We had to wake up at 2 AM our time at home to get ready to leave. We went to bed late and didn’t sleep much the night before. I wish I could say I slept well on vacation but I didn’t. I struggled with insomnia and nightmares. The sleeping pills didn’t help much. It seems like after 5 hours it totally wears off except the grogginess. There were moments I felt an overwhelming sense of dread and sadness. I felt at times utterly and totally alone like I was at the end of my rope with how much stress I can bear. I know that is not totally true since I have a small but amazing support team including my husband who was with me. But I struggle at times with wanting to drift away instead of reaching out and connecting. At the best, this vacation was a distraction from the pain I was feeling inside. Beach therapy does wonders. I would recommend it.
It was still dark when we loaded up the bus and headed for the airport. While there, we bought our first souvenirs since the market was closed when we visited. A bottle of hot sauce for our son, tea for Angel, chocolates for Dan, Arabella, and Lexi, and a bottle of Blue Curacao for Paul’s step-dad Darryl who just turned 70. I was able to sit with Paul on the flight from Curacao to Miami which took about 3 hours. I slept most of the way without being medicated because I was so exhausted.
The line for customs wasn’t horribly long. Then we had to pick up our luggage and go through security again. Our luggage had a tag that said status unknown. I asked the security guard by the luggage carousal what it meant but he didn’t seem to know. I think it was because they pushed back the time of our flight. We really didn’t know what was happening. At the last minute, I opened up my suitcase and threw all of the souvenirs inside while in line to hand over our luggage. Otherwise the liquor and hot sauce would be confiscated since it was over 3 ounces. We waited at least another hour to go through security.
Paul and I weren’t able to sit together on the flight from Miami to Chicago which was another 3 hours. This flight I was medicated and tried to relax listening to music on Paul’s headphones. I was much calmer than I was on the way there and didn’t freak out about the turbulence. It was strange because as I was listening to music I could hear the pilot talking through the Bluetooth headphones. I could hear him saying, ‘I didn’t sign up for this’. I took my headphones off to see if he was saying it through the airplane speakers but didn’t hear anything. What the hell? I recognized the pilot’s voice from his earlier announcement. I turned down my music so I could hear more. Then he said, “Can you believe it? She ratted him out!” Interesting, but that is all I heard. I really liked the sang I didn’t sign up for this. I really need to use it more.
Once we got into Chicago we needed to find a shuttle to get us back to our vehicle at the hotel. Paul and I jumped into the shuttle for Chicago Marriott O’Hare. I really thought I had the right shuttle but then saw the shuttle for Chicago Marriott Suites O’Hare which is where we stayed. We were on the wrong shuttle but the driver said he would take us to our hotel anyway. We made a couple more stops along the airport. We picked up an elderly lady in a wheelchair. She kept telling the guy to call her son and she seemed really worried or had dementia or something. She refused to get out of the wheelchair. Another shuttle driver started honking his horn and yelling at her to get out of the way since it took so long. Our driver was finally able to convince her to get into the shuttle. Then we made another stop and picked up a guy who fell flat on his face trying to get into the shuttle.
The shuttle driver dropped Paul and I off first. I was the last one off the shuttle and the falling guy and wheelchair lady both tried to follow me out. I tried to stop them from following me off the bus. I told them to stay, it wasn’t their stop, I made a mistake, and shut the door on them. Then we were off for the long drive back home. We got home close to 10 PM that night. It was hard to believe that we were in South America in the morning. We came back home to two feet of new snow that fell after we left for our trip. It was nice to finally be home and I slept pretty good that night.