April's Omen 2 - Sh*t Gets Wild
Updated: Jul 30, 2020
I began modeling my freshman year of college, and in April 2003 I was an in-house model for Sebastian International and Trucco Makeup (circa Woodland Hills in L.A.). Things were looking promising, aside from the former high school drama that turned into college dormitory drama with not much but one of the same characters.
[Brief pause for a sec. Re-reading over the past April events, it sounds like I'm not an easy person to get along with, or that I fight with people often. I don't; it's April. And honestly, I'm a pleasant person to be around. Promise :) Ok, continue.] >;D I actually had written that in the original blog!
Here's the dozy: The month that brought my April Omen to light. April 21, 2004 was when I began teaching dance in Los Angeles nearly full-time before getting into a car-mangling, totaled, almost debilitating, lucky-I-made-it-out-alive car accident. This was the beginning of the end [until now, meaning 2020].
I was on my way back from subbing a friend's hip hop class in Torrance, headed southbound on the 405-freeway going 75 miles an hour, the norm. The back right tire of my Pontiac Sunfire shredded as I was merging into the far-left lane, sending my car reeling to the right across all lanes. I over-corrected and sent my car head-on into the cement center divide. Oh, but I didn't stop there; my car drove up the center divider, became airborne, flipping upside-down mid-air and crashing on its roof in the left lane. I skidded in the car, holding myself in place upside-down from the car's ceiling, 150 yards down the freeway.
After realizing that I was lucky not to have hit anyone, or anyone hit me, I army-crawled my way out of the smashed driver's side window, watching hordes of people run northbound up the freeway in the carpool lane, and in the wrong direction of traffic, to assist me. The firemen, police officers and hospital workers used the words “miracle” and “lucky” more times that night than I had ever heard at any other time in my life.
April 2005 was preparing me for France. However up until relocating to Aix-en-Provence, France, I had an April much like that of 2002. It was a good month with a lot of dance classes for me to teach; reporters to assist, assign and edit (I was the Daily 49er’s City Editor); friends to spend time with; and boys to waste time with.
Aside from the occasional sleepless night with a mountain of things to do that morning, I would have to chock this month up to the Happy Gods. It was a month of prosper and abundance; a month where cares and inhibitions were tossed to the wind like leaves in fall.
[Picking this up now, in 2020. I clearly didn’t finish this blog, or at least I can’t find the complete version of it…]
April 15, 2006 met me with a new perspective on life. I had escaped a violent and abusive relationship while in France, and decided to treat myself to a solo vacation to Lloret de Mar in the south of Spain in light of a dance competition held there. I was reading a book on the train ride to Spain that a dear friend of mine had given me at that time, titled After the Darkest Hour, which would prove to be my only Earthly possession upon my return to France. [Side note and with shameless self-promotion, here’s a link to the overly fictionalized book that was inspired by my Spain chaos; JeanettePrather.Rocks/Product-Page/Flicker].
I’m going to make this as tight and concise as I can: Arrived in Barcelona to spend one evening there. At my hostel I met some South African partygoers and was invited to a nightclub. Later that evening I was relatively violently robbed on the beach and since I had almost no time to unpack my travel purse from entrance to Spain, stupidly had my passport, wallet, keys from France, California ID, return ticket to France, etc… everything with me. One of my newly made South African friends stayed overnight in the Barcelona police station waiting to make a report. We did, and a Spanish report was given to me, which would serve as my ticket back to France. As it was Easter Sunday, no embassy was open; I would have to wait until the next day or so to visit an American embassy.
Said friend felt so bad for me, that he gave me cash to board the bus to Lloret de Mar as planned with advice, “to just try and relax as much as possible for the next couple of days.” I arrived at my hotel to discover that my card hadn’t been charged, just held, so I in fact did not have a hotel room booked for that night. And, ironically, that hotel was the same one housing the dance competitors, which I would hear throughout that evening as I tried to sleep on the couch in the hotel lobby thanks to a compassionate receptionist.
I foggily got up that morning, thanked the receptionist, and went out to try and plan for what to do next. I sat on a park bench outside of a place called Homer’s Bar. The Irish bartender came out, asked what was wrong, and then offered me a job as a cocktail waitress while all the rugby teams from the English “Unis” (as are the Universities referred to) celebrated their spring break holiday. I agreed.
The rest of that week got really scrambled for me, resulting in borderline kidnapping (I’m hesitant to use that word because violence was not thrust upon me, however I never saw any money from the “work” I was doing and had my stuff held hostage at the captor's apartment early in the week); house-hopping and escapes to new friends’ homes; an unrequited relationship with said captor; and a light affair with an English rugby player that did not go over well with Captor. Near the end of that week I stared to feel helpless, hopeless, scared and continued a very unhealthy trend that I had started while in my early twenties of running through the uncharted night. I guess I felt like I was “going somewhere,” although I almost never had a trajectory. I needed to leave Lloret de Mar for my sanity and for the train ticket back to Aix-en-Provence from Barcelona the next evening.
Through tears and with nothing but €10, I managed to convince the otherwise very salty bus driver to let me on the bus and back to Barcelona where I might find refuge in the American embassy. I didn’t make it to the embassy as I had a phone interview previously scheduled with the journalism director at CSULB for my candidacy as Editor-in-Chief of DIG magazine on campus. Through faith, a hard “no” from the interviewing professor to reschedule our interview, and a swift decision, I conducted my interview on a pay phone at the Barcelona train station while I nervously watched passengers board my train to France (needless to say I didn’t make the Editor-in-Chief position, although I did rank second in command as her Managing Editor).
All I had left was a small bag with some clothing and toiletries that a new and dear friend from Whales had provided me before departing Lloret de Mar, After the Darkest Hour (which was a Godsend to me during that time!), and a Spanish letter from the Barcelona police station explaining what was stolen from me, including my train ticket back to Aix.
The conductor took the letter, and then decided it would be safer for me to ride the overnight sleep train in the cab with him. I did that as I slept in a chair behind the conductor and thanked God for kind people and human compassion.
Things started to get calmer for me once we arrived in Cerbère, the first stop in France after the Spanish border. One conductor to another handed me off and I was officially closer to Aix.
Lol, that was 2006, and it’s crazy to say things get wilder for me, but alas they do. Luckily not in 2007: That April was a simple month as I was continuing to rebound from my year abroad. I prepped for college graduation and accepted an internship with Dance Magazine in NYC that summer. Other than that, the month was relatively quiet, which was fine for me!