pack lightly

cuba, havana, traveling to cuba, classic cars, locals in cuba, quartz, americans going to cuba, cuban national flag, architecture in cuba, getting to cuba, the ladys guide to adventure, kelsey melin, travel planning

beginning with rumi… out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field.   meet me there.   i have been going through my things and making piles of what i don’t need, to be given away or sold. i am … Continue reading

a glimpse of a year

succulents, propagation, plants, nature, beautiful

i won’t be having the perfect new year’s. i’ll be coming straight from work to a local greek restaurant where my family and a band will be waiting, to bid the old year goodbye. most likely, i’ll slip on my … Continue reading

a fool to become a writer – “boy”

while in amsterdam this past weekend, i was able to spend a half an hour – not nearly enough time – at the waterlooplein market. it’s a very edgy market, jam-packed with army gear / boots / jackets, bizarre piles … Continue reading

brown trout blues – day 6

it’s the sixth day of my most recent ‘seven day challenge‘ – i believe i’m due for a little recommendary, ear lovin’-type playlist of some tunes i am currently {or always} into. yesterday, i ventured to the tabernacle in notting … Continue reading

car boot glory [part one]

as i prepare for car boot glory round two, i cannot help but reflect on last sunday’s boot sale. back home in the midwest u.s., i spend the happiest hours of my life plundering my city {and beyond} for treasures. … Continue reading

surfing in a cemetery

{listening to lightmares – passionate places} a toast is in order. last minute / late night decisions are unlike those made during sound mind and sunny day. is it true that our deepest desires come forward in the smallest hours? … Continue reading

to manchineel or not to manchineel

definitely not to manchineel.

when you are a child and your parents strictly {but lovingly} warn you not to eat wild fruits, i would hope that this sage advice stays with you longer than it did me. but first thing’s first…
why am i not in london?!
it’s not due to the chaotic traveling “adventure” that i just had a few days ago, but is simply a precursor to my time spent there. before london, comes a vacation in beautiful barbados with my cousins, and a get-to-know-you with henry. he’s a total doll-baby. after three days spent beach-combing and diaper-changing, i have never felt more at ease with such a tiny person. and he’s not that tiny! at eight weeks, henry weighs an average 11-ish pounds but is in the top 90th percentile in height. he must have my grandfather’s genes. he was tall, kinda lanky. loved to dance. loved to vacation on the beach and drink and be merry. i remember his version of santa clause the best, played charismatically, whiskey on the breath. i miss him and the fun he instilled into my family. it’s nice to think that his vitality runs through the generations.

as i was saying, barbados is where the action is. lots of action. laughing, puking, healthy crying, playing. on their own, not as exciting, but all-together equals one contented baby henry.

barbados, baby, on the beach, vacation

{we are all acclimating to the heat of the island very well – including this guy}

baby expressions are fantastic. no matter what is happening, their faces either read utter amazement or complete misery. they are learning to use every little bit of their bodies {eyebrow experimentation is my favorite} and i’d like to think that children are the rawest forms of humanity. they tell it like it is- with little to no social influence. this emotional honesty is a thing to marvel at. [reminds me of this cute movie]

little baby feet, sprawled toes

{“even my toes are full of raw emotion!”}

so, what is this about a manchineel??

whilst lying on the beach yesterday, keeping a watchful eye on napping infant-baby, my attention was captured by a pretty green miniature apple. or so i thought it was an apple. every bit of advice my parents gave me concerning this situation flooded my temporal lobe – “do not eat strange fruit that falls from strange trees!” in that infinitesimal but critical battle between my curiosity and wise words of wisdom past, i would have to say that i settled somewhere in the middle betwixt gorging myself on this delectable little find and disposing of the alien immediately. my two front teeth sank into the rough outer membrane and into the fleshy center, but i pulled away before ripping a big enough amount to require chewing and swallowing. in that way, i was able to taste and entertain, but not actually eat.

big mistake.

here is a little bit about the manchineel tree and it’s poisonous fruit.

the adventure guide to barbados

{my favorite bits are: “highly poisonous fruit”, “potentially deadly”, “mouth to burn“, and “stay well away!” – in a book called “the adventure guide to barbados” by harry s. pariser}

green manchineel apples

{www.voiceofnosara.com}

apparently, everything about this beach tree screams poison. it literally reads that herds of cows standing under these trees during a rainstorm have been known to lose their hides from the acid that is secreted from the manchineel’s leaves and sap; it travels down to the animals via the falling rain. can you even imagine? i knew i had a problem when, still at the beach, my mouth began to tingle and then burn. painfully and irritably. it was comparable to the feeling of eating an extremely hot pepper and being completely unable to rid your tongue and inner cheeks of the spicy burn. without internet and trusty google, i resorted to tracking down a local and asking them about the mysterious.. and now entirely evil apple. when they said “poison,” i knew my curiosity had taken me too far. {whatever happened to “look, don’t touch!” ??- or in my case, eat!} dumb, dumb, dumb.. yet also somewhat interesting and definitely educational. below is an actual sign on the island of barbados. these signs are fairly common {meant for the most “curious” of tourists} but alas, i had obviously missed them until now.

