I believe I spent the last week in the states. I can't say for sure because it went by so fast and much of it passed in a blur, but I have some tickets stubs that say I was there, so I must have been.
I got in to Denver last Wednesday night at about 9p. I left Costa Rica at 7 am that morning but spent most of the day at the Houston airport. My flight was delayed (thanks to high winds) and then I almost missed it due to having a couple of beers bought for me and being too accustomed to la hora tica (thanks to Darren (?) and Costa Rica respectively). The first indications of reverse culture shock came when I was unable to speak English in the Houston airport (possibly due to said beers) and when later that night at Qdoba, when the burrito boy asked if I wanted salsa I said "si" and then spent the next five minutes trying to convince him that I am accustomed to speaking Spanish and was not one of those dorks that says "si" instead of "yes" in all Mexican and Mexican-esque restaurants.
I spent Thursday morning at the DMV trying to get my driver's license back, a logistical remnant from the mugging. While waiting, I decided to walk over to the Rite Aid and pick up an Economist to read and pass the time. I searched high and low through a plethora of bridal, hotrod, celebrity and porn magazines but couldn't find it. I asked the girl working there if they had any news magazines at all, I would have settled for a Time or Newsweek even. She looked confused and offered a Discovery Magazine. "Never mind," I said. I guess campesino does translate.
Friday I had lunch with the Island Grove group. It was kinda our last she-bang as Nicole is moving to San Diego. Chris will be working on his post-doc. I suggested that where I come from, when someone is unable to finish going to school, it is sometimes referred to as being "held back." :) Lisa told me I was old, I told her "yes WE are." She is desperately avoiding motherhood although I think that any man that will still love you after you set his apartment on fire is one that maybe needs to be duplicated. :) Em looks happy and great and is learning to love a Republican. Donna is still amazing, still my hero and still working with the people everyone else wants to forget about, all the while suffering the British shenanigans of Dr. Hottie. And Mason.... Mason is still Mason, swinging from apron strings and looking for a lap to lay his head in. Headed off to counsel torture victims in Eastern Europe. Wei Wu Wei my friend.
Friday night drove to New Castle and hung out with the fam and 5 rapidly growing nieces and nephews. It's hard to miss that part. Billie and Rod have one more on the way, so soon there will be six. Saturday we headed to Grand Junction and hung out with a few select Sefcovics along with my girl Holly and the little man Ky. We had a very pleasant afternoon. Saturday night I met up with Aaron, Maria and Will (Bill) my buds from the initial El Salvador trip. We swapped some stories, did some shots, I lost Holly, but then I found her again. I am still getting used to American cell phones. Not sure what the big difference is, but I seem to be deaf to their ring tones. :) I learned that speaking Spanish makes me invincible at Shapiro’s although the big gringo standing behind me may have had something to do with that. :) Holly and I went to an after party at J-Dogg's or some other dreaded rapper sounding name. I spent most of the night staring at Grand Junctions alternative crowd thinking "you people are definitely not ticos." Sunday morning was back up to New Castle. I taught Holly about tico time she seemed to catch right on. We had breakfast with the Burns' et al. and then headed back to the Fort.
Monday, I kidnapped Sarah from her infant twins and 4-year-old and took her shopping. It was lots of fun. There was giggling involved. I had just enough time to squeeze in an hour of drinking coffee and writing in my journal at Starry Night before I met Shawn and Cassie for dinner at the Rio. They are expecting their second child or "young mind to corrupt" as I like to call them. Caroleena and Andy joined us and we ended the night with a PBR at the Trailhead. They are also doing well, finishing up school, working for Island Grove and hunting shrooms. Cool.
Tuesday Byron and I were going to go hiking but it was raining. (Did I mention that I froze 97% of the time I was in Colorado?) So we went over my financial stuff. I got a couple of "bad monkey" speeches but other than that, all went well. Byron seems to have inherited all of the "adult responsibility" genes, I predict that this will not be the last time I am found crashing on his couch. Dara still likes animals. I can't seem to talk her out of it. Although there maybe be hope for her after all, she spends her days cutting them up and placing their insides on glass slides, or watching other people to make sure they do said cutting correctly. Jack got onto my computer and learned to play chess. I may try to learn also and play with him next time I am home but that will probably end with tears. Not generally a problem, except that they will probably be my tears and that's not nearly as fun.
Wednesday I spent packing and desperately looking for quasi-formal shoes just in case I ever need to wear something besides my Chacos. Failed miserably. I have been cursed with gargantuan feet and they just don't make shoes for me. I have thought about shopping where drag queens shop, but I think I would be hard pressed to find a sporty-and-outdoorsy-yet-appropriate-for-semi-casual-drag-queen store. If you know of one, please let me know. :)
Wednesday night, I left. We, logically, flew from Denver (left at 1:30am) to Newark then to Costa Rica. I was only quasi-conscious through most of the flight. I got back to San Jose, grabbed a cab to my bus stop just in time to squeeze into the last space on the bus to Puntarenas. My house is in good/excellent order, thank you Marianne. My neighbors are already hooking me up with their husbands’ co-workers and my cat is MIA. Although I'm not worried about the cat, I know he has been around because there was half a mouse on the kitchen floor when I got back. He is probably just pouting because I was gone so long. He is so catty! HA! Anyhoo... like I said, I spent most of my time running frantically from one reunion to another. I learned that one week is not nearly enough time after being gone nearly two years.
I am still waiting to hear about the El Salvador job. So I still don't know, for sure, what I will be doing come October. Well, that's about as good an update as I can give you. I have a work report and a close of service report due soon so I will be spending the next couple of days at my computer.