What a year. We’re only halfway through it, and I’m already quite worn out by it.

An ongoing lockdown of intermittent yet cyclical intensity—now merged with our ongoing disaster, a continued steep gasoline shortage, the eternal inflation that not even foreign currency can placate, worsening public utilities, deteriorating internet access, a crumbling apartment, problem after problem after problem, a perpetual political status-quo, and a possible light at the end of the tunnel (with a ticking time bomb on my hands) are but some of the main features that have characterized my 2021 so far.

I’ve certainly felt stuck—I mean, I already live a simple limited life. I don’t go out that much, don’t spend much, don’t live a materialistic life beyond vidya gaems, don’t have people to talk to nor socialize with—just me and my brother, working as a team against what may come. Slap a pandemic, the gasoline shortage, and all of the other bullshit that’s part of Venezuela and well, it’s like living in a state of pseudo house arrest. I also spent a considerable amount of time during the past six months repairing or getting things repaired, as well as dealing with other inter-personal stuff that has seriously hindered my creativity and available free time throughout the year.

A rollercoaster full of deterioration and entropy, that’s how I’d best describe the first half of 2021. Here’s a look at how things went for me, over the course of certain topics.

The ongoing quest for a visa

I gotta confess that this, the 33rd year of my life, has had a rather overwhelming amount of existential dread. I am now older than my father was when I was born, and three years older than my mother was when she gave birth to me. I’m still stuck in this country, longing, dreaming, and hoping every day for the day when I finally have a visa in my hands so that I can finally start a new life with my brother. My life and my life plans are, for the most part, on hold until I finally get out of here.

On that subject, I am happy to say that I finally got a viable solution to this giant puzzle of mine, including the hardest part: how to get my brother with me. Much progress has been done, and while it’s been a bit slow, it is progress nonetheless. It’s been year after year of trying and failing, and I am now playing what may very well be, my final hand.

Time is ticking for me, and I’m running out of time for certain crucial things, including my passport’s final extension, so I gotta hope things unfold fast before I reach certain date thresholds—because a few things can potentially become much more difficult for me after a certain date. It’s do or die for me, and I hope to finally be able to board that plane before the year ends.
If this doesn’t go through then I honestly don’t know what else to try at this point. One thing is for sure, I cannot and will not give up, because I promised my mother I’d get my brother outta here, and I will fulfill that promise even if its the last thing I do.

The (absolute) state of Venezuela

You know the tale, and I sound like a broken record, but nothing has significantly changed, really. Venezuela continues to be stagnant, locked, and not getting any better. Some might say that things have indeed improved, but that’s just them speaking within the relative comfort of their greenback-fueled bubbles, and bubbles can burst at any time.

The socialist party continues to rule unchallenged and unopposed, and they will continue to do so long as we keep having this charade of an ‘opposition,’ unfortunately, it is in the best interest of both the regime and the opposition to keep things as is—in the end, it’s all good business to them, and for our new Chinese, Russian, Turkish, and Iranian overlords.

There is no realistic solution that can be applied for the country right now, not with the perpetual and rigged status quo that has plagued our existence for more than twenty two years now.

The lockdowns continue, and life has simply molded and adapted to it, bending and twisting around the arbitrary and quite ineffective ‘radical’ and ‘flexible’ bi-weekly shema. That doesn’t mean that things are just paused and shut down in its entirety, because even crime is back to pre-pandemic levels in this area.

I certainly was not expecting to have the police and national guard climb on my roof this year, but it happened. Back in January, people climbed on my roof to break into the apartment upstairs to steal whatever they could get their hands on. It was a rather uneasy night, followed by a sleepless week or two.

This close encounter with crime prompted me to reinforce the two weak spots in our apartment: two sunroofs that we were obligated to add to our still unfinished construction work on this apartment (long story). This was a monetary setback on our escape funds, but it was an investment that had to be done for our personal safety. Once that was done I was able to sleep a bit better-ish.

Ugly, but it serves its purpose.

The stagnation of my country doesn’t really help with my feelings of stagnation with regards to my personal life; they kinda go hand in hand, even if they’re in essence, unrelated to one another.

The crumbling infrastructure

2021 has been a year where if something can brak, then it will break. Everywhere I go I see things falling apart, things succumbing to entropy and disrepair, even our own house.

Out kitchen sink suffered irreparable damage due to a small but stealthy water leak that slowly but surely damaged the wooden cabinet. Ironically, the water shortages were helping delay the inevitable…

As that sort of thing is quite expensive here, I had to settle for a very rudimentary masonry sink base, as it was the cheapest option, and by cheap I mean $250, which is a huge dent in our finances, but what else was I supposed to do. In addition to that, I had some extra to get the sink pipes unclogged as well.

To make matters worse, a glaring case of negligence by my upstairs neighbor did some serious water damage to the dry wall in our entrance.

Thankfully, he covered all repair costs, and two months later, all was good. Accidents happen, and pipes get clogged, but it’s just extra stress that I certainly did not need in my life.

