Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Moving Blues

I've lived in Portland for a little over eight years now and come this weekend this will be the sixth time I have moved. It's not that I am unstable or unreliable, I swear... The other five places I lived in for at least a year and one for three years. I have a love/hate relationship with change so it has nothing to do with wanting a change of scenery, although that is nice at times. What it all comes down to is circumstance and timing, both which can be a good and bad thing.
I knew I would need a new place to live by September 1st and because I like to plan ahead, I started looking on Craigslist months ago. As June and July came and went I was starting to get worried because the cost in rent went up drastically in the past few years and every place I was remotely interested in was either crazy expensive, ghetto or too far away from where I want and need to be.

Then, one day I found this awesome house that was "cheap" for what it was so I emailed the person right away. Here's the first response I received:

Good day Applicant,
Thanks for your email and interest in renting my house. I am Morgan Davis, the owner of the house you are making enquiry of. Actually I did reside in the house with my family, my wife and my only daughter before and presently we have moved out due to my official job transfer or posting, whatever you may call it, which has now found me in Warsaw, Poland. Presently my house is still available for rent for $900 USD per month (which includes utilities), though i intended selling it off but on a later thought changed my mind and have decided putting it on rent. More so now, I’m currently in Lagos, Nigeria for an international Christian follower's crusade taking place at the Nigeria national stadium, by one Pastor Chris of the Christ Embassy Ministry.

I want you to understand that I spent a lot on my property that you have requested to rent, so I will solicit for your absolute maintenance of this house and would want you to treat it as your own because cleanliness they say is next to Godliness. It is not all about the money to be paid on rent or spent; it is all about a good maintenance culture which I want you to adopt on the property. I want you to keep it tidy all the time so that I would be full of smiles whenever I come and above all, a good, strong and tight relationship between us when I come for a check up. Please one more thing, I wouldn’t like to have any benefit of trust in you because I want to stand in your words that the property would be well taken care of all the time.

Here is the address of the House again: 3945 NE 42ND AVE, Portland, OR 97213; as to really see how lovely it is if from only the pictures you saw in my posting compare to the 100% comfort to be derived from it as an occupant. Please note than you will only be able to drive by the house for now but can't have a look at the interior until I have sent the keys and documents of the house to you. Reason because, I couldn’t find someone trust worthy to drop the keys with as my call down here was so sudden. I do hope you understand.

It has a dramatic entry foyer with ceramic floor. Extremely spacious rooms throughout with lots of big windows...nice and light! New neutral paint and some newer carpet. Very quiet, low traffic area. New fridge (7/07)...I believe it’s absolutely a perfect home for you and your family. Utilities include Water, Trash, Sewer, Gas etc. Please note that, a deposit payment would be required if accepted to have the property rented..



FIRST NAME:__________
MIDDLE NAME:__________
LAST NAME:__________
PHONE: _______________
ARE YOU MARRIED: __________
KIDS _____ (YES/NO), HOW MANY ________
PRESENT ADDRESS: _____________________
CITY: _______________
ZIP CODE: ____________
IF YOU HAVE A PET: _________
NAME OF PET: _____________
KIND OF PETS: _____________
HABITS: ___________
DO YOU SMOKE ______________
DO YOU DRINK ______________

Looking forward to hearing from you with all this details so that I can present it to my family, pray over it (because I consult the Almighty God before making any decision) and if accepted, and then have them stored in my file in case of issuing the receipt for you and contacting you.. Await your urgent reply so that we can discuss on how to get the document and the keys to you, please we are giving you all this based on trust and again I will want you to stick to your words, you know that we are very far apart now and only putting everything into God's hands and hope that you will not let us down.

The house will be available for rent for a period of five and a half years so you have a choice of deciding how long you intend staying there... Here is my number 011-234-807-206-7017, I will be expecting to hear from you.
Feel free to call me for more information and arrangements.
God Bless,
Morgan Davis.

