Some things have certainly changed. Hot coffee never sounded good on hot afternoons, until it did. The coffee alone makes me sweat, but I don't mind because the caffeine helps prepare me for my favorite part of day. When the sun begins to set, and the sky paints itself with blues, reds, pinks, oranges, and my favorite - purples. The temperature settles into a comfortable 80-something degrees and the breeze gently passes leaving behind a slight chill. The first breeze of the late afternoon always makes my arms break out in goose bumps, not from the cold, but from the anticipation.
I still crack my knuckles though. That hasn't changed.
I don't chew ice anymore, the lasting effect of my prolonged fridgelessness.
I always knew that I loved hammocks. I do miss plush overstuffed sofas and down comforters. But it was a solid trade.
Local fresh produce. If I want lemons (which are green outside and orange inside), I go to the tree down by the stream. Oranges and cassava come from the neighbor two doors down. There are platano trees in my side yard and coconuts and mangos in the back yard. Eggs come from my host mom's hens, and natilla (its sour cream like, but better) and cheese from her cows. Fish come from the river, or a long afternoon bike ride to the Tilaperia. Papaya, corn, passion fruit and the like are common gifts from neighbors after a late afternoon visit. I still shop at grocery stores, but I have developed a gratitude for local and fresh produce.
I never do my hair. So if you see me when I'm visiting, be kind with the "Are you leaving the house like that?" comments.
My feet are always dirty. Actually, now that I think about it, perhaps the doesn't represent any big change.
I speak Spanish now. And when I speak English it is usually with other Spanish speakers, so I throw in Spanish vocabulary casually. I will probably continue to do this and find myself lost searching for forgotten English words.
I have adjusted (adopted, internalized) to a slower pace of life, that is more focused on people and less focussed on accomplishments. Work is important, and no one who makes their living farming will tell you otherwise. But there seem to be secret corners of time, that once found, can only be filled with personal connection.
I will probably say "Upe," instead of knocking on doors. I will lean in to kiss your cheek to say hello. I will say "Ciao," instead of goodbye. I will ask for "Permiso," when getting up from the table, and answer "Excuse me" with "Propio."
As I stare down the days approaching on the calendar and contemplate stepping onto the plane that will temporarily whisk me away from my familiar - I just thought it deserved to be said. Things change. I look forward to sitting down with you, and learning how you have changed....and how you haven't.