Goodbye Grenada

The time is 4:50 a.m. The day is May 14. We stayed up late for one last night of games with our fifth-term friends who started and finished with us in Grenada. This meant staying up until 2:00 in the morning to finish packing and cleaning out our apartment, but it was well worth it. Even though I feel like someone dropped a bag full of conch shells on my head.

I roll out of bed and make Jared come with me. We do some last-minute cleaning, Jared showers, and we eat some oatmeal together. If it weren't so early and weren't so stressful I would maybe be pondering about how significant this day is and maybe even crying a little. Instead I'm checking Instagram to force my eyes open. Jared and I line up our six 70-lb suitcases and stuff our backpacks full of supplies for the plane ride.

5:30 comes and goes. My visiting teacher is supposed to be here to pick us up, but she's not. I reminded her the day before, but maybe there was a miscommunication? Or maybe her alarm didn't go off? I don't have her number--we mostly use Facebook to communicate in Grenada--so when 5:45 arrives and no one's here to pick us up Jared starts to panic. It's pouring buckets outside. There's even thunder and lightning. I don't remember this heavy of a rain in Grenada since our first term. Jared runs across the street to try and wake our neighbors to give us a ride. I put cries for help on all the Grenada Facebook group pages on the off chance that someone is awake and willing to give us a ride this early.

Eventually Jared wakes our probably-freaked-out neighbors. Tim is happy to give us a ride. Our Grenada people are the best. We stuff Tim's car with our luggage and Jared and I share the front seat. We all got soaked loading the car, so that's a bummer. We have 15 hours of traveling ahead of us.

We give Tim all the NutriGrain bars we didn't eat during the term and hug him goodbye at the airport. Before we check our bags, we scrounge for any dry clothing we can find. We're running late and need to be quick. I procure the t-shirt dress I've been wearing all term as a nightgown. It's so thin that it's practically see-through in some areas, but it's dry. I also grab some fuzzy socks and my jelly shoes that I tried to sell but couldn't. I'm going to look hysterical, but at least I won't get hypothermia.

Security is a breeze, thank goodness. We have just enough time before boarding to exchange our remaining Eastern Caribbean currency into US dollars and change into our dry clothes. Thank goodness I'd found some; I didn't put on a belt this morning and my wet jeans are falling down.

Grenada's airport has a tiny bathroom, but there's only one gate so I have it practically to myself as I change in my dirty little stall. I run into a problem. I threw out my regular bra last week because I'd worn it out during our time in Grenada, so I'm wearing my spare bra--ultra padded because it was for our wedding and the lady who made my dress kept demanding that I find a way to fill out the bodice better. The padding has absorbed the rainstorm and wringing it out doesn't do me much good. If I wear it, my thin dress will be wet in weird places. If I don't wear it, my thin dress won't hide much. I wait for the other woman in the bathroom to leave and I use the hand dryer to try to dry my underclothes. I hold my soaked jacket in my other hand so I can pretend I'm drying it if anyone walks in. I stand at the hand dryer for about two minutes before I decide that I need to get out there for boarding. I put on my almost-dry brasier and tie my damp jacket around my waist so it's not as obvious that my dress is so thin. This will do. Good thing I brought a little blanket in my carry-on to use on the plane.

The flight is a smooth one. Then we land in Miami.

We have to go through immigration and recheck our luggage since we're coming from a foreign country. This is an hour-long process of waiting in lines and waiting for bags and going through security yet again. We have six bags. Each is 70 pounds. So it's a bit of an ordeal to collect it all and get it rechecked. I'm grateful for the chance to rifle through my bags for more comfortable clothes again though. I find some shorts and a t-shirt, and replace them with the wet jeans and shirt I changed out of in the Grenada airport.

We're nearly to security when I realize I don't have my passport. Panic ensues. Jared usually keeps our passports together in a little travel clutch, but mine's not there. I'm stranded without it. We retrace our steps and ask some grumpy airport workers for help. It takes several minutes, but eventually a short lady finds it for me. It was in the cart we used to carry around our luggage. I get a lecture about keeping better track of important documents. I totally deserve it. It will never happen again. Not that I plan on leaving the country again any time soon. I'll be so happy to chill in the USA for a long time.

The last couple times we've flown, I always get chosen for a pat down after going through the TSA scanners. I'm pretty sure it's because my hair has gotten so long and thick that they need to pat down my back in case I'm hiding something in or behind my braid. This time when the TSA worker puts her hand on my back, she immediately yelps and jumps backward. She pats my back a couple more times, cautiously, and says, "Oh! Those are your bones!" My scapulae stick out a lot, and yes, I have the world's boniest back. If I were a self-conscious person I'd be embarrassed about my back for the rest of my life after this incident, but I'm pretty confident in myself so it's NBD. Jared thinks it's hilarious that she thought my bones were like a weapon of some kind.

By the time we get through security, there's barely enough time for us to run to our next gate before we need to board. But we're starving and I need to change out of this chilly t-shirt dress, so Jared grabs us some nasty airport Chinese food (his favorite) while I find a restroom. It's not until after I change that I realize these new dry clothes are the exact outfit I wore the day before. They smell like pizza and remind me of our friends we spent last night playing Super Smash and Bang! with. Luckily our flight is delayed 15 minutes, so we scarf down our food and stare at a wall for a while, feeling relieved that we'll probably never have to move to or from a foreign country again. This is hectic stuff.

Happy to have a filled belly and comfortable clothes on, we board our flight to Dallas. We enjoy a stress-free two-hour layover, and then board our final flight to SLC. We take off just before sunset and chase the sun all the way home. Turns out I love flying when I get to enjoy a three-hour sunset from my window.

As we fly over Utah valley, it begins to set in that we're going home. And this time, it's not for a mere month-long break. I didn't cry when we left Grenada, probably because of all our morning stress. But I cry a few happy tears when we land in Utah. I'd been so worried the past few weeks that I'd miss Grenada so much, and that I wouldn't be able to give our island that we may never see again a sufficient goodbye. But as we descend over Utah Valley I'm not worried any more. It's good that it's good to be home.


  1. I LOVE the way this is written!!!!

  2. I love this! I love how you wrote it!! <3

  3. I love your story and love, love, love that you are HOME!



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