Now, I am pretty smart and I had a huge hunch this was total bullshit and I don't like religious fanatics but I was curious. I wrote back to him just to see what he would say and this is the response I got: the subject line said, "Acceptance"

Hello Nateesh,

Thanks for getting back to me with the completed Rental Application Form and i must let you know that i bless the minute you picked interest to rent my house and consider it a huge blessing on my path from God and yes, i have put it in pray that God will give me a responsible and God fearing person to rent my house and also one that walks in his ways and precepts and i can't thank him enough for bringing us together. Well, I just want to let you know that we have decided that you rent our house, as we have found your application very satisfactory and acceptable. So we would want you to go through this email and get back to us on what you feel so we could proceed in renting the house to you...

We will be sending the following documents to you via UPS to the contact address you sent to us and also with the tracking number with which the UPS service will operate, as to enable you pick up the House Keys / Documents from their office over there in order to have a full access into the house. Please once again, i want to trust you and i hope you do not disappoint us and I promise you that, you will love the house and not only that, you will also enjoy a good relationship between us.

The following documents are here with us as I couldn't find anyone whom i could trust to drop them with for this purpose. But never mind, the UPS service will do for that.
In doing this, you will need to make a security deposit payment which is refundable (should incase you don't like the house) to enable you secure the house and also,the shipment of the Keys and document to your current address that i have here in the rental form, after which you could move in at your convenience. The rent starts counting after 24 hours of moving in, you will be required to make the first month rental fees.

Here are the contents of the Parcel that Will be sent.

1) Entrance and the rooms Keys
2) Paper/Permanent house form
3) The house documentary file.
4) Full Description of the house
5) Payment Receipt

I will be receiving the security deposit of $900 from you via Western Union because l think it reliable, secured and fast, and moreover, my Christian team and I, got into Nigeria just few weeks back and we have been trying to settle down for our purpose. This has made it difficult for me to set up a bank account here for transaction like this. But never mind, I will be setting up one (Joint Account, for us) with the security deposit by this month for future rental payments.
With respect to this acceptance, i will be waiting to hear from you as to proceed with the delivery arrangements.
Thanks and Remain Blessed.


What a bastard. Seriously? The sad thing is people fall for this shit. I drove by the house and there was a for sale sign in front and the house was listed for 375,000 and the real Morgan Davis' phone number was listed so I called. No one answered but on his voicemail he said to watch out for the fake Ad on craigslist. I wrote back and in the subject line it wrote, "Denied!" Then I wrote:

Hey Morgan Davis,
You're a piece of shit who uses God to try and scam people out of their money. Fuck you and your god, he's just as fake as you. Have a nice day fuckface!

A couple hours later the posting was deleted. He never responded. Seriously, I hate moving.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Third Times a Charm

On August 18th my mom and her boyfriend of eight years, Jim, said their vowels in front of a small group of friends and family at a little wedding chapel on the Las Vegas strip. Due to the world we live in you could watch the wedding live on their website.

My mom told us kids a few months back that her and Jim were getting married in August but it kind of just slipped my mind up until the actual day it happened. My pal Jarod and I were out enjoying some happy hour cocktails and I told him I needed to be at home or at least near a computer at 8 to watch my mom get married. Jarod became very excited about this prospect and said we could go to his house because he wanted to watch too.

He met my mom about seven years ago when her and my sister Nikki came to visit Portland about a year after I moved here. My mom didn't like Jarod at first even threatening to kick his ass but he won her over by the end of the night so much so that she was talking about flying Jarod to Vegas. So for years I got shit from Jarod about this saying that he was going to go live in Vegas with my mom and he would be my step-dad. This never happened thank god, I think it was just the alcohol talking.

