Yesterday, as we flew over Cleveland, we were greeted by a long awaited blanket of snow and weather much colder than what we had gotten used to on the island. Leaving Eleuthera and coming home (to two feet of snow!) was bitter-sweet as were all excited to see our families and tell them about what we had the privilege to experience in the Bahamas, but we knew we'd miss the people and the place. I think I speak for all of us when I say the hands-on experiences we were granted on this trip gave us a new depth of intellect we didn't realize we could attain and couldn't fathom before we left. At the dinner table last night, we all got to impress our parents with extensive knowledge of tropical fish species, mangrove ecosystems, turtle catching, and stingray biology. Even though we are no longer at the Island School, we are now in the habit of seizing the day and making the most out of every 24 hours (run-swim, anyone?).
This experience was very eye-opening. Before going to the Bahamas we had not been nearly as conscious about our impact on this planet. We were taking long, hot showers (sometimes multiple times a day!), relying on others to clean our dishes, and even being wasteful with food. Now that we are back in Cleveland, we are forcing habits from the Island School with things like taking Navy showers (30 second showers where you turn the water off when you’re lathering up), never keeping any water running, and being more conscious about recycling, packaging, and what we actually "throw away." Getting up at 6:00 AM every day and going to bed at 10:00 PM made the days feel long and the weeks feel short; this is a habit we intend to closely follow in the days moving forward as it makes us feel like we've squeezed every ounce out of the day while still taking care of ourselves and getting healthy sleep.
We are enjoying getting to indulge in the Christmas spirit and are already hopeful for the chance of a snow day come January. We are all excited to visit with our families, decorate our Christmas trees, light our Menorahs, and enjoy some well-deserved relaxation time after a whirlwind senior fall. While we do have to deal with slippery roads and sitting in a freezing car waiting for it to warm-up, we are grateful for the lack of bothersome bugs and are tenderly nursing our remaining sunburns (and showing off our suntans!). We complained about the immense amounts of sand in our dorms at the time, but we must admit that we miss the sand between our toes. After an epic adventure full of memories to share, we are all very happy to be back in The Land (and watch our Cavs win!).
A huge thank you goes out to Mrs. Becker and Mr. Daly for making sure we got home safe, and staying impressively organized in the process. And to our parents, for affording us this great journey. THANK YOU!
Happy Holidays to all!
Michael & Helen