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upworthy
Joy

Airbnb host wakes his guest up in the middle of the night so she wouldn't miss the northern lights

Best. Host. Ever.

sweden air bnb, northern lights
@penslucero/TikTok

Pency Lucero taking in the Northern Lights

Seeing the northern lights is a common bucket list adventure for many people. After all, it ticks a lot of boxes—being a dazzling light show, rich historical experience and scientific phenomenon all rolled into one. Plus there’s the uncertainty of it all, never quite knowing if you’ll witness a vivid streak of otherworldly colors dance across the sky…or simply see an oddly colored cloud. It’s nature’s slot machine, if you will.

Traveler and content creator Pency Lucero was willing to take that gamble. After thorough research, she stumbled upon an Airbnb in Rörbäck, Sweden with an actual picture of the northern lights shining above the cabin in the listing. With that kind of photo evidence, she felt good about her odds.

However, as soon as she landed, snow began falling so hard that the entire sky was “barely visible,” she told Upworthy. Martin, the Airbnb host, was nonetheless determined to do everything he could to ensure his guests got to see the spectacle, even offering to wake Lucero up in the middle of the night if he saw anything.

Then one night, the knock came.


In a video Lucero posted to TikTok, which now has over 12 million views, we hear Martin ushering her out to take a peek. Then we see Lucero’s face light up just before seeing the sky do the same.

“I thought it was a prank,” the onscreen text reads in the clip. “And then I see it….”

Watch:

@penslucero

I’m on the verge of crying every time I watch this video I still cannot believe it. 📍 Rörbäck, Sweden

“I was mostly in awe of what this Earth is capable of,” Lucero recalled. “I never expected it to be THAT beautiful for the naked eye.” This is a hopeful sentiment against the widely accepted notion that the northern lights are often better looking in photos than they are in real life.

As Lucero asserted in a follow-up video, “Our video doesn’t do it justice at all…I would argue it’s even better for the naked eye.”

@penslucero Replying to @PatriotFamilyHomes ♬ Golden Hour: Piano Version - Andy Morris

Others were quick to back Lucero with anecdotes of their own experience.

“It’s definitely possible to see it like in the pics. I saw it this winter in Norway, there was bright green, purple and so much movement.”

“They’re so much better in person, the way they dance and move around is insane and beautiful.”


Of course, if you ask Martin, who everyone agreed was the best host ever, seeing guest reactions of pure wonder and joy is even “better than the lights themselves.” But still, he can’t deny that there’s a breathtaking magic to it all. He shared with Upworthy that “Sometimes it feels like it will pull you up in the sky like you are in the middle of it. I wish everyone would have the chance to witness it.”

northern lights

A photo from Martin's Airbnb listing

a0.muscache.com

When it comes to tips for actually seeing the northern lights, Martin admits it still mostly comes down to being in the right place at the right time. Luckily, his Airbnb listing can help with that.

Nature has a great way of reminding us that beyond the distractions and distresses of modern life, there is sublime beauty waiting for the chance to capture our hearts.


This article originally appeared on 03.27.23

Sandhya with other members at a home meet-up

South Asian women across the country are finding social support in a thriving Facebook group devoted to them.

The Little Brown Diary has over 40,000 members, primarily between the ages of 20 and 40, and 100 subgroups devoted to niche topics. Some of these include mental health, entrepreneurship, career advice, and more.

Members of the group can discuss their experiences as South Asians, inner conflicts they face, and even bond over their favorite hobbies. The Facebook group has become a safe place for many of its members to find support in the most transformative periods of their lives. These include:

  • Supporting women in domestic violence and sexual assault circumstances
  • Sharing mental health and suicide resources
  • Connecting members to support each other through grief and loss
  • Helping members find the strength to get a divorce or defend their decision to be childfree
  • Helping them navigate career changes
  • Helping to find friends in a new city
  • Finding a community of other neurodivergent people in their shoes

“I joined the online community because I was looking for that sense of belonging and connection with others who shared similar experiences and backgrounds,” expressed Sandhya Simhan, one of the group admins.

“At the time, I was pregnant and eager to find other desi moms who could offer support, advice, and friendship during this significant life transition,” she says.

Another group admin, Henna Wadhwa, who works in Diversity and Inclusion in Washington, D.C., even uses the group to inspire new areas of research, including a study on ethnic-racial identity at work.

“I was surprised and excited for a group that brought together South Asian/brown women. I wanted to meet other women with similar research interests and who wanted to conduct academic research on South Asian American women,” Wadhwa says.


While social media isn’t always the best place to spend our time, studies show that the sense of community people get from joining online groups can be valuable to our mental health.

