Category Archives: random

A Glimpse at the Mardi Pardi

Greetings friends and Internet users. Happy almost Spring (she said hopefully) (although I know I’m no one to talk, since I live in beautiful New Orleans)!

I’m here today to talk about everyone’s favorite holiday! What, Valentine’s Day? No, not THAT piece of Hallmark trash. I am talking about everyone’s favorite rowdy, outlandish, no-holds-barred schmooze fest that I experienced for the first time this year. That’s right–Mardi Gras.

For Christians, Mardi Gras is Fat Tuesday, the last “hurrah” before Ash Wednesday and Lent when they are expected to give up something they love until Easter. For most New Orleanians (and for myself, staunchly secular in her beliefs), it is approximately six days, give or take, of parades and mild debauchery. Now mind you, the debauchery part mostly stays in the French Quarter, that wildly mystical land of balconies and booze. I, however, along with my friends and most of the other college kids stick to Uptown, the area along historic St. Charles Avenue near Tulane where the parades still go, where the walk to and from isn’t too grueling, and where, oddly enough, we intermix with families and old people alike.

Mardi Gras is a pretty crazy time–people literally fight over strings of plastic (ok, not FIGHT fight. You’re more likely to get a black eye from being hit by a package of beads thrown from a passing float). And this post is not designed to be a guide to surviving the melee; those posts are far over done, and is there really such a concise list that can provide advice for what’s to come Mardi Gras weekend? No, this post is merely a glance at some notable moments in my Carnival experience this year–I am now still sick enough post-Mardi to have time to comb through my pictures. So please enjoy this scrapbook of sorts, and if you ever come to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, remember to never pee in public.

  1. The Chicken
    Krewe of Muses
    Krewe of Muses

    At a Mardi Gras parade, much more than beads are flying. There may be cups, trinkets, capes, stickers, bags–you can catch any number of things really. Here I would like to direct your attention to the jacket zipper on my friend at the right there. Yes. That is, in fact, a plastic chicken. No, not a rubber chicken, although it looks like one. It is actually, and stay with me here, a plastic model of a rubber chicken. That’s right. And my friend Henry here didn’t catch it so much as it landed in a patch of grass enclosed by a fence behind him and he dove to retrieve it. So that is a hard earned plastic model of a rubber chicken.

  2. The Plunger
    Endymion Parade
    Endymion Parade

    Speaking of crazy parade finds, yes, that is a plunger. And despite my friend’s unicorn ears or my other friend’s wig that resembles a pom pom, or even my bright yellow tutu, I think it really makes the picture.

  3. The Selfie (of the Selfie)
    The Tulane shuttle

    Now I do not use the term “meta” lightly. But if you can make out my features in the washed out bottom left corner, you can see that I look–shall we say bemused?–at my capturing of my friend Allison taking a gung ho selfie (in the middle of my selfie). It doesn’t get more Millennial than this, folks.

  4. The Y
    Loyola University New Orleans
    Loyola University New Orleans
    IMG_2674 (1)
    An undisclosed location

    Here we have before and after pictures of an apparent “tradition” that seems to take place every year. You see, this is Loyola University, a school right next to Tulane (they practically share a campus). On our way back from the parades one night, we thought we would take a picture on the Loyola sign. Running over to the letters, we noticed some other kids flocking over as well, thinking they were following suit. As we stood on the letters, one mildly drunk boy started pulling on an O next to me. “Excuse me!” I shouted to him and his friend, who was close behind. “Sorry, you can try and steal the letters all you want, but could you take a picture of us first?” It took some prodding, but we managed to get a picture on the letters–right before most of them were stolen away in the night. Apparently Loyola reinforced them with more concrete this year, as I guess this is not the first time “LOYOLA” has become “L   LA” come Friday morning of Mardi Gras weekend. They also must literally have a stash of concrete letters and a concrete guy on hand because by the next afternoon, they were Loyola once more. And I won’t tell you how Henry came to be in possession of this Y.