Anyways, Jarod thought my mom was cool and was excited to watch her get married. We even stopped by the store and he bought champagne for the event. We set up the computer and he plugged in the speakers so we had surround sound for the joyous occasion. The website,, had cameras set up throughout the chapel so you could see into any room. At 8 o'clock sharp the doors opened and my mom, accompanied by my uncle David, walked down the short isle to Jim, her third husband to be.

The ceremony was short and sweet. My mom was visibly nervous. I kept looking at her hands as she spoke because I know how much she fidgits when she is nervous. She is shy and doesn't like being the center of attention or speaking in front of crowds so I could tell she was scared. Jim's tie was way too short and it was really bothering Jarod as he sipped his slightly warm champagne. Jim's tie was too short and I would find out later that he was real self conscious about it but my mom picked it out and she insisted it was fine. Jarod wouldn't shut up about it though . The wedding was over in fifteen minutes and the preacher dude asked my mom if she wanted to say anything to anyone who might be watching online. She turned to the camera and nervously said "Hi guys!" waving to us kids. Then they took pictures and it was all done. My champagne was gone, Jarod was drunk and cracking a beer so it was the perfect time for me to exit.

Driving to my next destination I thought about how funny it was that mom had the perfect third wedding. It was at a chapel in Las Vegas that had a drive thru and I got to watch it live from Portland. She said one of the reasons they picked it was because they had the web-cam option and seeing that none of her kids could actually be there at least we could watch it as it happened. I didn't tell many people till after the fact and everyone seemed pissed that I didn't tell them so they could watch it too. It was just so last minute in my mind and I didn't think many people would give a shit. But they did so, sorry to the people who were bummed I didn't tell them ahead of time. This is her third marriage and hopefully her last so there probably won't be a next time. BUT if there is I will give you all ample warning so that you may watch my mom get married, again.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Paths We Take

I remember one Christmas I received a yellow boom box and the cassette tape of Michael Jackson's Bad. This wasn't my first intro to MJ but it was the first of his music collection that I actually owned. I listened to that tape over and over until it eventually broke. I did this often with tapes and boom boxes.

I am a very repetitive person. When I love something, I really love it--same goes with something that I do not like or even hate. I have always been this way. I become so passionate about something that I tend to overdue it to the point where I break or ruin it. It's not one of my best qualities as you can imagine as an adult this personality trait can cause conflict in 'real life.' All or nothing works for somethings but not everything. Lately I have been seeing a counselor about some issues, past and present, and that's one of the things I am working on, figuring out how to be in the middle and not always on this or that side.
Anyways, back to Michael. I love his music and anytime I had the means to attain a tape, CD or vinyl record growing up, I would. We never had money so often my brother and I had to save our lunch money, two dollars a day, in order to buy things we wanted or to have money for the weekend. After the trauma of breaking my first Bad tape, I purchased another one on sale at Kmart. I used to sing and practice all of his dance moves in my room and swore that one day I would be a bad ass dancer and singer.

It's weird to think about now because I have dedicated my life to education but since I was young, I always thought I was destined to be an entertainer of some sort. In many ways I guess you could say I am pretty entertaining but I always imagined it would be on a more global level not just at parties, bars or on the karaoke stage. Michael Jackson and Madonna were my main inspirations. I wanted to be just like them but better.

Somewhere along the way that dream became lost in the chaos of my childhood and I let it die. I always thought about it here and there but never thought of actually pursuing it. As I stumbled into my hellish teenage years and as my smart ass developed more of a personality, people always told me I should be a comedian or an actress. So I shifted my focus from music to comedy and acting. I always took theatre in school and even performed in some school plays but nothing ever came of it. I wasn't about to move to Hollywood to pursue a career in acting because as much as I hated Las Vegas, Southern California didn't seem any better. I always wonder if I could've 'made' it. Knowing me, I could've made it happen but I guess I didn't believe in myself and I didn't have any encouragement coming from the home front.

Now years and years have passed and I just graduated with my Bachelor's degree and I am about to start the last chapter in the fall: Graduate school. I am proud of myself and I know that I will be a great teacher once I get the hang of it. But sometimes I wonder if I am on the right path.