“The presence of LBD has allowed so many South Asian women to truly feel safe in their identity. The community we have built encourages each person to authentically and freely be themselves. It is a powerful sight to witness these South Asian women be vulnerable, break barriers, and support each other in their journeys,” says Wadhwa.

Hena and Neesha

According to an article in Psychology Today, a study on college students looked at whether social media could serve as a source of social support in times of stress. Turns out, these students were more likely to turn to their social media network rather than parents or mental health professionals for connection. The anonymity of virtual communities was also seen as appealing to those experiencing depression.

“The social support received in the online group promotes a sense of well-being and was associated with positive relationships and personal growth,” the article states.

This is why finding a community of like-minded individuals online can have such a positive impact in your life.

“There are almost half a million women in our target audience (millennial South Asians in North America) and about 10% of them are part of LBD. It’s been a game-changer for our community. LBD is all about embracing your true self and living your most authentic life. It's amazing to see how the members support, relate, learn, and lift each other,” says Wadhwa and Simhan.

Joy

'90s kid shares the 10 lies that everyone's parent told them

"Don't swallow that gum. If you do, it'll take 7 years to come out."

via 90sKid4lyfe/TikTok (used with permission)

90sKidforLife shares 10 lies everyone's parents told in the era.


Children believe everything their parents tell them. So when parents lie to prevent their kids to stop them from doing something dumb, the mistruth can take on a life of its own. The lie can get passed on from generation to generation until it becomes a zombie lie that has a life of its own.

Justin, known as 90sKid4Lyfe on TikTok and Instagram, put together a list of 10 lies that parents told their kids in the ‘90s, and the Gen X kids in the comments thought it was spot on.


“Why was I told EVERY ONE of these?” Brittany, the most popular commenter, wrote. “I heard all of these plus the classic ‘If you keep making that face, it will get stuck like that,’” Amanda added. After just four days of being posted, it has already been seen 250,000 times.

Parents were always lying #90s #90skids #parenting

@90skid4lyfe

Parents were always lying #90s #90skids #parenting

Here are Justin’s 10 lies '90s parents told their kids:

1. "You can't drink coffee. It'll stunt your growth."

2. "If you pee in the pool, it's gonna turn blue."

3. "Chocolate milk comes from brown cows."

4. "If you eat those watermelon seeds, you'll grow a watermelon in your stomach."

5. "Don't swallow that gum. If you do, it'll take 7 years to come out."

6. "I told you we can't drive with the interior light on. ... It's illegal."

7. "Sitting that close to the TV is going to ruin your vision."

8. "If you keep cracking your knuckles, you're gonna get arthritis."

8. "You just ate, you gotta wait 30 minutes before you can swim."

10. "If you get a tattoo, you won't find a job."

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Some people having polite conversation at a party.

Does the following scenario make you feel anxious? You are in line at Target, and someone behind you recognizes you from an old job you had and asks, "How are you?” and you reply, “Fine.” Then, both of you stare at each other for 10 seconds, waiting for someone to say something next.

Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW, suggests that before we answer the question, we should attempt to ascertain if the person we’re talking to really wants to know. Are they being pleasant or just trying to make small talk? If you think they want to see how you’re doing, feel free to disclose what’s happening in your life.

But if it’s just a stop-and-chat or you don’t know the person you’re talking to, then it’s fine to respond with a clever response that may elicit a chuckle or spread some goodwill without telling them your life story. You can easily replay with a "Fine, how are you?" and put the conversational ball back in their court.


However, if you are looking for a more clever response, a Redditor who goes by Myloceratops crowd-sourced the best answers to the big question and received over 900 responses. Most of them were witty comebacks to the question that we can all tuck into our pack pockets to use when we want to see more interesting than someone who just gives a pat “fine” response.

Here are 17 of the best responses to someone asking, “How are you?” for you to use the next time you're making small talk.

1.

"I have two stock answers: Not too bad. Distinctly average." — Floydie1962.

2.

"Saw a shirt I loved: 'The horrors persist, as do I.'" — Evilbunnyfoofoo

3.

"I kinda like the Norwegian, 'Up and not crying."' — 5tr4nGe

4.

"Dying a little more every day." — Much-Signifigance212

5.

"Do you really want to know?" — Hatjepoet

6.

"In my country, people sometimes say 'Kann nie genug klagen.' It’s roughly translated to 'I can’t complain enough.'" — OldProblemsNeverDie

7.

"'I'm on the right side of the dirt' is one of my go-to responses." — JiveTurkeyJunction

8.

"Feeling good and looking better I’ll make a burlap sack feel like the cashmere sweater." — Late_Review_8761

9.

"It's a dog-eat-dog world and I'm wearing Milk-Bone underwear." — 27_crooked_craibu

10.

"If I was any better, there would be two of me." — not_that_rick

11.

