Why I left…(Parte Uno)

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I left Asia because of a single dream. An incredibly deep and vivid dream about my mother. Until I dreamt that dream I didn’t know whether I should give Asia another year and then make my decision like most expats do. One year has a tendency to merge into another and then another. “This is my last year,” most people say. By the time you finally leave if ever, you could easily find yourself severely out of the loop.

The ‘Dream’ as I like to call it, was the leading impetus for my departure from Asia. I remembered every detail down to who was present and what they were drinking. The weight it carried was enormous and I couldn’t ignore it. It genuinely felt real.
Now, of course there were other reasons that contributed to my final decision to pack my bags and book my ticket. Situations pertaining to relationships with the opposite sex,  emotional stability and not to mention monetary stability. However, as powerful as these other motivations were, the ‘Dream’ was the sole catalyst for why I left.

The alarm screams like it always does on weekday mornings. Last night I stayed up too late watching a movie and now my eyes were as big as lemons. My eyes were so swollen that I couldn’t make out the painting on the wall. “Is that a painting? When did that painting get there?” I mentally ask myself. Caught in between both stages of consciousness and unconsciousness, I reach around my pillow for my cell phone. It’s right where I left it last night. I press the button that says snooze and decide to sleep for another ten minutes.

Beep! Beep! Beep! I jump up and suck in as much oxygen as I can from the stale air around me. Like a bear waking up from a 6 month slumber, I let out a beastly moan and taste my putrid breath. “Jesus, 10 minutes went by already,” I say to myself as I yawn. In a dream state ten minutes of sleep feels like thirty seconds. In the real world ten minutes at work feels like a life sentence at a labor camp
I take another deep breath and press the ‘OK’ button. “It’s time to get up, Ade,” I tell myself.
Oneirology, or the study of dreams says that we dream about 5 times per night. That’s about 1,825 dreams per year. Freud believes that dream content is a product of wish fulfillment. Meaning that when we don’t remember certain aspects of a dream, it’s our brain’s way of blocking out wishes or longings that we’re not emotionally equipped to handle. Wow, pretty deep stuff, Freud. Freud goes on to say that lack of dream recall signals repression as a form of self-preservation. Simply put, our brains don’t want us to remember certain content because it’s too traumatic.

Within 5 minutes of waking 50% of dream recollection is forgotten. Within 10 minutes, 90% is lost. That morning I woke up, turned my alarm off and quickly called my mother.

She had to hear this.

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Why I came back home.

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“You’ll be back. I’m giving you a few months until I see you in Asia again,” my friend said to me as we shook hands and parted ways.

The one constant question that I have incessantly received isn’t the one asking whether I miss living overseas or what country would I love to return to. Nor has anyone asked me if I miss the various exotic foods or unique culture. Believe it or not, not a single soul has asked me if I miss the way my life used to be on foreign soil. Kinda strange, if you ask me. Those are the typical questions that I expect to receive.

Without fail, roughly twice a day I am asked by friends and some family alike, ‘why I chose to come back home… a.k.a America’.

Just the other day I was sitting in the back seat of my friends new car. It looked and smelled like a Dodge Durango. In my opinion certain new cars have distinct smells. During my college days as a valet I was able to develop a weird ability to recognize cars by their smell. This aroma that my nose was inhaling was undoubtedly a Dodge of some sort.

We were on our way to the ‘SRC’ to play some basketball. The SRC is the student recreational center at Arizona State University and it just underwent some seriously renovating. “How long has it been since you’ve been to Tempe,” my friend asked. “Man, at least 7 years,” I reply as I realize how fast time flies. The side streets and alley ways that I used to take to class were no longer recognizable. “Remember this place?” my friend asked. “Umm, wasn’t that place…uh, I don’t  know,” I said. “Haha, that used to be your dorm,” he said as he chuckled. “No way! All those memories I created in that place and now it’s a freaking parking garage,” I say in a somber voice. I was quickly realizing that things were different. The people whom which I associated with were now either married or married with children of their own. Places I ate at were no longer in familiar locations. I was gone for quite some time. It would have been foolish of me to expect life to pause and wait for my return.

