Today I made what may be my very last visit to Boca Raton Commnunity Church (although I hope to be able to go next sunday all being well). Today one of the youth pastors, Roger, was being ordained as a minister and so gave his inaugural sermon. Roger leads the initial part of the study group on a Wednesday evening that I have gone to during my stay here. When I was leaving Bob and Ruth invited me for lunch but I said I had a lot to do today to get ready for going away and for guests coming around and so we are going to make it next weekend instead.
I headed back to the apartment, had lunch and then cleaned the whole place ready for faculty coming on Tuesday and began doing some initial packing up of things into boxes. I then drove round to the liquor store and bought a bottle of scotch for John as a thank you present but couldn’t get the wine that Evelyn likes. I went into Publix and got flowers for Audrey in the office and a card. I then drove on down into Highland Beach and got the key from Gino’s porch to go to the private beach – Gino had said to me I could come and get the key anytime and use the beach and today was the first chance I had had. There was no one around and Gino’s boat is not there so he may be away somewhere – also no one in the other villas. It was strange being back and looking around. when I looked through the window of our villa I could see the sofa and could just picture Alan sitting there. when I walked along the road I remembered all our times together as a family here, and the visit we made to the beach together on the last day.
I went onto the beach and lay there for nearly two hours, sleeping and then going for a dip in the water and a walk along the shore – it was really lovely and I felt so much more relaxed afterwards, as I have been really thinking about all the things I need to do to get packed up and everything wound up in the week ahead. I came back and went to the gym on the way home and then felt even better. I came back and made steak, potatoes and veg for my dinner and did a bit of work in the evening. I had a really nice email from Sameer Hinduja, Professor of Criminology in our School but who has been on sabbatical while I have been here. I met Sameer once, at the spring colloquium I led, and we really connected and hope to do some work together in the future. Sameer emailed me to say he had been reading my blog and had really enjoyed hearing about all the different experiences I had had and all the different things I had done, how I had connected with a local church, had kept up my fitness regime and yoga and had had so many great experiences while also experiencing the small challenges such as a tyre puncture etc. Interestingly, Sameer has just won his own Fulbright scholarship to go to Ireland and has just started his scholarship there, near Dublin.
I now enter my final week of the Fulbright scholarship, and the final week at FAU and in Boca Raton. I am here until next Sunday and then will be going to stay at the Smykas’ house for the last two evenings. It is strange to think that I have not seen Glasgow since 4th January – I almost feel like I have forgotten what it is like!