Four weeks in..

I’ve been in Alaska almost a month now. Some days it feels like much longer than that. It has been both refreshing and stifling being up here. I’m starting to memorize faces, names, and people’s quirks. I now have two roommates, and thank you Muva Gawd we all get along. They work opposite shifts and I’m the only one on a M-F day time schedule. Some days, our schedules overlap each other’s and we all chat in the kitchen/dining area. I am back into the swing of cooking, even though groceries are MAD expensive up here. Wait til yall see the receipts from some of my market trips! All I do is cuss from the time I go inside until I leave the register! Lmao

Since it’s such a small town, I run into people from work all the time. Glad I get along with most people, cuz I can’t imagine always possibly running into someone I got beef with. Something I mentioned on Facebook earlier is the silence I am growing accustomed to. I’ve always loved living in the city, even as a child. My apartment in Mt. Vernon back home gave me all the city noise I could handle: sad whistles of CSX and Amtrak trains, belching jake brakes, the shrill sounds of the buses lurching to a halt, the whoosh and ding of the light rail, the thunderous subway that rolled right underneath my building. My home in Bethel is not far from the airport, so that’s some pretty regular noise; but I haven’t heard a siren since I left Chicago on Cyber Monday! The plus side to all this silence is that my meditations up here have been nothing short of magical!! I sweatergawd I been on the astral plane! Imagine hearing nothing but the occasional hum of a plane engine, Tibetan singing bowls (my preferred music for meditation), and your own breath?! Yeah, it’s pretty dope. 

The other thing that makes my heart feel full up here is the community I’ve quickly grown to be involved with. A woman saw me during lunch break of orientation and invited me to Sunday dinner. I showed up ecstatic to see 3 Black women listening to soca! I was like “whaaaaatt?!” That was such a healing night for me, more than they may ever understand. My feelings were still hurting from the previous day’s bullshit over that blog story (double eye roll axel and dismount). Being surrounded by women who look like me and have so many shared experiences between us was like hot tea, a warm croissant with honey, and a blanket for my soul in this cold, remote land. I’m grateful for them, and for those who have yet to meet us. Sunday dinner and Sunday Fun Day (with another crew of people) are the highlight of my week! That and sleeping in on weekends, since the cotdamb sun don’t rise like nearly 11 am, then sets by 5 pm. 

I am hoping to secure other opportunities up here related to my other passions but I’ll speak on those when they happen. Just know that I am always thinking of ways to fully immerse myself up here. I had to laugh earlier cuz in the cab on the way home from the market, I looked up and realized there was snow and ice everywhere around us, and the grass I barely saw was like 500 feet away. The cabbie saw me looking around nervously and we locked eyes in the rear-view. I said “Is that the lake or a tundra road we’re on?!” He laughed and said in an Albanian accent “That’s the lake. It’s frozen.” My eyebrows were in my scalp! I laughed and said “Oh my goodness, I’ve been over this way a bunch of times and had no idea!” So um, yeah, that’s what life is like. Oh, and Saturday night, some friends and I decided to experiment with boiling water and the bone chilling weather outside. It was -16 degrees when my homeboy tossed the water into the air, toward the tundra. IT INSTANTLY TURNED TO SNOW! Glad we recorded that moment; because I’ve seen reporters do it back home but never experienced it in person. 

Christmas is next week and I thought I was going to Anchorage to visit my family but them tickets are last minute and it wouldn’t be smart to buy them. Some of the crew here will behaving kickbacks all weekend so I’m sure I’ll have to fun to get into. Oh I forgot to mention that the only store that sold retail beer and wine closed last Saturday, the day after I went! It’ll be reopening in January under new management. Apparently the alcoholism up here is so severe, the community voted to only let the store operate Wednesday through Sunday from 5-8 pm. Needless to say, I was appalled but amused. The day I went, I stood outside for 20 minutes as 20 people were ahead of me and the store only let 5 people inside at max, one person at a time in and out. That was one of the many instances I whispered “Wtf” to myself and shook my head laughing. Several people took selfies of the quickly growing crowd, yelling “Everyone say ‘WHISKEEYY!’ “. Absolutely hilarious. What tickled me most was seeing people ride away on snowmobiles with boxed wine tucked in the crook of their arm. I was in SHAMBLES. I definitely cussed as I bought a 5 liter box of Franzia for $47!!! Everything up here is 2-3x the cost back home because it’s so far away from most manufacturers. 

