The good: Meeting my cousin for the first time at an illegal bar

Have you ever red One Hundred Years of Solitude by Garcia Marquez? If not, skip to the second paragraph or go read it and then come back. I suggest the second. I first read the book when I was around 17 years old and I have been convinced ever since that my family is the real-life incarnation of the Buendia family. We, the Aranivas have it all: notoriety in a small town in El Salvador, a killer patriarch, a Rebeca who used to eat dirt (ca c’est moi), emotional unavailability, forbidden love stories, a longevous matriarch, and you know… we’re kinda weird-quirky-yet-awesome.

I am an Araniva on my mothers’ side so I unfortunately do not carry the name but I feel more Araniva than anything. My father is mexican and he doesn’t get along with his family all that much. I barely know who they are and I’ve met my dad’s family maybe three times in my entire life. But I don’t mind at all. Although small, the Aranivas are a pretty tight clan and it’s all the family I need.

A couple of years ago, my cousin Fran created a Facebook group for all the Aranivas to join and keep in touch since we are all scattered throughout America and Europe. As a side-note, he’s my mother’s cousin so I think I should call him my cousin once removed, but who has time for that shit?

So anyways, the group remained open and people from everywhere started joining. It was pretty neat because we all turned out to be somewhat related. Let it be known that Araniva is actually an alternative spelling of the basque last name Araniba or Aranibar. It is fairly uncommon outside of the small town of Chinameca in El Salvador. One way or another, all Aranivas are connected. When the group was first created I thought “omg this is sooo lamerz, I’m totes ~tooo kewl for this~ who r this random pple anywayzzz?” so I didn’t join.

Eventually my mom befriended on of the people in the group, a girl living in new york. She dreams of going to Peru and I think that’s how she started talking to my mom, who travels to Peru every so often for work. I noticed on my Facebook feed that they’d write on each other’s walls and like each other’s comments. I didn’t think too much of it until I visited new york last summer with my friend Talia and I decided to contact this “fake” cousin of mine. Our schedules ended up conflicting and we missed each other.

This weekend, we finally met up! She took me to this really cool reggae show/party in Bushwick, Brooklyn which is the new Williamsburg or in other words, the new up-and-coming hipster artsy neighbourhood. Half overpriced bars and pretentiousness, half interesting people and places. The event was held at this illegal bar, meaning that some dudes’ decided to sell booze in their converted loft without a liquor license. In case big brother is reading, I will keep the address to myself. Although apparently every other house in Bushwick is an illegal bar (in other words a huge party).

Guys, this was totally like Party Girl’s opening scene:

Except the guy charging cover was not as charismatic as Parker Posey. And no cops came. Also, the bathroom had barbed wire, as pictured below:


My cousin used to live there and I highly considered moving there but the barbed wire kind of threw me off.

Also make sure you watch Party Girl! It’s a great movie.


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