My Trip to Mexico and Back

My Family Sailed From California to Mexico And It Was A Life-Changing Experience For all of Us

A life changing oceanic trip to Mexico and back.

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For a decent amount of my childhood, 7 years to be exact, sailboats and traveling were big parts of my life. My family and I would sail from our home in Olympia, WA throughout the San Juan islands and back every Summer. Sometimes we would even sail all the way to Canada. These journeys gave me beautiful and unique experiences such as looking out of the boat at night and seeing dozens of seals laying on the beach or getting soaked from head to toe by standing next to a large waterfall, but none of these could compare to what I experienced on my journey to Mexico and back.

The journey that changed my life began in 2011. I was 12 years old and my little sister was only 9 when my family departed from Swantown Marina, where we used to keep our boat, Pearl. My sister and I spent the first leg of the journey with my grandparents, where we watched hours of cable, ate tons of snacks and delicious meals, and prayed the rosary multiple times per night. Thankfully after a week or two, my parents had arrived in San Francisco and my dad flew up to Oregon to bring us back with him. We said our goodbyes and got on a plan to meet up with our mom and a few of my parent's friends who helped them bring the boat to San Francisco. We spent a few days exploring, paddle boarding, and just simply having fun, and then we finally began heading south all together.

We stopped all along the West coast of California, meeting new people and finding new experiences every day. A little less than halfway through California, we started seeing dolphins swimming at our bow every single day. They would easily keep up with our boat with just a flick of their tail, occasionally leaping out of the water. As expected, they would always leave eventually, but once when we went for a few days on the ocean without stopping to go to land, I was below deck and heard a squeaking type of noise. It was late at night and I had begun dozing off, so I dismissed it as just my imagination. Then I heard it again, so I decided to go up on deck and up to the bow. I peered over the edge, and that's where I saw one of the most magical images I had ever seen. There was a dolphin swimming beside my boat in the pitch-black night. The dolphin itself was just a normal dolphin for all I could tell, but what made it so beautiful was that it was glowing while swimming in the water. The phosphorescence was being activated by its movement. Everywhere it moved it left a short path of light. It completely mesmerized me. I quickly ran to the cockpit of the boat to let the rest of my family know, but unfortunately, by the time they got to the bow, the dolphin had already departed, leaving me as the only one who saw it.

We continued down the coast, experiencing even more stories like getting dragged underneath the dinghy (small boat) while beaching or nearly getting rammed by a humpback whale multiple times,and got to go to so many more amazing places such as Knott's Berry Farm, a fun-filled amusement park with the Peanuts characters as the mascots. But the most entertaining stories were when we finally made it to Mexico.

When in Mexico, I had multiple different types of experiences. Ones that made me laugh, ones that scared me, and sometimes the ones that made me cry. One of the most hilarious things happened when my dad decided to go into the water to clean the hull of the boat. He spent hours down there scraping the grime and barnacles off it, and when he finally got back on the boat, he felt like his ears were popping. He figured the feeling would go away later, but the next day he apparently felt the same. Later that same day, my family and I decided to go into town to get a few groceries, and on the way back my dad all of a sudden felt the ear popping dissipate. He told me it felt as if something fell out of his ear. After he felt that, he looked at the ground and BAM! Tiny crabs. These tiny crabs had been inside his ear the whole time and all of a sudden, they decided to crawl out of his ears. After seeing the crabs, my dad looked over at my mom to see her staring at the crabs with disgust, and when their eyes met, they just cracked up.

Along with those occurrences, there were many more, including horseback riding on the beach on my 13th birthday, and having the very next day rain so much that we were able to collect gallons of water by placing bowls and buckets outside, and so windy that our anchor came loose, and we started drifting. This resulted in us having to pull up our anchor, so our sailboat didn't crash into another boat, and our dinghy even ended up flipping over, almost causing us to lose it. We also encountered problems, such as when our engine stopped working on what we planned to be a two-day trip without stopping. We had to raise our sails and let the wind carry us, but at times the current was stronger than the wind and moved us backward, turning it into a four-day trip.

In the end, I had multiple different types of encounters at this point in my life, all of them affecting who I am today. Without them, it's possible I wouldn't have the same sense of humor I have now or the same interests. I probably wouldn't even be as close to my family as I am now because, without that opportunity, I wouldn't have had to spend as much time with them and would probably have been around friends doing whatever middle schoolers did those days instead. This experience gave me part of who I am, as well as a load of stories to tell the world, and it is something I would never give up.

