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Staycation in Paradise

week 1

The holiday feels was present right from the start, although not having done much the week before probably played a role in that.

What’s mean most enjoyable about not traveling anywhere for vacation is that it’s really teaching me to tune into a different mindset even when I’m in the same place as always

Monday morning we went for coffee at Oubli, feeling funky as normally we’d be working behind our laptops, but instead this morning we got to relax and do as we pleased. After coffee we headed back home, Chris cooked lunch and afterward, we headed to Gouveneur Beach, Christiaan walked/hiked while we took the car. While Rowena dived looking for shells, mom and I went for a swim along the beach. At Gouveneur it’s always a bit more challenging as the water is incredibly wavy and there’s quite a bit of current, but it felt good to exercise a bit after having, involuntarily, been glued to the couch all of last week. The evening we spend playing another round of Harten Jagen, which unfortunately Rowena won (I say unfortunately because I wanted to win…).

Tuesday started early, as I didn’t sleep in, waking from a weird dream and a mosquito that was buzzing in my ear. I spend the morning reading another two chapters of my book to mom. She rather listens to me read than read it all herself, enjoying visualising the events as they take shape. Around 10:30 we headed to Gustavia, this time to Arawak instead of Oubli.

In the afternoon we headed to Christopher. Initially, we had wanted to spend a whole day there, enjoying the pool and having lunch, but the hotel is fully booked, as it is the summer-high season, so we settled for simply enjoying the sunset and a drink with some aperativos.

Wednesday, after Rowena sold her second commissioned painting, we headed to Arawak in order to celebrate with a juice. Here I got to work a little bit on my tan as well, as my spaghetti-strap sundress exposed my shoulders to the warm sun, with the occasional breeze cooling me down. After enjoying our relaxed celebration, we headed back home where I made curry for lunch, which was claimed as “my best one yet”, by Rowena, Chris, and Mom. I spend the rest of the day simply relaxing at home, working on some different writing pieces (this blog, my next book, my next medium article) as well as going on a run. The run was much more challenging than I had wanted it to be, but I knew it was from the dengue. I experienced the same thing last year when I had dengue. It completely exhausts you – you basically can’t do anything except for lie down and sit and sleep, so by the time you feel good enough to exercise again, your body isn’t as ready to run as before. I took it slow and simply enjoyed the fact that I was out running at all. After washing my hair and feeling clean, I planted myself on the couch outside, and spend the early evening typing away on my various projects, the inspiration simply flowing from my fingertips. After dinner, while Mom was out with a friend and Rowena went for pizza with her friend, Chris and I watched The Last Samurai, which he had apparently never seen, so I greatly enjoyed watching it with him.

Thursday morning, after sleeping in until 08:00, Mom and I enjoyed a calm morning. She spend most of it sitting outside in the garden while I spend most of it in the kitchen. Although I did have a few creative typing breaks during my baking. I decided to make zucchini brownies! It’s been a long time since I made some, as life just felt too busy and I hadn’t felt all that inspired, but as the designated chef of the family, I decided that our staycation would be a great time to prepare and practice some dishes again. Once the brownies were ready, I put the next meal in the oven, which consisted of zucchini slices with garlic and tomatoes on top. Put it in the oven for about 25 minutes and you’re left with a great, tasty creation. We like to eat it on bread (in Dutch culture we eat a lot of bread), but you can easily put it in a salad as well. If you hadn’t guessed, we really like zucchini! The home-made bread topping allows some variation from the usual cheese, avocado, or tomatoes. Sometimes I make hummus too, but that’s quite an undertaking, as we also cook the chickpeas ourselves. We try to eat as much home-made food, rather than store bought. And although we’re not vegan, we eat that way for many of our meals.

Around noon Christiaan showed up, while Rowena decided to enjoy the day by herself. The three of us sipped coffee in the garden with the freshly baked zucchini brownies. During our coffee we also discussed the new curfew that has been imposed on the island. You can no longer be out and about between 22:00 and 05:00, so we decided to change our vacation hours a bit, by waking up earlier and going to bed earlier, while still enjoying all the things we want to do – like watching a movie in the evening (simply now from 19:00 to 21:00, rather than 21:00 to 23:00) or go for coffee and lunch earlier, kind of just moving everything earlier. We’re flexible and waking up early isn’t a problem, especially if we’re still getting eight hours of sleep every night.

The rest of Thursday was calm, relaxing. I spent most of the day writing. A little bit of blogging, a little bit of article brainstorming for Medium, as I need (want) to get cracking on my articles for the Medium Writing Challenge that is due August 24th. But I also spend time writing something new. While reading an article on Medium: “How to Write an Essay Everyone Wants to Read“, which had some writing exercises in the piece, I suddenly felt a storyline pop up in my head. Sentences of a first chapter simply forming in my head – I couldn’t open my word document fast enough. I didn’t want to lose any of the creativity that was taking shape in my mind. I’m not quite sure where it’ll go yet, but within the first two hours I managed to crank out nine pages of content as well as some more, overall storyline details. Stay tuned, maybe my second book will be both sooner and different than I had planned, or rather anticipated. But funnily enough we know nothing goes as planned in life, it’s always a grand adventure.

