Discovery Park, Seattle
My only goddamn frisbee. What? He thinks frisbees grow on trees?
I don’t think he thinks that.
I wish we were wittier.
Yea. Me too.
Discovery Park, Seattle
My only goddamn frisbee. What? He thinks frisbees grow on trees?
I don’t think he thinks that.
I wish we were wittier.
Yea. Me too.
Setting: In car outside public library, stealing free wireless
When someone says: you’re slacking on the blog, I like to take it as a compliment, as in, wow Hee, you are so gifted and dynamic, I wish you would blog every day!
Yes! Then I shall try to blog every day!
Then another someone might say: shiiit girl, I’m totally behind, your shit is just so fucking heavy, you and Ryan, it’s not like I can skim your words.
Yes! Then I shall not blog every day!
Occasionally a “friend” calls to catch up, and hypothetically asks about my Christmas. After I answer, said person says in shocked manner: you went to Amsterdam?!! Dumbass, I respond, don’t you read my motherfucking blog? I may feel very insulted because I think all my friends ought to be as interested in me as I am. If you had a blog, I could say, I would read it religiously. In other words, if you had a blog, it’d be really boring, and that’s why you don’t have one. Your comeback might be: at least I can afford a sailboat with my oodles of moola, and I might say, who the fuck says oodles of moola? You, friend, might say I would never say that–you, Hee, make other people sound like douchebags in your blog to make yourself look smarter, and I might ask, did it work?, and you’d concede: yes, good game.
I haven’t not been blogging because I resolved to never use the a-word again in my last entry, but because I’ve been trying to write pieces that will hopefully one day end up in MONEY, since all of you freeloaders read me for free. I didn’t get the ‘zines with homeless teens job at the YWCA–THANKS FOR NOTHING HARVARD–and every time I open the Sunday classifieds or browse Craigslist for hours, nothing sends my heart even slightly a’twitter. This world of employment is just not for me! I need to freelance. It’s the only job that has the word free in it, which subliminally is very satisfying. Right now, our life is perfect. Ryan and I wake up, write pieces that have cute orange end buoys bobbing on the horizon, scribble down parts of Big Pieces, compose absurd and brilliant songs, eat in, use Mati as an excuse to go to Marymoor dog park and laugh at dogs and their people, walk down to Chinatown, drive to the Seattle café of the day, park outside the library and use the free wireless, read our brains out, make fucking awesome videos using the simplest Mac software imaginable, and try to see how little money we can spend going out while having the best time ever.
Sample weekend, last:
Thursday Night—Chinatown karaoke with Big Will—definitely best time ever, but money was spent.
Friday Night—Ryan falls asleep at 7, mid-Breach, both of us sideways on our free loveseat made for one normal sized person. I spend the rest of the night making love to my computer screen, and by making love, I mean writing. A cheap date if I ever saw one!
Saturday Night—Dancing to 80s classics such as “Beat It,” with Ellen and Jordan at Buddha Bar. Ryan does a brilliant impromptu duet dance with an equally insane white woman of advanced age who was either a mom with a mission, the wife of a biker-man, or my fourth grade teacher. It was hard to pinpoint her personality based on her grand jetés. She grabs Ryan’s balls and gives him the come hither finger all night. Ryan tries to pretend he’s with me so she’ll stop groping him. Nice try, stranger.
Best time ever!!!
Sunday Night—Comedy Underground to watch Paul Ogata. We pretend we’re his crew and since we’re Asian the scenario is plausible and this gets us in for free. I laugh so hard I snort brain matter out of my nose. Best time ever!!!
In conclusion, we had three best nights ever for the price of one.
Reduce, Reuse, Reblog
I wrote the following piece in my old website/blog, but since way more new people read this blog, especially now that Ryan’s ass is heavily featured, I am re-posting it, mainly in the hopes that someone will send it to someone who will send it to someone, and it will become chain blog-mail. In a week it will come back to me, telling me I have to send it to 7 people in order to have my wish come true, which was to have this letter turn into chain mail, therefore it will have already become true, thus breaking the wish-cycle of chain letters. And somewhere out there will be that special person who opens me, a one-of-a-kind unbirthday present for all occasions, only to say: oh, she’s perfect! Here’s $100,000 a year to do just that!
P.S. I can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cover Letter, My Ideal Job
Dear Future Employer:
(Which ideally would be me.)
