Sunday, March 27, 2016

Silver Linings and Happiness; or, Transfers 2016

Time heals all wounds. Or something like that.

I've been trying to find silver linings lately, and it's been hard. Really difficult. I found out that---again---there is no transfer for us out of GTMO. I'm not alone, which I guess gives me some solace. At least it's not me, right? But I never thought I'd be here 5 years, and I never planned on homesteading here, so living life in limbo is rather exhausting. Other times it's depressing.

And sometimes, it's comforting, too. The thought of leaving and going to somewhere else is a little scary, as are all big moves. At first, I didn't like that I'm getting too comfortable, because I was only planning on being here a few years. But then I did find things to love.

Some are people---many who have left, but others who are our surrogate family here. We've spent many holidays, including some we don't celebrate ourselves---Hanukkah, Orthodox Easter, Orthodox Christmas---with our GTMO friends. Every weekend it seems like it's another birthday or going away or "just because" party. Some weekends there are multiple. I am never short of people who can give me a ride when the oldest is using my car or can pick up or drop off the youngest at his activities when I'm having difficulties juggling work, life, and motherhood.

I love not spending money. I am a tightwad and love having money in my savings account. No shopping choices means you pay too much for what you can get, true, but you also do without what you really want here sometimes. That sounds negative, but it basically means you learn to only buy what you really need,  so the occasional splurge on an overpriced item you want at the NEX feels like a real treat.  I get excited over a new brand of coffee or toothpaste, a produce item we've never bought here, or my latest extravagance, Pellegrino flavored water. If you are thinking, "wow, that's sort of sad," this life obviously is not for you. The payoff is I can plan to travel in the summer with the money I've saved (and put a kid through college, too) because I am more aware of every single dollar I spend here.

So that's a silver lining---I can still find happiness with the people I've met here and with the money I've saved here. Those are the 2 best things about here, in my opinion.

I've pouted and cried and thrown temper tantrums about the transfer, and I am completely over it now. Seriously. It is what it is, and I do feel better for venting and screaming and letting out my anger and frustration.

My happiness has been in small things, too. Those are the small silver linings of living in such a weird place.

For instance:

Haitian radio. I love trying to understand French---the first language I fell in love with (as a small child, as my mom read me Babar stories in French and told and re-told the story about my parents' first trip to Paris and Versailles). I can sing "Sur le pont D'Avinon" with the best of them, thanks to Mom. Quite accidentally I found that most days, I can get Haitian radio within a 3-4 mile radius from home.

Gardening. This includes digging up palm trees on the side of the cliff behind my house and finding a really old Cuban bottle. It's probably from the 1930s. I also found some old bricks, and closer to the water, tons of urchin shells and a conch. I love finding weird Cuban and ocean treasures.

Cuban radio. This week's random American treat: Boston's "Don't Look Back." I was doing some serious jamming whilst driving at a breakneck 25 mph on Sherman Ave.

Home decor. Or Rodney decor. The Only Squirrel in Cuba got bunny ears for Easter. Sadly, no bonnets for squirrels here or online, so we had to improvise.

Painting. One of my favorite pictures from the Yucatan, where we spent a couple of weeks last summer, is now one of my favorite paintings. Also Boy 2 has found out that he loves painting (and he's good at it, too). We enjoy sitting side by side in silence, creating, even if it's for our eyes only.

Friends and celebrations. Birthday parties and mimosas at the Bayview for breakfast, visiting a returning friend and Jamaican food on Rasta Hill (my favorite GTMO eatery), and lots of card games with friends and neighbors.

My dinner is looking at me!!
Writing. I've been in a creative writing group for a few months now, and it's become a highlight of my week. I doubt I share anything I've written here, but I've been really happy with seeing where this crazy brain of mine takes me.

Vacation. That's my focus now---getting off this rock for a much-needed weekend break (it's been almost 9 months and TIME FOR A GETAWAY) and even better, summer vacation. I love this part about my job. It's worth 10 months of stress and worries to get 2 (unpaid) months of summer vacation. We haven't finalized plans yet, but it's going to be a-ma-zing.

Graduation.  It's June 10 and it's coming soon! Boy 2 got into George Mason, UT's CAP program, Texas State, UNT, and UT San Antonio. Yes, I am bragging (since he did the work, I just did the nagging). He still isn't 100% sure on which one he's going to pick, but he is taking a gap semester before taking the plunge.  It's going to include time overseas (in actual overseas countries, not just closed bases overseas). He's still working out those plans. I'm so excited for what his future holds---to be 17 again when the world is wide open. . .

And that's what I'm focusing on---what I can control (or try---the yard will never be completely under my control) and what makes me feel happy.