I guess my thoughts on living up here so far are mixed. None of the pros and cons outweigh the other cuz I’m not leaving until my contract is over anyway. Hahaha. I can definitely see how people stay longer than planned but I also see why people want to leave. For now I’m just observing and getting acclimated. This is nearly a thousand words but I had to update yall on my first month in the tundra. 

Good night ❤

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One of the worst days of my life!

Saturday morning I woke up to the horror of my face on an HIV story by the popular blog XO Necole. The survivor is a 50 yr old woman named Camille.

Two people I know personally messaged me letting me know a picture from a photo shoot I did in 2015 was plastered on that page. The photographer never sold my picture and I never signed a model release form.

I was distraught!

After I tweeted them, they gave me a sloppy apology, took my picture down, then replaced it with another woman’s picture. Twitter railed on them, and by Sunday morning, the article featured a picture of HIV test tubes. As of today, the photo is back to the second woman.

I’ve been asking people to share the picture of the second woman repeatedly, cuz I can’t do it on my own. I want her to know this so she can decide what to do with this information moving forward.

I’m asking yall to keep me and her in your thoughts and well wishes, and to share the picture with her face (long, wavy hair, wearing a shoulder bag) in hopes that she or someone she knows will see it.

The whole thing is sloppy, reckless, and negligent; and I’m hurt, confused, angry…but DETERMINED to get to the bottom of this!

Thank you for reading/sharing. 💖💪🏾✨

Polar Bae

Soooo..

I put in my two weeks’ notice October 26th.

Didn’t have a solid backup plan but I knew I wanted to do something else. Got a travel job (for a lab) that following Tuesday. Moved in yesterday.

Today was orientation.

I am living in Bethel, Alaska for the next six months!

More details coming soon.

Returning as a changed woman

I haven’t posted on here in months. A lot has changed. Some great, some bittersweet. All of it necessary though.

I went to St. Thomas for Carnival and felt invigorated, only to return to a crumbling relationship; the end of which made me want to go right back on vacation. I immediately contacted the travel recruiters for medical technologists I used to be in touch with, updated my profile, and began looking up cities that I could call my next home.

My contract at work was up the following week, and my apartment lease was for the end of June. Everything was falling apart/ending , only to make me prepare to rebuild/restabilize…..

Well, my work contract got extended (twice!), I didn’t pass the ASCP exam (which I’m about to reschedule), and my sister Faith had her baby. So yeah moving away wasn’t in my best interests in the short time that I’d decided but it’s still on the table.

What makes me say that is my experience in New Orleans. I randomly decided to go while at work one day in late May. Something was calling me about that city, and I’d been wanting to go for years. Not just for Essence or Mardi Gras, but to experience the culture. I have several associates and friends who live there so I was quick to ask for recommendations. I booked a relatively cheap flight ($162!), and skipped my happy ass there from June 14-17.

A homegirl I went to Morgan with lives there and let me to crash at her place. I was ecstatic! But I also wanted alone time, so I booked an Airbnb for the remainder of my trip. Soooo much happened in the four days I was there; I’ll make a separate post just for that trip. But I can see myself living there… Like for real. I got my palm read in the French Market and babbyyy when I tell you I slid out of my chair at the accuracy of the messages! Thank you to Michelle, the palm reader. I also met someone my last night there. The way our paths crossed is something out of a romance movie but again, that’s for another post, another time. Just know that I’ve been beaming ever since!