“I’ve been meaning to ask you, why did you come back,” my friend asks. There had been a silence in the car for the last minute or so. Ostensibly, we were all admiring the plethora of new ASU facilities or perhaps we were preparing our minds to win some basketball games at the newly remodeled gym.

I took a deep breath simply because yet again I was confronted with this question. My spirit knows the reasons why I returned home, however, formulating this response into words was something that I did not know how to do. The SRC was coming up on our left and in a matter of seconds we would be out of the car and lacing up our shoes. My friend who was in the drivers seat looked up and peered into the rear view mirror. This time he wasn’t checking to see if any cars were behind him. He was curious to find out what was distracting me from answering the simple question that he had just asked. “Did you hear what I said?” he asked. “Yeah yeah, I’m just trying to figure out how to answer it,” I replied with a look of bewilderment.

Why I came back… (check back in later:)

What’s your idea of ‘bliss’?

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Something isn’t adding up right. This is my third, positive, energetic, hopeful day in a row. Oh no, what’s in store for me in the coming future? Good things? I sure hope so. Enough with the negativity, until that time comes I am enjoying the moment. This moment!

Here’s to a great day of physical basketball and now winding down with a nice bottle of ‘yellow tail’ Moscato, left over spaghetti that yours truly prepared and a nice ‘extra cold’ bag of ice for my knees.

Be well everyone. Once Upon Ade is definitely well~

An interesting Saturday evening.

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A 1991, white, Chevy S10, 4.3 liter, V6 engine with 162,000 miles whopped my arse today. What was supposed to be a simple job consisting of changing a few spark plugs and a single air filter turned into a 4 hour, triple overtime job that was somewhat pleasantly interrupted by mormon missionaries and a long ago former high school classmate.

There goes my ‘handy man’ tag that I thought I rightfully earned.

Warned by my mother to postpone working on her truck until tomorrow, I ignored her wisdom and continued steadfast towards the garage door in the laundry room. It was 6 o’clock in the evening and the sky was already beginning to lose it’s blue hue. Changing the 6 spark plugs in her Chevy had been on my list for quite some time. Three weeks to be exact. I knew from the day I bought the plugs from the Auto-Zone located about two blocks down the street that this job was not going to be easy. Roughly 4 years ago I took on this same task of squeezing my normal sized hands down an engine filled with wires, hoses and tubes. Reminiscing on that day, I don’t remember it taking me this long to complete a job that should not have exceed 30 minutes. Scraped and cut up from sharp edges, not to mention frustrated due to so much time invested, I felt like an experienced angler battling a large Amazon river monster for way too long.

Timestamp- 5:15 PM MST

The skies released a much needed rain today and my mother went to the library to do a little studying. There is an unusual correlation between the weather and her spirit.
Around 5:15 in the evening I received a phone call from my mother saying that she had a great day and that she was on her way home. ” Hey sugar”! I am on my way home and wanted to know if you needed anything,”she said? I’m okay, just come straight home. Since it rained earlier, its cool outside and I think it’s a good day to give your truck a tune up,” I said to her. “Okay sounds great, I will see you shortly then,” she replied.

Timestamp- 5:40 PM MST

Around 5:40 in the evening I hear the garage door making its strenuous upward motion back into its starting point. Parked back in the garage, the VolksWagen Passat was still running with my mother pleasantly chatting away on the phone. If I had to guess, I would say that she was probably talking to my sister. Her face lights up when she gets calls from her daughters.
The Chevy S10 is ten years older than my Passat. My moms calls it her prayer truck because it is truly an instrument blessed by God. It has withstood the test of time and other than an issue with it’s air conditioning, the truck rides like a dream. On hot days or when my mother wants to ride in style she will use my car. Today was one of those days. She enjoys all the added attention that she receives when in the drivers seat.