Cover Image Credit:

Sydney Buelt

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Top 50 Things You'll Hear A Southern Say

Y'all.
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For those of you who may need a little help understanding the slang of a southern, I made a list of the top 50 phrases and sayings, along with their translations.

1. Bless your heart.

My favorite saying. It is an empathetic phrase that is usually uttered when the speaker believes the recipient to be sweet, but misguided or stupid. It can also be used if the speaker believes the recipient needs to grow up and deal with it, when the speaker says it in a sarcastic tone.

2. Barking up the wrong tree.

Means being misguided or mistaken.

3. Aren't you precious?

Mostly this saying is used in a sarcastic tone in response to someone being offensive.

4. Britches.

Pants or underpants.

An example would be, "Your britches are too short, you can't wear those".

5. Coke.

Regardless if it's Dr. Pepper, Coca-Cola, or another carbonated beverage, it's called Coke here in the South.

6. Fixin' to.

Simply means that you are about to do something.

7. Get the short end of the stick.

This phrase means that you basically got an unfair deal or cheated out of something.

8. Give Me Some Sugar.

Simply means give me a kiss.

9. Hissy Fit.

A hissy fit is a grown-up version of a temper tantrum that is as bad as one that a toddler would throw.

10. Hold Your Horses.

Be patient.

11. Holler.

When you say "holler" you are basically letting the other person know something.

Example: Holler at me when you are ready to get something to eat.

12. If the creek don't rise.

This saying simply means that if nothing bad happens, everything will go as planned.

13. You're as slow as molasses in the wintertime.

This phrase means that you are being EXTRA slow.

14. Muddin'.

Off-road four-wheeler riding with the intentions of getting mud everywhere and possibly losing control.

15. Skat Cat.

A phrase that can be used instead of saying "God bless you" when you sneeze.

16. There's Not A Pot Too Crooked That A Lid Won't Fit.

There is someone for everyone.

17. Pitcher.

We mostly mean a plastic container that holds sweet tea, not the position of a guy on the baseball team.

18. Reckon.

When you say "I reckon", you believe that something is true.

19. Hoot With The Owls, Soar With The Eagles.

This simple phrase means that if you are going to stay up all night, you should be able to get early in the morning.

20. Too Big For Your Britches.

Simply means that you take yourself too seriously.

21. Stompin' Grounds.

Your hometown or where you grew up.

22. Back In The Day.

Back in the day could be a month ago, a year ago, or 20 years ago.

23. You're A Spitting Image Of (Insert Family Member).

Yes, I know I'm a spitting image of my mother. "Spitting image" simply means that you look just like someone.

24. "Darlin, Sugar, Sweetheart"

These words are simply terms of endearment.

25. Buggy.

A buggy is a cart/basket at the grocery store.

Example: Who wants to push the buggy?

26. Quit Crying Or I Will Give You Something To Cry About.

This phrase simply means to quit crying and if you didn't then more than likely you got a spanking,

27. Where You Raised In A Barn?

If you are from the South, you have probably been asked this more than once, especially when you left a door open.

28. Close The Door. You Are Letting All The Good Air Out.

This southern heat is nothing to play with. It simply means to keep the door closed so the air (or heat if its winter) stays inside.

29. You Are Going To Make Me Lose My Religion.

When you say this phrase to someone, it more than likely means that person has done something to irritate you or made you mad. Thank goodness Jesus saves.

Example: You are going to make me lose my religion.

30. You Look Like A Chicken With Your Head Cut Off.

This is said when you are running around like a crazy person. It can be said if you are looking for something that you are searching for or if you are just really busy.

31. Y'all.

The southern way to say "you all".

32. You Can't Carry A Tune In A Bucket.

If you've ever been told this, it means that you can't sing.

33. Have Their Feathers Ruffled.

You normally have your "feathers ruffled" when you are pouting.

34. Two Peas In A Pod.

When you and someone else are "two peas in a pod", it means that either you almost always together or that you two are almost identical in the way you think and do things.

35. Well Butter My Butt And Call Me A Biscuit.

This saying can be used when you are surprised or excited.

36. Don't Let The Door Hit Ya Where The Good Lord Split Ya.

When someone say this they typically mean to get out and don't let the door hit you on the way out.

37. You're As Good As Gold.

When you are "as good as gold", it means that you are well-behaved and obedient.

38. It's Raining Cats And Dogs Out There.

This simply means that the rain is really coming down hard. It's not actually raining cats and dogs, people.

39. I'm Full As A Tick.

This phrase means that you ate too much food.

40. I'm Sweating More Than A Sinner In Church.

When someone says this, it means that they are really hot and sweating A LOT.