Toward the end of June, I completed my doula training and am now a full circle birth worker! You can read more about my training here. I cried my eyes out when I got my certificate. It was such an emotional moment, and my sister Faith got to be part of my training, since we had a blessing way for her and my nephew Xavier.

I also went to Baltimore’s Carnival in July, and the guy I met in NOLA was there too (part of how we hit it off)! My friends and I played DC Mud Mas which was A LOT of fun. I definitely gotta do that again. And there were parties leading up to the parade as well. Since my mom discovered we’re Haitian on her dad’s side, I’m doing what I can to immerse myself in Caribbean culture.

On a sad note, my friend Ciera’s mom passed after a lengthy battle with cancer. She took NO shit from anyone and I love that about her. May she rest in power.

Finally, on a high note, my sister Faith had her baby August 1st at 5:02 pm. She labored for awhile and went without medicine as long as she could, but ended up getting a C-section because she wasn’t dilated enough. Xavier has the sweetest little face and I am so proud of my sister for her hard work!

Whewww that was a lot! I won’t stay away so long ever again. Thanks for reading and I’ll be back with more updates soon. 😘

NAK Exchange Day!

(Written Sunday April 22, 2018)

Bruuhhhh yesterday was SO DOPE!!!

Mr. Huff’s Serene Self Portrait class was very euphoric, as we began with ten minutes of guided meditation. He usually guides meditation when it’s just the two of us so experiencing it with a group of people made me extra proud. I’ve never painted a self portrait, that I can recall, in my adult life. Here’s how mine progressed.

(Yall better not laugh. I’m not a visual artist by any means. 🙈😂🎨🖼️)

I had literally ten minutes to spare between his class and mine. When I went upstairs to set up my projector screen, I realized I left my notes home. 😣😩🙄🤯 I managed to remember and discuss five of the six points I had written down so I think I did aight. I streamed my class on self-love through Facebook live. Here’s the video for that.

Overall, it was fantastic having the opportunity to share my thoughts on love, boundaries, growth, and introspection. I was nervous a few times cuz I felt like I was talking too much 🙊 but it seemed balanced for the most part. Although 30 people signed up, I had a total of 13 attendees. Hearing their feedback on my topics was great for me not only as a facilitator, but as a person who enjoys reading and writing about self-love. I truly enjoy hearing other people’s perspectives on it.

Later that evening, we decided to go to a show at the Motor House. We took pictures and videos of a few familiar faces. I was pumped to finally meet Courtney, The Curvy Ballerina! Her spirit is beautiful as is her work.

Sunday was waaaay more lazy than it should’ve been, cuz my ass shoulda been packing for this trip! Wednesday can’t come soon enough but I know I’ll miss my lover terribly. 😩😩😭😭 My trip will be the longest we’ve been away from each other since we’ve been together so yeah, we ain’t feeling it; but I’m immensely grateful for video chat technology.

This was a lot so I’ll probably update once I get to St. Thomas.

💞💞

Black Maternal Health Week!

(Written Tuesday April 17th, 2018)

If I could, I would bottle today and open it during a shitty one.

• Early for work. Early off.💊💉🔬

• Great hair day. 💁🏽‍♀️💆🏽‍♀️🌳☁️

• Happy hour solo date at Aloha (veggie pot stickers, fried salmon sushi, ginger ale)

Today culminated the end of Black Maternal Health Week. I went to a screening of the documentary Death by Delivery at MedChi. Of course I’m ready to book my doula clients now but I know there’s much work to be done first. It was invigorating being around so many awesome women. Yes there are horrible statistics surrounding Black maternal health but I’m one of many people working to change them. In case you’re unaware like I was, Black women are FOUR TIMES as likely to die from pregnancy related causes than White women in the good ole USA; the only industrialized country with such staggering statistics.

I left the seminar floating on oxytocin, but was definitely hungry. Luckily, I stumbled upon a live jazz band playing at Trinacria across from Mt. Vernon Marketplace. Because it was late, I ate light, just a bowl of minestrone and Caesar salad.

