The time has come for my short trip back to the States! I'm excited to visit my family and friends, but from how my last few days were in Sucusari you would think I was never coming back. Everyone I talked to would ask me "Who is going to take care of your house??" Like it wouldn't still be standing in two weeks. That question was quickly answered, however. It was particularly hot two days ago and I returned from my interviews to find Felipe (the 80-some year old neighbor that always visits) asleep in my hammock. Love that guy. When he woke up he says "You're leaving tomorrow?" I said yes, yes I am. He nods and says "I'm going to take care of your house." I just smiled and said thanks Tio - even though he can barely walk. The he says "Also, I'm going to take care of your hammocks." and I thought ah, there's the real reason Felipe is going to come over. Later, when people asked me who was going to take care of the house I responded Felipe of course and they just cracked up laughing.
Jairo and Marina insisted on having me over for lunch and dinner and then drinking masato all day the day before I left. Not a bad plan except masato fills you up even more than lunch or dinner. It was nice, though, to sit and chat and drink and not worry about much for a little while. Marina's cooking is still spot on and she makes the best pineapple juice somehow. The other Jairo also insisted on having me over to drink masato before I left and he brought out a whole pitcher full for me. I said there's no way I am going to be able to sit here and drink all that I'm going to explode and he said no it's okay, what you don't drink you can just take with you. I busted out laughing at the idea of trying to walk through airport security and explain why I had a water bottle full of masato; then I told him that that was unlikely and it was prohibited. What good neighbors I have.
At 5am the next morning, it was time to roll out. Jairo was going to take me down for the first leg of my journey back to the city. The sun was just starting to peek out of the forest when I packed up my stuff and started down to the boat. I turned around and sure enough, here comes Felipe, shuffling along down the hill to see me off and begin his vigil on my hammocks. I think he might be my best friend in Sucusari. A number of other people also rolled out of bed to come and say goodbye, even though I kept reminding them I was going to be back in just two weeks. I think that some of them don't believe me, they think I am ditching my work and leaving.
All touching goodbyes of course, but I am ready to head back home and see my pals. One day in the city, then I fly out tomorrow, the 28th. See you in 36 hours USA!