Packing Lite: “Expatcy” + Introspection

Exiting 2019, I was determined to make 2020 my year. I was just terminated as the beverage director of Gravitas and tentatively hired as the general manager of Marvin.
Terrance Blowe
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The vision for the future was clear. The impact I foresaw myself having on the street that was once considered Black Broadway tantalized my imagination. 

Terrance Blowe

Then Covid-19 hit and for the first time in my life, everything in the world stopped. The bars closed and the service industry was left with very little to no direction. Like everyone, I went home, and Netflixed, twitched, and twatched. To pass the time, my roommate and I would turn the tv off and argue about the definitions of words in Merriam Webster’s and Google. 

I got my first apartment at 18. A million dollars later, I got my first roommate at 29 and my second at 33. I’m playing with the dictionary and Google with a woman who’s already figured out her life’s math. 

I realized that once I put the dictionary down, that I still had work to do: internal, external, and financial. The balance of things was off. By the written doctrine of social comparison theory, I should’ve been excelling at my  age. My brother had a Benz, baby and multiple Rolexes by now. I couldn’t sit still anymore. I almost felt like I was being personally attacked. 

Thank God for my therapist Dr. Rachel Ray West, also known as Akara. She illuminated to me that I was dealing with anxiety and that it was natural. So often I was told that anxiety isn’t real. I was told it’s made up in my mind. 

Terrance Blowe

The reality is that anxiety is the culmination of your subconscious and imagination having a tug of war with your deepest, darkest fear. Post rejection, termination and a lot of masturbation, I was left wondering was I enough? The answer I came to discover was yes. 

With that energy, the newly found understanding of myself, and a few tools to help me manage my anxiety I decided to set sail. 

As I recounted this story for WI Bridge, I realized that I am exactly one year removed from the aforementioned internal debate. 

I didn’t look at the world in fear. I looked at it abundantly. The definitions of perspective and theory began to ring in my ears. The news shares theories derived from the perspectives of individuals deemed experts in academia. but none of those people are me. 

I am only an expert of Terrance Blowe. Only I am me. Only I can dictate the perspectives and theories for my life. Dejected and yet somewhat excited, I came to realize that D.C. has everything it needs without me. Where am I going to go and bring back to the city? 

Extra Pulp presents #KampKovid

With the hull of the U.S. under martial law, I began scouring the State Department’s websites for other countries I could visit during this time to build and enrich my brand. I also wanted to separate myself from every other bartender in the world. 

Terrance Blowe - Hello USA Washington

My thought process was simple, if the country is open, then the restaurants are open. If that’s the case, I can find some work. It might not be the job I want, but if I am as capable as I think I am, I should be able to go anywhere and work within the industry I’ve invested 17 of my best years mastering. 

On the 101st anniversary of the March 1st Independence Movement in Seoul, South Korean President Moon Jae-in announced a $29.5 billion business aid package. This is in addition to the $80 billion economic aid package designed to help companies and put a floor under crashing stocks and bond markets. 

Having battled and defeated the complicated MURS virus in 2015, Korea was swift at assessing and attacking Covid 19. Millions of lives were saved because of these efforts. In 2020, I was determined to make something of this year in the face of a pandemic and paralyzing doubt. 

South Korea was investing in infrastructure and the future, and I have ideas. I bought a one-way ticket to Seoul on May 11th. Two weeks later, George Floyd was murdered and I was ran off the road while riding my bike down a quiet one-way street in the Capitol Hill area of D.C. 

I felt attacked and protesting about said attack would only bring me more mental, emotional, and physical pain. Had I stayed, at some point I would have wanted to be behind a bar. I would have put myself in the exact same spot that I had been in for 17 years, where I didn’t share my honest opinion about my discomfort with the mistreatment of men of the African Diaspora in this country. 

As opposed to trying to change the world around me, I changed the world around me. Next stop, Seoul, South Korea. 

I would not have gotten on a plane during the pandemic if not for Chanel Minniefield, also known as Your @richaunt.tee. She is a gypsy posing as a critical care registered Nurse, as well as my dear friend and inspiration. She even saved me $640 by pointing out a direct flight to Seoul from Seattle, as opposed to the three layovers from Dulles. 

Fortunately and unfortunately, the $640 I saved was spent on Veuve Clicquot & Duchesse de Bourgogne.

In order to gain entry to the Republic of Korea, I had to quarantine for 14 days at a government-monitored facility. On the 8th floor, it overlooked a mountainscape that contained the only protruding extremities of Everland Theme Park, the world’s largest underground theme park. Every day, the sun set behind the aforementioned mountainscape as the park operators ran tests in preparation for its re-opening. God is real and the Korean government is immensely kind. 

Terrance Blowe

The idea of confinement was my largest hurdle. As a card carrying member of IDGAF, it was a challenge being told what to do. The consequences were simply put: leave the room and at some point you’re going back to the U.S. They made one person return to their room for the duration of quarantine and then sent them back. Ouch! By hour 10, I was about to crack. I called my mother, Kim Renee Blowe The Legend, real name, and she gave me the game. She reminded me that I was “…sitting in a luxury hotel room with WiFi, three delivered gourmet meals, a best friend in Maria Kim that just delivered the hull of Korean snacks, and no one else’s shit to deal with for 14 days. STOP COMPLAINING AND DO THE SHADOW WORK SON‼️ you better appreciate this time and space to yourself. it may never happen again.”

At that moment, I embraced silence like never before. Movies lost their luster quickly. I watched 11 movies in three days on my iPad and overwatched everything else. The only things I enjoyed watching during quarantine were Pulp Fiction and The Last Dance documentary. However, the  silence was euphoric! 

The silence was a relevant time with resources and influence at my disposal to build extra pulp in my likeness from the ground up with only my intention to execute what I can at the highest level across all art forms. I freed my imagination during quarantine and have struggled mightily to contain it since. I revived the value I had on my brand pre-pandemic and reassured myself that it’s valuable solely because of what I thought about it. My thoughts have value if I can move them intentionally into an actuation phase. The experience in Korea was already changing the foundation on which I built my business and I haven’t even hit the streets yet. 

For the first time in my life, I truly understand the value of gratitude. Every moment of #KampKovid where I was grateful for where I was, that moment got better. God is the greatest!

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