Happy Birthday to me

Happy Birthday to me

Bonaire street muralsToday is my 38th birthday despite the fact that my sweetheart bought a card that indicated I was born in 1971.  I forgive him, though, because when he’s not “trying”, he’s the sweetest, kindest person in the world.  Besides, how could I be angry when I’m spending my birthday on Bonaire?  What can I say about Bonaire?  It’s definitely different than any place I’ve been.  For one thing, it’s the remotest place I’ve ever been.  It’s surrounded by water and separated from the continent of South America by a mere 50 miles.  It consists of 114 square miles and is inhabited by 15,000 people, mostly of Dutch and Latin heritage.

The room I am staying in looks out onto the Caribbean Sea, in all its aqua and deep blue splendor.  I can walk out to a pool that overlooks said sea and provides a lovely view of the west coast of the island.  It is truly paradise.  As proof, there are two monstrous cruise ships parked in the harbor.

This morning, we all went out to the pool, and I decided to test out my new snorkeling gear.  I was excited about my first snorkeling experience.  So, I put on the mask and the snorkel, and I immediately started to feel a little anxious.  I don’t know what it is, but I have issues with the thought of not being able to breathe.  So, every time I put my face under, I panicked.  Then it seemed like water kept coming in my snorkel, and I let Jim fidget with it, but he said it was fine.  Then he said I should go under, fill up the snorkel with water and then come up and blow it out.  I just didn’t think I could do it.  Jim started talking to someone else for a moment, so I swam to another area of the pool feeling very sad.  I really wanted to snorkel, but I didn’t think my anxiety was going to let me.

Jim finished his conversation and came across the pool with my snorkel and mask.  I couldn’t hide my sadness and, before I knew it, I was bawling and throwing my arms around him for a hug.  I was so disappointed, and I had already given up.  He didn’t laugh at me or tell me I was being silly.  He just showed me another way I could enjoy snorkeling without using the snorkel.  He got one of the kids’ boogie boards and had me hop on that with the mask on.  Then he told me I could just hold my breath and look under, coming up for air when I needed to.  It was so sweet.

He eventually told me to just try it again with the snorkel, and I did start getting used to it.  It *was* very silly of me to give up after only a few minutes.  I am so hard on myself sometimes.  I should be gentler with myself, especially at fragile times like birthdays.

Later in the day, we went into the downtown area of Kralendijk.  It is tiny – just one main street.  When we got there, a street market was set up – apparently to cater to the cruise ships.  I bought a cool necklace with round, wooden beads.  We walked along the street, but the shops seemed very touristy to me.  I find this odd since the island has a population of full time residents.  I wondered where they shopped.  I did like the tropical feel to the buildings – most are very brightly colored and many have colorful murals adorning the outside walls.

Then tonight was Jim’s gig.  We had a wonderful dinner first – fish with beans and rice.  A waxing moon rose above us and surrounded itself with a glowing aura, quite a distance away from the moon itself.  The scene itself was noisy.  A young girl, Noah, the daughter of the establishment’s owners, was trying to get her hands into everything.  She is an aggressive girl and wants you to always be paying attention to her.  She also wants to touch your stuff, and everyone’s stuff.  I hope these qualities lend themselves to some lucrative career.  As it is, she is a little trying to be around.

After dinner, the waitress brought me a special treat for my birthday – a heart-shaped cheesecake covered in a layer of cherry jello.  It was quite novel – I’d never seen cheesecake and jello thusly paired.  Then I was given a very cold glass of red wine.  I’ll fill you in – red wine does not taste good cold!  I drank it slowly so it would warm up.

When Jim was in Bonaire last, he wrote a song about how much he wished I was there with him.  He said something sweet tonight like, “I am so lucky to be in such a great relationship.”  Then he mentioned it was my birthday and that he’s written the song about me.  Then, he forgot the song!  I felt so bad for him.  It’s a newer song for him, and he hasn’t played it much.  I wasn’t offended at all – frankly, I’m flattered beyond words that he wrote the song.  It sure made me feel special.  He remembered it later and played it without further introduction.

And now I am home with the kids, getting ready to go to sleep, and glowing about my day.

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