It was a quick and exhausting week. I was called back into the old lab for a proverbial ‘laying on of hands’ – I’m sort of known for it. Start with something that doesn’t quite work right and then make it sing. This might shed some light on the vintage VW thing.
But, my big travel week back to the U.S. started with a fizzle. My flight from Puerto Montt was delayed, which resulted in missing my connection and being stranded in Santiago for 24 hours. I even had to get my exit papers nullified (NULO!) and try again the next day. Once I entered the U.S., my flight to SFO was canceled, I was re-routed through Chicago, only to have that change. Fifty hours after leaving, I finally made it to San Francisco via JFK.
Even though I was in a bit of a daze, my first thoughts on coming back to the Bay Area after 2.5 years were that nothing had changed. Things looked about the same. When I walked into my old office building, it was pretty much as it was when I left. When I went to lunch at the bagel place down the street, the same people worked there and they even remembered my order. I met some friends for dinner and everyone seemed about the same. I may have discovered some sort of time warp.
Still, everything was very different from what I now call home. My morning sunrise over the lake and volcano was replaced with a view of a Honda dealership. A leisurely walk to dinner down the shore was replaced with piss-stained sidewalks and vagrants. One thing that continuously stood out was just how convenient life is in the U.S. – my nearest intersection had at least four fast food restaurants and two gas stations. I suppose convenience is often better than inconvenience.
Overall, it was a good trip. I had success at the office and, of course, I also managed to squeeze in some time to see some friends.
Still, nowadays, the best part of any solo trip is the end: coming back home.