As much as yesterday felt like the end of all that was familiar in my life, today was a new beginning. Not that we did much today. We woke up later than usual, packed up, and headed for Ottawa. For the next ten hours! The Pennsylvania police were out in force, so we were stopped outside of Harrisburg going 13 miles per hour over the speed limit. The ticket itself was supposedly only $25, but added to that were all sorts of extra fees for different services, ending at $109. After that Eric slowed down, and the drive was endless.
I have no problem with long drives. I do not get irritable or agitated, which is what I would expect, considering that I am stuck in an uncomfortable seat and I can't sleep or read or entertain myself. And Maya keeps asking 'Are we there yet?'. I like that I am moving, that the scenery is gorgeous, That Eric and I can talk and neither of us can go anywhere or avoid the conversation. We are sitting next to each other and there are hours and hours to cover every topic and sort out every dilemma.
Of course Ecuador was the focus for most of the drive. I had Maya do page after page of Spanish exercises, and reviewed the words with both Eric and Maya, so we are starting to make some progress on the language. I am not sure that we will have such an opportunity until we drive back, but it felt like an accomplishment. The reward was Nintendo time (I absolutely hate that apparatus!) and movies.
I looked for healthy meal choices along the way but was repeatedly disappointed. I wondered what people who want to eat well choose on a road trip. In the end it was Subway and Dunkin' Donuts, neither particularly well rounded as far as food choices go.
Our plans for Ecuador are coming together. Our movers are coming June 15-16 to help Eric with the big pieces at he house and at the offices. Maya may be able to attend a music camp or hang out with her friend Belina. Eric leaves for Woods Hole on the 19th and Maya and I may go with him for the weekend and then return for dance camp for Maya and more work for me. I have two busy weeks booked until the end of June and then the one office closes June 30 and the other sputters through until July 11 and then closes. We travel to Cape Cod for July 4th weekend and again July 11. My birthday is July 16 and last year we spent it sailing with my sister and her family in Boston. I like to sail on my birthday, actually I would like to sail much more regularly. I am not much of a sailor but I love to be on a boat in the bay with the sun shining and the sea moving. We have spent several of my birthdays sailing around Baltimore, Cape Cod and now Boston. So I think that is what I want to do again on my birthday, so we will try to arrange it.
The renters move in on the 15th of July, so if when I return to Baltimore I will be camping o somebody's couch. I may drive my car to Florida to leave with Eric's parents, and then fly from Miami to Quito. Eric has to stay in Woods Hole until early August and will join me after he finishes up work in Baltimore. We discussed mail and banking and whether to rent furnished or unfurnished and how much money we have to live on (very little) and where in Quito we will live. I wanted to live closer to his university although Maya's school is far off in the north of the city, so I will have to rethink where would be the most practical place to be. Once I am actually there I can start to explore places to live. I have done that already once, so I am somewhat prepared for what to expect this time.
Our dog is at our Daphne and Julien's house. He moved Friday. He has been disturbed for weeks, wondering about all the activity in the house with the moving of boxes and clearing out rooms. I don't think he expected to be carted off to a strange house. We had brought him over for dinner on two occasions before, and he had been quite comfortable each time. But going without us and staying is new for him and I know he wandered through the house and whined a bit. I think the family will enjoy him and he will have a good experience with them. It is possible that after a year Belina and Marius and Daphne and Julien will not want to let him go, and I have tried to prepare Maya for that. I have had mixed feelings about Elmer since we had him. I loved Pippi so much I had no room for another dog in my heart, and did not give Elmer alot of slack. I was angry at him when he chewed and always compared him to my other dog and found him wanting. But he has matured and turned into a wonderful dog and now that he is gone I miss him too. The house is so empty. No Pippi, no Elmer, no Tara, the house is losing all that made it my home.
I like roadtrips. We took them as children quite regularly. When we lived in Rome, my father would pile us in his big grey Mercedes and head for the north of Italy (my grandmother lived in South Tyrol) or Germany ( my other grandparents) or Spain or Greece. I had my spot in the car behind my father in the driver's seat, Monica behind the passenger seat and Karen in the middle. When we lived in Canada, we would drive to Tucson from Edmonton, and in the big grey car, through Waterton, Yellowstone and Bryce and Zion and the Grand Canyon.
I drive regularly to New York, and grit my teeth when I hit the traffic; I just want to get to my destination. But there is something different about a long drive like today. The journey is the destination. The landscape is spectacular. Pennsylvania is different than New York State and the Thousand Islands area as we enter Canada is a place to revisit and spend much more time exploring. Ottawa is a cosmopolitan place. We met my parents and Karen and Monica and Lorna and Edouard and Lorna's beau Colin and his mother and had gourmet Quebecois food and good conversation and all sorts of plans for the next few days of celebration.