In honor of my birthday, and the official birthday of this blog, I offer you, dear reader, a soundtrack to my last couple years:
In 2005, I spent 6 months studying and interning in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The bodega outside my house played one song, all night, every night: Daddy Yankee – Gasolina. I spent a lot of time on buses, the kind you stop with hand signals and shouting. To get on, you swing two fingers back and forth and the driver shouts “doce doce” to confirm that it goes to the part of town I lived in (Los Kilometros). You get off the bus by shouting “En la esquina, por favor” (Drop me off on that street, please) or “déjame donde pueda” (Let me off wherever you can). Each seat would fit three people, with a folding seat extended in the middle, used during peak hours. I loved watching the cobrador, the fare collector, jump on and off the bus as it was moving.
At 6 am on Sunday mornings, I went directly from Saturday revelries to La Pulga to buy work clothes. Professional clothes, from expensive US labels, sold for $5 or so. I recorded every cent I spent in green pen, and added up my weekly spending by hand. I’d come home with my loot on Sundays and nap all afternoon under the unopened bed net. (I wasn’t intentionally being a delinquent; I just never saw any mosquitoes.)
Senior year in college, I frequently had a playlist on in my room and Rainer Maria – Artificial Light was the first track. I was an RA and lived in the back room of an apartment that was demolished a couple years later to make way for a new residence hall. That was the year I traveled to Key West for 11 days, filled up a Moleskine, and biked on the boardwalk at night with my eyes closed.
After graduation, from February – December 2007, I lived in a beautiful apartment in Santiago, Chile. It was $300 a month. When it rained, I could see the mountains from my window. I bought a bed the first day, and a stove, couch and fridge on the second day. Otherwise my apartment was empty. I had two forks, two spoons, two knives. Meals were frequently served on the floor. In the mornings, I would brush my teeth on my tiny 16th floor balcony and look out into the windows of my neighbors. I taught English to medical students and government students at the Universidad de Chile, executives at SC Johnson, and gave private lessons.
When I wasn’t teaching, I was at my practicum at CEMERA – Universidad de Chile’s Adolescent Reproductive Medicine and Integrated Development Center. I collaborated with a health psychology student and social work student to create and provide sexual health workshops to high school students. We’re still in touch, all work in the field of sexual health and share resources. When it was dark, in the early hours before work, I got ready to the Mountain Goats – This Year.
The summer of 2009 was spent in San Francisco at the National Sexuality Resource Center. During lunch at Delfina, a friend introduced me to J Dilla – Workinonit. She was living with the person she was in love with, and it was early on in the effervescent early stage of the relationship and they knew every move, every thought the other had. But they never touched, except through words. She would step out of the shower and put lotion on her skin, and through the closed bathroom door, she’d hear “you forgot a spot on your back.” True love, workinonit.