Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fer feck’s sake, you eejit….

“I have every right to deport you right here, right now. And I will if you don’t keep your smart mouth shut. Now wait here while I call the British immigration services to see what they have to say about you.”

Welcome to the Republic of Ireland.

Yes, it’s true. I met the biggest asshole of my life entering Ireland. It wasn’t even 5:30 am and I hadn’t had any sleep. I knew I was waiting in the wrong queue when the large bald man scowled down the long line. The entire time I was considering moving to the cute boy’s line next to him but reckoned I looked too awful so I stayed where I was. Big mistake.

I couldn’t tell you exactly what I said to anger this turd of a man so much. It started off that I had no concrete dates of where I would be, but instead a long list of places I was intending to visit, like any other backpacker. He told me to stand back and wait for everyone else in the room to be done before he intended to deal with me. I might have scowled a bit but only because I knew my friend Dee was awaiting my arrival on the other side and she didn’t have much time before she had to leave for work. When the impotent bastard finally called me forward (ok, I’m not sure if he was impotent but I think it’s a fairly accurate assumption based on his foul demeanor) he asked a series of questions, none of which he like my answers to. He proceeded to write down some information: names, dates, places I’ve met people, where I’m going each month. With every other answer he tells me to “keep my smart mouth shut” and didn’t like it when I didn’t answer him because I was told to do this. I knew at this point I wasn’t going to win.

From the very beginning he was threatening to deport me and while I knew this was extremely unlikely (they can only really make you buy an expensive ticket home on the spot) I decided to humor him and let the stupid prick fulfill his power trip. I could tell he didn’t believe a word I was saying to him and was certain I was in Ireland to steal jobs from the locals. By the way, Ireland was hit extremely hard by the economic recession and I’m not sure I could even pay someone to hire me here. He didn’t even believe I had a legitimate friend on the other side whom had come to collect me; I couldn’t pronounce her name correctly (Deirdre, not De-dra…like I would know, I’ve only called her ‘Dee’) and we met playing with monkeys in Bolivia. How could that possibly be true?

He went to prove me wrong only to discover everything I said matched up. How unfortunate for him, he really wanted to send me home. He then went to call the British Immigration sure that they would insist I was sent home as well. In between this he proceeded to lecture my lifestyle choices calling me “ridiculous” and that “this was no way to live a life” and “I’ve made some serious poor life decisions”. I assume this bitterness developed from envy being that he was stuck in a god-awful booth for hours on end while I am young and free to do whatever I please. At least this is what I continue to tell myself.

Two hours later my spirit was broken, I had dramatically cried every tear out of my system, and I was starting to believe this pitiful man could actually send me home. When he finally went to stamp my passport I stupidly told him I had been to Ireland before, and no, there was no stamp in or out. He then started calling me illegal and was ready to tear into a whole new speech on how absurd my life is when a massive swarm of people showed up needing to be filed. He rolled his eyes and knew this battle was lost, but I knew he was still hungry to deport someone else. He begrudgingly gave me a stamp but not the traditional 90 day tourist visa as I deserved, but a 2 week “get the fuck out of Ireland or we will deport you” stamp. I was informed that once in Northern Ireland I would have to (willingly) go to a police station to get them to stamp some entry thing into my passport so I wouldn’t have any future troubles with the Republic of Ireland. The problem is this stamp itself is trouble; it will serve a red flag to every immigration officer I ever encounter from here on out. Thanks asshole.

So once cleared for entry I literally ran past the gate, up and down several flights of stairs, grabbed my backpack and eagerly searched for Dee on the other side. Dublin has a surprisingly small airport and she was nowhere to be found. It was also after the predetermined time Dee said she would have to leave by if my flight came in late. I was so disoriented and broken spirited at this point I simply got on a bus headed toward the center of town. Plus, I couldn’t stand being in that airport for one more minute.

