Today

Haikus

I fall in love on

A Whim; precarious limb.

Rabbit hole, again.

__________________________________________

The end of the day,

when you smell of gasoline,

I beg for your touch.

__________________________________________

Just bend, do not break

This, the storm before the wait

One deep breath, then jump.

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Adventures

San José, Round 1

30 December 2017

I stepped off the plane and it was humid.

I turned a corner and snapped a picture of the mountains surrounding the airport.
“Is this real life?”

Is this real life

I lingered by that window, wide-eyed and in awe of how far I’d come in the past year, shocked at how different my life is from the day I booked this trip, trying to imagine how the cynical, cold, unhappy October 2016 version of myself would have felt staring out the doubled-paned airport glass in the country of her dreams.

Eventually I made my way down to immigration and waited. At first I was patient and reveling in the Spanish signs and the touristy ads, but after over an hour I was quite sure I was either going to piss myself or faint.

Neither happened and I made it to a booth, got my first ever passport stamp (that wasn’t related to military orders), a tired welcome from the guy with the ink pad, and was ushered towards baggage claim and customs with a huge smile on my face.

I wandered around baggage claim for more than ten minutes with no luck until I had rehearsed the Spanish phrase for “I can’t find my bag” in my head enough times to feel comfortable asking for help. With a mere glance at my boarding pass, the agent simply pointed at my bag- less than 2 feet behind me. I laughed at myself, determined not to panic.

A few deep breaths later I walked out of the airport. Before I could even see the sky there were hoards of people holding signs for groups or individuals and just as many people asking if I needed a taxi. I found out later that these extremely zealous taxi drivers are kind of infamous, but my experience wasn’t bad. While they were quite abrupt when asking, they were very polite when I muttered, “No, thanks” and sometimes “No, gracias” when I was aware enough. One driver even asked if I was looking for a particular shuttle or group and pointed me in the right direction.

all i want for christmas

I got a little panicky when I realized I was disconnected from the airport WiFi and was still unable to find any sign, shuttle, or person with a logo for my tour group. But I reminded myself that worse case scenario I walked back into the airport, got back on the WiFi, and called my guide to find a way to the hotel. Though I knew this wasn’t the actual worst case scenario, I refused to allow myself to think about anything remotely inspired by Taken. But then my phone’s low battery warning came on and a small lump formed in my throat, realizing my dad could never pull off a Liam Neeson style rescue.

But a magic deli appeared tucked in the side of the airport and it had WiFi. It didn’t take long after that to track down my guide and the other group members that had already found him. Moments later our bus appeared and we were on our way to our first hotel.

Rhyan, our guide, spoke the entire drive. He went over our itinerary, told some jokes, was so welcoming and funny. The drive was beautiful and insane. I couldn’t stop smiling, nothing felt real yet! We filled out room assignments, but I hadn’t really met anyone yet so I just wrote my name down next to the first empty slot and hoped for the best.

I got really lucky. The girl I roomed with had arrived a day early and was already at the hotel. I got up to our room (#16), knocked and met Nicole who goes by Nicki. This was her 7th tour with EF and she’s a 27-year old pharmacy tech in northern California. She was so fricken nice!

The day caught up with me and I fell asleep for like half an hour before abruptly waking up and needing food. Nicki told me there was a restaurant in the lobby and offered to come with me if I wanted her to, but she wasn’t hungry so I decided I was brave and independent and went alone. I met two more group members at the bar, Eric and Jacob. They were also from California and on their first EF tour, like me. More tour people joined us, but I couldn’t hear their names.

We chatted a bit, but the conversation died because I was the only one eating and a row of a people at a bar wasn’t exactly the easiest format for mingling. I didn’t mind. I was sleepy and hungry and feeling gross after a day of airports. I had an incredible vegetarian spaghetti with a coke, paid in U.S. dollars, got colones back, and wished everyone a goodnight.

first meal

The hotel was smallish, but beautiful. The restaurant opened to the pool area and the lobby into the courtyard. Things were still decorated for Christmas and were adorable. Our room keys were actual keys! The rooms had three single beds with bright orange quilts, very few outlets, and a tiny bathroom. Surprisingly, the water pressure in the shower was amazing, but it didn’t drain very well.

Rhyan had mentioned that the plumbing in Costa Rica wouldn’t be what we were used to and that we shouldn’t flush our toilet paper, but throw it away. So I was terrified to shit.

