Monthly Archives: July 2014
I tell you to break rules. We are told to tell the moral of a story last. I tell you to break rules so I break that rule first. Here is the moral, then, first:
Regard all with open eyes and heart. Should you regard your world with closed heart and eyes as if a snake, you will be met likewise. You will see a closure, an end, before you begin. Do you speak this rattle? Is this your story?You will be answered with the same rattling. This will be the response if this is your story. You can change this story. You can soften. You see another way. You can cry. You can join hands.
I came from another place. I didn’t want to say or tell anyone, which was okay and still is. I was welcomed here and my story is a Puzzle. Mi perra is Puzzle. Puzzle is hard to say. I don’t hear people say Puzzle. It doesn’t translate as a name for a niña. That’s okay.
I came, me and my dog. I am a writer. I learned that some rules are for people and some rules are for writing and some rules are ones that are myth.
The folks in South America have a word for people who come from far away and steal their land. People from the UK have done this, stolen the Falkland Islands not long ago. There are Germans here and Canadians and people from the USA who walk around with their money and their noses in the air, calling themselves Expats. They claim the local people will steal any chance they get.
This is another myth.
The USA is full of myths. That “doctor” will save you. That “government” will save you and cure you. That you need “government” as run by “doctor” to babysit you, that you aren’t a reponsible adult, that you must let these institutions make your decisions for you and feed you wrong information and tell you where to live, what medical decisions to make, what is allowed and what isn’t, even whether to have children and whether these children can be raised by you and how to raise them and educate them and whether they can have spirituality in their lives and how to feed them. The less money you have, the more babysitting you get and the fewer decisons you get to make on your own. You will see this as time passes in the USA. They have prisons there too, and the prisons only get worse.
So here I am in South America and I hear this stuff from the Expats…but nohing adds up because the local people make more sense than the Expats. The Expats seem paranoid…well, let’s face it. I AM aware that I HAD to get out of the US. I AM aware that I cannot go back. However, I am also not an Expat by any means.
I am not a fucking snob here. And no, the locals here aren’t out to get me. If I walk around with that attitude, my nose in the air, that’s what I’m gonna get. Stolen from. Ripped off. If I walk around talking about the inferior products and how this is a ripoff and “they are lazy workers…” I mean, what do these expats expect? You come here, you buy the land….What the fuck? If the Expats don’t like it then they need to split the scene. Make themselves Expat Island. That’s pretty much what they have, anyway.
Oh, hang out only with Expats cuz that’s “safety”? Nope, I don’t buy that.
So here’s the story.
I came here and the place flooded within a week. Flooded again a few days later. Flooded again yesterday. So right away I got my landlady’s attention. She ran upstairs and knocked on my upstairs neighbor’s door to alert her. And went outside to the courtyard.
Now inside my bathroom is this square thingy right next to the toilet. My landlady noted that this thingy leads to the gutter. Yep, the gutter was overflowing. So outside in the courtyard she lifted the tile that covered the gutter. Sure enough, the whole gutter was overflowing. She phoned the water company. A guy came and used a snake outside, out in front of our row. Sure enough, neighbors began to convene at this point and speak in Spanish. I listened carefully and remembered seeing folks cleaning out the front of their homes and seeing people looking puzzled, day after day, or running hoses out to get water off their floors well before I had even arrived.
I used my Google translator to let my landlady know that this thing the guy was using, in the USA, is called a serpiente, a snake. The one they have here looks roughly the same as that plumbing tool that one can purchase at Home Depot. There are a variety of types.
We have been laughing over this, and we have done some conversing and communicating and discussing the beauty of laughter. Through my upstairs neighbor, who understands a bit more inglese than she can speak, I have been able to communicate with my landlady. I told her that I see humor in this situation and not to worry.
My upstairs neighbor was rather apologetic after the third flood. She said had she realized that simply taking a shower would cause all this, she wouldn’t have! I told her I had no clue why my toilet insisted on running for an hour after flushing it. Then, when the people next door let us know they had no clue why they were having flooding too…we all knocked heads together.
Today the water company, called OSE, is continuing to work on the problemo. Now, they are trying to get to the root of the problemo, which now they are saying mght be all the way across the street!
Patience, laughter, love….we are together here and no one is ripping anyone off. No one is out to deliberately get anyone. No one is trying to steal from me. It’s not like the USA here and honestly, I don’t know why the USA folks come here if they are so scared of the locals. Why bother? What’s the point? My landlady doesn’t even have a key to my place. I am glad I am here, but I’m no Expat. I don’t care for the Expat attitude. Sorry.
And yes, the Housing Authority in Watertown did have a key to my place and the police more than once did illegal searches. They’ve torn the place at Woodland Towers apart and I haven’t broken the law. That’s against what’s constitutionally given me.
