Friday, February 27, 2009

day 10: there's a bat in the kitchen what i'm a gonna do

Have you ever had a bat fly into a ceiling fan? In your kitchen? If not, you really, really do not want to know how that goes. It doesn't end well. For anyone. Especially the bat. I mean, seriously. What the hell. That's just gross.

I am itching, my legs are filled with bites. There are so many biting things here, I try and ignore them but there are some places biting things should not be allowed. Like your bed.

So we went to the expat bar this week, an outdoor (what isn't outdoors here?) place where there is an actual happy hour, drafts for $1.50. The people who own the place have a couple of kids and immediately M disappears, I hear her chasing a parrot through the fields with a beautiful little boy, they run and run and run. Seeing her occupied I turn my attention to the crowd. It's mostly older, folks from not only the states but Canada and Europe. They've all got stories, the night is loud and raucous and generous and fun. I meet people who've come here for all sorts of reasons, adventure, promise, escape, solitude, incompatibility, the one commonality is kindness covered in roughness, if that can make any kind of sense. I meet a surprising number of folks who aren't necessarily happy about Obama and while I am on my best behavior my jaw can't help but fall to the floor.

Everyone is welcoming, inviting us to their homes for drinks or dinner or just stop by whenever, that's how I'm learning this place works, folks just drop by whenever and you never quite know what the day holds. I've had invitations extended for something or another every day this week and it's never something I knew was coming. Go with the flow, that's the motto here. One day at a time, that's what my neighbors tell me. It's decidely foreign. The politics are interesting. I listen more than I talk.

M has a problem, some sort of infection in her finger. A friend gave her her doctor's number, his personal cell phone. He's a Cuban MD practicing here, he answered his phone and told me to come to see him in a few hours. It's one of the things that has me most concerned, anything bad happening to her. I can't believe we are already in need of a MD. But he answered his phone. Just like that and he said we could come in. I'll let you know how it goes.

Many of you offered to send school supplies, my heart nearly bursting with the comments and emails. I am going to talk to the teacher next week and find out exactly what will help and then I'll get back to you. It's expensive to ship things here so I want to make sure I am asking you for the right thing. The fact that you so immediately offered to help a little jungle preschool you have never seen has made me feel so blessed. This community never ceases to amaze me. I hate that I still can't read blogs, just checking email and writing this post takes longer than you can imagine and I am paying by the minute. They say it's coming soon but Any day now in jungle time might mean weeks or more.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

day eight : getting better all the time

Yesterday a friend took me around town. The best fishmonger, the best doctor, the best place to get salbutes, the preschool, the guy who can fix anything, the pharmacy where the medicine is good. She's taken me under her wing a bit, an American who has lived here her entire life, she welcomes a new face. We are fast becoming friends. Our kids play and play and play. She gave me a mailing address I can use, some of you have asked for it and if you still want it please email me. An address feels like a victory, internet at home will feel like I've won the lottery.

We went to visit one of two potential schools for M. In my mind only one will suffice, the other still considers lashing good discipline. So that left only one option and we drove down a dirt road to the end, a white placard on the lawn. It's a cinderblock building spilling over with children but the walls are brightly painted and the teachers are laughing, their caribbean accents make everything sound delicious. When we walked in one of them clapped their hands we have an international pagent next month and no American girl but now, yes baby, we have one! And they laughed. We sat and watched the teachers sing songs and practice days and months, first in english then in spanish. From this point on M will get to learn in both. She doesn't seem to mind all the differences. My eyes well up at the thought.

It's rustic, all of it. No American school looks like this and yet it's good. It feels good. M likes it and agrees to try it and we all agree to come back next week. Just like that, we've found a school. There are things they need that they cannot get here, packs of crayons where there are multiple numbers of the same colors. Pencils too. I see potential here too in ways maybe I can help.

Today I woke up and walked down the path to a lodge and was welcomed by barking dogs and coffee and after a few minutes sat under a palapa with parrots and iguanas and the river and took a yoga class. I have not felt this still in years. It's only once a week and I can't wait to go back. I laid on the damp wood and breathed as deeply as I could. I don't know the last time I've breathed like this.

