I cannot believe we are here. It was just about a year ago that we last set sail on Rasmus from Grenada to Trinidad, thus beginning the journey home to Chicago to have our baby. During that time we re-assessed, decided we wanted a larger boat, bought the larger boat, sold our old boat and shortly thereafter moved down here to spruce up said new boat to our liking. We've been here in Ft. Lauderdale for over four months working like mad to get to this point. Now that we are here it feels...weird.
Don't get me wrong, I am so excited that we are about to begin cruising again. But there is a little piece of me...okay...a fairly large piece of me that is also mourning a bit as well. You see, despite the fact that I label myself a "gypsy" I'm really anything but. I put down roots and get nice and comfy when I sit in one place for a while, and it happens fast and naturally. It's a contradiction that has battled in me as long as I can remember; this urge to settle and the insatiable desire to venture off. It makes for tearful farewells. No matter how many times I have done it, I am epically horrible at saying goodbye. I am the worst kind of traveler: sentimental, nostalgic and emotional. Ugh.
While Scott was working, Isla and I fell into quite a nice little routine here. We've made friends all over the place. At West Marine I am known as the lady with the baby. Our favorite store clerk, Steve, saw us and announced, "There's my girls!" when we walked in the other day. We were on a first name basis with every barista at the local coffe shop down the street and they always gave Isla a free packet of blueberries (her favorite) when we went in. We had a nice little schtick going with our regular waiter at the Greek restaurant we liked and whenever we'd pass the French bistro where I bought fresh bread we were always given a wave and a smile from the baker behind the window. I know these little things don't seem like much, but they are. They are signs of familiarity. Signs of community. Turns out you really do want to go where everybody knows your name from time to time. That's how this town has started to feel to us. Comfy and familiar. We've made wonderful, life-long friends. Not just of the store clerk variety, either. I'm talking about real, honest-to-goodness friends who we are going to miss something awful. But that's life, right? Always moving. Never constant. We come and we go. Like tides in the ocean, we ebb and we flow.
It's funny to recall our time here, the ups and downs and in betweens. How bizarre it was when we first arrived, how I literally felt like I landed in a looney bin. It all seems like yesterday, and at the same time a million years ago. I guess I always knew that this day would come, but it seemed so distant and so far away. I never re-calibrated my inner clock as the time to leave drew nearer. Yet here we are, uprooting. Ready to cast off. And as sad as it is to close this chapter, it is equally (if not more) exciting that we are on the dawn of a new one. Soon, uprooting will be easy and natural as we launch back into our life where moving regularly is the norm. Soon I'll reconnect with my old gypsy self. For now though, I've got to shake the dust off these little roots and get back into that groove.
Farewell Ft. Lauderdale! You will forever and ever hold a very special place in our hearts as being a very poignant chapter in our lives.