The view from my room overlooked the pool and you could just see the mountains on the other side of the wall. At night the mountain side was covered in lights, it was beautiful. Everything was beautiful, even while it sprinkled rain.

I spent the rest of the night chilling with Nicki, messing around on my phone, reveling in things as simple as SnapChat filters and texting my family and Boyfriend about how happy I was and how great things were going. Nothing felt real yet.

best fucking life

Adventures

Arriving in Costa Rica

30 December 2017

I woke up this morning in Benton, Louisiana next to a groggy boyfriend and an equally sleepy dog. I’d had trouble falling asleep because I was nervous and excited and, admittedly very uncomfortable trying to share a bed with those two.

I snoozed my alarm, snuggled back into bed and made a noise of contentment before waking Boyfriend up to share in my uneasy pre-travel feelings and inevitable rushing around.

Everything was fine, a little rainy so I was kinda nervous, but Boyfriend sweetly reassured me that flying is safe and I’d be fine and blah blah blah amazingly kind stuff. I said my goodbyes, had my bottle of sunscreen confiscated and was off.

Atlanta was surprisingly cold so I fished a second coat out of my bag, grabbed some Auntie Anne’s, and settled into the nearest gate to eat, play Pokemon, and wait. My nerves flared up every once in awhile, but were mostly drowned out by the excitement and anticipation I’d all but lived in the past few days.

Boarding was slightly stressful because I wasn’t allowed to gate check my bag, but really the stress came from it being unexpected, not actually difficult. So I took a few deep breaths and reminded myself that this trip was about facing and overcoming my fears- and not just the big ones like heights and flying over the ocean, but the small, irrational ones like things not going exactly as planned.

I gripped my boarding pass with white knuckles as I walked on to my plane and found my seat. An aisle seat near the front of the plane, the most tolerable way to fly in my opinion. I immediately put headphones in, ignoring the safety demonstration, but reviewing the safety card. You know, in case anything had changed over the four hours since my previous flight and previous review of an identical card.

For the first time in over ten years I slept through take off. I was in and out of sleep, completely disoriented. I would come-to half aware of what was going on, nearly leaning on the person next to me, mouth wide open, unsure if I’d been snoring or if it had just happened. Eventually I realized we were in the air and I sprawled out on my tray table.

Two hours later I woke up with a customs declaration tucked under my head and a meal about to be served. I woofed down some pretzels and was again in and out of it for nearly the rest of the flight.

It was a terribly bumpy landing. The turbulence in the last 20-30 minutes made me wish I’d never flown, but that feeling fled when we finally broke through the clouds and a green, mountainous, brick and stucco speckled land appeared before me. I smiled bigger than my cheeks could handle and tears filled my eyes.

“Welcome to Costa Rica.”

Today

Whoops, it’s been a month.

A lot has been happening since my last post. It’s mostly family stuff, that’s what’s kept me off WordPress. That and normal busyness combined with the still unformed habit of blogging regularly. I’m trying!

Work at the department store has actually been great. We had a corporate visit last week so we have been spending every second cleaning up, rearranging, organizing, and preparing the store.

I found it really frustrating at first, I couldn’t help but feel annoyed that we had all this extra work, but if the store was set properly to start with we wouldn’t be as overwhelmed. A lot of my coworkers felt similarly annoyed, even our store manager mentioned that he felt responsible. He mentioned in one of the morning meetings that it was his and the other managers’ faults for not showing the different teams how things should be done.

I don’t know him or the other managers well enough to know if he was being genuine, but it was nice to hear that we weren’t being blamed and that he was at least aware of why there was so much work to do.

School’s been going well. I passed the class I retook during the August – October semester with a 93%! As for the GA position, it’s been pretty boring. I was doing homework most of the time. About two weeks ago though, my boss told me she’d been contacted by a local nonprofit that needed a volunteer with Excel/ Access experience to help them catch up on some data entry and office work. She immediately thought of me and has been allowing me to fulfill my GA hours at the nonprofit instead of on campus. It means I have work to do and am getting experience and networking. I love it!

I don’t really have any plans for Halloween. A friend and I talked about a few things leading up to tomorrow, but neither of us has decided on a costume or done anything to make or buy one. I’ll probably end of putting on something cliche, handing out candy with my parents and going to bed earlier. …Or more likely: not going to bed earlier and spending Wednesday exhausted. What can I say, I know myself.

That’s the update for now! I’ll try to be more regular, but it’s the start of a new semester and the holiday season is approaching. No promises, y’all.

