Wednesday, July 30, 2008

About time for bed

*yawn* I'm tired. I actually went for a run today around 7:00pm. It was still pretty warm out and usually I'd wuss out in that case, but rarely am I in the mood to run so I had to take advantage of my energy. I hate admitting that I feel better when I'm running fairly regularly, but it's true. Damn exercise. I wish Dairy Queen made me feel good and lose weight, but no. It's the sweaty, gross, soreness of running that does that. At least running makes the DQ-created hips go away a little. Honestly, is there anything better during the summer than Dairy Queen? Softserve, how I love thee. Let me count the ways.

I'm starting to compile a mental list of things I'm going to miss when I leave MN. I should probably start writing them down. I won't remember them all as I'm sitting at my computer in Hawaii. I'd really hate to overlook something. And I have a feeling I'll like having a list that I can pull out and peruse on those days where I'll be homesick. If I get really organized maybe I'll start taking photos of the things I'll miss and make it into an album instead of just a list. But let's be real, I'm great at coming up with crafty ideas but not so great at carrying them out.

I've been spending a lot of time with Megan, Paul and Lincoln lately. It makes me think about kids, and parenting. Especially my potential offspring and my potential parenting skills. I was talking to Zac tonight, thinking about being a single parent, but not. The typical military set-up where you're married, you technically have a partner in the parenting challenge, but really you're running the race alone. Especially if they're deployed for months on end. No e-mails, no webcam, no phone calls can make up for everything that's missed. And you're on your own. No one to help with the late night feedings. No one to take the fussy baby when you're just tired and need 10 minutes to walk away to regroup. No one to bounce ideas off of. No one to share the victories and defeats with. Oh, there might be a family member or friend there to help out some, but it's not the person who contributed the other half of the DNA.

Raising children is difficult under the best of circumstances. And as I sit here, it seems like the military is a less-than-ideal living situation to bring kids into. Single parent home, constantly moving each time they get used to a place, needing to readjust on the fly, no stability, no routine. I'm amazed that any military brats turn out 'normal' at all. There are parents that do admirably under those circumstances, but I'm not sure I am up to, or even want to be up to, the challenge of raising kids in that environment. I've wanted kids most of my life but I'm beginning to wonder if maybe that's not in the cards for me. Some of the reasons are completely selfish, (e.g. I don't want the burden of being a single parent) some of them are not (e.g. I think children should be able to have a stable home with two parents that are there to nurture and raise them).

One of the things I admire about Zac, that at the same time frustrates me sometimes, is that he really takes life as it comes. He doesn't do much looking forward. He doesn't worry about the "what if"s that are out there on the horizon. He's much more in the vein of "we'll cross that bridge when we come to it." I respect that, because often I get caught up in the panic of the "if"s and lose sight of the here and how. But sometimes lack of forethought is a bad thing. You need to look ahead, and think about possibilities. It's one of those things where I think he and I balance each other out well.

I'm not even sure what I'm trying to express here tonight. I'm just feeling a lot of weird emotions and not sure what to do with them. Right now I'm feeling okay about moving to Hawaii and living there, just not about the life I'm getting with the new address in the middle of the ocean. I'm feeling kind of pessimistic, which is irritating.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hanging with the folks at the VFW

It's been another jam-packed weekend so far. Friday night I went out with Megan, Paul and Steven to a local VFW for a few drinks. Steven picked the watering hole, which is not a place that the other three of us would have picked. If you've ever been in a VFW, or Legion Post, or something like that, they're all the same. I knew what it would be like before I even walked in the door. There would be a hard-looking barmaid slinging drinks to regulars who are there waaay too much. In years past there would also be a cloud of toxic smoke filling the building. The bar area would have pull tabs and mismatched furniture, which probably wobbled a little.

