For most of us, 2021 was just the extension of 2020 all over again. Lockdowns, more mandates, vaccines and the like. I (Vanessa) had to spend a total of three months back in the United States in 2021. Two separate trips each for a month and a half. There were some family tragedies, my uncle passed away from brain cancer. It was very sudden, within 10 days of diagnosis. He barely had time to get into hospice care. My sister moved from California to Arizona to be closer to our brother and have a better quality of life with her kids. The first trip was for Kaden and I to say goodbye to my uncle. Kaden was given the choice to come with me and he told me there were things he wanted to say to his great uncle in person. I had spoken to my uncle on a Wednesday and he seemed fine, I talked to my sister on Thursday and she told me to book my ticket home if I planned on seeing him before he died. By the time I arrived the next day (Friday), he was bed ridden and unable to speak. He passed away a few days later. We stayed and spent time with family, had my uncle’s memorial service and visited a couple of friends, but the trip was primarily to see family.
After we came back from our first trip, Bronson made plans to go back to the USA and take Kaden to visit friends and family properly. Not a spur of the moment, “Hi, I know we just showed up on your doorstep, but are you free to hang out with us?” like our whirlwind trip turned out to be. We spent a month together before Bronson and Kaden were on their way back to the USA for a 6 week trip. When they got back to Nicaragua, my sister told me she was moving from California to Arizona and needed help getting the kids settled and into school while she went straight to work. Bronson, Kaden and I spent another month together and I was back off to the USA. Kaden didn’t want to go back with me this time. He was tired of the trip and the airports and feeling rushed from place to place. I spent another 6 weeks in the US and returned to Nicaragua before Thanksgiving. In total, in 2021 we spent 4 and a half months of the year separated in different countries. Needless to say, we got a lot less exploring done than usual.
This is real life, and in real life, real shit happens. I’m glad we got the opportunity to say good bye to my uncle. I’m glad we were able to spend time with our friends and family. I’m glad I got to spend time with my brother, sister and sister in law and all my nieces and nephews. I’m glad that with all the international traveling sitting in airports and staying in hotels, taking public transport, and visiting with all the people we did get to see, that we didn’t end up with Covid. Or maybe we did and just didn’t know it? Who knows. The point is, our life isn’t that much different that anyone else’s. We still have stress, we still have to deal with banks, and finance and play mediator to family members who aren’t getting along. Just because we have visited some beautiful places, doesn’t mean we aren’t experiencing the loss, the tragedy, the sadness, anxiety and stress. We definitely do. Did these things take me away from my own family? Yes. Would I do it again? Yes, in a heartbeat. Does Kaden miss his friends? Yes and no. He’s glad he doesn’t have to deal with the bullshit of middle and high school drama and trying to “fit in.” Do I regret being away from my given family? No. I have no regrets. I chose my path.