Just as there is great anticipation for the first visit of the year – packing, planning, contacting friends and general excitement – there is the reverse process for the end of the year. I had to leave early this year due to family obligations. My ex-husband was going to Europe on business, and I needed to be here to tend to my daughter. My usual 5-6 week stay was shortened to just over three weeks, which I know is a long vacation for most people, but tragically short (!) for me. I really don’t have a good excuse to stay after Easter. Most of my renters are gone, and the ones that drift in late spring and into summer are repeat visitors who don’t need the assistance that my first-timers do.
Late April and May are my “me” time. The pace slows, the workload is less, and I get to do the things that the vacationers do for a couple weeks. That trip to the Botanical Garden that somehow didn’t get on the calendar. Taking the boat to Yelapa and spending the night. Wandering down to the beach to watch the sunset instead of getting glimpses from my balcony as I wait for the next airport taxi to arrive.
As my departure day grows near, I start noticing the planes headed north. I count the dwindling days and make plans to see everyone just one more time. Make silly meals out of the aging cheeses and limp vegetables that remain in my fridge. One more speghetti dinner. Gather up together the things that won’t make it over the humid summer – the pastas, grains, tea bags – and give them to friends, leave them for the maid.
I will have a few renters in my place over the next few months. Just enough to keep the air moving and the plants watered. Not so many that my electricity costs are driven up. Here, power usage over a certain amount will drive up your cost for an entire year. People who can afford to run the AC all the time pay the price – or their landlords do.
Finally the day is here. I do triage on my clothes. Take some home for Oregon’s short summer, tuck some away in my extra dresser to make way for my guests’ things, give some away. Everything is crammed into my carry-on plus an old backpack that holds my computer and important paperwork. A book, some snacks for the plane. I had to leave my jacket here – just wouldn’t fit. My friend Diane beeped for me right on schedule, and I dragged my stuff into her aging Volkswagen, and she dropped me off at the airport.
I miss my little condo like I miss a good friend. I wonder about it, worry about it. Miss it terribly. Miss my friends and neighbors and Rocky the Cat. Miss the sunsets. Miss the unpredictable life I have there, as I settle back into the everyday life of Portland Oregon, until November, when it all starts up again. Hasta Luego! Te Amo!