After graduating from high school my dad hopped on a plane to Los Angeles to attend aviation school. In typical baby boomer parent fashion, he rarely talks about this phase of his life (Why?!?) but when he does, he describes a crippling feeling of homesickness. This feeling, combined with an illness in the family, led to his return home and the end of his childhood dream of becoming a pilot.
It's always funny to me to think of my dad feeling homesick; it just doesn't fit with his stoic, zen-master-like persona. He's a mountain: 6'3 feet tall, strong, serious and capable of keeping calm in even the most stressful circumstances. At age 8, I witnessed the man successfully catch a 679lb marlin off the east coast of Puerto Rico (picture here, I'm the one on the lower left) thus winning the 'Anzuelo de Oro' award for the largest fish caught in the Caribbean that year. (I'll leave my rant on the horrors of deep sea fishing for another time.)
Bottom line: it's hard to imagine him crying on the phone to my grandparents in Puerto Rico. But as I sit here dialing my mom's number every 15 minutes with no success, I have to say, I GET IT. I now understand how my dad must've felt living in Lost Angeles in the 1970s, having to stand in line to use a payphone to call home and not knowing if anyone would be home to pick up. It's sad, unnerving, enraging, frustrating, anxiety-inducing...it's just not good, especially in emergency situations. It's total darkness.
I realized this today: I've lived far away from my family for almost 15 years but, until today, every second of those 15 years I've had my loved ones one phone/email/text/call away. Not being able to talk to my mom, family or friends in Puerto Rico right now is so hard. I keep scrolling through a newsfeed full of pictures of flooded homes, streets, downed trees and streetlights and my brain drifts toward the most catastrophic of conclusions. I need to hear from them soon and know they're OK. Please cell phone towers, please work, please!!!
So dad, WHOA LA must've been super hard! Not at all what it's like for me to live on the West Coast right now. Seriously, crazy.
Not like I need more reasons to be addicted to my phone, but today I realized that without it I wouldn't be able to live my life as a modern nomad. Without it, I probably would never have left PR. Very frankly, in this very moment, I wish I never had.