Well we have officially bought our tickets home and will be arriving on August 15th. We are so excited! We will be going through Sydney for a few days and then home. It has pretty much been a whirl wind for the last month. We have officially sold the boat to a wonderful family from Canada that will be starting their adventure in a few months. Sayo and Chris - this is definitely a decision you will never regret or look back on. It is truly the most amazing life style, nurturing, surreal, down to raw nature, humbling, and the most amazing community of people you will experience.
We have such a short time here left that we are trying to get a chance to enjoy it a little. Chris really wanted to kite surf so we have been going to the well known spot of Ilot Maitre. It is a world known site for Kitesurfing because it has a really nice long sandy beach, shallow reef waters and consistent winds. Chris was hoping to get to use his new kite. While we have been here we have become close with another family with a little boy. They are from New Zealand and have been living on their boat and roaming the pacific for 7 years. Little Ocean is 22 mos and so we have all been getting our baby fix in while they are here. Ocean, Tonya and Dudley hope you enjoy Vanuatu as much as we did and look forward to seeing you guys in San Fran when you can. We already miss our little boy... Fish, Fish...
We have been in and out of the marina to take care of business with school, packing boxes to ship home that will reach us in 4 months, and setting up our house, school, school clothes, registrations, utilities, moving, jobs, and such for our return. I am almost as overwhelmed as we end our journey, as when we began. I have been so out of the loop with all the paperwork, schedules, bills that we will now have again, and the commitments, that it is a little daunting. Okay EXTREMELY daunting... As most of you know I am an extremely weeping person. Let's just say I have been more than my usual hallmark weepy lately.
As I am going thru my lists to jump back into land life I realize that I can still visualize every detail of home just as when we left. (Even to the point where my sister asked me for a costco list so she could stock the house before we arrived and as I was making my list I was going down the aisles in my head and making lists by department... Pathetic I know). I also realized that I really need to get a life, start on a career and figure out what I want to do when I grow up.. hee hee.
In this process of moving back home I am so touched by all that have offered to help us as we transition back home. It reminds me of how good our community/friends/family are and how blessed I am to be living in the environment I do for myself and my family. In todays world as you all know it is even more important to be close to those that you love and to help those that need. It is important for everyone to care and reach out and be supportive to the community/friendships and help watch over all of us... We are so fortunate to be where we are and I would love to think that we are not unique and the majority of people around the world feel the same and will stop to help anyone that needs it no matter what. I know that out here we experience that on a daily basis and it has become our norm...
I have often been reflecting on our trip over the past weeks and I get snippets of memories that flow in and out. Some of the things that I realize are we have all grown from this experience beyond measures. When we started out I would have classified myself as a control freak, obsessive, do everything, worrier, planner, and not spontaneous. Now I can maybe take off the planner /do everything part and add spontaneous and flexible.. hee hee. I am still a controlling person in a way but have mellowed out soooo much. Of course Chris may have some other choice words. Living on a boat you realize that there are so many things that you can worry about and try to control but ultimately you have to throw your hands in the air and say WTF and go with it... nothing is ever consistent. You are always changing or adjusting from schedules, destinations, recipes, mechanical parts, time schedules, activities and the list goes on... you can not plan anything and you just have to wake up and see what the winds have blown your way or for the better, out of your way. You have to make multiple plans because they always change. They ALWAYS seem to change for the better and things ALWAYS work out.
As a cruiser there are a few things that become common place.... Your hair dryer is your husband's Milwaukee heat gun, the thermometer you use for the kids is the Milwaukee Laser temp gun, your new perfume is Diesel, when you walk by the kids and they say, "ooooh you smell good" only because you showered for the first time in a week. When everyone on board is craving a salad or fruit because we have been living out of cans for weeks. When you put on a shirt and have to change it 3 times because you can't get the moldy smell out of your clothes till you reach the bottom of the pile... and when you do put your shirts or shorts on they have holes/stains in them because you have worn them clean through in the last few years.
