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!!!

On Chasing Ghosts and Becoming One…..

34ct4906Yesterday I had lunch with a dear friend, she is moving back to Curaçao. She has had it with the hectic life in Miami and decided, very wisely, that she should go home. Now, for me, home is where I am at the moment. This is the result of having lived most of my life away from the country of my birth. Understandably, I am jealous. We all want to go back, at one point, don’t we? but go back where? to find what? and why?

For generations, people used to stay in their own countries, the same city, town, village. There was no moving far, no marrying foreigners or studying abroad. That is a world long gone. Nowadays, we move from here to there, marry into other cultures and move to other countries for work. Where we are born, where we live or where we work are completely different places, for some the last two change constantly. So how do we keep family and friends close? and it is possible?

For years, I have followed:  Nomadic Matt. A blog by a young man from Boston who has traveled around the world documenting his adventures. He said he has made friends everywhere, shared experiences with so many during the years he has traveled the world; but doesn’t want to go back to those places thinking to relive the experiences or meet the same people. Going back, in that sense would be like chasing ghosts, he writes. I understand this, so clearly: you cannot go back, make it as it was, no matter how hard you try.

When you moved around, leaving your own country and becoming a citizen of the world, you keep some friends, always. The ones that you can share your secrets with, the ones you have fun with, the ones you can cry with. They are always there, in your heart, and you miss them. When you meet them, you pick up the thread of your lives with ease. Of course, you remember the others you met along the way, the ones that are glad to see you when you visit and whose company you enjoy when you meet. You are glad for what you shared, but do not miss them….not really. There are also the ones you remember occasionally, but never see again.

Then it is the matter you know so well: out of sight, out of mind. The same thing happens to you. For many, you become the one friend people miss and think of fondly. The one they want to keep in touch with. For others, you’re the one people remember at times, the one they are glad to see only occasionally. You have no control over this, it’s just how it is. The only thing that is certain is that for most people you have met, you become a ghost. As they become ghosts for you! How truthful…..

Talking to Joan, I realized this is happening again! It is a cycle and it repeats itself in our lives. Our friends move away, or we move away. We get involved in our new home and we make a new life.  Our friends will do the same, it’s just how it is. So if you are chasing ghosts, remember that we cannot recreate what we had…even home will feel new!  It is all part of this life we have chosen. So home is where we make it! We must enjoy everything when it happens, then keep the memories, share them, treasure them. They enrich our lives like nothing else.