pontes newsletter #6

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You got it right, folks! The time has come for your biannual reminder to hydrate... So sit back, relax and enjoy some delicious H2O. In terms of serving recommendations, all I have to tell you is that a few months ago I found out beverages above 60 degrees celsius increase your chances of a bad time. Cancer and stuff. As if there wasn’t enough esophageal drama going around.

I hope my landing into your inbox coincides with you feeling warm, loved, and enjoying our beautiful year so far. That certainly rhymes with how I feel as I find myself writing to you from a bookstore 4 blocks from home; I’m sitting by the window sill, it's sunny, there's yellow-orange glows spilling in (alongside the sharp and eclectic murmurs of a bushwick-sunday-afternoon).

Me and Simit volunteer here at Mil Mundos, said bookstore, on Sunday afternoons. Do you remember Simit from the last newsletter? We met indirectly through the “Fienin’ for friendly folk; HMU at bkbikebroad@gmail.com” sign on the back of my bike, Janie. Just to peel the story a little more, someone who saw that sign on the back of my bike invited me to an evening of dancing, meditation and dinner at a loft. Could you think of a more iconic Brooklyn sunday evening? I’m a living irony, I know. The original hypocritical anti-gentrifier...

I disarmed slowly throughout the evening as I got to hear the stories of the incredible people surrounding me. And what had brought them there. A particular story entranced my ears over the course of dinner; one meal turned into hundreds. Simit asked me yesterday why I was cutting the watermelon with so much aggression. He keeps me on check, alright. Doing everything with zeal and care is an encouraged practice by his side. That’s something I’m grateful for this Sunday. This is where we find ourselves a year later, wrapping up our shift at the bookstore and about to head to the rooftop to celebrate pride weekend (LGBTQ celebration) over some barbecued shrimp, eggplant and fish. (shoutout to Baldwin for always making me part of his journey, to Julie for being the genesis of the idea & Fran for turning a grill into a yum!)

But before locking up the Mil Mundos, I should let you into this microcosm a lil more. MM is a volunteer run bookstore that’s trying against all odds to foster an educational community space where the people of the neighborhood can explore their curiosities through literature & other mediums of art. The odds are not in their favor for many reasons, amongst which: new books are expensive (and outside of the local price-range), reading is a dying habit, the NYC real-estate market is exorbitantly expensive (look out for abandoned/empty space around you. It’s not a coincidence. It keeps prices high). If you wanna contribute to this cause, Mil Mundos has an indie-gogo against which you can place gifts. Oh, also, before I forget: being a cashier for the first time has increased my appreciation for humanity evolving past the abacus!

What else is new? Well... I graduated from Flatiron Health & decided to take a job at Cityblock Health. Through Flatiron, I got a peek into how a myriad of types of provider clinics are run, from one to sixty doctors on staff. I appreciate the Flatiron business model for its ingenuity and potential to revolutionize the US drug-clearance paradigm: deliver revenue optimizing products/services to healthcare providers and use their data for R&D on the pharmaceutical side. That being said, I grew increasingly frustrated of the fee-for-service incentive structure. I also wasn't feeling as optimistic anymore about revolutionizing end-of-life pathology treatments. An amazing friend of mine told me one evening as we shared a Brooklyn sunset: we have to stop spending so much money on the dying and old & invest in our future, our youth. It's a contentious and painful topic to unwrap, but I think a good conversation to have.

I’ve been hungry to understand preventative healthcare measures better. I’ve been interested in what we can do to encourage folks to take ownership over their health (and perhaps as a consequence feel more deeply connected with their bodies). Some research & conversations later, I found my match. Cityblock manages individuals on a per-capita basis, meaning it doesn't get paid for doing more to a patient (as contrasted with the fee-for-service model). The focus population are individuals who are on both medicare & medicaid (low income & old/disabled). CB incorporates primary care, mental health care, and welfare benefits (food stamps, affordable housing, etc) into one care-delivery model. I’m working on their tech platform, Commons, which enables collaboration between all the individuals that need to come together to enable better health. Right now I’m focused on the application’s capacity to manage goal-setting & tasking associated with a goal.

More awesome stuff, you ask? My five year college reunion made me feel wizened and foolish all at once; staying up until 5 AM dancing is still possible at 28, as is starting a new job the day after (sobs). One of my girlfriends got married in New Mexico and had little pouches of meth candy (not real, dearest FBI) around the wedding cake (you never disappoint, Carlene). This late-fall my parents are starting a tentatively-five-year-long RV experience through north america; I shall find a way to squeeze myself into one of the 6,298 compartments for part of it.

Got recommendations? September comes with some adventures in the docket with a trip to southern spain & morocco. Recs on where I must go? I’m looking for new dance places around Brooklyn (primarily zouk / latin american tunes, but open to it). Any good vibes you wanna share? I’m thinking (but still very in the fence) about applying to grad school within the next year to start a part-time masters in psychology (and social work). Do you think this would be a good investment? (I might want to administer an orphanage in the next few decades). I now have a website/blog where I post some colorful stuff. Got any feedback? Thinking of adding pics to the Pontes newsletter in future editions. Would you hate that?

Phew, that’s a wrap. I can’t believe it took me so long to ask, but how are you feeling? Where do you find yourself right now? I know that I’m missing you. Maybe even as you read this. I’d love to hear from you.

With love,