Timestamp- 5:55 PM MST

Now with the phone conversation finally over my mother exits the car and tells me that there are two heavy bags in the back seat that she needs me to take inside the house. The bags weighed a ton and for the life of me I still have no idea how she managed to get them in the car.
“Sweety, how about you wait until tomorrow to work on the truck,” she says while looking at the sky. “It is getting dark and you don’t have much daylight left,” she explains. Her suggestion is great. Lord knows, I don’t want to change the spark plus in her truck. They were hard to change 4 years ago and I know it’s going to be hard today as well. However, in my mind I knew that if I put this off for tomorrow it would never get finished. ” Mom, I need to get this out of the way. Tomorrow I just want to relax and dedicate the entire day to writing and applying for jobs,” I say with a hopeful voice.

Timestamp- 6:00 PM MST

The door leading inside the house slams and I am now alone outside in the garage.
I backed the truck out of the garage first and nearly hit my car in the process. My Passat is a manual. Manuals require the operator to push on the clutch in order to switch gears. Jumping back and forth between a stick shift and an automatic can be difficult on the brain. So as I was backing my mothers truck outside of the garage I forgot what vehicle I was in and mistook the clutch for the gas. Warning number UNO. I nearly crashed into my car and the garage door for that matter. First lesson of this fine Saturday evening: Gut feelings should never be ignored.

Timestamp- 6:05 PM MST

With the truck out of the garage resting comfortably on the driveway I pulled the lever under the steering wheel unlocking the hood. The truck had been parked inside the garage all-day so the engine was nice and cool. In front of me was the air filter in one box and the 6 spark plugs in another. Literally for 25 seconds I stood over those two boxes and contemplated which one to pick up first. The evil demon on my left shoulder was telling me to pick up the air filter box. “C’mon, change the air filter first. Get the easy part out of the way,” he whispered in my ear. My pure reasonable friend resting on my other shoulder told me to tackle the spark plug job first. “I advise you to get the hardest part taken care of first,” calmly whispered my enlightened half. Thinking back on that day 4 years ago and the pain and agony that 6 sparks plugs gave a 26 year old kid, I slowly bent over and picked up the air filter box.

Timestamp- 6:20 PM MST

Changing the air filter was a piece of cake, just like I had imagined. As I was throwing away the empty box that used to house the filter, I saw two Mormon missionaries on their 15 speed mountain bikes. The two ‘elders’ had one hand tightly gripped around the bikes handle bars and the other hand holding the ‘Book of Mormon’. The way they were holding onto that book, you would have thunk it was a bag of money. “I hope they don’t come over here and try to talk to me,” I said to myself. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Mormons, but I know they are good talkers. I had just wasted a good 5 minutes trying to decide what part to tackle first and I didn’t have much daylight left.

Timestamp- 8:17PM MST

‘Although I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil’. God why is this happening to me?” I sorrowfully ask myself. For nearly two hours I used every tool in my toolbox in hopes of prying these corroded spark plugs loose. Adjustable wrenches, pliers, flat headed screw drivers and even a hammer at one point. Beyond enraged, I considered pouring gasoline all over the engine and throwing a match on it. “Oh my God, mom I don’t know what happened. One minute I was trying to remove a spark plug and the next minute your truck was up in flames,” I imagined telling her. It’s crazy how vivid our minds are able to conjure situations. Instead I chose the higher road and went inside to tell her how these plugs were kicking my butt. “How are you making out, out there?” she asked. “Horribly,” I say. “When was the last time you had these plugs changed,” I ask my mom. “Ummm, about a year ago,” she replies. “Haha, no way mom. For the past two hours I haven’t been able to remove a single plug,” I say with a dejected voice. My mom looks at me the way she always does when she knows I’m losing my patience. “I’ll keep trying, but these plugs are killing me,” I say to her as I walk back outside.