    Okay fine…he caught it in a parade…

  5. The Puppy
    St. Charles Parade Route
    St. Charles Parade Route

    Mardi Gras can be a rough time. There are a lot of people, there is a lot of noise, there is a drastic shortage of bathrooms, and you are never immediately near some amenity you may need. This is my friend Siena right after she fell, hitting her elbow pretty hard, scraping her knee, and ripping her leggings in the process. We got her up and were not but a few steps along when we ran into two nice young men holding the cutest puppy I’ve seen in my young life. Now by this time, Siena is having trouble keeping it together–she is in a lot of pain and we are all pretty astoundingly sleep deprived. So she asks to hold this puppy and just about loses it. You can’t really tell, but she is literally sobbing into this puppy. But I mean look how adorable it is.

    So there you have it. Mardi Gras 2016. I may be suffering right now from the worst sore throat I have ever experienced, but I must say it was worth it. Probably. (Seriously I am in so much pain.) Until next year, Carnival.

Submitted with undying love for,
Mardi Gras, that puppy, Loyola University, NOLA, and getting two days off of school to watch parades,
I remain Madilyn Jayne Turken

Please Pour Out Your Bomb Water

Greetings from beautiful Kauai, Hawaii! The sun is up, the sky is blue, and my God, is it nice to have arrived and gotten off of that darn plane! Getting up at  4:45 in the morning to catch a 6:50 flight for two hours followed by a plane change and a five and a half hour flight, descending into a sticky hot expanse of baggage claims and car rentals, and driving a confusing thirty minutes to a hotel was not exactly as fun as it is now that we are here and lying on palm tree lined beaches. As my mom so eloquently put it to our flight attendant while begrudgingly handing over her credit card for in-flight fruit and cheese plates (no meal on a 5.5 hr. flight?!), “It used to be such a pleasure to fly”.

Yes. It did used to be such a pleasure to fly.

Well, I assume. I am only seventeen, so really, I wouldn’t know. I DO know, however, that the glamorous pictures of celebrities and wholesome families boarding planes in the 50s and 60s look a lot more fun than the stressful experience it is now. Between waiting in lines, getting through a grueling security check, and making it to your gate, onto your plane, and into a seat on time (with carry-ons properly stowed and seats in their full, upright positions), flying anywhere is just painful. I certainly think that when the Wright brothers invented the airplane, they were not anticipating for someone to use it to make a bomb out of toothpaste.

I mean, no liquids? Seriously? You’re telling me I can bring 3.4 ounces of lotion on the plane, but any extra ounces are dangerous? You’re going to pat me down and wipe my hands with weird wipes because I’ve obviously hidden gunpowder in the folds of my hands? I have to empty my water bottle just to rid it of my homemade explosive-ridden water, but I am perfectly welcome to fill it with safe water after security? What if I know how to make a weapon with water? Because if I did, I could sure as hell do it with the airport water. I’m no scientist, but I bet it could be done.*
*By the way, if TSA is reading this, I promise I can’t do that.

And what’s with the cell phone rule? What does airplane mode even do?? I mean, I put mine on airplane mode, but honestly, I’m only doing it because it conserves the battery. Because if the systems of a giant Boeing aircraft can be tampered with simply by my phone being on, I think we have bigger problems. Plus, what about that guy in 22B who already has huge headphones on and seems to be nodding off? Do you think he turned his devices on airplane mode? Is my safety dependent on him?

Oh, and is it really necessary for me to walk barefoot on the gross airport floor so that x-rays can check my shoes for National Security threats? I mean, I guess I get it, that seems a little more plausible than it hiding in my liquids, but even when I’m wearing sandals? Come on.

All I’m saying is, I want the image of those cute fifties kids being served glittering trays of goodies by a perfectly polished flight attendant. Not the screaming baby or the kid kicking my seat while I try to fall asleep and forget this horror. Whoever said it’s the journey, not the destination, clearly never flew on any major airline in post 9/11 America. It’s long, it’s stressful, and it’s riddled with weird security rules that don’t seem to be doing much.