If I were to take all my experiences and mesh them into one occupational position–it would be to create an alternative treatment center for emotionally-disturbed private school-educated orphans of gypsy descent. There, I would teach them avant-garde writing in the form of stick figure portraiture, Surrealist photography in the form of aggressive napping, cardio kickboxing, imperfect veganism, and proper contraception implementation. I would treat them from their addictions to god, to family obligation, to morality as a washboard for our animal instincts, to guilt/blame, to ego, to refined sugars, to Myspace. This center would be in a former Communist nation where there would still only be two types of cheese–yellow and white. I’d recycle my diploma into toilet paper. Ivy League 2-ply.
The lesson of the day: degrees are for assholes.
Each morning, we would climb the metaphorical walls of our flimsy defenses before settling into our line-less Moleskins. Blank pages–we could go any way. After loosening the figure 8 knots of our old convictions, we’d rappel into philosophical caves, rooms of our own, walls padded with the insulation of our old bullshit, writing character sketches for our self of the day. At recess, we’d have a pep rally, cheering on our own genius ideas.
“G-E-N-I-U-S! Gooooo Genius!!!”
At lunch, we’d photograph trees, bury first drafts in self-destructing time capsules, invent ten new ways to eat pumpkin, stuff kaleidoscopes with fortune cookie fortunes, laugh at the distortions, the possibilities, laugh at our pasts which we’ve pulled from our mind like a loose shirt thread and re-woven into a quilt large enough to cover our cold feet. At night, we’d reclaim constellations, snip every imaginary line connecting memories to fear, expectation to fear, preservation to fear. Cassiopeia into The Persistence of Memory. The Big Dipper into Guernica. We’d praise the sky as a figment of our gorgeous imaginations. We’d be as endless as we wanted to be. We’d take our fears, write them on gold origami paper, folding each into 1,000 cranes, into one crane in the shape of a kite, and fly our fears past the point of control, and let them go, let them all go.
And then we’d be free for the first time in our lives.
I mean, c’mon already. I am awesome. Hire me.
My most productive hours are between the hours of 12 and 4 am, I need really good health insurance, a company car or bike would be SO COOL, can my dog come?, I cook a mean pumpkin bread, do I really have to be present physically every day?, I think having the option to work from a park or cafe or hey, my living room– would be fantastic, and gym membership as a corporate benefit, hey, I’ll take it!
In the meantime, enjoy our latest photos from the lovely Pacific Northwest!
sunset bowl, ballard
Happy Birthday Bowling!
“honey, when i said i wanted to spend my birthday with a bunch of dirty bitches… the dog park was not exactly what i had in mind.” -ryan
I realized that this time last year I was still in Bulgaria. Still Peace Corpsing my life away. Last year’s holiday season theme wasn’t Mr. Jesus Christ, or Macy’s elves, or even blue tinsel. Last year’s theme was hypothermia pie. Hypothermia pie involved Matilda and I spooning in deep hibernation in my bedroom, praying. Praying to the gods of cheap space heaters to keep heat alive, and to the pipe gods to defrost and let water flow. I sang “O Come All Ye Electrical Current” to the electricity gods, because the only thing I hated more than coldness was when coldness and darkness joined powers and formed Early Death.
I really hated Early Death.
To commemorate the fact that I haven’t even been back in the motherland a year, I’ve been revisiting my old Bulgaria writings. I have to say I enjoy the bitter Amerikanka I once was. Now I’m weak. Now I love. Easy access to soy products makes a person soft. SOFT LIKE SILKEN TOFU I TELL YOU!
I need to find an Eastern European market here and see if I can get someone to verbally abuse me for simply existing.
Bulgaria, circa 2006:
I’ll never be such a fucking amazing person in my life again
It amuses me how my life and work are interpreted–how my being here implies I have no direction, or that I am sacrificing something for the work I do. The longer I’m here, the more my life resembles anyone’s life: I walk my dog. I run and go to the gym. I clean my apartment with Mr. Clean. I sit at my desk 5,000 hours a day. The other 5,000 hours a day I spend running around with kids, teaching, mentoring, and buying the orphans pads. I cook dinner for my friends. I drink tea on my balcony and read Newsweek. I go to the farmer’s market. I take my Banana Republic turtlenecks to the dry cleaner. The only real difference between my job and your job is that I make 89 cents an hour. And that’s relative too—89 cents is exponentially more than what my colleagues make. I live alone in a huge apartment, have a cell phone, Internet, and six different pairs of athletic shoes (day hiking, kickboxing, trail running, running, marathon running, hardcore hiking). It’s very American to look at my life and ask me when I’ll get a real job. My job is as real a job as I’ve ever had. I consider myself lucky to have the opportunities I have here. Last year alone I went to Greece, Hungary, Turkey, (and Tahoe!). I create my own schedule, and have to answer to no one besides the extremely sadistic control freak-masochistic-perfectionist voice in my own head. I live in a country where the national IQ average is 89. I’m like fucking Einstein. People are mesmerized by my ability to type “without looking” and with more than one finger. The fact that I don’t have a television by choice, and that I read “for fun” makes me enigmatic, dare I say monk-like. The fact that I don’t smoke is downright revolutionary. I’ll never be such a fucking amazing person in my life again.