I came here because the USA ain’t safe with all their forced drugging, and with the coming of forced outpatient care and forced this and forced that and the police corruption…medical force…medical abuse….ghettoizing of the poor….that ain’t love, that’s hell on earth and people are at each other’s throats there. It wasn’t safe to stay there. It’s far safer here.
Love, Julie and Puzzle
I actually wrote this in May….
“I walked out. I am free. I had no choice. I was cornered with no other way out. I looked in the mirror. I asked myself if indeed I could step into it, and through, and into the Other Side. Through the looking glass. Indeed, possible. Like Alice. If only.
What did I see in that mirror? Not a broken person, but a wonderful person with so, so many possibilities. So many dreams yet unfulfilled. So much promise. So much talent. I knew I was still that bright young ambitious student, the one who left home with so many dreams, just waiting to see the world.”
Here it is:
“The video isn’t mine. I first saw it two days after I made my plane reservations.
I knew, at that moment, that I was headed home. At last. I had a few weeks until my plane would leave.
I am free.”
Well, it’s the end of July…this post is about to go up…What shall I add?
Yeah, it’s all freaky. I have no idea whether I am staying or coming back. Gotta renew my visa either way cuz I won’t get a plane ticket soon enuf. Or pay a a fine if I ever do leave. I am too sick to care right now. Too damn sick.
I love you all.
I can hardly wait… to write it. I am on my cell now but will get on the laptop and write the whole thing for you. How a neighborhood changed. Laughed. Grew. In another land, far away, they lock people up and call them criminals when they aren’t. Here , we all worked TOGETHER and literally got to the bottom of it. Talk soon. Julie and Puzzle
Love, Julie and Puzzle
I don’t know how long I should stay. Should I give it much more of a chance?
This is no life for me here. Been sick since before I came here. Coming here sure didn’t make anything improve. I get blamed….and it ain’t my fault. I am sick cuz of the DAMN DRUGS they gave me! So much for listening to fucking doctor advice!
I need to stay away from blamers! I should do things my own way. My own way is what works for me. It’s my body! No one knows better than I do!
Love, Julie and Puzzle
I wake up. Wicked thirsty. Jeez all I want is a glass of water. I get up. Go to get water. Oh wow….As usual, I only slept an hour. I am exhausted, dragged out, cannot believe I am gonna deal with life so tired all the time. So I go get the water. So thirsty.
It goes down fast. Relief. But then I feel nauseous. I never puke. Haven’t for about a year. This happens to me every day, this nausea that lasts for hours.
I go back to bed because right now I have no choice. I am gonna be here for quite a while till it passes.
My landlady better not knock on the door….
Great life. Can’t even do a damn thing. All I get is blame blame blame. Assholes don’t know how to put themselves in someone else’s shoes.
Love, Julie and Puzzle
Don’t you hate that? Yeah sure. “You can apply from the comfort of your home or office.” Jeez. Comfort….uh huh. Home….where is love in this world?
Love, Julie and Puzzle
I was out w PZ. I put U$300 on the phone at Disco . By the way, that’s not a whopping amount. As soon as the $ loads there’s a mssg from you know who…someone is coming at 13 hrs to do repairs. So I get home with PZ. It’s not yet 11. She’s right there waiting. Hounds me as I let myself in. Right behind me, she and this guy. They speak to each other in Spanish. She demands to know why no furniture. Why my stuff is in suitcases. Hey, does she expect me to furnish and decorate a swimming pool?
He flushes the toilet. They chatter in Spanish and now are gone.
Surviving. What will happen next?
Love, Julie and Puzzle
I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this. I changed my privacy settings a while back because I was moving. I was doing this just as a precaution, so that my name would NOT show up in a search for ALL the Julie Greenes on the planet. I mean, there are so, so many of us that you figure at any given moment, someone is doing a search for a Julie Greene applying for a job somewhere or for housing, right, or for school or for an internship or for that big grant or even for a dating service. If it’s me they find, she will get told, NO NO NO NO NO a thousand times, NO! They were getting so darned creative with their excuses, weren’t they? Anyway,
As I figure it, when I changed my privacy settings here on this blog, people were finding me a whole lot less. Rankings are going down.
Does that mean you love me less? Guess so. I told you. Shitty life.
My landlady got me here now. I don’t think she gonna kick me out, in fact, she ain’t gonna be too pleased if I duck out, though I got plenty of reason to legitimately do so. She ain’t gonna translate this. Not my crappy grammar or decent grammar or in-between grammar.
Snoopy ain’t the word for it. Understatement. Get this: she’s got a little sliding front window she opens up whenever she sees me entering or exiting the building. Always some remark, or instructions, or yelling at me or correcting bad behavior. Promising me she will fix something she ain’t gonna fix. Telling me I must pay up.
