#TBT To Being An Olympian For The Day

Today I’m going to share a story I like to tell on a first date if a guy asks about my love of pranks (Which I have listed on my dating profile as a favorite activity).

My best friend and former roommate Audrey and I studied abroad in London during the 2012 summer Olympics.

We make a really great pair because she is more “type A” and makes sure any necessary plans we need are all taken care of, but I am more “type B” and ensure enough spontaneity (read: disorganization) to have a fun time. Playing pranks together in college was always a blast because of the ideas and action on my end, and planning ahead to make sure we wouldn’t get ourselves into a bind on her end.

Anyway, I got a tip that they were selling a few official Olympic jackets at the USA House. As I said before, I love pranks and have a mischievous mind, so immediately realized this was a great opportunity. I found Audrey after our classes were over and told her we needed to get on the Tube and head towards South Kensington. I explained my idea on the way, and Audrey was completely up for the prank.

Basically we plotted to purchase these jackets and wear them, along with other Nike gear, to the Olympic Village –a giant outdoor mall where all of the athletes hung out– and see if we could fool people into thinking we were real Olympians. We were lucky enough to snag two jackets in our size, and giggled as we hurried to The Village. 

Our excitement grew as we pulled up to The Village, but was quickly stifled when we walked around for ten minutes and nothing happened. After we made a few more laps we concluded that this was not going to work.

Until all of a sudden two little American girls ran up to us with paper and pens asking if they could get our autographs.

We kept our cool, smiled at them, and said, “of course.”

I don’t know if you’ve noticed this or not, but people really are like sheep. When they see any sort of crowd gathering, they will follow, whether or not they know what’s going on.

This fully worked to our advantage. As soon as the girls came up to us, others took notice. A line quickly formed to get photos with us, and just kept growing. We ended up having dozens of people waiting in line just to take a picture with us within a matter of minutes. It was crazy!

We got asked questions about our events and sloppily signed our real names when people asked for our autograph. Before we got to The Village Audrey and I had decided that our story was that we were on the USA swim team — she was a diver and I was a swimmer. This was perfect, as I swam through high school and could answer basic questions, and because Audrey is significantly shorter than I am, so there isn’t really any other sport that we both could have played.

The funniest thing to me was that many of these people were going to upload these photos with us to Facebook when they got home. They would come up with captions like, “We met Olympic swimmers today!” and proudly display these photos as a new profile picture — photos of two completely random American girls.

2012

We even ended up meeting a real former gold medalist for the USA basketball team, who was super excited to meet a few of the female swimmers because “swimming is his favorite sport to watch.”

For the most part my dates seem to think this story is pretty entertaining, and I have heard some pretty awesome prank stories from the gentlemen I’ve gone out with as well. I have also realized that I talk about Audrey almost as much as I talk about myself, which is fitting because everyone knows girls come as a package deal with their best friend.

Today’s lesson: You don’t have to work hard to get credit for being an Olympic athlete — you just have to be a convincing enough actress to make people believe you are one.

#TBT

I’m starting a new #TBT segment every few weeks now because I feel like I have a lot of fun stories to tell from my past.

I want to start off with one of my first hilariously awkward experiences with a guy I met in college.

Let me set the scene.

About a month after I was asked to go to New York for the final callback of America’s Next Top Model I got an email inviting me to a pretty exclusive party in Washington DC. It was one of the judges’ birthdays, and they had decided to air it on The Real Housewives of DC. This was a cool opportunity that I didn’t want to miss out on, so I sent in my RSVP saying that I would be attending, despite not knowing anyone there except the guest of honor.

The party was at a swanky bar in the middle of DC and I convinced my dad to drop me off so I wouldn’t have to worry about finding parking in an unfamiliar area of the city. Frankly I was just nervous that I wouldn’t have the guts to walk into the party unless I had someone there to nudge me through the door.

After a 45 minute drive, we pulled up to the front of the bar and my dad stopped to let me out at the front.

“Nice ride,” joked the bouncer as I timidly walked up to the dimly-lit doorway. He was still chuckling as he looked up my name on the list and grazed over my drivers’ license. In hindsight I was really lucky he let me in — I was only eighteen at the time and they had an open bar.

Once I was inside I felt like I needed to settle in somewhere, but was really overwhelmed by all the glitzy people already there. I skimmed the room and saw sequins, martinis, and models, and felt so out of place. I quickly gathered myself, took a deep breath, and decided I just needed to play the part.