After I missed several decent bus stops in the center of town, I got off only to walk aimlessly searching for something open with wifi so I could look up Dee’s address. I found a shopping mall boasting free wifi yet nothing inside was open. So naturally I threw myself on the ground and opened my netbook I was thanking myself for buying before I left. Right when I got the address the security guard sternly told me I had to leave. To be fair, I looked pretty haggard and homeless at this point. I sweetly asked his help for directions and when he realized I was merely a hippie, not a hobo (often confused), he pointed to where I needed to go and I set off for the long and tiresome walk.

While it was cold outside, I was dressed in layers and carrying way too much stuff. The entire walk I was cursing the immigration officer and planning various anti-Irish facebook status updates. It then occurred to me that maybe this happened for a reason; maybe the Universe needed to push me out of Ireland for whatever reason I couldn’t foresee. While this was probably true it was simply easier to curse constantly in my head. Either way, I was in the middle of an adventure and happy to prove to myself that traveling is never as easy as it seems.

I showed up at Dee’s apartment a sweaty wreck and was surprised to find her there. She had actually been waiting for me the entire time at the airport; she couldn’t go to work thinking I had a good chance of being deported. The officer promised to call her when I was released and so she settled into a café with coffee and a newspaper. She was not looking for me. And I was not looking for someone not looking for me. Damn. She only came home because I had posted on her facebook wall earlier that I was on foot heading to her apartment. She was now several hours late for work and the officer managed to ruin not only my day, but hers as well. He knew exactly when she had to leave for work and released me merely 10 minutes past that time. Conniving bastard.

Don’t worry though, the story only gets better from here. Dee and her boyfriend had already set up a comfortable bed in the living room. I was given tea and a spliff to calm down and slowly I was beginning to appreciate being in Ireland. After a long and much needed nap, Dee returned form work as did her roommate, Yvonne, and three of us girls just sat around chatting for awhile. Eventually Dee and I set out for wine, take away dinner, and a couple of groceries for me. The evening was calm but exactly what I needed. It was also similar to what most of my nights in Ireland would turn out to be.

The following day was March 17. In case you don’t have this day permanently marked in your calendar like myself, it is St. Patrick’s Day. We started it off with a proper Irish breakfast: Guinness. I argued I needed food and Dee came back with “Guinness is food. It’s got barley and iron in it. Plus pregnant women drink it. Well, not loads of it, but still.” I will never understand Irish logic but I sure do like it.

The early afternoon was spent standing on my tippy toes being well-squished trying to watch the parade. I didn’t catch everything but the bit I did watch was fascinating. The “floats” weren’t terribly large but intricate in concept and execution. The theme apparently changes every year and while I never found out the official one, my best guess was children’s stories. I could point out Alice in Wonderland, Aladdin, and a Bug’s Life. It all seemed so random but fun to watch as the people danced down the street with swirling floats and DJs blasting techno. I couldn’t find one thing that said ‘green’ or ‘St. Patty’s day’ but enjoyed it nonetheless.

Afterwards Dee and I quickly headed into a bar in the infamous Temple Bar area before the crowds swarmed in. We got out pints right before the masses flooded into the room but we managed to get ourselves a standing spot next a table right in front of the lad on stage playing guitar and singing. It was a genuinely good moment because the drunken crowd was singing along to some great classics. After our one pint we headed back to Dee’s apartment to prep for the party she was having that night. By prep I mean there were already guests there drinking so we joined in.

Hours later more guests arrived until we reached near capacity for their apartment. It was all good fun though as there were two groups: smoking and non-smoking. I stayed in the strictly alcoholic section with Dee until later in the evening when I wandered over to the group that never stopped rolling. Ok, time for personal commentary. There is a vast cultural difference in smoking habits between Irish and Americans. First of all, California was blessed with fantastic greenery and laws supporting it, hence smoking it in its pure form is the only acceptable habit. “Spliffs” do not exist. Plus we hate tobacco in general. In Ireland, the price is absurd and the quality terrible. So the habit of rolling their own spliffs have taken off and it is not uncommon to find up to four people rolling at a time in one room. Personally, I’d rather one good one but hey, this is about learning other’s culture. Another interesting difference is the fact that you smoke as much as you want while leaving some according to the number of people in the room. We were raised to “puff, puff, pass” and one would be made fun of if they babysat or bogarted the joint. Here, you have your share and then pass never planning on seeing it again. While I was very appreciative of everyone taking good care of me I can’t help but maintain California has better traditions in this matter, hands down.

