We’re back in the US* and it feels a little strange. Here are some differences between the Caribbean and living in the big city (by which I mean Denver, of course).
- I haven’t seen anyone walking down the street holding a machete yet, and if I did I would run away.
- Everywhere I look there’s a tv. When it’s tuned to the news, I keep waiting to hear, “and live from New York it’s Saturday Night!” Because it seems in every way more like a parody of the news than actual news.
- It’s sooo cold. “Can we turn the AC off?” I can’t take being blasted with freezing cold, 72 degree air.
- It’s dry. Drinking enough water is impossible. I had to make an emergency run to the grocery store for some extra-strength lotion to hold my skin together.
- My allergies are gone. Jon’s allergies are back.
- Everyone is in a hurry. I guess they need to be certain places for specific things that happen at scheduled times.
- Even the toilets are serious.
- Water comes from the tap in inexhaustible quantities, available with a flick of the wrist. For the first few days, taking a shower felt like heaven. I am still amazed that the feeling of cleanliness continues into the next five minutes and beyond; there’s no subsequent sweat-shower making regular bathing seem rather pointless.
- Sleeping through the night is easier when I don’t have to wake up every other hour to either open or close the windows, depending on whether it’s raining inside the boat or stiflingly hot.
- Crossing the street is always exciting when I’m not entirely confident which direction the cars are going to come from.
- Riding the bus is a quiet experience. Because there’s no crescendo of soca music as the bus approaches and no conductor leaning out the window asking if I need a ride, it’s important to pay attention to make sure I won’t miss the next bus that comes along. There’s no reason to say “good afternoon” to the passengers on either side of me and I don’t have to wedge myself between them because everyone is wearing earbuds and taking up two or three seats each.
- If I didn’t know any better I would assume I’m on my own here, and it makes me think how hard it would be as a foreigner in this country, not speaking the language. But I guess there’s always Siri if ever we find ourselves in need of help.
So, is it weird being back? It feels too cliché to say we’ve gained a new perspective on our old lives. But for all of the above reasons, yes, it’s kind of weird to be back. It’s also really easy to get used to the convenience of modern life once again, and any new-found perspective tends to fade quickly.
It’s also good to be back. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to work for awhile to refill the cruising kitty, which wouldn’t have been possible without our friends offering to let us stay with them. I think we needed a little break from the cruising life, to reconnect with our friends and family, and maybe even to get a glimpse of what things would’ve been like had we never left.
I would’ve been able to walk to work from our old house, our house would’ve almost tripled in value, we would’ve had no debt and could’ve taken advantage of the hip new restaurants popping up all over the place in Denver. We could’ve had a baby. All of that would have been great of course, but after seeing our alternate future I would still make the same choice to leave. In a way, there was no other choice for us, and feeling that way renews my excitement to be where we are now. Because everything is different when you know that you have options, and that you chose the path you’re on. So as much fun as I’m having here, I’m also looking forward to returning home, and home is where the boat is.
*Yep, this post was due over three months ago.