The Nightmare Before Spring Break: I Missed the Boat

My spring break trip has been in the works for a few months now. Every detail had been carefully planned so that nothing would get in the way of our week long break. The plan was to leave the night before on Amtrak and arrive in Tampa a few hours before our cruise ship left. We’d be on board by 1:30pm, way before the 4:00pm departure time. Instead, our train was delayed due to a storm in the Northeast, and we didn’t arrive in Tampa until after 3:30pm. We had been in contact with an agent from the cruise line, and the train station was only a few minutes away from the port, so we figured if we hurried, we could still make it. There were seven of us that took the train, and we split into two groups to get ubers.

The first uber took off while the rest of us were still piling our luggage into the trunk of ours, while the driver took his sweet time getting out of the car. When we finally got on the road, he drove like it was his first time in Tampa and he had no clue where he was going. We begged him to drive just a little faster, as we were very late for our cruise, but the man was going 20 mph in a 35 mph zone. The real kicker was when he dropped us off at the wrong location and we took off running, believing that the convention center was where the ship was docked. We requested another driver and got the same man again. By the time we reached the port, they had closed the gates and said it was too late for us to board. Our friends in the first car had made it, and the three of us were left watching the ship sail away.

Those first few minutes after they broke the news to us were wild. We were hysterical. There was screaming, crying, and police officers asking us to get off the pavement and stop screaming. We spent so much time and money planning for this trip, and we couldn’t even board the ship. We lay on the ground for some time, crying on the phone to our parents until an agent from the company came down to explain our options to us. The options were to either fly to Mexico and meet the ship at the first port, or to try and have the reservation changed to another ship at a later date. The agent was concerned about where we were going to sleep for the night until we had a plan, and didn’t leave until we had booked a hotel and got transportation there.

Pulling into the hotel parking lot made us cry a little harder. It seemed more like a motel. When we walked into the lobby to check in, the employee on duty was yelling at a customer over the phone. We called the front desk later to ask for clean towels and sheets and were told, “You paid $_____, what did you expect.”

Within minutes of checking into the motel, we had booked flights to Cancún, where we would take a five hour bus ride to Mahahual, near the port in Costa Maya that the ship was heading to. When we arrived in Mahahual, we’d get a taxi to Hotel Béke, a reasonably priced hotel we (my friend Jasmine) found online. I’d like to note that Jasmine planned everything. If it were up to me, we would’ve been still laying on the sidewalk in Tampa, crying.


The Game Plan

We arrived in Cancún, took the ADO bus downtown to the ADO bus station and booked tickets to Mahahual. We had a few hours before the bus arrived, so we dragged our luggage down the street to a quesadilla shop. Back at the station, we met a nice Black couple from the US who had been living in Cancún for the past few years. They sold everything and just moved to Mexico. #Goals.

Our bus ride was uneventful, but very scenic. It was like a much nicer Greyhound bus, with a TV. I feel like we really got to experience Mexico in a way we never would have imagined. The landscape was beautiful and we weren’t really in any of the tourist spots once we left the city. We arrived in Mahahual around 11pm, took a taxi and arrived to the hotel as planned. It had private beach access and two beds, so we didn’t have to sleep on top of each other again. In the morning, we woke up and had breakfast on the beach. It was amazing.


At Hotel Béke in Mahahual

The hotel staff called us a taxi and we left for the port to finally board the ship. When we finally made it on board, the crew were expecting us. They said our friends had been so worried about us and made them wait as long as possible in Tampa, but they couldn’t wait any longer. Our reunion with our friends was loud and emotional. None of us knew if we would actually make it, but we did!

The lesson I learned from this experience is that sometimes plans fail. Miserably. Trains get delayed, uber drivers get lost and drive ridiculously slow, and ships sail away without  you being on board. However, the adventures that happen after failed plans can be extremely rewarding. Cancún was never on my list of places to travel to, but now I’ve been there. I never thought I’d take a road trip by bus through Mexico, but I’ve done that.  I stayed in a resort in a place I can’t pronounce, walked very quickly away from soldiers with guns marching along the beach at said resort, and had authentic quesadillas in Cancún. Not what I had planned, but completely worth it.

None of this would’ve been possible without the financial support of my Nana, who lent me the money for the flight to Cancún and gave me pocket money before all of this happened. I’d also like to thank Aunty Natasha and my mother for their financial support as well. Shout out to my mother for picking out almost every piece of clothing in my suitcase, because we both know I can’t be trusted to pack clothing that’s not jeans and a t-shirt. Super duper huge shout out to Jasmine for planning everything and getting us to where we needed to be and when we needed to be there. Courtney, thanks for being the sane and calm one among us who didn’t have any public meltdowns. I love us for real ❤

Stay tuned for a blog about the actual cruise, which turned out to be a delightful experience.


Week 4: I Went Skiing And I’ll Probably Never Do That Again

The week started off relatively uneventful. A friend and I drove  to Winston-Salem for an Art show that our friend was showcasing his photography in. I bought a painting from another artist there, and I’m really excited about it. I have acquired a few cool paintings and prints from Black female artists, and this one will fit right in. You can find her work on IG and FB @sol.leigh or at


Art by @sol.leigh on IG/FB

I had to wake up at 4:30am the next morning to be on the bus for a ski trip I convinced my friend and myself would be fun. This was a school-organized trip to the Appalachian Mountains to ski. The fee included an hour long ski lesson, ski equipment rental, lunch, and transportation there and back.