Now back to St. Patty’s. By this point in the evening I was well inebriated and still totally fucked from lack of sleep and jet lag. Of course I was the first to ass out but after laying in the dark for a few minutes everything swirled around me and I had to expel everything from my system. Being the courteous houseguest, I held it in until the bathroom was available and made my mess into the toilet. Yes, this seems obvious but I can’t say the same for the other houseguests. I later found out there were two others that got sick that evening. A couple no less, and while one vomited in and around a trash bucket in the Yvonne’s room, the other got sick in the hall….and on Yvonne’s iphone. Lucky Yvonne.

The next day I learned just how common it was for the Irish to “get sick’, particularly on St. Patty’s. There was sick in the hall and covering much of the streets in Dublin. So in fairness, I fit right in. I really wasn’t that hungover but still needed to rest. Of course in the evening when Dee returned from work I was back on the bottle. She insisted “you’re only in Dublin for a week. You’ll either be drunk or asleep. It’s the rule.” No argument here.

First some quick background on the history of Dee and me. We met in Bolivia at an animal sanctuary we worked at in the jungle. Our love for monkeys, red wine, and late night dance parties with gossip is what bonded us. I knew coming here that instead of buying bottles, we should have just gone for cases of wine. If only there were a Costco here. But alas, we made due and also made dinner. I had insisted on showing her true guacamole seven months ago in the jungle and now I was finally capable of making it. We gorged ourselves rotten on quesadillas and I eventually fell asleep in a food, wine, and spliff coma. Actually I did this every night in Dublin. (Side note in case Dee can be incriminated: She does not smoke spliffs. Ever. But those in her company tend to. That’s all.)

I wish I could say I spent the days strolling the streets, soaking in the atmosphere, and visiting fascinating spots all over town. But this wasn’t my first visit here and I was more keen on sleeping in being that I hadn’t adjusted to the time zone. I did manage to make it to the gym with trainer Dee a couple of times and very much appreciated her kicking my ass a bit there. The following few evenings were variations of the evenings before, every one filled with good conversation and great atmosphere. A great highlight was the brewhouse pub we went to Saturday afternoon to watch the rugby match. Irish rugby is a big deal and this game with Scotland was supposed to be good. And it was, but would have been better if their kicker didn’t suck and they won in the end. Their comeback was impressive though, yet the highlight to me was simply the spirit in the room.

Sunday was my favorite day because we managed to get out of the city and went for a drive through the country to Glendalough. Luckily, it was a sunny day but that also meant swarms of people interrupting my nature time. Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed walking in nature through the trees, near the lake, and up a rocky mountain. There was even an old tower I swear Rapunzel lived in. On the steepest, most open, and most difficult part of our walk it started to sprinkle rain. The sun remained out when the sprinkle turned to legitimate rain and I wasn’t sure what to make of myself while I was sweating (hence wearing only a tank top) but getting very wet in the process. Eventually we decided to make our way back down but then I noticed some holes in the path. Since St. Patrick had chased out all the snakes many years ago I was certain these were the homes of leprechauns. I insisted they come out and give me a pot of gold or at least tell me where the rainbow would end, but alas, the only response I got was Dee saying I had lost the plot, she was completely embarrassed , and I should keep my yank accent to myself. I then shouted something about ‘eggplant’ and ‘freedom’ but eventually we made it back to her car where much needed snacks were awaiting us.

