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Just Being

29 Sep

I’ve added something new to the Roatan Vortex site called: What I talk About. It’s actually called categories, but I can give it any title I want. When I first set-up this website/blog I was given the option of creating categories then. But at that time,

A) I was too new to blogging to feel comfortable with adding another step. I found tagging tough enough to comprehend.
B) I figured I was always going to be writing about day-to-day life on Roatan so why did I need categories to group stories in.

Well that was seven months ago. Now, 50 stories, 190 tags, and more than 50,000 page views later—by the way, thanks for stopping by! I appreciate the value of categories. It’s an easier way for you to navigate through the Roatan Vortex.

I read through each story I had posted, so I could group them in categories with a similar thread of content. When you click on Tropical Fruit: How to Eat a Kiwi, What an Orange Really Tastes Like, Pineapples Take too Long to Compost—I think I’ll Plant Them, and other stories that relate to tropical fruit will come forward for you to read.

As I created the names for each category, one in particular stuck out—Just Being. I adding some of the stories I had written to this category, but I realized that none of them clearly stated my opinion of what it means to Just Be.

So here it is—from a Roatan Vortex point of view—of course.

Soon after moving to Roatan a family emergency called me back to Ontario for a few weeks. I quickly made arrangements and boarded a flight the next day. My stop in Miami was uneventful, through immigration in a matter of moments—I was in transit to Canada, not sticking around in the USA for more than an hour. Then my next flight landed in Toronto, Canada.

I’m carrying my Canadian passport. I’m home! There should be no delay here.

I approached the Canadian Immigration Officer perched on a high stool, a stern scowl on his face. His uniform, perfectly pressed, with sharp creases in the midnight blue material exactly where they should be. I couldn’t see his black boots from my position on the other side of the steel grey counter. But I’m sure they were polished to a reflective shine, with the laces snugged too tight.

I smiled, handed him my passport, and croaked a nervous hello. I’m always convinced I look guilty of something when I meet an authority figure. I know that’s silly of me, I just can’t seem to help it.

He accepted the passport I offered with a firm hand, only his forearm moved. The rest of his body maintained the rigid pose, the scowl still on his face.

I waited, while he scanned the passport, and then flipped through the entries and exits stamped on the pages.

“Your address?” he asked.

“Excuse me?”

He shifted slightly, one eyebrow twitched. “You don’t know your address?”

Of course I do, I quickly rhymed off my Canadian mailing address. Technically I don’t think that counted for what he was looking for. But heck it’s all I’ve got in Canada.

“What do you do?”

I couldn’t proceed until I answered.

The scowl on his face transforming in to something even harsher, as it appears he now has one angry eyebrow where before there was a gap of unclenched skin between the two.

The line of fellow passengers standing behind me start to fidget, they are also anxious to be on their way. Great, now I’m really in trouble—I’m taking too long to answer this simple question.

“What do you do in Canada?” the Officer leaning forward, asking me again.

“Ahhh, nothing.” I replied. Definitely not the best answer I could have given but in my nervous state it was what came to mind.

Ever since I quit my job, sold my house, and moved to Roatan I’ve realized, who I am in my home country, is defined by what I do and where I live. When did that happen? When I was a child nobody asked what I did. I just was! Mind you they did ask, “What do you want to do when you grow up? Or the ever popular, what do you want to be?”

“Are you a student?” my Immigration Officer suggested. I obviously needed help with declaring what I do.
“No, I am not in school,” I replied.

“Are you independently wealthy?”

“Hardly,” I snort.

“Are you retired?”

Oh, I’ve been asked this one before. It seemed to be my best shot at getting permission to leave.

“Yes, I am retired.” I bobbed my head up and down.

“Isn’t retirement age around 65? Are you 65?”

“No!” I snorted again.

I guess the word retired has the same condemnation of the questions asked of me when I was a child. However, once retired the question changes to…What DID you do?

With a heavy sigh and an annoyed glance at his watch, the Canadian Immigration Officer abruptly shifted his position, swiping a red slash on my declaration form. “Proceed, welcome back to Canada…next!”

As I walk quickly through the maze of corridors that will get me out of the airport I consider what I want to say whenever I am asked—what do you do?

