Trials Of A Picky Eater Abroad

Trials Of A Picky Eater Abroad

And exploring the world on an empty stomach

If you're studying abroad, like I am right now, you know that everyone back home is living vicariously through you, and what they seem to care most about are the sights and the food. "Is the food amazing?" is often the first thing people ask after, "Have you gone to the Colosseum, yet?"

And it is amazing. The pasta has been perfect and the pizza is definitely the best I've ever had. The issue I find myself running into most is that I like my pizza without toppings and my pasta sauce-less, two things that are basically unheard of in Italy. I've only been in for Rome two weeks, and I've already encountered these six struggles any picky eater outside their home country knows well.

1. Your usual go-to foods are nowhere in sight.

Back in America, no matter the restaurant, you will probably be able to find something like a hamburger or chicken fingers. You might have to ask for the kids' menu to do it, but if you're really not feeling adventurous that night, it's easy enough to find something you like, or at least recognize. In other countries, they have an entirely different set of restaurant staples. Figuring out which ones you like requires trying them, something any picky eater is most likely trying to avoid.

2. You've just been introduced to an entirely new group of foods for people to try to convince you to try.

Without a doubt, one of the most annoying parts of being a picky eater is the people who keep insisting you try different foods despite knowing your eating habits. At home, at least your friends and family know the foods you're not willing to try, but every new country brings a mountain of new things you've never even heard of. This can become an even bigger problem when you're out with a more adventurous eater. People who love to eat anything and everything always seem to be the ones holding a fork across the table, saying, "Just taste it."

3. You risk having people think you're rude or didn't like your meal when you leave a pile of pieces of food you didn't want on the edge of your plate.

This is true anywhere, but especially in a different country. Basically, any picky eater has used the lip of their plate for foods they don't plan on eating, and knows that moment when they realize the pile has taken over half the plate. In Italy, they expect that you will finish all (or, at least, most) of the food they give you, so that growing pile becomes an even larger problem.

4. The waiters keep catching you staring down at the menu trying to find one thing you think you’ll like.

The fact that the menu is in a different language doesn't help. You've learned to read the menu by looking up the ingredients listed beneath each option in search of something you recognize or are willing to try. Sometimes, you'll find something that seems alright except one ingredient or two, but trying to work with the language barrier to communicate how you want you food is almost as impossible as choosing a dish in the first place.

5. You feel a rush just finding foods you recognize from back home at the grocery store.

I cannot tell you how happy I was to see Skippy Peanut Butter the other day. I don't even eat peanut butter back home, but I ended up making a peanut butter sandwich as soon as I got back to my apartment in Trastevere. My cabinets are filled with American cereals and snacks, specially chosen for those days when I can't seem to find any food that appeals to me. The idea that I might make it home without even once finding a restaurant that seems inviting while in the heart of Italy is astounding to some, but sometimes you just need something from home. Or, in my case, most days.

6. You have to get used to trying new things.

I know, it's any picky eater's worst nightmare. I've still only managed to make myself try two, maybe three new foods so far. Some ended in that pile at the edge of my plate taking over the entire dish, but other times have been (not-so-surprisingly, considering we're in Rome) very good. The temptation to order a plain, margherita pizza or a plate of pasta is just too strong some days, but on the days that I decide to take a chance, I have found foods that I will happily eat again in the coming months.

Getting used to trying new foods is undoubtably the answer to all of these problems, though not the one any picky eater is willing to hear. You don't necessarily have to become a full-on foodie, but traveling abroad can be a life-changing experience, and it shouldn't be one spent on an empty stomach. I'll probably spend the next few months picking my way through some dishes and devouring others, but at least I will be able to say I tried them. Or, at least, most of them.
Cover Image Credit: yeshotelrome

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Almost 100 Percent Of What Servers Say Earning Your 20 Percent Tip Is BS

Here it is.... the truth.

So, if you don’t know, I am a waitress.

I deal with, so many different types of people and I have learned how to handle each kind of person.

I have had so many people that make my day a little brighter and then there are always those people that can easily bring me down.

No matter what, I always keep a smile on my face and give the customers the best service possible.

But I am ready to unleash all the thoughts I have built up for some of these customers.

So here it is, what servers want to actually say to you.

When I first walk up to the table and introduce myself:

What I say: Hello! My name is Maddie I am going to be taking care of you, can I start you off with anything else to drink other than water? Any appetizers?

