|Look who's on the road again|
We woke up at 03:00 am yesterday to start the long slog back to Virginia. I don't consider that hour to be "...in the morning" as truly - it's the night before, but it a necessary evil to be in time for our morning flight. Bogota sent us off with a steady drizzle and a suspicion that the "dry season" might have come and gone while we were waiting for the sun to come out. They call it the "dry season," not the "sunny season" for a reason, it appears.
Our friend who we hired to be our "cat coyote" to carry an extra Tabby was previously inexperienced in the subtleties and potential hazards of feline wrangling in large, crowded public spaces. However, even with having to take them out of their travel bags three times to go through security scanners, she handled herself and Daphne perfectly. And despite the lovely folks at TSA and their helpful advice, ("Ma'am would you just take your cat, your sweatshirt, your purse, your laptop and your laptop bag and move from the conveyor belt to the dressing area to put your shoes back on!"), it really went relatively smoothly.
Okay, there was that nervous time when MY bag was randomly selected by the Colombian airport folks to be inspected by the police. There were only two of us out of the entire flight to receive this honor, and of course they chose the bag where I'd perfectly packed all my work clothes to prevent six hours of ironing today. The conversation went something like this:
Colombian Police, as he unzips my bag: "What have you been doing in Colombia?"
Me: "I've lived and worked here one year."
Colombian Police, as his hands begin to pull out my clothing: "Mmm hmm. And where did you work?"
Me: "At the embassy; I'm a diplomat, sir."
Colombian Police, as he suddenly shoves his handful of my underwear back into my bag: "I'm so sorry, ma'am, I didn't know. Have a safe travel."
Woo-hoo! I showed him my passport and headed for the plane.
Many hours later, with two of the carrier bags reeking of cat pee (hmmm... wonder why?), we touched down in DC. Over all, the Tabbies are becoming true frequent fliers and simply curled up in their bags under the seats in front of us. They appreciated the dozens of "Ay que divino!" in Bogota, and the "Look mom, it's a kitty!" in Miami. We got off the plane, collected our baggage and were in a taxi en route to our temporary digs at Oakwood within half an hour of landing, which has got to be a land speed record.
So now it's back to the same Oakwood from last year. We chose this property for a few reasons: I have great memories from the five months I spent here last year and know the neighborhood well; there's a pool with Tim's name on it; there's a BBQ with Tim's name on it; and many of my classmates and folks from the new Specialist class that will start tomorrow are also here. Oh yeah, and they told me it was the only spot available. Details.
We're happy to be here, and just as I'd pictured - they gave us an apartment in the same building, facing the same direction and just exactly two floors higher than I had last year. As we speak, the Tabbies are soaking up the filtered sun on their balcony. Dodger especially. (I wonder if their fur will curl in the humidity as my hair has instantly done?)
After seeing everyone had water and a litter box (cats and humans included), we headed for dinner with our cat coyote and her husband (good friends who we'll be horrible sad to see return to Bogota). Sitting on the restaurant's outside patio, I inhaled my absolute, nectar-of-the-Gods favorite beverage: dry hard cider. With the cicadas in the background and surrounded by beautiful colonial houses with picket fences - it was great to be "home." But I also realized that for the first time, we are homeless. Last year when I arrived, Tim was still in our Washington home. Then we had our Bogota apartment - now we have Oakwood, cardboard and suitcases. Tim finds it exciting and adds that he loves the non-car ownership part, too.
I'm excited for other reasons than sheer minimalism. Shortly, I'll head down to the communal free continental breakfast and begin to meet my A-100 classmates who'll no doubt be trickling in with their families, hopes and expectations in tow, too. Tomorrow it all starts.