I was not disappointed. Much to my glee however, because of the smoking ban, there was no haze of cigarettes as I entered the building. Sure enough. Hard-looking barmaid, big-boned of some Northern European decent, pouring drinks to a bar full of people that she all knew by name and drink. I stifled a giggle as I walked to the table Megan, Paul and Steven were at. The Twins game was on, it was the Twins' half of the ninth, and we had the opportunity to tie up the game. Punto had two strikes on him. The slight inebriated guy at the table next to us kept looking at us and pointing at the screen with the hand that was clutching his Bud Light.

He yelled, "This is it! This is the last pitch. Right here!" The batter fouled one off. More pointing. "Right here! This time! We're done." Another foul ball. Emphatic pointing and yelling now. "It's over! This is the last pitch. This is it!" The batter hits a ground ball up the middle past the pitcher that looks like it's going to eke through to the outfield and NO! The second baseman picks it up and throws to first to throw out Punto. Game over. The VFW goes nuts in the drama that occurred in that three-second play. Last Pitch Guy is equally pleased at "calling" the last play (whatever, third time is NOT a charm) and equally disgusted that the Twins didn't rally. So he get up and goes to play the bowling video game. Bizarre.


Megan tells me that I missed some excitement right before I got there. She warned me not to use the ladies' room. Apparently some female patron had a little too much (at 7:45) and staggered into the VFW from the patio, with the intent of puking in the bathroom. Except that she didn't make it and threw up into her hands about half-way there. She then used her puke covered hands to push open the door and proceeded to spend about a half-hour in there, with her slightly drunk friends occasionally checking on her. She did eventually emerge and they propped her up in a chair on the patio again. Again, I repeat, 7:45. And she wasn't wearing a "Bachelorette" sash or Prom Dress or "Just turned 21!" shirt. Nothing to indicate a potential social pass for completely inappropriate behavior. (For the record, I have been that bachelorette with her head in a bathroom sink puking my guts out while my friends held my hair, because I didn't make it to the toilet. I have no problem passing judgment on this lady.)

So at one point in the evening, Paul looks around the room, leans across the table and says to me, "These are going to be your people. Your life is going to be military bars and VFWs." I looked around the room. Oh good lord. I hope not. I cannot spend the rest of my life in bars that only have domestic on tap.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Long week

It's been a really long week. But notice that I'm posting at 11:30 pm and I'm not at a Dunn Bros! Yes, I'm at home. My Dad lent me his laptop (and printer) for the next month or so. I'm grateful beyond words. Especially after this long week. I've had a stressful few days and I the lack of access to the internet was killing me. I explained it to a few people in this way, on Monday and Tuesday I was at about a 98 out of 100 on my stress meter. Wednesday afternoon, after the packers, it was down to about 35. Last night and this morning, before my separation from my cats, it crept back up to about 64 and then tonight, after everything, it's back down to a manageable, day-to-day level of 12. It's good to have the major things done with.

Yes, the cats are gone. My babies. I know it's irritating when people call animals their "babies" but I'm going to do it anyway. I've had Nala since I was 20. Do you have any idea what all has gone down in my life in the last 1o years??? I'll tell you what. I'll give you a sweet, furry four-footed friend to go through 10 years of your life and you tell me if it's easy to part with them. Alan had been around for maybe eight. Nothing to sneeze at.

So yes, the cats are gone. It's just me and Toivo now, in a mostly empty house here in South Mpls. It's really weird. On Monday a co-worker of mine asked if I had found a home for them yet. I replied that I had not found a place yet. He offered his parent's dairy farm in Northern Minnesota as an option. They'd be farm cats, outside and running with the cows, but they'd be relatively well taken care of, and I wouldn't be wondering if they had been adopted or put down. On Tuesday my co-worker's fiancee came to lunch and reinforced the suggestion. I agreed that it sounded like the best option I had. Then they announced that they would be heading up to the farm this weekend, so I should have the cats to them in a matter of days. That was a gut punch.

