So I think I’ve decided to go Oprah-style with this blog. You know what I mean if you’ve ever seen more than two episodes and since the woman’s been around 25 years and somehow has partial ownership in the psyche of the majority of homemakers in the world, I think you have. One show funny and irreverent (“Fun crafts to do with all those leftover wrapping paper scraps post-holidays!”) and the next darkly serious (cut to child soldier stories in the heart of Africa and babies with missing limbs). Ok so I won’t go quite so bi-polar (frankly the serious Oprah stories leave me depressed and feeling guilty about my apparent inaction and insensitivity in the globalized world, oh Oprah, how I wish I could be more like you!), but you get the drift. The last was a little heavy,which is why I’ve chosen to write about….. stickiness. Everything in the subtropics is sticky. Look at the pads on the feet of the little froggy who decided to join me on the terrace the other night. Sticky is how we do it in the subtropics.
So I’ve come to this new island in search of adventure, rediscovery, challenge, but mostly I’ve decided that for 2013, my goal is to fall in love with MY life. Not anyone else’s or anyone else, for that matter. This is the year of the big ME as 2012 has been almost utter and total kok save for a few shining moments. I have made the unilateral decision that I’m no longer even living in 2012, merely in pre-2013, thus ending the shittest year of my life with several months to go, but I digress. What I’ve forgotten in the last 6 or so months I’ve spent in the luxurious, air co’d, climate-controlled yacht I’ve been living on (sounds cool huh? haha! if you only knew, but that’s another story!) , is that trekking out on your own is a bit… uncomfortable, at times. I love it, don’t get me wrong. My passport proves it. But honestly, I told myself the next destination was going to be somewhere terribly cultured, erudite, modern (but historically fascinating!), even downright stuck up. Like Paris. But I’ll take London or Amsterdam in a pinch. Somewhere where humidity doesn’t constantly linger in the upper 80’s percentiles. Where hot water is to be expected and window screens are not some vain luxury and the bug repellents (if they are even to be found) are thoroughly approved by the governing health body of that nation. Our bottle is spelled “Atack” and the label looks like someone stuck Mandarin into an early version of Google Translate and then hit “print”. Hope you don’t mind random spleen cancer or having the world take on a slight shade of green for 24 hours after accidental inhalation. As I write this I can hear Spanish music blasting from the dilapidated passing cars on pothole-filled roads, gentlemen neighbors having lively discussions in some kind of local creole my brain refuses to absorb, and a couple of donkeys braying (but donkeys always seem agitated about something here). One hand types while the other swats at mosquitoes. Kansas this ain’t, but funnily enough, I’m growing to like its charms.
Though I’ve woefully lost my developing world stomach (DO NOT buy the meat on sale your first week in a new country, they do not have 24 hour CVS here, you will be screwed), I’ve found my ninja fly and mosquito smashing skills are still second to none. I’m just a few wax-on, wax-off lessons from getting them with chopsticks I tell you. I killed some two, three dozen flies in under twenty minutes yesterday all with merely a rolled up Dutch scuba diving magazine.
All this swatting and squashing you might imagine, leads to endless sweating and endless showers. In the morning, in the evening, after every activity. Why just last Sunday my new roommate and I went for an innocent evening stroll to work off some of the all-you-can-eat BBQ we had at a local resort (she gets company discounts, hallelujah! A break from peanut butter and whatever bread product is on sale!) and were swept up in a parade. I kid you not, we stepped out of the car just in time to watch the USA contingency pop out in front. pitifully outnumbered and outmaneuvered by the Venezuelan representation behind them dancing to choreographed football anthems in matching “I <heart> Venezuela!” t-shirts. But let them have their fun. The next day they would have to deal with Chavez’ reelection, but tonight, Bailamos! Seeing our addition could easily swell their numbers by a good 50%, small US flags were quickly shoved in our hands and a stars and stripes embossed visor plunked graciously on my head and we were pushed into the whole foot stomping, waving, cheering festivities. Rather jealous of the Venezuelan football song, one patriotic reveler incited a chant of “USA! USA! USA!” which we joined in on for about 5 seconds, until we realized that much like our foreign policy, we seem to unintentionally come off as far more aggressive than we had originally meant. Sowwy! Like I said, they have Chavez to deal with so we gave the floor (or rather street) back to the well-organized Venezuelans.
Still, it was a mess of small-town fun. We shuffled and shimmied our way through a good 8 blocks before finally turning back, realizing it was late, we were tired, tonight was a school night, and above all else, we were sticky again.
Speaking of which, I’m sticky right now and it’s bed time and I have my new job to be bright and shiny for tomorrow. Because tomorrow is a new day and I intend on getting off on the right foot with 2012, 3 months early. One must never forget reality is just a construct that can be changed by simply eating the right side of a mushroom. Just ask any Cheshire Cat or white rabbit. I did end up having to return my stars and stripes visor, but I reckon I’m still a Mad Hatter and it’s time I got sleep. But first, of course, one last shower….