Tonight we are going to a restaurant where we hear the expats gather once a week. We are slowly meeting people, local and foreign and are finding our way. We are finding our way.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

day six

Reading your comments makes me feel really good. Really, really good. Some of you asked for our address, truth is I don't know it yet, there are no house numbers and it doesn't make sense. I think I can use a neighbors box but have to clear it with her first. It's on my list for the next day or so and I'll get back to you by email then. My reader is probably also impossibly full and I don't intend this to be a one way thing. I just can't manage coming your way till I can get online at home. Oh, and thank you. I mean that so much. Thank you.

I sit in an internet station with a tin roof. The rain is falling, falling, falling. I sit here and wonder if the connection will hold out till I hit publish. I sit here because internet at home will take awhile no worries mon it'll be soon and I try and sum up all the ways I feel right now. Maybe a list will suffice:

1. It's unbearably beautiful
2. It's not humid, not yet
3. Our neighbors are lovely and open and generous and kind.
4. In my new home the doors are wide open all day long and there are always different children underfoot.
5. 2 dogs have already adopted us. M has named one of them Sasha. I don't know who they belong to but they rarely leave our porch.
6. Shopping takes hours. One place to see the nail guy, one place for the chicken lady. Beer over here. Milk at the corner. Eggs from the guy on the bike. Don't even get me started on the tortillas or you will hate me simply because they are that good. I can imagine it wearing on me but right now I like it a lot.
7. Thankfully their one brand of beer is pretty damn good.

1. Cooking takes three times as long and nothing feels really clean. Bottled water for everything.
2. Bugs. I can't help it. They bug me.
3. I don't know my way around outside of the village without J and that is so unlike me I can't stand it.
4. Here's the big one. This place is so patriarchal. The women serve the men. The men, the local ones, they talk to J. They are nice to me, but for decisions, they look to him. It makes me want to kick them. And makes me think about how to raise a girl here.
5. M's having some trouble, a bit anxious and fearful. But every day I notice her getting better. Yesterday she ran out and picked oranges from a grove next door with a friend, she scampered up a tree and looked like a million dollars. But she misses some things. Goldfish crackers are at the top of the list.

So how am I, you ask? I wake up happy and am busy all day. After dinner my bravado falters, I sit in the jungle noise and quiet and wonder what we've done. J sees this all as a wide open book. But I don't know how to read it. I stumble a bit in the dark so I crack a beer most nights and sit on the porch. There are so many fireflies I lose count. I cry a bit and feel better. I wake up happy and am busy all day. As I finish typing the rain has stopped. It's like that here, the rain. The sky open up and weeps and then forget she ever cried.

I relate to the sky here, I think.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

welcome to the jungle

So then. We are here.

After a relatively painless 9 hour journey we arrived, M leaping into J's arms on the other side of customs. We reunite amidst M's chatter, the heat, oh the heat slapped me in the face. We drive a couple hours to our village, it's dark before we arrive.

I forgot how rustic this house is. I forgot and I remember. I breathe deep. I open a beer. I check everything for bugs before I stick my hands inside and I am tired.

We fall into sweaty sleep and in the morning I wake up to sounds of geckos and roosters. Parrots. It's alive.

We to to the "grocery store", a cinder block building with some makeshift aisles. I don't understand some of the food and what I do understand is frustrating. Cocoa puffs? We buy a pineapple and they cut it up for me, I buy 14 corn tortillas for .50 on the side of the road, they are still warm and I want to tuck them under my pillow. I inhale them like I do my child's hair.

Our friends invited us for dinner last night and we eat fresh fish under the stars. She runs a guest lodge and there were guests at dinner too, so many questions were asked and I felt a bit confused, I don't know how I feel yet because I've only just arrived and it's hard to explain to over-eager strangers from Ohio and Georgia, no matter how lovely they are. I breathe.

