Does 2 Weeks In Aruba Make Me A Local?

I eased into my Sunday morning and started my walk closer to 8 AM.


It is absolutely stunning today. The flow of clouds crossing over the sun gave the runners, bikers and walkers, like me, a bit of reprieve from the intensity of the bright, yellow circle in the sky.


Earlier this week, I met two friends who traveled from South Carolina to do what I'm doing...a "life reset" as I like to call it. They live about an hour away from my little sister.


I still question serendipity sometimes as I ask, "What are the chances?"


At least I keep God giggling over my humanness.


Not only did my new friends introduce me to Craps, but they financed me that same night.


I was a hot roller with good coaches!


After I paid back my debt, I took home $100 and enjoyed the sweet taste of victory as I imaged all the groceries I would buy, only to lose it all 2 nights later.


And, this is why I don't gamble.


I don't like to lose.


If I think about it, I guess I never really had it in the first place, so is it really a loss?


They also introduced me to Dan.


When I met him, I asked, "Where are you from?" His response, "I'm from Aruba!"


Dan was clearly not from here, but from the states.


His statement followed up with, "I'm not going back!" I can see why...I'm two weeks from having to return home and already trying to figure out how I can stay.


That same day, Dan took us out on a boat adventure and introduced us to Julian.


Julian is from Colombia and after loosing his father, his mother told him she could no longer stay in Colombia. Uncertain, but he knew it was the right thing to do, he agreed to leave his corporate job and come with her to Aruba in 2008. Julian now works for a company taking people out on boats to go tubing, swimming and other excursions. That day, he flew my South Carolina boys, Dan and me around like a jack hammer on a tube called Sweet Mabel.


Let me tell you, there's nothing Sweet about Mabel!


As she whipped us back and forth across the ocean, each wave bigger than the next. I held onto the handles as if my life depending on it and the only proper response was to scream for the next 30 minutes! I'm surprised my friends still have their ear drums in tact.


Afterwards, we stopped to swim and I asked Julian if he was happy here?


He looked at me and said, "Look around you. My office is the ocean."


His response was so perfectly authentic. It made my heart smile for him.


Today, I broke down and bought a Starbucks on my way back to my Airbnb. Believe it or not, it was the easiest coffee to get on the go! As I was walking down the street, watching for lizards and enjoying my ice cold espresso in a cup...I heard it!


"Jacké!!" (That's what they've been calling me here.)


I perk up. Wait, what?! Did I just hear my name on the street?


I was surprised and delighted to hear my name. I whipped my head around and there he is in a big white truck pulling the same boat that shook my insides a few days before, it was Julian. I yelled, "DIA!!" (Morning!) There was a car behind him so we couldn't stop and talk and I said, "I'll catch up with you later." As he says, "Yes, ok, I'll see you on the beach!"


A big smile crossed my face as I noticed an extra little pep in my step. As I thought, wow, I was recognized on the street in Aruba!


Does that mean I'm practically a local?


I like to think it does and I'm excited to experience what the next two weeks bring to me.


When did you ever feel like a local in a foreign land?


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