Stay and fight? Or flee the Evil Empire? Here’s an interesting debate on relocation.

Here’s the link:

Warning: If you take offense at constant of mention of Jesus or New Testament quotes, you might not want to read this.  It’s interesting that a group of people whose reasons are totally different than mine seem to be coming to similar conclusions about the USA. I am sure not Christian but respect where these folks are coming from. For whatever reason, the religion works for them.

Of course, I read the article reminding myself that the writer, Alexandra, had tons more money than I could ever dream of having. Anyone else out there who is thinking of relocating for reasons I did most likely cannot afford extensive country-hopping. There are Expats here who actually “try out” countries, spending years of their lives in limbo, trying to make up their minds. I’m not envious of them.

Is life too short to spend years flying around the globe like that?  I know some people think nothing of jumping onto a plane the way I might take a local bus to the next town. Why does that kind of thing seem so frivolous to me? Some people spend half their lives on planes, shuttling around on business trips. Oh, the luxury of employment…..

Is relocation the Big Escape? Is it running away from some kind of Devil at your back? I’m guessing that Alexandra is in the minority. Most people who do a drastic relocation are refugees who are fleeing for their lives. Most people I knew, both immigrants in the USA and here, save up forever for that ONE flight ticket. Who can afford 20 or 30?

Most people who relocate aren’t doing it for fun or headed for the latest luxury spa, but I suppose some are. Alexandra mentions that there are plenty of “affordable luxury apartments” here in Uruguay. Sure, yeah, I suppose, but who can really afford them? Or even wants mini-USA?

I laugh now, looking back on the times I met with Expats in Montevideo who seemed to think living elsewhere in UY was crazy and backward, oh, with the exception of Punta del Este. The feeling was that “nothing happens” out here. They seemed to think that outside of the capital city, there’s no “culture,” such as concerts, fancy restaurants, museums, shopping, and the usual touristy stuff. I remember Boston had all kinds of that upscale life. But did most folks in Boston, that is, the 99% of those I knew, spend all their days going to art galleries and taking in the latest fancy restaurant?

Yes, I know museums open their doors to the “poor,” offering free kiddie days and the like. So many of us were far too weary to spend our time that way. Many were hoping, and perhaps praying, for another scrap of bread to come their way, and were struggling to pay for tomorrow’s bus fare.

Not having enough money to live in USA is exhausting. But I got a few things to say about money: If you get away from oppression, you will be better off, even if that means having very few material possessions and are living on a shoestring. To me, it’s a joy.

Everything I own, I can pick up and carry.  It’s not hard at all to live without a stove, refrigerator, microwave, TV, air conditioner, and oh, let’s see, what else? A Wii? Whatever the hell that is.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. I didn’t come here seeking Paradisio or Nirvana. I literally fled the USA. I know immigrants all over the world who weep for their families “back home,” asking if they will ever see their loved ones again. Many are caught in immigration traps or fear being stopped at a border, even though they’ve never committed a crime. Sorry, Alexandra, somehow, the idea of seeking that perfect haven doesn’t resonate with me too well. It seems like one of those USA values I gladly left behind.  All I wanted when I came here was to stay alive and not be separated from my beloved Puzzle.

What I got, really, was so much more. I feel blessed because I never expected nor believed I’d truly be happy. My goal was survival, and I kept my eye on that, and that alone. But gradually, and barely perceptibly, something is happening here.

I find myself smiling every day. I feel more healthy and energetic. I can even use the word “joy” in a sentence, and do so daily. It wasn’t long ago that I felt seething anger when I heard or read that word. “Why do you push this on others when so many are suffering?” I’d often say.

I’d never want to be pushy, shoving joy into a suffering person’s face. When a person is truly down, I doubt that’s what they want nor need. Instead, whatever joy comes my way, I want to shine it outward and spread it far and wide, quietly, for your sake, and for us all. Please don’t give up.