41. Pot Calling The Kettle Black.

This phrase is used when one person is guilty of the very same thing of which they accuse another person.

42. There's More Than One Way To Skin A Cat.

It means that there is anyways more than one way to fix something.

43. Shut Yo' Mouth.

Means to be quiet or hush up.

44. Whatever Floats Your Boat.

This saying means to do whatever you want to do.

45. Slap Yo' Momma.

This phrase means that something is good.

Example: This BBQ is slap yo' momma good.

46. She's Like A Bull In A China Shop.

When you tell someone this phrase, you are telling them that they are clumsy or careless in the way that they move.

47. Cuttin' A Rug.

Cuttin' a rug is used to describe dancing.

Example: Let's go cut a rug tonight.

48. Clicker.

A clicker is another name for a TV remote.

49. Slow Your Roll.

This also means to be patient.

50. You're A Hot Mess.

When you tell someone that they are a "hot mess", you are simply telling them that they don't have it together.

Cover Image Credit: silhouetteamerica.com

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Things To Do in Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver is a big city with a booming night life and beautiful scenery.

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I recently took a long weekend trip to Vancouver. Here are some things I did and some ideas and suggestions for those visiting the city for the first time.

Cocktails

You can't come to Metropolitan Vancouver and not go out for drinks at least one night. There are so many restaurants and cocktail lounges around the city, it would be a shame to neglect to try some Canadian alcohol. The first night I was in town, I went to Juniper Restaurant and Bar in Chinatown.

They had a wide selection of different mixed drinks, and I was impressed with the flavors of all the different cocktails I tried. Most restaurants around the city sell alcohol, so do some research and try the different alcohol selections in the different parts of the city.

The drinking age in Canada is 19, so it was strange for me to go out and order cocktails for myself. Some places ask for two forms of Government issued ID, so be prepared by bringing your Drivers License and passport.

Clubs

The Roxy

During my time in the city, I never went to any clubs. My hotel was on the same block as several of the popular ones, and they seemed like a pretty big deal. I am used to the clubs in my college town, so I was not prepared to walk myself into a real uppity downtown club.

Some of them have dress codes and other rules so be sure to do some research before planning your whole night around being there. One down the block from my downtown hotel was called The Roxy Cabaret. I heard if you are wanting just one club to give you the full Vancouver experience, that was the one to try.

Markets

Granville Island Public Market Entrance

The most popular market in Vancouver is the Granville Island Public Market, very obviously located on Granville Island. The market has art galleries, the market itself which includes anything from artwork to fruits and meats, little shops, and restaurants.

There is a lot of entertainment there. Sometimes they host music festivals and other events during the summer, so expect to spend several hours there if you are wanting to get the full market experience.

During the summer, North Vancouver hosts The Shipyards Night Market. If you are wanting a taste of North Vancouver, including food, drinks, and culture, this is the summer event to go to. I ate some tasty Greek dessert and drank a sparkling vodka while listening to a live band. It was a great way to enjoy the beautiful evenings on the shore.

Whale Watching

Killer Whales

Vancouver is known for its beautiful landscapes and its salmon fishing. While I was there, we went whale watching in Steveston, British Columbia located right outside of Vancouver. During our 4 hour trip, we saw bald eagles, sea lions, killer whales, all with the backdrop of the beautiful North Shore Mountains.

Make sure to bring warm clothes and food. It was a really beautiful trip but the breeze from the fast-moving boat was a little chilly. It was also a long trip, so it was nice to have something to snack on to make sure I wouldn't get sea sick.

Eat

Vegetarian Poutine

Morgan Fischer

Vancouver is a cultural center. There are so many different people there from all over the world. The majority of the people I met there had accents because they were not originally from Canada.

That means the city is filled with every type of food you can think of. You can get anything from Thai to Italian to barbeque and everything in between. Look up different culture areas of the city and try new food in each one.

I also suggest trying Canadian food. Poutine especially. Poutine is simply french fries with brown gravy and cheese curds on it. There are even restaurants that just serve poutine, but spice it up with different toppings and such. The one I would always walk by was Mean Poutine that was located downtown. There was always a line out the door so it must be good!

Finally, Just Ask a Local

Vancouver residents obviously know the best things to do in the city. All the people I interacted with were extremely nice and helpful. I even had a waitress write down a whole list of places to go get the best cocktails around the city.

Do not be shy while you are there. Talk to your waitress or the person helping you at the store. Ask them about the city and see where they think you should go. You never know a hidden treasure you may find or an adventure you may experience because of their advice!

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