Caribs Forever.

Yesterday, I was going to share a Christmas memory, but when I heard the news that the Caribs Rugby Clubhouse had burned down, I changed my mind…

When I first moved to Trinidad, I was nearly eight months pregnant, my stepson had just started living with us and I was completely out of my element. I had a hard time acclimating to my new environment, which is unusual for me but there was a lot going on. I faced small daily challenges like the all consuming heat and onslaught of mosquitoes; and I dealt with the larger issues such as how to make this place home for me.

My daughter was born, my mom left to go back to New York, and the reality of my life in Trinidad started to sink in. With my optimistic outlook, I reached deep for my better self, reached out for support, and I knew (mostly) that somewhere along the way this world would become home too. (Spoiler alert: it did!) There were several things that made this transition possible… one was the Caribs rugby club.

I had never watched rugby before my husband, Blaine, and I started dating. I probably only knew the sport existed because of Ralph Lauren’s collection. Blaine played it, watched it, lived it. I love a good sport, so as I watched with him, I started to enjoy it as well. And when we moved to Trinidad, we spent a lot of time with the Caribs RFC members. We went to games, functions, or just a Friday evening lime at the clubhouse. Most of the time we brought the kids.

Now, before we moved here, I had met some of my husband’s friends already. They were all lovely and just like his family, accepted me with a warm welcome. Still, I was not prepared for the amount of people I would encounter. Island life: everyone knows each other and many are related – you learn as you go.  I didn’t know what to expect. Turns out, they were all incredibly nice and lots of fun!

They started out as Blaine’s friends. “It was a rugby thing.” But it didn’t take long to realize these “friends” were family. Soon I formed friendships of my own. Over time, the clubhouse became my new comfort zone. It was a safe environment for the kids and I was in my element, surrounded by people I could chat with, laugh with, lime with. It’s where I held Blaine’s 50th – and the boys were so accommodating and helpful with everything.

My friend Anne, often gives the story about her first trip to Trinidad – a family member picked her up from the airport and brought her directly to the rugby pitch to watch a rugby game. Afterwards, we went back to the clubhouse, with my three month old daughter sleeping in her stroller/car seat, and added another awesome night to our memory books. She received the same welcome I did. Everyone does. That’s what makes this place so special. (BTW, That was my FIRST Bruno Browne!)

While I only have seven years of memories at that clubhouse, most of the members have lifetimes of memories. It was a home away from home for so many. I was saddened to hear the news, to see the photos. So I can only imagine how others felt. I am so grateful for all the memories we shared there – our three kids running around the place, making new friends and letting grown ups dote on them. The laughs, the drinks together, the SONGS! Birthday limes, BBQ’s, Pig Roasts, Jouvert. The list goes on…

Thank you for making my transition into this new and exciting (and difficult and challenging) country easier and more enjoyable.

Caribs forever.

Adrienne

IMG_5085

Beware the Ides of March.

Some days I feel like life has stabbed me in the back.

I consider myself a decent person. I’m kind. I care. I’m a good friend and I’m trying my hardest to instill a sense of morality in our three kids (two of my own and one step.)

And yet there are days when it’s like karma is getting back at me for being horrible! I just want to look up to the heavens and scream….WHY?! WTF. (You know you have them too.)

These are the days when…

Every little thing gets under my skin. I tell my husband not to yell at the children over crumbs (even though he literally just vacuumed the previous crumbs) and thirty minutes later I’m screaming at my daughter for blankets and pillows on the floor again and why did she pull out the very blankets that I keep telling her NOT TO PLAY WITH!!!!

Days like this… when Lego is the bane of my existence, when I want to throw things, breakable things (I don’t, although my mom used to, so I guess I’m one step ahead of my genes), when it’s really best not to speak to me (if you are related to me), when I’m just at my wits end – if I hear “maaaammmmmaaaaaaa!” one more time…. I just want to shut off from the world and reboot. With three kids, that’s near impossible.

As is the norm, these are also the days, that at the end of it all, my reprieve, my restart button, my peace, is the last hug(s) of the day. The ones from my kids. (My hubby is great for soothing hugs too but my toddler sleeps between us sooooo… I don’t get those as much 😉 .) The gentleness of their sleepy snuggles, makes the day’s silly frustrations ebb away. And in those moments I get to realize all over again, just how blessed and fortunate I am.

And then I know, life had my back all the time. 😉
Wishing you all the same joy and blessings and more.
Adrienne

image

Me and my Petty little problems…

Please excuse the obscene language. (It’s just one word.)

If you can’t laugh with your family, friends and yourself, life is dull. Laughter is such an incredible remedy for so many emotionally down moments. And I love to laugh. Out loud, and without pretense. Uninhibited deep guttural laughing. Or sometimes just a little hehe works too.

But that’s not actually what this is about.

I had a lovely, light-hearted conversation with a friend yesterday (it involved lots of laughter, surprise!) and it got me thinking of how awesome it feels to speak without worry of being judged. And how great to is to vent about the stupid shit that doesn’t matter tomorrow (and the important stuff that always matters), knowing that the listener doesn’t think you are foolish and ungrateful.

I know some pretty f**king amazing women. From the woman who gave me life and her mother and sister who helped raise me, to the girlfriends and colleagues I’ve met along the way in these 40 years, there are a multitude of fantastic beings I get to call friend. Some bonds are stronger than others but all are important to me. And today seemed like a great day to share how very blessed I feel knowing these women and having these relationships.

