Jesus. I'm still writing about the beginning of August and we're halfway through September.
This is the final installment of the Puerto Rico trip series, and it will be the shortest. Continued from here.
On Friday August 3, Carlos and I woke up early-ish so we could have breakfast with Mom and the aunts and just hang out before having to head out to the airport. We had done most of our packing the previous night, so we had the opportunity to just chill.
It was a beautiful morning. The weather for this trip had been exactly what I had wanted and exactly what I remembered July and the beginning of August being like on the island: hot, humid, but sunny and breezy. End of August and September are literal hell in the tropics: you learn to understand the type of weather pattern that leads to the formation of hurricanes.
|Such a pretty sky. <3|
|This Husky is a neighborhood character. She jumps up onto the top of her fence and watches the world go by from there.|
|She doesn't jump down onto the other side.|
|Peeking through one of the holes in the wall so you guys can see that she places her hind feet in the holes in the wall. She is JUMPING up there, not climbing! The wall itself is about 7' tall.|
|Photos of some of the artwork in my mom's house.|
|Artwork in my Aunt Mari's room.|
|I love that they repurposed this TV stand that came with the house!|
|I finally resolved Lu's problem of wanting to be a small dog that fits in laps. I simply picked her up. As you can see by her sweet smiling face, she thought this was a wonderful thing.|
|With Mom, ready to leave for the airport.|
|Driving back across the Teodoro Moscoso Bridge on the way to Carolina and the airport.|
|San Jose Lagoon, as seen from the Teodoro Moscoso Bridge.|
|Driving into Isla Verde to get to the airport.|
Note the fallen lamp post on the left. You stop seeing the damage after a while, which would explain why some people would get so used to it, they would think everything is okay.
Carlos and I walked through security alone. Once on the other side, I walked over to one of the concession stands to buy water and snacks for us for the plane.
A guy my age was at the register. "Ingles o Espanol?" he asked.
"Espanol!" I said with a grin.
As he rang up me up, he studied me thoughtfully. I got the impression that he wanted to ask a question, and I was right.
"What do you do?" he finally asked, "Do you rock climb?"
I forget how I look nowadays. I involuntarily looked down at my shoulders and remembered. For a split second I was tempted to say what Dani Horan says when people ask her: "I do Zumba." Back when I started bodybuilding and first read about her, I had loved her response because it was so absurd...but never really imagined I'd be in the position to say exactly the same thing.
I didn't say it though.
"No, I do CrossFit," I said, still grinning.
"CrossFit! I've always wanted to try it but airport schedules make it difficult."
We commiserated about weird schedules and he finally handed me my bag with my items. "Nice arms by the way," he said. "They look kind of intimidating. I wish I had arms like yours."
"Thank you," I said. And laughed on my way back to Carlos.
The flight home was uneventful. There were no delays or craziness with United Airlines this time around and I had even been able to select seats for us so Carlos and I were sitting next to one another. I spent a good portion of the return trip editing photos. Once the plane landed in Dulles we were able to get on the correct bus back to the airport parking lot on the first try, and there were no issues with our car this time.
I think the biggest culture shock of returning stateside was having to speak in English to everyone. I was surprised by how quickly we had gotten used to speaking in Spanish 24/7 again, both inside and outside of the house. I had not realized how much I had missed that, the being able to move about in my day-to-day life communicating in my first language everywhere I went.
Just like when we returned from the trip with the in-laws, we hit no traffic at all despite it being 5:00 pm and rush hour on a Friday. It was an uneventful drive home.
And Carlos took my hand while he drove and played the song in the car, while we flowed through empty streets in silence:
I love where we live and I'm proud to call it home. But while my body was here on the mainland, my mind was still on the island for the following two weeks. It was kind of hard to focus on anything for a while there. Not because I was sad to have returned, but because I was digesting my thoughts and feelings about the visit: the relief over finding the island that I remembered again vs the indescribable sadness over that is which is broken beyond repair. It was a study in contrasts.
And that's it. Given the lack of overall response to this series, especially given that one of the main purposes of this trip was to post about it here in the hopes of starting some sort of conversation, I'm keeping the rest of the personal parts of it to myself because I feel pretty deflated right now, especially after this recent news, which I'm summarizing with this piece from Twitter:
|You know how many Americans died in 9/11? About 3,000 as well. Just to give you some perspective.|
I hope my NC and SC readers are safe, and that if you are in an evacuation zone in the direct path of Hurricane Florence, that you have gotten the heck out of dodge.