Desconocidos

Wednesday, June 22, 2022



It was yet another rainy night over at Casa Pancha. I was cramping, lethargic af, and ultimately, incredibly annoyed. After working from the bottom bunk of my shared dorm all day, my numb legs needed to move, and my stomach needed more than just my favorite salt and lemon Mexican chips to keep going. I felt everything and nothing all at once- and decided to take an Uber to my favorite restaurant just ten minutes away. You would think that on a rainy 60 degree night, finding a table for one wouldn't be an issue... but there was over an hour wait just for single tables alone. Not having the patience to wait, I ordered a burrata pizza to go, and called it a night.

Two days later, I still didn't physically feel strong enough to go anywhere that wasn't within a close proximity to a bathroom- but somehow let my roommate convince me to go to a Salsa class at a club nearby. Apparently another girl in our dorm met a local at a park who extended the invite. And now, here I was, smudging purple eyeliner across my eyelids trying to look put together when I internally was ready to collapse. There was roughly a group of nine of us taking the trip to Mama Rumba, and my eyes were greeted by the neon words "Bienvenidos," upon exiting the Uber. Once I stepped inside and felt the energy of locals and tourists alike- I started to feel at ease just watching people dance closely around the dimly lit dance floor.

After a lackluster Sangria, some small talk, and my failed attempted at proving I was a Puerto Rican with rhythm, I found myself chatting the night away with you. Tall, cute, shoulderish length hair, gauges, nose ring- christ, my type never will change. I recall asking what you did for work, and from there we spent half the night dancing, and people watching from our seats; with little-to-no distance in between us.  We poked fun at the couple nearby in which the woman was clearly pretending to like her overly interested date, and at the guy on the keyboard who looked like he'd rather be anywhere else. There might have been some flirty remarks exchanged, but I didn't want to think too deep into it.

And the following afternoon, we regrouped- not knowing that we would be practically inseparable the rest of the week.



The following day, after coworking together from the patio, I invited you out to dinner with me. I remember watching you walk out the hostel in a button down shirt and black jeans, and me in a rust, keyhole halter. It was almost as if we tried to dress up for each other. Which was kinda cute.

I don't really recall how the topic of octopuses came up, but you suddenly pulled out your phone and showed me a video of one swimming underwater and camouflaging into any color it came into contact with. I can't say I knew much or anything about octopuses prior to that moment,  but now this memory is engraved in my brain as the most random thing that happened during a dinner. Despite a two year age difference, we were able to have seamless conversation, and I was pretty impressed at how you were able to both express yourself, and keep a conversation going without it getting dull. You also, read books! The men I had gone out on dates in their thirties couldn't/didn't even do this. We spoke so much that we failed to realize that Lardo was about to close for the night. After a chilly walk down Avenida Matzatlan, we headed back to the hostel were we decided to get jackets. We then continued with a walk to Parque de Mexico- where we shared a few kisses at midnight while taking about life.



The rest of the week went by faster than I would have liked. We worked together during the day, and went out for lunches and dinners in Condesa and Roma at night. I wasn't expecting a brief fling, but it ended up being the most fun I've had with a man in a while. I hadn't realized how much I missed sharing moments like breakfasts at the park, holding hands, having someone to go out for a drink with, and sharing travel stories- especially after spending the past year and change being ultimately bitter and very much alone. I had this odd euphoria that I haven't experienced in a while and really couldn't pinpoint what it was. The shy shared grins, compliments, the laughs, and small gestures such as you opening doors for me were actually so surreal, that I wondered if any of this was evening happening in real time. It felt so nice to effortlessly connect so easily with you, and not once have to doubt a single thing. I actually felt happy.

