Today’s big adventure was to make an omelette. The idea came to me last night when I was getting ready for bed, thinking to myself that this omelette would jump start my day. Especially since I just found Rosemary in the market, and I love Rosemary.
Then morning came. I didn’t want to get up, not out of being tired. I just couldn’t find it in me to get up. The room was hot from the morning sun and I have to turn on the A/C to change that but then I’d have to get up. I lurch across my bed ungracefully and reach for one of my larger paintbrushes sitting on my bedside table, then I stretch up with it and manage to turn on the breaker that controls my A/C. Okay. Problem one has been managed. Comforted by it’s low humming and the assurance that the room will start to cool, I grab my phone. E-mails(21 new, mark them as read) , Facebook(Memories that I don’t have) , Whatsapp (no new messages), Instagram (friends out doing awesome things this three day weekend). Then I feel a quick pang of emotional pain. I didn’t get invited to not one single event. Whatever, that’s fine. I comfort myself with the typical thoughts I have whenever this happens. I.E. “I had adulting shit I had to do anyway.” “I should be saving money.” “I bought groceries this week and wouldn’t want them to go bad” I continue on and make tentative plans with myself to have a me day, a me trip. Fill my trip with everything I want to see and do, art museums, wine tasting, lounge bars, and boutiques. My mind flashes back to Saturday.
Saturday. I spent my morning drinking cheap rum and painting every surface on my body. Covered in water colors, acrylics, and self expression I felt free, uninhibited, a feeling that I must say is quite fleeting lately. I had dedicated that Saturday to find something to make me happy. But was that it? I dance with complete abandon. I sing not worrying about the notes coming out right. I burn my sage and bless my house. I smash eggshells for my Cascarilla powder. Get connected with my brujeria. I paint sunsets on my right leg and abstract thoughts on my left. I ponder the concept of blue bloods and make the shade I imagine it to be and trace it along the veins along my left arm. My right hand is covered in a motley of colors that I use to create hand prints along sheets of paper and on myself. Fleetwood Mac and Whitney Houston blared in the highs but in the lows I found myself forgetting the music and just painting red and blue streaks over my arms and legs until I submitted to the sounds and the energy and would lay down on the floor, drink in hand. I think to myself at one point, “Is this it? Is this a mental breakdown? I feel everything and nothing at the same time, surely that means something.” Then I remind myself that if it was a true mental breakdown I probably wouldn’t be aware of it, would have experienced a true break in reality, and after all my self awareness is something I have always bragged about and prided myself on. I go to my bathroom and clean off, Whitney continues to play. I sit in the now desert of emotion. I wonder if all of that was true, genuine, happiness, or was it forced? And if it is forced doesn’t that cheapen the whole experience? Is it time for me to come to terms with the fact that this may be how I express myself for the next two years? A silent, solitary declaration of emotion.
Sunday. Woke up and made egg in the hole. Burnt the bread and somehow put the cheese on the wrong side. How did I manage that? Well it’s beyond me. I taste the rosemary in it and think “Why on earth does this taste somewhat like a McGriddle? Has it been that long?” Answer is yes. But on with the day. Start the laundry and call a friend stateside. I bitch on the phone for far too long and vent until it’s time for her to go to bed. As always I’m thankful to talk to her. One common Peace Corps concern is that your friends stateside forget you. Consigned to oblivion in their memories. Truth of the matter is Peace Corps makes you lose your common grounds with them, all points of reference change making conversations foreign. How am I to explain to my friends stateside all of the intricacies of Thai culture over the phone. I explained to her this week what my typical shower is and she responds “I think I would lose it if I had to shower like that.” I tell her “It’s easier than it seems and trust me when you got a million other things on the table a bucket shower is the least of your concerns.” I continue to explain to her that after five months the foreign doesn’t feel so foreign anymore and it just becomes commonplace actions, part of the routine. We hang up and the laundry is done. Now of course, I don’t have a washing machine, it’s all done by hand so when I say it’s done I actually mean its done its final soak and I can hang it out to dry. At this point it is just shy of noon, and I don’t know what else to do. I look in my fridge and see all the vegetables I had bought for the week and I can tell they’re about to go bad. I bought them all intending to make Habichuelas Guisadas but I lack the proper spices (note to Goya, please start shipping to Thailand.) But whatever, I start making Asopao. A Puerto Rican gumbo. I play my bomba y plena and feel at home while cooking, I can hear the rapture and cacophony of my families voices. I can hear the rapid fire Spanish, and music, and I can feel the bendiciones when I am cooking. If I imagine hard enough I can smell my grandmothers perfume, and the petrichor of the rainforest. But this is another feeling that is forever fleeting. Once I hear my landlords talking in the next room the vinyl scratches and I am reminded I am in Thailand. Now I keep reminding myself as I cook, stop adding too many ingredients, you’re only cooking for one. I can remind myself this until I’m out of breath but the trouble is I’ve only seen this cooked in large quantities. It’s funny, when I cook American food I know how to portion it out so that I only make enough for one. But Puerto Rican food, I make enough for the town to eat and still have leftovers. It must be a cultural thing. But at the end I have an entire pot of Asopao and no one to share it with. I keep thinking about how much I would love to have a dinner party with my friends from the other provinces but I don’t know how many of them would care to come all this way just to entertain me. Then the lights go out and it’s raining, hard. It’s 6 p.m. I quickly clean my kitchen so that the bugs don’t take up residence. Then follow up I go to take my bucket shower in the dark using my phone as the smallest of lights, and then I have a slight Maria flashback. I panic in the bathroom and quickly run out forgetting to wash the soap off. Once I am out I think, “Well that’s new.” I have never panicked in the dark. What set it off this time? I think to call my friends to calm down, but then I decide they wouldn’t understand. I barely understand. Then as I resign myself to another night without the fan and without A/C the power comes back. I hear my mother say “Dios te desafia pero no te rompera” God challenges you but he won’t break you.
Monday. I struggle to get up, but I make my omelette. I get some work done. Go home and the lights are out. I’m irritated but I clean. I go outside for some fresh air, pet the dogs, and sit down and again accept the lack of electricity. Then it comes back. The day is left for me. I get up and drink some coffee and begin to write. This is probably the most emotional writing I have done in awhile, and hopefully it shows a vulnerable side of me that I often push away. I keep my emotions close to my chest and never wear my heart on my sleeve. But allowing my emotions the freedom to leave has been relieving. Thanks for sticking through it.
God will challenge you but he will not break you. So long as you keep getting up.