Internet access, which I so much depend on for my livelihood (and entertainment/escapism) has also been subject to deterioration and entropy. Over the past months it’s become more unstable than ever before, and my upload speed, which was already slow enough before all this, is now even slower.

Best I can get right now, please hold steady...

It sucks, and it certainly limits my ability to send large files, but it works, so I can’t complain much.

Mobile data is now my ancillary and palliative upload pipeline right now, but reception isn’t as great in my apartment, and my phone carrier has now some monthly hard data caps that I have to keep in consideration.

I once again looked into private ISP alternatives but unfortunately many don’t offer service to this part of Caracas, and the ones that do are far too expensive for my monthly budget. The ones that do provide service to this street are Wireless ISPs, and they have steep setup fees that range between $250 to $600.

The most ‘reasonable’ one I found is charging $250 for installation fees, and $100 per month for 10mbps down / 7mbps up, and $130 for 15mbps / 7mbps up. As much as I’d love to have something that works, I simply cannot justify the costs, it simply is too much money for me.

I’m at a point where I’m starting to leech the free wifi on some stores/places to update my phone’s apps and send large files lol

I guess I just have to pray that this ADSL continues to somewhat work, and hope it doesn’t completely stop working, at least not while I’m still stuck here.

My Crimson dream

As of February 2021, Sword of the Nation’s fourth draft is complete. This is the most complete version of the story that I wanna tell, and I’m very proud of having accomplished this after so many years.

However, as I said at the beginning of this post, I find myself stuck, and that includes aspects pertaining to Sword’s publication. Namely, I do not have the required documentation to use, say, Amazon’s Kindle Publishing right now.

Additionally, while I have escape funds saved, these I can’t touch for Sword’s editing process, as I don’t know how much money I’ll end up requiring for our inexorable escape from this country—so that’s why Sword is on hold right now.

I’ve been going through some very stressful days, but I am planning to try my best to get my shit together and resume work on this dream of mine starting July. I will be revamping the project’s teaser site, pushing more lore content, and finally beginning work on the second chapter: Sins.

I may actually have to slightly alter the titles for these upcoming books, but more on that later.

On myself and my health

What can I say, I’m physically and mentally tired and worn out, but I still function. I have to. It’s been more than three years since my mom passed away, and I am still trying to get outta here, still trying to find proper closure to the past. I’m finally getting closer, but I’m nearing the end of my strength.

More so than the internet or infrastructure problems in my house, the one thing that I need to urgently repair the most is myself, both physically and mentally speaking.

I need to strive towards getting in shape so that I can feel and be healthier for real this time. I’m tired of feeling out of shape and anemic every single day.

I also need to finally move on and bring closure to many woes and regrets that haunt my psyche: from my general lack of self worth, the wasted years of my youth and 20s, and having failed to procure the chemo that could’ve potentially saved my mom. I still dream almost every night that things are better, and that she’s still here with us, alive and healthy—but then I wake up…

I don’t remember the exact date, but I’ve been living in this place for twenty years now. I also need to get out of this apartment, not because of a capricious desire to live in a better place, but because staying here is a daily reminder of my greatest failures.

I don’t wanna make excuses, but I really feel like getting away from this all would finally unshackle me, I really need that change in my life. Hopefully I finally get that visa that will allow me to start a new life, without ever forgetting nor forsaking who I am, and where I come from.

If I am to fulfil my dreams of building a good future for my brother, and building something that in turn lets me help others, then I gotta start with myself.

Big brother, single dad, all in one

Despite all of my flaws, I still give it my all to make my brother happy with each passing day. We still are a fantastic (and autistic) team, and while we’re not the strongest, the prettiest, nor the smartest siblings out there, we have peace and complement each other so damn well.

I worked extra hard during these past six months doing some extra stuff so that I could have the cash to give him that bing bing wahoo machine he’s been wanting for years. That innocent face of astonishment when he saw the box in our living room reminded me of what I’m fighting for: his smiles.

His next birthday is on the 9th of July, and I’m already doing some preparations so that we can have a simple yet cozy birthday: Pizza, Cake, and perhaps some alcohol to celebrate. I’m looking forward to that day, because I know he’ll have a good one, and I’ll in turn will feel reinvigorated to continue fighting.

In spite of all my woes and personal struggles that are so characteristic of me and my life, I am ever so grateful to God and to everyone who supports me, because at the end of the day, I’m safe and sound, my brother is healthy, I’ve had food on the table, I have a roof that, while pretty much falling apart, is a roof, and I’ve been able to continue working towards my dreams while helping others achieve theirs.

I’m currently working to solve some matters, but once all that stuff is sorted out, I intend to get my groove back and ramp up with creating all sorts of content, improving this website, and continue giving it all in this, ongoing fight towards building a great future.

Thank you all for reading this very personal entry. Stay safe, and let’s all have a fantastic rest of 2021.

We’re all gonna make it, Kings.

I love you all.


1 Comment

MMXXI: Part Two | ckaleb[dot]com · December 31, 2021 at 12:51 pm

[…] if the first half of 2021 kicked my ass, then the 2nd one punched me in the […]

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