That Saturday, we were a little closer than the days prior. I remember you standing behind me, arms wrapped around my waist as we waited for our food outside of Panaderia Rosetta while watching the violinist play. It was a gorgeous day as we strolled through town hand-in-hand, flipping through vintage and passing by cute dogs. All of my stress was absent, and it felt so good to be existing in that moment. We regrouped in the evening over pizza and a few drinks. I could feel you giving me a look at Doghouse, and knew what you were sheepishly hinting at. Anyone else would have been more upfront, and you simply said how you wanted to be "intimate," with me. I remember the thrill of going to not one, but three hotels in search of availability for the night, and not having any luck. It was both comical and rather unfortunate. Yet, you took initiative, and made arrangements for the following night.



You played our favorite songs while we both looked up at the ceiling from our room at Hotel Cle. Mine was "Desconocidos," by Camilo- a song about two strangers that hook up and "lo que pase, pase." Kind of ironic now that I think about it. That entire week we did "pasar un buen rato." We indulged in each other, not once, but several times. And not in a crazy overly aggressive way, but in a slow heartfelt one. Something I have yet to experience. You gave me soft forehead and shoulder kisses, as your hair brushed my face. And we woke up the same way we fell asleep- perfectly cuddled and meshed into each other.

My last day in Mexico City was upon us. We had my favorite, chilaquiles for breakfast at Cafe Nin, while the same violinist played "Hallelujah," outside. The clock was ticking, and every hour down was another hour closer to going home- something I was truly dreading. I couldn't help it at this point, I caught a small case of feels and wanted another night together. Hence a night at Hotel Nuevo Leon. After a pretty strong final goodbye drink at La Morida del Caiman, I knew that in the morning, we would go our separate ways. And lowkey, as I was looking out the hotel window, I felt pretty bummed about it.



Now that I'm sitting back in my corner of the world, I can't help but reflect on our collective of shared moments. Everything from watching Stranger Things while eating Dominoes in bed, to the tacos we had from Gracias Madre in the rain, to how we played the most botcheddddd game of Monopoly in two-player history, to the last hug goodbye- I'll miss you towering over me, and you mentioning all the movie and show references that I will never understand, running my fingers through your hair, that trip to Oxxo so that I could try Flamin Hot Cheetos for the first time, and every conversation we had. All these moments were so innocent and pure, and that's what I loved about them most.

I could tell you were a good person whenever the less fortunate approached us, and every time you took your wallet out. Or how when I asked if you could have anything in that moment, and your reply was ," a conversation with my mom," which made me so fucking sad. It's been a really long time since I've come across a soul like yours- with Golden retriever energy , good intention, and a willingness to see the world. I hope this never changes.




As you prepare to leave for Germany , and I continue on with my life in New York, in due time (if not already) our shared moments will fade away, just like the memories of us. Then we truly will become "desconocidos," and the motions become full circle- from strangers, to friends, to strangers once more.

Sometimes I wonder- is it better to have these moments, or not to have had them at all?









The Millionaire

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Honestly, if you listened to my IG stories you might already have heard the story of the horrible date the was the Millionaire. We matched on Bumble the first day into my solo trip to Mexico, and I was hella ready to meet new people and have a good time. (Take this how you like.) But this my friends- was NOT a good time. 


Mr. Man was a millionaire who owned a few companies and properties in Mexico. Mr. Man was a Bitcoin miner before it became huge and made a fuck ton of money from it. Mr. Man made the very top of the list for quite notably, being the worst date I’ve ever been on. (I wasn't aware of his background and wealth until I actually met him)


I will not mention his name, actual age, or the exact crypto that he used for confidentiality reasons- but everything else is true.


Five minutes into meeting him, we sit down at a table under a speaker. He then asks if we can move tables so that he could hear himself. “I like to hear myself when I speak.” That’s when the red flags starting waving high af.


He starts telling me his life story and how he came to be how he came to be at 40 years old. Was there humility in his voice? I’m gonna go with no. “Everything I do is a success.” Confident. Cocky af. In essence, this would have sounded cute but it wasn't.


