Did I hear that or did I just feel it? It’s hard to tell which is which when you hit your head hard enough. If a tree falls on your head in the forest and you black out, does anybody hear it? The feeling of my face dragging along the ground brought my thoughts back to the here and now.
Two seconds ago I was wondering if the colossal wave would crash just in front of me or just behind me. Two seconds later I was wondering how far I should let the wave carry me on the ground before surfacing for air. A gulp of salt water answered that question for me. I pushed off as hard as I could and surfaced.
Today was my first time swimming in the ocean in years. I had been in the ocean several times and tried surfing, parasailing and looking for damsels in distress, but hadn’t gone for an ocean swim for the sake of swimming. I’m not a strong swimmer, but if a handful of idiots can swim next to the DO NOT SWIM HERE – ROCKS CAN BE DEADLY sign and enjoy it, I would be an idiot if I didn’t swim in rough water and enjoy it. And I’m no idiot.
Eating the ocean floor while underestimating a wave or not, the classic symptoms of a fun morning were all there: sore muscles, stinging eyes, and coughing up salt water.
While running every day I enjoyed the constant rain; the sunburns and sore legs not so much. The shift from running to ocean swimming wasn’t the only change.
People are assuming that I’m a visitor less and less and some have graphic conversations in English in front of me, having no clue that I understand every word about the sexy older man who is helping you find yourself (and teaching you to swim). I moved to an apartment closer to downtown and started going to Mercado Central instead of the mall, stopped buying expensive imported items like peanut butter at the grocery store, learned Portuguese (!), more or less, plus started dating a Brasileira well out of my league.
These are the symptoms of settling in. I’m not sure if I believe it, but the symptoms match.
Now, the final step of settling in: finish writing the book. I have half of the material finished for the first draft, but I’ve finished writing about the fun things and now it becomes work. When I’m able to do this from 9-5 without getting impatient or taking a break to explore Fortaleza, I’ll believe I’m settled in.
Until then the symptoms are a lot of fun.