I had a lovely day, appreciating the good friends we have in Baltimore. It was fun to go to our local pharmacy (across the street from our house) and have a short conversation, to visit the dentist (Eric, Maya and I went together for our six month checkups) who has seen us all twice a year for over six years, and even better to meet my friend Emily at my favourite French restaurant (Petit Louis) for lunch. I am reminded how much I have missed my friends.
We did not have enough time to really catch up. It was just a wonderful taste what made Baltimore 'home' for so many years. Dinner with the Benichous was another reminder of countless other dinners and parties and activities together over the years.
It is odd however that it does not feel as if I am 'home' in Baltimore. There is no doubt that Quito is our home, and that is where we belong for now. I suppose because our house is occupied by strangers, it is clear that it is not our home for now, and although I passed it more than once today, driving from appointment to appointment, I had no compelling wish to stop or visit or pay much attention to it. We had been told by our neighbours that the yard was well taken care of, better than when we lived there, but when we passed by the house the first time today, it looked no different than before, except that the renters had placed black plastic bags over some of the windows and French doors, perhaps to keep heat from escaping.
I liked visiting the local Starbucks and recognizing the server and ordering my favourite drink and getting exactly what I wanted, knowing that it took time to train the barista to make my doppio macchiato with extra foam just right, and finally after the months of coffee that is never quite right, I am able to drink it exactly as I like it. I do miss good coffee in Quito.
Tara was in town and joined us for lunch, and suggested we take a yoga class. I had not been doing any yoga in Ecuador, so I was hesitant to embarrass myself, but finally decided to go anyway, and although the location of the studio has changed, the style of yoga has not, and the heat and the rituals were comforting, and being able to get through the hour and manage the poses felt great. I miss Sid and my yoga class when in Ecuador.
I did not feel compelled to visit my office or see patients. They are well taken care of and do not need me and it would be confusing anyway for them to see me, and perhaps confusing for me. I am struck by how little enthusiasm I have about returning to work that I have always loved, and patients I appreciate very much, and a lifestyle I am accustomed to. It is a confusing feeling and I am not sure how to interpret it. I will have to return to my work, I have little choice in the matter and am lucky to have a job to come back to, especially one that I like so much. I will enjoy the eight months until I return to the office, and will probably dive in enthusiastically when I do.
The worst part of the day was going through all our mail, mostly bills, and unfortunately bills that were not paid and are already at collections. None of our mail was forwarded to Ecuador, so I had no idea that medical bills were sitting in a pile for four months. It was certainly my error for not anticipating that the bills would be there, but now I am panicking. I will have to take care of this in the days that we are here and there is no time and no money and I will have to be very inventive and creative to manage this problem. It was so easy not to think of such details when I was not receiving the mail. I have enjoyed not having the responsibilities of our lives these past months. I had no idea that I had not taken care of every detail before I left...
Having left preparation of the lectures I must give on Friday and Saturday to the very last moment, I am scrambling to put together something interesting and engaging. My stress level is skyhigh until I deliver my talks....
Meanwhile Maya is thrilled about seeing her friends and catching up. She has struggled more than Eric or I these past months, missing her life and lamenting her losses. She is in heaven playing with Belina and Marius and Nathan and anticipating returning to her Baltimore school for a visit and arranging playdates with her closest confidantes. It was fun to hear her teaching Belina and Marius to speak Spanish, she sounded so confident and proud of her new skill. At this point she is happy to be here, but equally excited about returning to Quito and her life there. I am so relieved!