Monday, August 21, 2017

despacito: the remix

hello faithful follower, i am writing to you live from the kennesaw university library! 
i have just started my second week of school and this semester marks the halfway point of my graduate degree.

i have doubled up on classes this semester and am taking four classes instead of the recommended two. this sounded like a good idea during registration because i wanted to make sure i graduated on time this go around (lol undergrad) but i have forgotten how hard it is to come up with fresh material for every assignment. 

the essay i am sharing with you tonight is from my creative nonfiction class. we were asked to use a memory of ours to defend our opinion on how much liberty can be taken when writing cnf (like you probably don't remember everything your friend said that night seven years ago or what the weather was like at the baseball game or maybe you want to compress a twenty day hike into one morning)

so my memory was from my first night in honduras and everything i wrote was truth. a quick sidebar however: before i shared it with the class i did mention that i tend to believe everything and i don't really spend time questioning how much was fabricated to fit the story. like i still believe that the tv shows "laguna beach" and "the hills" are real (everyone laughed, its fine). 

my class is pretty cool, there is a lawyer who is a jazz trombonist and acts in local plays in his free time, my professor is a daughter of a bank robber, and the classmate who sits next to me is a very sweet blind lady who types her notes on a braille typewriter. 

so here we go: 

My mouth was dry and my heart was racing like that one time I drank a coffee and a Five Hour Energy too close together and just knew that death was imminent. I was trapped in the bench seat of a passenger van bouncing along a dirt road, and if death wasn’t imminent motion sickness sure was. In an effort to keep from vomiting on my new friends I switched seats with a girl shouting “I’m the one” (in her defense it was the song on the radio) to stick my head out the window like a dog or a drunk. It’s about 10 at night and without street or house lights the valley of San Manuel is oppressed by a darkness I have never experienced before. I brushed up on my astronomy and constellations before I came here, expecting a sky full of stars only to find that there is a constant coverage of smog over the country built up over decades of burning the sugar cane fields. 

I have been in Honduras for about 8 hours now and am fully convinced that America is a figment of my imagination and I will never be able to make it back home. I feel like I’m living out that dream where I know I have to be somewhere important but no matter how long I walk the hallway never ends. Sensing my home sickness, my new friends are taking me to a local coffee shop, Toyas, thinking it will help me feel more grounded (it’s very similar to a Panera or Atlanta Bread Company). 

Even on my ride to the village from the airport, I knew that Honduras felt familiar to me, I had seen it before, kind of like how you vaguely remember your waiter as a classmate from high school years before, the one that was always trying to drop their mixtape. I placed the feeling when the van stopped alongside a semi truck and a man riding a donkey “chariot style” at a stoplight. I won’t speak for Honduras as a whole, but the city of San Manuel is the real world version of every apocalyptic movie ever made. The roads are a disaster, there is no power or water, people live in shelters made of cardboard, signs, and old tires. Buildings are run down if not deserted altogether and the air never stops smelling like fire. Cows, pigs, and chickens run free. I am an accidental extra in a Mad Max film. 

It’s at the coffee shop when I finally relax for the first time since unboarding the plane that morning. The well lit dining room and air conditioning slows down my heart rate and I forget all about the hammer kept in the shower for times when a scorpion or tarantula might crawl in. I remember that America is real and this time 19 days from now I will be back home having chicken tenders for dinner and binge watching Bravo TV as if my adventure to Honduras had never occurred. This thought sobers me considering my whole intention of going on this trip was to have a life changing adventure, what was the point of being here if I spend all my time counting down the minutes to my departure flight on my FlyDelta app? 

We’re loading back into the van now and I snag a window seat in the third row. My stomach hurts from eating a nutella and strawberry crepe too fast but for the most part I am at ease. I hold onto the roll bar and brace myself for the uneven road but Tanya and I end up falling on each other anyway. "Despacito" plays over the radio and this time I join in on singing along.

this week i am working on a call back interview for the office of economic development (fingers crossed) and writing an eight minute screenplay for my screenwriting class (it will most likely be for a skit on jimmy fallon). i will also be listening to this song about a hundred more times. 

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