Thursday, February 26, 2009

Travel Zen

So this is it, I am packed and it is not midnight yet. I am trying to decide whether to sleep or not, since we are up in a few hours to catch an early early flight to Miami. The flight is soooooo tedious, with a five hour layover in Miami and late night arrival in Quito. I looked for better connections, but nothing quite worked out for us. I have to give in to the 'life is the journey' experience. Actually, once I get on the plane, I enter my a new way of being. I am less irritable, less rushed, better able to sit and wait and be in the moment. I become quite a different person. I am not in control, I have no choice but to go with the flow. In Ecuador especially, nothing quite happens as expected. Flights are delayed, time becomes an entirely different element. When we are with the students, we warn them to expect long delays. Whatever the agenda is, it is subject to change. Our schedule may or may coincide with that of our guide, and in the end it is his will that prevails. We are making adjustments constantly, and if we are casual about it, all is well. Luckily the students seem well able to tolerate the waiting and the glitches. They fall asleep in the bus, on the plane, in the waiting areas, wherever they may be, and don't seem particularly bothered about the delays. I hope our alumni travelers are just as patient.

So what will I do for five hours in the airport? I will read, work on some project on my computer, perhaps rent a movie and watch it, probably eat some inedible food, likely walk the length of the terminal. Before I expect it, we will be boarding our plane to Quito. I like Miami airport, because it is such an unexpected place. If you listen, you do not hear English spoken; Spanish is the primary language, and the energy is intense. More often than not, the eating establishments offer Cuban food. I am always stuck in Immigration, where I am addressed in Spanish, and everyone in our 'holding cell' is from a Spanish speaking country, including me I suppose, since I live in the United States as well. And I like the language, it has rhythm and a musical quality and is pleasant to hear. Of course, as of yet, I undertand only a fraction of it.

I am bringing a Spanish textbook with me and hope that I will have time and motivation to work on it. I was planning to take a course this spring, to work on my grammar, but I am traveling too much and will miss to many sessions. I believe that if I put my mind to it, I will start get more focussed and make as much progress as in a class.

My sister arrived this afternoon, and Maya took over, explaining her schedule and how things are done in the house. By the time I came home, Monica was comfortable and ready to take over. I wonder if Maya will be taking care of her...Maya appears to see this as a great adventure. Monica brought her Havanese, Kasper, who takes every opportunity to hump Elmer. Elmer tolerates him. We are all still missing Pippi, Elmer particularly.

My alarm clock will ring at 3:30 AM. Yikes!

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