These are good people. Cat-loving people. So I trust them. I dropped my cats off at their place this morning so they could go up north to be with the cows. I cried. I tried not to, but I couldn't help it. I felt awful. And I know they'll be as happy as clams running around investigating all sorts of new things. But I still feel like a miserable cat owner. I feel like I abandoned them. And that sucks. Maybe I'm just overly sensitive right now, but I couldn't help but tear up every time someone asked me about it today. Even now, tonight, I feel like the house is empty. No Nala trying to get up into my lap while I type. No Alan sitting in the middle of the kitchen crying for attention or food or both. I just ate a bowl of cereal. No one came running into the kitchen when I poured the milk. That was tough.

So I'm tired. I'm drained. I'm feeling better, now that the major things are out of the way. But I need a decent night's sleep. And for the first night, in I don't know how many, there won't be a cat climbing on the bed to wake me up. I miss them. I will think of them, forever living happy and healthy on the farm, playing with the cows. And I want to know nothing different. I can't handle it. At least not tonight.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Is this the end? Until September? Hope not.

They will be here for my computer in less than 12 hours. I regret only that I will be asleep for a majority of that time. I could be YouTubing or reading blogs or gmaping something. Instead I'll be wasting my last few precious hours of internet asleep. My priorities are clearly flawed.

Megan and Paul said I could use their laptop for the next month, as they rarely us it. (I know. I can't believe it either. I don't know how they do it.) I may take them up on the offer. Otherwise I'll be forced to memorize the hours the public library is open or start spending money at Dunn Bros. on coffee that I don't need just so I can use their computers. I suppose neither of those alternatives are horrible, but not necessarily desirable either. I am not anti-library or anti-coffee, far from it. I'm just anti-inconvenience. After all, I'm a Leo. It's all about catering to me.

Yes, the movers will be here in the morning. At least I hope the morning. I love the ambiguous 8-4 slot. Mom will be here to help (i.e. hold my hand) as they pack things. I love my ineptitude as an adult. Clearly I shouldn't be put in charge of children anytime soon. I hope they come early and pack stuff quickly. I'd love to get a run in tomorrow afternoon. I feel so out of whack. Out of sorts. My mental/physical/spiritual being is all out of balance. As much as I despise running, I do feel better when I do it regularly. (You can stop grinning now, jpd. Yes, this round is yours.) So maybe tomorrow will be the first day in a new cycle of health. Maybe.

I talked to Zac tonight on my computer via Skype, perhaps for the last time until his arrival at the end of August. Skype has been invaluable to my last 12 months. It was originally suggested to Zac and me by his sister, Nicci, who had hosted a few exchange students who used it to talk to their families back home. It really was a godsend. By using Skype to communicate between our computers, Zac and I haven't paid a dime to speak to each other since he got to El Sal last July. It's really quite remarkable. Now that Zac will be using Skype to call my phone the calls will incur a charge, but it's still relatively minor and we'll only have to do it for four weeks. Really, I can't complain. It's a great program. I can't thank Nicci enough for letting us know about it. She's saved us a lot of money over the last year.

But it is weird now knowing that I can't contact Zac, save e-mails I send from work. No instant messaging, no phone calls from me. I just have to sit back and wait for him to call me. Which he will. Almost every night around 9:00pm my time. Like clockwork. It's what we do. It will just be weird, especially now that it's only going to be me and Toivo around the house. Ah, the cats. That's a post for tomorrow -- the incentive I need to find a computer with internet access tomorrow. Til then.



Monday, July 21, 2008

Overwhelmed

Wednesday cannot be over soon enough. The move and all of its accompanying details have me stressed out to the max. I've been on the verge of tears for the last 24 hours and I foresee another 24 hours of stress on the horizon. I just hope that Wednesday isn't a complete, total and utter mess.

The weekend went pretty well. This was the weekend my family went up to the cabin to bury my Grandpa Clare's ashes. There were thirteen Ayers family members that drove up to the Dome near Mora, Minnesota Saturday morning. We stopped by garden center and picked up a maple tree my folks had purchased earlier. Then we headed to to the Dome where we sat around and ate donuts and drank coffee while we hoped that the rain would cease for a little while so we could start the event.

