Kathmandu, I'll Soon Be Seeing You

Kathmandu, I'll Soon Be Seeing You

My Experince As A GPE with Clinic Nepal
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I can't do this. If I stand in this line any longer, I am either going to throw up or pass out. Although I feel like I have been standing in the line since the age of the dinosaurs, maybe only twenty minutes have passed before I am at the front of the line checking into myplane ride. I have flown plenty of times before, by myself, and yet I have never been so nervous as I am right now. None of the other trips were as important as this one.

On July fourth, most people are shooting off fireworks to celebrate, but I am waiting for my delayed plane to shoot me off into the sky. Thirteen hours till I land in Doha's airport and another full day till I land in Kathmandu, Nepal. Despite only being there for two weeks, at this moment, I feel like I am going to be gone for forever. My mind blanks, and even though it is 2016 (2073 in Nepal), I think that all communication to my existence in America is severed. I speak no Nepali, and I have never left the country. I look like I'm twelve and too young to be traveling alone. And at the moment,I feel that way too. Just breath.

I applied for the Global Peace Exchange chapter at BSC whenI was having a mid-mid life crisis during first semester; I had an interview in the Spring and a few weeks later, I was informed that I was chosen to be a part of GPE and would be heading to Nepal in the summer. GPE partners with Clinic Nepal, a non-profit organization, to help teach English,leadership, health, and environmentalsustainably and work on improving the different projects that Clinic Nepal has built. I love volunteering and this is an amazing opportunity. I am blessed to have this experience... if I can get over my nerves first. As I stand in the impossible line waiting for my visa, my journey has begun.

Of course Nepal is geographically another country, but I am not prepared for the culture shock that ensures; stray dogs litter the roads, sleeping away the blazing hot day while people calmly walk into chaotic traffic to cross the street. Traffic laws exist, but are ignored justlike the serving size of your favorite snack. Horns are constantly honking as a reminder that drivers are sharing the road. Did I mention that it’s hot? Because I am simply sitting in Hari and Sirjana's house in Kathmandu, yet I am sweating like I am a runner in the Marathon des Sables in the Saharan desert. This reminds me of home, I think as the hot, humid weather pays homage to Dothan, AL. Just like home. But without air conditioning. Little did I know that Nepal could actually get hotter.

The people of Nepal are really polite and nice, a reminisce of southern hospitality. Visitors are welcomed with Nepali tea and bouquets of flowers (that will later be confiscated by customs). When Anna and Annika, some German volunteers, and I were traveling to Daldale, someone on the bus always checked in with us to make sure that we understood what was going on. We always had clean, cold water to take to our rooms. Along with the other teens and kids staying at the hostel, we explored Daldale, local temples, and the birthplace of Buddha. Nepalese people were patient to explain their customs and language to us when we had questions or did not understand what was being said. Many times. I have never felt so welcomed in my life. Albeit, there is that one guy who insisted on selling me a pashmina no matter how many times I told him no. Don't let that guy ruin the country for you.

Almost as beautiful as the people are the mountains that are ever-present in the scenery. The drive to Daldale consisted of winding roads with gorgeous views of immense mountains and falling waterfalls. The climb to the waterfalls would have been hot, swarming in mosquitos, lurking with stealthy predators, but to feel the water cascade into one's hand would have been worth it. Sitting on the balcony of the hostel in the mornings, the clouds surrounded the mountains in mystery; its true height would not be revealed until later that day. In Meghauli, a ride down the river and walk in the Chitwan National Park revealed a jungle teeming with life; deer, monkeys, and exotic birds rushed around us as they scattered from the foreigners passing through their home. While riding on the back of an elephant, we got even closer to the animals and came face to face with rhinos.

