Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Expectations = Starfish

The transition home has been pretty simple aside from a few meltdown moments.  I anticipated feeling a little weird and spent some time prepping myself for the new things (more like daydreaming of the things I missed).  Upon returning to the land of part time lovers and draft beer, the moments that most upset me were when the things I looked forward to failed me.  My favorite things left me like a virgin on wedding night having discovered I’d married a starfish.

Guilty pleasure #1: Crappy radio.

While I want to say I am totally cool and don’t listen to trashy radio songs, I find comfort in tuning into a station and knowing my personal interpretation of the lyrics, which are only worthy of being sung into a hair brush while getting ready to go out.  Not this time.  As my sister scrolled through the programmed stations, I didn’t know a damn thing they were singing.  I finally just kindly asked her to turn it off.  Meltdown avoided.

Guilty pleasure #2: Target, a store where you can get anything you want in one stop.

I had a nail appointment and needed some flip-flops.   As I drove through the parking lot I had to search for a spot.  Unforeseen inconvenience #1.  I walked into Target.  They had made it larger and rearranged everything.  I was lost!

My internal monologue went from almost Himalayan hippie Zen to so cal bitch in a hot second: “An entire f***ing aisle that sells nothing but CONTAINERS!  There are boxes these exact sizes which the containers came in?!?!”  “An aisle larger than most of the shops in Bhutan dedicated to Valentines Day and love!  Nothing is permanent!!”  “AND I’M GOING TO BE LATE!!  They don’t even know what Bhutan time is!”

In the time it would have taken me to walk from my Bhutanese house to the main square in town, I finally reached the shoe aileSSSS.

I sat down next to a little girl and frantically tried on a few pairs of thongs.  At one point the little girl chose the finest shoes she had seen all day and walked over to get her mother's opinion.  Without glancing up from her own personal pile, the mother said, “You don’t need those.”

In my delirious state, I somehow I refrained from standing up, pointing to the pair of flops I was wearing and exclaiming, “NO!!! WE NEED THESE!”`  The little girl moved on to a pair of ridiculously perfect furry slippers and I put on some so-not-me, hot pink, sorority sister flip flops, circa 2003.  We looked at each other knowing that the shoes had chosen us, and I was off to get a year worth of calluses removed.

Don’t Tell Anyone!!!

I downloaded a podcast about Bhutan before I left 11 months ago.  The podcast is a lecture given at Stanford University.  I ran across it a few months back.  One of the things the professor, Mark Mancall states is that something unique about the country of Bhutan is the fact that the main source of news is gossip.

Damn true!  “When should we arrive at the Royal Wedding?”  “Well my co-workers say 4am and my friend told me 5:30.”

Most of this information is harmless!  And while annoying at times, it can be quite satisfying.  The word “gossip” simply holds a negative connotation.  I’ve come to believe that no matter how non-dramatic a person is; they still feel a sense of satisfaction in being told “a secret”, and better yet, being “the only one who knows".

So in the spirit of Bhutan, and with a little help from a pal, I decided to spread the biggest “secret” on Paseo Ancho.

It all began with an email sent to both of the rents, stating that I would be home for Xmas…"Don’t tell anyone!”

As for Lauren’s involvement, lets just say I ran into some passport/visa problems and there was a chance I could have gotten stuck in Delhi.  Clearly since Lauren and I have a long-standing, unspoken agreement that we are one another’s first phone call from jail, I had to tell her.  Lord knows I could very well get that phone call from her this New Years Day, so she better pay it forward.

As for Mere, she did what the youngest child does best and got the shaft, remaining clueless about the entire thing and believing a quality Kathy Adams lie: “We need to go pick up a puppy for your Dad’s Xmas present at LAX.”  You have to love the image of a naïve youngest child waiting for a puppy with a bow around its neck.

The snowball started rolling and my lies became continually reinforced by each and every one of my partners in crime.  All my conversation ended in, “You are the only one who knows!  Don’t tell anyone!” and consequently, so did my partners convos.

Kath had a great time embellishing the lie with rainbows, kittens, and puppies.  For the record, she reportedly fake cried at the dinner table after telling my family I was missing Christmas.  And of course Kath told Aunt Celeste, because “Celeste can keep a secret” (apparently better than Kath).

Mikey ran next door to the Parks and told Jeff he may need a hand picking me up from the airport if he was out of town and got a surprise call from LAX.  But as he is Mike Adams… he had no clue what the hell was going on.  Living in a family of women has really allowed him to perfect his delivery of the line, “It’s your world, I’m just living in it.”

