Puerto Rico Journey, Uncategorized

Contemplating my next move

The prevailing logic is, “If you can buy a house then do it and don’t rent.” I suppose I have proven myself to eschew prevailing logic whenever possible. However, this time, some very smart people have been suggesting that, perhaps, this free bird should not have a mortgage cage, and instead, renting just might be the wiser option. Look at me being sensible!

So, I am looking for rentals in Kansas City. Having only lived there a handful of months, it feels like I haven’t yet sated myself on all it has to offer. I’ve narrowed the rental search to a couple properties and, like all Type-A Zimmermanns, am weighing the pros and cons of each place. Like only a few really anal Type-A Zimmermanns, I’ve created a spreadsheet. However, last night at dinner, my phone died so I was reduced to capturing my thoughts in an old school manner — on a napkin. My very attentive waiter saw this and gave me a piece of paper from his order book. Later, he came back and asked what I was working on. When I told him I was debating between two places in Missouri, he said, “Neither! Move to Puerto Rico!” He has a point. But, the exchange that happened next is what really stuck with me.

Waiter: Why stay in Missouri? What does it have?
Me: Family, of course. You’ll move to the strangest of places to be near family.
Waiter: Yes, and you’ll find family in the strangest of places.

Well, look at you, mister insight gift! I loved it. Perhaps it was also because I was sitting on a gorgeous rooftop patio with live music playing under a nearly full moon with a waiter that said, “Who is crazy enough to let you out alone with that beautiful smile? I would insist on always being with you.” Charmer.

I deftly changed the topic by sharing that a friend was visiting soon and asked for his opinion on a local island, Vieques, and if a trip to the bioluminescent bay was “worth it.” He assured me it was and when I told Carolyn about it, without hesitation, she said she was “in.” I have the coolest freaking friends, the best family, and find joy in the strangest of places.

Puerto Rico Journey, Uncategorized

All is Well

This week has been a little rough on my emotions but I’m fortunate to have a long list of family and friends that pick me up and remind me all is well. And a mom that points out the obvious, “Josie, you’re near the water. Go to the water.”

So, I decided to spend my lunch hour at the beach. That meant, lathering up in SPF50 and gathering all the things I might possibly want to read/write/listen to while at the beach. Grabbing the lovely anti-sand blanket I bought on Amazon and a cozy beach towel. Also, water, because hydration. And will I want my visor or my straw sunhat? Wouldn’t hurt to throw in a backup pair of headphones in case my bluetooth ones go kaput. With my luggage in tow, I headed to the beach.

“Oh, look at the cute selfie. Everybody will be able to see how much fun I’m having at the beach! Hmmm, is this a private beach only for hotel customers? Well, I walked here so I can walk myself home if they kick me out. Oh gosh, this sand blanket is a lot bigger than I realized. I mean, it made sense at the time to buy the largest size for the cheapest price but since it’s just me, maybe I’ll fold it. Oh. Wow. I see how this thing was designed to have the stakes only go in on the corners and not in this half-fold fashion I’ve created. Oh well, just throw the blanket down and lay down. You’re at the beach. Wooo, lunch hour at the beach, living the life! Wow, that’s a lot of sand being blown in my ear. Is it because I’m on the ground and all the hotel guests are on beach chairs? I’ll just put my straw hat over my face and cock it to my right ear. Well. Now, I am getting a fine mist of sand blown into my face and ears thanks to the holes in my straw hat. I also hope I’m not getting a weird mosaic suntan on my face. Josie. Who cares. You’re at the beach! This is the life. Hummm, maybe I’ll get in the water. What does sand matter when you’re submerged in the Caribbean Sea amiright?!?!?”

The water was pretty lovely. Other than I forgot to take off my Fitbit so couldn’t actually get submerged and I kept convincing myself that below the clear surface lurked a shark, jellyfish, or who knows what that had just been waiting for my wading. I re-packed my possessions into my now sand-filled bag and headed back to the allure of an empty pool where I thoroughly enjoyed the last ten minutes of my lunch hour.

