

So this year was the question: What to do next?

I decided, this was the year for TRAPEZE

Practicing a trick

Practicing a trick

I had thought about it last year, but decided against it, as I thought, “You have to have loads of upper body strength!”

Just so you all know, that is false.

Being strong helps of course, but is not necessary.

Trapeze involves a lot of judging when you’ve reached the height of an arc, then you use the weightlessness created by your downward fall to move into other positions.

I was totally able to do this!

Just not always able to let go at the right time…

Having your parents crack up at you?

Well, makes you laugh too actually ^.^

It was a great experience – an HOUR and a HALF of trapeze!!!

And the last two tries involved catching. You know, the legit someone-is-on-another-trapeze-and-catches-you-midair catching!

They were like, “That was good – let’s try it with the splits!!”

And I replied, “… … … fiiiiiiine… … …” (I was SUPER excited at that prospect, as you can see…)

But then I did pretty darn good.

It was a splendid time – so great, that I think I’ve discovered a new hobby! A quarter of a century into my life!!

But as the 81 year old woman who was trapeze-ing told me. It’s never too late to start something new :)

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When Murphy Comes to Call

Saturday dawned grey and gloomy.

“Oh dear – looks like rain,” commented my roommate. “I hope it doesn’t rain at our pal’s wedding! That’d be terrible.”

It would, I agreed. But I was so excited for this wedding even rain wouldn’t have kept me down!

See, it was my Indian friend’s wedding. His bride had asked me to wear my sari – so for the first time ever, I’d get to wear the beautiful sari my dad had brought back from India – and wear it to a real function! (It had been worn for Halloween a couple times – but I couldn’t figure out where else to wear it…)

Blurry picture: too much dancing was involved.

Blurry picture: too much dancing was involved.”

I also anticipated Indian bollywood-type dancing.

My feelings in one word: ecstatic

The couple’s wedding website said the ceremony would begin at 5. So my roommate and I left at 4 – and stopped at Rite Aid since my skirt was falling off.

“Jeeeeeeeff – I need to get safety pins! And we need to grab a card.”
“So go!” Jeff responded.
“You go grab a card – I’ll go grab safety pins–”
Jeff gave an evil grin, “Nope, you can go grab both. I’m going to sit here so when you walk in the store there will be no context for what you’re wearing. One word: hilarious.”

I ran inside, holding one side of my skirt, trying to ensure it didn’t fall down.

10 min, many wrong directions, lots of stops to pull my skirt back up, LOTS of strange looks, one comment about my ‘pretty dress’, and one explanation to the check-out girl later, I was back in the car.

It’s about 4:15 now.

“No problem. 30 min to the church, we’ll still be there early.”

We start down the freeway – and hit traffic.

traffic

“*bleep*-ers! I hate looky-loos. Like they’ve never seen an accident every. single. day.”

Once past the blockage, we rush down to the church – only to find the parking lot full. We maneuver into a side street, and run to the building.

“Huh, looks like they’re just starting. Some kind of line going into the building…”
“Um… Jeff… people are definitely coming out of the building. I think the ceremony is over… I THINK WE MISSED IT!”
“Ridiculous. It starts at 5, it’s not 5!”

We get closer – sure enough – it’s the receiving line.

The one that happens after the wedding.

Yep - definitely the wedding's end.

Yep – definitely the wedding’s end.

As we hurry over, a couple of our friends see us, and start laughing.

“We figured you’d be late – but really?!”

We ran through the back of the church and jumped into the end of the receiving line.

“GUYS! BEAUTIFUL CEREMONY!”
“You missed it…”
“Whaaaaa??? No… never… yes… yes we did…”
The couple grins, “Well, you’re never going to live this down!!”

So luckily we have friends who understand my roommate’s penchant for lateness – but mostly the fact that their wedding started half an hour earlier than it was supposed to.

(Seriously, what weddings start EARLY???)

Everyone sidles into the reception area, gets their seats. Starts to eat, drink, and be merry.

As this was a small venue, the bride and groom had had to bring their own alcohol for everyone to have. The groom runs up to my roommate.

“All right – you can make it up to me. Go grab some more booze!”

Off runs my roommate and another guy to go grab booze.

The toasts start.

“Oh man,” I thought, “poor Jeff missed the ceremony and is now missing the toasts!”

The DJ announces that shortly the cake will be cut – but fortuitously for Jeff, gets distracted from that plan by playing dance music for the crowd.

The guys return, with beer/wine for days. More partying commences.

And by partying: all people under the age of 30 dancing/carousing, all those above 50 sitting and watching.

The cake is cut and eaten. More dancing commences.

A little while later
“Huh… where’s the bride?”
“Where’s the groom?”

Nobody knows.

