In a scene that's repeated every time we travel, I'm done packing (like in 15 minutes) and Cynthia is still hard at it. Is that our private scenario or do you other couples go through the same drill?
When we were young our elder relatives warned how time would fly when we were their age. Just the opposite has turned out to be true for us. Our lives are so busy that we often look back on recent events and say to each other, "My God, it seems like that happened forever ago!"
Such has been the case with this trip to the States. We've been gone only about a month but it feels like a much longer period of time. We started in New Jersey, then to Las Vegas, back to New Jersey, then to North Carolina. We leave in the morning to fly back to Newark before a layover in Atlanta and arrival in Quito tomorrow night. Two nights there then back to our home late Saturday night. It truly feels like we've been gone for months and I can't even say how many.
What a whirlwind of experiences--awesome malls--the Bronx Zoo--all kinds of food and wine--Las Vegas--grandkids--Trader Joe's--driving. I drove more in the last week than in the previous five years. And it wasn't an overall pleasant activity. We're used to walking almost everywhere. If we're a bit turned around we stop, look, talk about it, then proceed. When you're driving, you have to make immediate decisions that are so stressful. Oh, shit, the entrance ramp is on the right and we're in the left lane! Why can't they be consistent?? Where am I supposed to turn? Great, we just missed it. Sigh---.
And while your perimeter is exponentially expanded by having a car, sitting behind the wheel on roads and freeways feels like such a colossal waste of time and so sterile. I miss being outside and walking through my neighborhood, feeling the sun on my face, smelling and hearing, what? Life I guess.
It's weird how I don't really feel like I belong anywhere here any more. Northern people are so harsh. The sound of their conversations are grating on my ears. Southern people are so---Southern. Cynthia overheard a grandmama talking to her grandson in Toys "R' Us today and could barely understand what she was saying through the drawl.
Don't get me wrong, I love this country, and I love my family. But I don't think I could be happy living here full time again. I've been away from this culture too long and I also love the life we've created in Ecuador--the unhurried flow of life, the friendships we treasure, the happier, relaxed person I've become.
I think it's time to go home.