Sunday 24 November 2013

So .......Why are we doing this ?

Why ?  It seems like a fair question to me...

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”  Mark Twain


Here we are living in a great (albeit cold at times) country, in a very comfortable home, surrounded by friends and family. Mark has a very good job working with great people, the kids are in the best schools we could ever dream of and have many wonderful opportunities in our city. Many times a year we have a chance to enjoy live theatre, live music, to eat in nice restaurants and there are endless opportunities for picturesque hikes in the nearby Rocky Mountains. 

We have a cool little cottage where we spend summers surrounded by friends, family and nature. I have a fridge that delivers ice into my cup when ever I want it. We have amazing machines which will wash and dry our dirty clothe for us and toilets that flush upon pressing a handle once (wow!) When I go to bed at night I am filled with gratitude for my comfortable bed and pillows and the knowledge that, with stores nearby that are filled with an abundance of food, it will be easy to plan a meal tomorrow. We are so very, very lucky. 

So...why are we doing this trip again?

While it's true we have become VERY comfortable, maybe, just maybe we have become a little bit too comfortable. It would be SO EASY to just keep going, keep putting in the hours in our everyday lives, and one day wake up; kids grown up, and feeling old. But you see, we have this unexplainable itch that just won’t go away.

When Mark and I first started going out together, over twenty years ago now, one of the thing we found that we had in common and that we both felt very strongly about was that life was an adventure, meant to be lived to the fullest and meant to be lived NOW !!! 

In the early years we had the opportunity to travel and live abroad and we both felt energized by all that we could see and learn around us. The world was just so cool and just so darn amazing ! 

Then came a series of big, life changing events which some would describe as tragedies. These became a renewed form of “wake up call” for Mark and I. Years of sadness and struggle followed where life as we knew it seemed to loose most of its beauty and colour. 

After that came years of resignation; not living but just trying to survive, learning to deal with all sorts of obstacles and challenges thrown in our path.

 And then, quite out of nowhere, came a memory. A memory of a dream that we once shared when we were still newlyweds, living in Australia; that of taking our sailing experiences and making a real trip out of it all ! This distant memory, quite faint at first, was to become more focussed and, through discussion over time, became fully re-ignited! This all in spite of the hand that we had been dealt in defiance of what we had resigned ourselves had become our new life path so the question became: why would we NOT pursue this dream?  What WAS actually standing in our way ?  And how were we going to surmount these obstacles to be able to actually achieve this worthwhile venture.

The defining moment in our lives when we realized that we  actually COULD do this; we COULD plan a sailing trip with our children and we could make our dream a reality, is one I will never forget. We started to make plans and started to work hard to make it happen. It was an energizing time for us as we started to look towards the future with excitement and renewed optimism. We were lucky in that we came across very few naysayers. Everyone of our friends and our family; including my dear mom,our brothers and sisters,cousins, aunts and uncles have been very supportive and share in our excitement. Yes, we ARE very lucky to have so many amazing and loving people in our lives !

Now that our dream is coming closer to becoming a reality; we can say that we look forward to spending time together, quality time with our children, even as they enter their teen years ! Mark is looking forward to having more time to be better involved in the childrens everyday lives and to see first hand, everyday, evidence of who they are becoming as they grow. 

We look forward to teaching them, not just about the different cultures and sites to see but also about LIFE. What life looks like for others and what we have in common with all people. We want to teach them about over coming challenges (internal and external) and to learn about themselves; who they are, how to find strength within themselves and help them to figure out who they want to become as citizen of the world in the 21st century.

I supposed also that trip is an unconventional way of teaching our kids that life is not easy and sometimes it just downright SUCKS, but it never ceases to be something to be in AWE of, it never ceases to be worth living regardless of what happens AND that the best gifts life has to offer can sometimes come disguised in the form of something scary or unwanted at first.

And YES!  We ARE looking forward to getting out of our cushy comfort zone, out of our comfortable beds and endless rows of supermarket choices to get out there and re-learn how to live for the moment, to be self reliant & self sufficient, to challenge ourselves, to reconnect with nature and all it has to offer; the good & the bad. To turn and face fear, look it straight in the eye and then follow through with the knowledge that we are prepared and we can DO THIS! 

quote from John Burroughs

One of Mark’s favourite (borrowed) expressions that he often uses is: “ Go to the beach when you are young!”  and I know without a doubt that his mom and dad would be very proud of him (and us all) in pursuing this dream, now.

I am so happy that my dad, whom I had a chance to share this dream with before he passed, was giving me the thumbs up too. Even with the potential of getting sea sick, this is the kind of thing he would have loved to try. I just know.

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Amelie is back in the water and looking fine !

Amelie IV in the BVIs

After spending nearly 7 months out on the hard and getting pampered by a fine crew in St Lucia, Amelie had her big splash down on Tuesday Nov 12th  !

Captain Mark went down on Sunday with the boys to get her ready and he says that she is looking REALLY good, with a newly painted bottom, new bumper and shiny clean decks !

Mark picked a great time to get down there as the temperatures in town here plummeted to nearly
 - 30 C with windchill! When he called he said it was hot; "almost too hot!" at 29 C. His comment was followed by a long silence, with nearly 60 degrees of difference between us there was no sympathy from the crew up here !

The boys sound like they are working hard with a list of projects on the go. It is quite wonderful actually that between the four of them there are 2 mechanical engineers, one electrician and one telecommunication expert. I’d say that Amelie is in excellent hands. (Mark, if you are reading this, I look forward to seeing if anyone can fix the ice machine, no pressure though)....Hehe! 

Other than this, there is not much more of an update except to say that MC is STILL keeping busy with digitizing all of her school resources. It has been a great journey back in time to re-read (as she types) all of that stuff ! It really helps to get her back into teaching mode ! She has found a great place in town where she has been able to procure herself with all of the material she needs for science, even the coveted microscope! She is really looking forward to sharing all this stuff with the family. She had almost forgotten how much fun science is !

Oh, and in October, we took a little break from all the madness ( home renovations, work, school etc...) to grant a special little lady her lifetime wish to see Disney World. Mark stayed home with Matthew while the girls went out to meet Mickey.
Meg and MC go to Disney World

 Having never had any desire to go there, it was a VERY pleasant surprise for MC who got caught up in all the happiness of the place. Meg LOVED it ! It was a mother-daughter trip to remember and we feel extremely grateful that we were able to do this for Meghan before our big trip, and before our budget gets dramatically cut ! We got a chance to embrace our inner pirate while we were there, having fun with the Pirates of the Caribbean site.

After seeing this photo I realised that I should of asked Meg to be Cptn Sparrow because seeing her in Keira Knightley's body kind of freaked me out a wee little bit, but still funny.

Matthew is doing very well, enjoying school and his activities like swimming lessons but definitely NOT enjoying the cold or the snow boots  and all the layers he suddenly needs to wear. He can't wait to be barefoot on deck again soon.
This is Matthew's idea of the good life.

Well, according to our official countdown we are 121 days away from D-day. Got to go, lots to do!