Saying Goodbye...Again

Sunset at St. George's anchorage, Grenada
During our eight weeks in Colorado, we loved seeing dear friends and family, going trick or treating, and eating our favorite American foods.  It was a great visit, but BUSY!  With the car and the house on the market and all the doctors appointments scheduled for each family member, we returned to our old ways fairly quickly.  Running from place to place and relying on our calendars more than we had for months!  The snow and cold was refreshing for a few weeks, but soon we were more than ready for the tropical warmth of Grenada again.  The grass is always greener, I guess.
Gutting pumpkins for Jack 'O Lanterns
The good news is that the house and car are both sold (pending all the paperwork, of course), and we are all happy to be back on board.  The first night we arrived, the kids ran to their room, shouting, “We’re home, we’re home!”  They couldn’t wait to play at the beach with all the boat kids.  It was a reassuring moment for Mark and I, to see that they had really settled into this lifestyle and preferred it to our suburban one. 
So excited to be with the boat kids again!
Puzzle and hand-made airplanes
Our first week back was a week of birthday celebrations!  My mom was able to meet us in Miami and join us for a week.  She and Michael share the same birthdate, so it was fun to have a beach party for both of them!  All the kids gathered to enjoy cupcakes, even donning the transformer masks I had brought along from the states.  Michael could not contain his excitement and reminded me that this was his first “boat birthday”.  He had been counting down the days and made sure everyone we saw knew that it was his big day!  Kids brought amazing handmade or handpicked gifts for him - a bank made with a kleenex box and toilet paper roll slides for the coins, airplanes made from clothespins, a Magic Tree House hand-me-down book, a puzzle book, and a cardboard telescope!  My mom even got a birthday serenade!

Trying out the hand-made bank

Later that week, we took the public buses up to the Grenville area to see the Mona Monkeys.   Thankfully, Mark tipped us off to the fact that we needed to bring bananas to lure them from the forest.  Within moments, a large monkey jumped onto the fence in front of us, reached out to Elizabeth, and plucked the banana from her hand.  In a flash it was grabbing Michael’s banana, devouring it, and then moving to the next handout.  I was amazed that he sat and ate the bananas right in front of us without even flinching!  The experience brought flashbacks of our encounter with the wild coatis in Argentina who had been accidentally trained by tourists to take any human food they could get their paws on - making an outdoor lunch a menagerie!  Thankfully, the Mona monkeys had much better manners, and ate only bananas.   


Monkeying around with the Mona
We hiked to the crater lake nearby and fed the fish, then up to a museum that showed the geography and wildlife of Grenada.  In schooling, we’d been learning about different types of maps, and here we saw a political map, resource map, and physical map of the island to reinforce what we’d learned.  One sign also taught about various aquatic creatures found in the lake, and we discovered a vocabulary word from our science unit study - benthic.  Do you know what a benthic creature is?  Like a crab or lobster - any aquatic animal that crawls along the bottom of a body of water.  I just love it when school learning and exploration come together!!
At Grand Etang Lake with Grandma
This week has not been nearly as fun.  Good friends who were supposed to come join us for 10 days had to cancel their trip due to a broken arm!  That meant we used our time to prepare for our voyage to Bonaire.  After being here for almost 6 months, our longest stay anywhere, we have become at home here.  Often, when we are on the boat, it means only anchoring in a place for one to two weeks.  It is barely enough time to find the grocery store and meet a few surrounding boats.  Everything is unfamiliar and new.  But here in Grenada we have become comfortable, familiar, and settled.  

As I was taking yet another public bus into town to get some groceries, I teared up, just thinking about how nice it was to know a place so fully.  The island has become a favorite of ours.  It is beautiful, safe, friendly, and welcoming.  The other night, we went to one of our favorite hang outs, the Tiki Bar at Prickly Bay Marina.  I sat there, soaking up the fact that I was surrounded by familiar faces.  It has become a kind of Cheers for us, where everybody knows our names!  Can’t say that about many other places we’ve stopped into. 

I have said before that loneliness can creep into this lifestyle easily.  Cruising challenges my need for social interaction and friendships, and I am realizing, as we are preparing to leave, how precious all the friends we’ve met here are to me. Memories and connections we’ve made here will carry me through lonely times that are sure to come.  Dominoes games, island tours, noodling water aerobics, cooking classes, happy hours, beach picnics, reading clubs, pizza nights, hashes, shopping buses - they’ve all allowed me to fill that cup of friendship to overflowing. 

So as we move west to new places, new people, and new adventure, onto unfamiliar territory once again, I am struggling to pick up my anchor.  There is more world to see, but I sure am going to miss this little island we've called home.

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