Thursday, December 27, 2012

Auld Lang Syne

Is a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song. Auld Lang Syne might be loosely translated as "for (the sake of) old times".

Another year has come and gone. That is really hard to believe. It seems like just yesterday that I was sitting in a snow filled, empty parking lot at 4am in the morning. Kissing my husband goodbye. He was getting into the truck of a complete stranger, leaving much to my disappointment on New Years Eve 2011 to go to a new job in North Dakota. I hated that moment with every muscle in my body, with every sentiment in my mind. 

Holidays have always been a big deal in my life. My parents always made a major fuss (not complaining, I loved every minute of it). Every Halloween, Valentines, and St Patricks day I had a small  present sitting at my spot on the table. Birthdays were like a personal royal holiday, and Christmas was always magical. New Years was never any different. We would celebrate until midnight, eating junk and playing games. Never a year can I remember that my parents left us to go to some Fancy party. They always stayed home with us to celebrate the moment that this year became last. Even as I grew up, moved out, got married, every new years we celebrated that moment of change together, even if just through the phone. 

Right then, at that moment as I watched my husband drive away I felt so incredibly alone. My parents were 3500 miles away, and my husband was traveling 600 miles away to work. It would be just me and the girls that New Years. I knew then that this new job would never work. I knew that I could not stand to be so far away from my husband, I couldn't even imagine the other Holidays, birthdays, and precious moments in between that he would miss with working fourteen days, 600 miles away. It was a miserable moment, and honestly the worst New Year I have experienced so far. 

That was 11 months, and 27 days ago. Never in a million years was I prepared for what happened next. (Million years, common term I use for this experience)(Inside joke).

How is it possible for in one year to achieve this:

Sell your home in "the sinking real estate market" for your asking price.
Sell an entire herd of horses and dogs.
Sell 90% of your belongings, just let go of all those personal things that you have spent your life working for...they are after all just material things.
Sell your vehicles, be car free and free of car loans.
Say goodbye to your friends and family (incredibly hard to do by the way).
Load what is left of your belongings (those things you couldn't part with) into a 12 X 12 storage shed, knowing you may never see those things again.
Go to the airport, with 2 children 2 dogs, and your clothes on your back, relocating 3500 miles away.

Meanwhile, some 3500 miles your husband has already relocated to an island in the caribbean, and he has:

Bought a car, paying cash.
Found a place for you to live, with an Ocean view.
Is working his way up a company ladder faster than you can say "shit".

WOW! What a year, we have seen things, done things, and realized several of our "bucket list" goals in the year 2012. I mean really WE SOLD OUR HOUSE!!! Do you realize how long we were trying to do that!!!! ( Nine Years, for those who didn't know) All of these were not Goals we set on Dec 31, 2011. Actually I highly recommend throwing caution to the wind, hang your heart out on the line, and ask for what you really want. I did, and I got it. Not exactly how I imagined it, not where and when I expected it..but I got it all this year. Really I did. I even lost weight! :)

So, put your pens down. Don't do it, do not write those New Years resolutions. I didn't I prayed for change, and then I worked my butt off to get it. May your glass be half full this year, my your memories be bright, your lessons be great, and those moments, the little ones that seem so insignificant...treasure them, they usually don't happen twice.

Happy New Year....this year who knows what the winds might bring, but what ever they are I am going to embrace them. They will take you where you never imagined you could go.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Caribbean "Cruzan" Christmas

Click on this as you read, this is Cruzan Festival (Christmas) Music

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays,Happy Festival, Have a Blessed Season, and a Wondrous Christmas!

These are the greetings I have been met, and left with. If nothing else about this island they know how to throw a party. Everyone is bright and cheery, they exude Christmas spirit. Sharing in the joy of the season. Christmas also known as The Cruzan Christmas Festival, is a really big deal here. They start December 1st and go all the way to Three Kings Day (January 6th), ending with a big street festival and parade.

We missed the big kick off while in Disneyland...the Caribbean's largest boat parade. Apparently this was the best one ever (figures). Everyone decorates their sailboats with lights, and then they do an actual parade through the harbor, which you can watch from the boardwalk. They finish the parade off with fireworks. We caught a small glimpse of these as we drove home from the airport.