Another rivaling beauty isthe countless temples built in dedication to their gods. Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, is like the Epcot of Buddhism. Buddhist temples sponsored by different countries give breaks to those on their pilgrimageand are beautiful works of artfor the tourist. I mean no disrespect to Leonardo da Vinci, but Mona Lisa has nothing on the Great Lotus Temple designed by Germany. Vibrant colors fill paintings depicting the birth of Buddha and his path to enlightenment. Small carvings of animals line the inside where pictures aren't allowed. No pattern on the wall repeats. Every painting is a new one, allowing the viewer to pay tribute Buddha. In another temple, a giant Buddha rest in the center, guarded by two medium sized Buddhas, and a thousand Buddhas the size of one's hand circle the ceiling. I favor the regal Shri Lanka temple with it's cream color and shaded pond where we rested.

I got a fair amount of sight-seeing done in Nepal; however, I came to work and to learn about Clinic Nepal. I helped some with English homework and planted some of the four thousand fruit trees the Frenchvolunteers were working hard to complete. In Meghauli, Sydney, Anna, and Annikaworked alongside the French students to renovate a kindergarten. GPE volunteers from FSU mainly worked with the scout troop to teach leadership and hygiene. On our first day in Meghauli, we toured the water plantthat was providing the municipality with clean water straight to the tap after finding arsenic from the water produced by the hand pumps. Clinic Nepal is revered in Meghauli. And I revere Nepal and its people, Clinic Nepal, and the Bhandary family and friends. Clinic Nepal is working hard to provide for a people so deserving of more. Families opened their doors, willingly and lovingly, to host strangers that are almost completely ignorant of their ways. Sometimes, it seemed like I was surrounded by chaos; buildings were still damaged from the earthquake, landslides delayed our departures, and pollution muddled the air. And people thrived. Kids played futbol in the fields and jumped in the rain. Teenage girls huddled around the TV to watch their romantic drama shows. The adults watched over us if we were their own.

It's said that people come for the scenic views, and they return for the beautiful people. It's true. I hope I get to return to Nepal and continue to help expand this inspiring non-profit with the hardworking and genuine family that started it all.

Cover Image Credit: Cheyenne Trujillo

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Your Wait time At Theme Parks Is Not Unfair, You're Just Impatient

Your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself.

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Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios "unboxed" on June 30, 2018. My friend and I decided to brave the crowds on opening day. We got to the park around 7 AM only to find out that the park opened around 6 AM. Upon some more scrolling through multiple Disney Annual Passholder Facebook groups, we discovered that people were waiting outside the park as early as 1 AM.

We knew we'd be waiting in line for the bulk of the Toy Story Land unboxing day. There were four main lines in the new land: the line to enter the land; the line for Slinky Dog Dash, the new roller coaster; the line for Alien Spinning Saucers, the easier of the new rides in the land; Toy Story Mania, the (now old news) arcade-type ride; and the new quick-service restaurant, Woody's Lunchbox (complete with grilled cheese and "grown-up drinks").

Because we were so early, we did not have to wait in line to get into the land. We decided to ride Alien Spinning Saucers first. The posted wait time was 150 minutes, but my friend timed the line and we only waited for 50 minutes. Next, we tried to find the line for Slinky Dog Dash. After receiving conflicting answers, the runaround, and even an, "I don't know, good luck," from multiple Cast Members, we exited the land to find the beginning of the Slinky line. We were then told that there was only one line to enter the park that eventually broke off into the Slinky line. We were not about to wait to get back into the area we just left, so we got a Fastpass for Toy Story Mania that we didn't plan on using in order to be let into the land sooner. We still had to wait for our time, so we decided to get the exclusive Little Green Man alien popcorn bin—this took an entire hour. We then used our Fastpass to enter the land, found the Slinky line, and proceeded to wait for two and a half hours only for the ride to shut down due to rain. But we've come this far and rain was not about to stop us. We waited an hour, still in line and under a covered area, for the rain to stop. Then, we waited another hour and a half to get on the ride from there once it reopened (mainly because they prioritized people who missed their Fastpass time due to the rain). After that, we used the mobile order feature on the My Disney Experience app to skip part of the line at Woody's Lunchbox.

