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Everything Is Relative

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Nov. 30th, 2015 | 03:04 pm

I am thankful the fifth dress was beautiful and fit. I am thankful for consignment shops.

I am thankful for my new husband’s tipping largesse, that my retirement from the easy cash of street performing doesn’t mean not leaving 25% any more. I am thankful for grocery money, and thankful that until now I have not wanted it.

I am thankful for 2016, for working without earning being OK. When I read on social media,

trying to put together $$$ for artist residency and my bf says he doesn’t see the value how can I convince him?

I am thankful for three weeks plus two weeks plus three weeks plus ten days plus three weeks more without one word of misery. Not one single “do you have to?”

I am thankful for no internet. I am thankful that I can be thankful for no internet. I am thankful that I can refuse to capitalize internet.

I am thankful for the adult pool and the gym and the ability to hope I don’t double my weight in cruise ship buffet. I am thankful for SPF70. I am thankful for plantains and ribs on the clean, secure, private beach that Royal Caribbean didn’t admit was Haiti until 2006. I am thankful for vendors who smile at me and call me ‘pretty lady’ when I am walking alone, and thankful that most of them hold the polite retail mask for a beat after “no thank you.” I am especially thankful after seeing a mask slip, the look of emasculated contempt behind.

I am thankful for the wall between me and the guns and gangs and corruption of ‘real’ Haiti. I am thankful Royal Caribbean provides 300 jobs. I am thankful I see the boys in the woods behind the barbed wire, the red shirt flashing against the rocky outcropping.

I am thankful the wall is only as tall as my head and shorter than my outstretched arm. I am thankful for tiptoes. I am thankful for the older white lady who also wants to know and is unwittingly my accomplice, holding the guards’ eyes with her low voice and emphatic arms. I am thankful for iPhone 5s and quick focus and burst mode. I am thankful to hear another white lady remonstrating with her friend and then saying to me, angrily, “After the barbeque they feed the vendors and security and then they give whatever is left to the boys on the other side of the fence. It’s very kind of them. She needs to just get over it.”

Maybe I am less thankful about that.

I wish that I could wish for less.
I’m thankful that I can’t.




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Allison Williams is a newlywed, an editor, and a writer living in Dubai. More information about Labadee, Haiti in this article at the Christian Science Monitor: Could This Paradise Really Be Poor, Desperate Haiti?

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Comments {19}

Murielle

(no subject)

from: murielle
date: Nov. 30th, 2015 11:09 pm (UTC)
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A glimpse into another culture, disturbing, but enlightening. Thank you. And thank you for being the kind of person who "can't." This world needs more people who can't.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Dec. 1st, 2015 07:15 pm (UTC)
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You're welcome - thanks for reading!

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dmousey

Congratulations!

from: dmousey
date: Nov. 30th, 2015 11:41 pm (UTC)
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May your marriage be peacefilled, prosperous and full of joy!

The great lengths the world goes too to hide poverty. It saddens the soul. Those who haven't had theirs filled with greed anyway.

All Hail The Almighty Dollar!!!

Anyhoo, congratulations again!

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whipchick

Re: Congratulations!

from: whipchick
date: Dec. 1st, 2015 07:16 pm (UTC)
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Seriously! It's such a weird balance between "let's not get tourists shot" and "can we see some of the actual country."

On the good news front, marriage is FANTASTIC :)

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(Deleted comment)

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Dec. 1st, 2015 07:16 pm (UTC)
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Thank you for the warm re-welcome! I'm so pleased to have a "reason" to write and it's helping me unstick.

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Jenn

(no subject)

from: kickthehobbit
date: Dec. 1st, 2015 05:01 am (UTC)
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I'm glad to see you back. :)

This entry...I read the CS Monitor article linked. There's something to be said about tourism vs. exploitation. I can't imagine being comfortable visiting there, knowing what I know about Haiti. :(

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Dec. 1st, 2015 07:18 pm (UTC)
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Thanks - I'm glad to be back! I haven't read all the sign-ups yet, but if you're playing, I'm very glad!

Yeah - such a weird balance. I kept thinking, "OK, it's 300 jobs," but then I also remember walking around the port in Belize City and there's a beautiful cruise ship terminal with the same t-shirts I could buy in Key West or Orlando and outside the barbed wire the city is a pit. I kept wondering if the money could be better spent. Now I need to learn more about this...

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Teo Says

(no subject)

from: eternal_ot
date: Dec. 1st, 2015 03:01 pm (UTC)
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Interesting read..And I am so Glad to see ya back..<3 Hope marriage is treating you well. Best wishes..*Hugs*

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Dec. 1st, 2015 07:19 pm (UTC)
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Thank you! And I'm glad to see you back, too!! Marriage is truly, truly wonderful :)

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rayaso

(no subject)

from: rayaso
date: Dec. 1st, 2015 05:38 pm (UTC)
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Congratulations on your marriage! Your trip (honeymoon?) sounds wonderful, and I am looking forward to reading your entries.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Dec. 1st, 2015 07:20 pm (UTC)
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Thank you! I actually enjoyed cruising way more than I thought I would - people were very nice and interesting to meet, the activities were fun, and damn it was good to be offline for eight days. Funnily enough, I didn't seem to have missed much...

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Raised by Wolves

(no subject)

from: sinnamongirl
date: Dec. 2nd, 2015 01:09 am (UTC)
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Very interesting to see a glimpse into visiting Haiti and how people react to it, thank you!

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Dec. 7th, 2015 06:24 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for stopping by!

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drwex

Newlywed!

from: drwex
date: Dec. 2nd, 2015 07:22 pm (UTC)
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Clearly I missed a big chunk of story. I hope you'll write it sometime, somewhere.

Mazal tov. Welcome ?back?

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whipchick

Re: Newlywed!

from: whipchick
date: Dec. 7th, 2015 06:25 pm (UTC)
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I will do - thanks for reminding me I have a bunch of stories no-one here has heard yet!

I'm back for a bit - there's another writing contest. And I should probably remember to link stuff over to here - I've been writing for the Brevity lit mag's blog lately.

Nice to see you again!

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drwex

Re: Newlywed!

from: drwex
date: Dec. 7th, 2015 06:42 pm (UTC)
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Oh yes please do link. I can't promise to read with any alacrity but I'm definitely interested.

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The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors

(no subject)

from: halfshellvenus
date: Dec. 2nd, 2015 10:42 pm (UTC)
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Congratulations on the wedding! Still hard to believe it's happened, and that you're still in Dubai.

Hoping we'll see you around from time-to-time, if not for Idol then just to tell us what's going on. And perhaps show us pictures of you and your husband. :)

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Dec. 7th, 2015 06:29 pm (UTC)
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Thank you! It's weird, but this is home now. I'm going to start packing up (and getting rid of) stuff in Michigan this year, and I suspect my ex will buy me out of the house at some point.

I'll put up some pics! I did put the ceremony video on FB - are we FB friends? I feel like we are but I don't remember...

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