We meet at a Japanese restaurant in Mexico City's Roma Norte- my favorite neighborhood for it's lush scenery, beautiful streets, and great selection of restaurants, bars, and cafes. The menu- was 25 digital pages long. “Usually places like this suck because the longer the menu the worse it is, but this is actually alright.” Sir, if you live here and know all the good spots, THEN WHY SUGGEST THIS.


Apparently what I wanted to order- mapo tofu was an app. And ofc he had to make that known. So I felt bad and got a main instead- a poke bowl. He finished in minutes and I’m still trying to force myself to eat. No less force myself to get through this dinner...


He casually mentions how he meets girls to eat and fuck in his free time, “ but even that gets boring sometimes.” At this point, I wonder how the fuckkkkkkk did I get so lucky to end up meeting him that night. He was boring, spoke all about himself, and looked like a salty, refried pinto bean compared to his photos. I really regretted not grabbing dinner with my roommate and her friend. But I stayed for the sake of comedy- someone has to be the friend with the horrible dating stories. Unfortunately that’s me.


So remember the critical detail that man is a millionaire that “technically doesn’t need to work the rest of his life.” He starts mentioning how life in the states and in New York is expensive. Which, he isn’t wrong- it is. But it proves true for common people like me. Not crypto miners.


Once the bill comes, he already had his wallet out. And because of the money/wealth infused conversation, I’m ready to pay my half and respectfully leave. His gets the check and says “this is higher than usual.” I believe the check was $435 pesos- which when you convert to USD is the equivalent of $25. TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS. We ordered a miso soup, poke bowl, coke, a lemonade, and a sashimi platter. But all this for $25 was "higher than usual."


At this point- I’m baffled. I was solely here to be young, cute, apparently stroke his ego, and ask engaging questions about his work and current lifestyle. I was an actress. A prop.


He then mentions being tired- an easy escape. But then says we should walk around. I haven’t been to that part of town & all the locals recommended it- so I actually wanted to. Plus, I was curious to how much worse this walk was going to be (And at the time, this was my first time going to Roma Norte; I went every single day after that.)


On this walk, I see a dog, and mention I have a dog. He says he’s more a cat person. I cannot be, because I’m highly allergic ( esophagus closes & I get incredibly itchy.) He then says, “you aren’t allergic to cats. You are allergic to cat spit.” Because apparently cats lick themselves with their spit , and then that hair is what you breathe which causes the allergies. At this point , I’m not even gonna question this. You are right, you are the millionaire after all.


He then says we’re gonna walk to a popular street. We actually never made it. On some random corner he then says “do you want to hang out?” I’m sorry, wtf were we doing this entire time? I pull the tired card, grab an Uber, and go back to my hostel to drink and do karaoke with a bunch of strangers. And that my friends- is how you recuperate the night. Ending it with a disco classic on a rooftop , wearing a sombrero bigger than you, with a margarita in hand that tasted like a Capri Sun.



So note to self, do not go on dates with Americans while overseas. Do not go on dates with men over 35. And don't go on dates with guys that have Tech listed in their bios.


After the Millionaire, I had one of my favorite dates to date- but that story, I might just keep to myself.


& We're Off

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Start calling me Carmen Sandiego, because I'm always on the go nowadays. (Except I'm not a thief.)


It all started with a trip to Spain at 17 (which was a gift from my parents, and the only trip they ever paid for.) After that, I knew I needed to see the rest of the world.


I've said it before, and I'll say it again- fashion does NOT pay. But I've always been determined to make it work on my salary. Coming from someone that has gone to a new country almost every year (and next week I'll have seen 2/5 new countries during 2022), here are my tips:


1. TRAVEL OFF PEAK


There's more than one reason for this: tickets are dramatically cheaper because less people are traveling, and there's way less people in your country of destination. As an introvert on a budget, this really works for me. Also, if you are one of those people trying to do it for the gram, there's less people in the background of your pics. Ya welcome.