At 18:55 I got dressed in my light-wash jeans, white sneakers, and white top with white blouse, feeling casual yet stylish as we headed towards Gustavia. Tonight we would be eating mussels with fries at Le Repair. The restaurant, which also serves as a café during the daytime, is a place locals and tourists alike absolutely love. It has the unique factor that the team, both on the floor and in the kitchen, has stayed mostly the same throughout the past years, meaning the menu is reliable and guests know they can expect quality food for a very local friendly price – something that can’t be said for other restaurants on the island. We snapped a photo of the mussels to send to our grandma. Normally we eat them when we visit her in the South of the Netherlands in the summer, but obviously we haven’t been able to do so this year. Upon discovering that Le Repair had a Thursday special of mussels, we jumped at the opportunity. Our waitress, Emeliene, told us that the mussels came all the way from Canada!

My sleep that night was messy. I kept on waking up, first because of the music from a party the neighbours were hosting, and after that because my cat, Luna, came to snuggle. And once I was awake, it felt like a creativity portal had opened itself up. All these ideas for the story that I had started that afternoon, were flowing into my mind. I considered getting up to go write it all down, but I didn’t want to wake mom up, and I was confident that these ideas would still be in my mind in the morning (I was right). When I finally did get up and had my tea and snuggled some more with Luna, it wasn’t long before it was time to pick up Rowena and Chris. Mom had driven them home to the other apartment before going home ourselves, we didn’t want to drive after having enjoyed wine and a digestif shot of vanilla rum, but I did promise to pick them up somewhat first thing in the morning. On the way back to mom’s, we picked up some croissants at the bakery for breakfast, which we then enjoyed in the garden.

The rest of Friday was calm and relaxed. After journaling for a bit after breakfast, I grabbed the hammock and planted myself there, my laptop, journal, and book nearby. There’s something incredibly peaceful and inspiring about slowly swinging back and forth in the hammock, the breeze occasionally cooling me down, surrounded by plants and flowers. I definitely felt like I was on vacation. In the afternoon, after writing and writing and writing, Rowena and I walked towards St. Jean where we walked around the few stores there, not really looking to buy anything but simply enjoying ourselves, strolling around.

When we got back home, we got showered and changed, put on make-up, our fancy outfit and heels, and together with Mom and Chris, we drove up the hill behind our house, to simply head down it again, where we headed to Tamarin. Although we usually don’t eat out twice in a row, we didn’t care so much since it was our staycation. When we arrived, before first drinking an aperativo in the garden, we asked if Frederique, the somelier, could be our waiter again. Last time we had gone to Tamarin, he had helped out as a server, as the staff was missing some people, and he had made our dining experience extra pleasant. He was so kind and friendly, we definitely hoped he would be there again tonight!

Dinner was delicious and on the way home, Rowena and I dropped of Mom and Chris, as it was now Chris’ turn to sleep at mom’s house (we alternate every week), and Rowena and I continued towards our apartment in Colombier, arriving home in time before curfew.

Saturday morning, after a wonderful morning yoga (from Yoga with Adriene) and a cup of coffee, Rowena and I decided to go to the beach. She wanted to walk, so we organised that I would meet her about 40 minutes later at St. Jean beach. It used to be my favourite beach, but since there are now two beach-clubs there (Nikki Beach and Gypsea), I don’t enjoy it as much anymore. It always feels too crowded and noisy – that is, except for early in the morning, before the beach clubs open, and in September, when all the tourist attractions are closed because it’s the peak of hurricane season. During these times the beach is empty, and on a beautiful, sunny day like today, it feels absolutely amazing to spend the morning there.

Around 10:45 we headed to mom’s apartment, where I ended up in an energy of creativity, working on some new projects as well as existing ones. This is what I love about vacation, and it’s something I am looking to incorporate more of in my daily life – the ability to to tune in with my creativity, but also to enjoy some relaxing activities in between my working hours that get the creative juices flowing. Vacation, or rather staycation, always reminds me to be more grounded in myself, but also to take this feeling of being connected and in touch with myself, the earth, and my creations and incorporate it in my daily life. It’s what makes me most happy and that is something I want to carry with me all the time, not just when I have a break from the busy-ness of everyday life.

Saturday, after eating some left-over curry for lunch, we headed into Gustavia for a coffee at Oubli, where we ended up hanging out for about an hour and a half, just chatting and enjoying the calm atmosphere that’s there in the early afternoon. The rest of Saturday we enjoyed downtime at home. Rowena and mom headed to Flamand for a walk on the beach, Chris went for a run, and I enjoyed some time alone to work on my writing projects. We ended the day watching Spectre.

The idea was to go for a hike on Sunday morning, but the weather wasn’t in our favour. It had rained all night meaning the path would be muddy and slippery. Additionally it was still too cloudy for it to be enjoyable. We ended up going to Oubli for coffee instead. When we got home, Chris had a quick meeting with a colleague/friend, so I prepared lunch, which consisted of a platter with cheese, chorizo, salmon, guacamole, egg and more, which we devoured outside. After that we each did our own thing. For me that consisted of working through some personal doubts about things I’m working on and planning, while the rest enjoyed their own afternoon.

What a wonderful first week of vacation it has been, and oh wow am I happy that I get to enjoy a whole week more of relaxing, writing, beach trips and family time!

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