Finally we decided that the rain wasn't going to slow to anything other than a nice drizzle, so my cousin's son and I grabbed some shovels and headed out to the spot in the yard that my folks had selected for the burial. We dug out a decent sized hole. Big enough for Grandpa's ashes and the roots of a six foot maple. We all gathered around the hole and chatted for awhile, while I held the box that contained the earthly remains of my Grandpa. We talked, and laughed. Told him how his cat was doing. Cried a little. The rain kept falling. We knew Grandpa was laughing at us fools standing out in the rain getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. I could even picture him standing inside the Dome looking out at us, pipe in one hand, cup of coffee in the other, shaking his head at us morons out there in the rain.

I put the box in the ground. My cousin-in-law Jim sprinkled in a few pinches of Grandpa's favorite pipe tobacco. My cousin's son tossed in a few shovels full of dirt and I placed the tree in the hole. Then the chorus of "more to the left", "no, right", "it needs to come more this way", "it's leaning towards Michael, no no no, too much, now it's leaning towards Karen." Eventually we had the maple resembling straight and we filed back into the Dome. We had lunch, because what else are you going to do when it's too soggy to do anything outside? After more socializing, eight of the crew headed back to the city. Only my dad, my cousin, his son, his daughter and I stayed overnight. Eventually the rain ended, the sun came out, and it was a pretty glorious evening. Nice enough for a parade through downtown Mora, which we got to enjoy while eating supper at the Mustang Steak House on Union Street.

It wasn't nearly as sad as I thought it would be, the burial. I had anticipated falling apart all over again. Maybe I was too distracted by all the people, maybe I was too itchy from the bug bites, maybe I'm just not as sad as I was a few months ago. I just felt glad that Grandpa was being laid to rest up at the cabin that he loved so much. I was happy that his ashes are right there with Grandma's and Heather's. Heck, he even gets to spend eternity next to two of our dogs. It just seemed fitting, and right. And so, in that way, it wasn't sad at all. And he would have been happy about that.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tired Thursday afternoon

I met up with Heidi yesterday after work. It was good to see her and catch up on things. Who knows how many more chances I'm going to have to hang out with my friends in person before I'm out of here. Heidi's an absolute hoot - I'm glad we were able to coordinate a time to see each other.

After I got home I made a batch of cookies to bring into work. I was confronted with the dilemma of workplace etiquette regarding the distribution and sharing of food product. There are people I like at work, and people I don't. I really only wanted to share the pains of my labor with the people I like, but it would be pretty damn obvious if I was only handing out cookies to a select few people. (I made the cookies from scratch. This wasn't a package of Oreos.) I didn't feel like sneaking around, surreptitiously handing cookies on the sly to people hoping I didn't get "caught" by someone.

I decided to send out the obligatory "I brought cookies!" e-mail to the whole team. I hit send and put the cookies out. The container had hardly hit the table when one of the guys I work with, that I don't like, was there to grab a couple cookies. I smiled and went back to my cube. I sat down and tried to calculate in my head how many cookies that guy and another gal would eat combined, and hoped that I had enough for everyone, knowing that these two yahoos have little regard for other people and scarcity of resources.

I've got two co-workers in particular that are driving me nuts right now. A gal and a guy. The gal is one of those people who talks on her cell phone in her cube half the day. Loudly. She also frequently just yells out questions at jpd from her cube, without getting up. Sometimes jpd doesn't hear the questions, because like the rest of us jpd is listening to her headphones, so this gal just yells louder. Nice. She drinks TaB all day and consumes potato chips like they're going out of style. She's got a fine layer of snack crumbs in her cube, which she wades through in bare feet frequently. Apparently magenta-colored lipstick is permissible in her world and she continues to rock the blonde-hair-with-roots a la 1984-Like-a-Virgin-Madonna.

