The Whole Family, Including the Whining Dogs, Made it to Texas

We’re in “The Republic of Texas.”  It only took 19 hours to travel from our doorstep on Saba to Daniel and Lydia’s house in Texas, but hey, the whole family made it, including Paris and all her whining.  Hannah was an excellent traveler and only had one melt down on the way.  She was SICK AND TIRED of being buckled into her stroller, and being confined at all times.  SHE JUST WANTED TO GO ON A DANG WALK, and meet new people, and say “hi!” to everyone, and dance, and shake her bum-bum, and ALL of the aforementioned activities are almost impossible to do when you are strapped down in a stroller, with parental supervision.

It was a very stress free day of travel.  What a relief for us!  David and I were both able to get on the same flight leaving Saba, and ALL of our luggage and both dogs were also on the same flight.  THAT ALONE IS A MIRACLE.  The airline that flies in and out of Saba only allows one pet per flight, and luckily for us, they made an exception.  I’d like to think the favors given to us by the staff at the airport were because they liked us, or knew our names, not just our faces, but that probably isn’t the case.  I think it’s because Hannah is a charmer.  She always smiles, waves, and says “take care!” to the employees when we leave that tiny airport, and I think she is the reason they felt so compelled to give us a break.  We weren’t charged for the dogs, or overweight luggage.  I want to go back to Saba just to say, “Thank you” to them one more time, for making our trip that much easier.

Flying from Saba is always complicated in some way.  Fortunately, the winds were favorable enough for the plane to land (they were projected to be unfavorable, making it impossible for us to leave the island) and we were at the Sint Maarten airport at 8:00.  We had a WHOLE LOTTA TIME TO KILL with a toddler, two dogs, and four pieces of luggage.  That’s right, our whole lives fit into FOUR pieces of luggage.  In fact,  we had extra room in the luggage, (which is just a shock really) and I was able to bring home my vegetable steamer.  Which I love, to death.  Honestly, I wasn’t concerned about my blow dryer fitting into the luggage, but the steamer, that was a priority.  I couldn’t live without it before moving to Saba, and leaving Saba was no different.  Initially, I had just planned to leave the steamer and buy another one when we returned to the states, but since there was room in the luggage, I just saved myself some money!  Which could go toward something else I need . . . and I just can’t start naming other things that I “need” because after being on a glorified camping trip for two years, I “NEED” everything!

Being a toddler is BIG WORK and Hannah is happy to show you just how hard it is to hang out in a stroller, saying “hi!” to everyone, and dancing to the Caribbean beat.  Since we had SIX HOURS to kill, she decided to take a little snooze at the airport.

Hannah requires four items to go to sleep.  If one of the items is missing, then the delicate balance is ruined and she JUST CAN’T SLEEP.  She has to have her Pooh Bear, soft tag blanket, her bear blanket (not shown) and her DANG BINKIE.  She HAS to have her binkie to go to sleep.  It is the only time she gets it, and every time she lies down for a nap she says, “BINKIE!” and every time she puts it into her mouth we tell her “You don’t need this DUMB thing!” but then we have to give it to her because we know she will fall asleep within minutes.  And really, this is a battle not worth fighting right now.

Arriving early for our flight made check in a breeze, and American Airlines was so helpful.  They didn’t charge us for the extra piece of luggage we checked, and they took dang good care of our dogs while they were out of our care.

During our LONG wait at the airport, we David took Hannah, and our girls for a walk.  He was the designated walker, and I was the designated spectator photographer, sitting with the luggage, and the kennels.

If you want to know how hot it was, just check out the dogs’ tongues.

When we arrived at DFW airport, we were so excited to see Daniel and 8 1/2 months pregnant Lydia (who professed she would never have kids . . . Ha!  Ha!) I got a second wind of energy.  Our pups were excellent travelers, and I was so relived to have all our luggage, dogs, and family together, in one place.  One piece of luggage went missing in Miami during customs, but it magically showed up on our doorstep this evening. We are very happy to be here, in one piece.

