Not Buenos Dias, Buenos Tardes, Buenos Noches or any other greeting I'd learned in high school Spanish class. Simply put, Buenos.
This lazy greeting I've heard day in and day out in Puerto Rico brings it such an air of simplicity and informality I've struggled to get used to the last three days. Not having your check rammed down your throat as you're taking your first bite? I can live with that. But the waiting, the extreme abdication of time, seems surreal most times.
I look everywhere for a clock, and there aren't any to be found. In truth, it's a blessing; a vacation should be about losing time and finding yourself.
The last three days have been about finding that small spark of me and learning to play by others' rules. True, as a parent, a wife, an employee there's a lot of negotiating in my life. But too often, mom forgets to take care of herself, and as you know in that old adage, if mom's not happy, no one is.
For three days, I've read, I've walked, I've shopped, I've had uninterrupted conversations - seemingly small things but large considering the many daily interruptions in our days, be it people or electronic.
I soak in everything - noticing the changes in trees, the colorful tropical flowers, the blueness of the waters. And I'm not interrupted in my quietness. I told my friend this morning, while reading Eat, Pray, Love, that I could never subject myself to a silent retreat. Perhaps mine was just made of small moments.
So each morning, I'm awakened at a far earlier time than I'd ever dream of at home, by the sun and the birds. And I spend hours in a hammock reading - yes, reading - actual books in their entirety, not simply a quick magazine article, picture books or part of a newspaper page.
I balance my desire to see all I can of Puerto Rico with the reality that the noon sun brings the hottest temperatures of the day, and it's best to wait until a little later in the afternoon, as the air cools. I balance my anticipation for getting out with the reality of traffic snarls and reroutes due to student protests at the capital, and silently admire the fact that someone in this country is willing to do more than just complain or write a Facebook post grumbling about the state of things.
And this morning, my last hours in San Juan, I spend sitting in the hammock, reading, admiring the sun (which comes in infrequent spurts in Indiana) and enjoying the awesome view - the mountains, the water. And I hope few people here take it for granted.