Monday, 18 May 2015

Moving On Up

Hey guys.

I'm only here to let you all know that I finally, after about a year of drawn out work, have my own site where I will now be posting. (I promise I'm way more excited about it than this post I just ... yeah today is one of the low days of the grieving process. And for those who don't know what I am grieving, you can find that on my new site.)

The new house isn't completely stocked and decorated as yet, as I am still slowly moving all my boxes and rearranging everything so it's all in perfect order. Slowly, albeit, but it's happening. And I know I shouldn't be launching anything new during Mercury Retrograde, which began today, (sarcastic yay) but who's really going to make me wait until June to tell you all about one of my favourite accomplishments of 2015? Even if I'm in a super low place.

At any rate, I'm going to go through the process of erasing this site completely at some point, but until then you can find me here.

Very excited to have you all join me on my new, and exciting, journey. The world has now gotten just a little bit bigger.

Ciao. For good.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Dear Blog: It's Not You, It's Me

I know you've grown accustomed to my long periods of absence from my beloved blog. But this time around, I've got a confession to make: I started a diary.

Before you let all the water out of your blowhole, please accept my sincerest apologies. And let me make it abundantly clear that I have no intentions of completely abandoning you guys. There's no way I could neglect you after all that you've done for me. But after losing almost everything that was dear to me–all of my forevers and largely, myself–there was no other option for me but to let it all out. (And you and I both know I wasn't going to do so publicly.)

My first diary entry came on the tail-end of January, and I've been pretty consistently updating it since then. Fortunately for my sanity, my muse has been 100 percent positive, as have almost all of my entries. How, you ask? It's a funny story, actually. And one that I absolutely don't mind sharing, in the reticent way that I do of course.

After I found out that most of who I am, or thought I was, as a result of the childhood I thought I experienced was a lie, I took a turn for the best. I could have absolutely decided to hate everyone, everything, and life in general, but I opted instead to just give up entirely and release everything into the universe. I had already spent so many years being angry, resentful, and distant because of external experiences and empathy, and I suppose after this final revelation I finally came to a point where I literally just said "fuck it". I realised that I can truly be whoever I want, with the things that happened before I was aware of myself having absolutely no bearing on that person at all. I decided that I was going to stop listening to that outside noise, stop letting external factors create my reality and pave my path for me, and just create my own. Some might call this denial, or quite possibly even delusion, but I call it conquering.

Finding out that my whole life has been a lie is literally the best and most freeing and incredible thing to ever happen to me. 

I came out from under the boulder a new person. I exited the karmic phase that I told you guys about in another post and now I am a whole new being. And as a result of that new vibrational pull and positive energy, I attracted a beautiful loving soul. A few months into it and I still marvel at the fact that I was able to overcome and that MY energy was able to bring this type of peace into my life. Often, I find myself reminding me that "we vibrated right and found each other, not the other way around".

This is important.

And while I am enjoying this space we share, the best part of it all is that I would be OK if one day I woke up, and he was gone. Though I'd prefer this journey to be as long as possible, I can see how there's a chance it is just a fleeting experience, like most everything else, and once the lesson plan is completed, our paths will diverge. And that's OK. I have it all in my heart and spirit and more tangibly, on paper. I've recorded every incredible feeling I've felt, and no matter what happens they can never leave me. I will be forever humbled and impacted by his energy. And as with every other whirlwind experience that has come and gone, every ravaging storm that I've endured and overcome, when it's all said and done, I've learned, it will only ever make me a better person than the one who's writing this to you today.

And that will always be enough.

Until next time!

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

If You Don't Get Robbed in South America, You Didn't Do it Right

Well, the word is out.

I was robbed in Chile. Twice. (Three times if you include the whole group).

Now that the cat is out of the bag. I guess this is where I fill the space up with explanations and background details in order to save face. But really, the only thing I particularly want to share is the irony of the fact that after getting robbed the first time, I wrote a blog on my phone about my first day in Chile, and the very last sentence was "one thing is for sure, I won't be getting robbed again."

I had it saved on my phone, ready to post as soon as I got access to wifi, and then ... I was robbed again. This time, my phone was taken. Naturally, aside from the utter irritation and unease of being on a foreign continent without a way to contact anyone, I had to set aside a small giggle for the universe in the way that one played out. Some people, particularly my Jamaican brothers and sisters, would say I "goat-mouth" myself, which means I spoke it into being. "I should have never written out that last statement to begin with". But let's  be honest here. If we are talking about all the things I should not have done, I think it's fair to say that writing the blog was the least of them.

At any rate, I guess if you are still here with me, you're waiting to find out what happened. And I guess here is where I will begin to tell you.

My first day in Chile I was robbed. But it wasn't the kind of robbery that is blatant and scary, though that might have been less of a blow to my ego. (I still have a tiny tiny one, somewhere in there.) I found myself the victim of a good old-fashioned swindle. The same kind of swindle that I see every time I am in Jamaica. Yes, the same kind I warn those pesky tourists about before they go to my homeland.

You see where this became a real problem for me?