What I do is irrelevant. Just being is all that really matters!

I originally wrote and posted this story at my old Travel Blog site. It was titled, What do you do?

Although at that time I had just moved to Roatan and was living out of a suitcase this story is still relevant today.

Interview from Paradise

24 Sep

I’m working on a new posting re: some helpful (I hope) information on visiting Roatan from Canada. But in the meantime, I am very excited to share this link to an interview that Courtney Carver of BeMoreWithLess generously asked me to do.

Her site offers a wealth of information and ideas on living your life to the fullest with less.

Please click through to read Interview from Paradise

The Roatan Road

19 Sep

The Roatan Road

Question #3 for the Tiny Buddha Book of Wisdom asks, Why is there suffering in the world? My answer, (in 140 characters or less), Suffering is one of life’s lessons for the person experiencing it and for the person who can help ease it.

While it is an enjoyable challenge to impart my thoughts on all ten questions being asked by Tiny Buddha (for possible inclusion in a book being released next year.) I also see it as an opportunity to expand on my answers from a Roatan Vortex point-of-view.

Recently I watched the movie The Road—adapted from the novel of the same name, written by Cormac McCarthy. I had read the book on one of my return flights (after visiting family and friends) from Ontario, Canada to my home on the Caribbean Island of Roatan, Honduras.
I was intrigued when I read the book, even though, at times I struggled to follow Mr. McCarthy’s writing style. But, I remained detached from the situations father and son found themselves enduring in this tale of a post-apocalyptic world—it was too far removed from anything I could comprehend as plausible.

Then I watched the movie…

It is the story of a father and son in search of the basic necessities to sustain life; food, water, and shelter. There is no electricity, no resources for clothing, shoes, or transportation. What time it is, the day of the week, or even the month of the year doesn’t matter.

The relevance to Roatan?

There is certainly none in the scenery. Father and son wander through a bitter cold world of solid grey skies that the sun is unable to penetrate, a bleak landscape of dying and dead foliage, vehicles abandoned on over-passes, and burnt out skyscrapers. When they reach the shoreline they encounter a body of water reflecting the steel grey sky.

Roatan on the other hand offers a world of endless sunshine and warmth, with lush tropical foliage from the shore to the highest ridge. There are no over-passes or skyscrapers. And the Caribbean Sea surrounding this tropical paradise reflects every shade of blue imaginable. Something I had previously thought only possible in re-touched photos.

But yet for a father and son who live on Roatan, I can simply copy and paste this (previous) paragraph to describe their lives.

It is the story of a father and son in search of the basic necessities to sustain life; food, water, and shelter. There is no electricity, no resources for clothing, shoes, or transportation. What time it is, the day of the week, or even the month of the year doesn’t matter.

I met this father and his son last week at the library in French Harbour. It was a time of day when the library normally would have been closed, but I was there painting. The father knocked on the door, and asked if he and his son could come in. I explained that the library wasn’t officially open, but they were welcome. While I continued to paint, the man picked out some picture books for his son to look at—the father couldn’t read and the son was only 2 years old.

The father then shared their story with me.

He was looking for work and was open to doing anything, for any wage offered, so he could take care of his son. The son was well behaved while the father searched for a job, but needed some relief from the heat and tedium of following his father around. The air conditioned library with colourful children’s books lining a few shelves was the father’s treat to his son.

When they left the library, the father smiled and his son waved goodbye. I watched them walking away, hand-in-hand, and I wondered where would they go next? Has the father found a job? Do they have access to the necessities of life?

What I offered the father and son was minuscule. What they offered me was a huge reminder that suffering comes in many forms and magnitudes and by being aware of it—I can help ease it.


On the side bar section of this page, scroll down and you will find YOU CAN HELP with links to organizations on Roatan doing what they can to help ease suffering.

Frog Rescuer

4 Sep

I moved to Roatan, Honduras for a few reasons, one of them because the Roatan Vortex was pulling me here…of course. Another reason was to embrace a simpler lifestyle, surrounded by the beauty that only nature can supply. The challenge everyday is to live in harmony with the glorious wonders of Roatan, while doing the least amount of damage to the natural balance. That might sound corny, but let’s face it pretty much everything made or introduced by humans for the comfort of humans does far more damage than good.