Happiness isn’t a place. I can’t imagine spending years chasing that Paradise that doesn’t truly exist. I do know that relocating was the best thing I ever did for myself. I think it’s essential, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, to remove yourself from any oppressive situation that is causing pain and grief. If you have to flee for your life, do it, and live. Life is precious.

Thanksgiving with Puzzle

Tomorrow is Puzzle’s birthday. Does she even know? I doubt it, but she’s gonna flip when I start making her cake tomorrow! She’ll probably wiggle all over and bark her fool head off until I give it to her. Then, she won’t barking–she’ll be gobbling!

The next day is Thanksgiving. Puzzle, you better be plenty thankful for the cake! More likely, she’ll demand a second go-round. Sorry, Puzzle, not till you turn nueve años!

Last year, I wasn’t thankful for anything. I figured my life was ruined. There seemed to be no point in going on after what happened over the summer. Right before Thanksgiving, Disability Rights finally gave me a call to say they BELIEVED me. This was huge for me. I guess it kept me going during that miserable holiday when I had nothing to be thankful for.  Still, they kept me waiting a full month and then I started wondering if I was going to t to get that call they’d promised. I finally called them. Then, waited another month for a callback. After that, I was promised some “important” snail mail. I waited a full month and then called asking what had happened. Finally, I got the snail mail.

I opened it. It was nothing but forms I had already downloaded off the Internet. And no representation. I called the lawyer with whom I’d been dealing. She said, “Just call lawyers at random. Good luck.”

By then, it was 2014. Fat chance someone living in public housing was gonna get a lawyer by “calling at random.”

I was so, so, so so so exhausted every day. I couldn’t do a damn thing. Just dragging my feet and collapsing on the bed all the time. Oh, then my bed broke.

I guess it could have gone differently. The people in my church could have welcomed me home, and they could have said they were glad I was okay. I didn’t even get that. They didn’t have to refuse my phone calls or avoid me on the street. They could have believed me, and maybe someone there would have actually done something to help. Instead, I was kicked out.

Oh, no, not officially. But the hostility was clear. They didn’t want to associate with me anymore. I guess i’ll never know why for sure, but I got my ideas. They told me I could come back, but only if I promised I’d never again write to the Boston UUA office.

But—can’t anyone write to them? No, not a person with a diagnosis. I’m too “dangerous.”

Guess I got a few people in trouble, eh? Or at least mighty embarrassed….

Imagine the power of a church with 100 members on my side. Imagine being in a group where people actually care.  Maybe a few would have written letters to the state on my behalf. I guess instead they blacklist people they think are “unsafe” for church.

I guess I was totally wrong when I joined. I thought a church would be behind me, an asset to me, and me to them. Nope. I only got hostility and turned backs, and I became even more desperate to leave town.

So now…this Thanksgiving. Know what I am most thankful for? That here in Uruguay we don’t have Thanksgiving so no asshole will come up to me and say, “Did you have a good Thanksgiving? How was your family?” That was one horrible question to try to get around.

Here’s to those of you spending the day alone this year. Here’s to those kids who are teased in school. Here’s to those who got fired recently. Here’s to those who won’t be asking for the day off cuz you have no job. Why ask when there won’t be a dinner?

Mostly, I wish a wonderful Thursday to all those who have been misunderstood.


My last days in Watertown

I am looking forward to writing in retrospect on my last days in Watertown and I hope my writing comes out funny.

Actually, it might come out sounding rather pathetic.  Life has rather sucked.

There are a few people I don’t actually look forward to telling that I am moving, or planning to move, namely, my brothers, because they will tell me it’s a stupid idiot thing to do.  Why will they tell me this?  Because they tell me everything I do is stupid and idiotic.  They do this because they only care about their own monetary gain.

To my brother Ned, I am not a “real writer” because I am not published in the New Yorker.  That’s how he defines real writers.  He constantly puts me down and I hate talking to him.

I hate talking to my brother Phil because it’s damn obvious he doesn’t give a shit about me.  He only cares about his own stupid petty life.