M has made three friends already, she's in heaven and she's unsettled, she can't quite decide if she likes it or not. Another friend invited us today for lunch, beans and rice and stew meat, we sit on her porch and chickens and roosters are at my feet. There are animals everywhere.

We are purposeful and aimless. We are skittish and at peace. I have an aversion to the bugs but at the same time I can't help but think I'll grow more accustomed to it. Things move slower here, it feels renegade and spiritual and sweaty and still and raucous and inviting and dark. There are children everywhere and everywhere they smile.

I am in an internet cafe, having a connection at home will take a few weeks. As I read all your comments I started to cry a little, hearing from you meant so much. I won't have the luxury of accessing my reader for awhile because this place charges by the minute. I am anxious and also know it will take awhile longer, things just move more slowly here.

I think I've needed to slow down for a long time.

I am here. We are here. We are in this place and slowly now, the adventure unfolds.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

and we're off

So then. 

I've had a month post-employment to get my arms around this and somehow I have and have not come to terms with the going and not coming back in the foreseeable future.  In a few short pre-dawn hours M and I will sleepily board a plane and then another plane, heading out of this country and into the belly of another, a steamier and greener faraway place where we'll be reunited with J, and two becomes three.

But see, that's just it.  It's just us three.  There.  Three.  Just. 

I had lunch with some friends yesterday and they were commenting on our bravery, but the truth is I don't feel very brave.  I feel sort of scared, see.  It's just us.  But then again it's us, and everyone I've yet to meet.  

And then there's all of you.

One of the things that brings me comfort is all of you.  You are all still here, in this one particular world our connection has always been across the miles or shores or continents, you don't particularly care where I live and it doesn't much matter. You, see. You are all still here. It doesn't matter where I go because I can still find you.  

I took my final US shower, I stayed in way too long and turned the water up way too hot.  This is my last familiar shower for the longest time, the one there is tepid at best and the water pressure is terrible.  It's easy to take a good shower for granted until it's gone.  It's like a bad Whitesnake song, showers.  

I wanted to throw myself a goodbye party but time ran away from me, so perhaps I'll throw myself a housewarming party instead. You know, the kind where you tell me the one thing you'd bring to the jungle, the one thing you could not possibly live without. It needs to be funny, though. No time for sentimental I'd miss my family and friends bullshit, because see, we already know this is what we'll miss. Plus, it'll make me feel a little less freaked out.  I can use a little less freaked out right now.

The next time you hear from me I'll be there, how and when I'll be able to connect remains a mystery but hopefully it won't be too long.  

Here's to the beginning of adventure, of our long awaited journey. Here's to the leaping off and hopefully not falling too far. 

Here's to yes.  Here's to yes.  Here's to yes.  

And we are off.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

en route

I'm having trouble writing about how I'm feeling. In fact, I'm having trouble understanding how I'm feeling.  In the last month I've left my job of more than a decade, moved out of our home, downsized all of our belongings to what we can carry. We are not only moving but leaving the country and all we know about life so far. Nearly two weeks ago my partner drove off into the wild, expecting a confusing and perhaps dangerous trip. But after 9 days of driving he arrived safe and sound and virtually hassle free. Once again I am reminded the world itself is not nearly as scary as the one inside our minds and a lot safer than the one on TV.

After arriving, J gets the key and opens up the house. Aside from a small hole in the roof as evidenced by the three or so bats inside the house all seems to be well. Our friends and neighbors welcomed him with dinner the night he arrived, a small gathering of neighbors who will take nearly any excuse to celebrate. The neighborhood kids are excited for M to get there, in just 24 hours J's been offered a parrot, 2 dogs and a cat. I'm not really a bird person and am not sure about the rest but I rather like the idea of a dog. Apparently there are wild horses grazing in our backyard. He's ready for us to get there but selfishly I don't mind a bit of delay, he gets to unpack and buy groceries, clean the house and fix that hole in the roof. He's having some firsts without us that I can live with because in many ways I'm tired of being in charge.