And don’t even get me started on that airplane food.

Submitted with undying love for,
Hawaii, the many places one can apparently conceal a bomb, getting off of a plane, and the potential TSA agent reading this and doing a background check on me,
I remain Madilyn Jayne Turken

Criss Cross Applesauce

Today was a good day.

Why? Because for my last week of high school (what?), we have senior dress up days, and today was Kindergarten Day. I got to dress like a six-year old. I got to carry around a teddy bear. All day. My friends and I got kids meals for lunch. I ate a PB&J and drank chocolate milk. I smiled. A lot. I got to be a little kid.

The reasons why this is appealing are obvious. Little kids have more fun. They have no responsibilities except to keep their rooms clean (maybe), no stress except for about what they want for lunch (PB&J), and no fears except for the dark (which is scary). All a kindergartener has to do is have fun. Play with their friends. Go to soccer practice or Girl Scouts. Probably learn to read or spell a big word. As we age, our worries increase exponentially. We forget how we were as children. We look back fondly on days gone by, reminiscing nostalgically that those days are gone. It’s time to go finish that project or pay that bill or run that errand. And where did I put those keys…

It’s true, in many ways we can never be quite like we were as little kids. And why should we? The world has more and more to offer as we age too. But we should strive to maintain the way we saw the world as children. As new and magical and wonderful and exciting. And why should the loss of innocence equate to a loss of spontaneity? It’s fun sometimes to throw on your overalls and go to a park instead of studying. It’s invigorating to rip off your shoes and play in the rain rather than sprinting, head down, to your car. It’s important to hug your old teddy bear and remember that everything is going to be okay.

In today’s society, we are constantly put under pressure, judged on our appearance and our lifestyle, scrutinized from all angles, and worried about each little thing we do/how it will be perceived. Isn’t it time we shook that off? Of course, those things never fully go away, but it’s fun to pretend. And it’s possible to at least make them fade a bit. When was the last time you wore overalls or played in the rain or hugged a teddy bear?

Yeah. That’s what I thought.

Submitted with undying love for,
being a kid, kindergarten day, overalls, rain, teddy bears, letting go of worries, being spontaneous, and four more days of high school,
I remain Madilyn Jayne Turken

Laugh Like a Crazy Person

Few things are better in this world than a really good laugh.

I’m talking side-splitting, belly-shaking, tear-inducing laughter. The kind where you can not stop and people are just kind of sitting there, uncomfortably waiting for you to STOP LAUGHING ALREADY and finish your thought. The kind that is often loud, never cute. As in you literally turn away or look down or cover your face because it’s that bad. You know the one.

Now when it comes to side-splitting, belly-shaking, tear-inducing laughter, it is best shared with others. I hope it is clear that when you laugh like this alone, you simply look deranged. Now close your eyes (no, AFTER you read this part, silly) and imagine someone laughing like this while you absolutely do not get the joke. Like seriously, nothing was funny. Or worse yet, someone laughing like this alone, as in they are quite literally all alone. Deranged right?

But when you share this crazed laughter with even one other person, it is one of the best feelings on the planet. To know that you are both in on this joke, this one thing that probably was not even that funny, but you are both left reeling and making that strangled “oh” noise after the laughter dies out. To know that you made someone laugh that hard or that someone made you laugh that hard is fantastic.

Furthermore, I thoroughly believe that laughing really hard with someone else strengthens your bond with that person (or people). It creates memories and it brightens your day. It also adds years to your life and all that jazz.

Moral of the story: don’t just laugh more; laugh like a crazy person more.

Submitted with undying love for,
laughing, crying, and being in on the joke,
I remain Madilyn Jayne Turken

Life Hacks

Recently, in case you’re part of my “older” audience and you do not know, there has been a sort of trend called “life hacks”. They are supposed to be like little tidbits of information and tips to make your life better and easier! However, in a delightfully entertaining turn, they have taken on a more humorous air as people (like myself) start to make fun of it. They are things like, “Life Hack: wear a seatbelt” or “Life Hack: sled everywhere in the winter”. So I have come up with a quick list of my own little tips. Enjoy.

