I Feel Safer Abroad Than In The US And That's An Issue

I Feel Safer Abroad Than I've Ever Felt In The US And That's An Issue

It's time to get to the bottom of this.


I did not think leaving my parents at the Newark, New Jersey airport on a dreary January morning would be the hardest part of my abroad experience. I did not think the anticipation on the plane ride from the east coast over to Ireland would be the scariest feeling.

Truth be told, what I expected was to feel unsafe walking alone in a new city. I expected to feel a wave of panic any time I got in a taxi alone or made a wrong turn down some unknown street. But I have not felt fearful, despite doing all of these things.

That first week, every time a kind, old Irish man warned my friends and me about the "bad" parts of Dublin, I winced. I waited to feel the sense of fear I felt in the Philadelphia or New York City train stations. I waited to be catcalled. I waited to hear about the latest shooting, gangbang, or overdose. But it has been months, and I have never encountered any of these.

I'm not saying that these things do not happen here. Unfortunately, no place in the world is a utopia. These things do happen all around the world, as sad as it is. But the amount that they happen at home, compared to the amount that they happen here, abroad, do not compare in the slightest. At home, every other news report seems to be about a memorial for the latest shooting victims. Every other news report is about a college student who went to a party and was drugged.

I did not realize just how often these things were happening until I was away from them for a while.

I feel safer abroad than I've ever felt before, and I think that's a problem.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could all feel safe? No matter where we are in the world? Why are some countries ahead in so many ways, yet so behind in other ways?

It's time to get to the bottom of this.

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Top 50 Things You'll Hear A Southern Say


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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You Can't Know What You Don’t Know Until You Know It

How an indescribable journey changed my life and perspective.


How do you explain one week which feels indescribable? If I could use two words to describe the week it would be "holy chaos". We learned this phrase from Haywood Street- a church converted to a day shelter sort of place for homeless individuals. At Haywood, there's always so much happening and it truly is a whirlwind of "holy chaos". Even compared to 12 Baskets, which is a soup-kitchen-type-place that "rescues" food from restaurants and reserves it. 12 Baskets is a place which welcomes every person who enters its doors and instead of just simply serving food- it gives the individuals the option to order whatever they'd like from the menu.

When we first heard about this trip and going to Asheville- I didn't think anything of it. I didn't realize that Asheville's reputation was one of that where poverty is hidden and that those who live in it are looked down upon. And just because a city has a reputation for being wealthy or "nice" or whatever the reason, doesn't mean that there aren't individuals who suffer from this. Behind any city lies so much, and in these parts of society lie problems of poverty, homelessness, and gentrification, which go overlooked for the image of a place.

And it isn't just prevalent in Asheville, it's an issue which happens all over. I learned about this further in depth while on mission "immersion" this past week in Asheville, North Carolina.

So much happened this past week, from serving at 12 Baskets Cafe to packaging food at Manna Food Bank to walking the "invisible block" in Asheville and talking with the API or Asheville Poverty Initiative. Each experience allowed us to gain connections not only within our group and grow friendships, but create a connection with each individual that we talked with. At 12 Baskets, we were told that the most important thing we could do was to look someone in the eye and talk with them. And it wasn't only at 12 Baskets Cafe that this was true.

We saw all over Asheville just how the city attempts to keep up this image and they literally try to drive those who are homeless out of the city. Our eyes were opened to so much in learning about Asheville- it created curiosity towards us relating what we had learned to our own cities.

To be honest, I had no clue what to expect from this trip. Having gone to Memphis last year and serving there- I thought I'd at least know some about what we experienced and learned of. But I was at a loss for words about this entire experience. If I'm being honest, I don't know if I can ever really fully explain this experience and convey its impact. After going with this group to Memphis last year, I thought that I had a clue about some of what to expect from this trip. Oh, how wrong I was. And I think anyone who went on this trip, no matter how hard we might try to put into words what this experience was like and meant to us, it just won't be the same.

But within one life-changing week, I do know that I'm thankful for a group of people who mean so much to me and that we are able to share experiences like this, what they mean, and how they've changed us all for the better- opening our eyes to a world outside of the bubble we live in.

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