If you aren’t watching 90 day fiance on TLC, you are missing out… and not just on the show! You’re missing out on being a part of a community of tweeters and laugh till our abdomen aches. The series has been so successful, that several spinoffs have been created, like: 90 Fiance, Happily Ever After? and 90 Day Finace: Before the 90 days. With the exception of some couples (cough cough Mohommed and Danielle), most couples up to now have been seemed genuinely in love and not suspicious of using the K1 Visa as a ticket for a green card. By far, Loren and Alexis are my all time favorite couple. I was not even remotely prepared for this spinnoff: before the 90 days.
Often times, we lose sight of the fact that the people we see on television are real people. We trash them on magazines and social media like their a sub-human entity without feelings. After I met the cast of Pretty Little Liars, I came to realize that celebrities are genuine and sincere people. Loren, from this very show, was gracious enough to provide me with helpful information in reply to a question I submitted on Instagram. So, I will by no means be using this as a gossip column or a trash-talk forum. I’m just going to give you the facts.
Abby and Sean: Abby is a gorgeous Haitian woman. She’s 20 on the show and she is involved with a 47 year old man named Sean. Sean is a handsome guy who spoils Abby to the fullest. Chris is Abby’s ex-boyfriend. He is 64 years old. It appears, at this point, that the relationship between Abby and Chris is not completely over. Last week’s episode ended with Sean crying and my heart breaking just a little.
Courtney and Antonio: Courtney has been texting back and forth with a hot model named Antonio from Spain. According to her instagram, she retired at 25 to be a world traveler (you go girl)! I’m slightly jealous. At this point, Antonio doesn’t seem to want to be tied down. He wants to continue playing the field. The show explores the relationship dynamic.
Larry and Jenny: Jenny is from the Philippines. She met Larry on Philipino-Cupid. Larry’s cousin is also married to a woman from the Philippines. As they sit over lunch, his cousin and cousin-in-law tell him about Jenny’s promiscuous presence on social media. But, Larry believes that true love conquers all and doesn’t hesitate to, as he loves to tell us, spend his 401K and 10 years of savings to fly there and meet Jenny. Jenny’s favorite thing about Larry is his nose. She also claimed that she hope he proposes because she feels that she will have a better life in the US.
Patrick and Myriam: Both of these individuals are so incredibly sweet! I could see why they hit it off in the first place. Patrick is a DJ with the cutest daughter in town! His best friend is his daughter’s mommy (awww)! She totally supports his relationship with Myriam and encourages him to go to Paris to find true love. Myriam and Patrick have been communicating frequently. Except… she forgot to tell him she had a boyfriend! Despite this small detail, Patrick’s mom encourages him to stay and make the best of his time with her. As of right now, we have little details about her boyfriend and the state of the relationship. But, she did offer to be Patrick’s tour guide… so he’s got that going for him!
Jesse and Darcy: All I can say is that my heart breaks for Darcy every episode. Last episode, she got drunk. But, her 24 year old boyfriend told her 42 year old ass that she better not ever drink again. This happened after his step-father, who looks like a psychic from the 1960’s, told her that she was out of his league and his best friend told her to her face that she wouldn’t be as hot in 20-40 years. But, Darcy is true to the cause. Her heart belongs to Jesse no matter what… even if he is afraid of being a stepfather to her teenage daughters.
Paul and Karine: I saved the best for last. Paul made his way to the amazon to meet Karine, the daughter of a retired cop, who gave his blessing for Paul to propose marriage to Karine, by using a cell phone translator app. In fact, Paul and Karine don’t speak the same language. They communicate through this app as well. Clearly the lack of communication goes deeper, as he forgot to tell her that he was a convicted felon… an arsonist to be exact. This information was revealed only after he made her take an STD and pregnancy test before having any relations with her. Last week’s episode ended with Paul running into the woods, nowhere to be found, followed by some muggers stealing a cell phone at machete point.
Tune in to TLC on Tuesday and find out what happens next! Leave a comment with your thoughts!
First and foremost, I have to apologize for the mess in the background of this video. I am currently in the process of moving and my studio apartment is not ready, so my entire apartment is in my living room! It wasn’t going to stop me, however, from telling you about sugar bear hair! A few months back, I posted a picture on instagram showing friends my before and after photos while I was taking sugar bear hair. I received tons of messages and texts asking me if it really works!
