My time in America is done for now.
Among the many highlights of my trip:
(1) Trip to Tampa with Sgroi and eating as if we were building our reserves to compete in “Survivor.” Tasting ketchup and realizing it tastes just like BBQ sauce but without the spicy kick. Being told my Kim that I have scabies and am dirty and contagious, later to find out that my chicken-pox like bug bites are actually due to chiggers and I am NOT contagious. Just unsightly.
(2) Annual “camping” trip which actually took place in a cabin as it does every year. A great all-American time in a cabin filled with Philipinos, Arabs and Colombians; playing charades and watching my mother act out “Monica Lewinsky,” Glenn act out “Bisexual,” and Rasha act out “An Elephant Wearing Suspenders” and “A Butterfly Wearing Glasses.” Again, much food was consumed on this grand adventure. Among these tasty food items were: Hot dogs, baked beans, cookies, chips and similarly unhealthy items.
(3) Pre-camping food shopping. After my doctor’s appointment, I decided to head over to Giant and do the camping trip shopping because it’s just two minutes from my doctor’s office. I was proud of myself for being so efficient and purchased $75 worth of groceries featuring the likes of: Three cans of industrial-size baked beans, industrial size Ragu and a 64-ounce orange juice all tidily packed into eight shopping bags. Then realizing that I don’t have a car and I will have to carry all these bags home. This resulted in me having to hide bags behind trees at various neighbors’ houses when the load became too much to bear and acting out the elementary school “shuttle run” when shuffling between neighbors’ houses and my house in bringing the groceries home.
(4) Sitting next to a dentist who watched tooth implant videos for three hours on the flight between Miami and Bogota. No matter how much I tried to turn my head, I couldn’t help but see surgical instruments and blood out of the corner of my eye.
(5) Family get together on Sunday. Finding out that my little cousin, who was my height last time I saw him, is now a giant and towers over me. Discovering the joy of citrus flavored vodka and sprite, tasting my mom’s salsa for the first time and realizing it’s actually good, seeing my grandmother and most of my dad’s side of the family. And eating Elsie’s Ceviche.
(6) Receiving absolutely no catcalls from any man whatsoever no matter how tight my pants and how low my shirt.
(7) Breathing fresh air untainted with the smells of diesel or fried dough. You can’t understand how amazing this is until you’ve lived without it for eight months.
(8) Happy hour with my sister, Kim, Chris, Rasha, Kristen, Adriana, Tanya Nora, my sister and Cecile in Arlington and discovering that Margaritas are, in fact, quite good, as are $1 tacos and good company.
(9) And of course, spending time with my family and friends.
So right now, I plan to be here about 6-8 more months. I have some very concrete plans for what I’d like to achieve during that time and once I’m done I’ll come back home to the beautiful, stable, clean and prosperous – if a bit uneventful– state of Virginia.