Lessons Learned and Curaçao Weddings

After more than 12 years going back and forth to my former home, something did change this last trip. We went to the wedding of Anjali, whom we have known all her life. So you can imagine it was a very lovely occasion. As a cherry on the pie, it was an Indian wedding. Several days of celebrations, meeting old friends, visiting Curaçao…it couldn’t have been better.

IMG-20150722-175101It was a last-minute idea, we were just there for another wedding a month ago. That one was a family wedding, Daniela is our niece despite not been related by blood. It was beautiful, sentimental, the kind of event that warms your heart and you will remember forever.  Seeing the bride walking to meet her future husband on the arm of her brother Nathan, brought more than some of us to tears.

1932381_10153367496863767_8473937129773430490_nWe were missing her father and her uncle, such wonderful men, gone too soon. The party under the stars was a joyful celebration and we danced and laughed and gave thanks. It was also a bit sad. Still, that trip was wonderful, we stayed a week, I played bridge, we went to the beach very day, saw friends and family……recharged our batteries. When we left, I wanted to come back as soon as possible. It was as it had always been, a trip home.

IMG_3927This time we were to enjoy another fun five days. Do not get me wrong, it was exactly that. So much fun as Indian weddings can usually be. From the prayers and dinner the day we arrived to the fabulous wedding party four days later. The ceremonies, the mehndi, the bangles, the beautiful costumes, the food, the friends I haven’t seen in while or in years, the children all grown-up married, with children…..what can I say.

On these occasions, you have no time to stop and think. You go with the flow and soak everything, enjoying every minute. Of course, there were the side trips to the beach every time we could. We had a few mishaps with hotel reservations because the internet service was down and the feeling you are not up to par when you chose your outfit……it’s hard to outshine a sari!!

There was no time for much until Sunday afternoon. After a very good breakfast and time spent with family at a barbecue, we returned to the hotel and the beach again. It was late afternoon and not too many people. The water was just perfect. When the sun set in the usual spectacular way, we walked along the beach. It was so peaceful…….and suddenly so lonely!!!

I felt a bit down, something wasn’t quiet right. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I could certainly feel it. Walking back to our room, darkness suddenly fell, as it does in the tropics. The entrance to our building was so quiet and in shadows. What a difference from the day before!!! Up in our room, another mishap: nobody had serviced it…..unmade bed, no towels and more shadows. To say I lost it is an understatement. This was too much, I thought, and walked out all the way to the front desk and complained most forcefully. Fortunately, the personnel manning the desk acted quickly: housekeeping sent someone to make the bed, clean the bathroom and a stack of towels, soft and fluffy was delivered.IMG_3957

Refreshed and casually dressed, we walked along darken halls, listening to the break of the waves, the sing-song of birds and the quiet. We went for Italian ice-cream and checked our emails at the restaurant which did have internet service. Not wanting to go back to our rooms, we decided to have a small pizza. Outside, other guests were sitting on comfortable chairs enjoying the balmy air while zipping tropical drinks. Everything was in shadows, have no idea why this made me sad…..there were laughs and everyone was having a great time.

So it was me. Finally, and without even noticing, I realized that this island paradise will never be home gain. It is that simple. Friends that have lived there for years and moved away have told me in more than one occasion that they do not want to go back. I never understood this. Now I do, trips there should be about enjoying what is there now, never about trying to recapture the past. Letting it go as home and embracing it as a wonderful place to visit, that is what these weddings taught me, and not too soon!!!

12 thoughts on “Lessons Learned and Curaçao Weddings

  1. I enjoy your writing so much, Mercedes – especially when I have the same feelings — loved all the comments also. Right now we are on a trip visiting kids, grandkids, & friends– some from Curacao!

    • Thanks, Vickie!!! I think we all miss the island even if are not going back and call it home. The friendships we made there are so important. When are you coming my way? It’s been too long.

  2. Maybe you felt lonely because you had a great time and then real life starts again my mom used to say the rot has set in not to worry there is always sunshine after rain so you will have a fabulous time again by the way I am flying to miami October 10 and I owe you lunch!!

  3. Change…I understand what you are saying, BUT even though I never left, things change, not because one leaves, but because life changes, kids grow up and have their own life, friends move/ change, Loved ones pass away. The whole dynamic of how it was, just is no more.
    According to me it has nothing to do with leaving the island you love, it has everything to do with growing older, and missing what once was, missing some of the people around you that you once loved, even missing having your children around as “kids” and taking care of them. Do not misunderstand me, I love having adult children, but it is different of how it used to be.
    All of that we miss, no matter where you live. We should all try to embrace and enjoy the present, as in a few short years from now, that is also the past.. and we will miss that too no matter where you live.

    • No, not really change. Children grow up, loved ones pass away, we grow older. That is to be expected and most of us adjust to that, it is life after all. When you stay in one place, you put down roots and even with all the changes in life….there is a sense of belonging that is very important. The whole process of the natural changes in your life is dealt with in a familiar place. When you moved around, leaving here to go there, you never put down roots.The sense of belonging, this familiarity doesn’t exist. You are a stranger here and there. It is not about how it used to be, it’s about feeling displaced most of the time. You have to experience it for yourself to understand.

  4. It is so hard to accept that we can’t have or recapture “the way it used to be” because life has gone on; some of our family is deceased and it will just never be the same again. I sometimes long for my childhood and teen years when all the aunts and uncles and cousins were together and there was so much fun and busyness. But the world has gone on. I must live in the now and cherish the memories. Wow! Sorry I got so carried away. I really enjoyed your blog!

    • Do not concern yourself, Betty. I do understand your feelings because many times I have felt the same way. Family is the first thing that changes in our world and it is the hardest to adjust to. Fortunately, we receive others in our lives: grandchildren, new friends, new in-laws. Life goes on and we go on with it, it’s as it should be. So happy to hear you enjoy my efforts, thank you!!!

  5. Oh how I understand your feelings I am also an expatriate and when I go home I feel this quite not right feeling of not belonging anymore but then I come back to where I live now and I still dont feel as if I belong there either. All expatriate I k now have said the same thing , a bit of feeling we dont belong anywhere…

    • Thank you for dropping by, Annie!!! It is the truth, expats feel they do not belong anywhere, but we tend to hold on to the place we love most. As I said to many expats friends, we were lucky to have had this life and to have made lasting friendships, we are lucky that we can go back to our former homes and feel, if only for a moment, that we are home.

  6. Sadly we do not belong anywhere….we’re strangers in our own land and strangers where we live….it is just a state of mind. We belong where the people we love are, wherever that might be.

    • You are right, but some of us tend to keep trying to belong, to put down roots. In the end, we know that “home” is where the heart is….wherever that may be.

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