lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

Thailand – The Land of Judgey Side-Eye February 6, 2016

The husband and I aren’t rich. I mean, we have fun and travel, and life is beautiful. But there is a certain level of fanciness that I am neither accustomed to nor comfortable with.

Almost everything in Thailand (apart from the things at the one mall that was crazy fancy) — food, transport, and massages — is all super cheap. It’s a twelve hour time difference between where we live and Thailand and takes more than twenty four hours to get there, so the Husband decided to book us fancy jet lag massages. It wasn’t too much per person, and the guidebook recommended this really cool spa. So off we went.

The husband’s bag had, of course, been lost on the plane, so he was wearing an outfit made of clothes from street vendors and looked rather like a clown. I was wearing nice-ish clothes, at least nice for a backpacker. When we got to the hotel, the doorman promptly stopped us and asked if we needed anything. We said we had spa appointments, and he let us in with a judgmental side eye. In the hotel lobby was a string quartet. Yep. A real string quartet. We had to walk through the super fancy restaurant to get to the private boat to take us across the river to the spa. (more…)

 

Excruciating Extravagance February 3, 2016

Last post was about the strangeness of being in a store in the Beijing Airport where they didn’t seem to be afraid of people stealing things.

But then I got to Bangkok, and it was very, very different.

Please don’t think I’m saying that Bangkok is filled with thieves or anything. In fact, most of the people I met were lovely. Apart from one person masquerading as Tourism Police — the people who are supposed to protect tourists from scams, not arrest the tourists — and some cab drivers who like to price the fares exorbitantly for tourists, everyone was really lovely.

And Bangkok was beautiful.

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At least the historic district. When you took the train out of the city or even went a little off the beaten path, you could see people living in shacks without windows. Some by the train tracks, some literally on stilts over the river. Now, I’m not deluded enough to think that poverty isn’t a problem in America. It most certainly is. But seeing people living with piles of trash outside their doors in homes that were falling down…. It was startling. And very, very sad. (more…)

 

Honor Amongst Thieves February 1, 2016

On our way to Thailand, our plane stopped in Beijing, China. Apart from Beijing eating my husband’s checked bag so he had to spend the rest of our time out of the country wearing hilariously small underpants, being stuck in a Chinese airport for five hours was a rather interesting experience.

I would never say, Oh, yes. I’ve been to China. I saw the inside of an airport. But there is a decent amount you can learn about a culture by observing how they treat travelers.

First of all, Jack Daniels is apparently the international sign for I give up. Please give me a drink. Every bar and restaurant shelf had a big bottle of Jack Daniels sitting front and center.

Apparently no smoking in the bathroom means no smoking unless the restroom attendant offers to slip you a lighter for a tip. Good thing neither my husband nor I smoke, or we might be in Chinese jail right now.

Massages are not some exclusive rich people benefit to flying. There are pretty little kiosks you can just slip into for a real quick foot rub without having to choose between foot comfort and eating a real meal in the airport.

But the most fascinating thing to me was the level or trust they had for the flyers. And not just the bathroom attendant assuming my husband wouldn’t turn him in for encouraging illegal smoking in the bathroom. (more…)

 

The Adventurer Returns January 29, 2016

I’m back!

I know it’s been forever, and I have literally been on the other side of the world. But I am back, and boy do I have some stories to tell!

First of all, Thailand was amazing!

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I wouldn’t call it much of a vacation. Except for the two days I spent in this hammock binging on the entire Maze Runner series.

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More like an expedition. Where you lost most of your supplies and got heat stroke. Sort of like your ox dying and getting dysentery, but with this as a view.

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Seeing another culture so vastly different from the one I have lived with my whole life was amazing.

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And I can’t wait to share all my stories with you.

I’m road tripping down to Florida with my husband to start rehearsals for a show I am thoroughly excited about, but I will be posting regularly from now on. And to make up for my absence, I leave you with this video of my husband being dragged up onstage by a Thai drag queen. And yes, they are dancing to Hava Nagila.

Enjoy!

 

Musings of Megan O’Russell December 31, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — meganorussell @ 4:13 pm

Writing is worth it. Always worth it.

Live, Love, Read

eternaldreamers

Just Write
by Megan O’Russell

Writing is hard. Anyone who tells you that it isn’t has never had a book published. That’s not to say that the endless hours of writing and the terrible slog of editing aren’t worth it. To me they definitely are. But writing isn’t skipping through a meadow and picking up words like wildflowers. It’s more chopping through a jungle with a machete. And there are leeches, venomous snakes, and mosquitoes. And if you survive your trek through the dark and dangerous expanse of writing a book, your reward is editing, which is like having a root canal while listening to Barney songs on repeat.

Even still, I think it’s worth it. And thousands of people doing NaNoWriMo think it’s worth it, too. My advice to anyone who wants to write a book, whether it’s within a month’s time or over the span of years, is…

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A Christmas Engagement… I Think December 25, 2015

I know I said I was going to not be posting as consistently for the next little while. But you guys, two days ago was the best day ever! I mean obviously it’s Christmas, so that just makes life magical, but then I got to the theatre and was handed a special announcement for curtain speech.

Jane Borough, will you marry Scott Wilson?

(Please note names have been changed for the protection and privacy of all those involved.)

And that was the whole thing. The guy didn’t want to come onstage or anything! Just for me to get her attention, and ask if she’d marry him.

So after we announced a one-hundredth birthday, I called out “And Jane Borough, is she here?”

Of course no one said anything. “Do we have a Jane Borough?”

Finally, a little hand popped up in the back of the theatre.

“Will you marry Scott Wilson?”

Everyone gasped, and Jane didn’t really say anything. But she smiled and kissed him. So we sort of all said yay and moved on with our lives. But I think she wanted to marry him, so hooray for happily ever after!

And on top of getting to propose to someone without having to go through the bother of kneeling, buying a ring, or meeting them, I got the best rejection letter ever!

They don’t think there’s a market for the concept, but they think I’m a fantastic writer and want me to submit another manuscript.

Well, Merry Christmas to me!!!!

And to all of you!

Yay Christmas!

 

Christmas Adventure December 23, 2015

Telling children that your fate in the Christmas play is to have been burned alive is bad. Really bad. But let me tell you how I came close to that crowning moment of inappropriate-for-children glory.

It was a few summers ago when I was playing Maleficent in a children’s theatre production of Sleeping Beauty. I had the whole Disney-style costumes complete with the horns. I became a dragon and had a terrible death scene on stage. I mean, you have to do it up right for kids’ shows.

With the theatre company I work for you do a Q&A after every show. One day a child asked what my horns were made of. I answered in the most clear and child friendly way I could think of.

“You know how inside of your teddy bear there’s fluffy white stuffing? Well, that’s what my horns are made of.”

The children were horrified, thinking that I had somehow snuck into their homes and gutted their beloved teddy bears. I only meant that they were light and fluffy. I didn’t say it was teddy bear guts. But it didn’t matter. I was a teddy bear killer. (more…)

 

 
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