If you’ve been following my blog for a couple of years or know me in person, you know that I often find myself in some pretty hilarious and tricky predicaments – both on purpose and accidentally. In the past year, however, I have managed to walk into all of the following situations on accident and some of them were highly coincidental. Others felt like something out of a movie but oh, no…they were certainly real. Each one provided me with an opportunity to feel extremely embarrassed at the time and then to laugh about it in the next one. All of these crazy moments gave me the chance to laugh at myself (or the situation around me) and not take myself too seriously. And, the longer I live abroad and take time to travel and leave my comfort zone, the more I think about all these funny moments and laugh even harder about them as time goes on.
So, without further ado, I give you permission to laugh at and enjoy a few of the many hilarious things that happened to me in 2015. I’ve laughed at myself about these already so just know that I was laughing about them again while reminiscing and writing this post. Life abroad and travel are not all sunshine and rainbows every day and some days are downright awful or problematic. We all live this thing called life and that’s how it is – no matter where you live on this big, beautiful globe. Take a moment to appreciate the funny moments in life and learn from them. That’s what I try to do. 🙂
Where: Budapest, Hungary
When: December 28th, 2015
|There’s a reason why most people only tend
to stroll by the river and not eat by it. I learned the hard way.
On the train to Budapest that morning from Bratislava (where I was staying), I had a very small breakfast and so after walking around Budapest a little bit and wandering over to the river, I was hungry. It wasn’t exactly lunchtime by Hungarian standards -or so I assumed- so I decided to finish eating the snacks my friend was kind enough to pack for me before I left for my day trip.
After taking a few pictures of the apple with the Pest side of Budapest in the background, which you can see here, I finally started eating it and enjoying the sunshine that had peaked out of the blanket-like fog. The temperature was at about freezing (in Celsius) so my hands were turning into blocks of ice while I ate it but I didn’t mind. The rays of the sun and countless passersby (read: enormous waves of tourists) helped keep my mind off of the cold and allowed me to enjoy the whole experience. And since so many people were passing by my bench, I didn’t think it was strange when I heard a tiny clinking sound and felt someone (or something) plop down next to me on the bench, I finished chewing a bite of the apple (which I was just about to get up and go throw it away) and swiveled my head over to the right – in the direction of the movement. My eyes widened and I choked back a laugh at the sight of a large crow sitting on the top of the bench pointedly staring at the juicy remains of the apple in my hand.
I panicked and repeated the phrase, “Oh, my gosh,” over and over again and glancing all around me before quickly deciding to throw the apple towards the rocks near the river. The crow took off like a shot and dove down to get the apple and flew it up to the tall, thin lamp post near the bench. It happily munched on the remains of the apple and then went on its merry way. I believe that crow (and all the other birds flying around or near the river) was desperately hungry for any kind of morsel of food as it didn’t look like anyone in the area made a habit of feeding them.
|How breathtaking is this view, though?|
And in hindsight, throwing my apple on the ground and letting a bird eat it wasn’t the best of ideas. However, I saw how focused its attention was on my apple and imagined it following me over to the trash can and attacking me further. So, to not cause a scene or draw more attention to myself on that cold sunny day, I decided to let the bird have it. After all, he (and many other things) helped make my day in Budapest very memorable. (Thanks, you crazy old Hungarian crow. Now I’ve got a great story, too!)
Where: A Coruña, Spain
When: May 2015
|I don’t know about you but I prefer drawing and reading about people with clothes on….|
I was left unsupervised in an entire 3rd grade (3A) art class (which I assisted with weekly with a head English teacher) one afternoon and the kids went out of control. One student decided that that moment -without a main teacher in the room- was the perfect moment to find a science book that he had read before and look for nude drawings in it. He grabbed the book from the bookshelf in the back of the classroom I imagined and took it back to another student’s desk. (He had recently been assigned to sit in the front corner of the classroom so that’s another thing about the situation that seemed fishy to me.)
As a small group of students began to crowd around him and started laughing, I realized that he was looking at something that he wasn’t supposed to be looking at. I was helping a couple of students with the project they were working on but I knew I had to walk over there and see what was going on. I approached his desk and saw that there was a drawing of a naked woman with big breasts on that page. The boy started to lift up his shirt from the neck and started looking underneath it and asked out loud in Spanish, “Dónde están mis tetas? Dónde están? (Roughly: Where are my breasts/tits? Where are they?) At that point -with my face flushed and eyes wide- I grabbed the book from his desk and threw it back into the bookshelf (I usually am very careful about how I treat books but I didn’t care much for this one at the time, haha) and told him to go back to his seat. I said it in English but as I knew he wouldn’t understand me, I reiterated it in Spanish. “Véte. Véte, Saul.” Dónde? “A tu sitio!” (To your spot/seat.)