My sister Laurie chose the same idea, different location. When we were kids, for a period of time, my knick-name for her was Duh. I once locked her in a suitcase…well, she agreed to get in it, not like I forced her to, and she believed me when I said I wouldn’t lock it, hence the name Duh! She got wise to my evil ways and I couldn’t call her that anymore, but thirty odd years later I’ve come up with a new knick-name for her—Frog Rescuer.

Laurie aka Frog Rescuer hasn’t visited me on Roatan yet. Some things about it appeal to her, but for the most part she is content hanging out in Canada with her husband Glen and their two cats. A few years back they decided to move to a new subdivision in Guelph, Ontario, the biggest attraction for them was to be next to Guelph Lake, with meandering paths nearby to stroll or go for a bike ride. They weren’t alone with this desire to live closer to nature while still having the advantages of being in the city. The building lots quickly sold and one by one new houses sprang up around them.

In a recent email she shared with me a crusade she had begun. It would seem that living closer to nature—while nice for the humans—it wasn’t working so well for the critters.

My sister’s home has window-wells around the basement windows, as do all her neighbour’s homes. One day she noticed some frogs trapped in one of the window-wells. Now, Guelph frogs are not like Roatan tree frogs. They can jump, but not high enough to get out on their own, so she climbed in and rescued them. Doing an inspection of the other window-wells surrounding her home, she found more frogs needing help, and a few that it was too late to rescue (they had dried up and perished.)

A daily routine of checking for frogs began. But what about her neighbours, did they know that frogs may need to be rescued from their window-wells too? Just in case they didn’t know she made a poster and taped it on the community mailboxes.

Please save me from your window wells…a lot of us are dying out here as we jump in and can’t get out!
You will be glad you take care of us, because we take care of your gardens by eating the bugs that eat your plants… so please cover your window wells with plastic covers….or check for us every day and free us from them.
Sincerely, your local frog population

And she didn’t stop there, next up was to talk to the building company to ask them to cover the window-wells on the show-homes. That request was met with blank stares and snickering.

So she contacted a local newspaper and told them what was going on. Guelph Tribune

I’m proud of my sister. She can’t save all the frogs from the invasion of people, but I’m sure the ones she does rescue on a daily basis from a grizzly death are grateful. Besides, it’s not gratitude from a frog that inspires her to do this. She moved to the area to be close to nature and all it has to offer her sense of being—shouldn’t she take ownership of helping protect it?

No matter where we choose to call home, shouldn’t we all?

Rescued any critters today? I’d love to hear about it.

What does it take to be happy?

28 Aug

As promised I am referencing a challenge that Tiny Buddha put out to answer ten questions (in 140 characters or less) that deal with some of the hardest questions in life. Today’s question, #2 What does it take to be happy? My answer, “To be happy you have to be content with who you are and what you are doing…right here…right now.”

Sounds simple enough, but even though I wrote that, following through is something else. And then I got involved with the Roatan Hospital Concert Committee…

The race was on to have everything ready for the Roatan Hospital Benefit Concert, August 26, 2010. Almost three months ago the call went out for volunteers to help organize and set-up for a fund-raiser for the only public hospital on Roatan.

At the first few meetings, the plan was laid out. The atmosphere enthusiast, yet calm…we have lots of time.
I went to the Roatan Hospital to take some pictures, give people a feel for how desperately they need community support. I had been there a few times before and had seen first-hand the conditions, so I wasn’t surprised by what I photographed…but I was still amazed at what the health care professionals had to work with to care for the people of Roatan. And I am always in awe of what they manage to achieve.

It wasn’t too busy on the day I walked around with my camera. There were a few people waiting to be seen on this day that I took the pictures. They lined the hallways, sitting with children on laps. A few people in the emergency area having their medical needs tended to.

I shot photos of paint peeled off walls, and chipped from baby cribs in paediatrics, mouldy ceilings, and stacks of supplies crammed in every available space. I didn’t want to intrude on people’s privacy so avoided taking pictures of them. But one new mom did graciously allow me to snap a picture of her new born son.