Upon moving home, Lauren continued to assert her newly established role as ruler of the hen house, telling everyone around her that she felt they were acting shady and people needed to refocus their energy this holiday season.  She also made it real clear that my 2am phone call to let her know I was not detained in India had ruined her beauty sleep.  Laur then told Scott Werbs, who told Stacey, who told Jackson, who told Addie, who ran down to the house to find me.

And Mere… well… bless her precious little heart.  And cheers to popping that giant bubble of innocence now that she is 21 and the entire family can enjoy personal Fidel's pitchers and pool at the Leucadian.

For the record… Mike Jr. (Miguelito) says he didn’t tell anyone, but if there is anything I have learned from my love of dive bars, it’s that you can never trust a man with a mustache.

Tonight, after all the elaborate schemes had played out, which at one point involved me jumping out of a box under the tree, I sat around the kitchen table and I didn’t drink milk tea or eat ema datsi. 

I felt as though I hadn’t missed a beat as delicious sea food was made, banter was had, F bombs were dropped, Mike’s receding gray hairline was pointed out, Mathew Park’s high school love life was made fun of and much more.  Not a leaf was left unturned as I reentered my uncensored life.  As my “honesty is the best policy”, “I hate you because”, “no bullshit” crew rolled into the night, I was happy to be home.  But this doesn’t mean I won’t be back to my mad scheming secret life soon enough.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Please pick up the names you just dropped… BAM

I sat on the field of the stadium during the royal wedding.  If you are hoping for lavish details of the kiss and other fluff, you know what to do.  Now for this blog’s version.

Events of the day:

  • Smiled at Rahul Gandhi and the Queen Mother
  • Had a stop and chat with His Majesty the Fifth King
  • Checked out the new queen’s shoes, which were deadly for the amount of walking she and the new family addition had done (wink wink)
  • And the winner was when the 4th King, walked in unnoticed behind a crowd of people.  Everyone did a, “Shit, how did we not see him coming?” and scrambled to their feet a few seconds too late.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t attracted to how he confidently proceeded as if he were cruising around the house in his underwear without a face in sight.  Yes, I tried hard to refrain from blurting out, “Need a fifth wife?”

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Conversations that made me homesick this week... say a lot about my upbringing.

Lauren:  Mom is a tool and bought Costco mashed potatoes for my vegetarian thanksgiving
Me:  Tool for sure, but that’s what you get for doing the re-rack.
Laur: And I’m 25 and living at home
Me: Have you sexiled the rents yet?
Laur: No soccer sock on the door.  Double dare?
Me: Just what our family needs… family double dares.

Mere:  Cousin Kaitlin is bringing her bf to thanksgiving dinner.
Me:  Names dad is going to call him within the first hour before shit hits the fan… go.
Mere: Dumbass
Me: Dickwad
Mere: Whistle dick
Me: Fauker
Mere: Numbnuts

Me: Mom… I am afraid that the next time you mention love, marriage, or our old baby crib in the attic, you will be forced to put one dollar into the jar for our Vegas fund.  Then when we go to take the money, please kindly remind us that you should hang on to it so you can use it to bail us out of jail.

Lauren: I told dad that 25 is my prime and I am ready to find love… he said “shut up”
Me: So, you’re going on the Bachelorette for the right reasons?
Laur:  Know anyone?
Me:  I think the guy dressed as a devil on Halloween just became a lawyer.  Is that dad in the background doing that dumbass one foot in the air dance and singing, “If you don’t got no money take your broke ass home?”

Mom:  I cleaned out your room, got rid of your childhood guitar and letterman’s jacket and then read your yearbook.
Me:  I am not planning on dying over here, but thanks for casually telling me I am not allowed to move home when I come back from Asia after a year and a half of making no money.

Lauren: “Our fire alarm went off at 1am.  I think my roommates are smoking pot”

Mere:  So, for my 21st we are having family personal pitcher night at Fidels with margs and then shooting pool at the Leucadian.

So… I pretty much can’t wait to sit around the dinner table and play “I hate you because…” 

Karma Hunters

My new chillip in crime gave me a shout out in her blog and now I feel obligated to return the favor.

When the two of us aren’t acting out a fantasy speed dating scene taking place in a monastery, or competitively trying to outdo Bhutanese by bowing lower than them or offering tea to them 4 times instead of the traditional three, this east coast Masshole and I are convincing people to refer to us as Biggie and Tupac.