Life Hack: Buy a T-shirt and some lemons. Write “Life” on the shirt. Give lemons to everyone.

Life Hack: Empty some vanilla pudding cups. Fill them with mayonnaise. Hand out snacks to your enemies.

Life Hack: Replace the contents of a Windex bottle with blue Gatorade. Walk around spraying it into your mouth. Tell people you’re on a cleanse.

Life Hack: Switch the salt and sugar in your house. Watch the chaos ensue.

Life Hack: Walk up to a random stranger. Say hi like you haven’t seen each other in a while. Insist you know them. Proceed to give examples of fake situations where you have interacted. Get them to admit they know you. Show no mercy.

Life Hack: Go to a store. Try to pay for things in compliments.

Life Hack: Attend a sporting event. Fervently yell sports terms of every sport except the one you are watching. Count eye rolls.

Life Hack: Choose a victim at school, work, etc. Insist to everyone that it is said victim’s birthday. When they deny it, simply say it’s because they’re embarrassed. Make everyone break out in a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday”.

Life Hack: Host a party and tell guests that you have hidden party favors around the venue. Describe amazing gifts that are supposedly in said favors. Get everyone to frantically search. Chuckle maniacally.

Life Hack: Dress up like a football player. Run around taking things from people’s hands and yelling “FUMBLE!”. Bonus points to have someone follow you around with commentary (i.e. “He’s at the ten, he’s at the twenty, he’s making his way to the end zone…!”).

Life Hack: Don’t buy a coat. Let your fiery hatred for humanity keep you warm in the winter months.

Submitted with undying love for,
life hacks, making fun of “trends”, and my good friend Jordan Dillard who thought of that last one,
I remain Madilyn Jayne Turken

Long Time, No Blog

Hello faithful readers! (Or sporadic readers. Or faithful reader–in which case, hi mom.)

I am so sorry I have been off the grid lately. Those college applications will chew you up and spit you out again. Note to self: apply to less than eight colleges. Another note to self: make sure that more than only three of said colleges are on the Common App. I didn’t post at all in the month of October! Do you know how upset I am about that?! IT IS THE ONLY MONTH IN WHICH I HAVE NOT POSTED!

*Quelling OCD*

But, I am done with all of my applications! YIPPEE!! I still have an award/scholarship and a couple Fine Arts things to apply to, but that’s beside the point. I have also gotten into three so far! Wow, the future! So I will hopefully be back to posting more.

That being said, I have a few blog ideas in circulation that are still being developed. Sooo here is your chance to make a request! Is there something specific you would like me to write about? A topic you want me to sound off on? A trend on which you would like my opinion? Someone you want me to give a shout out?  An event you would like me to give commentary at?! (I do birthdays, weddings, and bar mitzvahs.) Anything is fair game, so shoot me an email at and your request will be put through processing and handling (free of charge!). You can be any age to order.

Submitted with undying love for,
blogging again, being done with college apps!!!!, the future looming big and scary-like, Parks and Recreation (which I have started and finished while I’ve been gone), and all of you for reading!
I remain Madilyn Jayne Turken

Why Do We Say That?

Wow, hi there! I know I’ve been saying this a lot but long time no see! Or long time no read…

This time I really have been absolutely ridiculously busy with….drum roll please…………..COLLEGE ESSAYS! *disappointed sigh from the audience* I really have been wanting to post more, but all of the writing I have been doing has been for colleges. However, today I put my foot down and reach into the furthest corners of my brain where perhaps some sanity and cohesive thought still lies in order to bring to you: Some Phrases and Stigmas That I Think Are Ridiculous and Should Be Rethought in Today’s Society! (Notice I shortened the title a bit at the top there!)

There are a lot of phrases, ideas, stereotypes, sayings, and expressions today that we say and hear and don’t think too much about. But a lot of them, if you think about it, don’t make a whole lot of sense. So here we go.