This may be one of just a handful of times that I will get angry and turn into a wicked teacher in my career -however long this overseas teaching career will last me- but this is probably my funniest experience to date. And since I’m expected to speak in English the entire time (save a few words here and there to help with comprehension) at the schools I work in, having those students hear me not only yell for the first time ever but also do it Spanish, instilled some fear in them. Who knew that soft-spoken and slow-to-speak Sarah was capable of instilling fear in a small group of Spanish elementary students?
I didn’t know I had it in me either. 😛
Where: Santiago de Compostela, Spain
When: October/November 2015
|Thankfully the incident didn’t occur in this bar cause I love its name!|
I decided to go out with a couple of new friends and go listen to some traditional music at a local bar. After being there for only thirty minutes -and finding out that the band canceled last minute- I was still having a nice time and was standing around near the bar stools with my friends. An older man comes up from behind me and stands next to me. (I’m standing parallel to the wall with my back to the door.) After making eye contact with me (and then almost starting up a conversation with me), he awkwardly reaches over and touches one of my butt cheeks! Just one AND keeps his hand there for a few seconds before it dawned on me what was actually going on, as the bar was quite crowded and small. He claimed that two young guys who were hanging out at the entrance of the bar saw me and thought that I had a nice butt and dared that man to go touch it. (Who does that?!)
It’s kind of a miracle that I didn’t get angry and start yelling at the man or go over and yell at the guys who propositioned him to do it. On the other hand, I wished the floor would have opened up and swallowed me whole instead of having to have stood there and dealt with that very, very, VERY awkward social situation that I had suddenly found myself in that night. It would have been a tiny bit less awkward had the man not made eye contact with me before he touched me back there. Maybe, haha.
|Not even wine could fix that night, folks. (Wine glasses at a tasting in the Ribera del Duero wine region)|
My friends barely knew what had happened to me because their attention was focused on ordering another drink. When a couple of them got back to our spot, they saw me talking to this old man who said, “No te pongas rojo,” a couple of times to me as he explained why he did what he did. He excused himself after that by bluntly saying, “Voy a mear,“ (Roughly: I have to go take a whiz/leak) like the “gentleman” that he was.
After he left, I filled my friends in on what happened and how I probably caught their attention by leaning against this beer shelf/holder that we were standing by. I told them that when I stand I naturally lean to one side or the other and that stance makes my already attractive butt even more prominent (it’s true, haha). I caught the attention of a couple of guys that night but they were too cowardly to come over to me and say anything to my face and instead sent someone else to indirectly do their bidding. I also didn’t want to cause a scene, so I told my friends, so that’s why I didn’t feel it was necessary to get angry at the old man even though he was a bit of a pervert.
And on my walk back home to my flat that night, all I could think about was how disgusting that whole situation was (though it wasn’t the first time it had happened – that’s a story for another day) and how I just wanted to wash those jeans. As I walked up to the main door of my apartment, however, I found a 5 euro note laying in front of the door! I pulled out my keys and put them over it and picked it all up together (as there were a couple of people behind me wanting to enter the building too). The night didn’t start off well but it sure had a nice, happy ending!
(For me at least.)
And it helped me forget about what was mostly an awful night out within a matter of minutes, haha.
Where: Barcelona, Spain
When: September 25th, 2015
|Barceloneta Beach at night (where most people go fully clothed)|
I spent a few days in Barcelona before returning to Galicia for another year to teach English but this time in a new town. I needed a few days to relax and readjust to the time zone again as well as take advantage of seeing more of Barcelona in warmer weather. I had also met a Spanish teacher in my aunt and uncle’s city in the States over the summer and she suggested I stay with her daughter for a few days when I flew back. I did stay there for free but I spoke English with her daughter (who is practically my age) almost all of the time and got a taste of what authentic Catalan culture is like.
I spent my last full day there visiting places near the outskirts of the city like Parc Güell and Barceloneta Beach. I asked friends online for advice on what to see if it were their last day in Barcelona and someone suggested I visit the secret nude section of Barceloneta just for fun.
