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May 23, 2004

Michigan, Marraiges and Mud!

I am safely back in Grenada after a wonderful trip back to Michigan. As you may know, my brother was getting married on May 15, so I flew up north for almost 2 weeks. It was pretty easy to get back into the swing of life in the states. It was odd what things struck me in my "re-entry". During my layover in Chicago O'Hare (4 hours that turned into 6), I was shocked by how many white people there were there and I actually broke out into a delirious giggle the first time I had a non-fat latte in my hand. I was a little overwhelmed with all the hustle and rush when I ordered chips and guacamole in the food court. What IS the rush, people? Outside of the airport it was things like highways, hot water out of the tap (my first reaction was that it must be quite hot out to warm the pipes like that) and so many stores! Things that I had seen and knew all my life, but had apparently slipped into a different part of my awareness for the last nine months. Driving itself was easy to get back into but the whole right side/left side thing gave me a little trouble. The first time I took the car out, I had to run back inside to my parents and say "We drive on the right side, right?" They said yes and I think a heard a "Be careful" come from their slightly concerened faces. Until the day I left MI, I'd still have to coach myself to get to the right side when I turned. Besides a minor collision with my dad's truck mirror and a pillar at a parking garage (which was NOT due to the right/left thing), I did OK (Sorry again Dad!).

The wedding went off beautifully. The rain and cold weather threatened for a while, but that afternoon ended up sunny and just warm enough to be comfortable outside and enjoy the day. They had a small-ish wedding and then a larger reception at a park. The whole event was simple, elegant and a lot of fun. There were even one comment heard from a former groom to his bride saying "THIS is the kind of wedding I wanted!" My Aunt Betts and cousin Kris (Glen and Callae's son-in-law) flew out for the wedding. It was great to see them as well as a lot of other family and family friends who I hadn't seen in a while.

The other highlight, hands down, was seeing my nieces. The first time I saw them, Emily ran across the room screaming "AUNTIE SAWAAAAAA!!!!" and literally lept into my arms. I had to mop up my heart from the floor after that greeting. Sydney was happily sitting across the room opening and closing her hand saying "Ahee, ahee, ahee, ahee, ahee, ahee, ahee". Apparently her 14 month old way of saying "Hi". So adorable. I can't believe how much they have grown and changed. Saying good bye to them at the end of my trip was really difficult. Knowing how much they'll change and grow and also knowing that they don't completely understand where I'm going or when I'll be back is tough to work through.

One of the exciting things, however, about returning to Grenada was to meet up with Mitch and Melissa who had decided to honeymoon in Grenada. They were planning on visiting sometime anyway and decided they might as well combine the two occasions. I don't know too many people who hang out with their sister on their honeymoon, but then again, not too many people have me for a sister! :o) I flew in on Wednesday night and was planning on meeting up with them on Friday in Grenville where they'd spend the rest of their time until they left on Sunday. On Thursday night, I was awakened at about 4:30 am but the loudest crack of thunder I had heard in a long while. Thunder is actually kind of rare here and this one was so loud that it had to have hit something. As I lay in bed, I peaked into my room and noticed some water on my floor. I got up to shut my window as I often have some rain blow in during the night if I forget to shut my window. As I stepped onto the floor, my feet got really wet. This can't JUST be from the rain in my window I thought, so I turned on my light and realized there was water all over my floor. I sleepily wandered into the hallway and realized there was about 1 inch of brownish water on my bathroom floor. A little more wandering and I realized that my 2nd bedroom was in even worse condition. Checking out my kitchen I found spots of water and mud all over my floor. I checked around for leaky ceilings and other possible causes. When I started to wake up a little, I realized that the mud was a clue about where this water was coming from. I peaked out my front door and saw a few inches of water in my walkway outside my door. My front door is about 2 feet below the yard and there's a tiled pathway that passes at that level in front of my apartment. Afraid to venture out there, I called up to Peters and said "I'm flooded!". (It was later reported to me that when Junior told Liz that I was flooded she inquired "Flooded? With what?" To which 16 year old Junior responded "Well, what people flood with? Water of course!") Dunbar came down and with a little detective work found that the drain on the walkway was clogged with grass clippings. As soon as that was cleared the water drained down and left us with the job of mopping out my apartment. An hour and 13 buckets of water later, we got it dried out. What a welcome home!

A little later in the day, I walked into Grenville to meet Mitch and Melissa who were on their way down from Sauteurs. As we drove around, we realized that there had been some serious flooding in Grenville that day (the photos I received later confirmed it). By the time we were there, most of the water had drained out, but here was still some flooded areas. What remained was mud...lots of mud. The Grenville fire department was out in full uniform unclogging drains and using their fire hoses to clean the mud off the streets. A number of businesses were doing the mop and bucket procedure that I had gone through earlier that morning, but I'm afraid they had a little more damamge than I did. From what I hear, Grenville actually sits below sea level and anytime you combine high tides with serious rains like the night before, the result is this flooding. While I have been here, I've heard some people talking about how to address the problem, but as of yet, nothing has been done. Dunbar told me that when he was young and Grenada was still under British rule, there was a windmill in the water that's job was to blow some of that water back out over the coral reef and avoid this very problem. Apparently it was a pretty successful solution, but is yet to be resurrected.

So, here I am, back in Grenada. It was absolutely wonderful to be home and a bit tough to return. Now that I'm here and getting back into the swing of things, however, I'm happy to be "home" and settling back into my life that a week ago seemed like a distant memory in some part of my brain. But now, that memory is a vivid reality of heat, humidity, beautiful trees, random animals, good friends and loud music. Ahhh...Grenada.