Where I Have Been

This blogger has taken a break. A much-needed break from a busy 2023.

During 2023, I logged over 1,000 hours of volunteering in service to my community.

I racked up 15,000 air miles on travels within the U.S. and Canada.

And yeah, I am retired and lovin’ the freedom to do what I want to do, and when and where I live to enjoy a full life.

So where have I been this winter?

Each year since my beloved husband died, I return to “my island” — Puerto Rico — for my annual winter renewal.

I used to work there and visited dozens of times. It helps to speak the local language (Puerto Rican Spanish) that I learned from working there since 1989.

It is still a struggle with grieving the unexpected death of my husband, especially at Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and January 5.

Christmas Day 2020 was the last day he was in our house since he was so sick, I had to bring him to the hospital on the 26th.

New Year’s Eve 2020, I had to invoke my rights as his healthcare proxy to tell his doctors to stop treatment since there was no hope for recovery. These were his wishes.

I had to transport him to a hospice center on December 31, 2020 — to die. He died peacefully on January 5, 2021, while I was holding his hand. Man, that was tough.

Each winter since he died, I go to Puerto Rico to spend time with my many amigos, visit places we (and I) loved, have memories of my husband (especially on the beach where I scattered his ashes), enjoy some photography, and relax, recover, unwind, and renew.

Mid-December 2023, I flew “back home” to “my island.” I have a really nice place to stay (for free!) at a close friend’s house.

Since I was in my “happy place,” I was busy living my full life each and every day.

I toured some places I had not seen before. The mountains in the middle of the island are lovely! (Photos of various things I saw are here.)

I found some amazing beaches off the beaten path where I watched skilled surfers show their stuff (and hot bods!) No way I could do that, but they’re amazing to watch. (Photos of some surfers are here.)

Many evenings, I viewed stunning sunsets that Western Puerto Rico is known for. (View some images here.) I am particularly pleased that my home-away-from-home is on the west coast, so sunsets are a regular thing to watch. Sometimes from a beach, and sometimes from the rooftops of friends’ homes and my own.

As I strolled some lovely beaches, I was fascinated to watch pelicans fly, dive, and fish. (Pelican photos here.)

Between 11 December and 10 January — a full month — I lived, thrived, and renewed my soul.

Now I am back home in Maryland — in ice and snow! Aw man! Bring me back!

Only good thing about cold weather is that I can wear leather! When I was in Puerto Rico, short hikers with shorts and t-shirts were my usual attire. (No worries, I have not reduced myself to wear flip-flops. No way.)

Life is short: live fully where your spirit thrives — con mis amigos!