So he's there and we are still here but the days are dwindling and my to-do list is on it's last legs. There are a few more goodbyes to be had and a bag to pack.  M's been amazing, I keep trying to ascertain how this is affecting her and thankfully due to doting grandparents and a best girlfriend here she's happy and thriving, her only lament has been a persistent missing of her daddy, one stronger than I'd expected and is more likely about a whole lot of missing and not just about him.

It's easy so far, surprisingly and unsettlingly easy. I'm not so used to easy, I've realized since I've left my work that while I deeply loved it I was also taxed beyond belief.  The static stress level is noticeably absent now, being willfully unemployed seems luxurious and insane all at once and while I miss the work I don't miss it as much as I thought I would.

Being out of poverty's grip is easier. Not seeing human suffering on a daily basis makes me almost forget it's out there and a tiny bit shameful in knowing that. Life is brighter without suffering, something I think I've forgotten and am not sure it's good to forget. But the reality of poverty, a whole new face of existence waits for me, but this time it'll be unfamiliar and I'll be unresourceful and tentative and figuring that out will be something else too.  But beyond that I think my biggest phantom might be the solitude, a quiet I am not used to and one that can't help but change me in ways I am unsure of and not quite ready for but curious about just the same. 

In the last email I got from our new landlord, she said the jungle lodge across the road, the one with the little platform and hammocks on the river offers yoga twice a week. I rather love the thought of that, yoga outside in the jungle and to think, we brought a stool and a griddle and I gave away my mat.  Easy come, easy go I say and maybe I'll just use a towel or perhaps in the jungle they use something else altogether but I guess I'll just have to wait and see. With this and with everything else, from food to education to healthcare to country and culture and isolation and income and community, I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

I am walking not running and I'll be standing still soon.  

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

you know you're a redneck mommy when...

My girl Tanis on top of being a famous supermodel, fancy mojito drinker, brilliant roller coaster rider and dear, dear friend is also one of the most phenomenal mothers I have ever had the honor of knowing.  She may talk tough but her heart is as big as it gets and her soul is even bigger, proven not only in words but from also what I've seen with my own eyes. So when she finally was able to bring home her new son, the boy she's been wanting and fighting for I could not be happier for her and for the rest of her family.  Especially Boo.  I'd rather like to give him a congratulations kiss myself. Damn Canadian Customs or I'd pop over for another visit right now. I wonder if he's home?  Or maybe he's at work, hmmm. Wait, focus....  

Anyways, in honor of her new son I thought I'd share a few of my own personal child rearing favorites so she knows that no matter what she does, she's in good company.

Without further ado, you KNOW you're a redneck mommy when:

1. You actually make your child pee on the side of the street rather than find a bathroom.  In traffic. With honking.
2. You re-use baby wipes.  No really, it works.  
3. You somehow allow your child to take an entire bottle of vitamins into her room and eat them.  And then you don't realize you've allowed this and wait for an hour to call poison control.
4. You train your child to whine about being hungry at friends houses so you don't have to cook dinner at home.
5. Most importantly, you move your child out of safe, convenient suburbia and into a central american jungle.  No really. You do this. 

I love you Tanis.  Happy Shower, Happy Son, Happy Family.  

He's the luckiest boy in the world tonight and it's a joy to celebrate along with you.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

its ladies night oh what a night

It's been our ritual for years, these two friends and me.  When faced with big life changes we conspire to make it happen and this time was no different and in fact it's somehow the biggest change so far. I'm leaving them this time and there were no excuses to be had. My life will be so far away from this I can't help but say yes.

So we hopped on a plane to Vegas.

I rarely drink bloody marys but in Vegas it's all I am thirsty for.  We arrived at dusk as we watched the sun set and the moon rise from 30,000 feet.  It was spectacular and for a moment rational thought settled in. Then my friend handed me another bloody mary.  