And I Thought Buying Tampons in America Was Awkward
Part of my “work” (for 89 cents an hour) with the orphans involves me going to pharmacies and purchasing their hygienic products. Yes, I am their pad bitch. I’m glad I went to Harvard to be the pad bitch of 10 adolescent female orphans. Let is be known that in Bulgaria, you have to ask a pharmacist for everything—every berry flavored cough drop, herbal tea, and heavy flow pack of Always sits on shelves behind a counter. You have to ask for these items in front of everyone else in line at the pharmacy. You have to ask when there are orphans standing right next to you, who speak just perfect Bulgarian, but who are too ashamed to ask themselves, and I suspect take secret pleasure in watching me trying to fumble my way through conversation at each pharmacist’s counter.
Here’s a little example:
Me: “Good day.”
Old Pharmacy Man: “Good day.”
Old Pharmacy Man: “Tell me what you need.”
Me: “Something for the business of women.”
Old Pharmacy Man: “What do you mean, pray tell?”
Me: “Something needed for the month cycle of a woman.”
Old Pharmacy Man: “Oh. Here you go.” [Gives me something resembling ibuprofen.]
Me: “No no! The woman is not sick. It is not sick or pain. For blood. No sick sick. Blood.”
Old Pharmacy Man: “What the hell are you talking about?”
Me [Now bright red, everyone in pharmacy staring. Turns to orphans.]: “You little shitheads know I don’t know the word for the blood things! Fucking help a sister out! You think it’s in my goddamn job description to buy you Always? Fuck that. I’m out.”
[End trip down Bulgaria Lane.]
It’s paragraphs such as these that make it hard for me to edit my Bulgarian experience into publishable travel essays. I am still trying to do this, but I hate the writer I become. I hate 97% of most Peace Corps writery writing that I read, because it’s too pretty, too florid, too edited away from the truth. Too neat. All Peace Corps Volunteers are selfish assholes, just like every human being. I hate that they think they’re not selfish assholes. I hate superficial closures, poetic conclusions to experiences that are anything but neat. I hate feeling as though I have to wax romantic and use phrases like “human folly” in describing my 2.5 years served in the so-called cushiest of all Peace Corps countries. (But remember–the sanity to comfort exchange rate was high. HIGH. Although it’s probably all too easy from my flooded Seattle cave-home to say I would have gladly exchanged my high-speed Internet and bitter nation for a mud hut and happy nation.)
(I’m a selfish asshole.)
Now that I’ve been in America almost a year, I feel as though I have to be more PC and not make negative commentary about Bulgaria. When I was there I felt no such guilt, as there is no such thing as PC in Bulgaria, which is actually one of the things I miss. YES. I do miss Bulgaria. More now that it’s harder for me to just pick up the phone and shoot the shit without someone saying, “Wow. Your Bulgarian is really bad already.”
“I understood THAT!” –Me
Most of all I miss Yulia, my BBBFF (Best Bulgarian Friend Forever). She saved me over and over. I miss the Mihailovi and the Peichinovi families that adopted me as their Roma-Hawaiian and Bulgarian-Hawaiian daughter, respectively.
I miss wandering with Mati in the empty hills, letting her run free and only having to worry about what she’d do with a horse carcass, and not what might happen should she she run into a prissy American purebred. And her dog.
(Mati’s developed a real attitude towards American dogs. She’ll try to bite out the eyeballs of the world’s friendliest golden, should the world’s friendliest golden cross her path.)
(Oh, I’m exaggerating future Pet Sitter! Be not afraid! Mati’s a lover, not a vicious murderer.)
I miss my pimp ass palace of an apartment that cost $140 a month, which was a rip off, because I was American. The apartment really should have cost approximately $10 a month, because it was in Dupnitza.
I miss not having to think about car insurance, health insurance, mental dog insurance—all the paranoia that makes America feel safe.
