Destination: Texas

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Hello, readers!

Today is another beautiful day in the life of everyone who is in a good mood. Everyone else hates life. And you. Those terrible people. But it’s ok because I will always love you. Doesn’t that make you feel better? I thought so!

I’m trying to move swiftly from destination to destination in an attempt to make up for (what I feel is) lost time. Between the trip and my self imposed hiatus, I’m way behind where I thought I’d be at this point in the challenge. So, at a brisk pace that reminds us exactly how out of shape we are, we move on to Texas!

The way this challenge is structured is meant to resemble a roadtrip throughout the world. Except instead of turning corners we’re turning pages and discovering way more than the best places to eat. For me roadtrips mean the wind in my hair, the excitement of new places, but most of all they mean music. There’s nothing quite like feeling the wind slip through your open hand, trees blurring together, as you sing along to the radio. Your voice gets lost in the sounds of traffic, the too loud music, yours friends’ voices indistinguishable from one another.

I have so many memories of being in the car with my best friend and dancing to music while she drives. People driving by and laughing with us, a fleeting moment of shared happiness. I have memories of being tired, the darkness outside swallowing up mountains, slow music spilling thickly from the speakers. Watching her intently looking at the road. I have memories of being in the back seat, tipsy and unconcerned with the world. Feeling warm and happy, cocooned by voices and nameless pop songs. Often the best part of a roadtrip isn’t arriving, it’s the journey. The ups and downs, the unexpected conversations, the singing at the top of your lungs that happens on your way there.

When I was deciding what to write about for Texas, I started looking for songs and I found this playlist. The guy who made it, wrote something that struck me as particularly true, “All travelers sing – the road demands it.” And I think it’s high time we brought some music into our journey. Here are some songs about Texas, for Texas, by Texans.

Enjoy the music, but most of all enjoy the journey. Until next time, readers!

Destinationg: Christmas #23

This Christmas series is brought to you thanks to Book Riot’s Literary Advent Calendar. It’s a combination of poetry, short stories, and essays. I’ll be posting every day, some days twice to keep up with my regular posts. Click the story title for the full text. Now, let’s get this Christmas show on the road!

Day 23

A Nineteen-Fifties Jewish-American Christmas Story

By David Sipress

Wednesday is here, which means the week is almost over and Christmas is fast approaching! I spent two thirds of my day grocery shopping. That’s what Christmas means to me now, supermarkets. On the bright side, I ran into some people I hadn’t seen in years and seeing them just refreshed my soul. Does that ever happen to you? You run into someone and the feelings you get are so warm, so all-encompassing that it gives you energizes you for the day ahead.

I think this selection is probably my favorite one. Because it’s about stories. About a memory captured in time. Most importantly though, it’s about a moment no one realized would be remembered and shared with as many people as it has. There are so many moments like that, here and gone bits of time. Our entire lives in specks of dust that float around for eternity. Fingerprints that remain long after we’re gone from a place.

The beauty of this story is not in its humor or in its mixture of Holidays, it’s in keeping alive this particular stretch of time that would’ve otherwise fallen into the cracks of our memory. Forgotten before it even had time to fade. Just think back to all the funny, sad, weird moments that weren’t life altering, but still sparkled with emotions. Time that melts together like the wax of so many candles, so that when we look back we just remembered we laughed and cried and felt surprised. Although you can’t remember exactly what was said.

We live and shine so brightly in those in betweens. In the moments when we’re not looking. When no one is. Those not here or there in betweens that make up and break up our days. So many ideas and walks and loves and jokes that were held and then let go. Because we had to, it makes no sense living in see through memories.

But this story, this one moment, has been preserved. It’s become it’s own being now. Shared with thousands of people, thought about, shared some more.

And it gives me hope. And it makes me happy. To think that all these trivial moments might one day become something. That life might mean something more than what we think. To us and to everyone else.

Here’s to a life lived in the in betweens. Cheers.

Destination: Christmas #21

This Christmas series is brought to you thanks to Book Riot’s Literary Advent Calendar. It’s a combination of poetry, short stories, and essays. I’ll be posting every day, some days twice to keep up with my regular posts. Click the story title for the full text. Now, let’s get this Christmas show on the road!

Day 21

The Three Kings

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Hello again, readers!

It’s been a mildly productive day. Although, if I’m honest, the most shocking part of it was eating a Mac N’ Cheese Hamburger. That happened. Words cannot describe the awesome, so I won’t even insult you with paltry descriptions of what transpired. Aside from that I got paid, which is also a pleasant surprise seeing as I was meant to get my check a little under a week ago. So, you know, shit happened today you guys.

Today’s selection is all about the Three Wise Men who visited Jesus on the day of his birth. Led by the North star, the three kings brought gifts of gold, myrrh, and frankincense. Sometimes I’m surprised when people don’t know this story. Being Puerto Rican, it’s something you learn when you’re very little regardless of whether you’re religious or not. As the world celebrates Christmas, many countries, including Puerto Rico, celebrate the Three Kings’ Day, where children everywhere await the arrival of these Wise men who leave a trail of gifts in their wake.