The guy? He just moved in. That is, his cube used to be on the other side of the LL. (It stands for "lower level" a.k.a. basement, but sometimes we pretend it stands for "luxury level". Why? Because cinder blocks are pretty glamorous.) When we downsized the temp pool last week he moved closer to the remaining group. This was an unfortunate turn of events. He's always up, walking around, either talking to the aforementioned gal, or asking jpd questions. Lots and lots and lots of questions. Questions that shouldn't be asked by someone who has been working on this project for a couple months. And since I sit right next to jpd, I have to listen to him so he's distracting her and me. And he's kinda creepy. He seems like the kind of guy who might have a pit in his basement like the guy in Silence of the Lambs.

I'd like to think that I'm above badmouthing people that I work with, but I'm not. They aggravate me to no end. And I'm in no position of authority to do anything about them. My job is to put my head down and work which, in the interest of a paycheck, I am more than willing to do for a few more weeks. I just hope with all my heart that jpd will escape the LL and make it up to a floor with windows. And for now, I'll just think about beaches and mai tais, and look forward to a change of employment in about two or three months.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I can move my neck!

Left work a little early today to go get a much-needed massage at the Wellness Center. Ever since the flights to and from El Sal my neck has been bothering me. Mara worked out some of the kinks in my back and neck and noted that one of the vertebrae in my neck might be off a little. She said sometimes they just adjust themselves back into alignment, but that if I still have problems in a couple of weeks, or if it gets worse, I might want to check out a chiropractor. We'll see. I'm sure it's just out of whack from being on the plane and sleeping funny.

The weekend was busy, but fun and productive. Saturday morning jpd and spd came over to watch the bicycling part of the triathlon. That was fun. It's always a little strange when you interact with work friends outside of work for the first time because the mind is used to seeing them among the vast ocean of gray cubicles. To see them smiling, relaxed and breathing real air in natural lighting is disorientating.

After that I went to my cousin's bridal shower. That was enjoyable. It's weird to think I had one of those only eight months ago. She's getting married at the end of August. Zac will be here in time to attend, lucky guy. I know how most guys love weddings. It will be nice that a good chunk of my family will be there so they'll be able to see Zac before we leave a few days after the wedding.

Then on Sunday Mom, Dad and I moved the remaining stuff out of the storage unit to Grandpa's house. Everything that is going to be shipped to Hawaii is now officially in one building. The place is a mess and I'll be glad when they come next Wednesday to take everything that's mine. I realized this weekend that it also means they'll be packing up my computer. This means no Skype to talk to Zac and no internet for . . . anything and everything. Let me repeat that:

I WILL NOT HAVE A COMPUTER AND INTERNET AT MY HOME FOR A MONTH!!!

I can't even bear the thought. How am I supposed to function without the internet? I don't actually know anything. Nothing is stored in my brain anymore. I've relinquished that task to Google! I think the Navy might need to compensate me for the coffee I will have to purchase over at Dunn Bros. while I use their computers every evening. A month! Yet another reason I should ditch this old PC and get a laptop. That I could keep with me. I could take it on the plane. I could cling onto it like a security blanket. But no, I've got this big ol' box. I've got $20 that says it doesn't work once I get it to Hawaii anyway. Something will shift, something will fall, and there will be no more photos, no more documents, no more functional machine. But then at least I would have an excuse to jump ahead 10 years on the technology spectrum.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Some fun stuff

I have to get back to working on a baby blanket for Holly, but I thought I'd add a little bit of stuff to look at.

First off, here are the links to the resort we stayed at and one of the pupuserias we ate at. In case you're not familiar with pupusas, check here. I highly recommend them.

Here's Zac and I in the pool overlooking the ocean. (Yes we were in the pool next to the ocean. Hey, the tide was in. A little too perilous to go in the water for a weak swimmer like myself.)