1. Sick as a Dog, Working like a Dog, and other expressions that have to do with dogs
Just one question: What?? What connection is there between being sick and dogs, or working and dogs. I happen to think dogs are just lovely creatures–why would working someone to death (there’s another weird and rather ominous expression) be compared to working them like a dog? That doesn’t sound too nice! And what, are dog sicknesses just so intense and so memorable for dog-owners that the saying has just stuck? If someone has a legitimate explanation, by all means, leave a comment or email me promptly.

2. I Can’t Hit a Girl
Oh, please. Fine, I’ll hit you!
Now let me be clear: I am in no way violent or prone to hitting, and everyone who knows me can attest that while I am sassy, sarcastic, and sometimes pessimistic, I would last approximately .5 seconds in a fight. So I am not, of course, encouraging hitting! Use your words! But that male stigma is just ridiculous: “If I beat her up, everyone will hate me because I hit a girl and if I let her beat me up, everyone will laugh at me because I got beat up by a girl!” There’s this great line in 22 Jump Street, said by the villain, but still. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are cops trying to bust a drug dealer, and one of the “bad guys” happens to be a girl. At the end of the movie, her and Jonah Hill are fighting, and she punches him in the face, urging him to hit her back. He insists that he is not going to fight a girl, and she shoots back with, “If you thought of me as a person instead of a woman, you would hit me and not feel bad about it.” While men should absolutely treat women with respect, men should also treat men with respect. Everybody should treat everybody with respect. But in situations of self-defense, or if a fight does break out, punch who you gotta punch! A girl is a person, not a separate class of human to be stepped around and not looked directly in the eye.

3. There are Starving Kids in Africa…
Hear me out.
Don’t you just hate it when you’re complaining about something, and someone pulls this card on you? Maybe you’ve used it too, but you’ve got to admit, when you hear this, you kind of want to tell the person to shut up. Now, I completely understand where it comes from; a lot of the time, especially here in the good ole USA, our problems are miniscule compared to the problems of other places/people. We should definitely be more grateful for what we have and have the ability to recognize when we are being selfish or ridiculous. However, that being said, everyone has their problems. Some are big, some are small, but no matter who you are or what your experiences have been, you will never fully understand what that person is feeling, and it is not okay to downplay what they are feeling. To say something along the lines of, “Stop being ridiculous, there are starving kids in Africa and you’re complaining about (fill in the blank)” is to say, as my friend Weldon so eloquently put it today, “Stop being so happy because someone else could be happier.” IS THAT NOT RIDICULOUS? You are allowed to be sad about whatever you want to be sad about! Your topic of choice may not be that big of a deal, true, and yes, if you are completely being a spoiled brat or throwing a fit over something unimportant, then someone should definitely put you in line. But generally, your problems are your problems, and you reserve the right to feel as upset about them as you want.

4. Number Three in Reverse
This, as you may have caught on, is not a saying, idea, or phrase. I mean literally, Number Three (See #3) in Reverse. Just as you are allowed to be upset about what you want, when you want, you are just as entitled to your own excitement. Isn’t is just the worst when you are excited about something–I mean really excited, stupidly excited, even giddily excited–and someone tells you that “It’s not a big deal” or worse, to “Calm down”? It’s awful! Like oh thanks for squashing my dreams! Don’t underscore other people’s successes or joys in life! Sorry that you aren’t looking forward to something like that person is or that you aren’t happy about something, but it’s not okay for you to tell them not to be enthusiastic about something for goodness sakes!