I remember being a kid and pilfering shoeboxes, so I could fill them with grass. Just as you’d leave cookies and milk for Santa, you leave a box full of grass and a bowl of water fro the Wise men’s camels. Families here in the Island celebrate both Christmas and the Three Kings’ Day, making the Holiday season something to truly look forward to. Especially when you consider the fact that we start our celebrations with Thanksgiving and they end somewhere around the second week of January with a massive street festival that lasts three days. Definitely worth looking forward to.

Although it’s a simple retelling of this age old story, the poem brings to mind all the traditions I’ve grown up with as a Puerto Rican. The things we do here that you don’t find anywhere else. It reminds me that no matter what happens or where I go, this beautiful Island will always call me back like the beating of a very persistent heart. Because, even though shit gets crazy here and there are times when I feel like I’m ready to burst from wanting to leave, I love these traditions. Nothing feels like Christmas in Puerto Rico. And that’s just the way I like it.

Have a good one readers, wherever you are!

Alphabet Soup: P is for Paris

Hello, readers! I hope this Friday finds you full of energy for the coming weekend. I know I’m feeling primed and ready to go. For some reason though, I ended up feeling nostalgic and thinking about that time, so many moons ago, when I was in Paris.

When I was in my third year of college an opportunity arose to visit Paris on a study/travel trip. Basically, we’d take a few classes at the university, then head off to Paris to see it all firsthand. At the time I was saving up for a car, but I decided to do the trip instead. Which, in hindsight, is when I started putting travel above anything else.

I remember being scared, but also incredibly excited. I’d never done anything like it and I didn’t know anyone on the trip, at least not well enough for them to be a safety net. I ended up rooming with the person I sort of knew, which turned out to be a disaster. But despite that, the trip was excellent. I ended up meeting people who are among my best friends today, like Nelson and Denise.

Traveling to Paris, although I didn’t quite know it at the time, marked the beginning of a new chapter in my life. A time of new friends who would push my boundaries. Of trying new things and breaking out of my shell and feeling the world change beneath my feet.

I don’t think they know it, but they’ve been such a huge part of shaping who I am today. We’ve traveled together, laughed and cried together. In the years I’ve known them they’ve become two of my favorite people.

In the end, this post isn’t about Paris, but about the people I met there. The ones I still talk to and the ones who were there and gone. Because they were all part of it. Part of the strange magic and odd convergence that was Paris. This post is about the friends I made and how my life wouldn’t be the same without them.

Have a good one, readers! Enjoy your weekend!

In the Break Room: Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin

Hello, hello readers! Happy Monday!

Today feels like a proper December day, cool and cozy. I want nothing more than to curl up with a book or a movie or a new video game. To be honest, I will probably do all three. With some baking thrown in because, why not? There were so many days like this when I was in Spain, slow, languid days by the fire. Cold days spent curled up in bed with a book and a lovely man. Reading as much as we could during the day because reading by candle light is harder than anyone gives the Middle Ages credit for.

By the time I arrived in Spain, I’d amassed a decent amount of books. Nonetheless, being the greedy little bookworm I am, I decided to start reading one from the lending shelves at the house. A book which I promptly stole and carried with me all the way home, reading bits and pieces when I had the time and the desire. The languor that infused my stay in Spain, stuck to its pages like honey. I read it slowly, without hurry, letting the honey drip over my fingers, my hands sticky with memories.

The book became its own world, beyond the world in its pages. It was “the stolen book”, even though it was freely given. In Spain, it traveled side by side with his book. Also big, less stolen because the house is his. They traveled side by side, the way we read them. Side by side in chairs, side by side in bed. Side by side in the car while we waited for a tow truck to come bail us out. Always carry a book with you, you never know when you might need it.

I marked my place in it with paper torn from a random notebook. A page, one of many, used to keep track of the words we found while playing Boggle. Filled with three letter words and scratches, it was one of his. We played Boggle in the in betweens – after sex, before bed, after fighting, having just woken up. When I picked up the book I reached for the first thing I could find to mark my spot, an Ace of Spades. That became problematic when we wanted to play later, the second thing I reached for turned out to be one of his Boggle papers.

The story, two sisters and their lives, becomes almost inconsequential. There’s a book within a book. There are things that happened which I didn’t expect. It was good, but it didn’t blow my mind. What I’ll remember when I look at the book will be everything else. Knowing as soon as I picked it up that I wouldn’t finish it in time, that I’d take it with me. His knowing smile, his little thief. Bringing his book along with mine, just in case. Saying I told you so. Feeling relieved it was thick as a brick during an 8 hour layover in London. Hating it for being thick as a brick when my back hurt the next morning. Reading it in Spain, in London, in Massachusetts, in New York.

We hardly ever think about it, but sometimes books matter to us because they’ve been imbued with the essence of a particular time, rather than the story they tell. Like a particular scent, some books call up memories, not of reading, but of the world around us as we read. How it changed, how it grew, how time flew by while we existed in two worlds. Worlds that have become one and we can revisit as we please.