warning not to touch poisonous manchineel tree or it's deadly fruit, green apples fall onto beach, found in barbados, eaten by me

{the post bar}

bussa, the emancipation statue

{bussa – the emancipation statue – such a powerful statement in statue-form}

luckily, a run to the pharmacy in holetown was all the help i needed. after some antihistamines and a glass of whole milk [consumed slowly], i was back to enjoying barbados and all of it’s strange sights. and there are many of them. after being claimed by england in the 1600’s, barbados became a popular trading port and eventually, a profitable producer of sugar. it’s history with the slave trade is also quite intense. the villa i am staying in is located just north of holetown, which used to be known as jamestown and was the first settlement on the island. this link has some fascinating and equally appalling information about the vast amount of slaves that were brought here to work in the sugar cane fields and the uprisings that eventually led to their emancipation. history shapes modern-day culture and the story of this people’s journey to freedom on barbados is imperative in understanding the island today.

it’s hard to imagine that my big adventure has barely begun, that i will not be going home but on to london after this wonderful escape to paradise. already, i have seen so many interesting things {and eaten the absolute best breakfast of my entire life at the sandy lane hotel.} barbados is lovely.

dreamhome

{a home to be dreamt of}

beautiful purple flowers

{no landscape without flowers}

after the poisonous apple debacle {snow white, much?} i am now considering every little creature or plant to be extremely hazardous. upon leaning forward to touch this 7-inch long slug, i immediately willed my hand to retreat. i am henceforth using preventative action towards any possible poisonings. starting with this slug that was practically begging to be touched!

slug, barbados

{why must these things lure me so!?}

beautiful barbados, ocean, lovely beach

{too much beauty to handle}

now, onto the beaches. they are phenomenal. the west coast of barbados is known for it’s calm, swimming waters. snorkeling here is extremely popular because beautiful reefs are commonplace. the east coast boasts rockier waters and ideal waves for surfing {something i have always wanted to try!} my family and i will definitely be trekking to other fantastic beaches [including crane beach which travel channel has placed in the “top 25 sexiest beaches”]

here are just a few more wonderful pictures i have taken in the past few days…

wondow

{an adorable window shape that is very prevalent in this neighborhood – the view from my shower}

beautiful baby in barbados

{the first time i really held henry. since then, he has claimed a decent amount of my hair for himself}

grumpy baby

{his grumpiest of faces, he is still so adorable}

bags of fresh almonds

{these almonds were packaged in bridgetown, barbados – i am taking advantage of the inexpensive prices here because elsewhere, they are not so inexpensive}

blowpops taste so much better on the beach!
blowpops, america, barbados, sweets, candy, caribbean

what a way to spend my days.
this little family {my family} will be the center of my life for the next few months spent abroad.
i am so excited to see what opportunities await me.
what adventures arise.
and what fun there is to be had.

my family

not without the madness

here i sit.

american airlines rep: “your flight to london has been canceled.”
distressed {no longer a} passenger: “say that again???”

so here i sit, on cold concrete, directly out front of the departure terminal in louisville because i have yet to depart. i got that call exactly twenty four hours ago and since then, have been rescheduled and rebooked exactly seven times, in seven different ways. there were the multiple flights through dallas, most of which were delayed, and chicago. chicago in the spring is like a fussy child.. so haphazard and unpredictable. flights have been canceled right and left {north and south?} due to it’s crummy weather and hundreds [if not thousands] of people have either been slightly inconvenienced or hopelessly strandedprobably absolutely stripped of their sanity.
so that murphy could show me that he and his law meant business, i was treated to a wonderful spectacle just a few hours ago. after waking at 6am in my hotel {did i mention that i drove two hours from another airport where my original flight was scheduled?} with the possibility of hopping a 7am flight, i miraculously made it to the airport and through security with enough time to board!! so, why am i still in louisville?!

the spectacle i mentioned above was actually lightning striking and “shaking” the plane. i guess in hindsight, the flash was kind of a cool thing to witness, but after only ten turbulent minutes of being in the air, and six prior schedule changes/mishaps, the one plane i did catch was turned around due to the lightning incident and landed in the same place from whence we came.

so here i sit.

at least they didn’t take my funfetti icing after scrutinizing it in security..

20130411-155310.jpg

and at least i have the beautiful voice of ryan adams to keep me feeling the love..

20130411-155505.jpg