Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A brief return

I guess I took a break from lugging my laptop to the hotel. There seems to be a lot of confusion over the delivery of the modem for my internet. It is shipped from La Paz and then "someone" has to get it to you. There's no office here so no one from whom to get a straight answer, or rather an understandable English one. I've enlisted the help of every Spanish speaking person I've befriended here to track it down.

Today I am actually back in the states in my home, but only for a brief time to take care of some business. I decided to bring Allison back with me. The past few days she was wearing thin. We are planning to bring reinforcements back down: a television, a dvd player, more books, games, Mac computer, telescope, other goodies. The plan is to ship our car to Los Angeles stocked with items we need, meet Robert there, then drive down the Baja together.

The wind was bearing down on Loreto the last few days we were there. It picks up the dust and dirties everything, a sure disappointment to the visitors there for the weather. It probably helped us mentally to leave. On the plane we ogled the Baja coastline for awhile before settling into our separate books. I was very surprised when Allison pulled out one that I had bought for her not because she'd like it necessarily, but because I thought at 3rd grade reading level it would be a challenge. To my amazement she sat quietly reading it for nearly an hour. I kept waiting for her to ask for help, then I grew suspicious and watched her. Her little fingers were tracing under every line. She was reading this difficult book. That was like a little present to me since I've done so little to school her. In the past few days I was feeling a bit sorry for her. We drag her around like a little adult expecting adult behaviour. This whole adventure is geared for us. She tags along cheerfully and sits at table after table listening politely to adult conversation. She's had no cartoons, no trips to the playground, no friends, not even her puppy. We've dragged our kid to Mexico for half year. What are we doing? In this weak moment I promised her a trip to Toys-R-Us on our return. Robert had already one-upped me with a promise of Disneyland in December.

Our plane stopped in Los Angeles for a short layover before heading back to the midwest. After numerous security checks we were deposited to the corridor with the shops and eateries. We both saw McDonalds right away. I plunked down $14 dollars for a Happy Meal with a chocolate milk and a Cobb Salad and watched Allison put on a show of delight and gratitude. Several minutes passed before she even remembered and asked for the happy meal toy. If we could just maintain that essence of gratitude, but I know it will pass by tomorrow when we are back in the thick of America and she's drinking her chocolate milk to morning cartoons.

We landed after midnight. We found my SUV in the parking lot and it started up obediently. The recently repaved highway home looked like black velvet and we rode along smoothly at 70mph--every mile a mile further from Mexico and soon the sensation of riding in the Scout along the dusty, gritty road from Nopolo to Loreto would fade away, maybe too, by tomorrow. As we turned off the exit to our neighborhood there was our suburban-scale grocery market. I felt compelled to stop for I knew I'd regret waking up without milk or bread or butter or orange juice. Half-and-half for coffee would be a treat too.

Unconsciously, I parked where I always do near the shopping cart return. Allison and I bundled up to brave the 30 degree night. We walked towards the oversized double doors, my eyes squinting in the bright light. I could see through the windows the first row of merchandise was freshly stocked with the holidays in mind: baking goods like flour, pie shells, canned pie fillings, chocolate chips. I took a deep breath as the doors electronically parted. I had to decide on the exhale how I felt. Would I breath in at the bounty or sigh in the face of the excess. Welcome home.

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