An Attitude of Gratitude
“Wise men count their blessings;
fools their problems.”--Unknown
You have heard stories, seen photos, and still can’t imagine the chaos that the past few weeks have brought for our family. Mark has been in overdrive with spreadsheets and checklists. And as he was running circles around the rest of us in a frenzy of final boat logistics and mechanical details, I have simply tried to do what Moms do best… hold down the fort. It was a flashback of the days when Mark was in the rat race of corporate America, and I was home changing diapers and reading bedtime stories. We knew these roles well. Only in the past few months had we gotten a taste of “the good life” with overlapping roles and family time. In many ways, our quality time together in that little Buenos Aires apartment had unknowingly prepared us and restored us enough to tackle the obstacles of these past few weeks. And in the midst of the chaos, we had some very sweet moments. In my attempt to stay positive in the midst of all the insanity, a song floats in my head – Count your many blessings, name them one by one…
#1 Where’s the Beef?? It is a tradition here that when a boat is completed and splashed, the boat owners thank all the people who helped build the boat with an Argentine Asado. Essentially, this is a huge barbecue, which takes hours to prepare. Luckily, one of the installers at Antares is an Asado master, and he took on the task of feeding all of us! It was quite a feast, and no one left hungry. This also provided a time for Mark and I to verbally thank each of the people for the work that they put into our boat. I read my words of thanks in broken Spanish, but here is a translated version of my thank you and boat blessing…
Thank you so much for all of the time and hard work you have given to create this beautiful sailboat. I have seen your passion and care in your work, and I know that in many ways your hearts will be sailing with us on our journeys. My family can't thank you enough. This meal signifies so much. It is the end of one chapter, and the beginning of another. This is goodbye to one beautiful country and hello to places we only dreamed of visiting. This boat means more time together with our family, learning as we travel. It will be our “ultimate field trip”, so her name is deemed FIELD TRIP. May she bring us safely to many shores and stay strong when storms come. May God bless her and all who travel with her.
#2 Christmas Afloat - Our first official night on the boat was Christmas Eve. None of our luggage had arrived yet from storage, but we made sure to have the necessities on hand to celebrate Christmas. Mark was determined to spend Christmas on our boat, so we did what we could to make it special for the kids. We brought our mini tree, the presents, a few home-made decorations, and our ipod filled with carols. After dinner, the kids got into their pj’s and took turns opening their 3 presents each. It is amazing what a lack of toys can do for a child’s gratefulness!! Mark and I loved seeing them get so excited about just a few simple gifts! Then we sat together and read the REAL Christmas story and talked about the ultimate gift that was given and the reason we celebrate today. It was unlike any other Christmas we’d celebrated before, that’s for sure! The kids hurried off to bed, hoping that Santa Claus could find us and made boat deliveries in his sleigh! Amazingly, Rudolph knew how to follow the channel markers into the marina!
#3 Visitors Arrive! We were especially thankful for friends who made the trek out to San Fernando by trains, bus, and car. It is not an easy journey, and we were humbled by the efforts our friends made to come visit us, bringing yummy food, too! Our first visitors were a young couple we had med at a train station one night. Valentina and Augusto had a dog that the kids fell in love with on the train platform. Then, when the train was too full to bring us back to our apartment, they invited us to their apartment and called us a taxi. While we waited for the car to arrive, we had a wonderful time getting to know this very kind couple with an adventurous spirit we could easily relate to. They just left last week to ride bicycles through Chile for 3 months! Kindred spirits, for sure.
A few days later, we met my dear friend, Florencia, with her two oldest children as they got off the train. There were about 15 workers on the boat when they came to visit, so it was beyond hectic, but we spent some time at the park and the kids and I loved showing them around the boat as best as we could. Our expat friends from New Jersey and California also made the long trek out to the marina. It was so fun to show them this elusive boat that we had talked so much about! I’m not sure they thought it really existed! Elizabeth and Michael showed the kids their room and all the best hiding places on the boat, while Mark and I enjoyed some adult conversation with our good friends. What a blessing to have made such dear friends during our time in Buenos Aires.
So in this time of craziness and upheaval, as I live in yet another hotel with the chicos and watch for the latest location posts from Mark’s sailing journeys, I’m remembering all we have to be thankful for and all the blessings we have to count.