I can’t believe the time has finally come for us to move on from our life on Saba.  I have seen so many friends and students move back to “reality” during our two year stay, and I am so happy our turn has come!  Yesterday was full of bittersweet emotion as we left our house on Saba, but I do look forward to the next chapter in the “Adventures of our Family.”  Whenever I think about the beautiful island life we left behind, I have to think, “I can buy grapes, bananas, milk, and ANYTHING I can imagine, ANY DAY of the week.”  That thought alone will keep me going.  🙂

We Actually Left the “Rock”

I know, I disappeared. I have been sick. Not just kind of sick, but the really sick kind of sick. Since I have been sick 90% of the time, the other 10% of the time when I feel somewhat decent, I have to be a mother, wife, house cleaner, chef, dog caretaker, and entertainer to Hannah. I feel somewhat behind on life, but life certainly has not come to a standstill. A few things have happened in the last few months: we watched New Year’s fireworks from our patio from three different islands, we ACTUALLY left Saba and spent Christmas on Emerald Isle, North Carolina, and oh ya the sick thing . . . it’s not the contagious kind of sick, I am pregnant!

This pregnancy is very similar to my pregnancy with Hannah. I have to keep looking at Hannah to remind myself that feeling like trash is part of the program. Baking a baby is big work! I kind of forgot how exhausting it was until I got pregnant again. I am due on David’s birthday in July. Hannah was a birthday three days later, so they will be two years apart. I am in my 13th week of pregnancy now, just 27 more weeks to live through. YUCK.

David’s brother and sister-in-law own a beach house on Emerald Isle, North Carolina. David’s parents surprised us and bought us plane tickets to go out there for Christmas with them and his sister and her family. We hadn’t seen either his brother (who lives in NC) or his sister (who lives in GA) in over five years. They both have kids we had never met. It was great to get off this Rock and actually be with extended family for Christmas. This was David’s first time off Saba in a year, and his first time out of the Caribbean in two years. I was expecting him to have some culture shock (believe me, it happens to everyone, even when you have lived in the states your whole life), but it never happened. It may be because he never left the beach house. Maybe it’s because he didn’t got to Walmart with me on the Saturday before Christmas. Maybe it’s because he only saw a handful of people when he did actually leave the house to attend church. Maybe this is why his mind wasn’t overwhelmed with choices. Like all the candy available. Everywhere. Specifically Swedish Fish, and Red Vines. Let me rephrase, fresh Red Vines. Soft chewy candy, what a luxury!

We traded our ocean view on Saba, for another on Emerald Isle. Except, the beach house has private beach access, which is more than that I can say about my house. In fact, David and I ended up in “opposite world”. Pretty much everything we don’t have on Saba, we had at the beach house.

Let’s just note some of the differences:

Emerald Isle Beach House: 10 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, four floors, media room, sauna, hot tub, pool, two kitchens, three automatic dishwashers, ocean view, private beach access, kid play room, adult game room, and an elevator (because who wants to carry their pesky luggage up to the four floor?). Oh ya, and plenty of sea shells by the sea shore. You can rent this beautiful place for $12,000 a week. It can sleep up to 30 people.

Saba house: Two teeny tiny microscopic bedrooms, one “convenience” bathroom (where you can shower, go to the bathroom, and wash your hands all at once because it is that small), one “grand” room consisting of the kitchen, dining, and family room. Oh, we also have a large 13″ TV. Not flat screen, of course, but I know somewhere out there, someone is feeling better about their house after reading about ours. Our house does provide a beautiful view of the ocean and five other islands. It really is amazing. Our place can sleep up to four people and would rent for about $200 to $400 for a week.

Not only was it nice to get away from paradise, but it was nice to spread out. All over the house if I wanted to. Hannah was IN LOVE with the stairs, all four thousand of them. That meant that someone had to be on “Hannah stair duty” at all times, and since I could pull the sick prego card (which was legit) that left it up to David most of the time.

Here are some photos of our Christmas getaway:

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Hannah and her cousins Ara-Jean and Micheal watching a movie.

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Hannah and David on the top story of the house.

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This is the front of the beach house. If you look closely, you might be able to see David!

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This is the back of the beach house.

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This is the view of the beach from our bedroom window!

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Dennis, Gloria, and some of the grandkids out on the beach.

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Most of the family out on the beach. I was on camera duty . . . so I got to watch most of the fun.

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Hannah on her beach stroll.

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Hannah and her Daddy on the beach.

