“Exhale, and let go. You found your mat. You made it here. You have arrived.”
It didn’t hit me for hours—until Jeff pointed it out—that these words, shared with my joga class at Five Sisters, pertained just as much to me.
I have arrived.
After joga, my first teaching experience in Miami!, we headed north to Little Haiti and stumbled into The News Lounge, where we sat on a couch under palm trees and strings of lights, the perfect romantic patio setting. It was empty, a Monday, and cool, and we shared a sandwich and salad and talked, uninterrupted, about the adventures we have in store. I shared my excitement and almost disbelief that I live in such a diverse place, something new, a different language or dialect on every block.
The night took us to the compound Jeff lived on, where my smile was the best response to the folks speaking Creole around me. The breeze was cooler here than way way south, where we live, and any hopes I had of a late night walk on the beach blew away with it. After a tour of Jeff’s old apartment and meeting friends, the old Mercedes nearly rocked me to sleep. Somehow, though, I rallied: we had intended to make it to open mic/jazz night at Churchill’s, and I wasn’t going to miss this chance.
So after another beer and hour of laughs at open mic and then inside listening to awesome jazz by the last group, who seemed like students, eager to learn and share and grow… we got back in the car and fought off the waves of sleep from the Mercedes’ lullaby again. The rumbling diesel engine carried us down Dixie Highway and back home, back south. While the commotion and shadows of Little Haiti were far away, the south holds its own character, its own feel.
I have so much to explore here.
The morning came too soon after a late night. I’ve grown accustomed, and celebrate, my usual 6 a.m. arrival, but the minutes ticked by. 7, 7:30, 8, 8:30. We lazily made our way out of bed, feeding the kitties and Sandy the sweet pup, and Jeff started making the smoothie of dreams (or fruit and veggie soup). My mom and Rick walked in, just back from a breezy, chilly morning on the tennis courts down the street.
She asked me if it would be OK if they left today. I said yes, and before I knew it they were packing the car with their few belongings, the Sentra no longer stuffed to the gills with my bags and boxes. We said our goodbyes, and our eyes started watering up, just as they do now.
I’m curled on the couch, toes tucked under a pillow, listening to Wilco. Mom and Rick are likely headed north on the turnpike, and Jeff is teaching at the league, where I’ll pedal to meet him for lunch, ambling down the bike way on Heavy Helen, a bike obviously made for cruising in South Florida. Sandy the dog is running in her sleep on the floor beside me, and somewhere in the house one of the kittens is wrestling with itself in a cardboard box.
“What would we be without wishful thinking?”
I already miss my Mom and Rick, the rest of my family in Chattanooga, and most certainly my dear friends. But there is something so beautiful about this new journey I’m on. The hospitality and warmth I’ve been met with are incredible and overwhelming. The opportunities vast, bike trails stretching for miles and an ocean breeze always right around the corner. Most of all though is the loving support of a partner, a beloved, my sweetie.
All I have to do is breathe in. Relax. And know that I have arrived.