So, watch the video to find out!
Due to technical difficulties with the internet, I did not post videos or articles for this week’s scheduled times. That is:
TV Tuesday, Whisper Wednesday, Thrifty Thursday, Flip-the-Script Friday, and Spiritual Saturday
The good news is that I am not abandoning these scheduled times and will be posting videos for the above today, at different times. However, they may be out of order, considering that certain issues have precedence, given observances this time of year. September was national suicide prevention awareness month. Today is the first day of October, so I do not want to delay this September-related post for a moment longer.
No one wants to hear about how those who are adopted are four times more likely to commit suicide than those who are not adopted. This is an uncomfortable dilemma for most people. Common misconceptions include:
- adopted people are “lucky”
- adoption is happy
- adoption is beautiful
- it was God’s plan for you to be with your adoptive parents
- adoptive parents are heroes and selfless people
- adopted people were “saved”
- adopted people were living in poverty or neglect conditions prior to adoption
- adoptive parents are not abusive
- adoptive parents are properly screened before being approved to adopt
- the “fees” included in the adoption process are ethical
- birth parents are terrible people
- adopted people who complain or feel bitter and angry are just ungrateful people
These lies have caused people to feel and act a certain way towards those who are adopted, which diminishes any trauma or pain associated with separation. Adoption always, always occurs because an original loss. Regardless of what that loss was, be it death, relinquishment, or removal, a loss occurred. Adoption is the only loss in which society does not support grief. When someone dies, is kidnapped, disappears, etc., people commonly accept these as a tragedy. But, no one ever accepts that a separation, which resulted in being adopted is a tragic event. When pain is unrecognized or disregarded, chances of suicide are much higher. There is nothing “lucky” or “happy” about being separated from one’s parents. “Lucky” is not an appropriate term, and it is highly disrespectful.
It is absolutely narcissistic to believe that God knit a child together in their mother’s womb, and formed their inmost being (Psalm 139:13-14) just so that they could be separated and the child would be with you. I cannot fathom that anyone would think this. This is not a godly form of thinking. This is diabolical and selfish. In the Bible, we have a plethora of examples of tragedies that God used for His glory. In the story of Moses and Pharaoh, God clearly told Moses that His name would be glorified, despite Pharaoh’s narcissism and idolatry towards himself. He used Pharaoh’s idolatry, the ultimate sin, to make Himself known to this day. So, we have clear, clear evidence that God could use a tragedy and bring glory out of that tragedy. But, to say that it was God’s will for Pharaoh to be an idolator is simply not supported by Scripture. In parallel fashion, it is not appropriate to say that God purposefully separated a child that He created in the womb of another woman to service you. Those who believe this are also self-idolaters, looking for a God to serve them, rather than a God to serve. With that being said, to an adoptive parent, any child will do. There is a misconception that we were all sitting on a shelf and picked out. This is not the case. My own parents went through four failed adoptions before I came along. I was not “chosen.” I was matched by an agency who specialized in people who looked alike. Other adoptive parents who used this agency confirmed that this was their specialization. I did not spend time with my family prior to the adoption, where they got to know me and love me as an individual person, with likes and a personality different from their own. I was matched by the agency because I matched the preferred physical characteristics. There is nothing “beautiful” about this process. Through the years, some have grown to love me and accept me. Others don’t like me as much and think that I’m some sort of outlier who refuses to conform who the person they believe I should be.
If adoptive parents were so righteous, they could have given the money used to adopt to the birth parent in order to preserve the family. They could have offered the birth parent their home. They could have adopted a child living in an real orphanage with absolutely no one to care for them. Wanting any child, as long as their a white “wet-womb” baby is does not make you holier-than-thou.
I was not “saved” by anyone but God. I was not in imminent danger at the time of adoption. I was not picked up by social services or had parents in prison or anything like that. The truth is, that the reasons for what happened are none of your business. I am entitled to some type of privacy. Adopted people should not have to give you their life story in order to merit respect from you, nor for you to respect their biological parents. The reality is that adoption agencies across America are banking hard. They charge unethical “fees,” which typically result in commission for different parties: counselors, social workers, and attorneys. Hence, if a child is “sold” for $40,000, the social workers is promised a 10% cut, making him/her $4000 richer. Whenever money is on the table, objectivity goes out the window. Counselors, attorneys, and social workers working for this private agency have one goal: get the child adopted. I recently read an article by a social worker called: I hate telling adoptive parents that there are no children for them. WHAT?! The day that there are no children to give adopters will be the best day ever. It means that a mother was able to keep her child. It means the child was likely planned. Unplanned pregnancies are a profit for them. We are no longer seen as people by the time the adoption agency is involved. We are profits. Those who work in the foster-care system are typically not as persuaded by money, because these are salaries workers, not commissioned workers. I’m not saying that corruption doesn’t happen. But, it’s not the business model. Birth parents are not the demons the public thinks they are. The majority or teen parents or college students that were coerced by the agency to make the decision.
