We’re all pretty low today. After three lovely, lovely weeks, Granny and Grandad have left us to return to England. It was great having them here. The children love their grandparents dearly, and were very tearful at ‘goodbye’ time this morning. For me these past weeks have been a reminder of all the great qualities that my parents posses – fast to praise, slow to criticise, with unending patience and boundless humility.
Still, the show must go on. It’s back to school tomorrow (for us all). There are shoes to polish, water bottles to fill and bags to pack. But in the meantime here are my happiest memories from the past three weeks:
- Airport arrival. We had managed to fool my parents that it would be only me meeting them at the airport. Seeing all the children run to greet them lifted their exhausted spirits. The glee on the children’s faces was priceless as they bombarded my parents with hugs, kisses and endless questions.
- Our weekend in Samana. Written about in a previous series of posts, for example here, I’ll not bore you again with the details.
- Casa Cornucopia. Our holiday villa in Perla Marina, Sosua. More details on this in another post (or three) to follow – we spent a glorious ten days in this lovely villa. Big pool, lovely outdoor spaces, 40″ TV with 200+ channels (including live Premiership football, Ben was in heaven).
- Gifts. Matt, Ben and Zach all have birthdays soon. Granny & Grandad brought gifts (I think they only left themselves room in their cases for two pairs of pants and a t-shirt each!). We brought just a few with us to Casa Cornucopia, which the children opened on Friday. For Matt – an electronics kit (the look on his face was priceless – he could not have been happier). For Katie (not to be left out) – a doll (and what’s more, a hairdressing doll. Madeleine has not left Katie’s side since). For Ben a proper basketball uniform (full-on-baggy and full of attitude – for once Ben can’t wait to go back to school!). For Zach, some books (he loves his books, bless him. He went to sleep with these ones instead of Elly or Flat Rabbit).
- Beaches, beaches and more beaches We love beaches. It’s great to hear the waves crash against the shore, feel the sand beneath your toes, swim in the warm crystal blue water. It’s also a great – and cheap way to entertain the kids. Bucket, spade, hat, factor 50, box of fruit and we’re away. The list of beaches we visited with Granny & Grandad is a long one: Nagua (to show them the worst side), Playa Diamante, Playa Grande, Playa Cayacoa, Las Galeras, Las Terrenas, El Portillo, Sosua Bay, Playa Alicia, Kite Beach, Bozo Beach, Cabarete Beach, plus more unnamed stretches of sand.
- Sundowners. We found a lovely beach bar at he far eastern end of Cabarete beach. It’s owned by an Italian man and his Dutch wife and they have two children of similar ages to ours. The unique thing about this beach bar is that they have some children’s beach toys. So we wiled away a few sunsets here, taking sundowners on the beach, while the children played happily with diggers, buckets, sieves and other beach toys. We even let the kids have coca-cola, so relaxed were we.
- Babysitters. For only the second time since we arrived in the DR, Al & me had an evening to ourselves. We walked 6km along the beach from our villa into Cabarete (partly in driving rain – another story), then had a lovely seafood meal before heading home (in a taxi this time).
As I write, Granny and Grandad are flying home. Hopefully they should be well over the Atlantic, the first leg from Puerta Plata to Newark and the transfer to their London-bound flight successfully completed. No doubt they are sad, as are we, but hopefully their ‘Grandparent Banks’ are refilled, and for sure they have lots of new memories to share with friends and family back home.
My parents are wonderful people, with qualities that I still look on at in wonder and amazement. My Dad, happily reading his book, puts it aside the instant Matthew asks (for the hundredth time), “Grandad, how does a field-effect transistor work?”. In the past 10 days he has read over 600 pages of Harry Potter to the boys a true readathon! Mum, tireless as ever, with a great sense of adventure – whether standing crushed into a gua-gua with 23 other people or trying her first ever Cuba Libre while swinging in a hammock – she just takes in in her unassuming stride.
Safe Home, los abuelos, we are missing you terribly but our hearts are filled with happy memories of three wonderful weeks together.