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Lessons Learned

Just back from another wonderful vacation in BARBADOS. This year’s trip was a little different from last year. Here’s last year’s account and it will most likely reveal why us girls partied a little harder this year. These 80-year-old party animals put us to shame last year.

Rest Up Before You Go South With Grandma and Grandpa – Last Year’s Trip to B-Town

Olga is an 80 year-old, 90 pound, knobby-kneed, tanned to the core, one-liner queen. Carl is a 75 year-old, chain-smoking, rum-guzzling, ex-dancer. Val is a roly-poly, curly haired woman who uses a fro-pick for her perm and a compact mirror to reapply red lipstick in fifteen minute intervals. These are a few of the people I spent last year’s spring break with.

Last year, my sister Alex, my cousin Mallory and I decided to visit my grandparents in Barbados. We realized it wasn’t going to be the typical all inclusive student spring break that most were headed off on, but I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say that we were not expecting spring break class of ’49.

Well, they didn’t waste any time. Day one and we were off on an all-you-can-drink rum punch extravaganza upon the Cool Runnings catamaran cruise. Along with our group of twenty 70 year plus firecrackers, with the exception of “the girls” (me, Alex and Mallory), we were joined by another group of twenty who were in and around 30-years-old. They were an attractive bunch of friends, all from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Now, if you think like me, you might assume the younger group would be the more liberal ones, but you mustn’t be fooled so easily.

That other group ended up being quite conservative in comparison to my grandparents’ group and I couldn’t help but smile. I love the company of my grandparents and all their friends. Our group was drinking non-stop; my sister even had Mount Gay Rum poured straight “into her trap” by my grandfather’s friends as my grandmother snapped photos. Our group was dancing up a storm and some ladies even got on the stripper pole. I know, I’m sorry to give you the image of 80-year-old women throwing their legs up on a pole, but in all fairness, those ladies were way more flexible than you could have ever imagined! And Carl, the “ex-dancer,” was no ex-dancer that day. Carl got out on deck, and grabbed “the girls” on the way to show us his moves. He’d shake his shrivelled little hips, winding and grinding, then grab onto the railing, looking like he’s about to keel over and die, then take a drag of a cigarette, wash it all down with a swig of rum and be good to go again. I couldn’t help but laugh. I didn’t know if I should be dancing with him or helping him find a place to lie down. Olga was busy putting the crew men in stitches, recounting endless tales of blacking out from too much rum, to having allergic reactions to strawberries that gave her hives everywhere… even under her boobs (yes, she included actions). Her stories were made even better by her poor grammar and slow drawl. Val continued to reapply her red lipstick. Granted, most of our group didn’t swim with the turtles but it was hips, knees and backs that kept them from it, not their spirits.

When we disembarked the catamaran at the end of the day, my grandparents were beaming. Everyone was rosy-cheeked and squinty-eyed, but they weren’t ready to end the party there. It was off to Scotty’s Bar next. Carl had already fallen flat on his face when getting off the boat, “because of the sun.” Using slurred speech he assured us he does this every weekend at home, so it must have just been the sun. Or, he was just wasted! But, as I passed Carl in a heap, and saw my Grandma giggling with her girlfriends, I realized, this was way better than any all inclusive I had ever heard of. My grandparents and their friends really know how to throw it down and enjoy themselves, probably better than a lot of 20-something-year-olds I know. They have a lot of experience.

Perhaps it’s the sun, or spending your time in one of the most beautiful places in the world, but spending time with such content people was restorative. This group of friends have wisdom and experience and are leading lives that satisfy them. To spend my last spring break with such genuine people was inspiring. Their kindness was infectious, their openness was refreshing, their unlimited stories were charming and their steadfast ways were hilarious (whether it’s them being stubborn or just not hearing one another, I’m still not sure). My grandparents and their friends are so young in spirit and if they’ve instilled anything in me, above all else, it’s that I want to hold onto the vigour they hold for life and the enjoyment they take in it. You don’t need a tight body to throw ‘em back and laugh until it hurts. You don’t need your original hips to shake it like Carl. And you don’t need youth to appreciate life’s treasures. If anything, I can see that that comes with age. This was most definitely not the last of my travels with 80-year-olds.

Lessons learned: walk slower, talk louder, and go to bed earlier.

Come on back to check out our stories from this year-

.Feffy. AliCat. Mal. Mads.
It starts with me forgetting our passports and only gets more chaotic from there!

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Faced some fiery eyes and got a laugh

Tuesday marks the first of 100 days in which I will do something that scares me every day. I have a working list, and to be honest, who knows what will happen within those 100 days and who knows if the list will even come into play. I have a lot of people I owe thanks to for sharing some of their fears and helping me compile this list. So thank you and I hope you continue to share over the next while as I openly detail what could be an atrocity, lewd, or completely profound.

I haven’t even started and I’m amped for Tuesday to arrive because even leading up to September 1st I’ve been a much more open person (searching for things that scare me) and much more self aware, in always evaluating situations and considering whether or not I’ve been granted an opportunity to face a fear that I would’ve regularly passed by. Seems these things that scare us have common themes; failure, embarrassment, new endeavours, or dangerous acts. This is by no means the ultimate and final list, simply some categories I have been able to use to group my fears.

Stick around because I’m sure with time transparency will come in sharing my 100 acts that scare me – this in itself is terrifying to me, so be patient and kind! Your stories and personal tid-bits are always welcome so share some fears or just use this as grounds for encouragement to do something that scares you. This does not need to be profound by any means!!

To use me and my sister as an example; on our way home from the cottage we thought some bulls would make for a nice photo. Requirements of this “picturesque shot”: jump a barbwire fence, tredge through a sludge infested field and face those crazy ass 900 pound four legged creatures. They didn’t like this and believe me when I say cartoons are spot on when they draw bulls with red eyes. Those beasts they call bulls all stood up with fiery eyes and my nervous laughter ensued. I don’t know enough about these things to know if bulls run fast or not! Putting yourself in a dangerous situation for the sake of a photo… turned out being funny, no profound lesson learned, but being scared is fun and I think the photo turned out quite nicely.

bulls

*Lesson learned: sludge infused photo shoots require better foot attire.

See The awesome-ness of fear for what this challenge is all about.

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