Motivations to travel
Saturday, Jul. 31, 2021 - 10:14 am.

Brother #3 got covid. He's doing better now, though. It's hard for me to gauge the situation being so far away, but at least I think he got cold-like symptoms since last week, besides loss of taste and smell, and just a little fever. He's kept us (parents, siblings) up to date on our family chat everyday. He got tired easily but didn't stop wholly functioning. His wife got it too, and I believe symptoms were similar for her. Thankfully the two of them were vaccinated, and we'd like to think that kept them safe from worse conditions.

Still, getting the news made me sad. It was heartbreaking. I spent a couple of days worried sick about him and my sister-in-law. We've lost relatives to this virus and things can take a wrong turn quickly, even for vaccinated people. I'm able to say this now because, as far as I know, this won't be the case for my brother and SIL.

I called my parents on Tuesday, as it was their 53rd(!) wedding anniversary, and my mom sounded lon the verge of tears about the news. In the family chat messages I could sense my parents' desperation for not being able to take care of their son, at least physically. They're in their mid-80s, at a high risk and with their own medical and mobility issues. But my brother and SIL are not alone, and had us checking in on them and monitoring their health (the latter including Brother #2 and a cousin of SIL, both doctors). Hopefully they'll recover fully and soon.

This week I'd been making plans of going to my home country, in the last days of December and early January. I think it's time, and at least one of my two brothers abroad (#1 and #2) will be there with his children those days. I'm sure the other brother, and maybe his children (now adults, Jesus Christ) would try to make it too for a reunion. My family is large and scattered, so being all of us in the same room for a couple of hours every year is just enough of a win.

Also, I know I've been horrible to my parents here, saying I wouldn't speak to them anymore if I could and stuff like that. I've been angry and disappointed with them, especially with my dad, but I'm grateful to have them around, and I never forget how loving and supporting of their children they are and have always been. So with this mind, I got another boost in my motivation to travel to my home country.

I'm kind of backtracking on those travelling plans, however, because I keep seeing the news of a new covid-19 wave, here in this country and elsewhere. Perhaps I'm not as scared of contracting it during the long, three-plane journey, as I am scared of getting stuck in my home country if there's another worldwide public health emergency while I'm there.

My girlfriend Helen has also been planning to come visit me around September-October, and I'm not thrilled about it. It's not essential travel, and she's flying across the whole damn American continent to see me for a few hours. She'll stay longer in quarantine than outside of it, and I told her I couldn't take her out to many places. She's fine with it all, she says. she's aware that she has to be careful for herself, for me, and for Andrew. I appreciate her sentiments, but I still think it's an unnecessary trip to make during a pandemic.

Things are otherwise fine with her. I told her I'm not able to sustain a long-distance relationship, but she's never been demanding of my time nor attention, and of course she has a life going on herself , so we can continue being romantically entangled without the pressure of talking everyday. I do like her a lot. Any intentions I've had of breaking up with her in the past crumble the moment she pops up on my screen on our weekly videocall. So the problem here wasn't my feelings for her, let alone anything about her, an amazing human being.

Having said that, I still don't think it's a good idea that she comes in the next months. I haven't explicitly told her "don't come", but I may have to. She said I could say that and she would understand (she indeed would), but I haven't had the heart to utter the words. Stay tuned.

Another thing: I had the online literary event on Thursday night. It went well! I felt so inadequate compared to the other four speakers on the panel. From a seasoned writer and former vice-president of a whole-ass country during a revolution to a renowned country-hopping academic expert in Central American literature (she was delightful); from a guy older than me with a decades-long catalogue covering all genres and accolades, to a guy a decade younger than me who'd won awards and writing residencies, I truly had nothing to account for my trajectory as a "writer". Hi, I've published four books, two of them self-published, and I post my doodles online. I've won absolutely nothing.

I did feel really good before the event started because the academic expert told me she's enjoyed my work, introduced to her by a common acquaintance (the man who put together the presentation of my novel, bless him). The moderator also asked me about my webcomic, which he'd read as part of the process of learning about us speakers. That was very heartwarming and it put me at ease.

Then I bullshited my way through the conversation. I think I did just as well as the rest of the speakers. It helps having not one but two partners who believe in me and attend these events out of genuine interest in what I do. Andrew coached me before the event, Helen threw a question as audience member asking where people could find our books (a question specifically designed to make me hustle).

In the end, I had a lot of fun and I was deeply honored to have been invited along these prestigious people. Maybe the organizers *did* think I had something interesting to say?

Last bit of news: I'll be taking online driving lessons this whole upcoming week at night, it's also time that I get my driving license here. I have five theoretical lessons online, and I'll have practice at some point. I'm not in a rush, but I've been meaning to do this for a while. Maybe Andrew and I can rent a car in the near future and take a day trip to a lake or a mountain for a change of scenery.

Whew. That is all for now. And July is over too, Jesus Christ. Anyway, this pandemic isn't over yet so don't let your guard down. Take care of yourself, and of others if possible.

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