So, blog, we meet again. It has been a while.
A lot has happened since my last post, Going Crazy, but my attitude about living in Puerto Rico hasn’t changed. Yes, it’s a beautiful island with warm weather and beaches galore. But vacationing somewhere and living somewhere for an extended period of time are two different things, and, well… the rose-colored glasses have come off.
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t hate it here. I actually love it here. There are just too many frustrations I deal with on a daily basis to make me want to stay forever. Does that mean I’m leaving the island soon? I don’t know. I’ll get back to you on that after I graduate (in 5 months!!!).
I hadn’t realized that I missed two whole months of posting in my blog. October was fairly boring; I took on more students and worked an insane number of hours. Things were slower in November, work-wise, because there were a few days when the Internet and/or power were off, and I also had a vacation to Canada and the mainland US for the Thanksgiving holiday. However, it was probably the most stressful month I’ve had so far because of a huge exam I had in Phonology the week before my birthday, for which I studied day and night for the whole week before that. Then came my birthday, as well as a visit to the DTOP, which is the Puerto Rican Department of Motor Vehicles. My license was going to expire on the day of my birthday, so Glenn and I went the week before and acquired the application and list of required documents to apply for new licenses (Glenn’s is still valid for some time, but we both thought it best to switch to Puerto Rican licenses since, uh, we live here). Monday, the day before my birthday, we brought our completed applications and all required documents to the DTOP. We stood in the first line to pay for the “sello” (stamp). What is it for? Nobody really knows, except for the fact that it allows the DTOP to take $11 from everyone. Next, we had to go outside to the doctor’s “office” (a broken-down, rotting shack) and pay $20 for a “medical check” (the doctor filling out a form about our health without even looking at us). Then, we had to go back inside and stand in another line to take a number and be seated while we wait to be helped. Finally, our numbers came up, and we presented all of our documents just to be told that they don’t accept trade-ins of foreign licenses (Glenn’s license is from Canada) and that my scanned copy of my social security card was not sufficient, that I had to have the original card in order for the scanner to accept it. It was all bogus, and I think they were looking for bribes. Whatever. We went back to the doctor and got our $20 back, then stood in the first line again to get our $11 back. 3 hours later, we returned home, empty-handed and extremely frustrated.
(There’s a happy ending to the story, though: I was able to renew my Maryland license online and had it delivered to my parents, who brought it to NY for me.)
Three days after my birthday, we went on vacation.
First, we flew to Buffalo, NY and were picked up by Glenn’s parents, who brought us back to their hometown for a few days. Glenn’s sister, who didn’t know we were coming, was surprised when we appeared at her 30th birthday party. The next few days I spent working and finishing as much homework as I could before we headed down to NY. Glenn, his parents, and myself drove down to NY for Thanksgiving, where we all had a big international celebration. To spice things up even more, we had one of my Russian students and her boyfriend join us for Thanksgiving. I have no words to describe how awesome our holiday was, so I’ll let the pictures do the talking: My American-Canadian-Russian Thanksgiving
We left NY on Sunday evening and arrived back home on Monday at 3:00am. I woke up at 7:30am to teach, and have been teaching and studying since then.
And that was the end of November.
I’ve got two weeks left of the semester, which means that it’s crunch-time for final exams and projects. After it’s over, I plan on sleeping and exercising to get back in shape. Our friends who we met when we first arrived in Puerto Rico, and who moved to Maine two months later, are coming home for Christmas and I’m looking forward to spending time with them at the end of the month.
I guess that will bring us to 2016.
One semester. Only one more semester until I graduate! The end is near; I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. What’s next for me? I really don’t know. But I do know that Glenn and I have the travel bug again, and 2016 might be another year of international experience for us. Huzzah!