During the lesson, instead of my attention being focused on the instructor, I was focused on staying upright and not sliding down the hill we were on. As a result, I missed a few important things, such as how to walk without slipping, and how to slow down and stop. My instructor spent a lot of time chasing me down the hill because I wasn’t slowing down enough to stop, and was heading right into a barrier at the bottom of the hill. He would literally race to get right in front of me so I’d crash into him instead.

ski trip

My friend and I before our ski lesson [photo: @RonGriswell & @thejonathanwithrow]

On the other hand, the friend that I begged to come with me on this trip loved it so much that she wanted to get on the slopes as soon as our lesson was over. I opted out of that and waited patiently at the bottom of the slopes for her.

After our lunch and nap break, my friend convinced me to get on the slopes with her. I really didn’t want to, because I was afraid of not being able to stop.  I ended up falling on my back three times on the way down. I was going way faster than I was comfortable with, despite all my efforts to slow down, so I just let myself fall. What I failed to consider, however, was that I wouldn’t be able to get back up. I landed with my legs in an awkward position, and couldn’t lift my legs because of the skis. I just lay there in the snow until a kind stranger helped me up.


Shortly before I fell three times in a row and started crying 🙂

After that experience, I was sore from head to toe for days. It hurt to even push down the soap dispenser in my bathroom. Will I ever go skiing again? Probably not anytime soon. Do I regret going? …No. It was something I was really excited to try, and I did it! I’m very proud that I can mark that as a thing that I have done.


Photo: @RonGriswell & @jonathanwinthrow


Photos from @RonGriswell & @jonathanwinthrow

Week 3: West Coast Adventures

Last week was an unforgettable experience. A few months ago at about 2 AM, I spontaneously bought tickets to see Hippo Campus in L.A. Yes, L.A. I have a friend who lives in Vegas who had VIP tickets for the San Diego show, which was sold out. We decided to both buy tickets to the L.A show the next day so we could go together. I drove to Georgia (cheaper plane tickets), flew to Vegas (where I got to see my mother), my friend drove us to San Diego, where I spent the night with my cousin, then met up with my friend again the next day to drive to L.A.


First time at in-n-out!

The drive from Vegas to California was breathtaking. I loved the desert and the mountains, which were strikingly different from the woods of Georgia and North Carolina. When we finally made it to San Diego, my nose was pressed to the window. I was born in SD, but I have no memories of living there, so it was exciting for me to be back. My cousin generously offered to let me share her twin XL bed in her dorm on campus, which was right on the beach. She also took me to her Black Student Union meeting.

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L.A was not as enjoyable as San Diego, mainly because of the traffic. It took us an hour to get 9 miles away. The concert, however, was amazing, and completely worth it. Another one of our friends was also at the concert, but we unfortunately didn’t get a chance to meet. We did wave to her up in the balcony from the floor. After the show we hung around for a bit to meet some of the band members, and we met a bunch of really nice fans during our wait. Nathan was the only one who came out to meet us, but he was extremely kind and willing to talk to and take pictures with all of us.

This was one of the best experiences of my life, and a wild adventure from start to end. I look forward to many more in the future.


Nathan (from Hippo Campus) and I



I’m back!?

Hi there!

I’m sure you thought you’d seen the last of me, but I’m back with some general life updates and a half-hearted promise to blog on a more regular basis. Fall semester has not been a walk in the park, but there have been a few good moments that I’ll share with you all.

A band I absolutely love has been on tour this fall and I went to see them in Athens, GA. I left school on Monday afternoon and drove home to Atlanta, then I drove to Athens the next evening for the concert. After the concert (and after meeting half of the band) I got in my car and drove all the way back to Greensboro, North Carolina, because I had a circuits test at noon. The band is called Hippo Campus, and they’re amazing live. I didn’t know anyone else going to the concert, so I went alone (story of my life). After the show, a group of fans (including me) waited in the parking lot to meet the guys and get pictures. I met another black girl that was there by herself and we decided that’d we meet the band together so we could take each others pictures. When the tour bus door opened, we ran  walked at a reasonable pace to meet them. AND THEY WERE SO NICE AND AMAZING. We talked to Nathan (guitar) for around 7-10 minutes about life on tour, what he feels like he’s missing out on being on tour, and life in general. This was honestly the highlight of my month year. I was first introduced to their music at a very stressful time in my life, so being able to meet them meant a lot to me. I plan on meeting them again in January when I see them in L.A, this time with other amazing people that I’ve gotten to know through this band. As for the girl I met in the parking lot, we exchanged Snapchats and have stayed in touch.