2. HOSTELS OVER HOTELS


Realistically speaking- absolutely nobody goes on vacation to sleep. NOBODY. So why spend an upwards of $300 a night when you can spend as low as $20 a night. Plus, this is a really great way to experience the culture by meeting the locals that will work there, as well as meeting other travelers. Hostels really add to the traveling experience! But, you will be sharing a room dorm styled with about 8-10 other people. They do have options for private rooms as well.

This def isn't for everyone, so noted if you want to skip this and go for an airbnb situation.


3. HUNT THE INTERNET FOR THE BEST DEALS


I personally have NEVER booked a flight directly through an airline. Ever. Try Cheap o Air, and Skyscanner- I've found my best deals on these sites, and have saved so much on airfare. (Which means that I can spend more on food and entertainment.) Sometimes sites like this will charge some sort of agency fee, and in this case, I will check to see rates on other sites for the same date and time- to see which will be the lowest.


4. Don't bring more than you need to


You do get charged for checking bags. I usually only ever bring a personal item and a carry on. It saves time at the airport- and I don't have to live in fear of all my favorite items getting lost. I couldn't possibly imagine a more nerve-wracking situation than arriving somewhere and having no clothes (my favorite pieces have too much sentimental value to be replaced.) Pack light- you don't need a completely new outfit or an outfit change for everyday.


5. After booking, start mapping out your trip


I make a mock itinerary for every place I go to. So in advance I get a good idea of how much spending money to bring, and can estimate how much the total trip will cost. Public trans and walking will always be the most pocket-friendly options, but sometimes Uber anywhere else than NYC is sooooo shockingly affordable.


I've traveled to the following countries below directly from JFK, and this was how much I paid roundtrip for each:

New Zealand $1,300 (I've been twice and it's never been under a grand)

Aruba $500 (last minute during December)

Italy $480 (traveled in January- it was helllla cold)

UK $400ish (traveled in November, brick city but bearable)

Netherlands $400 (Traveled in early January- it was cold)

Mexico $330 (Traveled late August)

Portugal $380 (Traveled in early February- weather was perfect- never needed a coat)

Thailand $500 (Traveled during Songkran in April- SUCH AN EXPERIENCE! It was hellllllla hot)

(There is more to the list but I'm not trying to bore anybody.)

And as of tomorrow, I'll be going to El Salvador for $180. This is the lowest ever!!!! (It's also expected to be 90 degree's there this week!)


So there you have it :)


Traveling is often said to be really expensive, but is it? Or are your spending habits the real issue? Just something to think about...


Drunk w. Strangers

Sunday, February 27, 2022


I was on the way to the JFK, when I knew I needed to take a nervous shit.

Just a week prior, I had received a call that I was getting laid off, and decided that the following week I would go to Lisbon, Portugal- solo. Did I speak the language? No. Did I know anybody there? Also no. So why go? The roundtrip flight was only $390, and for that, I simply couldn't hesitate. I also just desperately wanted to gtf out of here.



I was thrilled for the deal, and for the chance to explore a new city. But it wasn't until that ride to the airport that I got super nervous. The thing about traveling alone is that everyone's doubts and hesitations start instilling fear in you- because they aren't as confident to both make decisions like this on their own, and actually be comfortable alone. If you go anywhere with the mentality that something bad is going to happen to you- guess what; something bad most likely will. I handed TSA my passport and vax card, and now there was no turning back.


Yes! Hostel- where I stayed for the week. It was super clean, and the staff was hella friendly! 

After a brief layover walking around Madrid (as I missed my connecting flight) - I finally arrived in Lisbon- and it was absolutely unreal to the eyes. Everything about this city was charming and picturesque. From the laundry drying outside of windows, the beautifully aged architecture, seeing the tram drive through town, to the cobblestoned streets. It was all so incredibly mesmerizing and clean. It really felt like being in another world. I walked for hours without aim- emitting main character energy. Airpods in and glasses on- I felt eager to take on the rest of the week.



