Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The island beckons.....

It does, I can assure you. There is this irresistible urge at this time of the year to start looking for airline tickets to go to Curaçao. The Holidays are approaching fast and I seem to get the command to book a flight! Amazing! It's been almost seven years since we moved away, why then does this happen?

Throughout the years that my children studied in the States, we always started planning the Holidays trip soon after Parents' Weekend in October. In the years we have been away, there has always been a trip to plan: the children come to Miami or we go to where they are or we go somewhere together. Only one of those trips has been to Dushi Korsow in 2006, but we keep track of the festivities and now with Facebook, we actually see everything as it happens........and we get nostalgic.

So what to do? It's getting more and more difficult to actually get the four of us together at anytime, much less at Christmas time. This year, Frank is close by in Miami, but Camille cannot get days off during the Holidays. Frankie is too busy and cannot take time off to go to the UK with me...so I am planning on my own. Yes, the island I am looking forward to this year is not Curaçao! Don't know how to take that....

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Middle Age?? Retirement?? It can't be!!!!

Today I read something that stayed with me...."This is the cruelty of middle age, I find: just when things have gotten good — really, really, consistently good — I have become aware that they will end"....Judith Warner. Does that make sense? Probably, but it doesn't necessarily mean everything is ending and we should be sad...right? It means we need to plan for what is coming!!!!

It is more important than ever to decide where and when are we going to settle down for the rest of our lives. Can't be frantic about it, or hysterical to the point of letting this define your days, but we do have to think about it.....so we can settle into the pleasant routine, the comforting feeling of just enjoying what we have. Or better yet, starting new things! I always thought that retiring was an alien state, something people that work all their lives look forward to. Never, for an instant, did I include myself in that group! After all, my work has been something intangible, undefined, something I did, but was not really work. You know what I mean...

I have worked during my life, but in chunks, a few years here, a few years there. Nothing like a career or a continued employment in a specific company...I don't know, but you get the picture. So retirement was not included in this non-existing career....how could it be? Most importantly, my family took a lot of my time and raising my children was a career in itself and I loved it....but you don't retire from that! Now suddenly, things I took for granted, things that I did for my family are no longer relevant, my children are independent adults, my work is something more like a hobby to be enjoyed and I feel as I have come to a crossroad.

I know now exactly what is happening: things are really, really good. I have done well, I have accomplished what I had to. I can look back and see the fruits of all the hard work I put in my life with my family, my friends and my career. I can relax and enjoy this new stage in my life........and that is something to look forward to!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


More often than you want to, you can catch yourself thinking about absent friends. People you have met along the way and that, for one reason or another, have stayed in your life and become part of it. When you have moved around, lived in different places or countries, these friendships are so important...they keep you grounded, they remind you of so much, they cannot be replaced.

Today I had a long conversation with Thelma, one of those friends. We haven't seen each other since 1996!!! A lifetime....but we can fall into conversations so easily, laugh out loud, discuss our children and the changes that have come as they have become adults. We talked this time about going back to our countries (she to the Philippines, I to Panama) for visits and how we cannot relate anymore to the friends we left behind or the family we still miss and about the strangeness of everything that once was so familiar.

Our mothers are still living there, needing our help and our support. We need to travel to see them, to solve problems, to keep that link alive. Still, it is becoming more and more difficult and we feel guilty....what to do. We cannot changed the decisions we made and the life we chose, we have been happy with those. We cannot just dismiss so many years...on the other hand, some places have felt more like home than others and we miss those too. The friendships we made and the things we did, the fun we had. It is truly amazing, but I think this is part of growing older in strange places...not even our familiar and favorite ones: like Curaçao!!!

Yes, we did talk about that too because we met there and we shared so many things and our children are friends and.....Oh, well....It is true, that island had something for so many of us. Most of my friends at this time of my life, the ones that mean the most, I met there or at the very least I met because I went to live there!! So, we decided we need to meet soon and then plan a trip together to Dushi Korsow. That instantly lifted our spirits and planning is on its way!!!!