Guess it was two nights ago. Yeah, Saturday night. In fact, I have the photo in my cell, but I won’t post it here. Another flood. That makes two, one Tuesday, one Saturday, late. I knew it was the BOTTOM of the toilet, that is, the place where the toilet meets the floor.
It was coming in fast. I HAD to get that water shut off NOW, not in a half hour. I had no clue how to do this and I needed my landlady to do this pronto. So I knocked on her door and when I found she was out, what the heck was I supposed to do? I started throwing my stuff onto upper shelves and yep, I phoned 911 and asked them to come shut the water off. I assumed if she was in Montevideo, that was at least a half hour or more drive away, depending on how deep into the city she was.
So I was on the phone with the policio, and my neighbor hears and comes downstairs. She gets on the phone and tries to tell the cops not to come…I am realizing that they are gonna come anyway. They are coming to see if I am okay. I am grateful, because my neighbor is protecting my landlord and I don’t appreciate this too much.
There’s method to my madness…(expression here, as I am not “mad” per se). Finally, it looks like the water is slowing down, but also, I want witnesses! Who better than the policio? They will vouch for me.
So yeah, it takes a while. They don’t track cell phones here (thank goodness) the way they do in the USA. So any 911 call goes to Montevideo and you have to tell them what town you are in. Every town in the country has streets that sound alike. You should have heard me…they were asking me what color the house was and I really was having a hard time explaining it was an apartmento, not a house. Most towns don’t have house numbers, either. So I gave them landmarks. My neighbor told me afterward that the whole time, they assumed Montevideo and had no clue I was talking about Atlantida because I had told the first dudes and not the ones that I was currently speaking with.
I must say, about four showed up, with pads of paper and pens and pencils, writing down stuff. Who was the unfortunate seniora? Oh yeah, my landlady showed up and her friend tells me to relax (I am okay, I assure her, I only want the water shut off and I will need to dry my stuff out and get this water out of my place ASAP). So my landlady gets a rag and mops the place. Tells me to light a fire but something tells me that when wood is wet it’s gonna stink.
I had already snapped a photo. I got it in my cell, you know, just in case I need it. So get this: the landlady is speaking in Spanish with the cops and she asks me my name. Huh? Yeah, she FORGOT! As I figure, she had a brain fart cuz she was in a fluster at the time. A panic, you know? It’s possible she wasn’t thinking, really, and had flat out forgotten, even though we’d spent an entire afternoon together signing this contato, the whole ordeal driving over to Los Toscas, etc, etc etc. I mean she might have felt “under the gun” with the policio standing right there, maybe they were being demanding with her…not that I would know, cuz I had no clue what they were saying.
She went and got the contract. Yep, showed them our agreement. Like, say what? To prove what? That I am a criminal? And I’m not. So I think the policio didn’t exactly buy into this one. They were far more concerned about the seniora’s safety. The unfortunate seniora who got flooded out because of faulty pipes.
Quickly, I used my Google translator and told policio, “This happened Tuesday, too.” The officer nodded. My landlady meanwhile had tried to go into my bedroom and was furious that I had not told her that the light bulb was out in there. It was my understanding that it was my job to replace light bulbs…and I wasn’t going to go out and purchase a ladder with everything still “up in the air” like this. One more thing I gotta lug outa here, right? A dark room means my stuff in there is a little safer from her snooping around! Jesus!
I got so little now I can carry a lot of my shit. I wish the hostels would take Puzzle cuz we could just take off. Of course, no reason we can’t anyway. It’s winter, though. No freaking place to go.
I took public transit to Montevideo the next day. Yesterday. Domingo. That means Sunday in Spanish. My first time on a bus in two and a half months and my first time in a big city since Miami. Well…culture shock. Loved the bus, though. Gotta say I cried a lot of the way over. I LOVE my country and the people. Where “welcome” is genuine and not fake. Where “welcome” isn’t conditional on my getting “treatment” or taking pills or seeing a therapist. Where “welcome” doesn’t mean they’ll turn on you. Where “welcome” isn’t a lie. But of course, there are tasteless people here like anyplace else and you gotta watch yourself because everywhere you go they will take advantage of a foreigner in a foreign land.
I met with a nice lady in Montevideo, in this gymnasium/bar type place. By all means she says I need to GET THE HELL OUT from where I am, and to someplace decent. So a guy comes, American dude, and another American, they tell me the same thing. They give me some references. A lady’s name who has some apartments and some names of hostels. We try to call…it’s freaking noisy there with booming music…I can’t tolerate that damned music and I tell them I gotta go…we leave…I am getting shaken up just hearing it…It all reminds me too, too much of my damned next door neighbor in Watertown, Massachusetts.
