A Misplaced Hacienda

Cast of characters:

  • Virginia – The best (and my former) stylist in Chicago.  She’s one year and one day younger than me, and sometimes, we have the same peachy-colored hair.
  • Me

Historical context:

  • I’ve been to several countries in Eastern Europe, but never really to the countryside.
  • Once again, I love Mexico.
  • No other real context.

The dream:

I had this dream a few nights ago.  It was a weird one.  I was standing in a decrepit shack in the middle of nowhere.  The shack was made of long-faded gray wood, and the shutters were hanging by a thread.  I stood out on the rotten front porch, looking over a beautiful green field of long grass towards a “hacienda” about a half mile away to my West.  I was somewhere in Eastern Europe.  I left the shack and started walking down a dusty road that cut through the green field to the South.  It was a bright and sunny day with a blue sky.  I walked towards the hacienda in complete silence, and the grass was swaying in the breeze.  When I arrived at the hacienda, which was really an old adobe-style Mexican house, I entered the courtyard from the South.  The house surrounded the courtyard on the West, North, and East sides.  The rooms of the house were open to the courtyard… the walls were a deep cream, and the roof was made of terra cotta tiles.  You had to climb 2-3 steps to enter the house from any direction.  I entered the North side of the house and stood in the empty entryway.  I was really confused.  Then all of a sudden I was in the East side of the house, and I realized that I was in a Mexican restaurant.  There were 3 tables with 2 chairs each in this room, and the walls were a dark peach color.  All of a sudden, Virginia walked into the room and put a bowl full of salsa on one of the tables.  I was so relieved to see her.  Her hair was tied up in a kerchief, and she was wearing a white apron… she was the waitress.  Now, I was in Mexico, not Eastern Europe.  The steps from this room down to the courtyard were old and crumbling concrete, and each stair was covered with plywood so that you wouldn’t fall through the stairs.  I started to slither down the stairs like a snake, disrupting the plywood as I made my way down to the courtyard.  Virginia told me to be careful.  Then I stood up, and started walking down the dusty road, through the green field, and back to the little gray shack.  I walked in complete silence, as the grass swayed in the breeze.  The sky was black with an impending storm.

The end.

BONUS:  Here’s a little snippet of another dream I had that night.  I was walking from my loft in Chicago to the California Blue Line stop, which is the El stop closest to my loft.  I stopped in front of the little Mexican grocery right in front of the stop, and looked down at my purse.  It was this cream colored purse from H&M that I bought when I was about 23 and that I haven’t seen in at least 10 years.  The zipper had split.  I kept zipping it back and forth, hoping that I could get the teeth of the zipper to start gripping each other again.  I just stared at my purse as I kept trying to zip it back and forth, back and forth, with no luck.

A Day in Guadalajara

Cast of characters:

  • Cardinal Jessica – One of my BFFs who I met about 12 years ago. She was the door girl at the best bar in the world, the Cardinal Bar, in Madison, WI, where I spent a large portion of my time in the mid-2000s. We both then moved to Chicago. She now lives in Minneapolis.
  • Nacho – The definition of pure awesomeness.  My girls and I met Nacho and his friends in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, while on vacation in 2013.  He’s one of the nicest people on the planet, and he lives in Guadalajara.  We’re friends to this day, and he helps me practice my Spanish and keeps me laughing. 🙂
  • Nacho’s “friends” (not any that I met)
  • Me

Historical context:

  • I still use CDs in my car’s CD changer (I’m old school).  I have several deep house compilations from DJs at the Cardinal Bar from way back in the day.
  • I like the Green Bay Packers.
  • I love Mexico, but have never been to Guadalajara.
  • I was with Cardinal Jessica when we met Nacho.
  • Nacho drove us around Playa with his friends in a white SUV while on vacation.
  • Cardinal Jessica and I (and our other girls!) are going back to Playa next month.

The dream:

Last night’s dream started with Cardinal Jessica and I in Chicago, flying to Guadalajara for the day.  We arrived at the airport in Guadalajara, and Nacho and his friends picked us up in a shiny new white Suburban.  Nacho was wearing a Green Bay Packers sweatshirt… it was green with yellow writing and a yellow collar.  Nacho’s friend was really tall and big, and he was also wearing a green Packers sweatshirt, along with a green, satin Packers coat.  There were a bunch of other nondescript friends around.  I remember looking to the left and seeing a large US-style water tower.  Jessica and I got into the back of the Suburban… Jess on the right and I on the left.  Nacho got into the passenger seat, and his big friend got into the driver’s seat.  The other friends all piled into the middle seats.  There were probably 8 of us total in the Suburban.  We told them that we had to return to the airport for a 5:30pm flight back to Chicago in order to catch our flight down to Playa del Carmen.  Nacho and his friend said that they would have us back to the airport at 5:00pm, which would give us plenty of time to check in.  Jessica and I said we’d probably need more time than that.  Once we were all in the Suburban, we just started driving all around Guadalajara, which was actually more of a village than a city.  The colors outside were very bright greens and yellows and rich browns.  All of a sudden, I had a CD case in my hands, full of all of my old deep house compilations from the Cardinal Bar.  I pulled one out and handed it up for Nacho to throw into the CD changer in the Suburban.  Then I handed up another and another.  We just listened to my CDs as we drove around.  It came time for the boys to drop us off at the airport.  We got out of the Suburban and said our thank yous and goodbyes to them.  Then Jessica and I entered the airport, and the boys drove off.  Then I realized that I had left my precious CDs in the CD changer.  Oh man!