I wish there is some way I can think that Chris has changed but in my mind he has always been, giving, optimistic, caring, achieving, family oriented, worldly, nurturing, my shoulder to lean on.... I think the only way this trip has changed him is he is even more motivated to get back and find a way for us to repeat this lifestyle without losing what we have learned/gained from it in the last 2 years. We both love how we are currently living and need to find away to keep it going (whether on land or by sea or both) It may take up to 10 years but at least it is a goal for all of us.
In regards to the rest of the family, I think the most noticeable change in the kids is that they love to hang out with us adults and participate in the conversations. They will approach anyone of any age, introduce themselves (with eye contact and shaking hands) and be able to start a conversation with asking and answering questions. They are extremely helpful without being asked to others around us, strangers in town or cruisers on the dock, it doesn't matter, they go out of their way to ask them if they can help. It is now second nature for them to reach out to people and engage. They are also not afraid of language barriers and realize that they enjoy trying to communicate and stumble their way along. They now can recognize most country flags flying off the back of the boats and know people from many different countries. They have learned about these countries or funny stories from them and have a new appreciation at how small the world really is. They also have an amazing tolerance and appreciation for all personality types.
They all can cook and are quite self sufficient in taking care of themselves. They all help with the chores, like grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, and taking care of the boat. They all know that they need to be ready if we call them and are responsive right away... Unless of course they have their headphones on and music on full blast. They have learned to appreciate each others company and have become close in the process. They really are their own best friends because often there isn't anyone else to hang with.
The older kids have become a lot more patient and more mature a long the way. They realize that people are who they are and that they pick their battles carefully, most of the time it is like water running off a ducks back or they laugh with each other at their bad moments. Most of their arguments are not sibling rivalry stuff but they end up have these book and music discussions/debates on their different tastes in both. Believe me it still is annoying to hear them have the same argument every night but a little funny at the same time. Most people feel that living on boat in a small space creates many restrictions and with the kids fighting. I would have to say that a smaller house leads to a closer family and we have all learned to communicate how we feel and to fix anything by talking when we are upset. There is no where to hide on this boat. You can't throw a temper tantrum and slam your door to escape and make a point, the next person is only 2 feet away.. Hee hee.
They still do kid stuff like getting in and out of the fridge multiple times.. and leaving lights on. Chris solved that by just taking their light bulbs out and they had to earn them back.. One thing they have learned is to not leave the water on... It is the one resource we do not want to run out of on the boat. They still have the messy (really messy) rooms and the boat still gets trashed just like at home but all in all it is still a small space and it take us a few hours to put it all back. This is just a snap shot in each room tonight at what our boat looks like on a normal night...
Chris and I will work really hard at finding a balance between what/how we have learned and developed as a family and also re-acclimating back into land life. I know that after about a month we will so be missing so many things about this lifestyle like the sunsets/sunrises and motion of the water, the marine life, bird life, fauna and flora, the communities, no alarm clocks, no schedules, white sand beaches, reuniting with our sailing friends, the close family times and doing everything as a family and many more... but we now know what it is like out here and can plan for something in the future.
The one thing that I just can't get over is how much I miss my family. Kava and Mykaela there isn't a day that I didn't think of you and miss you guys so much. I am so looking forward to a huge bear hug from you guys and can't wait to see you all of you (Ariel... that means you too... I am so happy you are now a big part of our family!)
I have missed my family so much and am so hurt that 3 of my nieces and nephews grew up not really knowing their aunty/uncle/cousins... I can't wait to change that and be there for them and see them more often. Family is the world to me and I just can't be away from them like this. My cherished friends it has been so long and I am so looking forward to catching up with you guys, walks on the bike trail, coffees in the morning, wine in the evenings, and some of our signature parties... the kids are already planning the our coming home party, pumpkin carving party, gingerbread making party, etc...
Hugs and love to everyone,