September 27, 2008

She's a Vegetarian

We swam today at the pool and on our way home we were waiting for the bus and the strangest thing happened. Across the street was a road side barbeque. They have these all over. They are usually roasting corn on them for sale. This barbeque though looked like they were cooking something different.

All of a sudden out of the jungle next to the barbeque comes this guy dangling a HUGE iguana from his hand. The iguana was still struggling and wriggling cause it still had some life in it. The guy throws it, back down, onto the pavement and puts one foot on his belly.

So there we are 3 Canadians looking on in silence and horror. Two other locals were waiting for the bus with us and I am sure they were amused.

Amelia says, " he going to beat it now?". I say, "No", but I really had no idea. Then she asked why they killed it and one of the people waiting with us says, "..cause they are making soup out of it". Amelia makes her best DISGUSTED face and says, "EWWWWWWW".

I am a little embarrassed at this point and I say, ".....Oh, she's a vegetarian!"

September 25, 2008

Our Life from my point of view - by Alex

As soon as I saw my boat in complete disarray I did not know what to think. It was a little overwhelming to see the roof ripped off of our boat. Dad said that the boat was about 45% done because they finished the mast step and the sides of the coach roof. We also just found out that the anchor chain is rusted, which will need replacing. Although it is a little overwhelming the boat is ahead of schedule.

Getting adjusted to here is a little hard. One of the main reasons is the heat. The temperature is between 30-35 with humidity, which makes things harder to do. Another reason is the bugs. We've seen 4 roaches and we've caught two. There is lots of mosquito's that bite you in the night. We have made some sailing friends. They are super nice and they're allowed to do stuff my mom doesn't like. It is hard to get adjusted but we're getting the hang of it.

As you all know the main percentage of people here are black, but I'm not, so there has been laughing about the ginger kids. The kids here are either really shy or they are not. The most scary thing happened, I saw this kid hiding a dagger in his hand and he was dancing....weird huh! There has also been a time when a crazy old man was carrying a machete around.

My favorite thing to do here is to go to Grand Anse Beach. I really think it is picture perfect; beautiful white sand beach and the water is the clearest thing I've ever seen. The only thing that is bad about it is the people who sell stuff. We know that people won't steal our bags but to be sure we usually keep one person watching our them.

Just to tell you, we have a spare bedroom!

By: Alex

September 23, 2008

Taking the Bus in Grenada

Hey Guys, Things are getting so much better here. We are getting use to things. We have a system of managing the heat now with both showers and fans!! Hopefully this video of the kids will redeem themselves from the last few CRAZY videos :-)! Sorry for the quality of the video but when you make it small to upload, you lose the integrity.

September 22, 2008

Better to beg for forgiveness, than to ask for permission

I learned this lesson early on in our travels. I remember the day as if it was yesterday. Graham and I were taking a ferry to Corfu, Greece. We had obviously bought the cheapest tickets available and the ferry was overnight. There we sat in the crowded boat, rocking and rolling and so uncomfortable. We went off for a walk and came across a hallway with a bunch of suites. As we proceeded down the hallway there tucked out of the way was this glass wall cabinet with all the keys to the rooms in it. Graham told me that the boat didn't have anymore stops to make and that we should just take a key and see if the room is empty and sleep in it. If someone was in it, we could just say...whoops our mistake and leave. I was so scared but we took the key and went to the room. Sure enough it was empty. It was also beautiful. It had a shower and everything! I just couldn't do it though. I was so scared that someone would find us in there, to scared to stay. The funny part was that there was no way Graham was leaving. So I sat in the uncomfortable chair all night and he slept in the cabin and even had a shower in the morning!!! I learned my lesson big time, that night!

So you are probably wondering how this relates to Grenada, wellllll....the kids made new friends with some kids from Rhode Island, who are sailing to Australia. When we asked the kids what they do for fun around the marina, they said ...."We swim at the pool"! The kids and I were in SHOCK because the marina is out in the middle of nowhere and there isn't even a store for that matter. The kids said they go to this resort on the hillside of the marina. I spoke to their mom and she said they just try and not make any trouble and be almost invisible and so far so good. The kids asked if they could all go together and check it out and away they went. Little did I know that they get there by dinghy, driven by the 9 year old!!

Regardless, they all lived and I even let them going swimming again alone the next day. Later in the day, I went to check it out with them and WOW. A little piece of paradise hidden in the mountain side. So far so good. No one has kicked us out. I hope it last for the next two months! Wish us luck.

September 19, 2008

Our last month in Toronto

(We were so busy in TO that I didn't get a chance to write about our final month. I need to regress for just one post, so I don't forget this chapter in the adventure.)

We spent our last month in Toronto, living at my brother Robs. He lives right next to the Royal York Hotel and across from the Union Station. It couldn't of been a more perfect location, right in the heart of TO for our final month.