The Roatan Hospital Concert date that seemed so far away was suddenly only a week away. The notes I had scribbled down of things to do had turned into pages and the challenge was on to get it all done in time.

Before I go any further I want to note that I was only one of the many committee members and volunteers who were giving their all to bring this together. We were a team with a common goal.

Each morning I woke, my day’s plan in-hand, check emails, revise day’s schedule, make phone-calls, receive phone-calls, and head out. I drove into neighbourhoods that I didn’t know existed and had the pleasure of meeting people I had never met before. A whirlwind of activity that started at 7 AM each morning and didn’t end before 11 PM each night.

A few days before the big event I had to make a stop at the Roatan Hospital to pick something up for the concert and I was blown away by what I saw. The halls were jammed with people waiting patiently to be seen. In the emergency area I saw people being treated for every injury imaginable by dedicated health care professionals who did the best they could with less than adequate supplies. They were calm and companionate as they struggled to meet everyone’s needs. I would be told that this was a typical day at Roatan Hospital. What I had witnessed on the day I came to take the pictures was not.

That evening, I lay in bed, trying to convince tomorrows list of things to do to stop swirling around in my brain and let me go to sleep. And while my brain wouldn’t cooperate—it has a mind of its own don’t you know. I was worried I wouldn’t get everything done in time. I was frustrated by having to put off other things I wanted to do. I was heartbroken by what I had seen at the Roatan Hospital that day.

But, I realized something else…I was genuinely HAPPY. I was content, with who I was, and what I was doing, right then! If I was allowed more than 140 characters for the Tiny Buddha Wisdom Book challenge I would add, “Your world being in perfect order has nothing to do with being happy.”

Thank you everyone for your support, assistance, donations, sponsorship, and for attending the Roatan Hospital Concert! Let’s do it again next year!

Be sure to check out Roatan Hospital Concert for all the pictures of the event, and coming soon a detailed update of the difference the Roatan Hospital Concert has made for helping Roatan Hospital care for the people of Roatan. Roatan Hospital Concert HD Video

And one more note: Davey, I’m so proud of you! Your list was way longer than mine and what you pulled together was truly amazing!

How to Eat a Kiwi Fruit

17 Aug

You know when you need to take a break…escape for an hour or two and just do something for you. Perhaps you lounge in a warm bath, with scented candles and a glass of wine your only companion. Or if you are on Roatan (you sure as heck don’t want to take a warm bath) you lay in a hammock and get lost in your new favorite novel.

Me…well, I write a story. Not one that I have a message to share. Or even one that I tell you a detail of day-to-day life on a tropical Island in the Caribbean Sea.

Nope, this one is for me, for an hour or two it’s all about something frivolous and fun. It’s all about making myself smile and shake my head wondering why the heck did I take the time to take these pictures…and wait patiently for this perfect moment to post this story.

It makes me happy!

I enjoy eating kiwi fruit. When I still lived in Ontario, Canada I could pick some up anytime I wanted to from my local grocery store, they were imported all year round. On Roatan, even though I live in the tropics, Kiwi fruit doesn’t grow here. We can get the best bananas, pineapple, guava, mangoes and oranges, to name a few. But kiwi fruit is imported…and not to often. So when I find them at the grocery store on Roatan and they are not covered in fruit flies or too ripe to enjoy. I buy a few.

I used to take a serrated edge knife and as carefully as possible peel off the fuzzy brown skin and then slice the pulpy, delicate jewel green contents. It would always take me longer to peel than to eat, because I would go so slow…determined to not loose any to the peeling process.

Well I know a much better way to eat a kiwi fruit…and I thought perhaps (if you don’t already know this gem of an idea) I’d share with you.

I was at work one day (in my former life) when a co-worker and friend took out a kiwi fruit and a spoon.

I watched in fascination as she used the spoon (a grapefruit spoon works best) to take the top off the kiwi fruit.

She then went on to scoop out the luscious fruit. Popping each spoonful into her mouth.

Until all that remained was the hollow, scraped clean, brown fuzzy skin…I was in awe!

And that is how to eat a kiwi fruit!

