1. Things can be more simple.
Hayden often said about Utila, "The days here are long, but the time passes quickly." Of course that is true when the day begins at dawn, when much of our effort is spent on the truly elemental tasks of food, exercise, water, heath, learning...
Why do we lose that in the translation of trying to hit the ground running in our US life? I have already caught myself leaving the tap on while I brush my teeth, and my initial combination of wonder and vague queasiness at the absolute abundance in the SuperGiant has been replaced by 'get groceries' on my To Do list.
Piper came to me the other day with a plastic bottle cap she had found on the beach. She was carrying it carefully so the water wouldn't slosh out.
When I asked her what it was she said matter-of-factly, "It's the back-up cistern for my fairy house."
How do we remember all this when we go back to the land of stuff?
2. Make or purpose things we don't have.
3. Appreciate but do not abuse our new unlimited access to ... (fill in the blank: instant and constant internet acess, an iPhone that does more than act as a camera/flashlight, 24 hour electricity, hot water, drinkable tap water, paper products in public restrooms, imported produce, amazon.com, etc)
4. Use less of... (fill in the blank, see above list)
5. We can live without TV, cable, microwave, dishwasher, dryer, Xbox, Playstation, (see above; the list is long)
6. Friendships forged in unusual places can be immediate, lasting, and span vast bodies of water.
7. Keep finding the interesting people, the experts in their fields and connecting them with the kids.
Yesterday on our travels home we met the anthropologist Sue Hendrickson, who lives in Guanaja. She and Hayden chatted dinosaurs and conch pearls, Central American sandfly remedies and SCUBA diving.
At the end of their visit, she swiped her palm against his for luck, and gave him a signed photo of her and her famous find, the most complete T-Rex skeleton.
We also were lucky to live next door to marine biologists Brad and Andi Ryon. Brad (center at left) was a willing partner in SCUBA, fishing and other maritime adventures, and Andi facilitated our connections to yoga. We also nd became close friends with Amanda and John Arne Løken of Float Utila, the world's largest sensory deprivation tank. You can read Hayden's review of Float Utila here.
Regular dive experiences with Diego Frank and Amir Gavrieli rounded out the experiences at Underwater Vision.
There is something to be said for the kernel of adventuresome spirit that it takes to live in Utila, and the endlessly interesting characters one is fortunate to encounter there.
8. You can move thousands of miles away, but it doesn't change who you are.
Within a month, we had a black dog sleeping in our bed, and mewling kittens waking us up to be fed.
9. Following our story has taken us to unexpected places both on the globe and within our family.
10. "Clean" "Safe" and "Necessary" are all relative terms.
BONUS Piper's favorite rule: In Utila, hairbrushing is optional.