January 2019


We didn’t get home at Christmas and neither did anyone come to visit us over the break. So when we heard that Liz and Greg and Greg’s sister and family were coming by Cayman on a Disney Cruise, we were wildly excited. However, as the day approached, we grew increasingly concerned.

The weather in Cayman was unusually rainy over the break, and there was even a tropical storm, a northwester from Mexico, that slammed into Seven Mile Beach and did a fair bit of damage the week before they arrived. Trusting that the sun would shine on our efforts, we both booked a ‘personal day’ off at work and booked a room at the Westin for a very reasonable resident rate and hoped for the best.

Given that check-in time wasn’t until 4pm, we booked the night before their visit as well so we could have the room for when they arrived. We had a most pleasant evening to ourselves pretending that we could actually afford this kind of life and woke up bright and early to a most pleasant and sunny day.

I went off to work in the morning to help my supply teacher through the intricacies of IB English, but I needn’t have worried. Our friend Tom Hartley came in for me and he had things well in hand before I left. Pam stopped by our condo to pick up a few snacks for the kids and we met up at Margaritaville to wait.

There is a wonderful cruise tracker at http://www.cruisin.me/cruise-ship-tracker/ that we use when people are coming in by boat, so we knew exactly where the ship was and where and when it would dock. I had also brought a pair of binoculars so we could see them coming in on the first tender from the ship.

Finally they walked out through the gate to much hugging and squealing with delight. There were nine of us all together, as Stacy’s husband Mike had taken their eldest son Gavin off to Sting Ray City, so we crammed into our two cars and scooted off to the Westin to get out of the crowds. Our room was on the ground floor, just beside the pool but at the corner, so we were out of view of the curious. We had the fridge well stocked with drinks and snacks, and the glorious Seven Mile Beach was just a few feet away from the back door of our room.

The kids frolicked in the ocean and splashed in the pool the entire day while we adults chatted away. I got a nice visit in with both Holly and Greg, and plenty of Grandkid time. Holly, Stacy and her daughter Georgia left early to get back to the ship with tea with a Disney princess, so we had a great visit with Liz, Greg and the kids by ourselves.

The day was just perfect, and when we took them back to the port we were all most happy and most tired. As a bonus we got a second night at the Westin to ourselves and enjoyed a quiet evening out under the stars on our secluded little patio reflecting on God’s goodness to us. What a wonderful day we had!

We know that our family is not perfect, any more than we are. Our kids have their struggles, as we have, and it is easy in this life to get so caught up in our troubles that we can’t see the blessings. But there are days, and this was one of them, when all the world seems happy and bright and all our troubles are but clouds on a sunny day.

Jan. 8, 2019

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It has been exciting for us to be back on this side of the world after so many years in Asia. The most fun of all the activities over the last several years has been to get together with our family at Christmas. For two of the three Christmases we have been in the Caribbean our children have come down here to see us either for the holiday or shortly after.  For one of those years we went up north to see them. There have been other trips as well, like the most recent one to Ontario in October, or Pam’s trips to Orlando, Phoenix and Calgary.

However, this Christmas we neither went north nor did we entertain family. We didn’t travel either, both of us being a little too weary from work to do the necessary planning to get away. Instead we had a quiet Christmas ‘on island’ and it has been very pleasant and relaxing.  After all, if you lived in Canada you would think that three weeks in the Caribbean would be a very nice holiday! We have a little pool on the condo property here, and I made good use of that, finally getting to loosen up some of the bodily tension from this long first semester. We spent a couple of mornings on Seven Mile Beach, and a very pleasant day up at Barker’s Beach on the north shore just watching the kite surfers and horseback riders and reading under the trees. We went out for a few nice meals at Thai Orchard and Tukka.

We had a lovely quiet meal for Christmas. We met with our church in Dart Park by the sea for a Christmas Eve service and met up with friends Jake and Ema afterwards at Sunset House for drinks and curry fries.  We did a little garage sale-ing one day and drove around to see the Christmas lights at Christmas. We took an evening sail to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks with our friends Tom and Jana and we went dancing at Margaritaville and Peppers. We also watched a lot of movies on Netflix, including E.T., The Sound of Music, and Home Alone. We read and rested and went for a walk downtown. We got both cars safetied for another year and replaced the ceiling fan in the bedroom that just up and died. I got all of the backlog of essays marked so I can start the new semester fresh. Most importantly both of us spent a lot of time on our weblogbook Home Thoughts From Abroad which we publish through Blurb.com every couple of years. The one just finished will be the eighth book in the series of adventures we have been on since we left Canada.

It is most unusual for us to take the time just to relax. Usually we use every free moment of vacation time to travel or visit with our family to the point of physical exhaustion. To take the time just to unwind and have some fun and pretend that we are a retired older couple is odd for us, and kind of nice. They say that being bored is a fundamental component of creativity and productivity: that these periods of doing nothing allow you to reflect on the journey you are on and plan for the next steps to come. If so, we well are well prepared for the year and the challenges to come. Happy New Year to all!

Jan 5, 2019.

 

There are some disadvantages for those who live on a tiny island, but many advantages as well which, fortunately out-weigh the disadvantages.  Within a very short drive of our place we have wonderful, expansive views of the ocean in all directions for as far as the eye can see. Whether it is the early morning glow of a sunrise, a spectacular sunset or the formation and advance of wild storm clouds bringing with them pounding surf and roaring winds; it is just mesmerizing.

In our travels we have a few times stumbled across a rising full moon but we have not yet intentionally gone to the East End to watch the full moon rise over the ocean. Since we are on island and off work, we decided to finally do so. We went to Tukka which is an Aussie owned restaurant with an outdoor dining area on the beach, serving Australian cuisine with a Caribbean fusion.  Although you can try Kangaroo or Green Iguana if you wish, the fresh local catch and seafood of the day are amazing.

We arrived early in time to sip a little wine while we watched the huge frigate birds gather to be fed and swoop down around us to snatch fish from the hands of brave tourists. For a special treat, four pelicans, which are not often seen on the island, came by to spend a little time entertaining us. Two sharks and a number of huge tarpon were there to challenge the frigates and pelicans for any fish parts that hit the water.

The restaurant is not spectacular looking but the staff were friendly, the atmosphere casual and slow paced and the weather absolutely beautiful. As we watched the moon rise out of the ocean we were delighted by the fresh catch of the day; red snapper with shrimp. It was a completely lovely evening and one that we will definitely do again sometime soon.