Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Some Thoughts

As we are reaching the end of our adventure here on the island many thoughts have been rolling around in my head.  I am spending my time being pulled in many directions - sorting through drawers etc, making piles of stuff to give away, keeping the kids going with school work so they have very little to finish when we return to Colorado, keeping on top of my assignments, trying to spend time with friends on the island, soaking up as much beach and water time as possible and finally still being the supportive wife of a med student who is busting out a couple of months of hard studying and exams to complete his basic sciences.  It is a time of transition and change.  Although I am very sad to leave the island we are mentally ready.  Coming here we knew it would be 20 months and that is what you prepare for and well your body just kinda knows when that time is coming to a close.  We are ready for Michael to start clinicals, to move to the next step of the process or adventure.  I am not ready to leave this simple island life full of beauty and adventure, but hope to carry it with me the rest of my life.

This time has lead me to think about how we ended up here - what brought us to this place in our lives.  We had lived in Colorado for 7 years and we had come to a point where we made a decision that we wanted to leave the US.  To take a step away, simplify our lives.  This would take a lot as we owned more then one home and all the stuff that goes in them.  We took a trip to Costa Rica to scout out a town that we would enjoy for a year.  We returned and sold our homes and moved closer to the city and got an apt. with a 6 month lease.  When we were ready we would head out of town.

After taking these steps I feel strongly it gave Michael the motivation to pursue a dream he had been contemplating for a few years. That last little push that we were no longer tied down by a mortgage.  He enrolled in some sciences to start the process of preparing and applying for med school.  So many people questioned this decision - we were financially strong, great job, flexible schedule, decent time off, excellent benefits - but was there happiness?  a fulfillment of doing what is right in your life?  Are you living up to the person who you want to be?  I don't think this was just on Michael's side but on mine as well.  We had made the decision for me to stay home and care for our children and I had been working on my degree while doing this.  So these were decisions that had to be made together.  Our family functioned as a team - it did not work without the other half.  We were really questioning whether we were living the lives we wanted and doing what we enjoyed.  Not for the money, the cars, the houses or the stuff but for the feeling of happiness. Were we living our lives enjoying our family and the world around us?  Not really, not in the truest sense.  We were not being true to the beings that we were or wanted to be.  It seemed we had lost our way or focus.

So in a sense this adventure of med school has brought us backwards - to a simplified life, focused on what is most important, being who you really want to be, spending time with those you love and choose to be around and simply making your life the quality that you choose.  Yet through these backwards steps our family has truly gone forward in such a positive way.  Our children are having the experience of a life time, learning life lessons that they may not appreciate now but will be forever grateful for later, as a family we have come closer while working on a common goal.  To know what it means to work as a team, to be selfless rather then be selfish.

So as I sit here and think about where we were and where we are now I can only give thanks.  I am so appreciative for the opportunity we have been given and so proud of what we have done with it so far.  The boys are running around outside, I hear their little voices carrying on the cool caribbean breeze, the windows are open, the palm trees are swaying, and the ocean is the usual beautiful color blue.  There is nothing more I could possibly want at this moment of time.  Life is not easy, not a cake walk BUT how would we appreciate what we have if we did not put in the hard work to achieve it?  Thank you to Michael for the hard work, for the courage to take the step to follow your dream, to take the step backwards to allow us as a family to run forward and enjoy life to the fullest and appreciate what is most important.  To my children for loving life, having fun and trusting mom and dad to always be there for them so they can take that brave step and experience the world around them completely - no holds barred.  Thank you island for providing the base to simplify our lives and focus on the good stuff - I will immerse myself in you as much as possible before we leave.  Until then................

nothing like hiking in mud like hobbits

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Video Update

I have been working on putting together videos of the boys and all our action while here on the island.

 Here is one of Dillon last week at Plum Bay


I am also working on one that Ronan shot the video with the GoPro wearing the harness on our hike to Wilderness.  It is taking me awhile as he shot a lot of footage and there is more editing involved.  It will be coming soon.

More holiday updates coming soon and posts from our time with Tanya and her cute little monkey dooders here on the island.

Unox Nieuwjaarsduik

With all the family visiting for New Years we chose to celebrate New Years day at Karakters on Simpson Bay Beach.  It is a dutch establishment that serves really good food and provides umbrellas and chairs on a beautiful beach.  At 2 pm it is time to celebrate Unox Nieuwjaarsduik (Dutch for  New Year's jump in the Sea) - the Dutch celebrate New Years Day with a jump in the ocean followed by hot Pea Soup.  The tradition has continued over to St. Maarten that was part of the Netherlands Antilles (until recently) but feels more Caribbean island like and hundreds of people showed up to share in the celebration.  I am sure it was a fun opportunity for my dad (born in Holland) to be surrounded by so many Dutch speaking people and partake in a Dutch tradition.  Our family made sure to make the most of the fun atmosphere and had a great time.  I could think of no better way to ring in the New Year.

some of the small yachts in the area (the BIG ones were in St. Barths for New Years)

think I am a little chilly thinking about this dip in the sea

the boys were more than ready for the fun celebration

ahhh - sad face, the bucket is empty

no really I AM studying

this just brings it all together - this is what happens when you ask for a band aid  - and well Carlos just really wants some of those European shorts

after the official Unox Nieuwjaarsduik

Happy New Year to all (yes very belated) and remember to enjoy your traditions wherever you are in the world.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Windy Reef

Windy Reef has been our go to for any water activities, sooo -   Miguel and Brandi wanted to give windsurfing a try and Ronan was more than happy to oblige.  Dillon was also excited to show Carlos where he surfed during surf club and to have daddy finally have a chance to come and hang out on the waves with him.  It was a fun afternoon watching the boys share their activities on the island with family.

the boys headed out on the boat with Captain Franck to the reef

Helene giving some windsurfing instruction

the trio


Ro working on his turning

the late afternoon golden sun

PS - here is a link for a video of a recent surf session at Plum  

sorry the link works now - enjoy


Since we have moved to the island and started surfing we have always "heard" about Wilderness - some wild and crazy place that was a 30 minute hike and the surf spot was really shallow with sharp spires coming up from the reef.  We had always  dismissed any thoughts of going there as it was not an appropriate place for beginners and well it just kinda sounded spooky and scary.  As we have become more comfortable with different areas of the island and wanting to make sure we leave no stone unturned before we leave our Caribbean paradise the idea kept creeping up that maybe we should pay this mysterious place a visit.  With our good friend visiting the island it appeared to be the perfect time.  We gathered the troops and a couple of boards (just in case the conditions were calm enough that the waters could be explored) and headed out for a trek to Wilderness.  I am so thankful that we decided to explore this area - it was wild, beautiful, desolate feeling, adventurous and a great experience.  I am very proud of the boys for making the hike look easy (in their flip flops no less) and being open to checking this place out.

heading out

Docie and Dill

hang out spot to watch the surfing when it is good

Ro and Cecily beach combing

Thanks to everyone for coming and sharing our fun adventure.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Favorite

With a only a few months left on the island we are making every effort to spend time at our favorite places. Lunch at Karakters definitely makes the list.

the boys enjoy long walks looking for sea glass

sweet mama rose and her babe Eliaa

she is definitely a pro


the boys love spending time with baby E and making her laugh

and being tortured by their mama

nothin like a little aloe massage

Thanks girls for a yummy lunch and some beach time