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personal: places lived 6

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places lived, 1999-2000, USA

As the end of the millennium approached, I found myself in a tricky situation: temporarily homeless & without a job. No worries. I had plenty of options but needed time to figure things out. I returned to my mother’s apartment in Memphis, slept on the couch & occasionally borrowed her car when I needed a bit of breathing room. Mom also got me a temp job… at the same company where she worked & reporting directly to her. A crazy situation, for sure, but she really helped me out. When I could return to Seattle, I had a lot of decisions to make…

Memphis, Tennessee

places lived, Memphis, 1999

My mom had moved again since my college days, & she had no reason to maintain a separate room for me. Not sure if she switched apartments due to a rent increase or what the motivating factor was, but she now lived at 5707 Waterstone Oak Drive. And so did I, at least for about 3 months of 1999. I’m not sure how we didn’t kill each other, spending all our work days together & then every night in front of the tv. Argh. But I appreciated her help. I know a couple of weekends I slept over at John’s house where we caught up on everything & listened to Janet Jackson CDs. John saved my sanity.

places lived, Memphis, 1999

Seattle, Washington

places lived, Seattle, 1999

Back on the block! The sublease ended, & the couple who lived in our apartment at 1801 12th Avenue #5 took wonderful care of our stuff. Karl & Hoai were genuinely nice people, & I saw them occasionally even after they moved out. Rent went up to $1200, Jorge wasn’t returning for a year, so I needed a roommate. Fast. Before an interview with a temp agency —oddly located in the same building downtown where I’d previously worked— I ran into my former supervisor in the elevator. What a coincidence. She said they were looking for employees & wondered if I’d come back. Was this happening?! I negotiated a slight raise & bam, I had my old job back. There must be some fantastic connection between me & Seattle.

Meanwhile, the roommate search continued. I put an ad on the internet (all fancy in 1999) & got the most crazy answer. A guy from Iowa was moving to Seattle to get a graduate degree in Spanish at the University of Washington. Iowa, UW & Spanish. We already had three things in common! How could I say no? Also, his girlfriend would move out to Seattle in January 2000, so we could be three people instead of two. Awesome. Less rent for me. Zach took awhile to adjust to Seattle, but I think he did fine. Sara also came as promised. While we weren’t best buddies, the living situation worked out since I spent little time at home. I’d get up at 05:00 to go to the gym, go directly to work, hang out with friends at happy hour afterwards, or go on a date. Seattle continued to look out for me.

places lived, Seattle, 2000

Apologies for all the background info, but another big move would soon appear on the horizon. I’d just been hired by Rick Steves —all those details in this separate post— as well as fallen for a guy in Argentina. I tried to keep my Spanish as active as possible, & somehow Fabio became a part of that. In March 2000, I had a month-long trip booked to meet Fabio in person in Buenos Aires… instead of Netmeeting & the occasional phone call. Afterwards, my first tours would start. Next, Paula (a student from Cádiz who became a good friend) planned to meet me in Madrid & we’d explore a ton of Spain that we didn’t get to see in 1998. O sea, I’d be gone for many months without much income. I needed to move out, & Zach & Sara decided not to stay on 12th Ave. What I didn’t sell, I put in a storage unit & had some great friends give me the breathing room I needed.

After all those adventures, I returned to Seattle to move in with Dan, Laura & Kyle. Yet one more coincidence. Dan & Laura also happened be neighbors at that fantastic courtyard townhouse I shared with Susan. I met Laura at an orientation I helped run for incoming Chinese Studies grad students in 1996. We ended up talking, clicking & found out we were neighbors. Unbelievable. We got to know each other really well, alternated playing Uno with Guillotine, & bitched about grad school a lot. They actually bought a house & moved on the very day I left to go to Spain back in 1998. They had an extra room in the basement, so for a couple months that summer (plus November & December) I lived with them rent free… but I made sure to contribute with lots of wine & snacks for card games as well as helped out with groceries. I won’t post a photo of the house or list the exact address because they’re still there. But think Greenwood, not far from the intersection of 85th & 5th. Those were great times.

places lived, Seattle, 2000

I could have stayed in Seattle for much longer, but different things pulled me in different directions. In the end, being a tour guide worked out as did my relationship with Fabio. Working in Europe, all I had to do was show up at the appointed place to meet the group. That meant I could live anywhere… so off I went to Argentina. See you there!

Places lived series: Florida/Iowa/Alabama 1970-75 ● Memphis 1975-88 ● On campus 1988-94 ● Seattle 1994-98 ● Cádiz 1998-99 ● Memphis/Seattle 1999-2000 ● Buenos Aires 2000-08 ● Sydney 2008-09 ● Buenos Aires 2009-13 ● Esquel 2013-14 ● Seattle yet again 2015-16 ● Sevilla 2016-present ● El Pedroso 2021-present

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