Well, I didn’t plan on going to it but I did accidentally find that nude part of the beach and it wasn’t so bad. I arrived around twilight and found a spot to lay out my towel and sit for a few minutes watching the colors of the sky go from a dark blue to almost pitch black with only the twinkling lights of the stars and cruise ships to light up the ocean view in front of me. And the glaring lights of the street lamps behind me that bikers, roller skaters and passersby used to take advantage of the pleasant weather and go for a stroll or a quick bout of exercise. It was really a nice night to be out at the beach.
A few minutes go by and suddenly the noise level on the beach increases. I noticed that the people around me were staring out at the ocean and talking among themselves. Then…I realized that a very tan, middle-aged guy near the shore didn’t have any clothes on! I could have sworn I saw him earlier and I knew he had had clothes on a few minutes ago. But, then all of a sudden he decided to take ’em all off!
I brought both hands up to my forehead and covered my eyes all the while shaking my head at the same time. I had tried so hard to avoid the nude part of the beach, but, lo and behold I found it anyway! That didn’t stop me from enjoying the beach and the fresh sea air, though. I still decided that I was going to get my feet wet in the ocean and walk alongside the shore. So, I made sure to keep a considerable distance away from this man and I had a nice time walking along the beach, enjoying the gentle waves and moonlight.
Everything was going just fine until I realized that on my walk back to my towel, the naked man was less than 50 feet away from me. And higher up on the sand than I was at that moment. He was gazing out at the ocean himself oblivious to everyone else around him. I had no choice but to pass by him and I did so by looking out towards the ocean and praying that he wouldn’t come near me. At the same time, my face was beet red (thank goodness it was dark!) and I had to cover my mouth to keep myself from laughing at how awkward this situation was -or could have become.
I survived and while nothing directly embarrassing happened to me this time, I guess I was more embarrassed for this man since he was out in public. At any rate, I’m going to pay more attention the next time I visit Barceloneta (if I don’t go to better beaches along the Costa Brava) and make sure I don’t go back to this spot in the daytime. 😛
And what was probably the most embarrassing experience of them all and of the past decade is the following story. I managed to handle it well after it happened but due to the sheer number of people I saw in both airports, on the plane and later that night on the Metro, this had to have been my most uncomfortable travel experience to date. I laugh at it now but I was mortified at the time! (And had only brought one pair of jeans for my trip. So…here’s the full story:
Where: Santiago de Compostela Airport (Spain)
When: June 17th, 2015
|I promise I’m house-trained, haha….|
I planned to go to Madrid for a long weekend a couple of weeks before I flew back to the States for the summer. I was meeting up with a friend of my brother’s and she was going to show me around the city and help me cross a few touristy things off my list that I hadn’t been able to do yet. As well as explore “off the beaten path” locations and hidden corners of Madrid that only long-time city dwellers know about (or really clever and ambitious expats!).
I lived in A Coruña at the time so I had to take the train and then the airport bus before I could arrive at the airport itself. All the way to the airport in Santiago on the bus, I had the urge to go to the bathroom. I used the bathroom before I boarded my flight and well…see the above picture for more details. Long story short, I really needed to go and ended up missing the mark so to speak in the process, haha. And then I went and boarded a flight for an hour and a half to Madrid, the capital city of the country and a booming metropolis full of people, especially trendy and stylish young people.
To my advantage, and to save face, no one really noticed that part of my pan leg was wet and thanks to having scrubbed it with some soap and water (as well as a baby wipe), it dried and didn’t smell after I got off the plane. I was super embarrassed at the time but I had a flight to catch and later on, a route on the Metro to plan so I quickly forgot about the whole ordeal. I did remember to put the jeans in a plastic bag when I got to my friend’s flat and thankfully had a pair of shorts that I wore for the rest of my 5-day trip.
|Hey, at least I finally found this legendary spot and realized what it was finally!|
And what’s even worse is that while walking around Madrid in 100ºF+ weather for a few days, I managed to simultaneously get both a sunburn and a heat rash on my feet due to all the walking and sweating were doing. (And I didn’t think to put sunscreen on my feet…go figure on that one!) Of all the times I had been to Madrid or only passed through via the airport, this time may have been one of my most memorable visits ever.
What was your most embarrassing moment while traveling or simply living life in 2015? Can you relate to any of the incidents that happened to me last year? Share your stories below in the comments!