It is great to be home. It's funny how the world, your mind, the universe, whatever you want to call it, works. By the first hour I felt more relaxed than I had for weeks, by the first week in Paradise, I was more calm and centered than I had been in years. Nothing could bother me - I couldn't even remember being bothered by anything at all. By my second week in Roatan I thought I could be one of those people who just keeps extending her stay indefinitely until I look back and say "I was supposed to be here for one month, and ended up staying 13 years." By the third week I was happy and content, but had a tiny bit of a stirring inside of me. That stirring - that need to be productive, to have things happen in a timely manner, to see my husband/my home/my cats/my friends and family, well it just kept growing until by the end of the fourth week I actually felt ready to go. Of course I would miss my new friends on the island, of course it would be difficult not to snorkel everyday or be cleansed by the calm, beautiful, perfectly clear and temperate ocean everyday. We don't have a hammock at home. We can walk down the street in L.A. without a single person stopping us to see how we are doing and what we are up to.
It helps that I got sick during my last couple days on the island. No, not a gastrointestinal upset (luckily that was very short-lived), but rather the "tos y gripe" (cough and congestion/runny nose) that the vast majority of my gorgeous little Honduran patients had. This is definitely a new virus/bacteria to me. I have never had a cough quite so deep and wheezy and chest rattley or a nasal congestion quite so intense and yet dry at the back of my throat. I most definitely scared the man on the plane ride next to me - each time I coughed (and yes, I always cover my mouth!) I could see him look around the plane in a panic for a different seat to sit in. The comfort of home is much more alluring when you aren't feeling well.
Despite my cold, our last two days in Roatan were wonderful. On Eric's birthday I cooked up an overwhelmingly large breakfast and then we took a water taxi (think small row boat with a motor on one end) over to West Bay for the most glorious day of snorkeling. The water was warmer, clearer and calmer than it had ever been before. Spectacular. An island friend then made a very late lunch of a local favorite, arroz con pollo (rice with chicken) - it was more delicious than any other version of this dish that I have had in the past. That night there was a power failure (which happens fairly frequently on the island, for unexpected and unexplained reasons - can last anywhere from 1 hour to 10 hours at a time). The moon and stars were brighter because of it. We walked down town, got some melty gelato from one of the places in town not equipped with a generator and then found some street food (the best baleadas in town). We got home just in time for the electricity (which for us really just means the A/C) to come back on and cool us off enough to go to sleep.
Everyone should go to Roatan at one point in their lives. To relax, to tan, to snorkel, to dive, to meet some of the friendliest people you will ever meet, to center yourself and remember who you are, and then to want to return home again. It's an ideal vacation spot. Pictures coming soon.