To cut that story short, because I would really rather not expound upon and relive the utter disgrace it was for me to let this happen, I ended up paying about five times more for a taxi ride from the airport to the place I was staying than I ever should have. All because I didn't have enough confidence in myself, even though I knew and studied the exchange rate before I got there. I didn't travel alone this time, and my peers were equally not as confident, paired with a sprinkle of discomfort and a dash of shyness that comes in tandem with traveling with strangers. Aka: None of us spoke up for fear of shaking things up. So we all just forked up 50USD eachhhh to the non-English-speaking taxi driver in an unmarked vehicle (NOT a taxi) who really could have taken us anywhere and robbed us of the ridiculous amount of money he knew we just took out of the ATM. (Look at that beautiful silver lining!)
The exchange rate in Chile is about 600 pesos to 1 USD. We knew this. I knew this. But the confusion set in when the ATM said I could only take out between 10 and 150 pesos. Now, in thinking that I needed 600 to make just one dollar, I decided, against my better judgment, to take out 150. When the money came out, and I realised I really took out 150,000 pesos, I panicked.

How I managed to still get tricked into paying 30,000 pesos for the 10-15 minute drive to the hostel, I don't know.

We gave ourselves about a good half an hour to sulk, not even so much about losing the money but more so about feeling like that good ol' ignorant tourist, now slightly apprehensive to take the next step. But after that we proceeded to explore Santiago. I won't spend too much time describing this portion of the trip, not because I want to focus on the negatives, but because, honestly, I wasn't captivated by anything in Santiago. Nothing there spoke to me. It felt like a city I could have enjoyed more in photographs, all of which I ended up losing by the way. (More universal irony! Yay!)

Still, the second day, NYE, was where the excitement lived. I went to Chile to celebrate the new year, and part of the thrill was that they have some really unique NYE traditions. Among them, most of the people head over to Valparaiso/Vina Del Mar to watch the fireworks over the water, which was basically the number one reason we went to Chile. So we made sure that if nothing else, our trip there was booked and ready for us in the morning.

We also had plans to eat 12 grapes at midnight, making a wish on each grape, wear yellow underwear inside out, and drink champagne out of a glass with a ring inside. (Most of these superstitious activities are carried out with the idea that they will bring you love and happiness in the new year).

I wish I could say we did all of this.

I won't discount our last ditch effort to enjoy the trip, though, where we changed our yellow underwear in the middle of La Moneda in Santiago, underneath the midnight fireworks in the presence of all the overly affectionate Chileans who often looked at us as though they'd never seen creatures like us before–in a good way. But the rest of them we missed out on.

And if you're wondering how and why we ended up back in Santiago to bring in the New Year, despite the bus ride to Valpo where I wrote my original blog (and subsequently Vina Del Mar) then that means you're paying attention.

The second robbery came in Valpo, almost immediately after I got off the Santiago bus. The worst part? I don't know when it happened. I don't even remember it. All I know is that I found myself on the bus to Vina next to Alejandro (who let me use his phone to whatsapp my brother a very cryptic "I was robbed. Don't message back here. I will contact you." message), frantically looking for my phone while a guy with angel wings, a pistol, and his face painted in white, paced back and forth on the bus begging for money. It would have been the most eerie thing I've ever experienced if my phone hadn't distracted me. But even the distraction couldn't veil the suffocating creepy energy of everyone on the bus trying not to make eye contact with the white-faced passive aggressive man.

The third robbery, this time for my friend, happened in Valpo too, arguably in the same exact spot, and even more arguably by the same exact man. And to continue down the path of universal irony, we had this man on video from when we first got to the city. That's what made me stare at him intensely when we returned to the downtown market, thinking where had I seen him before, and feeling the overwhelming sense that he had my phone.

Yet still, it hadn't been more than 30 seconds since I told my peers to put their valuables away that he took advantage of the opportunity and forcibly grabbed everything right out of my friend's hand and ran. He made off with her purse, ID and money and all, and her phone as well. Meanwhile, we literally stood there watching him run thinking "this cannot be real life."

Needless to say. That trip was cut short. After robbery number three we not only had enough of Valparaiso, but also Chile in general. We only barely missed the last flight out of Santiago for the night, after spending the greater part of our NYE inside the PDI (Chile police station) and the other half begging the people at the bus station to let us back on the bus despite the fact that her return bus ticket had also been stolen and that we weren't supposed to return until the following evening. (Need I remind you, all of this communication happened in Spanish. I owe my thanks to Mrs. Tejero!)

That is the only reason we ended up in Santiago celebrating the new year, instead of bringing it in at 30,000 feet in the air, headed to some kind of island destination where we could lull our frustrations away on a white-sand beach. 

It would have been hard enough convincing me to go back to Chile even if we hadn't gotten robbed. But now? It's running pretty close to impossible. And this isn't because I hate Chile, or even at all blame the country for my experience, which by the way I wouldn't even call horrible or say I was particularly angry about any of it. (The food was horrible though. No qualms about saying that.) It's just, overwhelmingly, because there wasn't enough beauty and captivation in the city to balance out the feelings it gave me about the lack of compassion in humanity and how myopic they are in their selfishness.

Granted, it's a big country with lots more to see I'm sure, and I'd hate to judge an entire country based on one not-so-great experience. But let's just say it's not on the top of my list of things to do. It's not really very close to the middle either. In fact, it might just be closer to the bottom.

And trust me. It's a pretty long list.

Until next time.