The Homecoming

By the time most of you read this we’ll be back to our Caribbean paradise in Aruba after six hectic, wonderful weeks visiting family and friends in the Toronto area and Detroit. Now, before you read this and see that we forgot to mention you OR curse us for not getting a chance to see you, we’d like to apologize in advance. We thought six weeks was a long time and that we’d get to see everyone and do everything on our hit list. We figured we’d see family and friends, hit the marine stores, go camping (yes camping), stay in a hotel for a while, and do a few touristy things. But, as we soon discovered, there just wasn’t enough time. So, what did we do in all that time?

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First, we had the crazy Planes, Trains and Automobiles adventure of getting to Toronto via Curacao, Miami and Philadelphia!!! Huh…WTF??? Yeah, that’s what we say now. But, it seemed reasonable when we were making our travel plans. You see, we had enough points on American to get flights from Curacao to Toronto and, since we booked in March and had lots of time, we didn’t see getting to Curacao as a problem. The hitch was the only flight we could get with our points had an 8-hour stop in Miami and an overnight and full day in Philadelphia. But, we’re on a budget so we made our reservations from Curacao and didn’t think about it for a few months.

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Well, if you’ve been following this blog, you know the story. In short, we got stuck in Santa Marta, Colombia for six weeks waiting for a weather window then got beat up getting to Aruba and decided to park there for a few months. This meant we had to fly from Aruba to Curacao to get our two-stop flight to Toronto, which normally is no problem as they have regular flights almost every hour.

However, it seems like normal no longer applies to us because our flight from Curacao to Miami was the first flight of the day and that meant we had to fly to Curacao the night before and stay in a hotel. All of a sudden, that “cheap” flight to Toronto is no longer cheap as we now have two nights in hotels along with all the taxi fares, meals and alcohol (and you know how that goes…). But, what’s done is done so we made the best of it and had a great time in all three places.

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We finally got to Toronto then had a whirlwind six weeks that we couldn’t possibly summarize in this blog. We will however hit a few highlights since, after being away for so long, seeing our family and friends was such a wonderful experience that we want to share it and let everyone know how much it meant to us.

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Where do we begin? How about with our “newest” family members – Nia, Colton and Roshad. Nia is our 1-year old “great” niece (are we old enough to be great anythings?) and daughter to our nephew Jermaine. We were so happy to meet her for the first time, and be able to attend her Disney-themed birthday party. Yes, just picture Audrey and I at a Minnie Mouse party!!!

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Next is Colton, our “great” nephew, the son of our nephew Ryan. Colton is not really “new” as we met him when he was a newborn but he’s now an energetic 5-year old that we got to see while his military dad hosted guests of the Brantford Air Show on the Canadian Air Force Hercules transport plane where he serves as one of its technicians.

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Finally, we got to meet our nephew Roshad, son to my sister Wendy and her husband Roger. Roshad is an active 14-year old who plays many sports and hopes to take on the football world one day.

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The other VIP’s that we got to see were our mothers. My mother was visiting from St. Kitts and Audrey’s mother lives in Oakville, just outside Toronto and it was really wonderful to spend some quality time with both of them.

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This is not in any particular order and we don’t have pictures of everyone but we were also ecstatic to spend time with all of our immediate family members including brothers and brothers-in-law, sisters and sisters-in-law, as well as nephews, nieces, cousins, etc. Here’s just a sample of the many gatherings we enjoyed.

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Besides visiting and staying with family, we were like gypsies living out of our luggage and staying with or visiting some of our closest friends, who all welcomed us with open arms and, in most cases, open liquor cabinets!!! You know who you are but here’s a few pics…

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Besides seeing family and friends we did manage a few touristy things, including a Lenny Kravitz concert; a visit to the Canadian National Exhibition; a sailing weekend on two of our friends boats; a short stay at a very quaint inn in the Muskokas; a production of the award-winning play Kinky Boots; the Brantford Air Show; and a road trip to Detroit/Birmingham, Michigan where we saw some spectacular street graffiti/murals, visited the Motown Museum (which we highly recommend), and even saw Henry Ford’s house (not bad for a GM guy).

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We even managed a road trip to Kingston to see our California-based, close friends Ken and Sheri who did the Baja-Ha-Ha sailing rally from San Diego to Cabo at the same time as us on their boat Cake.

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Before we sign off, we’d like to say a special thanks to Jerry and Mary for the long-term loan of our special friend Elmo, who’s brand shall go unmentioned. All of our visits and road-trips would have been much more challenging without Elmo.

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Finally, we’d like to say one last thanks to everyone. We have a great life sailing in exotic locations but it’s so much better when you compliment it by spending time with family and friends. You all made us feel like the Homecoming King and Queen and we look forward to seeing you all again soon!

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