EJ♥

Today

Death, cliches, and some other emotional bullshit.

Life goes on. That’s what everyone says anyway, even when you feel like it shouldn’t. Even when it feels like the moment you’re stuck in is the only moment you’re allowed to be in forever. Or at least until something equally as tragic happens.

But life goes on, the world keeps turning, etc. etc. It’s a cliche that cliches are cliches for a reason, but hey, I warned you in the title.

I’ve never really dealt with death before. My dog died my senior year of high school, I literally felt her heart stop and it freaked me the fuck out so I just left. I drove to my then-boyfriend’s house and the rest of that memory is blurry.

But now I’m older and people expect things of me. So when my Popa, my dad’s dad, had a brain bleed and we were told it wouldn’t be long, I wanted to bottle it up and drive somewhere that didn’t have the pall of death hanging over it. Is there even such a place?

Instead of feeling anything- related to his death or not, I wanted to just drop my entire life and start a new one. My family, my friends, school, my new jobs, everything. Fuck it all, there are a ton of people in the world, a ton of universities, a ton of job openings. I don’t have to be here to have friends, to go to school, to work.

But then I saw my little sister crying and I knew there wasn’t another her in this world. And then I heard my dad say goodbye to his dad and I knew I wanted to avoid having that same moment with him for as long as possible. And then my mom broke down and I knew I’d have to bring her with me if I left.

I wanted in that moment to take the three of them with me. To move to Colorado to be with my older sister. To pack the pictures and the dog and never look back, because that’s easier. It’s easier to run away than to feel anything.

But what’re the cliches? It catches up with you. You can’t run away forever. Ignoring your problems don’t make them go away.

And now he’s dead. And it’s not even about mourning. It’s about lawyers and wills and family drama and money. Somehow the death of someone they all loved is bringing out the worst in them instead of reminding them how they’re connected. And everyone is spouting cliches about family and love, but then in the next breath complaining about other people and shunning people that aren’t ‘blood relatives,’ as if it even fucking matters. Everyone is assuming they’re right, that they’re feeling the worst, that they’re getting the worst end of the deal.

Death makes everyone start declaring sweeping generalizations about those around them, about life, about how things should or shouldn’t have been. Where did nuance go? Or compassion? It’s like everyone around me is wearing fucking blinders and seeing the smallest parts of something and using that part to define the situation. Fuck, even I’ve been doing it. Isn’t that what the entire paragraph before this is?

I don’t know. What’s the fucking point? I don’t have anything new to say. I don’t have any clarifying statements. I haven’t learned anything, except how to get to the ICU in the Willis Knighton off Youree. I’m a first timer. I’m handling this okay because of beginner’s luck, not because I’m wise or strong or capable or have my shit together.

Psalm 56:3

EJ

Today

Practicing Patience & Understanding

I’ve been thinking about patience a lot today.

It was my first real day at my department store job and I had a GA shift. I’ve also pre-purchased all my film festival tickets so I had a movie scheduled tonight, even though by the time 5:30 rolled around I just wanted to put my feet up and eat something green.

I started my day impatient in the traffic that made me late. I got impatient when I arrived and all the doors were locked- no one had told me anything about a key code when I trained the other week. I was even more impatient when, despite the team I’m a part of having a huge task, no one seemed to know what was going on or how to start. By the time my shift end was minutes away, my patience had nearly vanished when they asked if I could stay longer. I did, for the most selfish reason… $$

I ran home and grabbed my school books (in case I had time for homework), ate, and let my dog out. I was impatient on the drive home, I was rushed when I was home, and I felt impatient in the traffic on the way to my GA shift. You’re seeing how my day was shaping up?

I got to work and had a few clerical things to do before getting back to the research I’ve been working on. I got frustrated and impatient with myself when I couldn’t understand the instructions I was being given and I became even more impatient when I locked a file cabinet I still needed and had to ask for the keys back again.

The computer I have to work on has probably been on that desk for 10+ years and has had a pending update every time I’ve used it the past two weeks. I grow impatient every time I have to do something remotely quickly on that dinosaur, but today was something else!

Finally, I drove to the theater, feeling rushed to get through rush hour traffic and find parking downtown with enough time to pick up my ticket and find a seat. The film was great, quite the respite from my impatient, bustle-y day.

It was during my drive home that I had a little impatient outburst. I was relaxed, driving leisurely- not much traffic at 8 PM, even on Airline. Then, I didn’t turn left at a green light.

