My New Adventure…
Exactly 11 days ago, I put my bags in the car and Amanda and Zach (my friends in Atlanta) drove me to the airport. We stopped at Chic-Fil-A because…well..who knows when I will
have an incredibly unhealthy breakfast biscuit like that again? The rest of the drive to the airport was in relative silence…Zach driving, Amanda online shopping (or so she said:) ) and me just taking it all in. Saying goodbye at the airport was much harder than expected. How do you leave people who have become family and not feel upset? I am proud to say that crying was kept to a minimum:) Then I was off, through security and to the gate where I could wait to leave. It is a thing to leave your own country.
The first time I left to China, I had no idea what to expect. It was all new and exciting and I was a bit naive and overconfident as only people my age can be. This time, I knew to expect some adjustment, some homesickness…but also all of the wonderful things that come with embracing a new place, new people, new experiences…
I had kept a little log every other day or so of my experiences thus far, but looking at it now…I think it is better I just summarize what has happened so far..
Arriving in Aruba was surreal. My plane was full of Americans ready for their tropical vacation. The airport was quaint, complete with pictures of beautiful beaches, colorful paintings and very stereotypical, bland “island” music. While waiting for my boss to pick me up from the airport, I had time to sit outside the airport and take it in. Luckily, it is always warm here…and for those of you who know me…it is an amazing thing for me.
My first 11 days here have been a bit of a blur. As I write this, I am sitting in my brand new flat that I arrived in only today. It is a nice place with a large living room (complete with two sofas…plenty of room for guests!), kitchen, bathroom and loft bedroom! It even has an area outside to sit and BBQ…or maybe enjoy the jacuzzi!
During these first days, I have learned a lot about teaching from a boat. My Miami friends will remember just how intimidated I was by piloting the boat! The winds here are offshore, so managing the boat is very important. However, with some practice and a lot of guidance and patience from another instructor (Thank you Jos!), I am finally confident (mostly) with it.
When we aren’t teaching, we are at the shop helping with the paddle boards or working on the gear. It isn’t all “nose to the grindstone”. It’s hot here, so a swim in the Caribbean or even in the hotel’s hot tub/pool are warranted at least a few times a day. If you are hungry, $6 will buy you a lunch that feeds you for two days (freshly cooked from Julia).
One of my highlights thus far has been the beach party that first weekend I was here. Jos (another instructor) organized it and Rob (also an instructor) was the DJ. We BBQed, drank and danced the night away. It was complete with tiki torches, bare feet and benches made out of old boards (very appropriate). It was relaxed and fun and everything I would have expected.
Another highlight was on Labor Day where I participated in a friendly competition with the local Crossfit box at the Marine Base. I had been speaking with the owner of the box (Cross Aruba) before arriving here and he was kind enough to invite me to the competition. I hadn’t seen much of the island and the base was much farther away and it was nice to see a little more of the local areas. The competition itself was great and I was reminded just how much I love crossfit! Everyone there was so friendly and my team came in second place (go Team Red!). I am hoping to make it to the box this week to join, but maybe not until next week (getting settled still!).
So far, this place has been amazing. I am incredibly happy and that is the important thing.
A friend of mine posted a quote on facebook last week and I have not been able to stop thinking about it..
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”
Until next time, my friends, Carpe that Diem