We took the long drive back to Dublin and I thoroughly enjoyed all the scenery while Dee answered every one of my endless questions regarding politics, history, and general culture. The evening was spent in town imbibing pints with her good friend and his Greek visitor. We were eventually forced to leave being the last people in the bar and were drunk enough to eat falafel and curry chips. Some douchey Scotsman yelled at me for my “North American accent” and I had to wonder if this was really fair to Canada.

It was way past time to go home as Dee had work early in the morning, but I was able to sleep in and meet her at the gym in the afternoon. We attempted to make it to the Guinness factory that evening but failed. So since Irish culture was shot for the night we went to eat at a place called ‘Captain Amerca’s’. Nice. We went for the irony, photos, and beer tower. We did pretty well for ourselves and were yet again the last to leave.

The following day I attempted to sort out my immigration disaster from the week before but it seemed pretty obvious this was going to be as difficult as getting a compliment out of the officer I originally dealt with. Thanks to a strike in the passport office and an already overwhelmed office filled with determined Nigerians seeking refuge, I didn’t stand a chance to get a ticket to even be seen. The good news is Dee and I made it to the Guinness factory that afternoon.

A self guided tour filled with way too much reading lead us up to the Gravity Bar that sits atop the entire city of Dublin. The end of the tour included a free pint of the most perfectly poured Guinness. Truly, it is a marriage of both art and science to pour a pint correctly and I finally acquired the appreciation for all 119.5 seconds it takes to pour. Unfortunately, some other people didn’t share this appreciation when they got their free pint. These fools simply took a sip for the photo and then fucked off. I’m not liable to explain what happened to said pints but at least I have some respect for Irish culture.

Being our final evening together, Dee and I opted for wine and tapas at home. We went to town at the grocery store covering all ethnicities including Mexican, Italian, and Arabic. We even stopped first for the best chips (french fries) in all of Dublin at Burdock’s. While Dee firmly believed in the tradition of unadulterated salt and malt vinegar, I couldn’t help my Americaness and insisted on ketchup. I think at the end of this night I needed to be rolled into bed. The Irish do not fuck around when it comes to eating, drinking, or smoking and I could use a good body detox right about now. But alas, I was due in Galway the following day.

My final morning in Dublin was spent (finally) being a true tourist. Dee and I boarded the Viking Splash tour which is an amphibious WWII vehicle (DUKWs) which basically means this odd looking bus/boat thing can be driven into the water. We were shown around the city, given interesting trivia, and shouted at the pedestrians aka “Celts” on the streets. I spent the afternoon packing and waiting for my next adventure to begin.

My lovely friend Laura, whom I met long ago in a land far away known as Malta, was kind enough to pick me up and drive me to her home in Galway on the other side of the island. She had conveniently been in Dublin competing for an internship and the timing was perfect. I arrived last night and am happy to report that was my first sober day in Ireland. Not sure how long it will last.

Today I spent in pajamas writing this bullocks and am waiting for Laura to be done with work. I am not sure what my time in Galway holds for me. I have visited here before so the tourist kitschy bit doesn’t interest me and luckily her roommates all said “you’ve been here before, right?” when they saw me. I’m aware I leave an impression everywhere I go but haven’t decided yet if this is a good or bad thing. I suppose it depends on what sort of day I’m having. And other than the first shitty morning I arrived, the days in Ireland, although grey, were certainly filled with pure enjoyment. Let’s hope my second impression is better than the first, whatever that was.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bright Lights, Big City

This is my first official blog on the road. Yes, it’s only been a matter of days and not an incredible lot has happened, but this particular blog goes out to everyone who doubted my ability to keep up writing regularly. Maybe it’s the stormy weather outside or the fact that I have an evening alone but I’d like to think of myself as Carrie Bradshaw in the Big Apple. I’ve got the hair, the laptop, and the dating drama which really makes me believe this fantasy is true somehow. Maybe I’ll even step out for a cigarette.

