Monday, January 21, 2013

Third Term: Grazing Before the Slaughter

            We’ve been back on the island for over a week now.  Third term classes started for Ivan on Monday; so he’s been at it for a week and, as everyone advised, third term has thus far been relaxing, albeit in a I’m-taking-easy-classes-but-I’m-still-in-med-school relaxing way.  Semantics aside, the free time allowed by an easier workload has given Ivan the chance to get out… quite a bit, in fact.
            But let me take a step or two back.
            In my previous post, I said that I wasn’t able to visit my brother and his family in Pittsburgh before departing, due to that nasty circulating flu.  Apart from being a total downer that I couldn’t spend a little extra time with the kids, this hitch also meant that we needed to drive to Pittsburgh from Erie (two and a half hours) the morning of our 6:20am departure.  I was not, despite my best efforts, able to fall asleep until about 10pm the night before.  Up at midnight and on the road by 1:00am, I had only two hours of sleep.  Needless to say, I had a jumbo coffee copilot for the extent of the drive (yes, I was behind the wheel: one last taste before returning to Grenada, where we don’t drive).  So, what am I getting at?  I had very little sleep and was wired for the two flights ahead.
            We arrived in Miami without a hiccup, spent our seven-hour layover traversing the airport’s web-like layout, consuming the last of our well-loved greasy American food and Starbucks, before the final leg—our flight to Grenada.
            Immigration at the Maurice Bishop International Airport was, per usual, no problem.  Then we reached customs; more accurately, we reached the end of the line for customs.  The end of a very long, unmoving line.  After a half hour of standing in that static queue with our luggage piled next to us, word finally arrived that the customs officers (of which there were approximately two actively working) were searching every passenger’s bags.  Individually and thoroughly.  Just to give you some perspective: the Boeing 737-800 seats about one-hundred and forty-two people.  And that’s about how long the line was—the line in which we were last.  It hardly needs stated, but there was a fair amount of grumbling and riotous murmurs (of actual riots, there were, disappointingly, none).

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Our Brief Respite

            Well, our vacation is over.  Though, I must admit, I don’t recall much relaxing.  I’m not complaining, of course, but I believe we have just emerged from the busiest three weeks of my life.  But now we’re back on the island, (almost) unpacked, (relatively) settled in, and Ivan has already started classes.
            To say that I was excited to go home over the break would be an egregious understatement.  During our time in Grenada, I have and continue to struggle with identity and separation issues.  Most individuals in my position face the same concerns, so it’s nothing particularly unique; I’m just learning how to cope with continuous dramatic change and do my best to adapt.  Unfortunately I’m also learning that adapting is not a remarkably strong skill of mine.  Understandably, returning home was a pretty big deal for me.  Thankfully, Erie, Pennsylvania has done very little in the way of change and we arrived to find our home as ever it has been.
            Before even getting to Erie, we spent our first night in Pittsburgh.  Despite a serious lack of adequate sleep, I thoroughly enjoyed my morning with nephew, Eddie, and niece, Emma.  Particularly enjoyable was sicking Eddie on a sleeping Uncle Ivan and Grandma, then feeding him cookies for breakfast.  (Because what kind of aunt would I be to deprive him of the sugar necessary to send him cartwheeling into deep trouble with his groggy dad?)  Following our horseplay, Ivan and I met with his parents to have an early dinner at The Cheesecake Factory (cue the Homer-Simpson-drooling-for-doughnuts sound) for Ivan’s 29th birthday.  That’s right; we are both officially in our last year of adolescence.  I admit, I am not ready for thirty.  For some reason, I assimilate thirty with adulthood—because, let’s be honest, no one actually acts like an adult in their twenties.
            But I digress; that’s a story and a tiny violin for a birthday yet to come.