Some are trying to improve this great world, one student at a time. Some have taken on the challenging role of motherhood. Some just have kind words to share or time to listen. All have a meaningful place. So thank you. For being…well, YOU. I love you.

IMG_4800

The next generation…

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I couldn’t let this day go by without a little shout out to my girls.
Of course there are great men in my life too, but today isn’t about you fellas.  =)

Adrienne.

It’s nice to feel loved.

After a ten day trip to NY to visit my ailing uncle and exhausted aunt/cousins, I’m feeling grateful to the point of tears.
When I arrived and went straight to the hospital my uncle was shaking with a fever and in immense pain. It was touch and go for the first few days while he fought to overcome infection.

A little background here…

My uncle is the only father figure I’ve ever truly had. He lovingly treated me as his daughter, as did my aunt. My cousin and his wife, like a brother and sister in law. We are close beyond words. When my mom died last July, it affected all of us tremendously. So understandably, I was aching for and with my family while my uncle battled with all his might. In addition to this, we have watched and supported him in overcoming a heart attack, bladder cancer, and most recently a stroke, to name only a few of his hardships. 

After a few days, he started to get better and as I leave today he is being transferred to a facility where he can start his rehabilitation. Though it will be a long road and possibly months, we are all optimistic for his homecoming.

Family came in over the weekend…

At one point my aunt (somewhat jokingly) voiced her concern that my uncle might think he was dying with several family members coming in. I did my best to reassure her that it would be the opposite. He was born a family man. Nothing in this world makes him happier than bringing family together. The visit was beneficial, not only for my uncle, but for all of us. Sometimes there’s nothing more refreshing and warming than quality time spent with family members you don’t see often enough.

To my family and friends… Keep those positive thoughts going. For him and all the others in need of support. It’s working.

I am beyond grateful to my mother in law especially who made this trip possible, obviously my husband who understands how much it meant to me, and everyone that helped with my kids and moral support.

And I am very much looking forward to hugging up my sweet little ones… It seems I’ve been missed while I was gone… Lucky, lucky me.

Adrienne

image

From living legend to legend. 

Today marks one year since the last time I spoke to my mom. We talked about the usual day to day, catching up on life. She told me about her recent stress test that showed no immediate concerns. Five days later I would learn she suffered from a fatal heart attack. So much for stress tests. 

A week ago we learned that Auntie Gemma died. Another sudden and devastating loss. This is life, I know. 

While my dear uncle remains in the hospital fighting to overcome kidney issues (after surviving a stroke, heart attack, cancer and Vietnam!), I cherish his lucid (awake) moments and recall many sweet memories. 

Some people are iconic, whether it’s a patriarch or a matriarch or just a stolid member of the family. When one falls, there is always someone just as strong to carry on the legacy. It’s like a royal dynasty. Well it is royal isn’t it, what’s more important than family? 
All the family and friends and even the celebrities and musicians we felt like we knew… All the ones that were living legends… And became simply, legends. They left their mark, on one or many. 

It’s hard to let go though… To let them be legends. We want them back, we want times to be like they were before. They say it takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village to release the grief. Support and love from those around get us through our difficult times. 

There’s no clear path, no getting “over it”. There is only a new way of looking at life, at your surroundings. Every day I find a new perspective, the one that keeps me thankful for the love and life I am blessed with; the one that shields me from bitterness and resentment. Every day I look at life anew. Every. Single. Day.

If you are hurting, I hope you can find the strength to get through today, then tomorrow, then the next day. And the inner peace to feel loved, to realize your blessings, and of course, to smile….

Adrienne

To fetch a pail of water…

No water for over a week. We are using pool water to flush the toilets. And showering over by my mother in law. We have bottled water to drink and each bathroom has a cup or bowl of water for brushing teeth, washing hands and face. My house is in disarray with laundry piling up and coolers full of water we brought from said MiL to wash dishes. The water situation is one of the cons of living here. Yet…

WE ARE LUCKY. 
When water is flowing through the main again, our tanks will fill and life will resume as normal. So many people in this country do not even have water tanks. When water is shut off for days, they have no reserve. They bathe with a bucket of water… They cannot afford bottled water, do not have a pool, and their families are in the same predicament. 
Luxury of bottled water. Proximity of family. Convenience of a pool. Things we normally take for granted even when we say we are thankful for our blessings…

Having a bad day? Sometimes it takes a bad day to realize how good you’ve got it. 

Adrienne

Happy Birthday Mom

Today passed like I expected it would… with a touch of melancholy.

It was a holiday here, so we would have chatted with mom on FaceTime or Skype so she could see the kids. We would have spent an hour or more sharing woes and laughs. I would have said I sent her cards only yesterday so naturally they would be late… and would have thanked her for the  Father’s Day cards (at least two) that arrived, right on time.

Instead, I had a little cry last night. I thought of all the loved ones also thinking of my mom on this day, her birthday, the first since she passed away last July. I hope they thought of happy memories like I did. She would have been 66. It’s still so hard to believe she’s truly gone. Sometimes it just feels like it’s been a while since we spoke, until it hits me that we will never speak again.

Well, I can still wish her a happy birthday…

I love you mom and miss you every single day. No amount of passing time will change that. I wish we could chat, laugh, hug one last time but my memories will have to get me through now. I took time to make faces and laugh with Logan when I was getting him ready for bed. And I sat and watched Emily dance around and laughed with her before her bedtime. I know that’s what you would have done with them. And I wrote this. For you. Happy Birthday Mom.  

Ending off this day with a smile and feelings of love and warmth rather than tears and grief.

Adrienne