Last night, I visited an Italian restaurant. Because, when in places known for their seafood, I eat pizza and pasta. Really, I eat pizza and pasta anywhere, regardless of their seafood reputation. The older waiter was so delightful and felt like God placed an honorary grandpa in my presence. At one point he sort of tapped my shoulder; he was walking up from behind me and didn’t want to startle me. I was surprised how comforted I was by such a slight touch from a complete stranger. But the energy exchanged felt like the hug my family and friends weren’t physically able to give. God provides even when it comes in unexpected ways. That’s why all IS well.

Puerto Rico Journey, Uncategorized

Weekend Exploration

My apartment is in Condado Beach. It’s steeped in hotels and tourist restaurants so I was excited to venture into Old San Juan. The cobblestoned streets, artisan markets, and prevalent parks did not disappoint.

Puerto Rico Journey, Uncategorized

Settling Into My New Space

I love visiting local churches when I travel. I lucked out that I chose one to visit that offers daily evening mass. It was lovely, even if I could hardly follow the Spanish. I certainly hope, 30 days from now, I can report progress.

It’s awkward being in a Spanish-first location that isn’t a foreign country. The majority of people I’ve encountered have been able to converse with me in English fairly well. However, at the market, I got flustered when I couldn’t understand the cashier.  I actually think she was simply soft-spoken but my empathy flares for her (potentially) not speaking English clashed with my embarrassed for me sirens. So, I think I said something like, “I’m sorry, no hablo English.” Helpful, Josie. Very helpful. Anyway, she immediately repeated herself and/or translated, “Do you need a bag?” That moment of fluster is so discouraging. But, it made me look up ‘bolsa’ for ‘bag’ and I’m sure that knowledge will come in handy, soon. Probably when I go buy myself a bolsa because I, for some reason, thought I should bring my smallest clutch as my purse for the trip. Because, clutches are well known for their handiness in carrying Lonely Planet guide books, sweaters for chilly churches, spare battery chargers and cords, with room to spare for a bottle of water. My ability to outsmart myself is truly astounding sometimes.

After mass, I was led by a purple and pink sky to the beach. It was sunset and the locals were soaking up the last few moments of beach fun. I assume they’re locals because Midwestern tourists ‘know’ you don’t go in the ocean at dusk because you will assuredly be eaten by a shark. I then wandered along the main stretch of hotels and restaurants and shops. I found myself lurking behind families to blend in and not appear like a solo female traveler. I had enjoyed my late lunch so wasn’t very hungry. I stopped at the market in my building and grabbed an Amy’s frozen lasagna dinner and bottle of wine. Nothing but the best for me. However, as I sat on my balcony watching the rain pour down — the rain I had just luckily bypassed without any awareness it had started, I enjoyed the heck out of my microwaved meal. 

I can feel the waves of my mind and emotions starting to settle.

Puerto Rico Journey, Uncategorized

“You are approaching a sharp right turn.”

It feels familiar, almost homey to be in an apartment I’ve never spent the night at, in a city I’ve only been once before — over a decade prior.

The other day I reflected to my mom that it felt as if I had just woken up from a dreamy fog and was trying to piece together how I had gotten “here.” At that point, it was how had I gotten to where I had called off my engagement and was heading to Puerto Rico for a month. (I refused to be one more millennial in her parent’s basement so packed my bags and remote-based job for a city that knows a thing or two about restoration.)

I had known I was making the right choice to leave (both the relationship and the pillowy comfort of family) but I wasn’t really sure what I was seeking. Sitting in lovely San Juan, I still struggle to find the right word to categorize my time here — it’s not really a vacation, maybe a retreat, a pause, a reset? A friend of mine told me to enjoy my discernment and perhaps that gets close. Surely, the purpose of this journey will reveal itself by the time I head home in a month. Until then, I am trading my typically anxious anticipation for pensive patience. Let’s see how it goes.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. — Lao Tzu