The following is intended for specific audiences only:
For all my beloved RPCVs:
Can I just say that our former forced friend has the phattest house ever? How does SCOTT become a homeowner? Of a house with a man-cave larger than our entire apartment? With the coolest, non-wifiest wife ever and most lovable chocolate lab bitch ever?
Maybe Scott will hire me as his live-in dog nanny.
For all my fellow Iolani No Ka Oiers:
She lives! In Seattle! She is awesome! She has the pimpest apartment ever and her super-rad BF, Jordan, makes the best salmon and broccoli EVER.
So far, the Seattle theme has been: Using Superlatives and CAPITALIZATION to re-claim the “Showing and not telling” writing maxim. I SHOW and I tell. And poorly.
There’s something refreshing about being SO excited to reconnect with old friends–seeing how much their everything has changed since you were band geeks or volunteers in post-Communist Hellistan together. I love being welcomed into the warmth of their New Lives, with too much wine and foggy conversation. I love it. I love it as much as going away to another country, knowing no one and nothing, being charmed by the three-legged stray dogs and markets where everything is sold by kilos and you are really not even sure if kilo refers to weight or flesh trading.
Tomorrow I have my first job interview in at least four years. Awww yea! I am super excited—the gig is to make ‘zines with homeless teens! Everyone knows my two favorite things in life are maximizing creativity and totally messed up kids.
Wish me luck by praying to the god of employment where I’ll earn less than Ryan’s unemployment!
My New Favorites
New Favorite Movie: Did I write about The Lives of Others and how it was the best fucking movie ever? The main actor is Kevin Spacey, Ben Kingsley, Dr. Spock, Anthony Hopkins, Bob Hoskins, and the father from Garden State all in one man! It’s crazy. Just so you know, it’s in Nemski, which means German in Bulgarian. Thanks Ryan’s dad!
New Favorite Book: Chuck Palahniuk’s Lullaby. I read it down in one, without the intermittent distraction of reality. Disturbing shit–not for the faint of mind. Thanks library of Harmonie and Chad!
My Favorite Album: Juana Molina’s Son. I’m too lazy to describe it now that WordPress lost my fucking blog that I saved 100 times and I had to re-do it with 1/2 the passion and twice the cussing. Anyway… for Juana Molina–Thanks SCOTT!
My Favorite Photo of the Day:
We’re sleeping on the floor since our bedroom was flooded out and mattress is soaked through. We can’t complain. 51% of the world has it worse.
Favorite Last Conversation for Wednesday Night:
Ryan: My stomach hurts.
Jenn: That’s ’cause you just ate a bag of chili cheese Fritos, a giant Peanut Butter Cookie, and 1/2 a box of generic cereal.
Ryan: You’re supposed to save me from myself!
My boyfriend is adorable.
9 days til Amsterdam!!!
Love in the form of a quiet smile,
(seattle. central district. friday night. 1 am. drinking miso soup, at home.)
yes. at home. our new home–the bottom level of a house, the foundation for our next adventure, here in what we’ve heard is a transitional neighborhood formerly known as ghetto. perfect: we’re transitioning, or we transitioned (have we?). how quickly we doze in the post-transitional glow, ashing our cigarettes on the map we origamied into ashtrays shaped like half-full shot glasses, staring contentedly at the oddly near roof above our heads, amazed by what just happened, how much it meant to the both of us, now zipped up side-by-side in twin orange cocoons–the REI sleeping pods we never used, too sissy to camp in cold weather, but now, now that we’re home, we need our bedding, we need the random shit like my super sponge, half a bottle of peanut oil, and bags of 3/4 used hygiene products that somehow made it into the murano from philly instead of my spice collection and our printer.
we need each other to reaffirm back and forth that we made the right choice to stay.
ryan: did we make the right decision?
jenn: yes. did we make the right decision?
we wanted to live in this exact apartment even though we are paying twice as much for a unit entirely of our own, because we realized we need our space. we hate to tiptoe, and love to oof. and it’s a strange space—asian-friendly low-ceilings, the floor on level with the ground outside, such that the bottom of the window matches the top of the lawn. the apartment is a circle—we chase mati in laps on our mini carpet track. the 7 1/2th floor, a donut, our home.
and its best feature is the 6’2” alabaman who lives upstairs and goes by the given name will, and the indian name lives with asians. big will is the best stranger-friend we’ve met in a long time. he understands randomness. how it’s all randomness. he flipped a coin, and we were heads, and some other LOSER couple was tails. if we were tails, we’d be in portland today. but we were heads, so we got the phatty pad below his phattier pad, and more importantly, we now rent a part of big will’s incredible exuberance for all things life. big will is a plain-clothed superhero. for group hugging us. for bringing mati a welcome home bone and ryan a welcome home 6-pack.
we needed a group hug.
we needed an empty, quiet space.