People typically think that because adoptive parents are screened, they are not going to be abusive. This line of thinking is quite strange, given that nobody is going to abuse a child before they arrive. There is no follow-up after an adoption is sealed. In reality, punishments should be harsher for foster-parents and adoptive-parents who abuse, given that they willingly signed up for this. But, there is no accountability or follow-up. In the US, a social worker who works for a private attorney does not need to be licensed by the state. It is considered a “service” that you pay for, like when you go to the beauty salon and do your nails and your hair. This is really not as serious and thorough as the public seems to believe. There is a misconception that to adopt, you have to jump through a lot of hoops. You don’t. You just need to have the money to do it. There are plenty of amazing potential adoptive parents who have enough to raise a child, but because they don’t have 40K at hand, they are denied time and time again. This is not about the children. This is about the agencies making money. Being used as a pawn and exploited is another suicide risk factor.
Most adoptive parents love their children. Most of us don’t have an issue with our parents and love our families, regardless of a few bad apples. However, there are major civil rights issues related to adoption, birthed by Georgia Tann, the founder of modern adoption. She was a crook who stole children in order to sell them to the wealthy. She advocated for sealed records because she didn’t want to be discovered. She died before facing an earthly punishment. But, her crimes were discovered after children who were presumed dead found their birth parents. Sealing records=sealed crimes. So, no one should be advocating for this. When a child is adopted, the fees also include a “sealed identity” fee, meaning that the child is no longer known by their name and can even go by a different race. They receive an amended birth certificate which says that their adoptive parents gave birth to them and it says the race of the adoptive parents. This is wrong. Adopted people are also not a protected minority, which means that you can get fired for being adopted and not have a case in court. Legally, it’s not considered discrimination. Not being a protected class and having no real civil rights is also a form of oppression.
Those of us who are a different race/ethnicity than our parents often experience discrimination. We don’t fit in to any of the “groups.” There’s a complex of “you’re not a real Cuban,” but “you’re not a real gringa either.” It’s like hearing people talk bad about you from behind a curtain. I’ve heard all the cracker jokes there are to hear and I’m expected not to feel at all offended. Lack of community support also leads to suicidal thoughts.
What I’ve learned along the way is that some people are like a cancer. Some people did make me feel suicidal. If a certain food was the cause of your illness, you would stop eating it. So, if certain people are the cause of your illness, then stop associating with them. Despite being treated like a profit margin, you are human, created in the image of God, from your mother’s womb, and part of a genealogy that extends past your parents and will extend past your children. Adoption is a multi-generational issue and it should not be taken lightly. I am in full support of providing children with a safe and loving home. I’m not in support of selling them and treating them as profit. I’m not in support of coercion over an empowered decision.
Today, I was driving on US-1 and saw the signs advocating to end abortion. I am pro-life and in complete agreement to end the slaughter of human life. But, when I read posters like: “adoption is the loving option,” I cannot stay quiet. Absolutely, it is favorable to abortion! But, I did not see one sign that said: Dear Mom, you can do it! Not one person had a sign that encouraged and empowered a mom to realize that she was capable. I’ll be the one to tell you. You are capable. You are strong. There are places you can go for help. There are people to assist you. I know teen mom’s who put themselves through law school. Children are a gift, not a burden. Instead of seeing a child as a stumbling block to your goals, see them as the motivation to do better than you would do for yourself alone. You don’t have to be #birthmom strong. You can be #momstrong! I believe in you. God will provide. God will prevail.
The year was 2009. The recession had just hit, the housing market had dramatically decreased, and gas prices were rapidly rising. We were struggling. I began college in search of a career that I could rely on for security, not prosperity. I came into teaching believing that qualities such as being nurturing, compassionate, and maternal were positive stepping stones towards the goal of becoming an effective teacher.