I went home satiated and full of positive vibes, then burned some incense and Paolo Santo before bed. 💞🔥✨🌟💫🌬

Departure to St. Thomas is in 8 days and I think I’m finally starting to get my mind in vacation mode…. I think. 🤨🙄😂

Shoulda got the Zoom Kobe 4’s 🤷🏽‍♀️

(For context regarding the title of this post, watch this. 😩😂🏀)

Thursday evening, while heading to the back porch to relax with Mr. Huff, I missed two steps, twisted my ankle, and landed on my back like a bug. 😫🙄🦗🐜I was terrified it was broken, and with my job ending soon, I lay there panicking while he scrambled out of his lawn chair, yelling “Babe, are you playing or you really hurt?!”

*Disclaimer*

I’m a bit dramatic.

OK. I’m very dramatic. Fine. But to be fair, it’s inherited! My mother is an Oscar winning actress just for fact that she exists. You don’t know dramatic til you know my mama. And I say that in love. 😘😂

So anyway, he’s asking am I joking or not while helping me gingerly to my feet. I felt warmth shooting from my right shin to the tips of my toes. Aagggh! I rotated my foot a few times and pointed it toward the sky then the ground. Since I could do all that, I figured it wasn’t broken. He looked at me warily and said “Well I think you should get it checked out”. I rolled my eyes into a double axel and told him I’d do it only if I couldn’t stand or walk the next day.

Shole nuff, I got up the next morning and while my foot hadn’t swelled at all, the area that hurt the night before was in much worse pain; and to top it off, I could barely stand on it! I let boss lady know I wouldn’t be in and got myself propped up on the couch with a bag of frozen corn resting oddly on my ashy ankle. After Mr. Huff called me on his breakfast break, crossly implying that I should have already gone to the local urgent care center, I dragged myself off the couch into an Uber and crossed my fingers hoping to not spend my entire Friday afternoon there.

Thankfully, I DIDN’T break it, and I had no qualms about being plucky (as my dad often calls me) in my room while I awaited discharge papers.

I wrote a snarky message on the chalkboard in my room. I love that they make accommodations for people with children or just those who wanna create and express themselves while waiting to be treated. 😂

“Don’t tek mi fi eediat” is a Jamaican phrase essentially meaning “don’t treat me like I’m stupid/an idiot.” No, the staff hadn’t done anything to insult my intelligence, I just felt like being plucky. 😈😇🇯🇲

Next, I hobbled over to Chipotle, across the parking lot from the urgent care place, but getting there felt like I was walking on the Great Frontier. I had on an ankle brace, a post-op shoe (the kind that no matter what you do, you look like ya shoe is on the wrong foot 🤦🏽‍♀️), AND a pair of crutches. People were very helpful, although I was heavy laden. Imagine maneuvering a dine in tray while wearing an Eskimo coat, carrying a bookbag AND a purse?!

The young lady at the register told me she’d get my napkins but things got busy so I hopped to the utensils and condiments, sheepishly grinning at her when I returned to my seat. “Oh I would’ve gotten it for you!” I smiled and replied “Nah it’s OK. You’re at work! You got busy.”, and I thought for a moment if people with permanent disabilities dealt with that on a regular basis. I managed to climb into an Uber to go home, ready for a nap.

Saturday was rest filled. I don’t remember much of it. I focused on staying off my foot and sleeping. Sunday, Mr. Huff had a vending opportunity for his brand Love More Bmore at Creative Alliance. I went with him and networked a bit, spoke with some artists we know, and tried some crab pizza from this place called Matthew’s Pizzeria across the street.

I guess I had an eventful weekend. Almost hard to believe I’ll be on vacation in two weeks. In theory, I’m excited. The reality is that my recent job issues have cast a bit of a shadow on my quickly approaching relaxation time. I know I’ll be fine and will figure out what my next steps will be, but with my trip two weeks away as well as two weeks before my contract ends, I am a bit nervous. I’ll keep yall updated as time dwindles down.💞