When together we are so ridiculous and so silly that we spend most of our time doubled over, this motley crew of gender and race, we three race from taxi to hotel to casino, hurling our bags in the overpriced room one of them sprung for. We have to. It's our last night.  We spend the next several hours gambling and laughing and ordering drink after drink.  We have a minor run at the poker table, thankfully one of us is a professional and simply told the others what to do. Bet, hold, pass, shut up already.  All of a sudden it's 3am and two of us are fading fast but one of us, he can never let a night end. He looks at us and jumps up and down.  We have to, he says. In fact it would mean a lot to me. It's not the first time he's asked us to do this, in fact he asks us every single time and we always laugh and ignore him but it's one of the reasons we love him, he never gives up and is always earnest even when he's wrong.  But tonight feels more final somehow. So we look into his soulful brown eyes dancing with gin and look at each other and nod, fueled by a night of cocktails and our judgment is impaired. We are going to a gentleman's club.

I barely remember the taxi ride, our hilarity is so over the top.  The club like all the other clubs is as bright as sunrise.  We tumble out of the cab as groups of men stream past.  We females look at each other and shake our heads. I can't fucking believe we are fucking doing this she says and laughs.

The beefy guy at the front tells us how much it costs to get in and I turn to leave thinking there's absolutely no way in hell anything inside that room is worth this price.  As I'm turning I notice my friend pulling out his wallet. He pays for all of us and the velvet ropes part. We step over the line and I want to grab my friend's hand but it's time to cowboy up and this is no place for sissies. We walk inside.

This is where I should pretend like I'm sophisticated and worldly and that my jaw didn't drop on the floor. That I wasn't caught speechless by the dozens of drop dead ridiculously gorgeous women all walking around in every fantasy possible. Now I really want to grab my friend's hand but when I look over at her I realize she's got a woman pulling her towards a table. We sit down and three or four women descend immediately.  One of them starts petting my friend's hair and she looks at me in desperation.  Now who wants to hold whose hand I think with a grin.

Our reason for being there is for the first time all night playing it cool.  He settles in his chair and looks at us expectantly. So whaddya think?  I start to tell him exactly what I think but all of a sudden he's got a woman next to him. She's not doing much but she's beyond sexy. They all are. There's no denying this simple fact as much as I'd like to posture about how terrible I think all of this is, how baseless and demoralizing and....but I am suddenly captivated by a woman onstage dancing with a pole.  I've never seen this sort of thing in real life and now all of a sudden it's everywhere, it's dripping out of every pore and oozing from the floor. I turn to see if my girlfriend is watching and I catch her eye.  We cock an eyebrow at each other for a moment in shock and awe. I can't believe some people can actually move like that in real life. Girls come and go, a steady stream of them artfully and professionally ascertaining exactly how much money they can get out of us and fairly shortly they settle on the boy in the group, no surprise there. Even the five or so minutes of constant attention was so unsettling that I am happy it's over and they've focused their efforts elsewhere. We sit and watch for awhile longer, I'm sipping a final bloody mary like it's water and I've been in the desert for weeks.  

We talk quietly between us, mostly whispering things like look at her oh my god look at her how does she do that mother of god look over there when a woman sidles up to us and starts petting my arm.  Do you like what you see baby she says to me in exactly the way she's supposed to and I say sister you are smoking but can I ask you something and she nods I'm asking in all honesty and with no disrespect do you like this because I can't imagine this is fun for you and she looks at me and laughs. She plops down next to me and says fuck no, this is just the shit I do because men are dumb enough to want to pay for it. We start talking about this like I'm a freshman and she lays it all out, all the ins and outs and nightmares in between. She grabs my drink and finishes it off but for some reason I don't mind. 

Another girl comes up and joins in and we talk some more. It's the obvious things, the cash, the tips, the hours, and surprisingly, the medical benefits that make them choose this. We might as well be shoe shopping as they points out girls who glide by fake, real, what do you think, she's everyone's favorite, she's really nice, that guy is here every night that one's a nightmare and on it goes. She's nice, this woman. She goes on to explain how the private rooms work and my eyebrows shoot up again at the price. I want to ask what exactly comes with a cost like that but it strikes me that I might sound like I really am the most naive person in the room. So our conversation runs its course and I like her and I also want to cry.