For those of you who don't know Rob he is my little brother. He is 11 months younger than me. I taught him how to crawl, walk and climb out of his crib. We were and still are best friends. We grew up building forts together and playing hide and go seek. I can't tell you how many times I told myself when we were kids to never speak to Rob again. No one could get me as angry as Rob could get me. We are both stubborn 100%. It would never fail though....a couple of hours later we would be out playing again...and so the cycle would continue and still continues to this day!

When Graham and I made this new plan to leave in May and come back and live/work in Toronto for August, the only missing piece was where were we going to stay. Rob didn't even hestitate, he said of course we would stay with him. A family of four moving into his two bedroom condo. Rob is the most generous person I know. He has made sure that our family has remained close over the years. Rob has planned and paid for holidays ranging from Houseboating on the shuswap, to Disneyland, to a motorhome!

This month with him was really good. We ate like kings and caught some movies, we played Rockband way too much, we got addicted to Entourage, we went for lunch, we talked, and we laughed. We hardly noticed that the four of us were sleeping in a 9*9 size room!

I also got to spend a month at work, with people I love hanging out with. I should of been paying them. I miss it already.

We had a really nice send off in Rob's party room. Yet another good bye party. Our family from Kingston even made it down (thanks Theresa, Brian and Alan!).

Toronto was 100 times better than I ever could of imagined when we first moved there. I can't help but think about all we wouldn't of seen, if we had stayed in Alberta and hadn’t swallowed our fear and made the move. All the people and experiences we would of missed out on.

I am hoping that someday I can reflect on our time here in Grenada the same way but for now we are at the beginning and each adventure begins the same way...with a bit of fear, trepidation, anxiety and of course....EXCITEMENT! internet yet!

September 16, 2008

Graham says I complain too much

Graham says I complain too much

Ok, so maybe I do complain a bit too much but geesshhh I am not looking for anyone to solve my problems, I just am saying what I am feeling. It is way too HOT and my back hurts from the new pillow and my throat hurts from who knows what and even though the water tastes great I worry that it might not be good to drink and there are huge strange caterpillars I keep finding on the walls and I spotted a cockroach next to the bed yesterday and did I mention that it is crazy HOT here.

I am trying to adjust and we are getting into a routine. Today was day one of homeschooling. It went pretty well....ok, to be totally honest, we had a few moments of tension. We all need to get use to each other's styles and the kids have to realize that we won't always just know the answer, that we need to work it out together and we need to realize that not everything they do will be A+ work. We will get there I am sure but day one was a little stressful. At one point Alex was looking at me and I swear if I could have read his mind he would have been punished for a year!

During the day Graham bought me a pile of wet laundry that needed to go out on the clothes line. I was at the table schooling with the kids and I looked at him in shock. I thought I would refrain from fighting in front of the kids and we went to the laundry room and I asked him why the heck he couldn't hang the clothes on the line...? He said that in this country men had roles and women had roles and that we should respect this and that if we didn't we might be viewed a bit differently by our neighbors. I didn't have the energy to fight about it (cause did I mention how HOT it is) so I took the laundry and hung it up. Given that Graham actually washed all the clothes, made breakfast and lunch and had swept the floor, I didn't think I had much of an argument! Dad and Cheryl decided to stay in Grenada for awhile longer, so this is great. It feels so much more normal with them nearby. We had a really good time staying on their boat and Grandpa Griff is a big kid, so the kids love it. Dad and Cheryl have both really embraced Grenada and they know about everything here, from buses to doctors. Dad also went and talked to customs about our things that we took off his boat and he sorted it all out with them. Thank goodness!

So remember my favorite saying...."Bite off more than you can chew and then chew it".....I am thinking I might need to spit some out!

I will get the kids to write the next couple of blogs.


September 13, 2008

Naked Artemo

We checked on Artemo and work is well underway. She basically looks naked. The coach roof is stripped down to nothing and you can see right inside her. When we arrived, there were about 5 guys working hard on her and the woodworking guy was off to the side, shaping new wood to put back in. The fiberglass for the new roof is also sitting there. It was strange to see her in this state. On one hand, I felt relief that Artemo would be completely looked over and refinished but on the other hand, I wondered it she would ever be back together. It seriously looks like an impossible task at this stage in the game but I am sure it has been done before. We definitely have at least 2 months of work left.

Graham is going to come down on the weekends and start with some of the jobs that will be easier when everything is stripped out like it is. Such as wiring and plumbing. We are going to focus on homeschooling the kids and getting to know Grenada.

The kids went last night to stay on Grandpa Griffs and Cheryls boat. In order for them to stay on the boat we needed to grab a couple of items we had shipped to them and bring them to our apartment. We didn't realize that this was actually a little shifty with customs. After we loaded up the taxi with our dinghy and self steering geer and tried to leave the yard, customs called us back and so began our first run in with the law.

The customs official told us we weren't allowed to take stuff off another boat and that we were breaking the law and there would be HUGE fines. We were already sweating from the heat but we started to sweat even more and our hearts started beating and our hands started shaking.....Our first instinct was to lie! I don't know what we were thinking. We told the fellow that we were just taking the stuff out of our Dads front room, so that the kids could spend a couple nights on the boat. Eventually after he spoke to his boss and had us sign a sworn statement, he let us go but told us we needed to checked back in with him when we put everything ....BACK ON THE BOAT!!! So now we need to figure out a new plan.