Then, here's a snipet of the beach at Playa el Tunco, near La Libertad, where the resort is located.



video

Monday, July 7, 2008

Minneapolis bound

Just finished packing up my stuff to head back to Minnesota. Zac's making breakfast and then we're off to the base to say hello/goodbye and then to the airport. The five days went really quickly, but they were worth it. I'm sure be able to better reflect on it all once I'm back home sitting in front of my computer. At the end of the day, El Sal has been a great experience for Zac and for me. So at least some good will have come out of this year apart. Now I get to go back to my cube in the basement and start a new countdown, hopefully the last one for awhile. Only about 45 more Xs through the days until we get to try out this marriage bit in the same place at the same time for an extended (?) period of time.

So now it's time to go. I'm looking forward to being home and driving laws that are followed and enforced. (Seriously, 62/35 during rush hour is a cake walk compared to the stuff around here.)

Pictures to come!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Back to San Sal, and not sunburned

Got home from the coast a little bit ago. I'll probably write more about it tomorrow, or when I get home, depending when I can load photos. It was amazing! Zac found this great little resort right on the beach where we could sit in the restaurant and sip on rum drinks while watching the surfers ride the waves. The ocean is a pretty awesome thing, in a very literal sense of the word. The power of the surf and the waves crashing can be humbling. It was a nice transition into a Hawaii state of mind. We met a lot of interesting people -- Americans, Israelies, Germans -- lots of good conversation. Everyone was really friendly, including the staff of the resort who were fantastic. They were very helpful and gracious - I'd go back.

One strange thing, it's always odd when you're at the beach and you feel strangely secure because there's a guy working security for the resort with a shotgun watching over you. Friendly bloke, but he's carrying a shotgun. It's definately something I've become comfortable with quickly. Men with guns are a good thing. It's bizarre. I'll go more into it later on. I'm sure most of it is just keeping up the appearance of being secure, but the intimidation factor is certainly there.

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Rainy Season is not a misnomer

So far the weather has been about 75% rain, if you include the overnights. Actually, it's probably higher. It has rained all night each night. It's great for sleeping. Very relaxing. I suppose this is very similar to a lot of other warm tropical climates. It can be sunny one minute, pouring the next. But it's nice and warm, so it's not too bad. I've given up on attempting to style my hair though. Thank you humidity.

We're packing up to go to a beach-side resort. We'll be there until tomorrow. We'll see how I do with the ocean. I'm a fresh-water lake kind of girl. (Really not even a lake girl - there are scary, icky things in lakes too.) We'll do some hiking today too. I'm frustrated that I forgot my camera battery charger at home, so I'm concerned that at any time my camera is going to die on me. That would be crummy. So there is a distinct possibility that I will emerge from El Sal with only a few photos of the view from Zac's apartment. Hopefully if I'm smart I will be able to ration the power and get at least a few photos today and tomorrow.

Zac is happy to see me. He took me by the base on the way to his apartment when I arrived. Met Commander Groves, Doc, MA1, GM2 and a handful of other people who, up til now, have been just names mentioned in Zac's work stories. It was nice to put some faces and personalities to the names. They seem like a decent bunch. An extended family of people you like and don't like, but have to interact and work with. We'll be spending some time with them again tomorrow (Saturday) when we get back. It sounds like we're going to all go out to dinner together.

Speaking of dinner, Zac and I went out last night to a Benihana for supper. (A Japanese steak house where they slice and dice and cook in front of you.) We were seated at a table by ourselves until three young guys were seated next to us. And they were reading the menus in English! Hooray! So we had a very enjoyable night talking to these three kids (they were in their early 20s). All three live in New Orleans, tho one of them was born and raised in El Salvador til he was 14. He's been in the States since then. They're on a three week vacation down here. I think they were happy to joke around with us for the evening, especially the two white kids who didn't speak Spanish like me.

Time to head out for the coast. Hopefully the clouds that are here this morning will burn off when the sun gets a little higher, but, of course, rain is always going to happen. It is the rainy season, after all.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Arrived safe and sound. But thinking I should have taken Spanish in High School.