Sensing there's nowhere else to go she gets up and leaves. My friend and I look at each other, we are exhausted now, this whole place is so tragic and unreal and stimulating and wrong.  We look at my friend and he sees our faces What? You guys want to go? And his face falls a bit, it's one of the reasons I love him, he's always earnest even when he's wrong.

It's just really sad here I say and my friend nods and says honestly what did you think we would think. I just can't believe you can really enjoy this and he shakes his head.  Well if you want to talk about reality then I guess it's ruined and he laughs and stands up to go.  We stumble past the rest of the scene and I can't help but see it all, the fake and the pretty, the desperate and the glitter and heat.  We go outside and fall into a cab. I smell like them now my friend says and she does, it's cloying and sparkly and sweat and silicone. We ride into the predawn, silent now for the first time all night. That was really weird doing that with you he says and we punch him in the arm, one on either side. What did you expect, you jackass. And he laughs and reframes himself. I just wanted to do that with you guys and even though it should be weird it's not because he's earnest even when he's wrong and somehow it even makes sense.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009


We leave next week.  

We leave next week.

We leave next week.

Sometimes I have to say it repeatedly to really allow it to sink in.  

J and my brother have nearly glided through most of Mexico. After just one border mishap, the two gringos have gone from one coastal town to another, riding in just before dark in search of a room and a cold beer. I tend to think of it as a gentleman's journey, not really knowing what that means but liking how it sounds.  Two men and a car and nothing but road and tacos to guide them.  If their luck holds they should in our new village by Friday.  

M and I are having a different sort of trip, going on three weeks at my parents with one week to go (have I mentioned we leave next week?) is making me both comfortable and anxious, this world is pretend with a fridge magically full of food and a squeaky clean bathroom and once a voice actually even reminded me to blow my nose.  One can't allow herself to get too comfortable here. One actually cannot get too comfortable here.  I did get to head back to my most recently old stomping grounds, having dinner one night with friends and attending a seminar the next day.  I came home with a crush on a 22 year old (does that make me one of those felines?  Is it a cougar? Puma?  Jaguar?)  No matter, if you saw him you'd be one too.  

I had the rather unpleasant experience of having the bank freeze my account, apparently I used my ATM card at a gas station that was robbed the next day and the bad guys made off with my credit card number along with dozens of others.  Rather than calling me they just cancelled my card, proving rather embarrassing at dinner but resulting in a free meal.  (Friends take pity on you when you are jobless AND your credit card won't work).  The bank had a very hard time understanding the need to straighten out their little mess in less than a week, for some reason "going out of the country" means "we can take care of it when you get back" and then for the eleven-hundredth time I'm explaining to the bank dude about our upcoming trip and why we won't be back anytime soon and why we still think it's a good idea.  I'll be rather happy to not have to explain that anymore.  

That said, I'm leaving next week.

holy shit.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Just Post Housewarming

The Just Posts are happily in their new home today.  Please go over and say hello.

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Sunday, February 08, 2009

wheels on the bus plus two

One of the cool things about being in a different part of the country/in limbo/unemployed is getting to see people you'd probably never get to see otherwise.  Yesterday was one of those days.  Emily and two of her three kids made the really generous offer to drive a very long way to come over and spend the morning hanging out with M and me.  After making up a vague excuse of how I knew her (online network!) my parents were kind enough to leave us alone, making me feel only slightly older than 15 years old.  Before they arrived my parents were a bit concerned you met her online? you have never met her in person? she's coming to our house? But within moments Emily had my dad eating out of her hand and even moving her car for her.  I think that's just how she rolls, people like her immediately.

Over the din of children we were able to look each other in the face (she's quite lovely) talk about each other's lives and spend time just being together in a way that was so completely effortless that within 3 minutes I'd forgotten altogether that we'd met online in the first place.  I really, really enjoyed our entirely too short visit and it was also really special to watch our kids get to know each other.  Her son is wise and adorable and her daughter is precious beyond belief. M took to them both immediately and had the great honor of holding the baby for awhile.  Emily also did me the great favor of explaining to M how babies are born (hey, she asked) as well as solving some other life mysteries, like how breast feeding really works. Needless to say M was enthralled and she's been asking me for a baby sister ever since.  