We should have just told the guy the truth but we weren't sure which rules we were breaking. We don't want to take all 6 boxes and the dinghy back to Dads boat, so we will let you know what new plan we come up with.

Last night was strange alone in the apartment without the kids. I like it better when they are around. We went for a walk and met a crazy guy with a couple coconuts and a machette, and I think he told us some stuff about his girlfriend but his accent was so thick it was hard to make out, all I have to go on was his actions, which were very graphic.......very strange.

We are heading to Dads boat today and we will spend the night with the kids and them. They are heading out on Tuesday for Venezulla so we need to get our visiting in.


September 12, 2008

Amelia said, "Mom, I feel werid inside"

Amelia and I laid awake last night, on top of the covers, in our bed, in our new apartment, with the windows wide open, listening to the sounds of the crickets and the frogs and the fan and feeling so weird inside. I told Amelia I knew exactly how she felt because I was feeling it to.

We arrived in Grenada in the dark. Grampa Griff and Nana Cheryl met us at the airport and after brief hugs and making of plans to meet up the next day, we jumped in our taxi and we were off to our new temporary apartment.

To arrive at night was a little unsettling. We drove and drove and then headed up a bumpy dirt road. Alex, leaned over and said he was getting a little scared. I was thinking the same thing but then we rounded the bend and there nestled in what felt like the jungle, was our beautiful 4-plex apartment building.

The owners Justin and Gail came down to meet us and made us feel so welcome. I asked Justin if there was any problems with crime or breakins and he said he would "Guarantee" me we would be safe. Their house is right behind our apartment on the hill. Justins wife Gail is a teacher and I just feel really really safe with them so close. Gail has already offered to take Amelia to school with her one day. She has been teaching kindergarten for 23 years.

Regardless of how nice the place was or how nice the owners were. It felt weird to be dropped off with our stuff in the middle of nowhere. The heat was also crazy insane. You guys have no idea how HOT. Like oven hot. Red, sweaty faces hot. Wet back and sticky legs HOT. Yuck. We all fought over the shower. There is no hot water but there is no need for it. The cold water runs warm from the sun.

The good news is that the apartment is brand new. We are the first people to live in it. They even hooked up the cable for us and we will have Internet in 12 days. The mattresses are new. The kitchen is huge. The balcony is pretty. We have a washing machine and lines to dry our clothes. The apartment is surrounded by fruit trees too, very cool....oranges,star fruit, breadfruit, avocados, limes, mangoes, papaya, squash, corn, bananas, newnee, golden apples, coconuts....

I know this freaky feeling with go in a few days but for now we will just push through it and try to resume some regular routine stuff, like grocery shopping, family dinners, games, and Gilmore girls.....

September 09, 2008

7 years in the making...

Tomorrow morning at 6am we leave for Grenada! 7 years in the making and tomorrow is the official beginning of our three year journey.

As I was packing today, I found a picture of the kids standing at the wheel of the first sailboat we ever stood together on as a family. The picture was taken at the 2006 Toronto Boat Show. I remember the day as if it was yesterday. I remember walking up to the Humber sailing college booth and I blurted out our dream, just as I always do and unfortunately the two fellows workin' the booth, weren't the most positive in the world. I guess in hind sight. We must of sounded crazy. We had moved to Toronto and we wanted to sign up for sailing lessons in the spring because we needed to learn how to sail since we "Were going to sail around the world!"...who could blame him for thinking we were crazy.

I remember Graham whispering not to tell anyone else. Of course anyone who knows me, knows that I don't keep secrets to well!

So here we are 7 years after Graham came home with his dream. After he came home with the book that inspired him. 7 years after he told me that we didn't have to be sailors to live this dream.

Where did the time go? Is it really happening? Are we making all the right choices? Oiyyy, my head is spinning. Some of you have asked..."How am I feeling?"...Well, I am feeling so strange. I thought it would be easier to leave. I feel worried this time around, doing this life changing thing, with my kids. I am in charge of making sure they are happy and healthy. I want to do my job 150%. I wish life had some guarantee that we will all be safe and sound.

I have to say that the chapter of our lives in Toronto, has been amazing. The people we have met and the amount we have all grown is HUGE. I think back three years ago and Graham saying to me..."Maybe we should move to Toronto"...I thought he was NUTS!!! My mom thought he was crazy. I remember her describing an inner city green space...gangs....I thought there was no way in hell I would move to Toronto.

Now here we are three years later and I can't wait to come back. The city provided us with everything we needed. Work, Good Friends, School, facilities to learn to sail, great food, great green spaces..everything. We will miss it.

I can't wait to bring you all along on this journey. I am scared. I am excited. I am worried. I am happy. I am sad. I am feeling a little lost. I am also feeling really really right. I know you all want
honesty and I am going to tell it like it is as we live our dream. Thanks so much for your support. We feel it.

Miss you all already....Julie