Caught in a Landslide

The word “blog” makes me want to barf, or blarf, or blow chunks, or whatever. In my mind, the sound of it degrades the value of the literature beneath and serves as a bastardized version of our language- a language derogatory towards books. And while I’m not an especially avid reader (as Jessica Allison will quickly point out: 60% of the books I have read remain unfinished), I’d much rather read a book than a BLAH-gg. However, technology is here and as much as the practicalities of a paper map outweigh those of the GPS unit (batteries, weather, steep ravines, etc.)- we’re all addicted to our devices, and most of us would rather google search: “Chicks with Dicks” or “Butter-Fucking at the Wisconsin State Fair,” than learn how to triangulate using a map and compass. Hence: I’ve given in. With that in mind, my epic travel novel will still be published (both digitally and in hard copy), and in the meantime this will just serve as forum for my upcoming journey to Mexico City. My blah-blah-blahing about blah-blah-blah. That wretched word! BLOG!

I digress…

I flew into Eugene on the 19th of April, just in time to celebrate one of Oregon’s favorite holidays, 4:20. When customs asked if I had anything to declare, my response was, “Only this outrageous tan!” (Thanks Flossy Falks.) In the morning my old man and I took the beastly vizslas on a stroll to Hideaway Bakery, where we indulged in blueberry cream cheese vessels and coffee. We smoked a little weed on the walk back, then I pumped up the tires on one of my bikes and I set out on a most chilling ride through Eugene. It was wet and it was cold; it was no Jalisco and there was no chorizo.  The tulips and daffodils were coming up, but it was gray and most Pacific North-Westerners were struggling with depression. Everything looked just as I’d left it, besides a substantial weight-gain by many folks and my notable tan- which I quickly grew exhausted of discussing.

Without discrediting the love of my friends and family, who mostly seemed happy to see me, Eugene seemed stale and lacking in vibrancy. I felt as though time had stood still over the past 10 months. A few new restaurants had opened, a couple new pregnancies were in the works and a handful of failed relationships were finalizing dissolutions. Then there was Kate: a 35 year old, wildly single, mother of none, unemployed, penniless, world-traveler who’d been served up pile of shit after heaping pile of shit by life and still, by some miracle- managed to sift through the turds and pull out some ridiculously delicious kernels of corn. (Elote bites from dog crap, if you will.) What was I doing back in Eugene? Making a plan to get back out!

Little by little, I reintroduced myself to our little town, all the while trying desperately not to fall victim to the binge-drinking epidemic sweeping the PNW. I just couldn’t stomach IPAs! What was going on, was this a sign from the universe? One of my first reunions was with a beautiful, fellow world-traveling bestie, who I hadn’t seen in over a year. She couldn’t seem to understand why I was feeling so glum. She, too, had returned from a long journey abroad (earlier in the year) and was elated to be settling into her (owned) home with her new husband.  I think she missed the point, she told me to call before dropping in: I took the hint.

Before I left Mexico, I began working on a school garden volunteer project for a tiny school in Tulum called Onda Encantada. The good news was: the project was scheduled for August, so I’d only have to hold out a wee while until I’d make my escape. I had been working with my friend Laura (the school director) on a plan of attack, and spent much of my time in Puerto Vallarta, behind the screen of a computer hammering out my best attempt at a Fulbright Scholarship. Details were settling into place, I had a fundraiser scheduled with Oakshire Brewery, I had most of my volunteers lined up, but for some reason I had this crazy gut feeling that it wasn’t going to happen.  A week after I arrived, I was at Shoe-aholic, sipping on a coffee with my buddy Priya, when I was notified that my friend Laura had been killed in a car accident. The absolute last thing I ever could have expected. I was devastated. It was time to re-evaluate my position in the world; try and turn these lemons into Maseratis.

About a month later, my good buddy hooked me up with a job bartending at a tap-house. I immediately was plagued with a three-week illness: sinus infection + strep throat. I was out of the game and in bed, hating the world for nearly a month, wondering if I’d caught AIDS in South America. During this time, I decided to change the fund-raiser into a book-drive for Onda Encantada. (Over 200 books were donated, along with enough money to ship them to Mexico!)

Then the job started; and my demise was quickly met at the hand of my manager: a coif-sporting, constantly side-eying, So-Cal hipster, when the most scathing Google Review (which I will post upon finding it) was written about yours truly, and I was given the axe. Losing the job wasn’t the problem, I could give a shit about what the miserable cow who wrote it had to say about me, it was an embellishment at best.  What sucked, though, was the manner in which I was sacked. The big boss let me talk my way out of the review, just before I moved out of my storage unit and into a new house. One hour after completion of the move, I was called back, told I was liked by neither the staff nor the kitchen, and asked to return the keys. I coulda left my shit in there and moved to Thailand!! What the fuck was I supposed to do now?!  Get another job, that’s what!

A job is what I got, and I celebrated HARD at the Oregon Country Fair, 2017.

Following Day-1 of the new job, I applied for 29 international teaching positions, and I immediately began online interviews at unusual times of day: Thailand, Malaysia, Honduras, Japan, Indonesia, just to name a few. It was quite challenging keeping all the time zones straight…

Day-5 of the new job: I put in my two weeks notice and told my roommate/landlady that I’d be out the first week of August. It was getting down to the wire, deciding whether to go to Honduras or Japan, when Mexico City called and offered: airfare, living-allowance, food-allowance, health insurance, savings plan, and transportation to school, in addition to a fatty paycheck.

My friend Kristina suggested the ol’ pros and cons list, and before I knew it, I signed a contract, moved my stuff back into storage, posted-up back at home with the folks and waited for my notarized transcripts to be apostilled by the Secretary of State. In the meantime, I disassembled my bicycle, had FedEx bubble-wrap and box it, but during the wait- shrewdness overtook me and I read the new baggage fees regarding bicycles on for United Airlines: they jacked the price up to $200, each way!

So, I put my bike back together, advertised the box on craigslist as free compost material, and here I sit: waiting to make a run for the border!