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

hot off the presses

I'm over here today talking about (wait for it!) our move.  

If you aren't sick of me yet come over and say hello.

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

teeter totter

This morning M and I waved from my parents driveway as J drove off with nearly all of our earthly belongings tucked into the back of our car.  He's heading east to meet my brother then south, south, south, passing borders and customs and hopefully please for the grace of all things holy he will safely and with wallet intact glide through each border and enjoy cold cervezas in between. In two weeks we will follow, the road narrows slightly and three becomes two waiting again to become three.

We found ourselves up late last night packing and repacking, shaking our heads at the things we think we need.  At the top of my list of dumb things is this stool a friend gave us that has a pocket on it with a little cooler.  Apparently you can stick some beers in there and have yourself a seat.  Second on the dumb list is a pancake griddle.  I've noticed with this journey that people want to give us things, whether they think we need them or this is how they show their love I am not sure but the griddle was pressed upon us last night and we were too dumbfounded to decline.  J's list is different, he grimaced at the large pottery bowl and when I crammed in a pound of coffee he smirked at me, a smirk I bet he'll forget when he's drinking his first jungle cup.  Some things simply couldn't make the cut so we actually left the wine.  We left the wine and took the stool. This whole thing is making us batshit. At least we know what to ask for when our first visitor comes next month.  

I can't believe it's here, this thing.  As he drove off I once again thought what the hell are we thinking but underneath or maybe on top it's tinged with the excitement of it all, we are either the dumbest people I know or the bravest but either way, game on.  Unemployed and on the road, the wind in our back and a stool with a cooler to sit on. Watch out jungle, here we come.

PS. Ok, enough of the tough girl talk.  Somebody hold me. 

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Monday, February 02, 2009

next door

The desert cabin was a duplex and each night for four nights we had different neighbors.  Each night after a long day out in the sun we'd drive up and notice a new car, my heart sinking a bit each time. Privacy, see.  It's privacy. Privacy means we have a secret, a secret to ourselves.  But no matter, we still had neighbors.  Privacy laughs in my face and hitches up her skirt.

The first night we walked up and there was a little party on our shared porch.  Our neighbors and their friends had settled in on the tiny landing with drinks and tables and chairs.  These folks were drinkers, they were into the hard stuff early and were having a great time.  Drunk retired people make for good neighbors, they share their beer and laugh really loud.  The women automatically start to mother you and you like that a little bit.

The second night the man stayed there alone, he seemed to be on a mission, taking pictures of everything and carrying a really big pack.  We didn't speak much and there were no beers on the porch that night.  I daydreamed that he was a semi-famous photographer, a recluse.  In truth he probably sold life insurance. But maybe not.

We met a couple struggling with their bags on the third night.  They were cordial enough and we were in a rush. We were hot and dusty and needed a beer.  Later that night the walls almost shook, they were fighting in a way that saddened us both so much that we turned the music up loud.  I could hear her screaming at him about an affair I'm not the one who had an affair you bastard and him responding more quietly but no less angry.  At one point the door slammed and I heard the car leave.  We tried to compensate the universe, as if somehow declaring our love, no matter how rocky it can be sometimes might counterbalance the suffering through the walls. The car was still gone when we woke up.  In the morning she was on the porch alone, she had a book and I wanted to say something hopeful but words failed me.  Sometimes there aren't any words. It's wrong to feel blessed in the face of another's tragedy, selfish somehow. Yet I feel blessed.

The last night was shared with an older couple riding motorcycles.  These folks were rocking, with their leathers and their jeans and their white hair gunning their engines when they pulled into their parking space.  They were cool, these last folks.  As they went into their side of the cabin I pictured their love lasting a lifetime, a mutual pursuit of adventure and acceptance, one that has bound them together until now.  A love strong enough to erase the suffering of the night before.  

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