(so that we could throw all our shit all over and not pick it up. EVER.)
in one closet, ryan has been sitting on the floor with the big mac, calling it his sound studio.
since yesterday i’ve had to replace the hours i spent each day figuring out where’s next. i have thus become obsessed with the “free” section of craigslist. without trying, we’ve acquired a queen-sized bed, a small desk, a TV, microwave, lean mean grilling machine, and other kitchen toys from big will. today big will’s equally kick-ass filipina friend mel gave us an orange corduroy love seat. we can’t wait to fill our new cave-like home with free furniture that never imagined itself together in one space. tomorrow we’re driving to a new stranger’s place to grab our new free computer desk and free entertainment center.
eventually, we’ll grab ourselves some new strangers for keeps.
in the meantime, i’m also waiting with my trigger finger on craiglist for a free queen-sized feather bed cover, coffee maker, printer, and kitchenware.
they shall cometh, friends. oh they shall cometh.
craigslist is seriously addictive.
so far, seattle is phenomenal. maybe it’s just the new city/new life buzz. rain, grey, and all—we’re going to do living better this time. we still want to come home. we still want to live in SF. in LA. in portland. mostly, we still want to live. so we decided to start with seattle. and group hugs.
tonight we watched requiem for a dream at a slant, as our projector didn’t quite survive the journey. after, we needed an 11pm pick-us-up—and after driving by a closed and severely misnamed insomniax cafe—we found an open late cafe nearby–bauhaus books and coffee.
i can’t label the crowd cluttering the second level without flinging clichés pollock-style at my white page. we’re all staccato clichés, some of us with less drip and more stick. some of us selling faster than others.
(i am a recovering insomniac. i shouldn’t drink spicy chai after sunset. i might not be able to get up in time for sleeping in tomorrow.)
this chai isn’t changing my life, but this effortful hip vibe might. i don’t remember a neighborhood in philly where everyone dressed the same. i find it kind of endearing, like it’s a homecoming spirit day. goth gone mundane. we’ve got the black leggings, yes we do, we’ve got the black leggings, how ‘bout you?
i shouldn’t judge so early. maybe another hour, another chai, and i’ll want a hoodie with hello kitty repeating skull print too.
i like a place where i could be cool just because i’m here. because there’s a total venn eclipse between possible coolness and the perimeter of this cafe. because i’m inside the eclipse watching the shadow fall over me. match me. enable me. because this is our longest stop—our 7 month motel for 2 + dog, our home paid for by ryan’s unemployment and as many liters of words i can squeeze out, methodically pumping my fists at even intervals, before being too drained to wake up and know who i am.
this cafe is a library turned cafe or most likely a cafe turned library—brick wall by book wall, matching books lined up on dark mahogany bookshelves, two ladders for the top shelves. i know if i climbed everyone would stare. what are ladders if they can’t be climbed. what are they there for. since when are 30* feet tall ladders accessories.
the music playing sounds like pulp fiction b-sides.
i miss the too sweet, soy creamy chai of philly.
i miss montana.
i miss the ONGS.
i miss being a bus ride away from harmonie and chad, scott, and lacy in bulgaria.
mostly, i miss not having more things to miss.
tomorrow night we’re having dinner at ellen’s—a friend from the glory high school days of studying for national latin examinations and marching band. i am sure we are much cooler people now, although maybe we’ll bust out some cicero and a flute-clarinet duet for old times sake.
already there is so much to say, to write, to reflect on. i feel like november 1st, our first uncertain homeless day in cambridge at melissa’s—was an entire year ago. our november was a year. an incredible fucking year. 2007 1/2. we are now both addicted to the road, and can’t wait to travel to portland, california, canada—but for today we were ready to have a room of our own, as my purse runneth over with mini-condiments, as our brains overfloweth with words, words, words.
this episode of choose our own adventure is brought to you by the letter ryan. without the letter ryan i wouldn’t be possible.
I LOVE YOU RYAN MOTTS!!!
just look at all the font emphasis styles i used to express my love!
bold + italics = true love
*i can’t estimate height. 30 = very, very tall.