What I want to say: Hi my dudes, let’s get this over with, c’mon what do you want to drink. Get a bottle of wine or something expensive.

When a customer asks me what exactly is on tap, or want to know every single kind of wine we have and what they all taste like:

What I say: *grabs drink list OFF THE TABLE IN FRONT OF THEM* here you are, I have a hard time remembering some of the drafts because we have newly featured ones all the time. Also, I can get you a wine recommendation if you would like.

What I want to say: Uh hello, the list is right in FREAKING FRONT OF YOU!!!!!!! Look at the list, and then ask me questions! K BYE.

When I come back with drinks and they ask me if I am going to bring out rolls:

What I say: Yeah, I can bring out some rolls! Would you like any appetizers or anything? Were we ready to order dinner?

What I want to say: *laughing* uhhhh you have been sitting here for a good three minutes please wait until I set your vodka soda down before asking about some crusty bread Tina. Thanks bye.

When a customer asks me what sides we have:

What I say: All of our sides are at the bottom of the menu, and we have mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, fries, mac and cheese, onion rings, etc.


When I bring out the rare steak the customer ordered and they complain:

What I say: I can take it back to the kitchen and we will get it fixed right away!

What I want to say: ARE YOU JOKING. If you didn’t want it mooing and running around your plate then you shouldn’t have ordered it rare!!!!!!! CMON!!!

When I bring out the bills and a customer jokes around and says "I thought you were paying!?":

What I say: *laughs and walks away*

What I want to say: HAHAHA YOU THOUGHT. ME? PAY? After making $3 an hour plus your sh*tty tip. Yeah right.

When a customer asks me if the tip is included:

What I say: No, it is not, you have to include that when you sign the slip! Thank you!

What I want to say: …… *starts screaming*

When I go the table for the last time and say goodbye:

What I say: Thank you so much for coming in, have a great night! Come see us again!

What I want to say: Alright get to moving, I want to go home. I hope you tipped me good, seeeeee yaaaa. Peace out my dudes.

So there it all is. I laid it all out there.

Those are just a few things that I want to say to servers but instead I keep a smile on my face and stay kind and nice. It takes A LOT of work to maintain a nice personality and put up with the handful of people that come through the restaurant I work at.

So there you all go, how I truly feel and what I want to say to you.

P.S. - I am really sorry if I have ever served you before. Lol. Don't take it personally. :)

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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If You Want The Most Relaxing Weekend Getaway From NYC, Go To Tulum, Mexico

Escape the freezing temperatures and head to the sunny beaches.

With below freezing temperatures upon us in NYC, the white sand beaches and warm temperatures of Tulum, Mexico sound ever appealing. Tulum is located just a short two-hour drive south of the busy city of Cancun, Mexico. The numerous daily direct flights out of NYC make this trip truly seamless.

This small rustic town and laid-back vibe is the ultimate weekend getaway from the fast-paced lifestyle you’re surrounded by in New York City. Get out of the tundra and head over to your beach life get away. Grab some friends and your bathing suits and head over to Tulum for the most relaxing weekend of your life.

Tulum is special because you can interact with all the locals and experience their easy-going way of life. You truly get to immerse yourself in the Mexican culture and you get a sense of their spirituality.

This small, rustic town promotes a healthy, positive lifestyle in the sense that everything is fresh and requires physical activity.

The narrow streets, lacking room for cars, push the tourists to live like the locals and either ride bikes or walk everywhere. You have the opportunity to take long walks on the white sand beaches and stop at one of the many beachfront hotels for a quick lunch.

Most boutique hotels you stumble into offer moonlight yoga on the beach with the ability to channel all of your energy into the sound of the relaxing waves. Be sure to take advantage of the beachside massages offered by the hotels. After spending an entire day laying out its time to head over to a trendy dinner where the chefs are sure to take advantage of the local, fresh ingredients.

Must-see hotels:

  1. BeTulum
  2. Nomad
  3. Sanara
  4. Casa Malca

Must-see restaurants:

  1. Hartwood
  2. Raw Love
  3. The Real Coconut @Sanara hotel
  4. Posada Margarita

Must-see bars:

  1. Gitano
  2. Casa Jaguar
  3. Taqueria La Eufemia
  4. La Zebra

Safe travels!

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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