I quickly learned that these qualities were not quite as appreciated as I would have originally hoped. Schools desired a professional who was very strict and stern. Being a comforter was discouraged, as you were never sure whether comforting a child would interfere with the discipline of another teacher. Schools, it appears, are training children to self soothe, making a comforting teacher a barrier, rather than a blessing, in their eyes.
I quickly discovered that a teacher’s salary in South Florida was not sufficient to cover basic necessities. Many teachers are applying for government assistance, despite the fact that they have respectable careers. In other areas of Florida, perhaps the salary would match the cost of living. But, in South Florida, this is nearly impossible. For those of us who are not married and have no financial support coming from family, working as a teacher may require a second or third job. As a teacher, I worked, two other jobs in order to make ends meet.
Most decide to become a teacher in order to serve students. They quickly discover that the hierarchy is usually 1) parents, 2) administrators, and 3) then students. Coming into the profession with a heart to serve students, but being faced by so many barriers, can become discouraging.
Upon researching various graduate programs which would allow me to transition into a different role, I decided to begin a program in Higher Education Administration. While the program is focused on working in a university setting, many skills learned throughout the program are transferrable and aid teachers into transitioning into a different career or simply a different role in education. Watch video for more details!
Believe it or not, I have received backlash from some for sharing cases where I have been abused. I would like to dedicate this post to sharing why it is important, and even essential, that survivors of abuse share their story when they are willing and ready to do so.
First, let us define the definitions of personal and private. We live in an age where sharing what sex one prefers to have sexual relations with is applauded and celebrated. Yet, sharing how you overcame and survived an abusive situation or overcame an illness is looked down upon as something that should be kept private. Privacy is a choice. It does not describe the conditions of any particular situation. Privacy is at the discretion of the person sharing the personal situation.
Secondly, let us examine the reasons why an abused person may find it necessary to share their story. Victims of abuse are often silenced by their abusers, usually through physical force or threats. Victims of emotional and psychological abuse, particularly children, are silenced through coercive methods. The abuser, who is an adult, will typically not meet the needs of the child until the child has submitted to the wishes of the abuser by a) denying that the abuse occurred or b) the relationship reaches a state of homeostasis, where both parties live as if the event never occurred. While an adult may have the power to pack their suitcase and leave the abuser, a child does not. Hence, if the abused party is a child, they will continuously give into the the wishes of the abuser because they have no outlet. I used the word may when referring to adults having access to leave the abuser. There are some cases where an adult cannot leave, whether that be financial, or because the abuser has exercised extreme control over the person (think of a kidnapping case, for instance). Being able to share one’s story on a public or semi-public platform can be freeing for one who has been silenced their entire life. Usually, people who have been abused in the above ways are typically chastised for showing emotion. This may be the only outlet that an abused person has ever had for sharing their feelings. In a functional unit, our deepest and darkest emotions are typically shared with our loved ones, while a more superficial persona is usually presented to the public. Those who come from a dysfunctional unit may only have the public platform, as their inner circle is very limited.
Thirdly, abusers typically engage in a technique called gaslighting. This is when a person absolutely denies what they said or minimizes it in a way that is not important. For instance, an abuser may tell their victim that they are disgusting and ugly. Later on, the abuser may deny having said this at all or justify it by saying that they only were only implying that they wanted them to look their best. Sharing one’s story on a public platform allows the victim to share the version of the story that occurred in reality, rather than the one that occurred in the delusional mind of the abuser. It allows the victim to take back their power.