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This is Jake, Mike and Mary’s dog. He lives at the beach house and this is his turf.

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Jennifer and Eliza walking the beach.

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The ocean view from the balcony off our bedroom.

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The back of the beach house.

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One of the only pictures of Hannah and me. Proof that I was actually in North Carolina for Christmas.

Texas Sized

While I was visiting the great state of TEXAS, it was very obvious how “everything is Bigger and Better in TEXAS”. My world on Saba is so small: 1,500 people, five miles big, nine miles of road, one gas station, four grocery stores, and a few restaurants. So, everything in TEXAS seemed THAT much bigger. I had to take a picture of Central High School, which is located near my old house in TEXAS. There are over 3,000 kids (or more) enrolled in this high school. Ahem . . . that is like THREE times the population of Saba. The school probably sits on five square miles too . . . Nice to know that my entire world could fit into this ONE school.

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Central High School, Keller, TEXAS

The Best Candy in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD

Lydia is so dang thoughty. You see, while she was in Los Angeles last month, she came across my favorite candy in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD, and I am not exaggerating. I discovered this particular candy, Hi-chew (aptly named for being really chewy) in Taiwan. You can find it all over China, because it is a candy made in China; not a Chinese candy. It’s kind of like how our kids favorite toys are not “Chinese toys”, they are just made in China. Trust me, I have been subjected to all kinds of NASTY food in China, and I can honestly say, Chinese people (real ones, the ones that live in China, not the Americanized ones) do NOT like this candy. This is an American candy. The kind that will rot your teeth right out.

David loves this candy as much as I do, and his only request when I would return home from Asia: Hi-chew. On one business trip, several of us (from our previous business) were being driven to the Taiwan airport, and we were running late. However, I knew I certainly could not show my face to David without bringing home a Texas sized supply of Hi-chew! I distinctly remember asking the driver of our car to PULL OVER! When I spotted a store that sold this wonderful candy. We basically raided the store (I can’t really call it a gas station, it certainly wasn’t a grocery store, but it was a store that carried HI-CHEW, and LOTS of it!) We literally dumped entire boxes of HI-CHEW into our bags, and depleted the store of it’s entire stock. The cashier watched us very closely, waiting to see if we were going to rob the store too. When purchasing my stash of HI-CHEW, the cashier asked me, “You like?” Um, obviously “I like”. I asked him if he liked the candy. “No, No. I NO LIKE“. Great, this confirms that HI-CHEW isn’t a nasty Chinese candy, but a fantastic American Candy!

Ahem . . .it has been brought to my attention that this mouth watering candy can be found in highly populated areas of the United States. And by highly populated, I mean big cities, with diversity, you know, like lots of cultures and lots of people in those cultures; enough people to make an entire town, like “China Town”. So, if you find yourself in such a city and are wondering what to buy in a town like “China Town”, search every store high and low for the best candy in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD. It is TOTALLY worth it.

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It comes in many flavors. Thanks Lydia!!!

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Fruit-tella is a poor imitation of HI-CHEW, but it will give you an idea of what HI-CHEW is like.

Celebrity Status

I feel like a celebrity. Everywhere I go, people are welcoming me back to the island. They all seem to know where I went and for how long. This “welcome” back to the island took me off guard at first. I had forgotten how everyone seems to know the comings and goings of the island. I know I am not a celebrity, but this must be similar to how they feel when people ask them about their travels.

I was certainly missed around my house. Not only did David profess his undying love for me in attempt to convince me to never leave him again for that long, but Paris’ and Kyaha’s hearts practically lept out of their bodies and basically had a heart attack right there on the patio. Crazy, excited dogs. My fridge also spoke to me, “Please, clean me out, give me a bath, and feed me!” Judging by the food in the fridge, (or lack thereof) I am 100% sure David ate like crap while I was gone. And I don’t mean crap like junk food, because at least that is food. I mean crap like a sleeve of Ritz crackers for dinner, or whatever else he could find that was stale and unfulfillable. Yuk. Good thing I’m home to reclaim my post as “family chef” and “family maid”.

I am back in the swing of things, which is pretty much like being on vacation. I have been busy this week working on a few projects that I will post pictures of later. I promised to post pictures of my trip, so here are some of the highlights:

Brian and Emily

This is my twin brother Brian. I know, David and I look more alike than he and I do.