The end.

Tent Hopping and a Honduran Gangster

Cast of characters:

  • Me
  • A Honduran gangster

Historical context:

  • I don’t like sleeping in tents.  It’s just kind of gross.  All I can think of is condensation on the bottom side of my sleeping bag and the smell of stale Doritos.  I’d be more apt to sleep in a tent if it was cold outside.
  • I don’t own a tent.
  • When I was 11, I bought my very first Panasonic boom box for $88.  It had a double tape deck!  It still exists and is swimming around my parents’ house somewhere…
  • I don’t know any Hondurans that I can think of, and I have never been to Honduras.

The dream:

This dream was weird, and I’ll do my best to try to describe it.  I was sitting on a large grassy hill facing north.  The hill was absolutely expansive, and I was sitting high over a lake so large that it was more like a sea.  The grass was yellow green, and there were dark green forests far away to the east and west.  The lake was slate gray.  There were a few people around… kids playing, adults at picnic tables.  It seemed that we were in a park of some sort, and it was absolutely silent.  Suddenly, I was sitting inside a royal blue, 4-person tent far to the east near the forest.  It was my tent, and I had dirty clothes sprawled upon the floor of the tent.  My black boom box was along the back wall.  I was sitting among the dirty clothes, when I realized that I wanted to move the tent further west towards the center of the park and along the major road that ran along the south side of the park.  My tent was magically meant to move on its own, with me inside, but all of the dirty clothes weighed it down too much, so my magic tent was having a hard time moving.  It just shuddered when it tried to move.  So I picked up the dirty clothes and put them in a mesh laundry bag.  So now, there was a laundry bag full of dirty clothes, my boom box, and me in the tent.  With this arrangement, with the clothes placed in a laundry bag, the tent was able to move on its own.  We slid across the grass until we were in the center of the park, about 10 feet from the busy road at the southern end.  I unzipped the door of the tent to look out over the traffic.  My line of vision was at about the same level as a big, gray, steel guard rail, but I could see the cars whizzing by in both directions.  I could hear the loud traffic.

Flash to a vision on a black and white TV of a Honduran gangster.  It was his mugshot, and we was wearing a black shirt with white writing.  He was short and round, and he had a round head with black hair about an inch long.  There was news commentary in the background about the gangster wanting to shave his head.  His dad didn’t want him to shave his head.  Flash to the Honduran gangster’s knuckles being  directly in front of my face in real life.  He showed me both sets of knuckles, across which “True Bloods” was tattooed in black ink.  That was the name of his gang.

The end.

Shoddy Swedish Dentistry

Cast of characters:

  • Sheri T. – A high school classmate and friend.  I haven’t seen her for at least 13 years, but she appears in my dreams more than anyone else!
  • A Swedish, male dentist.
  • A female bus driver.
  • Lazing Swedes.
  • A bunch of boy scouts.

Historical context:

  • Reoccurring dream!  Riding in a bus through a mountainous European landscape.  It’s almost always in Switzerland,  but in this dream, we were riding through Sweden.
  • Reoccurring dream!  Sheri T.
  • Reoccurring dream!  My teeth falling out of my mouth.
  • Don’t know that I’ve ever had three of my reoccurring dream themes show up in a single dream… crazy!
  • I have very healthy teeth!
  • In 1996, I was on a high school trip where we took a bus to New York City.  Only about an hour after leaving Waterloo, my younger friend, Adria, came to the back of the bus holding the fake half of her front tooth and asked me what to do.  She had recently broken her front tooth in half playing basketball, and the dentist had repaired it and given her a half-fake tooth.  She bit into some food on the bus, and the fake half of her tooth fell off.  She wasn’t in pain and ended up touring NYC with only half of a front tooth.
  • I generally think quite highly of Sweden and their health-care system and would have no hesitations about receiving dental care there.