Furthermore, sharing a story publicly creates accountability. When people have been abused over a lifetime, the dysfunctional is their “normal.” They have no other reference as to what it is like to be around functional adults who offer love, support, and treat them with dignity and respect. Many abused people had to develop a survival mechanism that includes minimizing incidents in order to live a normal day-to-day life. For instance, yesterday, after an altercation that marked the last straw with respect to maintaining relationships with certain members of my family, I went to a meeting and worked in the evening. On the day that I was sexually abused by a man, inside of a store, I went to the gym for a spinning class. This is not uncommon. If we allowed ourselves to be as destroyed as we should be every time that we were abused, we would not be able to hold a job, get through school, eat, or sleep. We find strength in our perseverance to make the money, get the degree, and care for our health in hopes that if we do, this will be our outlet of escape. We do everything in our power in order to avoid crumbling because this would set us back from being able to escape. When a victim shares his or her story with another person, a sense of accountability has been created. Others will discourage the victim from continuing to communicate with the abuser. As mentioned previously, a victim of abuse has already accepted the dysfunction as their sense of “normal.” If a fish has been born and raised inside of a net, the free ocean is a scary place. When people are aware of the horrors committed against you, hopefully, they will warn you from falling prey to fishermen of narcissistic supply. As a side note, relationships are often judged differently. If I told you that the person abusing me was a significant other, I would generally receive similar input across the board: “LEAVE! NEVER LOOK BACK! YOU DESERVE BETTER!” However, when the abuser is a family member, input is not always so uniform. Some will encourage reconciliation with the person and imagine that a happily-ever-after ending is possible. What they fail to realize is that such an ending is never possible with a person who chooses to to operate in a dysfunctional way. Some abusers may change. But, oftentimes, most DON’T want to change. If a person has issued no apology and claims that their abuse is justified, it is dangerous to surround yourself with that person, regardless of their relationship to you. Sharing your story and receiving feedback of shock and horror at those actions committed against you may be the shake one needs in order to realize that what occurred was unacceptable. The sympathy one garners from others whose point of reference is functional and loving can teach a victim what love truly looks and feels like. Stockholm Syndrome is common. Abusers will typically try to defend their stance by stating what they have done for you. Oftentimes, these acts are minimal. “I fed you.” “I picked you up at school.” A person with a functional point of reference can serve to remind the victim that such acts are not justification for the abuse. Additionally, they are nothing more than human rights. Adults are responsible for feeding children and picking them up from school. What this person did does not merit the Nobel Peace Prize. Another tactic of the abuser is to latch on to how a situation could have been “worse.” They may say things like: “I never beat you!” A person who claims that you should love them because they never beat you does not have very high standards. Finally, it creates opportunity for an inner circle that will hold you accountable for breaking contact with the abusive party.
More often than not, people who abuse have built up a “team.” They are defended by family, friends, co-workers, etc. With the influence of an army backing up this person, one begins to feel as though they are in the wrong. “Perhaps I overreacted.” “Maybe I perceived the situation as something much worse than what actually occurred.” These are not uncommon thoughts to a victim. After all, we have been conditioned to question ourselves and our memories constantly. Abusers are typically likeable people. They are professionals at keeping up a facade and drawing in crowds through means of a personable public image (think Hitler, Fidel Castro, etc.).
A common tactic used by abusers is to infantalize their victims. Such people do not see children as younger, smaller, and more dependent human beings. They see children as property to be owned. Thus, when wanting to exert ownership over an adult, they treat them as though they are children. Abusers want their victims to perceive that they are dependent upon them. They will often make them feel as though they are not capable of making good choices. They will put down their adult victims by degrading their clothes, hairstyle choices, or career choices. The message that they would like to convey is: “without me (or us, in some cases), you cannot be successful. You are not capable of making your own decisions. You cannot even make good choices regarding your clothing.” An adult will begin to question their ability to care for themselves when the most minimal of their choices are consistently criticized. One begins to believe that they are incapable of caring for themselves, and in turn, infantalizes and disables themselves, which is exactly what the abuser wanted. Function and loving adults can serve as a cheerleader and empower a victim by reiterating that they are a functional and capable adult.
My final point can be summed up in one word: justice. In many cases, particularly those involving emotional and psychological abuse, there is no legal justice. They will not be incarcerated. The situation may not merit a restraining order, according to police. You have been left with a lifetime of pain, self-esteem issues, heartache, and a $25 therapy co-payment. Meanwhile, the abuser walks free and continues to abuse others. It feels as though you are the prisoner. Sharing your story frees you from the prison. While the person may not be behind bars and while their actions may not be deemed a crime, you are no longer protecting their integrity, as we so often do when the abuser is close to us.
I was 15 months old when Hurricane Andrew devastated Miami-Dade County. But, I recall the sounds of the wind. It was as though a train was speeding through the night. We were hiding in the closet of my grandparent’s room with a battery-run lantern. It was one of the most frightening experiences of our lives.
After this, we’ve never had a strong hurricane like Andrew. In 2017, about 25 years after Andrew, we are expected to get hit with Hurricane Irma, a dangerous and catastrophic Category 5. Irma is expected to hit us around 2am tonight. As of right now, we are experiencing wind and rain, anxiously awaiting Irma to come and leave.
