It was so different than last time. Our last visit to Cuba involved very upset children, very tired parents, some limited fun, and a desperate desire to get back on Canadian soil.
Granted, the circumstances were different. We travelled as a foursome. We booked a 3 ½ star resort that was not so new, and our children were younger.
This time, we travelled with extended family; we ran into people we knew from home; the resort was 4 ½ stars; it was newer. It was an all-around better experience.
And since we’ve been back, we’ve all missed it very much. The sun, the beach, the seashells, the waves, the sandcastles, the pools, the restaurants, the ice cream…ooohh the ice cream!
About a week after we got back, it occurred to me that life was carrying on in Cuba. People were getting up each morning and walking along a sun-drenched path to a delicious buffet of breakfast delights, then heading to the pool or the beach with a drink in one hand and a book in the other (or in our case, buckets and shovels and blow-up water toys). And the same staff was serving food and drinks and cappuccinos at the lobby bar while happy vacationers lounged about soaking up the calm day.
After realizing this, that everything we enjoyed the week before was still happening at the same lazy pace while we were back here at home in the cold and damp, trudging through our lives at work and school, it took me a few days to get over how much I missed our vacation.
I’ve been reading a book about how the brain works and how memories are created (The Whole-Brain Child, Siegel & Bryson, 2011, p. 67). And I know I have created this memory of how wonderful our vacation in Cuba was this time, especially since I’m lining it up in my mind with the not-so-great experience we had two years ago. But our vacation this time around really was wonderful.
Having gotten over how much I yearned to just be in Cuba at that resort with all of my family, enjoying ourselves together day after day, it finally occurred to me that the sameness of it would be its downfall eventually. We would tire of the warm and happy days and nights spent in each other’s company. We would become annoyed and yearn for some greater purpose.
And that’s when I realized that what Canada has to offer—my life here, the kids’ schools, my job, shuttling kids around, cold one day, hot or warm the next, snow, rain, sunshine—was the very variety of life. It is good to have different seasons, to have different things to do, different people to see depending on the day of the week.
It was fantastic to have spent so much uninterrupted-by-life time with my family—immediate and extended—but it is also nice to come back to our lives with these memories and all that they have taught us about being together and making the effort—no matter where we are—to come together and enjoy each other.