When I tell people who either haven't seen me in a long time or someone that I am meeting for the the first time that I am a History major and that I am going to be a college teacher, I always get the same surprised and shocked reaction, like it doesn't suit me or something because of how I am. I know it's not meant to be an insult or that they think I am not smart, I think when you know me or just meet me, it's hard to picture me as someone who loves history because most people think it's boring and I am the farthest thing from boring.

I guess my hope is that I can make History entertaining and that instead of being on a stage and having a mic in my hand, the classroom will be stage and a book will be my mic. Who knows if it will work. I just know that I was put on this earth to do something special, I am just not sure what stage I am supposed to be on sometimes but that's what life is all about; trying to figure it all out.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

One month later

Well I have been back now for a month and I think the adjustment period is over. I heard it would be hard coming back but I didn't think it would this hard. For the first three weeks I would lay in bed till 7 a.m. wide awake because my internal clock was all messed up. I would then sleep in till 2 or 3 p.m. This was brutal and I am glad that I've returned to a somewhat normal schedule. I have still been struggling with my insomnia but it seems to be getting better the last week. 

The past month I have been so bored. I graduated on the 13th and now I am struggling to find something to occupy my time with till school starts again in September. I have been in school for so long that I don't know what to do when I am not. Unfortunately, reading is not an option. Being a history major requires so much reading and writing so anytime I get a break the last thing I want to do is read or write. I was so surprised at myself for keeping this blog going the whole time I was in Japan. I intend to try and keep it going but lately I just have been so lazy. I just need to do it everyday because it will give me something to do. But when it comes to reading, I feel like leisurely reading has been ruined for me because of school. Maybe I'll give it another shot.

I think one of the hardest things about returning back to my normal life is it's not often that you leave your life temporarily knowing that you will have to go start over somewhere else. Usually when we leave it's for a vacation or because we moved. It was really weird leaving and starting this somewhat new life knowing that it was temporary. It took me so long to get adjusted in Japan and then when I finally did, it was time to go home. It's so hard to explain how it feels but it's kind of a mind fuck. I keep thinking I see people here that I know but then realize that that person lives in Japan and not Portland. I also wake up in the middle of the night panic stricken because I thought coming home was a dream and I was still in Japan. I jump up and turn on the lights and breath a sigh of relief. 

My experience in Japan was hard but I think it helped me grow as a person and made me a better student. I would do it again and plan on returning someday, maybe to teach for a semester. I'm so glad to be home though. There are so many things that I like and dislike about this country and the same goes with Japan. One thing I realized though is that every country has issues and no one is better than the other. There are a lot of things we could learn from other countries and their cultures because they do some things better than us. And vice versa. Either way I am glad I live here, not just in Portland but in the United States. No country is perfect or ideal but you just have to be thankful for what you have and fight for what you want.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Another Flying Adventure.

