Saturday, January 18, 2014


We went away for a week. Somewhere warm.

We flew from nearly the top of my continent to nearly the bottom. When we left, it was somewhere in the range of -30˚C and when we arrived it was upwards of +30˚C. It's a heady change, in six hours to change 60˚.


From boots and ice, to flip flops and sand. From running to the car because it's SO cold, to jumping in the pool because it's just so, so, so warm. And you're a little bit sweating from lying in the sun.

Of course, we were reminded as we got on our shuttle from the airport that really, -30 isn't so bad because in the summer, they get +40… and that's miserable. Especially when people have to work in that heat. I saw his point. I think he has a point.

Things were touch and go for us at first. From being shoved into the back of the resort - feeling like we were being ignored and isolated with giant generators drowning out even the sound of bugs flying past our heads - to rain, to Finleigh meltdowns, I really and truly wondered if we even should have gone. My anxiety got the best of me. I cried. I only slept 2 hours that first night. I was sad and miserable in a near paradise and angry with myself that I wasn't happier.

And even when we changed rooms to an ocean view overlooking the action, I felt unhappy. Ungrateful. Miserable. I hated myself for it.

But after about the third day, a good dose of vitamin D, and a generous amount of Pina Coladas and Doctor Funks, I came out of my funk and enjoyed the rest of our time.

Brilliant blue, unbroken skies were the back drop to palm trees and bright, white walls. The sun shone. We had fun. Save for the few cup knocking overs. And the odd tantrum in a restaurant. Amongst the questioning and exasperated looks were kindred spirits who found Finleigh charming and loveable. We adopted a Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa from Vancouver… who I felt especially attached to since losing my own Grandma so recently. And Lois (like Superman's girlfriend) from Missouri who told me that Finleigh reminded me of her great granddaughter (and I thought, HOW do you have a great granddaughter), who sat down in the sand and built sand castles with Finleigh. "Where's my little friend?" she would say each time she walked past. And Lois' brother and wife, who always called to us when we walked by. And made excuses for our eldest's rude behaviour.

And the last full day we were there, after being snubbed by many children, Finleigh finally made a friend. She had been laughed at and ignored. Given strange looks and even a few (so it seemed to me) disgusted looks. But when Nicole came into the pool, she was sweet and patient. Her dad came over, after awhile to confirm Finleigh's name. He spoke more words in English than I did in Spanish, but it was a short conversation nonetheless. It seems that Finleigh is a difficult name to get in Spanish. I didn't matter, however, since the girls had so much fun.

I wonder sometimes, why certain people are drawn to each other. Of the hundreds of people at the resort that week, those are the ones I will remember.

My very favourite server of the week. (Is that what I should call her? She waited tables. She filled drinks.) My very favourite one remembered my drink order. She winked at me and told me that I should have another one when I hesitated. She made me smile. I wanted to hug her all week. During breakfast on our last day, we were the only ones in her area. I finally saw her name tag - Suly. We got chatting and in her broken English, she told us a bit about her life. And how impressed she was of Brian and how good he was with his little girl. She wasn't so lucky to have a man like that in her life, she told us. Her son's birthday was the next day, she was taking the day off. She hoped her son's father would come. She didn't know if he would.

I could tell you about how Finleigh peed in the middle of the bar when we were ordering drinks. Or how, on the way home, she peed in the airport when she was napping and that I'd forgotten a change of clothes. Or that she peed again on the airplane. AGAIN. Not in the toilet. And then my hoody was wet too. And she had no pants or underwear, so she wore Brian's hoody and he and I walked around in our t-shirts after we got off the plane. Outside. Grateful it was only -5˚C.

Or about how we bought a little purse for Finleigh from a little girl about the same age for 50 pesos. I thought she should have been in school.

I could tell you lots of stuff, but you know the important bits. The parts I really want to share. And now I'm home. And really glad to be home. Happy to have had the chance to go away, but content with the life we are building for ourselves here. In the icy north.

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