Nathan and I






The venue (40 Watt Club) after the show

The next cool thing™️ that happened this month is that I met a professor in the English department here at A&T who is from Germany. Her research is on African American and Afro-German literature and how they are related. I met her at a movie presentation related to the “Homestory Deutschland: Black Biographies in Historical and in Present Times” exhibit that has been on display in our university gallery. The exhibit showcases Black Germans and their accomplishments. We spoke in German and English and she invited me to view the exhibit with her so she could hear my thoughts as a black student who has studied abroad in Germany. She walked me through each display, as well as showed me some other resources about Afro-Germany to explore on my own. I think we spent a little over two hours talking that day. I haven’t had a chance to practice speaking German much since I got back in August, so it was great to be able to switch back and forth between languages. I’m happy to report that I haven’t completely forgotten everything.Screen Shot 2017-11-22 at 11.44.20 AM

On a more practical note, I spent the beginning of the semester applying for countless part-time jobs, and so far I have been hired at not one, but two! I worked as a seasonal associate at a Halloween store for the month of October, and I actually loved it? It was usually really busy, but we had so much fun as a team. It was cool to walk around and help people with their costume ideas, or help people try on costumes and brainstorm together on cool accessory options. Unfortunately, the store is only seasonal, and closed a few days after the holiday. Now I’m a part-time associate at a department store near my house. I’ll be working my first Thanksgiving and Black Friday, so pray for me! I’ll also be working during the Christmas season, so I won’t be visiting Guyana like I usually do in December, but I do have some adventures planned for 2018, so stay tuned.

I will be posting again in the next few days (it’s already written and scheduled to post, I swear!) about what I’ve been reading this year, so you can expect to see that by Saturday. I also have a few drafts of blog posts I wrote in Germany that I may or may not post. They’re basically collections of random thoughts and experiences I had out there.

Until next time,



Auf Wiedersehen!

I’m going home! It has been a wonderful couple of months here in Deutschland, but it is time for me to return to the USA. I spent the last week finishing exams, moving out of my apartment and traveling between different Airbnb’s, and stuffing as much as I could manage into my suitcase.

I had to move out of my apartment on Monday, which is also when I had my last exam. To make my life somewhat easier, I checked into an Airbnb on Sunday evening so I wouldn’t have to deal with the stress of exams and moving on the same day. I ended up giving away a few things to my neighbors (I left things outside of my door, and my neighbors generously took them off my hands), and what was left (that I couldn’t bring home) had to be thrown out.


Last view from my apartment window in Braunschweig

The room I booked was only available until Thursday, so I had to leave and check into another room much farther away. My host was an older German woman who lived in a house in a very quiet neighborhood. She was very nice, and preferred to only speak German, so I got some unplanned language practice. Unfortunately, she had a cat and I’m allergic, so that wasn’t fun. I tried to stay out of the house during the day so I could breathe normally, so I tried some different cafés and restaurants in the city.


Typical German breakfast (from Fräulein Wunder in Braunschweig)

I also got to see some of the friends I met here in Germany before I left. We went bowling and then out to dinner at a Turkish place, where I discovered my love of Döner Boxes. Döner is a popular Turkish dish in Germany. The Döner Box has all the same ingredients, just thrown into a box with seasoned fries, and it’s only 3.50 EUR! I’m so upset that I just discovered this the same week I leave the country. My Turkish friends that I went with said they had never seen that in Turkey before, so I’m guessing it’s unique to Germany (but I hope not).

As much as I love Döner Boxes and Currywurst, I can’t wait to go home and eat tacos, lemon pepper wings (with peach drink from American Deli, obviously), brown stew chicken and rice and peas with cabbage and a Ting, beef patties, pad thai, and a million other things. Aside from the food, I’m also very excited to see my family and friends again, and have access to hair products designed for my hair texture.

This won’t be my last post, as I have a few more thoughts about my time here in Germany. I will be taking a much needed break from all things German for a little while though, so I’m not sure when that post will happen.

Bis dann!




General Updates

Hi there!

I’m still alive, still in school, and still in Germany. I have about one month left before it’s time to go back home to the U.S. My classes are wrapping up now, and the exam period will begin at the end of July. I’ve been using this time to hit the books, so I don’t think there will be any more exciting international trips for me. After exams, I’ll have one week in Germany with no set place to stay (my lease ends July 31), so I may do a small trip or two then, but probably somewhere within Germany.

German language progress:

I’m definitely getting better at forming coherent sentences in German, so that’s exciting. I’m in two different German classes, one for students with technical and scientific majors, and another conversational class. Both of my professors have commented on my improvement during the semester. In class, we had to retake the language placement exam that we took in the beginning of the semester, and I scored a C1, which is much better than the B2.1 that I earned the first time. (For more about what these scores mean, visit this site: ) Also, I just finished my first 300 page German novel: “Hirschluder” by Christian Oehlschläger. It took me a while (2 months), but it definitely improved my vocabulary. I’ve also been watching an Austrian show on Netflix called “Vorstadtweiber” or “Suburbia – Women on the Edge” that’s been really entertaining and has also exposed me to some more differences between Standard German and Austrian German.






A few weeks ago my university shut down for Excursion Week.  Most students take this week as a chance to travel to different cities across Europe. There are also professors who organize educational excursions to different cities to visit different companies. I chose to use this time to do some studying and take a short trip to Amsterdam. Continue reading