Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Learning Curved

"Not that I'm complaining, but do you think the next vacation we take can be one where we don't have to learn anything?"

Ha.  'Not that he's complaining.'  Well, not now, anyway.  But I do recall an awful lot of griping coming from this 11-year-old and his two brothers on our previous holidays.  Granted, those were filled with old churches, ruins, museums, temples, tours, technical visits, road-side attractions, more ruins, and a couple more old churches thrown in for good measure.  And always, on these adventures, there was their dad, eager to fit in "just one more stop", and happily providing all the minutia they never dreamed they wanted to know, displaying his love for all things historical, sometimes sounding like a walking guidebook.  In a good way, of course.

Don't get me wrong.  We had a great time on these trips.  They were an escape from the regular routine and the confines, both tangible and not, of Doha, and we crossed some serious swaths of must-do's from our bucket lists.  But they were anything but restful.

This trip was going to be different.  We would turn off our brains and not learn a thing.  This holiday was going to be about navel-gazing.  So, we unanimously decided on the Maldives, and spent a week at Kuredu Island Resort on the northern atoll of Lhaviyani.  Upon arriving, we took off our watches and tossed them, along with our flip-flops, back into our suitcases.  Certainly we wouldn't need them on this vacation.  We walked barefoot down the beach to breakfast, and then returned to snorkel just steps from our front door, where we saw a little shark on our first outing, and crazy multi-coloured "rainbow" fish.  We banana-boated, wake-boarded, knee-boarded, parasailed, and dolphin-safaried.  We cooled off in the pool, then had Happy Hour mock- and cocktails.  We ping-ponged, night-golfed, and played board-games before dinner.  We went to the spa, and slept in.  We ate, we drank, we ate, and we drank.  We swam in the ocean.  The only ruins we saw were the kids' dessert plates from the buffet.

About four nights in, Dan asked the kids at dinner, "Has anyone learned anything, on this trip so far?"

Thing 3:  "I learned how to knee-board.  And also that there are mini sharks right out there!"

Thing 1:  "I learned how to wake-board, and that if I use a 7-iron, I can get the ball about 75 yards."

Thing 2:  "I learned to parasail.  And also that recently, the first democratically-elected president of the Maldives stepped down voluntarily (or more likely was overthrown in a bloodless coup) as his detractors thought he was too much of a moderate for an Islamic state—"

Hold the phone.  The only reason this aforementioned 11-year-old knew this is because he asked. And naturally, his father answered.  As if he could help himself.

When we grudgingly finished our week on Kuredu Island, and I hung onto the dock for dear life, my body stretched horizontally while my family tried to drag me onto the seaplane, I wondered if I had learned anything.  Turns out that I did.

I learned that there is a place on Earth whose beauty surpasses all others.  I learned that the sea can be an impossible turquoise and that sand can be as fine and white as flour.  I learned that there is water is so clear you can stand ankle-deep and count the fish swimming by.  I learned that sometimes, in the morning, you can look outside your bedroom door and watch dolphins jumping out of the ocean.  And that the shade of a palm tree, just steps from the water, is the best place in which to lose yourself in a good book.

I didn't learn, but was reminded, of how lucky we are to live where we live, for better or worse, and to go to the places we've gone.  Check your boarding passes and fasten your seatbelts, boys.  Class is in session.


  1. Ahhh, that sounds so wonderful. :)

  2. You make me want to pack my suitcase and run directly to the airport and then back to the Maldives. Complete paradise.

  3. Beautiful. I'm so glad I found your blog xx