Did you know that there is actually a psychological science to waiting? In the hospitality industry, this science is the difference between "perceived wait" and "actual wait." A perceived wait is how long you feel like you are waiting, while the actual wait is, of course, the real and factual time you wait. There are eight things that affect the perceived wait time: unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time, pre-process waits feel longer than in-process waits, anxiety makes waits feel longer, uncertain waits are longer than certain waits, unexplained waits are longer than explained waits, unfair waits are longer than equitable waits, people will wait longer for more valuable service and solo waiting feels longer than group waiting.

Our perceived wait time for Alien Spinning Saucers was short because we expected it to be longer. Our wait for the popcorn seemed longer because it was unoccupied and unexplained. Our wait for the rain to stop so the ride could reopen seemed shorter because it was explained. Our wait between the ride reopening and getting on the coaster seemed longer because it felt unfair for Disney to let so many Fastpass holders through while more people waited through the rain. Our entire wait for Slinky Dog Dash seemed longer because we were not told the wait time in the beginning. Our wait for our food after placing a mobile order seemed shorter because it was an in-process wait. We also didn't mind wait long wait times for any of these experiences because they were new and we placed more value on them than other rides or restaurants at Disney. The people who arrived at 1 AM just added five hours to their perceived wait

Some non-theme park examples of this science of waiting in the hospitality industry would be waiting at a restaurant, movie theater, hotel, performance or even grocery store. When I went to see "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," the power went out in the theater right as we arrived. Not only did we have to wait for it to come back and for them to reset the projectors, I had to wait in a bit of anxiety because the power outage spooked me. It was only a 30-minute wait but felt so much longer. At the quick-service restaurant where I work, we track the time from when the guest places their order to the time they receive their food. Guests in the drive-thru will complain about 10 or more minute waits, when our screens tell us they have only been waiting four or five minutes. Their actual wait was the four or five minutes that we track because this is when they first request our service, but their perceived wait begins the moment they pull into the parking lot and join the line because this is when they begin interacting with our business. While in line, they are experiencing pre-process wait times; after placing the order, they experience in-process wait times.

Establishments in the hospitality industry do what they can to cut down on guests' wait times. For example, theme parks offer services like Disney's Fastpass or Universal's Express pass in order to cut down the time waiting in lines so guests have more time to buy food and merchandise. Stores like Target or Wal-Mart offer self-checkout to give guests that in-process wait time. Movie theaters allow you to check in and get tickets on a mobile app and some quick-service restaurants let you place mobile or online orders. So why do people still get so bent out of shape about being forced to wait?

On Toy Story Land unboxing day, I witnessed a woman make a small scene about being forced to wait to exit the new land. Cast Members were regulating the flow of traffic in and out of the land due to the large crowd and the line that was in place to enter the land. Those exiting the land needed to wait while those entering moved forward from the line. Looking from the outside of the situation as I was, this all makes sense. However, the woman I saw may have felt that her wait was unfair or unexplained. She switched between her hands on her hips and her arms crossed, communicated with her body language that she was not happy. Her face was in a nasty scowl at those entering the land and the Cast Members in the area. She kept shaking her head at those in her group and when allowed to proceed out of the land, I could tell she was making snide comments about the wait.

At work, we sometimes run a double drive-thru in which team members with iPads will take orders outside and a sequencer will direct cars so that they stay in the correct order moving toward the window. In my experience as the sequencer, I will inform the drivers which car to follow, they will acknowledge me and then still proceed to dart in front of other cars just so they make it to the window maybe a whole minute sooner. Not only is this rude, but it puts this car and the cars around them at risk of receiving the wrong food because they are now out of order. We catch these instances more often than not, but it still adds stress and makes the other guests upset. Perhaps these guests feel like their wait is also unfair or unexplained, but if they look at the situation from the outside or from the restaurant's perspective, they would understand why they need to follow the blue Toyota.