Scott, Jenn, and Hannah

This is my sister Jenn and her husband Scott (with Hannah of course). I visited them in Southern California.

This is a photo of Hannah her her cousin Zack (9 years old) who lives in California. He is so cute holding her hand!

This is my best friend Katie. She now lives next door to my parents in Utah. Very crazy. She mentioned to me that we have been friends for almost 20 years. YIKES! I don’t think I can be that old!

David’s sisters Janine and Sheri and his mom. This was taken at the (Janine) Harmon Ranch house in the Provo Canyon.

Saba isn’t the only beautiful place to photograph. This is some of the fall foliage up Provo Canyon.

This is Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon. I used to bike up to this waterfall from my parents house.

Um . . .ya . . . this is the Porsche Cayenne Hannah and I got to drive around for a bit. It actually belongs to Angie, my sister-in-law. It was nice to drive something so nice. Our car on Saba is such a piece of junk compared to this!

This is the kitchen in the “mansion”. It is so beautiful, this photo does not do it justice. I enjoyed cooking up a few meals for my brother and his family in this amazing kitchen.

This is Hannah with David’s parents. Check out Hannah’s mile long lashes!

Hannah playing Daniel’s piano in Texas. She was quite good! 🙂

This is Ashley and Melanie Bonnett (well, her last is now McNutt). Melanie’s baby, Elizabeth, is exactly nine months younger than Hannah. We saw them in Texas.

Yes, this is Hannah and Redd (Caroline and Orrin’s kid) making out. Aren’t they cute?!

I had a wonderful trip to the states, but I am glad to be back in my own environment. I am glad to get Hannah back in her crib and happy to have my two dogs following me around like my shadow. It’s nice to be home.

Y’all, I’ll Love Texas!

Dirt, humidity, plants. Yep, it smells like Texas. I have such fond memories of this place. I really feel like I am “home” here. I have been staying at Daniel and Lydia’s house, which is right next door to the house David and I sold before moving to Saba. Our old house still looks like our house, and I want to run in there move all my stuff back inside, but it’s not our house. It is a very weird feeling. Unfortunately, the people that bought our house, leased it out to some renters who did not take care of the house. The renters wreaked havoc on the house and I am sad to see the house now. It is vacant now (thank goodness), but it feels like someone vandalized my personal property! It probably doesn’t help that I see the house everyday (I am just next door), and reminisce about my previous life. My, how very different my life is on Saba. Part of me LOVES being in Texas, and I am ready to reclaim my previous life. But the other part of me, longs for my simple life on Saba.

I am still a big city girl. Driving over the crest of the freeway last night and seeing a sea of lights, I must admit, I still love it. There are museums, parks, and friendly people here! Not to mention shopping at Sam Moon . . . And truthfully, Super Walmart here is as good as Super Target. I couldn’t find what I needed at the Walmart in Utah, but I certainly found everything I needed here!

Lydia and I attended at Yoga class Thursday night at 24 Hour Fitness. When the class began, the instructor asked “Is this anyone’s first time doing Yoga?” Feeling like an idiot because I have never done yoga in my life, I declined to comment. The instructor then said “Phew, good! Lets get going!” I was saying “PHEW! GOOD!” to myself! It’s a good thing I didn’t admit to being a yoga idiot. The class started and things were going well. It’s like playing “following the leader”. I am pretty coordinated and somewhat flexible, so the beginning of the class was fine. Then we started “posing”. Um . . .I don’t usually hold an “eagle pose”, or an “open apple” pose that often (ahem . . . like never), and I was beginning to wonder if I was giving myself away as the “yoga idiot”. Good news for me, it looked like others in the class were in my same predicament. At one point, while were were sitting in an “Indian pose”, the instructor said, “Just relax and enjoy the sensation in your right hip.” Enjoy the sensation? Relax? Is that possible? I thought I would need a fire-hose to blow out the fire in my left hip! I looked at my watch and the class still had a half hour to go. Half an hour? Yikes. I had some serious hip, leg, and arm burning to endure. I am officially still sore. After attending this class, I noticed that Hannah does Yoga ALL DAY LONG. The “down dog” position is her favorite. I wonder if Yoga was designed after the lifestyle and movements of a toddler. They are in really good shape, have endless energy and can (and will) eat almost anything!