Timestamp- 8:30 PM MST

Eureka! The first spark plug budges and pops out. At this point I am so elated that I fall down to my knees, look up into the sky and cry, “thank you Lord”. I said those last lines pretty loud. I’m surprised none of my neighbors came running outside to see what was going on.
The next four spark plugs came out with ease. And after I properly gapped and greased the new spark plugs, this mountain of a job was looking more like a hill.

Timestamp- 8:45 PM MST

“Sweetie. How are you doing out here?” my mom asks as she cracks the laundry room door open. “Much better!” I tell her. “So far I go 5 spark plugs out and only have one left,” I enthusiastically say. “Praise Jesus,” says my mom. “Yeah, no kidding,” I reply. My mother goes back inside the house and I hurriedly return back to my job.
The last spark plug was located under the air filter. At first I tried to work around it, but that proved impossible. I had to remove the air filter casing in order to have a better chance at removing this last spark plug. As I was removing the casing for the air filter I saw a man walking up the street towards my house. It was pretty dark outside and every once in a while it’s important to look up and check your surroundings. “Isn’t that Justin from high school?” I ask myself. Not sure whether it was him or not I decided to take my chances and ask. “Hey don’t you have a brother?” I ask. Justin is legally blind in one eye. The other eye is even worse. “Yeah, do we know each other?” he asks me. “Yes, we went to high school together,” I reply. Justin and his brother John are twins and both of them are suffering from the same condition. “Did you go to Highland high school?” he ask me. “Yup, I believe that you and I graduated in the same year. Come to think of it I believe that we had a few classes together,” I tell him. It takes a while for Justin to connect his memories to the blurred object that stood in front of him.

Timestamp- 9:30 PM MST

Justin told me all about his life. The eye issues he is suffering with and the abuse he received at his last job. He mentioned to me how his mom is suffering from a different ailment and that coming home at night is a burden. I listened intently as Justin poured out all kinds of emotions. Listening to Justin was difficult because he had so much that he needed to vent. Sometimes I feel that when a person doesn’t want to listen to someone else’s story that he or she is being selfish. I wanted to listen, but that DAMN spark plug was calling my name.
Justin went on to say that next week he has a very important eye appointment. Next Wednesday, Justin is scheduled to receive surgery on his 20/2400 vision right eye. Later on in the week he is scheduled to have to other eye that is significantly worse operated on as well.
Justin wasn’t all negative, even though my writing may make him out to be. He was unusually positive and funny at times. Especially when Elder John and Elder Dan came over to my house asking if I needed help fixing my mothers truck.

Timestamp- 9:35 PM MST

“Hey man, do you need any help with your truck,” one of the elders ask me. “I hate to see someone working late on a Saturday night,” he goes on to say. Ha, like someone really wanted to get their hands dirty and work on an old Chevy S-10. “No, I’m good, thank you though,” I reply to the two missionaries.
With Mormons or anyone trying to share something they adamantly believe in, you have to be persistent. I think all Mormons go to the school of persistency and learn the tricks of the trade.
The two missionaries make their way up my drive way and extend their hands. “Hello, my name is Elder John,” one missionary says to me. “Hi, nice to meet you,” I reply. The other elder does the same and we are now all formally introduced. All except for Justin.
After Elder Dan releases my hand he turns to Justin. Elder Dan extends his hand towards Justin hoping to receive Justins hand. Instead Justin just stares at the two Elders…and keeps staring. For a second I forgot Justin was legally blind and that maybe he didn’t see the extended hand. Right as I was about to chime in and explain to the two missionaries that my friend has trouble with his eyes, Justins shares his thoughts. “You guys come to my house about 3 times a week,” he balked. “I don’t need to shake your hand. I already know who you are,” he said. In my mind I was like, “OH SH^%, go get ’em Justin. The two elder missionaries looked at each other and smirked.
Justin then turned to me and continued his story.