I’m notorious for waiting for a green arrow for a left turn instead of zooming during a regular green light. It feels safer to me and I’m always afraid I’ve misjudged the distance. Tonight was no different, it turned green, there were cars coming. Were they pretty far away? I wasn’t sure. But apparently the guy behind me was, because he honked a bunch. It made me jump and press the brake harder. Then the light went yellow, red, and then there was a green arrow.

I was fed up from a long day and annoyed that this jerk had honked at me for wasting less than a minute of his time. So I was petty and made the turn fairly slowly and then quickly reached the speed limit once my turn was complete. He zoomed next to me, glared, and zoomed ahead. I scoffed and continued driving safely without honking or glaring at anyone.

Then the car that had honked and glared turned into Dairy Queen. I scoffed again and muttered to myself, “In that big a rush to get to Dairy Queen? Jack ass.”

I started imagining to myself what I should have done, like waited through the green arrow so he couldn’t turn at all. Or gotten in the other lane and driven steadily next to a car so he couldn’t get ahead of either of us. Then I reminded myself that those behaviors are dangerous and trying to be safe was the whole reason I’d waited for the arrow!

Still I felt a little bitter. Then I thought about all the times I’ve been in a rush to go no where of any particular importance and gotten angry at other drivers. Though I normally reserve honking and glaring for people on their phones or who don’t use their turn signals.

I thought, well maybe he was getting dinner for his family. Or, maybe he’d been on a road trip and was exhausted- just wanted some fried food and ice cream before crashing. Or maybe he had a shit day at work too and just wanted to get his food and go home.

Then I felt bad for turning slowly and realized I wasn’t being very patient or understanding. I don’t think I actively strive to be patient, but I don’t feel apathy toward the virtue. I’m certainly not as patient with my loved ones as I should be, considering their importance in my life, but I always try to give strangers the benefit of the doubt. At least… when I’m in an okay mood.

But then I wonder, are there things you shouldn’t have patience for? Like hate? Bigotry? If you’re impatient and dismissive of those things can you ever learn enough about them to combat them?

I don’t know. I’m just rambling because I still have homework to do and have to be at work at 6 AM and I’m just not big enough to be grateful for that.

EJ♥

Today

It’s not just kids that let their parents down.

So, I’ve never come out and said it here because it’s just ONE part of who I am, but I’m queer as hell.

Okay?

Sorry if that sucks to you, please help yourself to the door.


Anyway, there’s this Gay & Lesbian film festival in town and I am SO excited.
A lot of the films have panels after to help educate the community and there’s even a “girl’s night” event with a special cocktail for one of the movies. It’s also at a theater that my family loves called The Robinson Film Center, there’s a little restaurant attached- my grandparents even had their anniversary party there!

I couldn’t afford the pass though (no paychecks yet), so earlier tonight I asked my parents if they’d help me pay for it and if they’d like to go to one or two of the movies with me.

My dad: “I don’t go to movies.”

WHAT? I get you don’t go to, like, the Regal theater because of your hearing (Army Vet probs), but you’ve taken me to the Robinson before. But… wait… that was for a Shakespeare remake, starring straight white guys… I think I see the problem.

Whatever. I got pissed and went for a walk.

Been holed-up in my room since I got back, but my mom knocked and wanted to figure out the money thing- she still wanted to help me pay for my pass. Then she asked what movies were showing. I sent her the link, bought my tickets, waited while she took a work call, etc.

In that short time, I managed to get excited about taking her to something that she never would have gone to had I never come out to her. I hoped she’d want to go to the movie with the “girl’s night” stuff, or one with a panel. I was excited for her to learn more about my community and about the shit it’s gone through while she was completely unaware and unknowingly reveling in her straight privilege. I got excited.

When she finished her work call, I went to ask which one she’d like to see and to figure out the tickets. She said none of them really interested her.

She said she didn’t know all the movies would be about …. and then she said she couldn’t think of the “right” word.

She said, “I thought they’d be movies made by LGBT people, with some about…”

“Straight people?”

“I just thought there’d be a mixture.”


Like what the fuck, mom. If you wanted to see straight people being stupid and romantic just go to a regular theater. Or turn on the fucking TV.

See, this is why I wanted them to come to at least one movie during this festival. They don’t even know how to talk with me about this stuff. And they hardly ever try. They just ignore it or get all proud of themselves when they say “wife or husband” when talking about the future of someone whose sexuality they don’t know.

They could really learn something and improve our relationship.

But I’m like 99% sure they wish I were straight.

Fuck that.