Last night I had dinner with Orrin and Caroline. They are such a great family. Orrin is a pilot and flies for some private charter company out of Alliance Airport. Caroline is pregnant and due in two weeks. She is having another boy. Their little boy, Redd, is a lot like Hannah. He is five months older, but just as calm as my little one. They are both very affectionate and basically hugged and made out the entire night. We couldn’t stop laughing! I have some of their kissing moments on camera. I will post the pics when I get back to Saba and have access to my computer. It was fun to catch up with them and see their growing family. I hope to see them again in April when we pass through Texas on our way to wherever.

I leave Texas tomorrow morning. Which means that my stay in the USA is over. I am happy and sad. But I am mostly excited to see David! At this point, I don’t care where I go, I just want to see him! We have been apart for five weeks. That is the longest we have ever been apart. It is too long. Poor David, he has been living on crackers and water for the past month.

Utah, I’m Outta Here

It’s a good thing I didn’t fly out on Friday like I was scheduled to. I would have missed the 97 cents sale at Old Navy! Hello! 97 cents? Yes! The whole store was on sale! Living on Saba, I have become so practical. I only bought exactly what I was looking for: shirts in white, brown, and black. Oh, and a very cute belt. I know, very boring. My total was only $14 for four shirts and a belt (which was a whopping $10). Now that is a steal!

I rescheduled my flight to Dallas from Friday to Monday. There was a little mix up with my friends as to when I would be arriving and Lydia is out of town! That just leaves Daniel at home . . . and well, as much as Daniel is like brother to me . . . it would still be awkward all around. My parents are happy to have me for three more days, and I am happy to get a few more things done here before I head off.

Shopping has taken on a life of its own. Imagine that you haven’t been shopping in almost a year and now you have to shop for anything you might need for the next year! It is a little crazy and overwhelming. Part of me doesn’t care to buy the things listed on my “to buy list” (things like sunglasses, shirts, Tigi Control Freak, tweezers, clothes and shoes for Hannah, baby back pack carrier, BBW coconut lotion, sprout seeds, Stephens Hot Chocolate to take home, etc), but the sane part of me knows that I will HATE myself if I don’t get the things on my list. It is frustrating to not have these items at my disposal on Saba. It is so simple there. Sometimes, you just learn to do without. However, I can’t do without my Tweezerman Tweezers, and the two pair I have on Saba are jacked up. So, that was non-negotiable!

I will miss the simple pleasures of the States. You know, like FANTASTIC deals at Old Navy, going to the movies, finding everything you need at Walmart or Target, and going to the grocery store at midnight. My mom was complaining that milk went up in price this week from $1.69 a gallon to $3.oo a gallon. I sort of tuned her out when I realized the “expensive price” of milk was three times LESS than I pay for a gallon. Yes people, I shell out $12.oo for a gallon of milk! I also pay $5.00 a gallon for gas! I will certainly miss the grocery prices and the convenience the states has to offer. However, I am anxious to get back to Saba so I can take a vacation! The lifestyle here is so fast paced, and I want to do as many things and see as many people as possible, it has not felt like a vacation. Except for the time I have carved out to read eight novels and one self-help book . . . I will miss not having caretakers around so I can read whenever I want!

It is interesting to see the United States through Hannah’s eyes and her smile. A lot of “firsts”have happened on this trip:

  • Hannah’s first ride in a Porsche.
  • My first time driving a Porsche.
  • Hannah seeing ceiling fans. They are very interesting you know.
  • Hannah watching the garage door open and close. Sort of scary!
  • Taking a bath in a tub. Poor little thing has to take a bath in a portable bath on my patio, for all the world to see!
  • Music in the car. Hannah was quite surprised to hear it when riding in her carseat. She was looking around to see where the music was coming from. She loves to dance in her seat!
  • Hannah was weighed on a real scale that computes to pounds not kilos. She is 24 pounds.
  • She got a stroller ride on a FLAT surface.
  • Hannah not only ate fries at McDonald’s, she got to play on the play set!
  • The park was especially designed for small kids. She was safe!
  • The park was also ONE level, no crazy hills, slants or fire ants!
  • My parents big screen TV is like a movie screen to her. Hello big screen Tele Tubbies! (SICK!)
  • Hannah saw snow.
  • Hannah got her first haircut.
  • Hannah went to her first funeral.  (Uncle Dee died)  She was very happy and said “HI!” to everyone!