Jesus. Christ. This dumb. Thing. If you are not a part of my generation, this probably isn’t a problem for you, and it is starting to die down for my age group too, but it is still running rampant, and did for a while. Perhaps there are some of you who don’t know what YOLO stands for because you either A. are a hermit, B. are part of the “older” generation, or C. just got Internet, like, today (in which case, welcome to the Internet, congratulations on getting here, and thank you for visiting this site!). For those of you, YOLO stands for You Only Live Once. No duh, right? When this saying first started popping up, I truly was confused, and I was that kid saying, “Yeah. No way.” and “Wow, you mean you guys only live once? That’s rough, I live waayyyy more times than that pathetic number!” Furthermore, and here’s where it gets weird, this phrase sounds like kids are saying, “Take care of yourself! Wear your seat belt! Stay in school! Don’t do drugs! Cause you only live once!” But no. They are not saying that. They are really saying, “Hey, might as well try drugs! Might as well eat that doughnut! Might as well try cliff diving even though I have a faulty bungee cord! YOLO!” Ah, the logical and forward thinkers of my generation. I am truly proud.

So that’s all for now, since I do have to save some time for those aforementioned essays! I hope you have begun to rethink some of these weird and rather annoying stigmas and expressions, and perhaps started to come up with some more that just aren’t right! Remember! I still need an answer on that dog thing!

Submitted with undying love for,
applying to college (just kidding), but really not being able to wait until college, my lovely rants, blogging, free time, and you for sticking it out from my last post til now,
I remain Madilyn Jayne Turken

Some Wisdom About Wisdom Teeth

Hello again, dedicated readers!
(Actually, this site has no way of telling me if people view it or not, unless they leave a comment, so my mom may be my only dedicated reader. In which case, hi mom.)

Maybe you noticed (or maybe not) that I’ve been a bit AWOL for a couple of weeks. That would be because I have been oh so busy with my bustling schedule, and I was also living on my couch for a week recovering from wisdom teeth surgery. (Can I get a hell yeah!?) If you’ve gotten your wisdom teeth out before, you know it is really only supposed to hurt for a few days. Ah, unless you get dry socket, in which case it will continue to hurt until you go in to see your oral surgeon! He or she will then pack it (don’t ask me what “it” is, I am just as clueless as you) with medicated gauze, which numbs and heals the back of your mouth, which has been causing aching throughout your jaw and general face. Sounds fun, right?

Excellent guess–no.

So I’ve been glued to Netflix watching a weird mixture of Hannah Montana episodes (judge me if you want) and Orange is the New Black (DON’T TELL ME WHAT HAPPENS). And I thought I would compile a helpful list of the Top 7 Foods to Eat After Wisdom Teeth Surgery, or as I like to call it, The Top 7 Mushy Foods That Also Taste Good When Bedridden.

1. Chocolate Pudding
Or whatever flavor you want I suppose. But pudding is a delicious snack that requires zero chewing. Bonus: You don’t have to open your mouth very wide to eat a spoonful of it!

2. Jello
Very similar to pudding. Pick your favorite flavor and go nuts. Bonus: You can entertain yourself watching the Jello jiggle!

3. Gogurt
I am partial to Gogurt but yogurt is just fine too. However, Gogurt is funner and easier to eat in the state your mouth will be in. Just don’t accidentally squeeze too hard and send it flying everywhere. (Nooo, that didn’t happen to me, psshhh, what, don’t be silly…) Bonus: Get the kind with the questions and the answers that reveal themselves when you finish!

4. Mac n’ Cheese
I recommend Kraft, as that stuff is literal magic in a box, but whatever brand you feel works. It’s soft enough to eat, yet not so mushy that you feel like you’re nine months old and trying to eat mashed carrots again. Bonus: You can get it in fun shapes!

5. Ice Cream
My favorite flavor is Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Therapy. Seriously, that stuff cures all ailments. But whichever flavor you choose will work wonders, as it’s soft, yummy, and literally melts in your mouth. I’m not ashamed to say that I ate a full pint in about three days. Bonus: It has the added effect of being cold, which can help numb your mouth!

6. Milkshakes
Part drink, part food. Everybody wins! Bonus: You aren’t supposed to use straws for a week after surgery, so milkshakes are thick enough that you don’t lose anything by eating them with a spoon!

7. Soup
Don’t choose any with lots of things to chew. I like vegetable because those things to chew are all soft after being cooked. But most soups will do the trick! Bonus: Salty soups are basically just like doing one of those salt water rinses that you’re supposed to do post surgery! (Ok, maybe not quite.)