We all grin knowingly.

“Be back – restroom break!”

I run into the church.

“Poor dear,” says the caterer, “being sick during your wedding?? Poor bride!”
“What happened?” I ask
“Oh, the bride is having a terrible allergic reaction to something. She’s been sick in there for a while now!”

So our knowing grins were quite unknowing apparently…

“I heard she’s feeling better, but I don’t think she’ll be up for any more partying.”

I head back outside.

All the lights go out and the music shuts off.

“Um… I feel like this is a signal that we should go…”

The bride is trundled off with her in-laws and parents (doctors and nurses). And the groom hitches a ride with us back to his place.

“We’re so sorry man. Bummer that she’s sick!”
“It happens. We have our whole lives, I’m not worried.”

Good thing he felt that way.

______________________________________________

The next day, the groom got an allergic reaction to something. Spent the day sick.

Personally, I blame Murphy. I think he took it too seriously when one of the toasts wished the happy couple, “…challenges to deepen their relationship.”…

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Math-Booze: A Bad Drink

Sadly bartenders, and definitely anyone else in the service industry who’s been around drinkers, learn that booze-and-math-do-not-a-delicious-drink-make.

When using a credit card, the customer receives a receipt that looks something like:

Amount: __________
Tip: __________
Total: __________

But often, once the booze starts flowing, all these numbers don’t add up to the correct amounts…

Example: Last night a man hands me his receipt with a, “You’re so great! NIGHT!” He walks off.

His receipt:

Amount: $13.75
Tip: $3.25
Total: $14.00

… …

Thank you sir for the thought – I’ll just have to settle for that $0.25 instead…

I think most of us would prefer if drinkers just wrote this:

At least he's honest...

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So I know it’s been, like, forever…

Or almost five months. Give or a take a ‘forever’…

How could time fly so fast?

Well, if you all remember my post about finally quitting a job, on of the head cooks predicted:

Well, there’s been three restaurants in that spot in the last couple years. Chances are it won’t make it.

And, lo-and-behold, two months after the Pizzeria opened, I received a text from the owners, “With the advice of our financial advisors and the corporate office, we’re closing the doors immediately. We appreciate your hard work and enthusiasm.”

Ouch!

Now jobless, I remembered that one of my mom’s friends worked at a local casino as an assistant manager in the food & bev department. Luckily they had a bartending position open.

A week, three interviews, and one talent show interview later – I was hired!

“Awesome,” I thought, “on-call position at a casino. I should get a couple days and some nice pay!”

What happened to the last 2 months then? Well, turns out I’m working full time! Full time – 6pm to 3am. With a 45 minute commute each way.

By the time I fall into bed at 4 – well, I don’t wake up for a long, long, long time.

Except for the days I wake up and go to my second job.

And the one day I spend a couple hours on my third job…

Yes, I’m still doing that to myself (I think I enjoy the challenge?).

So before I knew it – 5 months. POOF!

But I’m finally back – and will attempt to stay that way!

So for now – let it be known that I’ve missed you all terribly. And have tried to keep up (and have been pretty much horribly unsuccessful in that endeavor…), ad will try to keep up now.

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Hunter Hunted at MTV Studios

The traffic inches along. Just fast enough that I can’t e-brake, release the clutch, and relax my tensed leg muscles.

“Thank goodness for the gym,” I mumble to myself. But it’s worth it. Shortly, so shortly, I will be off the highway, and rolling into the parking lot of Viacom – aka, the MTV and many other tv stations headquarters.

_______________________________________________________________________

I finally arrive. The elevator drops me in the lobby. The receptionist points. And there’s my band.

The only band whose every song they’ve sung, I’ve liked.

The guys who take the time to get to know their fans, to recognize them when they see them again.

A band who’s gone the extra mile by hand-delivering their first EP to my dorm door; and put my friend on the VIP list when I forgot to get her a ticket to their House of Blues concert.

A band where my friends and I have gone to concerts, and we left after Hunter Hunted played – as we had no interest in the headliners.

A band who’s growing whose stardom is catching up to the stars they’ve always been.

We all troop up to the MTV floor, into a little music studio, where Hunter Hunted will be giving a mini concert.

To some of the staff of Viacom.

And me. The only non-Viacom member.

I tweeted like mad a bit. Instagrammed a little.

The set was short – only a couple numbers, including one of my favorite of their new songs:

The staff filed out – back off to their jobs (don’t I wish I could have a musical break in the middle of my day!).

I was able to do a one-question interview. (No pressure!)

A little more time spent chatting with Michael and Dan – about their lives, my life. Whatever – because these are guys who make you feel comfortable.

All too quickly I had to leave to meet up with friends at UCLA. But every time I meet with this band, it’s memories I’ll never forget.

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