I is home! It is good! Murica! It was a 32 hour adventure through four time zones and four airports, but I made it. The time in the Rio airport was sweet because one of my besties was also flying that night, so she got to witness the struggle that is me with access to unlimited cheesy things in an airport mall.
We had airport sushi, which I firmly advise against before major flights, talked about our highs and lows of the school year, and made promises to Facetime each other’s dogs. Happy ending – soon as she left and stopped blocking all my bad decisions, I could make some, and therefore have no non-buyer”s remorse!
The red-eye came with a chubby, chatty, excited-to-practice-his-English-on-me guy. Even with my mouthguard in, headphones in, arm brace on, and a book on my lap, he was not deterred. I spent the entire flight squeezing my elbows together to not touch him, and woke up to a beautiful sunrise coming over New York, but rather sore and sleepy.
I spent my layover in JFK wandering the shops near tears. Everything looked so beautiful: bagels, artisanal cookies, endless travel sized goods, Kombucha. I stood in front of a beverage fridge for apparently too long until the employee asked me suspiciously or sympathetically if I was okay. “You just have so many things in here,” I half-sobbed. I settled on a bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos as my breakfast. In LAX I had the tiniest, cutest bottle of champagne and giggled to myself about how happy I was.
I originally had had an eight hour layover in LAX, but when I called to switch the flight, found out it would be 400 dollars to switch it. I called for a few days in a row in hopes something would break. My grandma volunteered to pay it just to have me home ten hours sooner, but when I called to make the switch, the woman did it for free! Praise Jesus! I hung up as quick as I could before she realized she had made a mistake. It was awesome.
I’ve been home for two weeks. I have been nonstop with family and puppy, who raises my oxytocin levels just by looking at me. I’ve remembered how to drive and cried in a Safeway. I’ve talked on a telephone. I’ve understood people around me. I’ve listened to a radio. I have been to three different Targets. I have walked on my favourite trails and sat on my favourite benches and drank wine in my parents’ magical backyard. I have eaten five kinds of dips from Trader Joes and single-handedly finished a pint of sour cream.
I have gained eight pounds. Literally. I weighed myself. I’m impressed, and not even going to worry about it because OH MY STARS FOOD HERE IS SO GOOD AND EVERYWHERE. And craft beer? I’ll take it in a funnel. Nom.
I’ve been to a Giants game, my happy place, and felt the City cold and screamed for my boys at the yard and of course, ran into a good friend.
I’ve been a weekend in the city with my best friend, where we had glitter and garlands and big plans, but ended up being the youngest and prettiest and only females at some Irish-themed dive bar in Daly City, catching up on a year’s worth of us before ordering a year’s worth of Chinese food to eat at home on the couch while bingeing on TLC reality shows.
I visit my great-grandma, who will turn 100 on August 12th if she makes it. She recognized me the first time I visited, and pretended to spank me on the arm, I think because I haven’t been to see her, although I have a pretty legit excuse. She has “the dwindles,” according to her hospice nurse. The woman has made me laugh and spanked me and given me hugs and drank more Coronas and spilled more salsa on herself than most people I know. I keep telling her to reach for the angels in her sleep. It’s terrible to watch someone you love slipping slowly away as she has the last few years, but man, what a life she’s lived.
I also spent Fourth of July weekend on an amazing four day campventure in the middle of noooowhere, Big Sur, with family and besties and a standard poodle. And a really chatty ranger, a Mexican family reunion who began screaming for “ARTURO! MAMA! PAPI!” at sunrise each day, a full moon, and about seven jillion flies.
It was beautiful/magical and all the redwhiteandblue I needed. There was wine and food and campfire smoke smell I’m still trying to get out of my hair. There were stories and laughs and games and no showers. And I saw northern skies again, frolicked in the freezing Pacific Ocean again, and remembered the joy of a roadtrip.
It’s all going much faster than I expected…it’s so nice to be in familiar and hot showers and everything is so easy and relaxing after a year that was both challenging and exciting. I’m feeling very grateful for such a nice home and community to come back to, and looking forward to more adventures in the two weeks I have left before going back to Brazil!
tchau tchau beijos!