I am sure there are many more firsts, but you get the point that she is pretty sheltered on Saba. I will miss listening to the radio, and tuning into country! There are no radio stations to tune into on Saba . . . Yes, we are very remote out there!

I have enjoyed seeing my friends: Katie T., Katie C., Sheri V., Sheri J., Beth (who had a baby six weeks ago and is now two pounds again) Teri, Kerri, and many others! I will miss you guys!

Recidivated

I consider myself to be a very organized, clean, structured person. I enjoy cooking, keeping a very tidy household, and managing my family’s affairs. I have been known to vacuum or sweep my house (which is all tile in the Caribbean) three to four times a day. I make the beds everyday, almost the instant I roll out. I make all meals from scratch, including pancake mix. Cakes and icing are obviously from scratch too, why eat a cake from a mix? Who eats icing from a store bought jar? I don’t have a dishwasher (I am the dishwasher) and I wash all my dishes by hand. I feel like I know all my dishes and silverware intimately. I take my dogs out three times a day, make three meals a day, wash clothes and hang them to dry on the clothing line, and sweep off the patio. I really hate to see random dirt and standing water. I know, I can be a little obsessed.

What is wrong with this picture? Nothing. That is “Saba Emily” who is a little OCD. “Visiting Family and Friends Emily” is a little different. My room is a disaster. It looks like it has “thrown up”. If I make my bed, it is usually right before I go to bed, just to straighten out the sheets. I haven’t made one meal for my parents (well, I did make a chocolate cake from scratch if that counts), and my mom is doing my laundry. I half loaded the dishwasher once. I have driven my mom’s Toyota Highlander all over Utah Valley, and not once have I put gas in it or cleaned it out. I hate to admit this, but I have recidivated. This is exactly how I behaved when I lived at home. I moved out when I was 19, so I have obviously grown up a bit and taken responsibility for myself. Why is it that when you go home, you just let your parents take care of you? Regardless of how old you are, or how old they are? I am embarrassed. I only act this way at home. When I visit other places, I am cleaning up after myself all day long. I cook, (just ask Ben and Ang. They scored two homemade meals out of me on Sunday) clean, wash, and babysit. You name it!

I am turning a new leaf. Tomorrow is a new day. I will no longer live as a spoiled brat under my parents roof.

Lost and Not Found

Over the past three weeks, Hannah and I have enjoyed living the glamorous “gypsi” life. While most of our time has been spent at my parents house in Orem, Utah, we have spent time (you know, like slept over at other places other than the mainstay) at a few other places. I am beginning to think that I have left a “little piece of Emily and Hannah” scattered all along the way. This has in now way been intentional; not like our friends “Hansel and Gretel” who scattered crumbs. I am slowly but surely realizing that I am missing a few things. Here is the problem; where are the missing items? They could be on Sint Maarten (where we HAD to stay overnight at a hotel), lost in Puerto Rico, at my sisters house in Cali, at my brother Ben’s Mansion (seriously. I will post pics soon), at my in-law’s house, or are they just lost in my room which is so messy that it looks like it has “thrown up”? Can you see that maybe I left my brain somewhere along the way?

If you like something, always buy two or more. I live by this motto. I fell in love with a shirt while shopping in California. When you find a shirt with the proper fit, style and price, like I did, you should but three. That is what I did. However, I can only find two or the three shirts I purchased. I am beginning to think that I hallucinated buying three shirts, and I have almost convinced myself that I must be “up in the night”. However, my “Marathon Shopper Sister” Jenn, specifically “GASPED!” when I pulled three exact shirts (all different colors) from the rack. The moment my favorite sister “GASPED!” when I purchased three identical shirts, was a pivotal moment for me. At that very moment, I realized that maybe I wasn’t normal. Maybe normal people don’t buy in quantities. For this very reason, I know I bought THREE shirts.