Good morning! This entry is coming at you from the Central American Republic of El Salvador. I could attempt to drop the occasional Spanish phrase or word into these postings, but let's be real: That's obnoxiously cutesy. I don't know a lick of Spanish, and I'm not going to pretend that I can do anything besides say please and thank you. Those are probably the most important words to know diplomatically anyway.

The flights were fine. On the leg from Houston to San Salvador I sat between an elderly woman who was visually impaired (only spoke Spanish) and an elderly man who reminded me of my Grandpa Dorian (also spoke only Spanish). I sat down between them, the old man beamed, I smiled back, he said a few word, my face fell as I apologized that I didn't speak Spanish. He sighed, probably thinking, "Well, this is going to be a boring three hours. The girl can't even talk." I was also only one of two white chicks on the plane. I stuck out a wee bit.

But Senor Gomez and I made do. He was very sweet. When the steward was handing out declaration forms and visa forms the steward looked at me and said, "He's [Sr. Gomez] is illiterate. You're going to have to help him fill these out." Um. Okay. I explained to the steward that I don't speak or read Spanish. His reply, "Well, it says in English on the forms what you need." Gee. Thanks. I'll ask Sr. Gomez the questions in English. That will be productive.

I asked Sr. Gomez for his passport. I filled in as much of the forms as I could. Name, birthdate, country of origin, etc. I managed to ask if he was traveling alone. And how many bags he had with him. But then we got to the quesitions like, "Have you recently been exposed to agricultural products or animals, and are you transporting any plants, animals or other live species into the country?" This was not going to happen. Even if I sounded out the words in Spanish I was going to be incoherent at best. I tapped the shoulder of a 16 year old kid in front of me. I gave him my best "Please help" smile and asked him if he could help read the questions to Sr. Gomez. Of course this kid speaks fluent Spanish and English, making my shame factor increase. He read the questions and Sr. Gomez answered. For the record, the kid asking the questions read the questions, thought about them for a minute, and then paraphrased them. So even in Spanish the questions must have been oddly worded.

I thanked the kid profusely, and then showed Sr. Gomez that he had to sign the document. I wasn't sure if, or how, he'd sign. I gave him my pen and said, "Firma" and pointed to the signature line. He took the pen, a little bashful, and said, "Donde?" I pointed at the line again and he slowly made an O then a G and then a M. OGM. It was rough, but it was his signature. I said, "Perfecto". He smiled I smiled and then we both slept the rest of the way to El Sal. When we came down through the clouds and caught our first sight of the country, Sr. Gomez excitedly patted my hand and pointed out the window. He seemed pleased to be coming home, and showing it off to the girl sitting next to him. I smiled. And ooohed and ahhed appropriately.

So all in all, the flights were interesting. And then I got off the plane and saw my husband standing there in his khakis, waiting for me. And then there was hugging, and kissing. And it was good.

I'll see what I can post from down here. Maybe not every day. But we'll see. It's warm. And humid. And different. We'll discuss driving habits later. (Preview: YIKES!)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Adios! T-minus eight hours til departure

Well, I'm putting the finishing touches on my packing for El Sal. This time tomorrow I'll be in the central american country of seven million. I'm excited to go. A little nervous. More nervous to be spending time with my husband than the traveling or the destination. There's always that worry that things won't be like they were the last time you said goodbye. The sparks won't be there. You won't like each other anymore. You'll have grown apart. Hopefully this will be the last time we have to do this song and dance for awhile. I've gotten really tired of the away-for-three-months-"hi!"-for-a-week routine. Almost all of our two-year relationship has been long distance. It has gotten really, really old.

You know, I'm just a little crabby tonight and I keep self-editing everything I write, so I had better just wrap this up. I'll be back in the States on Monday. Probably won't post anything til Tuesday at the earliest. We'll see. Everyone take care, and I'm sure I'll have stories to share over beer when I get back.