The dream:

This dream jumped around a lot.  I was riding around in a yellow school bus throughout the Swedish countryside.  The terrain was mountainous.  I was sitting with Sheri in the green vinyl seats on the right side of the bus when I reached back into my mouth and pulled out my bottom left molar.  It had felt funny, and when I reached back to touch it, it just fell out.  When I looked at it in my palm, it was very small, like a front baby tooth.  But it was definitely my molar.  It was yellow with brown stains and was rotting.  I started to panic and told the bus driver that I needed to get to a dentist right away to get a fake tooth.  The bus driver told me that I was crazy to even consider getting dental work done in a third-world country like Sweden.  She told me that I should wait until we got back to the US.  I then had a flash in my mind of a 1970s-looking Swedish dentist office, with wood paneling on the walls, and a male dentist wearing a white smock and black rimmed glasses.  His hair was in a perfect 70s coif and was brown and graying.  He was sitting behind a dentist chair holding a pick and a drill in either hand, waiting for me to sit in the chair.  The scene frightened me, and I decided to wait to get my tooth fixed until I was back in the US.

Then I was back on the school bus, but this time sitting on the left side of the bus.  We came to a T in the road, stopped at the stop sign, and turned left.  Outside the window, I could see a bed sitting outside on the green grass.  The bed was covered in white sheets and was 100 yards long.  It was the longest outside bed in the world.  There were a lot of Swedes lounging around on the bed.  When we turned left, I could see the entire length of the bed.  It was so long!

All of a sudden, Shari and I were hiking on a dusty trail through the countryside with our classmates.  The path was made of dusty red dirt, and there were tall yellow grasses on either side of the path.  We walked along the path for a long time.  Eventually, we came upon a convergence of paths.  Another path merged into our path.  Sheri and I were at the back of the group, and suddenly a boy scout group merged into our path from the other path and cut us off from the rest of the group.  All the boy scouts were wearing khaki uniforms and beanies.  By the time Sheri and I were able to wade through all of the boy scouts to the front of the path, we could no longer find our group.  We saw a pine forest ahead and guessed that our group had gone into the pine forest.  We headed in that direction.

The end!

Tanzania Calling

Cast of characters:

  • Jessica S. – A current coworker.
  • Albert – My head guide while on safari in Tanzania last year.
  • Mom

Historical context:

  • I went to Tanzania on safari for the first and only time in October 2012.
  • I borrowed a really nice work camera for the safari, and the battery melted inside the camera, so that I couldn’t recharge it.  I was devastated that I couldn’t use the good camera for the entire safari, but thankfully, I had a little point-and-shoot back up.
  • I have seen the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti and have been to the Mara River, but I was not fortunate to have seen the wildebeest crossing the croc-infested Mara.  We waited… it didn’t happen.
  • On Wednesday night, I saw a Nature documentary on PBS showing the wildebeest crossing the Mara, and crocodiles having a feast!
  • Seeing this documentary made me long to return to Tanzania and reach out to Albert to say, “hello.”
  • I just put together my 2014 budget at work and made it a priority to outfit all of my guides in the field with new branded t-shirts.
  • I’m not sure that Mom ever wants to go on a safari.  I know that Dad does…
  • Jessica S. is a sweet coworker who really has nothing to do with operating my Africa trips.
  • I was at a fabulous hookah lounge in Georgetown Friday night, where there was just one tiny bathroom with nothing but toilet paper with which to dry your hands.
  • In 2001, I squatted in an apartment in Amsterdam for about two weeks with my friend, Mara, her host brother, and his friend.  We had to step up into the bathroom, and I remember the bathroom being green.

Last night’s dream:

I have really been missing Africa, a sentiment that was manifested in last night’s dream.

I was in a modest, but colorful, apartment, somewhere in Africa.  It was dark outside, and the curtains were open.  Jessica S. was sitting on the couch, reading a book by lamplight.  I then realized that it was her apartment.  I asked where the bathroom was, and Jessica pointed to a little room around the corner in the hallway.  I opened the door and took a step up into the bathroom.  It was a dirty little bathroom with mint green paint on the walls, lit by one bare light bulb above the small mirror above the sink.   The sink was straight ahead of the door, and the toilet was to my right.  After washing my hands, I wiped them off with toilet paper from an almost-empty roll.  When I walked out of the bathroom, I saw Albert standing in another dark room to my left, and Jessica was still in the lit room to my right.  He had the face of Albert, but he was shorter and had a big belly (in reality, Albert is tall and lean).  He was wearing a properly branded, white t-shirt and khaki pants.  I told him that I missed him.

Flash to me being in a safari vehicle with Mom.  We were in the middle of the Serengeti on the banks of the Mara, surrounded by wildebeest.  We could see the hungry crocodiles in the river, just waiting for the wildebeest to cross the river.  I was fumbling with my camera and couldn’t get it to work.  Mom didn’t care about taking pictures.  All of a sudden, the first wildebeest jumped into the Mara, and then thousands followed him in.  We wondered if we’d see a croc kill a wildebeest, and just then, a croc jumped out and bit a wildebeest on his snout, dragging him underwater.  I couldn’t get my camera to work, but it turns out that I had accidentally shot a slow-motion video of the kill in hot-pink technicolor.

The end.