But enough daydreaming, this blog is supposed to chronicle actual events. And I actually am in New York right now loving and living it up. Every time I come here I start scheming how and when I’m going to move here. This time I’ve convinced myself Brooklyn is well worth the commute. I still am not sure when this move will happen but this visit has shown me when I’m done with this next trip I really will be ready to settle down in one place for a year, and now I’m sure it will be here. A surprisingly easy decision considering the roaring wind and rain outside and my soggy boots. Yet this is all future talk. Let me focus on the present. (Sorry I get so easily distracted…..oooh, look, shiny!)

I arrived safe and mostly sound in New York late on a Wednesday night. The stress from packing and preparing had finally melted away on the flight. After navigating my turtle-like structure around on the subway I had the wonderful pleasure of finally meeting the boyfriend of my amazing friend Abbie, with whom I always stay with in New York. My approval was quickly passed and a quiet yet fun evening ensued.

My first full day I slept in but still managed to make it to the MOMA, my favorite of all museums in the world. The Tim Burton exhibit alone was worth the trip, I’d recommend it to anyone in the area. I have not quite realized the expanse of his body of his work in total. Burton is extraordinarily creative, detail oriented, and a bit nuts. I respect and admire all of his work but am very certain I wouldn’t even want to spend one day in his head. Other exhibits enthralled me as well, particularly the performance piece in the main stage area that was opened a couple of days ahead of schedule. (Lucky me.)

After these exhilarating few hours I visited Abbie at her new office located in a trendy area downtown. In the process of strolling around, waiting for her to finish work and figure out our next move, I loaned my lighter to one of her coworkers. When I went out to collect it she was loaning it to some hot mess on the street. I didn’t care to notice this woman’s face but did acknowledge her bloody knuckles and general disheveled look about her. It was her clear blue eyes that caught my attention and made me realize this particular hot mess was Courtney Love. Yes, it is true and was later confirmed by the coworker who carried out a longer conversation with her. One might wonder why I didn’t stick around and spark up with the rock star but alas, I had to leave and D-List celebrity stories are not really my thing. (Unless of course I have a blog to mention this useless stuff in.)

So then I went on my way to Brooklyn to meet up with a mutual friend of ours, Deena. We met at a Mexican restaurant for several margaritas waiting for Abbie to finish up work and meet us. A long evening of great conversation ensued which was well lubricated by alcohol, chips, and salsa. Abbie eventually headed back to Manhattan for a good night’s rest before work the next day. Deena and I on the other hand continued the evening back at her place to smoke some refreshing herbal medicine and continue drinking ourselves into a proper Thursday night coma. Naturally I ended up crashing there in her sister’s spare bed but before I did I had decided her and I would make excellent roommates one day.

The next morning (err…afternoon, it’s all perspective I suppose) we strolled out in the miserable wet weather for some Brooklyn bagels for breakfast. Now I know this bit doesn’t mean much to anyone out there but my family. Being that my Jewish father grew up in Brooklyn, I was raised to believe two truths in the world: one is that the New York Knicks are the greatest basketball team ever, no matter what, and also that Brooklyn bagels are superior to all other bagels in the world, including Manhattan. “It’s something in the water” I’ve been told and have been repeatedly reminded that I don’t know a good New York bagel unless it was made in Brooklyn. Glad I could finally check that off of my to-do list and make my family proud at the same time. My personal verdict: delicious! Although I’m still not sold on the water part, I suppose a proper taste test might resolve the issue.

I managed to sort myself out and went to the gym later that day as if it justified what I drank that night. When Abbie and I were done showering, but still in pajamas with crazy hair and deciding if we should even step out that night, not one, but two groups of her friends randomly stopped by to coordinate some plans. One group included a long time friend of Abbie’s I’ve had the lovely pleasure of meeting previously and she was accompanied by two of her male coworkers. They were already well into the middle of a happy hour binge and we promised to meet them at the divey Irish pub next door before we went out for the night. As if we ever would make it out of there.

