Saturday, March 15, 2014


Nic and BethWhew, it’s been a busy time lately! As you might recall, we were on a cruise the week of March 2, and we had very limited connectivity, so there wasn’t a whole lot of internettin’ going on. A couple of days after we got back, we had about 6 inches of snow, and I spent a night in the ER with some abdominal pain that was bothersome and quite worrying. Turned out to be a muscle/blood vessel tear in my abdomen, and it is healing up, slowly but surely. My main worry was appendicitis, but that wasn’t the case, and no surgery, so yay for that!

Based on the timing and activities, I think I got the muscle tear when we were climbing a rock formation in Aruba. As I told a friend, “I got this from climbing a rock formation in Aruba” is a much better story than something like “I tripped over the cat and fell down the stairs”! So at least I’ve got a good story about it.

I hope to write more about the places we stopped and our excursions, but I’ll need to go through my pictures to do that, and I need to catch up on laundry and on my online courses first. I’ll get there...eventually.

Nic and SharonToday, I just want to write about how much fun it was to meet new people and learn more about them. The people we interacted with the most were our tablemates at dinner. There were Dave and Gail from Canada, and Nicolas (he doesn’t spell his name that way, but that will suffice for now) and Sharon, and Sharon’s sister, Sharoline. Nicolas is originally from Jamaica and Sharon is from Barbados, but they live in Brooklyn now. Sharoline still lives in Barbados. We had so much fun getting to know them, and we even went out after dinner a couple of times with Nicolas and Sharon. They were such fun and happy people, and I’m sure we’ll meet again. Ken and I have already talked about how it would be fun to meet them all in Barbados when they go back for a visit. You just never know who you’re going to connect with!

Dave and Gail scared us for a moment when on the first night, they asked us about “Obamacare.” I decided to dive right in, and we all agreed that we support the ACA and President Obama. What a relief to learn that they think the ACA is a great start for our country, although they remain perplexed about why so many are against it. Me too, Dave and Gail, me too!

Ken and NicThere was also the couple from Chicago on the sunset cocktail cruise excursion when we were in Aruba. He was wearing a Cubs jersey and she was wearing a White Sox jersey, and much hilarity ensued! (The bartender was making up his specialty drink for us, a Stoplight. Red, amber, and green liquor layered...I don’t know what all was in there, but it had to be about 95% booze. I was a hurtin’ unit that night, believe me!)

There were people big and small; people speaking French, Dutch, Papiamento, Chinese, German, and Spanish; there were mostly happy people, but the occasional grump, like the older lady who was giving me and Ken the stinkeye when we were sitting by the was weird and bad enough that Ken finally gave her a big grin and a howdy-do wave; there were the guys at the zip line excursion who went by nicknames like MacGyver, Gorgeous, and Hollywood...when MacGyver asked where I was from and I said “Indiana,” he said, “Indiana Pacers! They need to bring home the championship!”; there was the guide on the rum tasting tour who was so fun and hilarious that we bought not one, but two bottles of rum; there were all the waiters and staff and our cabin steward who worked so hard and were always kind.

Sharoline, Dave, GailIt was a mass of humanity of all stripes and languages, and it was glorious. This introvert enjoyed every moment of it. It made me think about how although we speak so many different languages and have different experiences, we are all human beings. We have the same struggles and the same joys, the same triumphs and the same heartaches. I learned about how on the Dutch islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and CuraƧao, kids are required to learn four languages in school, and the main language, Papiamento, is a conglomerate of African, Portuguese, Dutch, English, Spanish, and native Indian languages. It made me feel more than a little ashamed of the “This is ‘Murica, lern Inglish!” crowd here in the States.

It wasn’t just a nice vacation in the Caribbean. It was a great reminder of our diversity and our shared humanity. That might sound corny, but I don’t care...that’s really how I feel. It’s one of the reasons we love to travel so much. It’s a great opportunity to learn about other people and other cultures, and to continue our rejection of the small town, isolationist mindset. It’s a big world out there, and I love being a part of it.