It never occurred to me, until late last night that losing our house is a real possibility. I am making my way to my grandparents house today with my pets and a bag filled with clothes, leaving my house behind. Winds this powerful could take the roof of my home. it is a frightening idea to imagine that for months, I may not have a home to come back to. Everyone loves to cite the fact that after Hurricane Andrew, we were able to rebuild. But, it took nearly a decade or longer to rebuild Homestead. Surely, rebuilding my own home won’t take an entire decade. But, I’d have to wait months on end to receive money from any insurance. The last serious hurricane to hit us was roughly 12 years ago. I was a freshman in high school. It took about two weeks to restore power. This hurricane was likely a category 2 or 3. This is far more serious than many imagine. My heart breaks for those down south where being temporarily homeless is not just a fear, but a reality.
I mentioned in an earlier blog post that I have a disorder called mennoragia. It’s a condition where a woman excessively bleeds during her menstrual cycle, to the point of leaving her incapacitated and medically anemic. I did not understand the severity of this condition until the discomfort lasted well after my period ended. But, the school that I had signed a contract for had no mercy. They were very cold and cruel, stating that they did not want me as their employee. This kept me out of a job search for months, as I signed the contract on 03/16/2017. Today, I have $6.00 in my account and get paid once a month by my part-time independent contractor job of teaching ESL online. But, that only makes enough money to cover the bills and a few groceries; nothing else. So, evacuating Florida was out of the question. I don’t have sufficient money for gas, let alone a flight out. Additionally, to leave by car, at this point, could be fatal. The turnpike is clogged as it is. If you are stuck there, you will be spending the hurricane in your vehicle. My grandparents bought the supplies necessary to get us through the next few days. I’m sure that the school’s consciences are not bothering them in the slightest regarding my being in need. I feel more sorry for them than I do for myself. God sees my heart and that is worth more all the money in the world.
This experience has really given me some prospective. We give money to charities and make our way across the world because we want to appear righteous. I don’t condemn helping others far away. But, have you looked around and helped those who are in need in your own family? Your friends? Your church members? Why are churches organizing contributions to other places when their own members are homeless? Why are they hiring people from out state when their own members are unemployed? Why are you writing checks for thousands upon thousands of dollars to a local charity when your sister, mother, best friend, or grandmother isn’t able to afford toothpaste today? We are acting as though we want to appear righteous, but, our hearts are far from the Lord.
I am waiting to hear back from one job this month. The hurricane has delayed the interview phase. Hence, I am now unsure of when we will hear back regarding their decision. But, if their decision happens to be no (which I hope it is not), I have decided that this is my cue to leave Miami. From that point forward, I will only be applying to jobs on the East Coast. I use to be petrified of earthquakes, thinking that the ground would swallow me whole as I was driving. But, after experiencing one first hand, I can assure you that the fear is not comparable to that of a hurricane. An earthquake lasts seconds. Irma is expected to last 14 hours. It’s effects last far after the storm. It is likely that we will be without power for 2 weeks. We may not even be able to leave our homes for at least 1 week, as it may be dangerous to step outside. It took about 10 years to rebuild after Andrew. In 10 years, I will be 36. There are many things I want to do between now and the time I am 36. But, i don’t know if I can do them here. God has big plans for me, and those plans call me to go across the country. I’ve worked harder than most people I know. My parents didn’t put me through college. I worked two jobs. I went to graduate school so that I could earn more and so that I would have a hope that more possibilities may be open to me. Unfortunately, those possibilities are not open for me here.
Miami homes are costly. My 1 bedroom apartment in West Kendall cost me $1220 per month, not including the cost of electricity and cable. But, my salary did not even reach $3000 per month. I did everything right. I went to school. I reached for advanced degrees. I worked hard so that I would not have to take out too many loans. But, in Miami, it’s not uncommon to find advertisements that say: Master’s Required with a pay grade of $40,000 per year. With taxes deducted, $40,000 ends up being roughly $2500 per month. I am living in mom’s efficiency (which is basically the garage) and contributing $500 to the mortgage. I shouldn’t have to live in a garage. The pay grade and the cost of living are not compatible. The only places I can afford are those that are certainly going to be destroyed during this hurricane. This is a place for the wealthy, not the working.