The end.

The Meaning of Life

15 Aug

As an avid follower of Tiny Budhha I was thrilled to see a recent posting for something new. Not only will inspirational quotes and words of wisdom be shared from the Tiny Budhha website, on Twitter, and at their Facebook page—a book is in the works too! The coolest thing (in true Tiny Budhha form) is that we are invited to join-in, to contribute to the content.

I had submitted a story to Tiny Budhha a few months ago, and felt honoured when Lori contacted me, and posted When Your World Gets All Shook Up as a feature story on the Tiny Budhha website.

I get great satisfaction when I check the posting every now and then and read the comments from people who appreciate what I shared with them. Have I made an earthshaking (pardon the pun) change in their lives…of course not. But for a few moments I shared their journey through something that perhaps was earthshaking for them, just as reading stories from other contributors have done for me. Living with Purpose.

Ten questioned have been posed by Tiny Budhha. Each answer can be no longer than a tweet (140 characters.) I took up the challenge and will share my answer for each question one posting at a time…from a Roatan Vortex point-of-view of course.

1) What is the meaning of life?
The meaning of life is accepting that we may never know…it just is…and that’s okay.

I have pondered this question as far back as I can remember. Always wondering, what the heck am I here for, what’s it all about? And then I moved to Roatan. With that big-picture question lurking in my sub-conscious, I became preoccupied with the day-to-day questions about my new chosen home…Roatan.

Why do the grocery stores sell twenty brands of yellow mustard, but not offer; Dijon, honey, or other flavoured mustards?

Why do geckos poop on my bed after I’ve just put on fresh sheets?

Why are there speed-bumps on already bumpy roads?

Why do I have to stand in-line at the bank for 2 hours to do a transaction that should take 5 min?

Why are there so many chickens on our property and roosters crowing all hours of the night?

Why does the power go out so much?

The best advice I got soon after moving here was to stop asking why. There is no answer…it’s just the way it is. When I settled into that way of thinking it did wonders for my blood pressure and instead of asking why anymore, I try to appreciate the benefits of accepting…it’s just the way it is.

Now, don’t get me wrong I still do the happy dance when I find Dijon mustard at the grocery store, even found it at the hardware store once. And I definitely would prefer that roosters didn’t crow all night long.

But standing in-line at the bank for two hours introduced me to an amazing little girl Child’s Play.

And while the power doesn’t go out nearly as often as when I moved to Roatan three years ago, it too has benefits for being…just the way it is. When the Power Goes Out.

So, when it comes to the meaning of life? Heck, I don’t have a clue and I probably never will…it’s just the way it is.

What about you? I shared my profound (giggle) quote. But I’d love to know…What do you think the meaning of life is?

What do you do with leftover salad?

9 Aug

After dinner at a friend’s home here on Roatan, as the table was being cleared, I was asked, “What do you do with leftover salad?”

I glanced in the bowl, where wilted greens clung to the sides and bottom, sharing space with an assortment of soggy tomato chunks, tidbits of sweet peppers, and slivers of garlic, swimming in a puddle of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and spices that had escaped being grabbed by the salad tongs during the meal.

Now, it wasn’t a complicated question, but I did pause before answering, considering that some sort of a punch-line would follow. Or perhaps it was a trick question. Why would anyone ask that? I do the same thing with leftover salad that everyone does…I throw it in the garbage.

“Isn’t that what you do?” I asked.

“No, I flush it down the toilet.”

Another guest joined in and added, “I save it in the fridge and eat it the next day. I don’t mind soggy salad and won’t let food go to waste.”

An interesting debate ensued. Each of us defended our choice of what to do with leftover salad. Each of us referencing what our parents did with leftover salad. I was fascinated to realize that our decisions with how to proceed with even the simplest of tasks was determined more by the culture we were raised in and what we had been taught to do rather than something tweaking our senses to do it.

And defend our choices we did! There were certainly no angry words or fist fights of any sort, but we all felt compelled to stick-up for our ways. Our very identities were at risk. What belonged to each of us was being challenged.

