It’s been a month since my last post, and I have a good excuse this time. The week of my birthday (the last time I posted), we had our first overnight guests from the mainland, an old colleague of mine and Glenn’s and his wife, who are scoping out places to retire. They stayed with us for 5 days and I got to hang out with them very little since I was working and had a lot of homework. Glenn took them around the western side of the island, and I think they really enjoyed themselves.
The day our guests left was the same day that Glenn and I headed to the mainland for Thanksgiving. It started with a trip to the bank so that I could deposit my birthday checks, and guess what happened? The car broke down on the way to the bank. That was the sixth time in two months, but it wasn’t the last (I’ll get to that later). I had to cancel my remaining lessons for the day and take the car back to Pep Boys, where we left it for a week while we were in New York. That evening, our friend had to give us a lift to the hotel near the airport. We stayed the night in Aguadilla since our flight was going to leave early the next morning. We took off at 6:30am.
We landed at JFK around 9:30am (local time) and headed to Penn Station. It was mobbed. Penn Station is always crowded, but being the day before Thanksgiving, it was totally jam-packed. At least it made for good people watching, which helped entertain us while we waited for our train. There happened to be Glenn’s favorite coffee shop, Tim Horton’s (a Canadian chain), and we spent most of the day there, waiting around. We heard that Amtrak had added 100 trains to get people out of the city due to the looming snow storm, but even at 10:30am, all the trains had already been filled. So, we caught our originally booked train to Rhinecliff around 4pm.
We arrived at the Rhinecliff station around 6:15pm in the middle of a snow blizzard. My grandpa and dad had braved the weather to come pick us up and to bring us winter clothes since we were arriving from a tropical island. The next several days were wonderful with my grandparents, parents, brother and his fiancee, and Glenn’s parents who came down on Black Friday to stay for the weekend. It was a lovely time and I’m glad that it all worked out considering the weather had threatened to keep us all away from upstate NY. Glenn and I got to stay until Monday afternoon, then caught the train back to the airport and took the midnight flight from JFK back to Aguadilla. We took a taxi home, slept for 3 hours, and then I taught all day. I spent that night working on an essay, whose final draft was due the following day. Glenn’s only chore for the day was to go pick up the car, but guess who had our car for a whole week and still hadn’t fixed it? Pep Boys. We had to wait until Thursday to pick it up. This was December 4th.
Glenn and I had already decided to buy a new car, and we arranged to visit a car dealership where Glenn’s co-worker’s friend works. We went there on Monday the 8th. Guess what? The car broke down on the way there. Well, we called our tow-truck guy (yes, we have a tow-truck guy) and he happened to be in Aguada, near us and about 9 km away from the dealership. He towed us there, we dumped the car as a trade-in at $0 down on a new car, and about 3 hours later, we had a new car. It’s a 2011 Chevy Impala with 60,000 miles on it, almost brand-new. It was repossessed the week prior and we were the first ones interested in it. What a deal! It drives like a dream but Glenn and I are still paranoid when we start it up or idle in traffic that it will just break down like the old one. I’m sure the trauma will wear off eventually.
The best part? Glenn is now teaching enough hours at the gym that he can cover the monthly car payments. I’ll be able to cover everything else with my wages. If everything goes according to plan, next month will be the first time that I’m not dipping into my savings to make ends meet. Phew!
Thursday the 11th, I submitted my last exam. I am officially done my first semester of grad school! I finished with 99% in one class and %96 in the other class. Hard work truly does pay off!
To celebrate our new car and my finishing the semester, Glenn finally took me for my birthday dinner to the Thai restaurant in Aguadilla. It was great! We hadn’t had spicy food in several months, and ordering the highest level of spice for our entrees was probably not the best idea (Glenn got heart-burn from it). However, it was delicious and we will definitely go again soon. It’s so nice to be able to go somewhere without having to pay $50 for a tow-truck!
I think we’re all caught up now. I’ll be posting more frequently now that I’ve got a break from school, until January 20th that is. Tonight, we’re going to the staff Christmas party at Glenn’s gym, and we’re going to another Christmas party on the 24th. Christmas in Puerto Rico is celebrated quite differently from in the States, and I’m looking forward to experiencing the holidays here. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to blog about it!
Oh, one last thing before I go: Glenn has been studying Spanish every day and can order food and buy stamps entirely in Spanish!
I have a feeling that 2015 is going to be great.