The five of us began imbibing alcohol quickly as we could see the karaoke machine being set up. In the process of preparing our ridiculous selves I quickly got to know one of the coworkers, the cuter blue eyed one of course. Before long I realized that this man was me, only with a penis. What I mean to say is we had everything in common including being overtly passionate about environmental issues, throwing caution into the wind while traveling, and of course, a sarcastic and inappropriate sense of humor. He had even already accomplished one of the top goals in life: to road trip the US in a bio-diesel fueled vehicle while making a documentary about meeting people along the way. Damnit. I wasn’t even drunk before I was smitten.

The truth is I very rarely meet men I care to get to know better, let alone actually genuinely like. And the best part was he actually seemed to like me back! (Ok, let’s be honest, he was definitely more drunk than me at this point. But this rarely happens and I wasn’t quite sure how to deal with it.) A few karaoke songs and several amazing conversations later we were in the ladies bathroom stall making out. In case you were wondering, this is me being prude. It’s better than doing it in the bar in front of your friends.

Anywho, I didn’t want to cross any major lines that night but I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. I only had a matter of days to enjoy this amazing new person and I wasn’t going to waste a minute of it. He had already planned on spending the following day all alone in his apartment watching movies while it poured down rain outside. He offered me to come over and enjoy the day together and so I made him promise no hanky panky that night. (Ok, so maybe a little hanky but no panky.) Since Abbie’s apartment was next door to where the bar was (yes, our friends had already ditched us there) I insisted we go up so I could get my toothbrush before we left for his place. And of course we had the same toothbrush, Preserve, the number one brand for hippies. Only something that stupid would make me swoon.

A short cab ride to Brooklyn brought us to his studio apartment that was clean, energy efficient, and fully stocked with vintage suitcases and a very nice bicycle. I was beginning to wonder if this was the reason why the Universe had brought me to New York. Truthfully, New York was not planned in the original itinerary. Only because I had missed my flight in New Orleans three weeks prior was I here. (A partial reimbursement and stupid time constraint on the free ticket which need not be fully explained, explains this.) I had suspected all along it was for a bigger reason. I eagerly awaited the next day when light would better reflect the situation.

The reality is this is not a fairytale. He was no Prince Charming and I most certainly am not a princess. I’m Carrie Bradshaw, remember? Which means there would be mixed signals, utter confusion, and a sad reality check about dating in New York. I couldn’t sleep in (ridiculously odd for me) so I read a book and occasionally tried to squeeze in a snuggle. Several hours later he awoke and we chatted in bed for a long while, still with the same interesting and involved conversations. But the morning was different. No kissing, holding, or romance.

He insisted on taking me to the Farmer’s Market so we could buy some fresh organic local goods so he could cook me breakfast. We braved the rain and there was an odd sense of comfort I felt being near him as we strolled through the very wet city. Once out, he wanted to show me something nearby, which turned out to be an indoor flea market full of 80’s sweaters and old maps. It was like I didn’t even need to bother to tell this guy about myself because he already knew. Eventually our hunger got the better of us and we made our way back to his place. Before long we had a delicious breakfast and started to get to know more about each other’s pasts, and not things you would always share with someone you’ve just met. This entire time I’m thinking ‘what an amazing, thoughtful, sweet, and inspiring guy! Wait, why are we not kissing?!?!’ And that, my friends, is a question I’ll probably never get the answer to.

Eventually it was time for me to go and he insisted on walking me not only to the subway, but he swiped his card so he could make very sure I got on the right train. Normally this would really upset me as my extremely independent personality highly objects to anyone treating me like an incompetent child. But no, I was eagerly awaiting that goodbye kiss. But a genuine hug was all I would receive, not even a phone number, and I was sent on my way.

I spent the next hour or so on the subway trying to figure out what exactly went wrong. By the time I made it back to Abbie’s apartment I was on the brink of tears. It wasn’t this guy in particular (ok maybe it was a little) but the reality check of my life had sunk in. As long as I’m living my dream traveling the world and going where the wind blows I will never have a relationship. The last few years have been quite enjoyable checking different types of men off my list. (Guy with accent? Check. Marine? Check. Inappropriately younger guy. Double check.) But the truth is I have finally reached a point where I want someone to share my life with. No, not marriage or anything absurd like that; I’d simply like to have one man care about what I’m doing. I want to feel comfortable in someone’s arms again, share crazy adventures together, and of course, have regular (amazing) sex. Is that too much to ask for?

