Saturday, December 05, 2015

Transitioning Back to Life Afloat: Boat, Sweet Boat

We're back on the boat. Big transitions like this are rarely seamless, particularly if you have little kids in tow, but our move back to boat life went about as smooth as we could have hoped, despite Mira's ear infection that (thankfully) presented itself two days before we flew and the fact that I forgot to pack underwear (!?!). Our day of travel - thanks to luck, excessive preparation, and lessons learned - went really well, minus that forty-five minutes we were detained by customs here in the BVI due to a paperwork glitch. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't call it a "piece of cake" ("exhausting" is more like it), but we had no melt downs on the planes and we even got a few "You're girls are so well behaved!" comments from fellow passengers which is always wonderful to hear as a parent.
Last flight of our very long day!
Much of our "success" can be attributed to this woman, my amazing mom. Thank you, mom!
Scott picked us up from the airport and the girls were so happy to see him. I didn't publicize it for obvious reasons, but I had been single momming it for three weeks and the girls were beyond thrilled to see daddy's smiling face again. They were all squeals, kisses and giggles. We got our passports stamped,  loaded our stuff into the car and headed for the marina. When we arrived at the boat, our two large boxes we'd shipped earlier were there, and those boxes - along with our five giant duffles - filled the salon of our boat. Me being slightly OCD about order and tidiness got to unpacking immediately. The girls were punch drunk and overtired from their long day of travel, but super excited to be back on the boat amongst all their old toys which, in our absence, regained all their luster. With them entertained, I unpacked and organized like a Tasmanian devil. I really wish I'd had the forethought to take a 'before' and 'after' photo of our salon, but my tunnel vision of "Must. Organize. Home." pretty much took over and my work was certainly cut out for me. Within two hours our boat looked like her old self, and I started the process of getting the girls in bed. Not gonna lie, I impressed myself.

Isla was super excited about being back in her "bunk" bed. The twins? Not so much. They were visibly terrified to go back in the v-berth and screamed holy hell while I peeled them off my person to put into bed. It broke my heart and I had that moment of, "What have I done to our children?!" The first couple of nights were very rough, with many wakings and little sleep. I resorted to co-sleeping up there with them just to calm their fears and was so worried we were in for a major sleep regression, when we they had just started sleeping through the night back home. Luckily, each night has gotten progressively better and now we are not only on the local time (which is two hours ahead of what we were on) but we have no more tears and, last night, the twins slept through the night, from 6:30pm to 6:45am! There is hope for me yet!
The transition was much easier for Isla, who is a traveling pro now and was VERY excited about her bunk bed.
While I knew in my heart of hearts that coming back to the boat and our adopted island of Tortola would be a good thing, there's always butterflies in my tummy preceding big changes. Being back though? It's been amazing. Nanny Cay, the marina where we live, is fantastic. Not only are the services and facilities top-notch, but there is a bonafide community of wonderful people and children here. We definitely still get the transient nature that is synonymous with marina living, but it's really nice to know that there is a core group of people and children that we can call friends. I really can't say enough good things about this place.
Not a bad view to have in your back yard!
The Nanny Cay Beach, where many, many hours will be spent!
Isla has instantly fallen back in with her old crowd of little friends. These kids, some who live aboard and some who live in the condos on the premises, range in age between eight and thirteen are the most welcoming, sweetest kids ever. Isla runs off with them and they swing her around, play soccer with her, carry her on their shoulders and they've sort of adopted her as a little sister which makes my heart so happy to see. She positively thrives in their company. You know what else is awesome? I have never, ever seen one of these kids on a cell phone or computer. They're outside; playing on the beach, swinging in the trees, sailing their dinghies of the beach and simply kids being kids. It's incredibly refreshing and any doubts that lurked in my mind about brining our girls down here to raise were immediately erased when I saw the interaction between Isla and these children. I love it. Everyone we've talked to has told us, "It's an idyllic place to raise a child" and I can believe that.

The best part? After two years (and three kids!) we have reunited with the Sunkissed Soeters, the family that we cruised with for months and months (click the link to see Isla and Stormer 'before' photos!) back in the day. The connection we have with this family is really hard to articulate - they are truly more like family than friends - and when we last parted we swore that we would be together again. Hundreds of online chats and hours of Skype conversations later, here we are together again. And we are neighbors! Isla and Stormer, raised almost like siblings for about eight months haven't missed a beat. It's like no time has passed and they have fallen right back into step, chatting away, holding hands while waking down the dock, and demanding play dates in the few hours a day that we are not together. It's wonderful. Finding and being surrounded by your "tribe" is a real key to happiness in this life, I think.
We caught their dinghy line when they came to check in. Cannot even tell you how happy we all were!
These two have a special bond and started playing again like no time had passed!
So we are here. We're getting settled and it's been wonderful. There's so much excitement on the horizon, so much to learn and so many adventures to have. Of course there are kinks to work out and new routines to develop. We are getting our bearings again and - all in all - life is good and I am so, so happy to be back. Our cup runneth over. Thank you all for your well-wishes and support, it means so much to us. More to come!


Lisa Hanneman said...

I spy Corduroy!

TheCambrians said...

Congratulations on such a smooth transition back!

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Tillerman said...

My wife and I were (some distance) behind you in the immigration line when you were checking in to the BVI at Beef Island. I recognized your daughters right away and realized it must be you. I was hoping to introduce myself after we had all got through Immigration but then you were all whisked away to the office and I never got the chance. Pleased to hear they only detained you for 45 minutes.

And for the record, your girls are incredibly well behaved. They were so good after what must have been a long and exhausting day.

Windtraveler said...

Tillerman!! REALLY?!?! Oh man, wish I would have known - would have been a real honor to meet you and your wife! If you are in/around Nanny Cay, please look us up - we are hard to miss with the little ragamuffins!! Hope you had/are having a great trip. So sorry our paths didn't cross a little closer!

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