I went downstairs and found my friend Paul. I wished him happy birthday and chatted for a bit, then decided to figure out how adulting really works and meet some new people.

paul

This is where the fun really begins.

I sat at the bar with a glass of sparkling water with a lime (Something I thought could pass for a fancy cocktail — I should’ve just gone with a Shirley Temple) and people-watched until a man in a nice suit approached me.

We got to talking and I found out he was in his mid-thirties — quite a bit older than I was at the time — and that he worked for a real estate company in the city. Our conversation was very bland, but I felt relieved to have someone to visit with, so politely listened and nodded along to his stories.

After a good twenty minutes of conversation we finally got up to go gather for some group photos. That’s when it hit me, all at once.

He asked me for my number.

Now that I’m 25, I realize that if I don’t want to give out my number to someone I can politely decline. I don’t owe the person anything, and it saves both of us time and trouble by just being upfront.

My 18-year-old self thought it would be rude to say no, so I went into panic mode. My mind started racing as I tried to think of what I could say, but before my brain could catch up with my mouth I was already spitting out random numbers. I included a “202” area code, along with 7 other numbers I just came up with on the spot.

“202-412-4809,” I said.

“What was that? Sorry — I missed the last few digits.”

Crap.

“Umm, 202-126-8874.” Was that close to what I just said? I can’t remember. Why wasn’t I paying attention to what I was saying earlier? Think, Krista, think!

He looked at me, perplexed.

“I think I must have misheard you the first time. I apologize, but I still don’t have the right number. Could you repeat it for me one last time?”

My mind went blank. I didn’t know what to do or how to recover from this terrible web of phone number lies. So I did what any goofy teenage girl would do and gave the man my best friends’ phone number. It was one of the few I had memorized and I knew if he asked me for it a million times I would continue to get all 7 numbers right.

He gave me a look like I was crazy, typed the number into his phone, and looked at me straight in the eye and said, “Okay, I texted you.”

Both sets of eyes immediately darted to my phone, which was exposed, face-up on the bar. We waited. And waited and waited.

“You sure you gave me the right number this time?” he asked as he looked at me slyly.

“I must just have bad service in here.”

Gosh, I had such lame excuses. I’m ashamed of 18-year-old Krista’s ability to navigate through uncomfortable situations, but I think I have come a long way from there. Then again, I’m sure 7 years from now I will be blogging about some silly situations I get myself into now. Is there ever a point where people stop making rookie mistakes and can just be a pro at life? I guess that wouldn’t make life very interesting, would it?

Today’s lesson: If you are 16 and under, go ahead and just give your best friend’s phone number to any creeps you meet.* If you’re above 16, just politely tell them that you aren’t interested in exchanging contact information, and leave it at that.

*Kidding. Do the same thing the 16+ people do — you’ll be alright!

In Sickness And In Health

Although I’m not an expert on many things, I would say having a chronic illness is a subject I’m pretty well versed on now. I’ve been both single and in a long-term relationship with a CI, which isn’t a super-common thing for someone in their twenties.

We never know what the future holds and sadly there is a lot of pain in this world. I could have never in a million years imagined getting a chronic illness at 22 years old, but here I am. It’s still so weird for me to think about. You don’t ever think things like this will happen to you.

Through this crazy journey life is taking me on I’ve realized the enormous difference of someone staying with you through an illness and someone supporting you. Guys, you have no idea how big this is.

bridal

Real life with someone is very different than the glamour and attempted perfection on a wedding day. (This was from a bridal photoshoot I did a few years ago)

When someone stays with you just to be around, you feel alone. You feel like a burden, and it’s not going to help you get any better.

But when someone is there because they want to be and because they are able to put your needs above their own for a period of time, you have a significant other who is giving a genuine and selfless love — and, in turn, you can be there in their time of need.

This, to me, is one of the most beautiful things a person can offer, and it’s something that can’t be faked. Sickness still isn’t easy, but life is a heck of a lot more wonderful when you have someone who will support you when you need a shoulder to lean on. On the other hand, it’s an amazing feeling loving someone enough to want to be able to take away their pain, no matter what that may be. I’ve felt very strongly about a few people that way in my life, and it’s a very genuine and incredible feeling that I can only attribute to the selfless love I am hoping you all get from a partner.

Today’s lesson: There are amazing people in this world who will love you through your trials, whatever they may be. Don’t settle for someone who will just stay. Wait for the person who will hold your hand and be with you every step of the way, no matter where life takes you both.