I recently wrote a story commemorating the anniversary of the earthquake that “hit” Roatan. I put the word hit in quotations because a similar debate ensued when I used that word to describe the event. Someone who wasn’t on Roatan the day of the earthquake corrected my reference stating that from a scholastic point-of-view Roatan was not hit by an earthquake. Many of the people on the Island that earthshaking day joined in to verbally defend the description of the experience, as a hit. Through a simple grammatical correction, what we had gone through was being denied.

So what the heck does that have to do with leftover salad or life on a tropical Island in the Caribbean Sea? (I used to call it the Caribbean Ocean; that too was corrected by the same person. I grew up in Canada, we have oceans around us, not seas…it’s what I’m use to saying.)

I have come to call Roatan home. I brought my traditions, my cultural background (I’m a Heinz 57 so it would be impossible to pin down to anything specific) and my learned behaviours. Once here, I encountered ways of doing things and ways of living that are foreign to me. But what I do is foreign to them too.

Instead of rushing to defend my point-of-view, or feeling threatened by someone else’s. I think I’ll work on appreciating hearing and seeing different way of doing things, and be grateful that there are some things I might want to adopt to enhance my life, my daily existence.

Maybe, I’ll even become more…worldly.

As for the earthquake, it was an experience I hope to never repeat. But it did give those of us who were on Roatan when it hit a special connection to each other, a common thread, a bond.

So what do you do with leftover salad?

Cruising into the Sunrise

23 Jul

The first time I met him, he leapt over the still to be varnished bar, swiping his palms across his jeans, leaving traces of sawdust behind before extending his hand to shake mine. Little did I know, from that moment on, we would spend the rest of his life together.

“Rob Ross—Damn glad to meet you,” he said.

Shifting my resume from one hand to the other, I accepted his greeting. I was there to apply for a job at the soon to open Bar & Grill. He was the General Manger.

I wasn’t looking for a new life partner, recently (amicably) divorced, with two children at home, I was just looking for a job.

As we discussed my qualifications, I tried to stay focused on answering his questions, but was distracted by the sensation that we had met before, or perhaps we were supposed to meet now. It was as if a stage had been set—and the play had just begun.

Any attraction to him had nothing to do with his general appearance. His manner of dress understandable for physical labour; blue jeans and work boots, but was that really a baby blue, wide collared, polyester button-down shirt he wore? His thick, dark hair parted way over on one side, bangs flopping in front of his eyes. The style (rather, lack of) better suited for a mid-1970’s high-school yearbook picture.

I got the job. Our working relationship began, with under-tones of something more. Within a few months we were living together, a few years later; married, blending our separate families into one. I came into the relationship with a son and daughter, as did he. Once we added a dog and cat to the mix, we jokingly referred to ourselves as the Brady Bunch. All was good…yah, right!

Battles for territory, typical sibling rivalry, maintaining joint-custody with ex’s, household and money issues, differences of opinions all took their toll. I still hadn’t talked him into updating his hairstyle, but I did manage to throw out the baby-blue polyester shirt, and pretended to help him look for it the next time he wanted to wear it. We found ways to work through it all…we belonged together.

I gave up the Bar-biz first, to go back to school, Rob followed soon after to pursue the career he was meant for; Car Sales Management. He even got a decent haircut. The one and only thing that ever offended him was when it was implied that he must be less than reputable, because of his job. Whatever Dealership he worked for, the customers were treated with the utmost respect and were grateful for having dealt him.

Everyone who met Rob instantly liked him. He was full of energy unmatched by any. He knew every joke ever told and delivered the punch-line perfectly.

He convinced our kids to skip down the street instead of just walking. Co-conspired with them to play a game they called, “How long will it take Genny to put back the knick-knack we moved just before she got home?”

In later years he would teach our grandsons how to dance to the Bee Gee’s “Tragedy,” the theme from “Grease” and the hit zydeco song “Don’t Mess with My Toot-Toot.”

He carried a photograph of a sunrise in his pocket, taken from the balcony of a cruise-ship we had vacationing on. It was his happy place and whenever anything was getting him down, all he had to do was look at the picture, and everything was fine again. His love of life was infectious. He was the only one who could get away with teasing my sister, my mom, my grandma. For special occasions I always knew to plan on a few extra people at our dinner table. Rob would seek out those that would be alone and insist they come to our house.