     Sorry I haven't posted since I left the island. I want to keep this thing going now that I am home, it may not be as interesting but I need something to fill my time with.
Leaving Japan wasn't hard. I was sad when I said goodbye, shed some tears but mostly felt anxious to get on that big ass plane for the 9 1/2 hour trek across the Pacific and return to 'normal' life. 
     I've ranted about my fear of flying so I won't go off on another tangent however I will say there is no such thing as a good flight, at least for me. There is either: unbearable, horrendous, I almost died, fuck this I am never doing this again ever or just okay. My friend Izzy was my flying partner, who is just as scared of flying as me, if not even more. She has gone to fear of flying therapy and takes strong pills to help her relax. I take anxiety pills when I fly but after seeing what Izzy's pills do to her I realize I am taking the wrong ones. Hers work mine kinda work.
     When we left Japan swine flu was wreaking havoc on the already paranoid and overly cautious island. So when Izzy asked one of the flight attendants for something for her upset stomach, which was causing her to vomit, I knew by looking at the flight attendants face that Izzy had just unintentionally started a swine flu hysteria on our flight. It didn't help that an hour before this I asked for some type of headache relief. The fact of the matter was that the night before we all stayed up late drinking beer in the park. We barely slept so of course we were a tad bit hangover, some more than others. 
     Combine this with the fear of flying, eating shitty food in the airport, taking pills to calm your nerves, breathing recycled crappy air that makes your already dehydrated ass even more dehydrated and with the anxiety of returning home after being gone so long=one headache and one upset stomach. I tried explaining this to three or four flight attendants that came to check on us but you could tell none of them believed me and thought we both had swine flu. 
     I told Izzy to let me do the talking from here on out and if they asked, she was feeling better. We were not going to tell them how our finals were cancelled because of swine flu. I knew we didn't have it because no one in our city had been infected. I told the attendants this but it didn't help that Izzy had made at least a dozen trips to the bathroom at this point but I told them she only puked one of those times. Then one of them came over and told us that if Izzy wasn't feeling better by the end of the flight, he would have to contact the San Francisco airport and let them know we might be infected and that he had already notified the captain. Quarantine seemed inevitable. 
     In Japan they were quarantining people for 10 days and once I thought about this I started to freak out. I told Izzy she needed to just go to sleep and act like she feels better any time an attendant approached us. I had been in Japan for four months, she had been there for nine, there was no way in hell we were going to make it all the way home and then be stuck in San Fran in quarantine for 10 days. 
     For the rest of the flight, the attendants were extra careful and made sure they had no contact with us when serving us our crap food and drinks. At one point I asked one of them for a pen to fill out my customs sheet and when I was done I got up to return it to her. She looked horrified that I had even left my seat and refused to take the pen back saying I could keep it as a souvenir. This would have been a nice gesture but the pen was from a Hyatt hotel not from United Airlines so why the hell would I want a pen from Hyatt? I told her I didn't want it but she just insisted I take, refusing to take it back. 
     As we made our descent into San Francisco I envisioned health workers in hazmat suits awaiting Izzy and I. I had already planned an escape route and Izzy informed me she would not be joining me. As they came through the cabin for the last time to collect remaining trash several of them stopped by to ask how we were doing. I cut Izzy off and replied that we were doing great and that we just get a little nervous when we fly. They seemed to buy it because Izzy and I were scott free once we exited the aircraft. It was a tortuous flight as always but made especially worse by the stupid swine flu hysteria. I was forced to sit there the whole flight while Izzy was either puking or sleeping, thinking of different escape plans and various ways to convince them that we weren't infected with the flu. I guess one good thing came out of it though, I barely thought about crashing into the ocean or blowing up mid-air. I was too worried about the pigs.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Twas the night before Portland and all through the flat...

The blare of the television. The hum of the air conditioner. The sound of frogs and crickets spill in from outside. The garbage and recycling bins are overflowing with buyers remorse. It seemed like a good idea at the time but now that everyone is gearing up for their journey home, all of their impulse buys find their way into these bins. These sounds fill the flat and I am just sitting and listening...soaking it all in.

The goodbyes started today, with two of my flat mates. It wasn't emotional at all just a "hey, nice to meet you, take care" type of goodbye with a hug instead of a handshake. Tomorrow will be different though. Another person who I have become fond of, Izzy, is on the same flight as me so we will be leaving together. Izzy and Becca and their whole crew are the ones I have become close with the past month or so. They have all been here for a year and have forged long lasting friendships so saying goodbye will be hard. I can already tell that it will be cry fest 2009 and being the sappy emotional girl that I am, I can guarantee I will be crying as well. I would like to write something more than what I have but I can seem to find the words. All I can say is that it's been a long hard and amazing four months. I can't believe it's over. I will miss Japan but I know that I will be back. I will miss my friends, who I may never see again. I will miss. And I'm OK with that.