Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fun days in Guantanamo Bay

It is officially Mango season in the Caribbean. Yay for us. I happen to be one of few fortunate GiTMO residents with a huge Mango tree in my back yard and it is loaded with this delicious, silky, sweet, juicy fruit. I am in a battle right now with the Banana Rats and the birds. The Banana Rats apparently love the fruit, ripe or not. Those darn things are just nasty, messy, and rude. The other day I left a few Mangos on a table outside, overnight, and they chewed threw every mango, peed and pooped and left a mess. Seriously, if you're going to eat my food, take it all and don't leave a mess for me to clean up. UGH... nasty.
The birds, well, I can't fight them. They have wings. They wait for the Mangos to ripen on the tree, then they begin to feast on them until the mango falls to the ground. Everyday I find at least 3-5 Mangos with deep holes in them, partially eaten. However, I can easily bring in the same number of Mangos ready to eat, so I guess you can say we're sharing. The tree has plenty, no worries. I'm just excited I can eat fruit fresh from my back yard. No pesticides, no preservatives, just like I did as a child growing in the Dominican Republic.

The rope swing. I had one as a kid and truly had forgotten how fun it was to just swing around, look at the sky, the tree holding me up, the birds above me (and hope they didn't poop on my head) and feel the breeze hug me like a blanket. We have one here and usually the kids go out and with a running start they go for a ride on this old rope. On this day, I just could not resist. I didn't do the running start thing because I would just hurt myself in many places. It was warm out but I have to tell you... the few minutes I was on the swing were really reminiscent of fun, childhood days.

Day at the Bay. What a fun day this was. MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) put together a super day for all the families. There was a reptile show, free T-shirts, free food and drinks.
They corded off a swim area, set up life guards in several areas (we don't usually have life guards at the beach), set the kids up with kayaks, canoes, paddle boats, some favorites like the banana boat and the iceberg (seen below). We also had life vests, beach balls, beach toys, and water shooting toys available for all the kids.

Jonathan above was happy floating around with his little life vest, playing with other kids his age.
This is Nat climbing the iceberg. The kid would stay on that thing all day if I didn't call her in to drink water and eat something. It's amazing how many times she'll climb that thing.

To add to the best beach day in Cuba, our amazing service members gave us a mini air show. We had a fly over by a C-12 earlier (missed that shot) but he was kind enough to dip his wings and let us know he was watching. Later the search and rescue helicopter flew by close enough for me to get this shot. You have to understand, around here we don't have airplanes flying over our roofs or helicopters flying around. It's not something we see everyday, if ever, unless we go to the airport on the other side of the bay.

Finally the band. We have a band in town, not sure of the name (sorry) but they do tributes to Jimmy Buffet so what better than Jimmy Buffet music when you're sitting a the bay, seriously, they were great!
My kudos go out to MWR for coordinating such a great day for everyone. I know they had to work hard to put together the event and they should know, it was well received, the kids had a great time, the parents enjoyed everything without worrying about kids getting into trouble in the water, it was a really fun day in Guantanamo Bay! Thank YOU!!!

Photos by: Terie
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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Still like where I live

A little over a year ago I wondered around this base meeting up with friends, going to the pool, the beaches, collecting seaglass, kayaking, boating, welcoming newcomers and sadly saying goodbye to good friends. Whew! This could easily happen in one week. I thought coming here I would have more time to get crafty, read, and do nothing. NOT! No regrets, no regrets.  I like where I live.

Most people arrive here and are welcomed by their new neighbors, the spouses club, and a plethora of amazing people too happy to have coffee and share some of the wonderful things we can do here in Guantanamo Bay.  To this most newcomers respond with "everyone is so wonderful, so sweet, so giving" and "I just love it here and all the great people." We all say that when we arrive.

We are people, all with our own standards, morals, values and belief systems.  Eventually we begin to weed through the masses and we find those who are more like us.  It's natural to do so.  I am generally surrounded by positive, happy, energetic people.  I believe I attract this personality because that's who I am.  Now don't get me wrong.  I don't purposely go out separating people into groups, mine and theirs, I simply leave it up to the other person to decide if they can handle my energy and optimistic mentality.  Plus, I sometimes put my filters down and together with my friends we get into the unspeakable dirty talk... that usually generates a lot of laughter, exactly the result I want when I'm with my friends.

Fast forward a year.  My huge group of friends has shrunk, changed, and now we know more about each other (maybe that's why it shrunk.)  Oh well.  I am happy to be surrounded by this select group.  I am fortunate to have these women on my side.  I didn't pick them, they picked me and that makes me happy.  In a period of 4 months we accomplish what takes most in the civilian sector years to reach... close, personal friends who can be trusted, who will cry with you, laugh with you, and look super silly with you.

Truth be told, I have had a few moments of "I really want to leave now" revelations.  My hubby responds with ... well with nothing because we really don't have a choice.  We're here another 18 months so I have to make a choice between being miserable and being happy.  I chose the latter.

I hope I can continue to give my friends everything they continually give me: friendship, patience, laughter, happiness, hugs, time to vent, time to recover from fun night out :-) and so much more.

Yup.  I still like where I live.