Christmas shopping getting you worries as you walk in the stores here on Island they greet you at the door with free samples. To ease your shopping stress, have one, two, or three shots of liqueur right there in the store. Valid ID is all that is required. You can get lit and then shop till you drop!

They ship Coney Island style rides, by boat to the island. They set the rides up in 2 different locations, complete with fairway games. They call this "The Vilage" (not spelled wrong in their opinion). All the prizes are Christmas themed. Local cruzan vendors sell their trinkets, and local cuisine. Cruzan stuffing is divine, so are the shrimp kabobs. We have several parades to attend. The first one is tomorrow night, each concluding at live concerts featuring many of the local artists, which share the same Festival music I shared with you above. The more exotic Carnival Style parades are yet to come after the first of the year, and I will be sure to share pictures. Course the ones from the "adult parade" may be a little.....bare!

We met Santa at the harbor, he arrived on a fire truck, complete with elves and his....donkey?? He was black as night, but to my delight the girls didn't even notice. One of the greatest blessings about living here that I hope they carry forever, is my children do not see a difference in color, they simply see beautiful people!!!! Santa handed out candy and toys, with the steel pan band playing in the background.

We are not short on activities or fun. The weather is warm, not even dipping below 79*, shorts and tank tops is all that we need. It is not the Christmas we know, but it will be one to remember!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Precious Moments

First off I would like to report...I did it!!!! I lost 2 lbs on vacation!!! Faith and confidence revived in myself.

Now to more important things in life then my trivial troubles.

Precious moments in life. Last night we went to an adorable and fun Christmas program at St. Mary's Catholic school. They did a Nativity program, costumes and all. Then each class performed to a classic Christmas song. The 1st grade was of course the best performers of the night, singing Ring Those Bells, complete with Santa hats and jingle bells. Really a fun night.

After the performance Macy and I headed to my car, while Don and Rozi went to the jeep. Separate vehicles due to me working late. While walking to the car Macy and I passed two men arguing heavily. I picked up the pace, turned the corner and reached the car. Upon reaching the car and inserting my key, I found that the car would not unlock. It simply refused to budge, I tried several times with no avail. The arguing men moved into view and I felt some concern, quickly called Don on the phone for help. Luckily he had to simply circle the block and he was there. We quickly found that his key would not work either. The argument had moved down the street out of view, concern was still in the air. Unfortunately St Mary's is in a part of town that is highly recommended to avoid at night.

I had to go to the bathroom, so we decided I would return to the school use the bathroom and ask for assistance. We didn't even know who to call for help here. I left the girls with Don and walked down the street and around the corner. As I turned the corner the argument came  into view once more. Things had gotten physical. I hurried to that side gate into the school complex, as I approached I realized several children, mostly boys had come out the gate. Curious to what was going on. No other adults were in sight, and as I approached the gate I realized this fight was more than that. It was a struggle for life, I screamed at the children to get inside. To my relief I scared them and they went running. Unfortunately for me I was not able to escape the sights and sounds before me. As I entered the school grounds I heard and saw a life fade before me.

We got help, a wrecker on the way for us. Police and ambulances arrived. As we sat and waited in the rain, a lifeless form was loaded into an ambulance. As we sat there, the rain pouring down I really realized how frail life is. We see death a thousand times in the movies. We hear the tragedies on the news. Perhaps some of us have even been their in the frail moments as a loved one slips away. I had never seen anything like this, never hope to again. I true struggle for survival. A brutal moment when a man decides to take a life. I was probably fifteen feet from the actual fight, but I saw and heard more than I will ever forget. Late last night I reflected on what could I have done different. I know in this instance, nothing. But perhaps each day I can do little things that will add up to make a difference.

People are very angry today. Here on this island, but more than that. Everywhere people are angry. I see it on the news, on social media. This anger will not change anything for the better. It will not make things right, or let them heal. I know that a lot of people have seen and felt a lot of heartache the last few years. Loosing all that you have is very painful, I can only imagine.

It is Christmas time, a time of Joy, of Love, or Peace. I only pray that we can let go of our anger, our hate. Turn to our neighbors, our families. Let Love shine through our hearts. Reach out to those in need, give what we can. Help where we are able. Even the smallest smile can change someones day.

Embrace the precious moments. Hold on to the ones you love a little tighter. Life is frail, life is a gift, and you never now if tomorrow will ever come.