To be quite honest, I really didn't spend much of this trip on my own. I actually made friends! It all started being drunk with strangers. Dancing alone at MusicBox on Pink Street, I met another solo traveler from Paris (who was ironically also staying at the same hostel.) We spent the rest of the week eating, drinking, and traveling our way around Lisbon and Sintra.


Pena Palace in Sintra (abut 45 minutes via Uber from Lisbon)

Alto do Bairro- where I had the best tapas of my existence!

Simply asking my Italian roomates for the wifi password was all it took to engage in conversation. At the end of their trip- they even left me a bottle of wine and a bracelet- which was such an incredibly nice gesture. Why couldn't it be this easy making friends back at home?





On day 2 of my bender, I approached another guy at a dive bar. With drink in hand I asked, "What brings you here?" The answer- nothing close to what I had anticipated. He had a super successful Etsy shop with over 20,000 sales on one item ALONE. And then you realize that's all it really takes- just one really great idea to live your best life and be able to become a digital nomad.



My theory of Hinge working in Portugal was proven wrong- it still only connects with the US. Tinder, on the other hand does work! And these mennnnn- absolutely divine to the eyes. I really got over 30 messages within a day and a half asking about my experience in the city, if I was interested in going out for dinner- there were even strangers asking if I wanted to blaze haha. (Fun fact- weed is mixed with tobacco there.) Another fun fact- you can buy drugs off the street, but they are placebos/ regs/ not shit you should be taking.



I ended up going out with a native! And was really glad that I did. He took me to try Ginginha ( a Portuguese liqueur made from sour cherries), we went to a few thrift stores, may or may not have blazed in Alfama overlooking the city at night, and went to see a live performance of fado at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. (Fado is musically symbolic to Portuguese culture and tradition. It actually translates to "fate".)



Asides having the time of my life, I saw signs every single day. From "immersive experiences", to "why wait?", to "life is good" , every day of this trip I feel like life was indirectly trying to communicate with me. Prior to coming I was so incredibly burnt out and jaded. Life felt soooooooo routine, boring, and I was going through the motions mechanically, and on auto-pilot. Every day gave me more of a push to continue living on my own terms and to never stop doing so.



(Maybe the liquid courage gave me a little push to be more social, but I would strongly advise DRINKING IN MODERATION when traveling alone! Granted Portugal is one of the safest countries in the world- it's still best to be alert and aware!)







What am I living for?

Sunday, February 6, 2022

 If you follow me on Instagram and read my stories, you would know that I made a decision to leave the fashion industry. Don't get me wrong, my love for fashion and dressing up still remains, but I couldn't even pretend to want to do it anymore.


When I really thought about it, my jobs have always felt like my only personality trait as I had little to no time for anything else. After a gruesome few years of climbing the product development ladder, I asked myself, "What am I living for?" When I realized I had no answer- that was my moment of clarity.


I'm not going to exchange my happiness and life for a paycheck anymore. A lot of people said I needed to do this for my mental health, but I don't view it that way. I need a reason to feel excited about life again. And with how things have been the past few years, I haven't felt this way in a really long time.


I want every day to feel like a fucking adventure. & The immediate decision was to go to Europe and add another country to my list.


This time next week, I'll be off to Lisbon, Portugal- completely alone and I cannot wait. Quiet mornings at hole in the wall cafes, people watching, sight seeing, writing daily, and seeing all of Lisbon- I might even be ballsy enough to record dancing tiktoks in public, and go on dates with Portugese men (yes, I only re-downloaded Hinge for this sole reason.) (No, I still am not interested in a relationship or "the one.") Ironically enough I land on Valentines day, and am still trying to find a cute spot to take myself to dinner!


I'm not putting my life on hold anymore, and that's what it really comes down to. I'm looking forward to some time off to focus on my old hobbies, find some new ones, and work on my fitness. When I am ready to re-enter the workforce- I will.


I'm on a mission to do me- and I encourage everyone I know to start prioritizing themselves, and putting their jobs second. 


& Start living for you again.






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