Two weeks at home
Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022 - 8:20 pm.

Hey, I'm back. I'm updating much later than I expected, the trip to my home country was a whirlwind. There was never a chance to stop, have some peace and quiet, do some thoughtful journaling; but I'm not complaining. I chose to make the most of my time there and focus on doing things and being with my family or with Helen (more on that later).

I did try to write an entry one night. It was December 28th. Brother and Sister-in-law #1 were having a small party for their 30th wedding anniversary (and Brother #2's 50th birthday) as I agonized in their apartment thinking I had covid. The problem with me writing "in the moment" is that I write every detail of what's going on, and so I end up with a long-ass text that would take me forever to finish and that no one would read. I deleted that entry, and thankfully it wasn't covid, I was just exhausted from the trip (I'd arrived on the 26th).

Seeing my family was great. My parents are smaller, far more fragile than two years ago. My dad behaved, but I still had to sit through government propaganda the few lunch times I spent with them. Got to see my five siblings, two out of three sisters-in-law, my three nephews and two nieces. Time was far too short to make any meaningful conversation with most of them, but I'm thankful we got to be together, support each other, and have a good time.

Some events that stand out from these two weeks with my family:

- That small party.

- A disastrous trip to the beach (I could write a book about that one).

- Our New Year's Eve get together.

- My Niece #2's 8th birthday party.

- A night with my siblings in which Brother #2 told a story about how he almost drowned and got stranded on an island when riding a jet ski with his wife's drunken uncle. I got so pissed off by the carelessness of that family (see also disastrous trip to the beach), and by how Sister-in-law #2 was laughing the whole thing off, that I ended up pointing at her with a knife. It's a violent thing to do, and my brother told me in private, very diplomatically (no, really), that I'd crossed a line. I apologized to him, and I apologized to her, but I'm not sorry. I strongly dislike her family and their thoughtlessness. My brother could be dead, that's not an exaggeration nor karma, as his wife said. Something happens to him and I'll stab a bitch.

- A day that I spent at my parents' house. My first flight back home on January 7th got cancelled, and I ended up travelling on the 8th. The whole thing was a shitshow, which had me dealing also with reservations at two different hotels and two other flights. On the plus side, I got to spend a full day at my parents'. Not like we have deep conversations or anything. My dad breaks down when he says he misses me over the phone, but when I'm home he stops paying attention to me after five minutes. It's easier to get along with my mom. I was mostly there for her.

- Meals and coffee with assorted combinations of family members. I do like my family a lot.

As for friends, I only met with two from school, and my friend Virginia. I'd told another friend I was coming to visit, but the schedule was so hectic that I had to bail. I was sorry I couldn't see him, but also, props to me for prioritizing self-care.

Then, there was Helen.

She picked me up at the airport. That is, that was the first time we met in person after dating long-distance for nealy a year and knowing each other for almost two. We talked on our way from the airport to my parents' home like we'd been around each other forever. She'd met my parents at the start of the pandemic, so they already knew each other. I surprised her by kissing her goodbye that day when she got on the car, but I was wearing my mask. I'm smooth like that (she'd gotten a PCR test the day before for me, bless her).

We went out nearly every day I was there. My second day there I took her to her home and we had sex in her bedroom. Sex with a woman feels, I can attest now, somewhat different from sex with a man. It's... softer? Your hands are busier? I can't explain it. And I don't know what it was, but I seemed to be a pro at it. It was easy, it was just very natural. And hot, yes. My god. We had sex there, and at a beach house she rented for the two of us, and at my hotel, and at the airport hotel where we stayed because she also dropped me off for my 5 am flight on the 8th.

She even spent New Year Eve's with my family. Her family (her two sisters, really) left for Houston where her aunt is getting treated for cancer, and her dad doesn't celebrate and is also not someone she wants to be around. My family welcomed her, and they were/are very grateful for how kind she's been to me, and for things she's done for us (e.g., taking flowers to the grave of one of my cousins who passed away from covid, getting food for my parents).

It was very much a two-week date with Helen. It was lovely, it was fun. I made clear I can't be her partner anymore, but I'll always have a crush on her. She made my stay in my home country far easier in many, many ways. I have no idea what I've done to deserve her infinite diligence and kindness, but I did thank her for her service in the best ways I could. She seemed pretty happy with me.

Now, I didn't tell Andrew that I'd go all the way with Helen. I couldn't, not before it happened, not afterwards. I did keep him posted on my whereabouts with her. I'm sorry I'm not being honest, but at the same time, I don't feel any sort of conflict about what happened. I know we're talking being intimate with a third party, but to me it's not a threat to the intimacy I have with the main person. Andrew and Helen each occupy a different space. It doesn't confuse me. I am indeed scared that this will hurt him, but I'd just be so delighted to tell him.

Anyway, that was me visiting home. I may go back by mid-year, depending on how the pandemic is looking. I got tested three times these two weeks, the last test was when I arrived here. All negative, thankfully (and thanks to the vaccines, the mask, the social distancing, and the hand washing).

This week I've been trying to get on the work groove, but I still feel the exhaustion from the trip; going home is never a vacation. Things have been OK at work, except yesterday, on a master's seminar over zoom, a professor queersplained my own research on sexual orientation to me and to one my thesis students.

He said we should be careful when doing research with populations to which we don't belong. I'm bi, my student is gay, the professor is older, male and cis-straight. I regret not coming out to defend myself and my student, but at the time I just thought this seminar was being recorded. Although it was well-intentioned, being told that I'm doing academic extractivism(!) was just fucking upsetting and hurtful. I can come out to this professor, we have cordial relationships, but it fucks with my head knowing that his whole lecture treating me as a straight researcher was seen by others and is on record.

Jesus, I'll stop here. That shit has fucked with my head since it happened yesterday.

Stay safe, darlings.

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