I have retraced my steps. I searched “The Mansion” high and low, ripped my luggage apart, accused the washer of eating it, and scoured my in-law’s house. I asked my mother-in-law if she had seen it. Because she is a mom, I really had high hopes that she was keeping track of all my stuff. Apparently, she is not my keeper. She had no idea. Aren’t moms, supposed to keep track of that kind of stuff? Not new moms like me, but real moms who have been moms for a really, really, long time?

The hunt for the White and Sapphire Blue Johnny Color Polo is still on. I’m sure it is in the same place I left my brain. If you find either one, let me know.

We Have Arrived

We made it. We are finally in the “Mother Country”. It took seven flights to get us to Salt Lake City. This definitely puts into perspective how far away Saba is from civilization. We flew straight from Sint Maarten (Netherlands Antilles, Caribbean) to Ontario, California in ONE day. Not my choice. Really. I specifically booked this trip as a two day event, not a one day event. Unfortunately, the stars don’t always line up correctly. Due to airline delays, we were rerouted through Puerto Rico, and all legs of our trip were scheduled on ONE day. I’m not sure what was worse, traveling this distance in one day, or having to stop in Puerto Rico. I have avioded that island like the plague because of its terrible reputation with theft and lost luggage. Well, wouldn’t you know it . . . they lost Hannah’s car seat. This would not pose a problem if I was returning to the Caribbean where they don’t believe in car seats. I could just let her roll around in the back seat like every other local I know. However, I was sure this was going to cause a problem when I landed in California sans car seat. Can’t you just see her having a party in the back seat, waving “hi!” out the back window to the Police Officer with his lights ?

It’s a good thing American Airlines has “loner” car seats! I have a feeling this happens a lot. They loose people’s junk and have to supply them with something comparable. I’m not sure which one of us was more exhausted when we finally arrived into Ontario. Hannah was very busy saying “Hi!” to everyone, and I mean EVERYONE. She said “Hi!” incessantly to everyone around us on every flight. There was no need for toys or snacks, she was entirely too busy saying “hi” and “this” to anyone who even glanced her way. After 80,000 “Hi’s”, she was tired. The little one finally knocked off on the drive to my sister’s house in California. It is exhausting to work a cabin!

Jenn (aka my favorite sister) is a “Marathon Shopper”. I am a “Power Shopper”. You would think that after 10 years in Retail Management that I would love malls. Well, I don’t. I know exactly what I am looking for, and I want to get in and out so I can get on with my life. She, on the other hand, would shop ALL DAY and ALL NIGHT if she could. I am tired just thinking about it. Fortunately, I did get some much needed shopping done. What would have taken Jenn all day to shop for, I accomplished in five or so shorter shopping trips. I didn’t want to deviate too much from my laid back Caribbean lifestyle. There is no need to do everything in one day . . .

It was so fun to spend time with her family. My nephew, Ike, (he looks like a smaller version of my twin brother Brian) is now 14 (I think). He has the lowest second bass voice in the world. Truthfully, I can’t understand half the things he says because his voice is so low, my ears register it as a low hum. While I was visiting, his job was to supervise Hannah on the stairs. You see, we don’t have stairs in our house on Saba. In fact, I don’t think anyone has stairs on the island. The stairs were more fun than any toy, treat, or TV show to her. So, Ike was sentenced to climb up and down the stairs with her for hours at a time. Such a good kid.

I have a confession . . . I experienced some cultural shock returning to the States. The last time I was in the States was almost a year ago. Since then, I have been living on a tiny five square mile island that is polar opposite from California. I wasn’t just overstimulated, I was experiencing “information overload” to say the least. I have grown very accustomed to my simple island life (no dishwasher and all). I was completely overwhelmed when we went to a produce grocery store. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was like I had never seen produce. Or a grocery store. Or just so many people in one place. How is it possible that I was raised in this wealthy country and my response to this food bounty was as if I was raised in a third world country? I’ll tell you what it is; it is 52 weeks of grocery shopping on Wednesday morning to get what ever produce the boat brings in.

A couple of days is all it took for me to snap back into American culture. I will adjust just fine to the American way of life when the time comes. Lets just hope that it only takes a couple of days for me to revert back to the Caribbean way of life. I will be back there before I know it!