The Thrill of Anticipation

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of the intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the beauty in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that one life has breathed easier because you lived here. This is to have succeeded.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

For the first time in the 12 months since I arrived in Portugal, I am travelling again and boarding a plane to distant shores. I have been looking forward to this day since I booked the flight in December, and it is not just for the sake of travelling.

Destination: Fuerteventura, in the Canary Islands, to visit my daughter, who has been living there since November. It is a long-awaited journey and the chance to return to the ocean and islands. The reason for travelling is more than just a holiday and a reunion with my daughter, but to mark her upcoming milestone this weekend.

I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am about this trip. The proof is in the pudding, or rather, in the blogging. I should have been in bed two hours ago already and zipped up my suitcase. Instead, here I am at my desk with a fluffy, grumpy cat staring at me while I type. The adrenalin is pumping, and in my mind I have boarded the plane a thousand times already. It’s my first holiday in three years (or is it four?), and it couldn’t come at a better time.

The photographs I share with you today have nothing to do with Fuerteventura, but everything to do with the element that means so much to me – water. I was born close to the ocean and our house didn’t have a back yard, instead, it had a gate that led to the ocean. Unlike most children who had a playground to run around in as toddlers, I had the ocean and the biggest sandbox! The images are from India and Thailand, taken at both sunset and sunrise, paying homage the grandeur of nature, with its infinite tapestry of colours that weave us into life’s intricate designs. The people in the photographs are complete strangers, photo bombers so to speak. They happened to share the same space at that very moment, and spelled all the difference to the shot, thereby elevating photograph into a story.

Over the years I have made a special ritual of casting my sorrows into the ocean and pray for renewed strength. And I desperately need to do that again. Portugal has been incredibly generous to me in so many ways, opening my soul to so many dreams long forgotten. So now it is time to cast the final vestiges of the long period of mourning and suffering into the ocean and close certain chapters once and for all. It has been seven long years of struggle, but I made it through, and here I am, on the verge of a new adventure.

The roles are reversed this time and I am going to be a houseguest of my daughter for the very first time in our lives. It has always been her coming to visit me, and even when she lived in Florence, I stayed in an AirBnB and we met up in town. So this will be a first. By Ralph Waldo Emerson’s standards, we have succeeded.

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