Timestamp- 9:55 PM MST

At this point Justin and I were brothers. He shared so much about his life with me that I sure felt that we were. I looked at my phone on the hood of the truck and couldn’t believe that it was nearly 10. I didn’t want to break Justin’s dialogue and interrupt his thought process. Usually body language can alert another person that something different needs to happen. In this situation, that something different was me changing this last spark plug and wrapping up this job. But Justin was legally blind and probably hasn’t had an opportunity to release this kind of information to someone. Time was passing abnormally quick. As it gets later, time seems to pass with an eery quickness. I told Justin that I needed to get this last spark plug out of the truck and get my ‘black arse’ in the bed. “Yeah, I will let you go,” he chuckled and said. “Justin, it was good seeing you again old friend. I will pray for you and please come back around after your surgery. I would love to hear the GOOD news that I know you will receive,” I tell him. Just as I thought I was closing the conversation, I indirectly opened it right back up again. Damnit! Justin explained in rather stunning detail about what outcome he hopes to achieve. Again I was placed in that situation where you have to tell a person that enough is enough. Just as gently as the first I tell Justin again that I really need to finish this job. “Okay okay, I better get home as well,” he firmly says. Justin raised his hand and waved goodbye to me. I did the same.

Timestamp- 10:15 PM MST

The last spark plug kept me outside for another 25 minutes. However, in the end it came out. My mother came out simultaneously as I was inserting the final new spark plug in the engine. I smiled at her, took and deep sigh and shook my head left to right. She smiled back and helped me tidy up the loose ends. She knew exactly how happy I was.
I started up the truck and it growled and cycled through very smoothly. THANK THE LORD. I don’t know how I would have reacted if something malfunctioned. Perhaps I would have seriously considered my gasoline idea from earlier.

Today was an unusual Saturday night, but it was one that we all need. It seems that so much of my time since I have been back in the states is realizing what I have. My ability to see clearly. To use my mind and consider other options. Yeah the truck whipped my arse, the missionaries interrupted my night and Justin unleashed a lot of his life on me but maybe there is a lesson out there somewhere for me. I’m not sure what it is, but I will someday.

Timestamp- 10:45 PM MST

Pops got sand.

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Today’s generation is a different generation entirely.

I just walked into the house after sharing a beer with my father. Actually, we didn’t share a beer. He had his pale ale and I had my regular ale. Also, before I walked into my house I watered my mothers plants in the front yard. If anyone read my posts from a few days ago then you will fully understand how important those plants in the front yard are to my mom.

Anyway, todays generation is different. The grit just isn’t there. Guys are pretty and dainty. They are generationally weak. In today’s society we often see these extremely large men, pumped with something that you and I both know can only be bought in Mexico, and although they are hard on the exterior, their interior is anemic. By anemic, I am referring to their mental. Men who aren’t willing to jump into a shark infested pool in order to save the dame. What happened to men like James Franco from ‘127 Hours’ who cut his arm free from two rocks in order to survive. Oh, and did I mention that he successfully achieved this horrific feat with a dull pocket knife made in CHINA? That’s called balls people! Okay, hold up. I don’t know if I could do that, but you can see what I am getting at, right? I’m not a gambling man, but I would bet that the majority of us men, myself included would say, “F#$k it” and let the lizards, snakes and hawks pick us apart. Seven weeks later, our decomposing bodies would be found with a note beside them saying, ” I love ya Sally. Kiss the children for me”. (spoken in a southern accent).  What happened to the ‘whatever it takes’ generation?

I am thirty years of age. Not proud of it, but I need to start accepting it. From here on out, one thing is ever so certain…I will be getting older.

Now the generation that is lacking ‘sand’ as the slave master from ‘Django’ so eloquently put it, is the generation that was born 22-23 years after I was. Or the generation ‘Z’ as I have heard it called several times. Now, I’ve read that there hasn’t been a specific conclusion as to the exact date that generation ‘Z’ began, but many say that somewhere between the mid 1990’s or 2000’s to present day is accurate. However, for the purpose of this post, I am going to call generation ‘Z’ the 90’s babies.