The truth is I don’t often meet someone I’d even as potentials, but whenever I do, they’re not interested in me because of my lifestyle choice. What’s the point in falling for a girl who has openly admitted to leaving them in a matter of days? The longest I have ever been in one place since college is 4 or 5 months, and that’s when I’m transitioning through home when I’m overworked and without much of myself to offer. On the road, it’s a matter of weeks I’m in any one place. I get that this concept is frightening to most people but it exhilarates me. And I just want to find someone to share these experiences with. Which is truly surprising given my normal innately commitment- fearing background.

So here I am: alone, rejected, and confused. It’s Saturday night and the weather is still super shit outside and Abbie has gone to work her last shift as a hostess and doesn’t seem interested in going out after. I decided to blog and reach out to my compassionate man-hating friends around the world. In the middle of an email rant a knock comes at the door and it’s Abbie’s neighbor whom I had met a couple of times before. He said he wasn’t going out but his friend was and they were downstairs drinking and would like for me to join them. And that, right there, is New York. Because before you can even finish ranting about one boy, another one knocks at your door.

And so I had to finish this blog several days later on my flight to Ireland. I’ve had some time to reflect on this boy situation and now I can also fill you in on the rest of my time in New York.

I made it downstairs and wasn’t offered so much as given a beer and shots of jager. These two boys held lively conversation and I was happy to read one’s old sex blog and after some discussion, I was inspired to put myself out there (sexually in a blog I mean). Which is why I was so honest earlier and will continue to be. True understanding can only be made if all the facts are laid out. So enjoy the facts, at my expense, and sorry Mom and Dad that you are unfairly exposed to a part of my life I’ve managed to keep very secret. Our next gathering will have no shortage of conversation I suppose.

Anywho, the night continued when Abbie got home from work and we easily convinced her to head out with us to the meatpacking district. We went to a couple of different bars and I made friends with a pair of Argentineans I insisted on taking in under my wing. They were cousins, a guy and a girl, and had just moved to New York a matter of days ago. Their English wasn’t bad but I insisted on speaking in Spanish…with my beloved and awful Argentinean accent. Nobody really understood why I was hanging out with them all night but I suppose it was nice to be around people I felt instinctually comfortable around. Plus I had to remind them they couldn’t smoke inside. A habit I myself acquired while in Argentina.

Due to the time change we didn’t get home until 5:30 in the morning and I suppose we weren’t totally sober when we went out for champagne brunch the following Sunday morning. Deena came out from her Brooklyn cubbyhole and we ventured to Blockhead’s: my favorite (cheap) Mexican restaurant in the city. A couple of hours later we had made good friends with our server and he brought over some shots of tequila on the house. You would think by now I would have learned not to drink tequila after lots of champagne; I’ve made this mistake several times before. But no, it didn’t occur to me until many hours later when I couldn’t fall asleep because I was hung-over.

That evening was calm. I spent some time with Deena smoking cigarettes and sorting out my defunct love life but resisted the urge to head back out to Brooklyn based on the fact that I was leaving the next day and knew I would never make it back to Manhattan with enough time. So I stayed in with Abbie and her boyfriend eating delicious New York pizza and being lazy.

The next and final day of this adventure was boring. Ran a few errands. Went to the gym. Packed my bag. Strived to make it to the airport on time. A task I’m happy to report I didn’t fuck up…again. (But as usual I almost did.)

So here I am, eager to get into Ireland and begin a whole new bout of debauchery. Something tells me New York was only a warm up. Abbie isn’t a heavy drinker herself and the Irish, well, it was difficult back in my heyday of Malta to keep up with them. I’m always up for a good challenge though. And this time I came prepared with keg cups and ping pong balls so I may spread the glory and joy of that which is beer pong and flip cup.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The beginning of the end...

