HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Ok, that break was a little longer than I planned, but a “medical event” messed with my time line, my Christmas and my enjoyment of all things chocolate. So while I’m back in the saddle now, we must get caught up, now mustn’t we!
When we left, I was sharing the joy that was furnace replacement. As I mentioned, we finally had the new furnace up and running hours before we were to fly.
To back up a bit, each winter the boys have played hockey. Since The Big Guy was a hockey player, it was a natural progression for the boys to play. However Second Born Son bowed out last year, and First Born Son called it a career this summer. At first we were a little surprised, but we looked at this sudden discovery of time and funds as an opportunity. Without the stress of the politics of hockey, without running to an arena four or five days a week, without the cost of equipment ($$$$), gas ($$$) registration ($$$), tournaments ($$$) not to mention the gate fee at every away game, we were practically swimming in money.
But not really.
So we decided to take a family holiday, and booked a week in Cuba. The boys were beyond excited. The departure date crept up on us, thanks to the distraction of the highly combustible furnace.
We went from no heat to 27 degrees and humidity. HEAVEN!
Now I was fortunate enough as a child to travel with my parents and Little Sister to a number of destinations. I would have liked to have done more traveling with our boys, but we felt that making a commitment to a team sport, not to mention the financial obligation, was the priority; especially when the boys seemed to enjoy hockey so much.
But an hour in the sunshine and thoughts of arenas, penalties and slap shots were banished. We were all about the sun, waves and OLA!
We made a deal with the boys; they had to try new foods in order to appreciate the local culture. We also did some research on Cuba and the politics of the country so that there would be an understanding for the history of the nation and its people.
They realized they liked calamari, lobster (in small quantities) and the amazing, generous and sincere service we received.
We figured out the lay of the land and checked out a local market.
Everything from hand-made jewellery, toys and artwork could be found. Not high-end and precious, but beautifully crafted, simply presented and whimsical.
The amazing part was, these toy vehicles were two for 5 Cuban dollars, which is pretty much at par with Canadian dollars. Five dollars. Second Born Son was stunned, thrilled, but stunned. We grabbed a number of items for gifts and had an enjoyable experience meeting local people. As part of our travel tradition, The Big Guy and I purchased a piece of art to bring home. The trip had only just begun and was already a huge success.
Except for the sugar cane juice. Not a winner.
There were a couple of provisos for the trip. 1) Mommy was going to spend a huge amount of time in a chaise. This was not to be questioned or debated. 2) Fun must be had by everyone!
We wanted the boys to see us playing A LOT because Lord knows, they certainly see us working A LOT. The Big Guy took care of that right away!
We also decided to sign up for an excursion. While there was a ton of activities at our resort, we wanted to capitalize on the packages available through our carrier. Since were away during SBS’s birthday, we felt it would be appropriate to plan a special day on his Special Day. A dolphin excursion was the perfect plan.
After the dolphins we had lunch and then enjoyed the afternoon on a catamaran. I do believe there are catamarans in Heaven, in case you were wondering….
I made one of the best decisions, which was to leave my “Big Girl” cameras at home and take a simple point and shoot. This meant I ACTUALLY GOT TO BE IN PHOTOS!!!! I KNOW – amazing!!!! It was funny, however, watching “photographers” using their cameras in bright sunlight, with their flashes, then looking at their LCD screen and scowl because they just couldn’t figure out why their pictures weren’t turning out. I didn’t have to worry about babysitting the camera bag and the boys took a ton of photos. It was interesting to see the trip from their perspective.
First Born Son likes to play with light…..
SBS was more about food….
That night was SBS’s birthday dinner, where he was treated like a Prince!
It was important that the boys understand the social climate in Cuba. The average wage is $5 a day for those working on our resort. The work ethic was outstanding and the grace and kindness shown to us by just about everyone at the resort was remarkable, noted even by FBS and SBS. They developed a better appreciation for the things they have, as well as an understanding of new corner of the world.
By the end of the week, we had enjoyed walks on the beach….
Lovely dinners out….
Quality time in the pool…
…and donuts for breakfast!
I’m so glad we took this time together, since life is moving far to fast. We hope to have another trip in near future, but if it’s longer than that, we know we have some awesome memories of Cuba.