Sunday, March 28, 2010

Having fun while being charitable

Having fun while doing good, that is something we always did back in Curaçao. From the American Women's Club fundraisers, which were famous and well attended. We used to have theme parties (Hooray for Hollywood, Back to the 50s, Mexican Night...) and danced until the wee hours. There were theater presentations and Wine and Cheese Parties. The Lions Carnival party signaled the arrival of the Carnival weekend and still goes on every year. The Rotary Club had dances and International Food Fairs. Of courses, there were dinners, trivia nights or beach parties organized by other service clubs. The whole island did some good while enjoying itself....and still does!

I remember looking forward to all those parties, enjoying every minute of them and knowing that while we dance the night away, dine in style under the stars or answer all those trivia questions, we were helping make our island home a better place. It was a great feeling!...and I have missed that.

Here in Miami, our contributions to charity have been in the way of sending checks to different institutions. Once in a while, we would participate in a walk or something along those lines, nothing much fun, really. Until last night........

We attended a Bollywood Nights event at some one's beautiful home in Coral Gables. The place was done with rugs, flowers, carved screens, tents and a stage floating in the swimming pool. People came in their finest, with Indian saris, glass bangles, embroidered slippers. There were henna artists working their magic on everyone's hands. There was a silent auction and a show that included a girl dubbed: Fire Vixen. There was a female Bengal Tiger called Umba and even two camels!

The food was excellent and there was an open bar. Well, that is what I call a real charity event. Everyone gets to have fun while helping. In this case, all proceeds went to Sunil's Home, an orphanage in India...hence the theme of the party. Finally.....We had such fun, maybe because we did some good while remembering old times. May this be a new beginning!!!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

AWC Tattler

It's that time of the month again.....I just received the American Women's Club of Curaçao's newsletter: The Tattler. It is always a pleasure to read what are the girls back home up to. The club, as anything active and vibrant, has changed a lot since I moved away. Still, there are things that remain the same: fundraisers, children activities, advise for the newcomers, beach days, out-to-lunch dates, reports on the weather.....I do miss all that!

Among the many hats I wore while I was a member was Tattler editor, so I can understand the challenges of keeping the newsletter interesting and fun. It was printed at the time, so much more work , but more rewarding I say. I'm grateful I am still receiving it, keeping me in touch, giving me a window into the new club, the changes, the challenges, the fun. Wonderful!

Miami, as you all know, has not become home in the sense I was expecting. It is not as bad as I thought even a year ago, but not the same. So, the arrival of The Tattler always brings back memories and an irresistible urge to buy a plane ticket and go visit!

Things to look forward to this time of the year: beach days when you can stay until sunset with not so many mosquitoes, light breeze when you take your afternoon walk, Queen's Birthday flea market in Punda. People take trips abroad and the island feels quiet and deserted, then Easter weekend when almost everything is closed and you need to entertain yourself...not so hard, really. What lovely times we had every year at this time.

We have plans for Easter Sunday with Frankie's family. I am sure it will be relaxed, fun and interesting....but it will not be the same: no beach day, no laying in the sun drinking some delicious concoction involving tropical fruits and liquor, while looking at the amazing blues of the water, no coming home in the afternoon and going for a walk or visiting friends for a drink. Oh, well....things change and I did say change is good. Let's embrace it!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Roller-coaster Weather in Miami, too hot and oppressive in Curaçao

Miami, what can I tell you...2010 has been a strange year so far. So mild, it has people wondering where has the hot and muggy weather gone. The days have been cool, clear and generally beautiful. It is so nice to walk around Brickell Key, evenings are perfect to wander around the neighborhood, go to our favorite restaurant, just sit on the balcony. Not at all what we expect this time of the year.

While the rest of the country receives more snow than they can handle, or more rain than they want, South Florida has been delightful...and I don't say that lightly. No need to turn the AC on, some days we actually needed a bit of heat! Amazing!!! Of course, being Miami, this was just a freak occurrence. In the last few days, it has been everything: cloudy and muggy and in the 70s, clear and sunny and in the 60s, breeze and cool and hazy, warm and dry and in the 70s: roller-coaster weather for sure. Hope Hurricane Season treats us well this year......but who knows.

In Curaçao, though, things have not been going well, weather wise. Reports say that it is too hot, not a breath of air most days. Muggy and sticky, something rare on the island especially this time of the year. This is Lent, when the cool breeze is omnipresent and it's beach weather, well, more than usual! I wonder how did they manage with the Regattas.

Comparing again, I haven't done this in a while. Still, it needs to be done. My friends are commenting about it, or complaining...It is absolutely not the usual thing: no breeze during Lent? How is that? Should we pay attention to all those that tell us Global Warming is most definitely affecting world weather? should we start paying more attention to our carbon footprint? Or should we just ignore the whole thing and take this year's changes as they come.....what to do? Indeed things are so different this year. We will have to keep an eye on these developments. Roller-coaster weather, maybe not only in Miami, but around the world.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Changing times.....