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The Blind Assassin, Boggle, candles, beer. This is pretty much Spain in one picture.

Do you have a book like that, readers? One that’s tangled up in memories?

Have a good one!

Alphabet Soup: M is for Misplaced

This segment titled Alphabet Soup: The alphabet according to someone with very little shame and a lot of time on her hands was inspired by blogger Mandy Wallace and the Writers of Kern A to Z challenge. Enjoy!

Afternoon, readers! It’s finally Friday and I bet you’re all as excited as I am! Regardless of what you’re doing with your life, Fridays always seem to carry with them an air of joy and freedom that’s hard to deny. It’s a day for doing new things, going on adventures, and getting misplaced.

M is for Misplaced

The weekend I hung out with Liverpool Guy (yes, he’s in this one as well. Don’t judge me!), we spent a lot of time getting misplaced. We weren’t lost exactly, but we also weren’t entirely sure where we were going most of the time. It became a thing for me to ask him if he knew where we were going. He’d say that he knew, it was just that the way there was a bit unclear. In any case, we were headed in the right general direction.

Being misplaced gave us things to talk about and, since we weren’t purposefully heading anywhere, it gave us the time to talk about them. Weird things mind you, like the one creepy street we passed and decided it was clearly where all the serial killers lived. It was something about the lights or lack thereof, I can’t remember. We talked about having no filter, about buildings and advertisements. We moved in a constant state of conversation.

The most memorable time for me happened on Thursday, our first night out. We’d driven to the restaurant and parked in a huge multi-story garage. When it came time to leave we kept driving around in circles because the arrows kept pointing us in weird directions. It doesn’t sound funny, but it was probably one of the funniest moments of my entire trip. We joked about touring the car park and about how scenic it was. How we couldn’t remember what it was like outside the car park. He grumbled about how it was the car park and not his fault, I told him the car park was mocking him. We eventually made it out, teary eyed from laughter and happy to finally be free.

We’re used to fighting the idea of being lost, that feeling of not knowing quite where you are, of being out of your element. We fight the uncomfortable sensation of having failed somewhat, of being aware you’re meant to know where you’re going, of leading people astray. For me, there are times when getting lost has proven better than getting somewhere without incidents or without turning the wrong way. With Liverpool Guy it meant getting to different places in our conversation. With my ex, who I spent time with in Scotland and Spain, it meant seeing beautiful scenery and watching him drive, which I enjoy.

Sometimes, getting lost can be the best thing that can happen. When you finally reach your destination, you reach it with your hands full of memories. You just need to take care to make them good ones.

Let yourselves get misplaced once in a while, readers. You might enjoy it!

Have a good one!

Alphabet Soup: I is for Intoxicated

This segment titled Alphabet Soup: The alphabet according to someone with very little shame and a lot of time on her hands was inspired by blogger Mandy Wallace and the Writers of Kern A to Z challenge. Enjoy!

Hello everybody!

I’m still relaxing in Port Logan, listening to the waves and missing my best friend. (My name is Flagrant Codependece, at your service) The weather has been forgiving, even if the cold hasn’t. All part of leaving the tropics as Winter approaches, I suppose.  Halloween is tomorrow and I’m fairly excited. My Halloween plans in Scotland fell through, but I still have hopes of things working out tomorrow. There is still talk of pumpkin carving and possibly a Star Wars marathon. We’ll see! I predict high levels of intoxication, either way.

I is for Intoxication

It’s no secret that I drink a lot. I’ve often said here I have a very strong relationship with alcohol, which is true. A good beer shared with people you enjoy can turn your whole day around. But my love affair with beer and alcohol goes beyond just wanting to get intoxicated. There’s a sweet spot when you’re drinking, at least for me, where your body feels good and you feel relaxed and for a little bit the whole world seems better than it did a few minutes ago.

Being there means anything can happen, some of my best adventures and memories have started out in that happy place. Like the time we all decided to take an impromptu road trip, just because we could. Like that time we were drinking at the beach one night and decided to jump into the water in our underwear, mostly because it was right there. Like that time I ran into high school friends and the sweet spot turned into drunkenness, but we had a hilarious time getting there. 

I know I’m romanticizing alcohol and intoxication. I know alcohol has terrible long term effects on your body and that when people get intoxicated they have a tendency to do astronomically stupid things. However, that’s true of so many things. This week I read somewhere that eating too much bacon and red meat can cause cancer. Too much sugar means Diabetes and blindness. Smoking means murdering your lungs. Too much of anything is bad for you, guys. We all do things that are bad for us, but make us happy. Drinking is that bad thing for me.

Honestly, there is nothing that makes me happier than getting a drink with friends. Having a beer with someone I’m getting to know. Sitting down for dinner with a glass of wine and having great conversation. Just like smoking, drinking can be a highly social experience. For me it’s meant meeting new people, feeling new things, and finding myself in the position to do things that weren’t possible hours before.

Plus, you know, it’s delicious.

Go out and have a drink tonight. Or two. Meet someone new, get in touch with old friends. It’ll (probably) be fine, I promise.

Until next time, readers!