Thanks for reading and I hope you are fully prepared for your next wisdom teeth surgery, or if you’ve already gone through that, the surgery of a loved one. Until next time!

Submitted with undying love for,
soft foods, Netflix, Ben and Jerry’s, and being a person again now that my dry socket is gone,
I remain Madilyn Jayne Turken

Adventures in Europe!

Oh hello there! Me again! Sorry I have been AWOL for a couple weeks–I was in Europe without a laptop! I meant to post about it before I left so as not to worry my two or three readers (one being my mother!) but, alas, I forgot. Anyway, like I said, I was in Europe on a trip that my youth group (that BBYO thing?) sponsors. I went to England, France, Belgium, and Holland, and WOW was it amazing! Currently, I wish I could go back so badly that all I’ve been doing is laying on the couch and watching Netflix! Well, that could also be because I got my wisdom teeth out yesterday…

Anywho, our trip had a blog that the staff posted on the trip website and trip goers could volunteer to write on it! Since I missed doing this, I volunteered and ended up writing the last post, which turned out to be a sort of overview. Since I was going to post a version of the same thing here anyway, here it is, with some tweaks here and there to adjust for audience. Sorry if it sounds a bit cookie-cutter–I was writing to parents, remember! (However, my mom and my friend’s mom liked it, so I hope you do too!):

Good evening parents and friends! (Or perhaps good morning? Afternoon? Time change is weird.) As I sit here in the hall outside my hotel room writing the final journal entry for BBYO Passport Western Europe Discovery #1 2014 (wow, what a mouthful), I’m feeling nostalgic. We’re sad to be leaving, but happy that this trip has been such an incredible experience.
For my personal last night, I am sitting, as I mentioned, in the hallway, surrounded by an obscene amount of snacks and six of some of my closest friends from the trip. Why the hallway you may ask? Well, as a gender mixed group of friends, we aren’t about to break rules and all go in a room! See mom, I follow the rules!
Anyway, for the parents back home, you’re probably wondering what all has made this trip so fabulous. So here, for your enjoyment and in no particular order, please enjoy this list of The Top 8 Moments/Events/Activities of BBYOinWED1.
1. The Dutch Countryside
If none of you have been to the Dutch countryside, the first thing you need to know is that it is GORGEOUS. Chock full of windmills, green fields, rivers, adorable little houses, cows, chickens, horses, sheep, and goats, the Dutch countryside is truly beautiful, especially when viewed on a half-hour long, fairly flat bike ride. In case that doesn’t sound amazing enough, we then got to see how clogs and cheese are made on a real farm! (If your child is not bringing home flavored wheels of cheese, you should ground them when they return home, because man that stuff is good.)
2. Walking Home from a Synagogue
At this point you’re probably asking yourself why such a random event is even a point on this list. But it really was a high point for most of us. For the first Shabbat of the trip, the walk back to the hotel was around an hour. We walked down Oxford Street in England, talking to each other, and even stopping for an impromptu dance party with some people playing music on the street. Never have we had such a fun time walking!
3. The Eiffel Tower
If you were afraid your son/daughter was not going to get thorough exercise on this trip, what with eating their way through Europe and all, you were wrong. As I may have mentioned above, we have done a lot of walking here. Furthermore, despite the fact that the Eiffel Tower does indeed have an elevator, we walked up to the second platform. In case you are not familiar with the Eiffel Tower, that is 669 steps. Try that in your home. I dare you. But we all made it and once we did, the view was breathtaking. (However, I will personally be taking the elevator next time.)

4. Normandy Beach
The D-Day museum and cemetery in Normandy, France was very interesting and meaningful, but it was made fun by going down to the beach there. We wrote in the sand and played with strangers’ dogs! This included an interesting spectacle involving three dogs playing tug of war with one stick. There was also a dog who knew how to play nicely and was simply jumping in the waves, very much resembling a dolphin. Our favorite game was throwing something and watching her leap after it.