"At work, it's 'Better by the hour.'"— Otherwise-Tune5413

12.

"'Oh you know, living the dream' is the only one I’ve got ready to go lately." — KittyBooBoo2016

13.

"Busier than a one-legged cat trying to bury a sh** in a frozen pond." — SpoonNZ

14.

"''I think I’m going to make it' usually gets a chuckle." — Bebandy

15.

"“Im good, and you?' I’m Gen X. I don’t burden other people with my problems." — Mrbootz

16.

"My next complaint will be my first complaint." — NoGood

17.

"'I feel like a silly goose today!'Guarantee they’ll never try to make small talk with you ever again." — Front-Craft-804

Pop Culture

'Britain's Got Talent' contestant blew Simon Cowell away singing a song he 'hates'

Her heartfelt version of "Tomorrow" brought people to tears—and completely changed Simon's tune.

Sydnie Christmas nailed her rendition of "Tomorrow" from "Annie"

Contestants on "Britain's Got Talent" (as well as "American Idol" and "America's Got Talent") have long feared Simon Cowell's judgment, so imagine auditioning with a song choice that automatically brings out his sour side.

That's what contestant Sydnie Christmas did when she chose to sing "Tomorrow" from the musical "Annie," which is Simon Cowell's least favorite song. But much to everyone's surprise, she totally blew him away with her beautiful soulful rendition, causing him to change his tune.

Before performing, Christmas bounded onto the stage with her genuine smile and spunky energy, which endeared her to the judges and audience immediately. She even cracked a joke about her middle name being "Mary" (Sydnie Mary Christmas would be quite the name choice) and got everyone laughing with her.


However, when she announced she'd be singing "Tomorrow," Cowell winced and the other judges groaned.

"That is Simon's worst song," warned judge Amanda Holden.

But when Christmas, who works as a receptionist at a gym, began to sing, it soon became clear that this wasn't an ordinary rendition of the musical classic. Soulful, heartfelt, sad but hopeful, she built the song up bit by bit, bringing the audience along with her on an emotional ride.

Watch:

Not only did she get the coveted Golden Buzzer, but she also managed to get Simon Cowell to say he now loves the song he said he'd hated just minutes before. Viewers loved it, too.

"That was the first time I could take this song serious. Before today I hated it, too," wrote one person.

"When they say you have to make the song your own, she did just that. I have never heard a better version," wrote another.

"Absolutely beautiful; love how the word “tomorrow” always sounded unique EVERY TIME! Listened over and over…" added another.

"I've heard that song a million times and she REALLY got the poignancy of it," shared another. "It is a sad song, but a song of hope, and it is hard to walk that line and she KILLED IT. It's not just about her voice, it is how she sold that song."

She even pulled in people from various walks of life, moving them with her performance:

"I'm a 60 year old highway worker. Just got off work and my wife sent this to me. What I'm trying to figure out is who's been cutting onions in my vehicle? Seriously, teared me up. This took me COMPLETELY off guard and I am so delighted to have experienced this diamond!"

"41 year old hip hop head here and never did I think I would be touched like this. The sound of suffering with a glimmer of hope in the sound. Who is cutting onions at this time."

"I’m a 60 year old builder sitting in my van having lunch. I just watched this. The guys in the next van are taking the P coz I’m crying my eyes out! Brilliant!"

As someone named Annie, I've had "Tomorrow" sung to me countless times over the years, so I shared Simon Cowell's initial grimace upon hearing what she was going to sing. But I too was moved by Christmas's performance and gained a whole new appreciation for the song after her gorgeous rendition. Not an easy feat. What a delightful surprise for us all.

Pop Culture

How GeoGuessr pros can pinpoint any place in the world just from a Google street image

Sometimes it's literally just a field, and they can tell you within a handful of miles where it is on the globe.

Photo by Josh Sorenson/Pexels (left) Canva (right)

Can you tell where in the world this is?

Imagine someone handing you a photo of a random street corner, neighborhood or field anywhere in the world and expecting you to know where it is. Occasionally, you might get lucky and see a sign or a landmark that gives a helpful clue, but chances are good that all you'd have to go from is some vegetation and maybe a building or two to guess from. We live in a huge world—seems impossible, right?

But that's often all that GeoGuessr pros need to be able to tell you in seconds where on the globe the image came from, often within just a handful of miles.


When Swedish IT consultant Anton Wallén launched the GeoGuessr app in 2013, he surely didn't expect it to launch an entire global esport phenomenon. It was just a fun game to be dropped somewhere on the globe and try to guess where you are. But thanks to the pandemic forcing people to travel virtually for a while, it took viral hold as a competitive game in 2021. Now there's even a GeoGuessr World Cup championship, and it's a wild ride to watch.

