Chasing Waterfalls At Niagara Falls Is Truly A Dream

Chasing Waterfalls At Niagara Falls Is Truly A Dream

As I step onto the ferry, they hand me a poncho; I didn't think the mist would be bad.

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The smell is so calming, like nothing I've smelled before. I can feel the mist hitting my face. My smile has reached from ear to ear. I know that I am experiencing something that many dreams of.

On the ride down there, I see so many little shops. I get out and walk the streets, being greeted by all these people; they must have known I was a tourist. Once I reach the city, it's so overwhelming: the tall buildings, hotels, restaurants, and Farris wheels. As I drive around the corner there are people everywhere, some walking in the streets, people on the buses being shuttled, and people riding bikes. We park and begin our walk; as soon as I reach the railing, I see Niagara Falls; my breath is taken away. It's everything I thought it would be and more.

Everyone around me is trying to stop and take pictures, but I'm frozen at the moment. The beauty has stopped me in my tracks. The water is falling off the rocks so effortlessly. It's like a painting in an exhibit, but I am getting the chance to feel the mist hit my face and see the rainbow right in front of my eyes.

As I step onto the ferry, they hand me a poncho; I didn't think the mist would be bad. The ferry takes off, and just knowing that I'm drifting on the water from the Falls is mind-blowing. We go close to the US side and it's so pretty; it's calming. Then we ride over to the horseshoe, this is on Canada's side; it's way more gorgeous up close. The water begins to hit my face I smile. The water starts hitting even harder, and I'm fighting to keep my eyes open. I have to make sure I'm capturing all this beauty.

One ferry ride wasn't going to be enough for me, so now I'm on again it at eight o'clock at night. The sun has finally set, and they are beginning to reflect the lights onto the waterfalls. As we make our way around the Falls, I am just so speechless; it gets better and more beautiful by the second.

The boat comes to a stop and as we wait around I just soak in all the colors being shown. I take a mental picture, I hear the water falling off the rocks, I feel the way the ferry drifts along the water. The fireworks begin, and I can feel the explosion in my chest as they burst in the air. I can even smell the smoke that they give off. During my life time, I have seen several fireworks shows, but this one is like never before. I am on this ferry in the Niagara Falls while the fireworks are bursting into several colors, all while holding the hand of my soulmate. I have experienced something few will in their lifetimes.

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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.
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After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing. My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from Shameless.

Shameless is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out-of-place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside, Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum -- it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone -- however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by Shameless.

Cover Image Credit: itsfilmedthere.com

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14 Things Not To Forget On Your Next Vacay

Every time I go on a trip I always forget at least 1 things.

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There are all sorts of things that we forget to pack when we go on vacation. How can you remember all the little details when a fun-filled trip awaits you? Not to worry! Here is a short list of items that can be easily forgotten. Pull this list up when packing for your next trip and be relieved when you haven't forgotten a thing.

1. A Phone Charger


2. Toothpaste/Toothbrush



3. Your Favorite Pillow



4. Socks/Underwear



5. Glasses/Contacts



6. Sunscreen



7. A Bathing Suit



8. Lip Balm



9. An Umbrella



10. Sunglasses



11. Money



12. Snacks



13. A Jacket



14. Extra Shampoo/Conditioner



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