There was a point at which I stopped knowing if the traffic here is bad or not. I mean, it is. Of course it is. It’s insanity, but somewhere, somehow I have become used to it. And yet, this adaptation does not make my morning and evening commute any easier. We live about 5.5 miles from my office. Every morning it takes me anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 hour to get to work. On the way home it’s the same. I put on my music. I take a deep breath. I don’t get angry at the crazy drivers (I am really, really, really used to it). I suck it up. It’s life. I make the drive. But I don’t like it.
The other day I had this realization that in DC I won’t have a commute. And, it seems from what we know so far, we won’t have much of one in Antananarivo either. It dawned on me recently that this makes me very happy. Clearly evidence that the commute has been taking its toll. I love it here…but the traffic…
And then, almost bizarrely and purely by chance things have fallen into place in such a way that suddenly both my morning and evening commute times have been cut in half. I didn’t really get how much I felt the commute sucking away minutes of my day until, out of nowhere, I am spending 25-30 minutes in the car in the morning and 30-35 in the evening. I could pinch myself. In the world of Santo Domingo traffic it’s like a dream. How could this be happening? How could I have wasted so much time in the car if these alternate routes were possible? I knew these roads existed so why didn’t I ever think of trying them?
Anyway, no need to dwell. The new morning route was a chance suggestion from a colleague and for the evening route I can credit an especially laid-back taxi driver. Of course, I can’t go back and reclaim all those minutes I sat in traffic, but I can stay in awe of this new journey. I can sing a little louder in the morning having found it and take my last sips of coffee at my desk rather than downing the last cold dregs to the tune of blaring horns with a good 20 minutes left to go. And, best of all, I can come home, be with my family, eat dinner and just be.
And, I still have one whole year to get to drive this way! I feel this somehow brings home the countdown. The clock is ticking now. Everyday this becomes more and more home, more comfortable, more figured-out, more easy …and everyday we start to move closer to making it the past. Wow.