It Was Fun While it Lasted

That’s right. Said ‘goodbye’ to another job yesterday.

We no longer require your services

You’re out of here

This is as far as we can go

Fuck off

off

It was bound to happen. In fact, last we met I had had an incident with some twat. I figured the ice was getting a bit thinner underfoot then.

I had brushed off the resume and started paying more attention to my daily job alerts. yes, I still had them coming. I know myself all too well.

I tried really hard not to ‘clap back’ as the kids say. It’s just too tempting.

First is the returning of work with all these cunty, sanctimonious comments. I’d had enough last time.

Then the facebook communication page. It’s fucking amazing to me how many 20 somethings suffer from PTSD.

“OMG! I can’t access the website I need and it triggered my PTSD!” Said one. Seriously. Never left Nebraska, but there it is. perhaps there was that incident with the cow in the cornfield.

I don’t mean to make light, because she may well have all kinds of trauma, but when they all piled all with their, ‘mee too’ bullshit, I was out.

I won’t go into the sordid details but of course, I was in the wrong. No matter.

It just happened yesterday but as soon as I got the email, I felt the cold clamp of fear and dread start tightening its grip.

It never leaves; it just hides in waiting. Waiting for us to trip and it can pounce.

I’m trying to remain optimistic, it’s early days, yet. But I think a bit of panic is needed to get the fire started.

I don’t think I have the wherewithal to visit that dark place again.

But I have felt things shifting in my universe and my solar plexus and so I’m not all that surprised or even upset.

The money aspect is the worst. That panic. Not again.

My Shit Show

First off, I want to say thanks to all of you who reached out to me with kind words and thoughts. Big thanks to those of you who reached out with cash, it means eating or not eating. The gift of $50 is, in fact, priceless. So, Thank You.

Also, thankful that fuck that holiday has fucked off for another year. Depressing AF.

It’s not come as a big surprise to me, this lifestyle I’m living. I call it Nouveau Chic Poverty. I’ve spent my adult life with my hand out, so why change now?

I was almost out of money when I posted my New Years blog last year, and through friends, help and some online freelance work, we’re still here.

What sent me over the edge was just a big bunch of shit hitting the fan all at once. As shit is won’t to do. Do Do.

Somewhere around October, I got a rent raise, followed on the heels of that, by the notice someone might be interested in buying the apartment I live in. PS, my rent is low here. Just under $400. I know.

The idea I would have to start apartment hunting again and moving again is naturally very stressful. It’s stressful even more when you don’t know the language. More stress when you don’t have the money. Luckily I have a friend here who was onboard to help.

Crisis avoided on the apartment move, they decided on something else. I will admit, when they came to see the apartment, I didn’t bother to sweep or do my dishes or hide the cat box or put pants on.

I also never realized, because I see it all the time, that I have chalk writing on my walls and cupboard for the cockroaches and ants and any other bug that decides  to crawl across my space.  A few direct messages that tells them in no uncertain terms, to piss off, go to hell, no one likes you, Hey, you, ya you, off you fuck, and a few that have super bad words in them. I hope the possible buyers didn’t read English.

Then in the headlong fall to the holiday season, I discovered my credit card was not working. I’d been living off of it, so that was just another shoe that I was waiting to hear hit the floor. But when I tried to put a payment on it, my money kept returning to my PayPal account.

Turns out they bank in Toronto mailed me some “very important papers” months ago even though they know I don’t have mail service, to tell me that as a non-resident, I have to close the account. So now that avenue is dead to me too. The bonus is I guess they can just pound that Visa balance straight up their holes.

Because I couldn’t access the money, they cut my power off. I hadn’t paid the bill for two months so I had to take the cat food money and walk to the bank to pay it. It was about $30. I know. The kid that came to cut it off actually buzzed my apartment to let him in the gate. Sweet.

Fuck sakes.

I opened a new PayPal account for the Dominican, but can’t connect my Dominican Bank to it, they only accept the the most popular one, which just happens to be called Popular. I had to gather up all kinds of information and set out to open a new account. Luckily, my friend came with me and did all the talking. He actually works in a bank, so that was a big lucky break and a saving grace and some other trite sayings about luck and blessing and fortune smiling that would fit in here. But I won’t bore you.

So now it’s just the waiting to see if I’m approved. The best part of the whole stressful day was when the power went out in the bank and I yelped like a demented cocker spaniel and then my friend and mostly the woman helping us with the bright orangy-pink lipstick laughed for several minutes.  The Jumpy Gringa. Good times.

It’s been a lot to deal with and I know everyone has their own plateful, but it’s not a contest. This is my stress at the moment. It’s eye-opening, the reality of living in a different country where language is a barrier and you are all on your own. It’s difficult to ask for help, worse when people say no.

I had expected, up until very recently, my friend would be visiting for the hols, but they didn’t make it this year. I had bought a small teapot for them to use, and now every time I see it I feel embarrassed somehow.

I’ve had my little hissy fit and I’m trying to be optimistic but just saying it  doesn’t make the dark and scary go away.

Next, stay tuned about my dissertation about why I’m not moving back to Canada.

