Mysterious tarot

As we woke up in the morning, he was sitting on the living room sofa, reading the book about tarot, throwing out some cards and checking up their meanings. I have never had my tarot readings done, which almost sound miraculous for me, when thinking of all the esoteric practices and theories I’ve been into. I picked out three cards and it started with a FOOL, reversed, which means a folly, a game, a trickster. Made me laugh.

Some hours later I was going through the Telegraph avenue – the most lively street in Berkeley, our own little Haight Ashbury –  and there he was: a man with wide gray beard wearing reflexive psychedelic glasses, smiling right at me. Couldn’t be more accurate time for my first real tarot readings, after all this weird day of September 13. And it’s Friday.

He’s name was Wizard and he had an earring of a wizard holding a blue crystal in his hand. He’s been reading tarot for 40 years, since he was 14. He claims his mission in this life, to invest positive energies to other people, because positive thinking is what creates positive results.

And wasn’t I just figuring some hours ago, suffering from mild dehydration from last nights two glasses of white wine, that I’d need to establish a positive routine, with some decent exercise, healthy food and regular meditation daily?

The first two cards I placed on the table were exactly about that – healing myself, clearing my soul from the past experiences, and about healthy living. He even mentioned the word hydration, to drink a lot of water! How could he know?! And the bigger messages followed, confirming my path and motivating me to dig it in further.

Thank you, mysterious tarot!

Househunting – endless

There’s one thing that supposedly works out best, but often turns out to be full of shit. It is Craigslist. You’ll have a view over hundreds of vacant rooms and houses in the desired areas, but most of them sound creepy or weird. Some are really good, but ask a lot of money and seem to be either much community oriented or very strictly ruled. I don’t wanna live obeying the rules! My parents lived most of their life under Soviet rules and there’s too many rules around our lives anyway. I understand some principles which could be argued under further explanation and mutual understandings. As long as you have your own room where no-body can disturb you. I like the idea of a community houses, but my life has to come first. Home is a place for relaxing and concentration after daily running around with hella people (yes, it’s very Bay area slang, and it got me, as it seems).
Then you find these five or six seemingly normal households, with plenty of socialization but also space for privacy and I wrote them nice letter. I wait. No response. The same thing goes again – I go through Craigslist, I might send up to 20 letters, and two responses. One of them spam.

I encountered spam-mails several times. Once there was a retired piano teacher, who has apartment here but he himself is residing somewhere in Houston. Very god-fearing. And stresses how much good care I have to take for his apartment. With the next e-mail he sends me photos of nice modern apartment and with another one application form. With the next one details for transaction – three months rent. 1500 dollars. Then he would post me the keys and documents.
Then it was a 40s lady, disabled, couldn’t make it to give me the keys, as she has difficult time to travel and his brother is very sick there. Then it was an independent artist opening a new venture in Manila, Philippines. Well, at least I have had good time reading their stories.

I still got to see some places, eventually. But they have been pretty scary. With none of them I have felt the secure feeling that this is IT. I don’t want to pay a lot, I need very little. But the least would be a sunny little room where I could sleep and write, and a hang-out kitchen or garden to meet socialize, as much or as little as we need.
In Oakland/Berkely area it’s also important to consider the issue of security. Oakland is considered to be the no. 4 most dangerous city in U.S. After Detroit. But Detroit is really messy, but we’re here in the flourishing sunshine. In a hippie paradise. But life has changed a lot here after the hippie movement, although it is very clearly still there. Gentrification is the keyword that people talk a lot here. Prices are high. Fringe people are being pushed on the margins. And I have proved to be a victim of it for not finding any? Are we being eaten out of the city? But how do all the local students, writers, radicals and vagabonds do then? Where do they earn their 800-900 dollars for a room in a shared house? I just need a place to liiveeeee!
IMG_8997People dancing salsa on the streets of Berkeley, how sweet is that!

