People who know me well know that I have been talking about travelling and moving abroad for years, decades even. So in August 2010 Aurelie and I decided that now that the kids were here that it was time to put up or shut up and that by August 2011 we would be gone.
That gave us plenty of time to think about what we wanted to do. Our two main options were move somewhere like Oz or Canada and start new lives there with 9-5 jobs etc (similar to our (very nice) lives in Dublin, just in a different place) or take some time out and go somewhere a bit different. In the end Aurelie said to me if we were to go we might as well go on an adventure and take a year out somewhere different,
And that is how after examining a host of countries (including Belize, Costa Rica, Thailand and the Philippines) we ended up selling or giving away most of our stuff and setting off with Sam and Ela from Lyon for Reunion with just our airplane luggage on the 9th September 2011!
In no particular order here are a (very) few of the things that stick out in my mind from our first year of island living:
- Getting off the overnight flight with Aurelie and the kids and Aurelie heading to get the hire car. Setting off on our adventure to the far side of the island in a fog of exhaustion and dislocation and Ela promptly getting car sick!
- That same day, how genuinely friendly the two local guys in the shop were when I went to get a few essentials with my pidgin French. This is something that has struck me time and again since that first day, how friendly people in Reunion are. I think it must be the island mentality!
- Lying on a deserted beach with A and the kids and realising that this was home now.
- Making friends with the guys in the hostel and how well they took care of us.
- Watching the kids blossom with the outdoor, barefoot living. In Dublin we didn't have the garden space, let alone the weather to just kick the kids outside and let them off. Here the door is open all of the day and while playing in their room or watching somthing on the computer is always popular so are water fights, or playing in the hammock, or on the swings, or rugby etc.
- Getting smashed by the giant waves at the beach in Vincendo.
- Ela getting swept from my arms by the same giant waves!
- Dealing with island time, even the French comming from the mainland get driven mad by how long it takes to get things done - you have just got to go with it, its not going to get any quicker!
- The local market.
- Fruit from our garden.
- Getting rid of most of our stuff and really realising how little we really need to be happy.
- Aurelie telling me how happy she was with the move, this was always my dream for the most part. To have her being so happy with how it worked out makes it so much more worthwhile!