Some people have a photographic memory. I have what I would call an audiographic memory. In my mind, almost every song I hear is in linked, in some way, to a past experience or period in my life. You know what I'm talking about. I’m sure you can think of a song that will ALWAYS remind you of the first time you asked someone (or got asked) to dance, whether you were twelve and twenty-one. It’s just that for me, this aural memory has always been stronger and deeper than any other form of recollection.
My first months in Cape Verde have brought plenty of highs and lows, each with their own soundtrack. My best memories of Cape Verde will always be associated with the honeyed sound of Mayra Andrade, or the Gypsy-styled yearning of Tito Paris. Three weeks ago, I passed up a chance to see the latter live in concert, in the interest of not spending money that I didn’t have. Luckily, two weeks later I was sitting at a hotel bar enjoying a free night of coladeira music. Sometime after midnight, the lead singer blessed us with a pleasant surprise when he invited a special guest to the stage… Tito Paris! I doubt I will ever hear coladeira music again in my life without being transported back the outdoor patio of that hotel. And next time he comes to town, I definitely got money on it.
But enough of the sweet stuff. As I said, my time here, like anyone’s life, has its highs and lows. Honestly, after a high Thanksgiving week, the last 8 days or so have pretty much kicked my ass. On the 30th we closed out a beardiful Brovember with the festival of M.E.A.T., which featured three-meat (no bean) chili and fried chicken smothered in beef gravy. Later that night as I laid up in my bed trying to get some rest before another day of work, I suddenly felt my stomach turn upside down—and it’s been all bad since. Being bedridden with a bad case of "the cycle*" is bad enough when you can get some rest. Now, imagine trying to cope when the entire country is blasting Rihanna on repeat. Coincidentally, my least favorite thing about this country, by far, is their clinical obsession with “Man Down,” and for that reason, the song will be eternally associated in my mind with the low points of my Peace Corps Service.
The lows this week also include my not-so-illustrious soccer career. It appears I counted my chickens before they hatched in my last post, because after telling me that I had made the cut, the coach decided not to sign me—he wants me to help coach instead. Yes, it hurts my pride. Yes, I’ll get over it. After all, it’s been several years since I accepted that I was just a good player who planned on becoming a great coach. I wouldn't change anything about the last month of tryouts (except the result). I played hard and I played well, and I still have a good team to train with. Plus, I've made some more friends, and I’ll be there to support them at the opening game this Sunday. Hopefully, we will honor the passing of the great Sócrates by notching a win for the Corinthians family.
If there is anyone who’s really suffered during my status as “man down” it’s Mia. With nobody to play with she has gone literally stir-crazy (plus, I think she’s in heat). Lucky for her, we got to squeeze in a little play date with her best friend, MC**. Enjoy the moment of Zen, and please say a prayer for my bowels.
*Peace Corps slang for diarrhea, deriving its name from the fecal-oral cycle that often causes it.
**Named after the great Stanley Kirk Burrell.