The Gentlegeek plays abroad (and it gets real yo!)

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It’s been a long time since I last wrote. Too long. But things haven’t been easy in what I’m supposed to call my new home: Los Angeles. I (wrongly) assumed that the cultural impact would be less devastating for me because I’ve been consuming culture from this country since I was a toddler, in the form of comic books, TV series (I learned to speak English by watching Friends for God’s sake!), movies, and books. Plenty of books. I though all that prepared me for what I was going to find since day one of my new adventure. And boy, was I wrong.

So nothing really bad happened in terms of physical integrity, except for a brief moment at the beginning of it all in which I thought my allergies where acting up and that scared me a lot, because I never feel confortable with myself and arround others when allergies hit me. Anyhow, the real punch was noted yesterday. I have a condition gifted to me by the allmighty (thanks a lot) and I cannot put on sunscreen with my bare hands because my hands get all covered in blisters due to some kind of allergy that I do not know how it spells in English (sorry M.D.s). I’ve been an archaeologist for the past five years and believe me, I know the need for sunscreen in desertic scenarios, but it wasn’t the first thing I though about when I got here and two days into my stay I got sunburned. No biggie. Not the first time either. The real problem was knowing what to do next. Back home I used surgical gloves to apply the sunscreen, because they are easy to find and cheap. Like really, really cheap. So I go to CVS and ask for the same thing and it costs like seven times more!! So I’m like, no thanks gimme some Betadine (iodine) because I can solve it with that (don’t ask). Same thing, waaaaay to expensive. And thats when I began to get nervous. I’ve been nervous since before my plane landed three days ago, and I’m pretty sure that was the reason my back’s been hurting al along, but this was something more. I realized I wasn’t home anymore, and everything was so much expensive, and I didn’t bring that much money, and I already blowed out some of it on my visit to Meltdown Comics (I’ll post that experience later. Believe me, you’re are gonna laugh) and I didn’t know if I was going to make it, and… and… and.

So I’m at Ralphs, with a horrifying pain in the middle of my chest, looking through every single aisle for gloves. My respiration began to alter. Deep breaths. Calm down. I was so bad with myself that I just wanted to cry. A 6 foot 2, 27 year old, strong (fat) looking guy. And everything I wanted to do is drop on aisle 3 next to the canned goods and cry. And then I felt pathetic for wanting to cry and it made me wanna cry more. I didn’t cry, if you want to believe my version. I found the gloves (7 bucks? Really?) and decided that I need something sweet to eat, because I am a proud, confident man that needs his sweets. Shut up. So I go to whatever the fuck aisle fortysomething and again, everything so damn expensive. I just got a box of glazed doughnuts, paid the cashier without making too much eye contact and ate the first one before reaching the door. I’m not gonna lie, after the third one I felt much better. The strong pain in my chest that had been hunting me through Ralphs got less intense, and by the time I reached the sixth and final doughnut in the box (I knew I had to pick the 12 piece box…) everything got back to normal (ish).

What the fuck does this have to do with board games?” you might be asking very correctly yourself. Totally true. Point taken. The link between my anxiety attack (I’m no doctor, but c’mon!) and board games is pretty simple. Games help me relax, they take my mind of things and help me socialize with people. No shock to you, I’m sure, but socializing is not my strong suit. Any how, back home I had two regular groups to play with, one comprised of people who just liked to play games and have a laugh and the other one integrated by my closest friends. So on a regular week I would have between two and four moments to disconnect, have a good time with good people and, all in all, made me feel great. So, I think having a regular group of people I could discover new board games with might be the key to soften the blow that is living abroad. I actually brought with me two games, Star Realms and Council of Verona, to try and trick my roommates to play a bit, and even got the D&D Starter Set at my visit to Meltdown Comics so I would have something appealing to offer. It hasn’t worked yet. As I said, I’m not too good at socializing.

So, if you are in L.A. and would like to meet up and play boardgames, feel free to comment. First round is on me. In the meantime, I think I’m going to buy another box of doughnuts…

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