The American walks me over a few blocks and we part. I feel relieved to get outdoors but suddenly I am overwhelmed with thirst. I cannot find the hostel, nothing that looks like a hostel or anything. It’s just nothing…a street with nothing. Just kind of an alleyway…not a dangerous area, just nothing. Where the hell is this hostel? Oh, I know, I remember from when I was a kid, they put hostels in the middle of noplace like that. They aren’t well marked with a huge sign saying, “Hey, foreign students, THIS IS THE HOSTEL, STUPID, COME HERE!” So I looked on the paper the American had given me.
I remembered. I had asked him, “Why does this phone number have seven digits not eight?”
He had said to me, “That’s the right number.”
I had said, “No, that’s seven digits.”
He had said to me, “Yep.”
I know landlines are eight digits here, but the number he’d given me was seven, like an American phone number. I tried, but I got a message in Spanish that I’m sure said, “This ain’t a working number.” But above the number he gave me was the same number written again, crossed out, but with a “1” after it. Okay…I tried…eight digits…It worked!
A person answered…I tried speaking inglese and she answered in inglese. She said I was a half block away and the place was filled. I said, “Please, can I have a drink of water?”
“We are filled.”
“No, all I want, please, is water.”
“We are filled.”
“Can I have a drink of water and I will be on my way.”
She let me come in, have water and use the bathroom. It looked like a nice place for students who were traveling. I asked about taking a dog and they said no hostel in the country takes people with dogs. Shit. They seemed real nice there but for students and most likely rather pricy. I mean, this was Montevideo, so I figure high cost. And you share a room with a zillion kids with cameras and backpacks and high hopes who will become dancers someday, not someone downtrodden and burnt out and with broken dreams and lost families like me.
This young gal had a pitcher of water. I remembered pitchers of water in my past. Wow, I could down that whole damn pitcher full. I drank a few glasses of it. She looked at me like, “Hey, have you not had water in how long?” I kept drinking it. Well, she didn’t know about the drugging and my past, eh?
I put the cup down and thanked her profusely. I asked to use the bathroom and she was hesitant (yeah, like I have a bomb in my bag?) but then she said, “Sure.” So I was grateful and went and peed and was on my way, thanking her, asking for the nearest bus.
Home…..My landlady opening that damn sliding window as soon as I come through the gate. What? Was she waiting for me? The very second I walk through that gate. Like, was she sitting right there? For hours? So she starts in on me. Tells me I put too much toilet paper in the toilet and this was the cause of the gigantic flood both times.
Oh please. Not even possible. It’s not possible for a toilet to leak from between the bottom of the toilet and the floor because the tenant put too much toilet paper into the toilet. Besides, for the past week I have not put toilet paper into the toilet at all. I have put the paper elsewhere cuz I noticed the toilet was slow and backing up. I pointed to where the leak was. Then, she said that I had overflowed the bathroom sink. I said that I had not overflowed the sink nor had I overflowed the toilet. I pointed to the bottom of the toilet, where the toilet meets the floor and said that this was where the leak was.
Okay, it’s always the tenant’s fault, right? I then showed her the leaky faucet in the kitchen. I turned the damn thing on and it squirted everywhere. She said there was too much to fix. Like wait a minute, all this was my fault? Yep. The faucet never, ever worked since the day I moved in, since the first moment I turned it on.
So over and over…told I must phone her if something’s wrong and never, ever phone the policio again. Well, I told her I was scared when I saw the leak and had no clue what to do. Was this a threat? Am I being threatened? Of course, the language barrier works to my advantage here.
Yes, I feel trapped. Of course I do. Not one bit of privacy. Not one bit. I come, I am accused. I leave, I am accused on my way out. No way to live, folks, this is Hell on Earth.
I need to just take off I guess. I did phone the lady who had the apartment in Parque del Plata but it was way over my head. Seven hundred…DOLLARS. Nope. Not for anyplace anywhere. I don’t care if it’s a freaking palace I don’t have seven hundred to pay. I guess that person in Montevideo I met with only helps RICH Americans get out of pickles, not people like me. She claims to help “Expats” but that doesn’t include me, eh? I sure feel bad about all of that. I was told, “Good luck.” Wow, I feel like shit about the whole thing. Assumed to be a rich American like the rest. Damn. I said, “Poor.” I meant it but I suppose there are levels of poor, eh?
Get out a here if anyone if is ever gonna call me an Expat again. Not me. Not rich not an Expat. Get that word off my back. It all kinda stinks right now. All their money, the way they throw it around stinks.
So….today…it’s another day.
And…well, that ain’t half of it. The other half I’ll tell later. So much for privacy settings, I don’t give a shit…no privacy here in my home! I can write all this down in sloppy bad grammar slang that will NEVER, EVER work in any online translator (when in doubt, misspell, too), and god bless the language barrier, dudes!