Going to San Francisco, everybody’s queered up

In a week time I’m in San Francisco. That’s gonna be my first time in America – the promised land that’s been haunting my childhood since growing up in the post-socialist Estonia. TV has always been the window to the wider world here – starting from the beginning of the media-time when the Finnish television used to be the open source for foreign cultural influence in Northern Estonia during Soviet time, later on during the 1990s when the children like me were carried away to their fantasy Matelle-Barbie-dolls-mini-cars-superhero-world. Oh, I remember how much I desired all these plastic-fantastic toys laying around the cute bedrooms, where frustrated American children in the movies escaped from their beautiful parents, who seemed perfect for me.

Along with age came maturity, another kind of films, different sources, new views on this amazing country that has often claimed to be the best society in the world.  And then came real people, friends from America with whom we crossed paths in different parts of the world. I’ve shared my living with some of them, I even had an American boyfriend, and he was rad.

For the past few weeks I’ve been browsing Craigslist – the most popular web for selling and buying stuff and searching for houses – to find myself a living space near Berkeley. After few days I realized that half of the population in the Bay area defines themselves as queer. They often also claim to be progressive, radical, anti-racist, sometimes also easy-going and 420 friendly. Sounds good to me, I thought. The not so good part would be when they define themselves through TV series that I had never heard about.

But back to part of the radical – so everybody’s queer. I remember Susan Stryker, an awesome scholar on transgender studies, once posted on her FB page about a phone call that she overheard: “Everybody’s queered up! I can’t find no bitches anymore! That’s what it’s like in San Francisco now…”  (by a man sitting in BART drinking something from a wrapped bottle)

Many questions circulating my mind when I come to think about these roommate adds. How come so many people are defining themselves through the gendered or non-gendered selves? How has it almost become the first and most used ‘tag’ to position yourself as a potential roommate? How is it going to be in real life – is their an actual divide between the queers and the non-queers? Can you tell the difference? Are all the queers cool and the non-queers assholes or just boring? What does the “queer” actually stand for – is it about sexual preferences, (non)gendered selves, critical attitude towards gender norms, or has it become a style or a trendy way to label yourself?

And how am I going to cope with all that – am I queer enough for these folks??!

As I still haven’t got any deal, then at least I got my little anthropological experience started. Can’t wait to take it further.

Another thing my American friends here keep on telling is that America is a dangerous country. Rock on!

Hot, hot, hot in Papua

For a superficial traveler, Sorong might appear to be quite boring destination – the city known as the gate to Papua is spread around the long motorway paralleling the beach, but it gets another level of thrill once you’re there for quite some time – the daily struggle with heat and malariaquitos.

Everywhere is the center of the city, and people walk and ride the ojek (the motorbike taxis) or yellow busses. Public transport has been something to miss in most parts of Indonesia, but Papua is doing better – there’s some space here, and some good ways to move besides having a personal motor.

Besides bursting into my fieldworks of transgender already the very first evening here, I quickly grow a fascination for the local fruits. Each day I was passing by the market and later fell into juices of sweet mangos, bananas and pineapples. They are incredible in Papua, probably due to the fertile ground and sunny air. This is the sweet part of it, but it also has another. The weather is booming hot here – i’ve been sweating tons of water, having showers at least three times a day, and feeling constant lack of air, as it’s so hot, so humid, so dusty, so strong. We were also sweating at night-time, when the sun was gone long ago, but it was still hot. And my body was constantly waisted. To sleep less that seven hours was absolutely impossible. And as they say, the mosquitos with malaria are sneaking around. It was quite common to hear remarks such as:

“Oh, I’ve been in bed for three days – because of malaria!”

“Oh, I am not in a good mood, probably having malaria fever again…”

“Oh, this poor little girl has no father, the father died of malaria couple of years ago…”
So I swallowed the malaria pill once again, but it did not do any good. Rather it made me existentially loaded and worrisome, so that after couple of days I decided to stop it all. Just keep the pills ready in your pocket once you get bitten by the malariaquito – but don’t screw up your body and mind with these strong pills daily.