In fact, these players are so fast at pinpointing locations based on photos that would have most of us scratching our heads, saying, "Heck, that could be anywhere," it's almost hard to watch. Check out even just a minute or so of these highlights:

One of the most popular Geoguessr players on social media is Trevor Rainbolt, one of the hosts of the 2023 GeoGuessr World Cup. While he says he's not as good as some of the other pros, his TikTok account has 2.7 million followers and he consistently demonstrates his ability to find anything on the planet based on an outdoor photo. Literally anything, anywhere.

Rainbolt explained to WIRED some of the tools and tricks of the Geoguessr trade, and it's both incredibly impressive and surprisingly mundane. Obviously, when there are street signs visible that offers a huge clue, but players learn details about every element of different countries' landscapes, from telephone poles to vegetation the way lines are painted on the street to what garbage bins look like in different cities. They even get so specific as the color and texture of soils.

Watch Rainbolt explain:

Geoguessr players educate themselves using Google Maps so thoroughly that they are able to piece together every tiny clue to make an educated guess about where an image comes from. But it's the speed with which the pros make their guesses that's so mesmerizing—the result of years of learning and practice, just like any other highly developed skill.

If this all seems a bit pointless (though one could argue there's always a point to knowing where you are), there are actually some really heartwarming things that have come out of the "geonerd" world. For instance, a woman had a photo of her mom, but zero other information about her. Rainbolt was able to pinpoint the exact location the photo was taken, giving the woman a clue into her own past.

@georainbolt

this one felt good #geo #geoguessr #geography #geowizard

And another similar request yielded similar results:

🫶

Sometimes people's requests are even more challenging, and yet Rainbolt manages to find locations with remarkable accuracy.

@georainbolt

road matching #geo #geography #geowizard #geoguessr #ReadySetLift

People often tell him he should be hired by the CIA or FBI, and for sure that seems plausible. But what's great about what he does is that he explains exactly how he does it. It just takes countless hours over years and years to get to know the planet as well as he and other Geoguessr pros know it.

Anyone can play—just download the GeoGuessr app or play online and give it a go. Fair warning, though. It's not nearly as easy as these guys make it look.

Highly recommend following @georainbolt to watch more.

Joy

Laughing woman gives sweet reason you should never be embarrassed about mispronouncing a word

Schweppes Ginger Ale will now and forever be pronounced incorrectly.

Representative photos by Jannet Trofimova|Canva and Rusty Clark|Flickr

Woman gives sweet reason mispronouncing a word isn't embarrassing.

There is likely not a single person on this Earth that has not mispronounced something. Sometimes people mispronounce words they know how to say, but for some reason in that moment it fell out of their head and ran away. But most of the time people read a word that they've never heard spoken and pronounce it the way they think it sounds.

If you think about it, the English language has so many different rules that it can be hard for native speakers to figure out the sound of certain letters within a word. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that people mispronounce things all the time, but one woman shared a beautiful sentiment on mispronunciation through tears of laughter.

Monica Turner shared a video on her Instagram page, Monica's Open House, of her reaction to a man who was announcing the Pepsi Co. recall of Schweppes Ginger Ale. The man in the video mispronounced the name of the ginger ale, calling it shu-wa-pee-pees.


This mispronunciation sent Turner into a giggling fit so intense that she started crying tears of laughter. While other people might have taken the video as her making fun of the young man, Turner was actually just tickled by his mispronunciation, not that he mispronounced the word in general. The woman contained her uncontrollable laughter long enough to explain something many people may need to hear.

"Ok, ok, hold on," she says while collecting herself. "Don't ever be embarrassed about mispronouncing a word because that means you read it, you didn't hear it. If you heard it you would've pronounced it properly, but you read it so don't ever be embarrassed. Ever, about mispronouncing a word, ok? Cause that gives you a leg up in my opinion."

Commenters found the mispronunciation just as hilarious as she did but also loved her response.

"Shu wa pee pee? This could be the best mispronouncing of a word I've ever seen," one person says.

"I love your explanation on mispronounced words. You read the word you have not heard the word. That is the best response to stop someone from feeling embarrassed," another writes.

"I have never heard the way that you explained away a possible insecurity. And I just want to say if your a mom, then that’s incredible and your kids are so lucky. But for anyone else who watched this video I hope they took note of the fact that you said that he read that word instead of hearing it. There’s so many different ways to learn, and the fact that you took the time to say that and make that clarification I think it was beautiful and I’ve never heard that in regards to words before, and I pride myself on English and literacy. I will forever explain things this way, if I ever hear a word mispronounced again. Thank you for the laugh and the perspective," someone shares.

There is nothing wrong with mispronouncing a word, everyone does it and this just may be the best reason to never be embarrassed about it.