Now to my father…

My father is from a totally different generation. The war generation. He lived through the Korean War, Vietnam War, all the wars in the Middle East and whatever other conflict that I am leaving out, he probably was alive to experience it. Lately, I have been stuck in these unusual emotional positions. All day today I just couldn’t find that rhythm that would have allowed my day to be semi-productive. When my mother came after her class, I was in such a bad mood that I robbed her of the proper welcome home hug and kiss that she deserved. My disposition was ugly. So I decided to hit the gym and exercise my way out of this rut.

Exercising is usually my method of relieving stress and drifting to a place void of my current issues. However, once the session is over, all those problems and complications come floating back into my mind. So today, on the way to the gym I decided to call my dad. Our conversation went well. It was short and straight to the point. “Dad I had a long day and I need to talk with you. After the gym, I am going to come by your place and pick you up. We can go grab a beer somewhere and have a talk,” I said. “Sure, sounds good,” my dad replied.

At the gym as usual I handled my business, showered and then headed to my dads place. It’s been 4 years since my father and I shared a beer. Too long if you ask me.
We went to UNO’s. Remember that place? UNO’s used to be the spot. But not anymore. The minute the door opened, I was surprised that real live humans were sitting on the bar stools and in the booths.

My father and I picked a spot at the bar. I forgot my phone in my car so I told my dad to sit down first and look at the menu while I go grab my phone from the car. I quickly grabbed my phone and hopped on the chair beside my dad. I was a little hungry so I order a caesar salad. I am trying to eat healthy these days. My dad said he had already ate at home., so he just ordered a beer.
Tonight the Broncos were playing the Ravens on the big screen. As usual Peyton Manning broke down the opposing teams defense. My father and I were laughing at the way he moves on the field. The man is old, but he GETS THE JOB DONE! While both our eyes are starring at the television I tell my father that I feel like I am on a tread mill going nowhere. ” My life has no purpose,” I say to him. He looks at me with his hard Philadelphian eyes and tells me to go on. I continue to explain to him that the past two years have felt like a nightmare. “I’m losing at everything,” I tell him. “Even basketball”, I jokingly say! “I need an breakthrough in life. A unbelievable big intervention to come crashing into my life,” I tell him. After a deep sigh my dad chuckles and says that, “at the end of the day, if that is the worst you got it then you have it made. “Whatever you are going through in you life, you gotta deal with it,” he says. “Get tough, think more and get out of your own head,” he animately explains to me. “If you have to take a job that is not to your standards, then that is something that you are going to have to do,” my father says.

The conversation between my father and I lasts for about 2 hours. We dart back and forwards between various conversations regarding women, football, employment and family. The Broncos are destroying the Ravens and Peyton Manning takes his last knee. I tell my dad that we should head out of here. He agrees and I pay the bill. On the way home my father tells me that this too will pass. “Nothing lasts forever,” he says.

My father isn’t the only man with grit. I am sure that there exist millions of men who would get down and dirty to survive or provide. Guess how far my B&#$%ing and moaning will take me? Ummmmmm….nowhere.

Although there are many aspects about my father that I dislike, he isn’t weak. Dude is mentally and emotionally strong.

Pops got sand!

Temporarily Updated!

Good morning to my friends and family on American soil. Sweet Dreams to my counterparts on Korean and Singaporean soil. Hope you are all sleeping well. Good evening to my associates in Germany. Make sure you brush your teeth and drink a tall glass of water before calling it a night. And last but not least, good afternoon to my dearly missed friend in Chile.

Today is going to be a great day simply because I am very excited about this title. For those of you who are just now catching up to speed with ‘ineedatitle.wordpress.com, I have been searching for the ideal title for my book and I believe that I found one. Special thanks to Rynae Rasley for introducing this wonderful title to me. Currently, your idea for the title of my book has been the best…in my opinion. The book is still in the works and it is not out of the realm of possibility that a new, even better title could come into existence. As for now I just wanted to update the site and share!

If anyone has ideas for a potentially better title, please share it here.

Hope everyone is maximizing their day~