The following interaction sums it up.

As Hilary’s house Grandmother circumambulated the house one Saturday, I casually pretended to get some fresh air on the balcony, which is too small for drinking tea and therefore only serves two purposes in Bhutan (one of which is drying a kira).

As Hil tampered with the washing machine below and Grandma rounded the corner out of sight, I whispered down to my chillip pal.

Tupac:  “Hey.  Charades.  What am I doing?”  (Pretending to scale the balcony and tiptoe)

Biggie:  “Hmmmmm… not day… hmmmm… NIGHT!” (Finger to chin looking puzzled)

Tupac:  “Yah, yah…”  (Pretending to cock a rifle)

Biggie:  “Hmmmm… I GOT IT!  NIGHTHUNTING!”

Hilary locks the balcony door every night and still has not been nighthunted.  G-ma is still circumambulating.

Lets just say that myself and two other whiskey drinking chillips dressed as night hunters on Halloween had a damn good time staging a fake shoot out on Bhutan’s only highway (2 lanes… no cars).  Ohhhh… the things that would get you arrested in the US.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Porn is Illegal in Bhutan

This weekend we had Blessed Rainy Day, which is a day when you bathe in the rain to cleanse yourself of sins.  It was a day of baths, prayers, picnics, and hilarity.  My friends and I went for a hike to a monastery in the rain.

I think since getting here my taste has changed in several ways.  As much as it is great to be independent, blah di blah… it’s not awful to have a guy who can help you do handy stuff around the house.  Bhutanese men take this to a whole new level.

As my friends and I stepped into a clearing during our hike, we could smell freshly cut wood.  We approached a handsome, smiling, young man carving a large piece of wood with a machete.  We asked him for directions and then as we were leaving, threw in, “and by the way, what are you making?”

“My family forgot to bring a ladle for our rice, so I am making one.”

I guess what I am trying to say is, if this small family-oriented society in the mountains had a Brawny commercial, there would be no sexy blonde man wiping down your countertop with a paper towel, then picking up a small puppy.  Paper towels are hard to come by and rabid puppies, not so cute.

However, there would be a smiling man in the middle of the forest carving a four-foot wooden ladle to feed his entire extended family a gigantic pot of rice.

Believe it or not...

I lie.

So, I have been trying to instill honesty into my students.  In fact, there is a giant sign in my class, which reads, “Honesty is the best policy”.  The first story I told them was the story of me lying to my mother as a child about stealing money from her purse to play store, and how I was rewarded for telling the truth with fake money to play with.

But this week I came to the conclusion that … sometimes I lie for the right reasons.  As I reexamine my childhood embedded with lessons of honesty, a few moments stand out that have really defined who I am as a person.  Both of these times, a person I trusted lied for the right reasons.

1)   My grandmother once threw a Baby Ruth into the pool and convinced us someone left a giant turd behind.  Nobody likes being submerged in any body of water near a soft nosed brown trout.  We were horrified.  One point Grandma.
2)    On the first day of 5th grade, my childhood dog was very ill.  After breakfast my mother told my sisters and I to go and say goodbye to Chelsea because she was going to take her to the vet that day to be put to sleep.  Ten years later, I found out Chelsea died as I was munching my Cheerios and the loving Kathy Adams took us out to pet a dead Golden Retriever so that we wouldn’t miss our first day of school.  Kath even pet the pooch herself so she could move it back and forth to simulate breathing.  Off to school we went.  Moms know best.

I now find myself in similar situations.

1)   I found a new hobby for my free time… phantom texting.  I enjoy sending texts from my unknown number and signing them with different names… beware.  You may have 37 people show up at your house in clown costumes because “you” invited them.
2)   School is no better.  The children go through fads of bringing toys that are not allowed to school.  Every now and then, due to school policy I confiscate toys.  Finally after one student asked if I give the toys to my children, I tried to convince the class I actually throw theme parties with the toys on Saturdays.  So far I have had a slingshot party, a balloon party and soon I’ll have a Pokémon party.
3)   When the statement “that is dangerous”, may not motivate an impulsive child to stop doing something, I sometimes find myself starting a sentence with, “I knew a guy who…”  Sometimes the guy I knew fell through a roof or got an eye poked out.  One common denominator is that there is usually blood and guts involved.

If there is anything I learned from mom and grandma, it’s that lying can make your life more hilarious and simpler.