One week from this very moment I will be boarding a plane and never looking back. I have been on many planes before and have countless numbers more to board, but this time is different. This trip of mine has an new goal involved: to stay gone as long as humanly possible. I am known for my “trips” and the fact that I am constantly coming and going from somewhere. Yet I ultimately return home to sort myself out and make more money for the next trip. Will this point come again? Most likely. But with this particular expedition I would like to change the overall location without transitioning through home. Do I have enough money for this? Probably not. Will I go a bit ridiculous over time? Outlook is good. But the truth is I don’t have a Magic 8 Ball so I simply have to leap into the great unknown and hope the Universe will take good care of me, as it usually does.

While I am leaving myself open to the opportunity soaked wind, I have already lined up the first few stops on the road. First I land in the Big Apple: New York City. One of my all time favorite places in the world, I can never get enough and it’s been over a year since I last visited, which means I’m experiencing withdrawals. I’m lucky enough to have amazing friends to stay and go out with while I’m there who actually serve as the foundation of these visits. If it were not for one particular friend, I would never have gotten past infatuation with New York. We’re full blown lovers now and I have her to thank for that.

After a long and what I’m sure will be entertaining weekend, I make the big leap over to Europe. First port of call is Dublin, Ireland, and I arrive less than 24 hours to St Patty’s Day. Since the theme of this year’s travels is “celebration”, this is definitely the way to kick off the trip. I am fortunate enough to have a good friend pick me up from the airport, take me in, and show me a proper good time. The length of time I stay with anyone is not usually predetermined, but generally within a week I’ll be on my way again. And post Dublin lies an array of similar adventures all over Ireland. My path will trace to anyone I know who has invited me in to crash on their couch. We will go for a drink and reminisce about good old memories while creating new ones. Whenever the debauchery in Ireland has come to end I will make my way to England for more of the same ridiculousness but with different accents. The only truly solid plan I have is to be in Germany by May for a friend’s wedding. This event is the foundation of the trip; the reason I started planning it in the first place. I intend on spending two weeks absorbing the culture and getting carted around like an unaware puppy, being that I speak no German and in this small town English speakers are hard to come by.

After my final obligation to the world is fulfilled, I will truly set sail abroad. Plans post wedding include bartending in London, living and working in Amsterdam, bumming about in general some more while making my way down to Morocco, or getting on a plane and landing in somewhere in Asia. The dollar goes a lot further there and the experiences get weirder. I have never been to any part of Asia yet and find myself having dreams about it more often. June is a far away place right now and I have not a clue what my money situation will be or how much longer I will want to stay in Europe. Luckily I don’t have to make these decisions now. They will unfold themselves for me as time goes by and it is a beautiful process navigating through the unknown.

This blog’s purpose is simply to outline my intentions and starting path to all my friends, family, and readers. This is the jumping off platform. This is my last moment of sanity. Because the last week I’m home I get anxious, nervous, and over-focused on accomplishing tasks and seeing as many people as I can. The surrealness of leaving hasn’t sunk in, yet the packing overwhelms and consumes me. This blog is merely an introduction to my world and I hope you follow along as I discover where I’m going and what I’m doing. Updates will be made (hopefully) regularly and frequently. The intention is not to be wordy, but simply to outline my experiences and observations as I make them. (I promise nothing about the length of these updates.) Ideally they will come in handy if you’re stuck in a cubicle and the desktop background just isn’t cutting it. Maybe I can provide the escape we all need at least a little bit of in our lives, even if only for a day. I hope everyone reading this goes out and discovers adventures of your own. A new restaurant, joining a fun club or class, getting out of town for the weekend; we all must make the effort to seek variety and excitement in our lives and I implore all you reading right now to do this for yourselves. And when you don’t have the time, read my postcards. Welcome to the world from my absurd point of view. Enjoy.