Did I tell you that this is the time to change? did I mention that I have become more and more aware the if one doesn't cannot be happy? I have no clue when I came to this sort of sneaked up to me in the last few weeks. Maybe it was the move to this new apartment, the new view, the fact the the weather is still cool in mid-March, that my friends on the island are not always in touch lately. Or is it the fact that I don't think about it in the same way.

I still love it, I still think I can move back, but somehow I don't expect it to be the same or to have the same life if I ever do. There, I said it. Isn't that something? It has taken me all these years of yearning to be back, all these years of writing about it, dreaming about it......maybe it is a natural progression, don't you think? It is definitely NOT that I have started to love Miami....NEEEE! I am relatively sure that that is not in my stars. I have a new appreciation for the city, I recognize that it has its charms and its glories, I have to accept that this life has not been as I expected, but it hasn't been bad either. That's a weight off my shoulders!

So change is GOOD. The view from my balcony is so different, but in a way, just as beautiful. The layout of the apartment is so different, but it's convenient and flows easily. The marble floors give the place a warmth...even when they are so cool to the touch. The black marble kitchen counter tops gleam in the fluorescent light, the big sliding doors open to the sky...we are that high! Changing places has opened a whole new world for me.....

I did such cleaning since I moved. Several boxes are piled around the apartment full of things I really don't need anymore or would like to replace. There is a sense of expectation about this: buying to replace... Another change that I am relishing. This is definitely a good thing. Then there is the age thing. I am having a big birthday this year and thoughts of mortality, of realizing there are more years behind than in front of me...bring change into a new plane. YES, change is fabulous and I am enjoying it!!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Never ending task......

Yes, that is how I feel about this unpacking business. I mostly like to work on my own because I know how I want things......but this is ridiculous. It's been a week since I started unpacking. Everyday I do more than I think I would, I throw out boxes and papers, I pack what I'm giving away and I still have not finished. Do you think, maybe, things are multiplying? Wouldn't that be something.....and wouldn't a bit of help be welcome?!

I have found things I have not seen since they were packed in Curaçao......and then I decide to throw them away! The move then was a bit more chaotic, more traumatic, so that is why I kept so much. For whatever reason, I didn't want to let go of anything last time. Trying to hang on to the good life, the good times, the life that was changing. Nowadays, I am sure of what I really need, what is it that I can keep, what I want to be part of my baggage from now on. It feels great, Prati is absolutely right. Downsizing is liberating.

Now, this never ending process will come to an end sometime, right? and then I would be just organizing what is left, putting paintings in place, moving the end tables, shifting the computer desk, getting more books out or simply rearranging the kitchen cabinets or the linen closet. That is good too, because I will find more things I can do without and next time I move it will be easier. Or I would be moving to another country and there would be expert movers packing everything away, and unpacking at the other end!!

I absolutely miss my housekeeper...she was so helpful back then, seven years ago, during my last move. Nothing escaped her, she was on top of things and helped with everything: from the garage sale to the selection of items to pack, to answering the phone and keeping people at bay when I was exhausted. She is a treasure, I wish she was here...LUUCYYYYYY!!! I would call and she would appear with a cup of tea or an iced cold drink, a smile and a word of encouragement.....Such is Life in the Tropics, I want it back!

Friday, March 5, 2010

What a difference a week makes.......

Remember that song: "What a difference a day makes, 24 little hours...." Alright, I might be dating myself, but it applies to my life these days. On Monday we got the keys to the new place, from then on everything moved so fast that I had no time to think. I finished packing whatever was left, Frankie contacted the movers and we just move on......

The movers came on time on Wednesday, prepared to move everything in a couple of hours, after all we were only going to the building next door......of course NOT! Murphy's Law took effect: "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong". The elevators in both buildings shut down at the same time, it took 2 hours to fixed them and the move was delayed. Then there were the rules of moving on Brickell Key: no big truck in the underground parking, no moving after 5:00 p.m., no this and no that.....what can I say. Most things were just pushed along from building to building. What a way to move in the XXI century. These are the things we put up with to have a peaceful existence in this small oasis in the middle of the city!

Anyway, things progressed at a slow pace, but most things were moved on time. Unfortunately, my family and I had to do several trips to bring what was left behind....not exactly what I wanted to do, but we had to leave the other place! To make things worst, it's been so cold (for Miami, that is) so with being exhausted, walking back and forth and unpacking, I just go sick. This morning I have a cold and have not been myself.

The place is larger and has beautiful marble floors and expansive bathrooms. The balcony is bigger but faces Downtown Miami, a bit of the glorious bay to one side. No morning sun to warm the glass doors and windows, so the chill of the night takes its time to dissipate, but I'll get to see the sunsets...I think....and in Summer it will be much cooler than other places.

Every time I move, I try to get rid of stuff....I have been faithful to that and have a couple of boxes so far ready to be taken away. I also have dozens of boxes still packed, things that would not fit because of the different floor plan or not enough walls for all my packing is still been done to put all that in storage!!! I was hoping to bring things up, well, that means I have to get rid of more stuff. Can't wait to have everything in place, put my feet up and relax!!!!!