5. The London Eye
The London Eye is a huge Ferris wheel in which the “carts” are big glass bubbles, if you will, that take you on an amazing view of the city of London. Not only were the views great, but we also got to know the other people in our “pod” a bit better. Apparently being put in a small glass space with 15-20 people does wonders for making friends.
6. The FOOD
This probably goes without saying, but my gosh, does Europe have some good food. From fish and chips in London to crepes, macarons, and croissants in France to Belgian waffles AND chocolate to homemade cheese in Holland, we have gotten the chance to eat some amazing food that we couldn’t eat at home. (My mom will read this and shake her head that I had to dedicate an entire point on this list to food, but it was necessary.)
7. Spending Time Together!
As much fun as doing activities is, the “getting there” is often half the enjoyment! Walks, bus rides, etc. have actually been vital parts of talking to each other and becoming friends. Although we have slept for many of the bus rides, many have turned into big conversations and/or games of “Cow I Win” (a rousing game where the first player to see a cow shouts “cow, I win”, at which point the game promptly starts over). As I have previously mentioned, we walk a lot, and though I will be booking a long foot massage for when I get back, I owe walks to a lot of conversations with new people.
8. The Boat Ride
In case you were unaware, Amsterdam is known as the city of canals. On our first day here, we got to take a boat ride on the canal through the city, which was one of the most fun things we got to do. Amsterdam is beautiful, and seeing it from a boat on the canal is a completely different way of seeing such an amazing city.
I was supposed to give up the laptop at that point, and it was already far too long, so I ended it there. But I hope you have gained some insight into the thrills of Western Europe! If you can scrounge up enough coins from your couch cushions, I highly recommend you go! I may or may not post again about my wonderful trip. If I don’t, the post will be about what to eat when you’ve just had your wisdom teeth ripped out. Until then!
Submitted with undying love for,
blogging again, Western Europe, my trip that I wish I was still on, Cow I Win (which I started by the way), and my mom for reading this post,
I remain Madilyn Jayne Turken

Terms of Ew-dearment

Good morrow, ladies and gents!

I apologize for my lack of posts recently. That is due partially to writer’s block, partially to a busy schedule, and, I regret to say, partially from summer laziness. But here I am with, basically, a new complaint! Sorry for the negativity, but here is today’s grievance: Terms of Endearment.

Let me explain. Terms of endearment–honey, sweetie, etc.–are fine (maybe…if you’re okay with it) if they come from parent to child, lover to lover, or sarcastically from friend to friend. However, they are in no way acceptable when passed from random adult to random kid. And by kid, I mean, more often, teenager.

Still confused? Here’s what I’m trying to say. I understand that when an adult refers to a child they don’t know as “sweetie” or “honey” or “hon”, it is usually because they don’t know what else to call them since they do not know the child/teen’s name. But to the said child/teen, it comes off as condescending and, frankly, gross. I am a sixteen-year old girl–woman, if you will–and, furthermore, I look it. Now, I can vaguely understand if the teenager looks genuinely young, but I, along with most, do not. I look at least my age, I am not your “sweetie”, and I will be treated as such.

Other teenagers will relate to this post the most, I think, because they get what I’m griping about. Young people spend years waiting to finally be treated like adults rather than children. Now this isn’t to say we don’t enjoy our youth and whatnot, but when we reach an age where we feel mature and ready to be treated, not necessarily as adults, but with respect, it is unbelievably aggravating to be referred to with  “term of endearment”. How often do you hear adults referring to other adults that way? Never.

So now that my grievances have been uttered and hopefully heard and understood, I can leave with a clear head. And, should you be an adult reading this, perhaps you’ll think twice next time you call a teenager “sweetie” or “honey”, unless, and only maybe unless, he/she is your own flesh and blood child. If not, well, “hey you” works just as well.

Submitted with undying love for,
respect, being treated my age, and complaining via the Internet,
I remain Madilyn Jayne Turken