Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Moment We Became Adults

Happy Easter! Easter, to me, is synonymous with family. My family has had a difficult year. We lost my Dad's Father, my "Gido," to cancer in October. Easter has always been a big family celebration in my Dad's family, and this will be my Baba's first Easter without my Gido. I'm sure it will be a difficult day for her. Almost a month ago, we lost my Mom's brother, my Uncle Neil, to cancer. Uncle Neil was far too young and vibrant to leave this Earth. My heart is just so heavy for everyone who is hurting, including my Mom, my Grandma, my Aunts and Uncles, and especially his immediate family: my 4 young Cousins and my beautiful Aunty Colleen who lost an incredible Father and Husband. I know that I can't take their pain away but I wish that I could teleport myself back to Canada so that I could be there to support my family. I've said it before, the biggest sacrifice I've made moving to a tropical island is being present for the ones I love when they need me the most. I love my family so much and I just hope that they know that despite being so far away, I think about them all the time.

Easter, on the island, however, is apparently synonymous with camping. I discovered this a few weeks ago when I was listening to the car radio. You heard me correctly: CAR RADIO. After 2 years of burning CD's (like it's 1999) for the Japanese radio that refused to tune into a station above 75 FM, and constantly indicated via GPS that I was floating in the ocean around Japan, I got a functional car radio installed! WhooHOOOO! Grand Cayman, to my surprise, has 5 FM stations that I choose to listen to which include the hits, rock, Caribbean soca, and some old school 90's music. Not bad for a an island with 60,000 people! As I was driving to the east end of the island one day, a commercial came on for our local grocery store: "It's almost Easter and you know what that means!" (eggs? Bunny? Jesus?) "....Camping!" (Camping?) Yes, the Easter weekend is the "May Long" of Cayman, where the locals pitch their tents on the beach and grill, party, and celebrate the Easter long weekend
for 4 entire days.

My Japanese GPS: It took 2 1/2 years but I made it to Japan!


Cayman Campground

Seeing the plethora of tents, BBQ's, and cases of beer, I immediately had flashbacks to the May long weekend in Canada. The May long weekend (typically the third weekend in May) is the biggest party weekend of the year because it is the official start to summer! (I believe it's also the Queen's birthday - Thank you Queen Victoria!) After hibernating for months through the frigid winter, everyone packs up their tents, trailers, and cabin supplies and heads out to the lake to enjoy a weekend of campfires, wiener roasts, and PARTY. In Saskatchewan, it's very seldom that the lake has actually completely thawed for the May long weekend, so we often gaze out at the frozen lake, anticipating all the fun water activities to come.

As a teenager, the May Long was THE MOST IMPORTANT PARTY WEEKEND EVER. Now I am NOT admitting to anything, but many teens prepared for May long in April, arranging a "pull" (someone who was at least 19 years old who could legally purchase booze). One year, some people I know managed to line up someone's brother's cousin's friend who took their $800, promising to return with the booze that was neatly listed on a piece of paper (Rockaberry Coolers and Strawberry Angel!) The pull ran with the cash and left 10 very sad (and broke) teenagers sobbing like babies. Sober babies. If anyone did actually make it to the lake with the pulled alcohol, the weekend was spent running through the campgrounds of Candle Lake,  dodging Conservation Officers and RCMP. You were a true survivor if you made it through the May Long without a ticket (known as a "one eighty" - $180 fine) for underage drinking or open alcohol. Looking back, the May Long was not actually a good time. My friends and I often spent the weekend, cold, dirty, shoeless (why the hell were we shoeless?) and miserable, wandering the campgrounds with a severe case of FOMO, searching for the best May Long party, racked with the fear of returning to school on Tuesday, only to realize that THE PARTY OF THE YEAR was missed or shut down by a responsible adults. Responsible adults were always ruining the May Long fun. To solidify the agony of the May Long, Mother Nature occasionally threw a wrench in our camping plans by delivering a heavy snowfall during our initiation to summer weekend.

A Canadian Classic: You will wake up with a headache. Guaranteed. 

Don't grow up, Kirstie! It's a trap!
At age 17, when Evan and I became a couple, I introduced him to epic May Long, and, together, we shared in the misery excitement. As we matured, the May Long morphed into a "Rick's Lounge" weekend, where we (Gasp!) partied legally at the local lounge. Despite our mature approach to partying, somehow the night always resulted in wandering, cold, miserable, and shoeless (Why? Why?) through the bushes, searching for an "afterparty."

When we turned 25 years old, we purchased our first house - a lakefront cabin at Candle Lake (when I say "WE purchased," I mean "Evan purchased"), and Evan and I had our own place to party on the May Long. Unfortunately, our first May Long in our new home took a terrible turn and nosedived us into the depths of despair known as adulthood.

It was 2am on the Saturday night of May Long 2005, and Ev and I had settled into bed after a night of campfire wobbly pops with our buddies. Suddenly, we were awakened by the flashing lights of a police car projected on our ceiling. We could hear shouting, the sounds of breaking glass, and the rustle of bushes in our yard. Ev quickly jumped out of bed, grabbed his golf club and headed outside to survey the situation (or beat someone with his golf club...the jury is still out). I watched in horror from my window as half a dozen frantic teenagers abandoned their bottles of beer in MY yard, and hid from the police under MY deck (technically, all of these things belonged to Evan, but you get the point). Donning only his bright blue Bart Simpson boxers, and shoes! (He was wearing shoes?) Ev waved his golf club at the drunk teens and bellowed, "HEY! GET OUT OF MY YARD!" I shuddered from my window. My boyfriend, the super cool Evan Lindsay, had a "Dad" voice. Terrified, the teens abandoned our yard and fled the scene. Terrified, I climbed back into bed and snuggled under my covers. At that moment it occurred to me: We are no longer the careless teens running from the law. We are the adults ruining May Long fun. We are the fun inhibitors. That moment marked our graduation from our carefree childhood days into the realm of responsibility and adulthood. That is the moment when Evan and I officially became (shudder)...adults.

Happy Easter Everyone!
To my family: I miss you and love you so much. I will see you soon.

2 comments:

  1. I love this walk down memory lane Kirstie. I remember spending one of my may longs at your mom's trailer. I don't remember being shoe less. Ha!

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    1. Christy! We May longed in style, didn't we? haha. You were one of the few guests who left with shoes :)

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