Monday, July 27, 2009


I was ready to take a plane to Providence today to meet Eric and spend a few last days in Woods Hole, but Eric is driving down Wednesday to procure THE VISA. His criminal background check came back negative (no surprise!) as did his HIV test (ditto). We all have passport photos (I rushed Maya to the UPS store to get hers this morning), and I have to talk to my doctor tomorrow to get the results of the HIV test and my letter attesting to my good health. Presumably my criminal background check will arrive in a day or two, but I am not sure that is necessary for the visa. Eric will drive to the Ecuadorian Embassy with papers in hand and my understanding is that he will have our visa in his hands within a few hours and drive immediately back to Woods Hole to finish up his course, pack up and return to Baltimore. He is far more calm about driving the long distances; I am beginning to feel relieved that I will not be driving all the way to Florida. We have tickets to Miami for next Wednesday morning; Maya and I will spend our day at South Beach and catch our plane to Quito that evening.

So today felt like my first day of freedom. There was nothing on my agenda, since I was expecting to be in Woods Hole and not in Baltimore. Maya spent the day with Belina and Marius bowling. I chose to go shopping, not a familiar experience at all. Usually, I am very focussed when I shop and get only what is absolutely necessary; shopping is never fun or entertaining, I do it because I must, and I am quick and efficient. I was looking for suitcases that are large and light. Because of my tight budget, I chose three stores; Marshalls, Target, and Tuesday Morning. I did not find the luggage I was looking for, but I managed to spend money quite easily, mostly because there were so many wonderful sales and good deals. I learned that shopping is a dangerous pastime and can get me into trouble. I liked that I had time to wander, that I was not rushed or stressed. When I dashed into Macy's to buy an item I could not purchase in a discount store, I found myself listening politely to a sales clerk recounting her difficulties with her son and reassured her about the wilderness camp she planned to send him to. I have to be careful about telling people I am a psychiatrist, partly because I am no longer practicing, but also because the questions I am asked cannot properly be answered in a sentence or two, and once I begin listening, whole lives pour out and I cannot put people together in a sentence or two.

I wandered back to my office when I got more anxious about spending too much money, and plugged away at the never ending pile of paperwork I carry in a box in the trunk of my car. It is shrinking, but requires far more attention and having a couple extra days will make a big difference. No day is complete without my power yoga class, which Daphne and Julien participated in. Dinner and conversation completed the evening.

So this is what life is like without work and children and obligations. Quiet, reflective, slow, uneventful. I wonder how long I will last.

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