Toodles.

just-breathe-orlando-espinosa1

 

 

 

Kathy’s Desk

Going back about 500 years when I lived in Calgary, I was at my friend Brad’s place, (you’ve met her, she comes for hols) we were just hanging out and having tea and a chat. He was talking about a social gathering he had been at recently and he mentioned that someone we both knew had been there with his new boyfriend. I asked what the new boyfriend was like and Brad replied, “Maybe  a bit of S and P to taste, she’s a bit bland.”  We had a good chuckle over this and carried on chatting but what happened was, that phrase got planted in my brain.

It comes to me , mostly without realizing it. When I myself use the S n P, to taste, I hear him saying it. When someone is boring the tits right off me, same.

So, going back another 500 years past that day, back to when I was in Grade One, yes, I remember, my friend Kathy, (her real name) sat across the aisle and one up from me, she was a front row kid. The worst. Brats. Ever. I could see in to her desk, and although neat, it was full of paper. I clearly remember one day her sliding her books in to the desk, old fashion type, and even though the books slid in easily, they were on top of a ton of paper.

So the bottom layer of her desk was all these papers she had never gotten rid of; Very Important Papers, like coloured ducks and some nonsense about Dick and Jane and their dog Spot. It had been in this state for some time, and for some reason it was really cool to me. This layer of trash with plenty of room for the other stuff on top, stuff like books about Dick and Jane and their dog Spot and sandwiches in paper bags.

Mrs. Rogers, our teacher, called her on it one day. Mrs. Rogers, if you will, picture Godzilla with a tartan dress and maybe some glass pearls. Horrid Hound From Hell! She made me go to the from of the class once to throw away my gum and then SPANKED ME in front of everyone, but I’m not ready to talk about that yet. So she made Kathy take down her mountain of papers, important or not and toss them.

Kathy’s Desk is also a yardstick in my life. Like if I can’t get through the crowd in the grocery store, or the cards in my game of solitaire are all built up and I can’t get the ones I need out, sometimes just a cluttered mind, it has been Kathy’s Desk.

I moved here to the Dominican Republic with the gentle guidance of my friend, Will. He died Sunday.

I don’t know how to process it yet.

It’s all Kathy’s Desk.

 

will

 

William, easing in to his day.

Wha… ?

huh-660x244Que? Que? Like Manuel from Fawlty Towers, that’s how I often feel here in the Dominican Republic. When I don’t understand, which is almost 100% of the time, it amuses me no end when they just keep repeating themselves. Maybe faster, they seem to think. That will make her understand. Or louder.

What I do understand is how newcomers to Canada feel. People talking at them, many with accents different than theirs. Accents we have a lot of trouble trying to decipher, imagine accent on accent. Many years ago I worked at the Yacht Club in Vancouver and many of my co-workers were from all over the world, many just there to have a working vacation, some there to learn or improve their English. One woman, fresh from Scotland had such a thick accents most of us had a really difficult understanding her. When she told me one day her boyfriend was from Australia, I said it must be chaos just trying to have a conversation. What? Sorry? The boat? Who, now? I didn’t really catch her reply.

Native speaking Canadians use many words that newcomers didn’t likely learn. We fall into our own slang with friends or co-workers and that just makes it even more confusing. Last night I was out with a new friend here in Santo Domingo. He spent a summer, perhaps longer in the United States working in a hotel restaurant learning English and just enjoying life. Great experience for a Dominican lad of eighteen.  So while he knows English, as do many Dominicans I have encountered, they know English, but not my English. You do adapt quickly, learning to trim sentences and requests.

I have met a few cab drivers here who know a bit of English and I often call them when I need to have more than just a few grunts of my bastardised Spanish. One guy is so great, he comes in to stores or businesses with me to interpret if I need. Fortunately, many places have at least someone who can help.

So, my new friend was asking me how I got about the city, when I need Spanish, so when I told him I take a cab driver with me or write it out from the computer translator or if really stuck just stand there until someone either helps me or the store closes. It must be very hard for you. Yes, it can be, but so far, so good.

It’s like misheard lyrics in a song. “Excuse me while I kiss this guy”, the Jimmie Hendrix famous misquote.  It comes down to this; When people try to help me it absolutely overwhelms me with joy.  I never get upset if they don’t know much English, I should know Spanish. I mean, I do live here and I do know a few words and can usually understand what someone is asking me, mostly at the grocery store. Do I have coupons?

If you see someone struggling, try to help. No one expects you to know German or Urdu, but try. A bit of gesturing or interpretive dance can go alone way. It’s  mostly how I survive.

There was a printing house very close to me in Calgary when I was living there, back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth. I had been in several times, mostly just to get my resume copied. One of my biggest occupations has been job hunting. One day I walked in with a manilla envelope with my resume and I placed it on the counter, pulled it out and asked for ten copied please. There were two woman standing there and one of them, of Chinese descent said back to me, “Coffees? We don’t sell coffees here!”

I stood there, a bit confused and a bit more just gobsmacked. I’m pretty sure my jaw was   agape. I looked over to the other woman, who was not of Chinese descent. She looked like she was a full-bred Cranky descent. I looked at her to see if this was just some little joke this lady did, ha ha copy/coffee, oh, how we laughed.

No.

Just try.