Twenty-one hours ... not even a day. But after sixteen years and five kids, we have learned to make every opportunity count! So thankful for a very quick getaway with my husband, even with its primary purpose being mutual study time as opposed to something more exciting. With laptops and a spare folding table in hand, we stepped into a US-chain hotel in Iquique and felt that amazing switch from everyday life to special. A room we didn't have to clean ourselves, a bed much newer and more comfortable (and larger!) than our own, a view many blocks closer to the ocean. It was so tempting to put our feet up and relax! But there was work to do.
Pedro's focus was church-related, while my goal was clear: make up two weeks of homework lost after the earthquake, and/or complete the research paper which was the final project in my first masters-level counseling class. My energy couldn't match my expectations, but I think I managed a week's worth of material in our one day away. Pedro and I stepped out of our cloistered study environment only once for a few minutes, to pick up some delicious chow mein noodles at nearby Chinese restaurant. Not exactly fancy, but with the right company even eating out of a shared styrofoam container with plastic forks can be fun!
After an afternoon and evening of study, Pedro discovered the movie "Marley & Me" on television. It's one we both like and it seemed apropos for our circumstances, but we didn't make it through. My break from the books ended with falling asleep in the armchair and it made better sense to call it an early night (i.e., a few minutes before midnight rather than after!) with plans for a fresh start in the morning. Breakfast was sparsely attended given it was a holiday, but we enjoyed good coffee, fresh fruit juice, and a simple but satisfying buffet before retiring to our individual study posts once again.
Checkout came too soon and we were aiming for a twenty-four hour getaway, so to pass some time we did what has become second nature over the past year and drove through downtown Iquique looking for rental and sale properties. Then we enjoyed lunch at a favorite Italian eatery where the cashier looked surprised and asked, "You are alone today?" I guess she missed our kids and we did, too, which may account for why we decided we might as well head home. It was indeed a short - but sweet - time away, yet there's no one I would rather spend twenty-one hours with (studying or otherwise) than the man God has given me. :)