I think I will move and not tell them until after I’m moved.  No rule that says I have to tell them.

But meanwhile, back to life in Watertown.  Remember I told you someone might come out of the woodwork and tell me they were going to miss me or something? Well, I think folks are looking forward to not having me around.

After all, I’m nothing but a nasty bitch, right?  No one really likes me and I never do any good for anyone.

I never did anything good for the church.  Not that I was really asked to or even allowed to.  I wasn’t on a committee and didn’t make any meaningful contributions in any way.  I don’t think anyone really wanted me around.  I think they will just breathe a sigh of relief when I’m gone and know that they won’t have to deal with me anymore.  Folks just kinda put up with me and they won’t have to do that anymore.

Me, I can hardly wait to get out of here.  Itching to take off.  I can’t afford to fly there and check out places, so wherever I settle for, I’m going to have to take it sight unseen.  I know folks who have done that before and although I have heard of scams, it often works out just fine.

There was one place that sounded okay, but then it sort of didn’t, and then it turned out she would not take Puzzle.  I thought about the place and decided I didn’t like the idea that the owner would be showing up every now and again whenever she felt like it (she claimed it would be extremely rarely, and just to do business for a few hours) as “absentee roommate” and giving me a lower price for that deal, so it’s just as well that our conversation ended abruptly as soon as she found out about Puzzle.

I can hardly wait to write about how crappy my life has been these past couple of weeks.  I will tell you once I’m out of here and safely in my new town.  I can hardly wait to split the scene.  Mostly, I’ve been in bed.  Not that that matters and not that anyone really cares.  And no one really knows why or cares to know why or understands even or wants to understand.

I’ve pretty much given up on the idea of having a friend, or anything resembling one. I mean someone you can really tell what’s going on with you, and share and stuff.  That’s kinda sad.

As far as staying on the planet, well, we’ll see.  Might give up on that, too, at the rate things are going.  Just seems pointless.  But, you know, starting a new life in a new place, who knows…anything can happen.

Basically, my plan now is to find the new place and spend a lot of time in bed for quite a while.  After all, I’m going to be tired, right?  Then, we’ll see.  Life might be worth living, might not.

Crying while walking Puzzle, a wicked awesome thing to do now and then

You can cry and walk your dog at the same time so long as you have a supply of tissues in your pocket.  That way, you don’t have to use your sleeves.  Another thing I’d suggest is to make sure nobody’s looking.  And if you do anything out loud, make like you are talking to your dog or talking on a cell phone just in case anyone drives by or walks by with their own dog, or is listening out their window.  That way, it’s all kinda foolproof.

So I was out walking Puzzle this morning down a street I frequently walk on, and sure enough, started thinking about folks at church.  Don’t ask me why I thought of this particular person, never mind who, but this person is wicked, wicked nice.  I said to myself, “Oh honestly, Julie, you have not had one single negative interchange with this person, it’s all been entirely positive and pleasant.  Julie, this person and this person’s spouse, they are about the nicest people you could ask for.” And then I proceeded to think up more people at church that I thought were the nicest people you could ask for, and more and more people.  In fact, I had such a list that there was no list at all.  I just kept thinking of more and more wonderful people, a whole conglomerate of them.  You’d think I’d thought up a whole church full of them, more than ever show up on any given Sunday.  Actually, if that many people filled our teensy parking lot, a zillion cars would be double-parked and I guess there would be all sorts of problems for the first ones that had arrived.

Oh no, I didn’t get that far in my thinking.  By then, I  was bawling my eyes out.  Don’t ask me how many tissues I needed cuz I have no clue.  Me, leave Watertown?  Well, yeah, I really am planning to leave.  It does truly suck when you end up getting sad over stuff like this.

Relationships.  Well, like I said in previous entries, stuff happens like this.  There will always be folks I wished I had gotten to know better while I was here.  And folks might appear at some point and make it known that they wished they had gotten to know me a bit.  It was like that in every town I lived in and then moved away from, years ago, and so the pattern will continue.