The truth of the matter is that your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself. We all want instant gratification, I get it. But in reality, we have to wait for some things. It takes time to prepare a meal. It takes time to experience a ride at a theme park that everyone else wants to go on. It takes time to ring up groceries. It takes patience to live in this world.

So next time you find yourself waiting, take a minute to remember the difference between perceived and actual wait times. Think about the eight aspects of waiting that affect your perceived wait. Do what you can to realize why you are waiting or keep yourself occupied in this wait. Don't be impatient. That's no way to live your life.

Cover Image Credit:

Aranxa Esteve

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6 Reasons Costco Is Actually "The Holy Land"

Anybody with a Costco membership understands how magical this place is.

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If you're not on the Costco bandwagon, I highly suggest you jump on it now. No, I don't want to hear all the Sam's Club fans try to tell me otherwise. I am forever indebted to #TeamCostco, and those that are members will understand the beauty in this wonderful warehouse like I do.

1. Sample Sunday

https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/8-things-costco-apos-free-233100674.html

IYKYK. Sample Sundays are the best days to come to Costco. You can walk around and try every single new item this place now has. Cake? Sure. Pie? Sure. Smoothie? Yes, please. Every single time you go on a Sunday you try to tell yourself that you're going to stick to a strict list of what you actually need. Just wait, a couple aisles later and your cart is suddenly filled with more stuff than you initially came for. Costco manages to pull you in, and it's a trap; but the best trap to be in. You know that hearing the words "Would you like a free sample?" is about as equivalent as "Will you marry me?".

2. Photo Center

https://thedarkroom.com/retail-photo-labs/costco-photo-lab/

A lot of Costco members may not actually utilize the photo center as much as they should. I think I order pictures to Costco every couple months. They have incredible quality and you can walk in and walk out in less than 5 minutes (unless you plan on shopping more). It is way better than CVS and nobody can fight me on this.

3. The Sherpa Blankets

https://www.xtrons-store.com/836594/life-comfort-ultimate-sherpa-throw-costco-7-life-comfort-sherpa-blanket-3-12364003.html

Anybody who has been to my house knows how much my family loves Costco blankets. My dog even has one, okay!! They are so incredibly soft and extremely durable. I always check the blanket aisle every time I go in hopes for a new pattern or new design. Check my basement, I am not lying about this. The Zingraf family is obsessed, and you should be too.

4. Ability To Buy In Bulk

https://seekingalpha.com/article/4163481-costco-magical-warehouse

The only time this gets dangerous is the last aisle before you check out with all the candy and chips. Thanks Costco, we know what you're doing to us there. Most the time, the ability to buy large cases of waters and other products is such an advantage, especially if you know you tend to use it a lot.

5. Always Finding Something New

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/retail/costco-employees-anticipate-benefits-news-with-quarterly-earnings-thursday/

The beauty of Costco is the beauty of always finding something new. My family gets all giddy when we have found a new food item or product. It's like being a kid in a candy store. You can't wait to go home and try it out. Sometimes, you try a free sample and it's so much better there than it is at home...Costco, you've struck again. Oh, and by the way, this area in the picture is the bakery area. Stay clear unless you want to get swept into the delicious, carb-filled world.

6. The Food Court

https://www.buzzfeed.com/remysmidt/costco-is-changing-up-its-menu-and-will-no-longer-sell?utm_term=.dogNvGQVJ#.qad2P4OKx

Okay, just hear me out on this one. It is not trashy and it is not gross. In fact, it's actually really good and you're not a true, loyal member of Costco if you haven't bought something there. Only the real ones know how great it is. They've recently switched to a healthier menu, and although it's caused some controversy with other loyal fans and members, it is still offering some of the best stuff.

If you haven't had the chance to go to this place, ask a friend and let them bring you. Honestly, I would accept a date offer from this place because I love it so much. Also, if your friend takes you, they definitely know what's going on.

Cover Image Credit:

https://topdogtips.com/best-costco-deals-on-dog-products/

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