Every day, at least once, quite often more, he would say to me, “Have I told you today?—I’m the luckiest man in the world!”

He treated me like a precious gift, to be protected, respected and adored. He started the coffee every morning, and made my lunch (for me to take to work) every day, usually including a silly little note for me to find at the bottom of the bag. He put up with my grumpy moods, and encouraged me to reach for the stars.

I had a weird obsession (I think I’m over it now) with moving every couple of years. He would come home from work and find me scanning the Real Estate Newsletters, knowing full well what that meant. Within a few months, we would be packing up and moving on to a different city in Ontario, Canada. I always chose the most run-down house to transform. At least, I thought that was what I was doing. The only time Rob every got mad at me was when I picked a real dump for us to call home, and he yelled at me, “When are you going to realize you are worth more than this?”

And then one day, I came home from work and told him about an Island called Roatan.

He listened patiently as I described it, where it was, how much it meant to me to go there. Without hesitation he said, “Great! Next year we’ll take a cruise that stops in Roatan.” I told him that wasn’t enough…I want to move there.

He gazed at me as if I was a two year old needing to be told why they shouldn’t draw pictures on the walls of their bedroom. Gently explaining that we had responsibilities in Canada, we had a beautiful home, jobs, and family; we couldn’t just pack up and leave.

I knew he was right, but I couldn’t stop thinking about Roatan. For the next few months I talked about it nonstop, I asked how long he thought we would have to wait to move to Roatan. The first time I suggested it, the number he answered back was 10-15 years. Knowing how much it meant to me he was now down to 5. He booked us to take a cruise there in February (this was early July.)

On July 23rd, 2006 the day after my 43rd birthday, nine days after his 46th birthday, Rob and I sat in our backyard, enjoying our morning coffee. I, of course, was talking about Roatan. He turned to me and said, “This means so much to you…I’ll find a way to get you there sooner.” I knew he meant it, I knew we would be moving to Roatan within a year or so.

I went back into the house for just a few moments, unknown to me, the play that had started fifteen years before, was about take a final curtain call.

When I returned to our backyard, my beloved Rob had suffered a massive heart attack…and was gone. He would not being coming to Roatan with me.

For the next year I gave not one thought to Roatan, or going there without him. But the time came when I lay in my bed, missing him desperately, and I swear, he whispered in my ear, “It’s time for you to move to Roatan.”


Forever cruising into the Sunrise!

Robert Alan Ross

1960 – 2006

Always Loved, Remembered & Missed


Soon after moving to Roatan, I married again, to Dave Barons. Dave and Rob had been good friends for many years. Dave misses his friend too.

Canada Day on Roatan!

2 Jul

Canada Day on Roatan!

I’ve always enjoyed celebrating Canada Day with my family and friends. Whether it was in our backyard, at one of the parks in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, or in Toronto, Ontario, at City Hall, the year my Great-uncle Mike was given an award for Canadian Citizen of the Year!
But this July 1st, I’m in Central America, Honduras, on the Island of Roatan. Guess there won’t be any Canada Day parties?


The place to be was Sundowners, West End, Roatan. The party got started just after noon, Canadians and Canadian wanna-be’s arrived from all areas of Roatan, to join in on the fun.

The sailboats, ready to go. The weather, gloriously warm and sunny. A perfect Roatan kinda day!

Strolling on the beach, at the bar, or in the water, the Caribbean Sea was the place to be!

Captain Morgan, fellow Canadian and DJ at Roatan Radio kept the Canadian music going and invited Canadians to come on up and say hi to family and friends back in Canada.

Dave, Lou, Tracy and I…all Canadians of course! Got out a deck of Canadian cards and played some EUCHRE! Tracy tried to explain the game to some Canadian wanna-be’s…but gave up. *****************************************************************************

I wasn’t able to celebrate Canada Day with family and friends in Canada. But lucky for me I have family and friends here on Roatan that I did celebrate with!

Sundowners, West End, Roatan is also where we watched Canada win Olympic Gold. You can read that story here Olympic Hockey Night in Canada, on Roatan!

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