June 17, 2010

I don’t want to go to the beach today!

I always want to go to the beach. Although we have been in Negril, Jamaica for 22 days, I still must go to the beach at least once every day. Even if it’s just for an hour, I have to see and feel the sea. For me, it is a great privilege to be so close to such an amazing sea and I can’t bear not to go daily.

How, then, is it that my daughters (Tatiana – 9; Soraya – 9 and Raymi – 6) often claim they do not want to go to the beach? Granted, they do have to walk 15 minutes to get there. But, they always have a great time there.

Since they insist daily that they do not want to go to the beach, sometimes we let them stay home. Here in Negril, they usually get up around 6am when the sun rises. Their teacher comes at 8am, and they have two hours of lessons. Actually, that aspect of our life – home schooling – is going the best it has all year. I finally figured out the keys – 1) It has to be early in the morning; 2) It should be for a short, intensive period of time and 3) It is best if the teacher is not me. So, we have hired a college student to give the girls lessons and that is going quite well.
After home schooling, the girls are allowed to play until lunchtime. Sometimes they play in the yard with the children who live across from us. Sometimes they play inside with their Legos or other toys. Other times, I let them watch a movie, play the Internet, or play with their Nintendo DS. Then, we have lunch together. By the time lunch is over, it is 2pm.

At 2pm, it is too hot for me to work anymore, and I usually am mentally drained and ready to go to the beach. Most days, we find a way to convince the kids to come to the beach. Other times we let them stay home and I will just go for a long walk on the beach alone.

On Tuesday, I was able to convince Tatiana to go with me to the beach. We walked the 15 minutes from our cottage to the beach. When we got to the beach, we saw that the close beach was polluted with river water, so we decided to walk farther down to the clean part. Tatiana and I had a nice walk. Along the way, I explained to her the history of slavery, as, for some reason, she was asking about it. Once I got to the end of the story, she wanted to hear stories of times that I had embarrassed myself. I thought of a few.

When we got to the nice part where the water is transparent, Tatiana and I went for a swim. Unfortunately, after about five minutes in the water, Tatiana began to fuss that something had bitten her leg. I rushed her out of the water and found that she had two wounds on her leg. They were about 1 cm. across and one was deeper than the other. The deeper one was bleeding quite a bit. A boatman came over and went back for his First Aid kit. He put a bandage on her leg and the bleeding stopped. No one seemed to have any idea what could have happened to her. We were in fairly deep water, so it is unlikely that a piece of glass cut her. I suppose it could have been a fish bite, but the marks were so far apart. Needless to say, we went home. The next day, Tatiana did not want to go to the beach.

Fortunately, Soraya and Raymi did want to go. Raymi even agreed to walk. This was remarkable, because Raymi almost never wants to walk. So, Soraya, Raymi, and I set off on our one-mile hike to the cliffs at Xtabi. To entertain the kids on the way, I told them a variation of the story of the Loch Ness Monster. I told the story such that the existence (or not) of the Loch Ness Monster remained doubtful. However, Soraya wanted a happy ending so made me change the story such that the two main characters finally got to take a picture of the Loch Ness Monster and everyone believed them that it really existed.

When we got to Xtabi cliffs, the sun was behind the clouds and it was cooler than usual. We swam for a bit, but, it began to drizzle. Determined to stay seaside a bit longer, I decided that we would order some food at Xtabi. I ordered a hamburger and a conch burger – which was quite tasty. The food took a long time to come out, and Raymi and Soraya played darts while we were waiting. I used the time to sit atop one of the cliffs and contemplate the beauty of the sea.

After we ate, the sun peeked from behind the clouds and we got back into the sea. Other guests arrived and Soraya and Raymi quickly made friends. The highlight of the afternoon, however, was that Raymi spotted an octopus! There was an octopus by one of the cliffs, trying to scale the side of the cliff using its suction cups. It was quite a sight! Eventually, however, it fell back into the sea.

The girls and I snorkeled and spent some time in the caves before deciding to head back home. We walked back and talked about all sorts of things on the way back. They wanted me to tell them a story, but I was having trouble being creative. One story a day is enough for me!

When we got home, Tatiana was quite upset that she had missed out on the excitement. So, perhaps today we will have an easier time getting the girls to go to the beach!

1 comment:

  1. I love how you changed the story of the Loch Ness monster to make it a happy ending! When the audience clamors for it, you have to give them what they want.