Isla Grande, Brazil
Apologies for my absence! I took a month break from the journey to be home with family for the first time in over a year. As I expected, it was harder to leave again than it was the first time. I cherish the time I spend with my family, and I especially cherish the time I spend with my grandparents. My grandparents mean a lot to me, and my grandfather is 90 now; I never know which agonizing “good-bye” will be the last. Selfishly, I want more time with him, but traveling around the world isn’t exactly the way to go about getting more time together, though he would kick me out the door if I so much as thought of calling it off. As soon as I got back to the boat in Cape Town, we departed for a quick stop in Namibia before heading across the Atlantic to Rio de Janeiro, pausing breifly in St. Helena for a couple days to pick up whatever provisions we could find and tour the island where Napoleon was exiled and died. The story of the two and a half week crossing, though, deserves an article of it’s own.
Yesterday, we got fried. Every single one of us. I burnt my nose so bad I could have passed as Rudolph. I guess I was feeling festive. Chase only took a morning to be burnt to a crisp, but the rest of us got a little overconfident and enjoyed our first “booming” session a bit too much. We attached a ski rope to the crane, rotated the crane as far out and up as possible over the water, and swung out from the bow. Mitch pulled off a backflip but I still can’t quite get the nerve to attempt another. The sun took a lot out of us, including our motivation to make dinner, so we settled for some pre-packaged fish sticks and Oreo cheesecake for desert.
This part of Brazil reminds me of the British Virgin Islands, or Northwest Madagascar. The dense jungle slopes down to pristine, secluded beaches in every bay, and there is a plethora of local watercraft buzzing around between the bays. On our hike the other day, we even ran across a few Howler monkeys. They could be heard causing a ruckus 15min before we saw them, getting louder and louder as we approached.
We spent Christmas day floating around in tubes, playing beach games, and grilling all day long. Needless to say, we had a few leftovers… Thankfully, the WiFi has good signal here so I was able to video chat with my family for a decent amount of time. Mom complained that she wasn’t about to get used to Christmas without me, and I had to keep reminding her that I’ll be home for the next one!
If I may opine on the meaning of the season… for me, Christmas is a time to remember that Christ came down to earth in the humblest of ways. Instead of being born a ruler, or being born in a palace, God chose that His son be born in a stable, without the entourage deserving of a King. God chose this method because it is basic human nature that we cannot love someone we believe to be our superior. We may fear them, we may respect them, but we cannot love them. God so badly wanted a relationship with us, so badly wanted our love, that He discarded his crown, left his procession behind, and became one of us so we may have a relation with him, so that we may return his unconditional love. That is what Christmas means to me.