We write a lot about luck over on Buen Camino, and a lot about choice here on con tomates. To which responsibilities of our own fortune shall we lay claim? How much of it ought to be attributed to blind chance, and how much to intention?
The more time I spend living outside of the US, the more opportunity I have to turn over in my head ideas of family and belonging, privilege and opportunity, place and distance. All of these are huge topics, ones which I’d more than happily buzz about in depth with you over a chilly Banks. Here, now, I want to simply give them a nod in the name of the deep feeling of gratitude that keeps washing over me with the Bajan waters. I want to recognize that being here feels heavy in the Kundera sense of the word, that every step I make during this time transforms into near-instant waves of nostalgia in my wake. Presence here is important to me and my family, but almost even more ponderous is the sweet loom of past.
Hence so many photos, hence the blog. Cue conversations where each word has its own weight, and the accompanying shared laughter that resonates far beyond the palm trees. It’s a week dedicated to two of the most universal truths – love and family – played out in our individual acts, and to the maximum our lucky little hearts can hold.
The breakfast gong brings nutmeg french toast, eggs to order, and tales from the Funny Farm. Languid lingering over the half-caff isn’t on the agenda, however; a bus arrives to fetch us at precisely 8:15 AM.
We bumble around the island picking up further passengers on the way to the dock. Bajan students line the streets in their starched white button-downs and pastel orange skirts, lugging bookbags. Abby’s thoughts flicker back to her own school, but there decline to dawdle.
Upon arrival, we’re ushered onto the 12-person Silver Moon catamaran, her gleaming white deck matching the bubbly clouds above. The day’s offerings: wreck snorkeling, swimming with sea turtles, and unlimited access to an oversize bottle of rum punch. Bob Marley kicks in over the speakers. We can handle it.
The Silver Moon is at full capacity this morning – that is, there are four other passengers sunning themselves under the puffball sky. We’re not sure what kind of sailing experience they had in mind, but we presume it involves tie-dye group shots. Torks, Mullins, and a Kruer spread themselves out all over the decks. Rum punch happens, and happens again.
First stop is a guided snorkel tour of a wreck just off the beach. “Stay close evvyboddy,” guide Marlo insists. The waters are murky and the sea a spooky place, full of urchins/octoroks/the Kraken/Amelia Earhart, and one could smoothly lose serious HP in any fleeting moment of disregard. I spend my guided tour doing mermaid flips. The rum swirls delightfully.
Second anchor brings a Close Encounter with said bloodcurdling marine wildlife. Turtles! On occasion Hawksbills are spotted at this site, but our chum pulls in a pair of Green Sea beauties, so accustomed to snorklers’ helicoptering fins that they practically pay us no heed at all. MP gets in her requisite pet.
The Silver Moon pulls up at yet another pristine beach lagoon, and lunchtime nibbles apparate onto the bar. Rice and peas, macaroni pie, baked chicken, fried fish, a selection of salads, and further boozy delights. Coconut Malibu and piña juice brings me right back to college.
The music kicks up on the sail back to port – think daydreams/homecoming queens – and the trampoline just begs for a little vogue. These young ladies refuse to see, hear, or speak one iota of evil.
Too Cute 1.
Too Cute Too.
The birthday girl and her brood strike pose after pose in the sun.
Giddy and pink, we dock once more on Barbadian shores, then scoot back to the ranch for an hour or two in which to catch our collective breath (read: sober up).
Lest you think this blog writes itself.
Act 2 opens with Banks at the beach house, which considerably raises the stakes of keeping one’s head aloft.
Sunset’s reflection calls for meditation, cariño.
A rinse and some much needed aloe vera later, we’re back in the parlor for happy hour. White wine and canapés usher all to the dinner table once more, where we’re treated to sweet mashed yams, tri-color roasted vegetables, and baked chicken. Too much is never enough; it’s followed up by spice cake draped with a rum sauce boozy enough to bite.
Stuffed to the gills, we retire to the parlor once more for a crack at one of the villa’s board games. Koriel and I scope out Wise and Otherwise – a Balderdash-esque game involving idioms from around the globe. Players must complete the phrase in as believable a way as they can, then earn points by either guessing the correct ending or having other players voting for theirs as correct. It’s creative fun (“A shadow is always cast by… a departing friend.” “An old buck… has a young buck’s desires.”) until we happen upon an old Russian saying: “Drunk on Sunday, can’t find his…“, and Amah stumbles across a rogue thought that simply gives her the giggling fits.
She can barely pull herself together enough to pen it down, and the rest of us are already emitting nervous little snickers in anticipation. Finally the reveal, and the genetic propensity for silly wordplay combined with the supreme contagion factor of Amah-laughter has us all in peals.
Did I really cross the Atlantic just to bust a gut with my grandma over yurts? You bet I did.