Vacation a time to slow down, appreciate

Walking on a beach with sand between your toes tends to slow down one’s gait.

Slow enough to notice the arctic terns meticulously soaring over their Caribbean blue dinner plate and dive bomb for a bite of fresh sushi.

Slow enough to let the incoming tide wash away the present challenges of life.

Slow enough to have time to experience that the 3.6 percent salinity in this body of water makes it more dense, therefore allowing me to float for hours with nary a raft, pool noodle or neon orange water wings.

Slow enough to notice the 3-year-old boy, who spoke Japanese, carry his blue balloon to dinner and breakfast every morning — in his Superman jammies.

One of my favorite things to do on vacation is to people watch.

The 80-year-old couple speaking German — the husband carefully helped his wife wobble unsteadily over the 5-foot rocky area of the beach after which she glided into the blue water, swimming with ease.

The Canadian couple with their young daughter — the mom sat down in the sky blue lounge chair next to mine to apply sunscreen to her young daughter and exasperatedly shared: “My husband is such a jerk, he’s so uptight. He doesn’t want me to apply SPF 40 sunscreen because he thinks children need sunshine — what do you think I should use?”

Watching and listening to my youngest daughter have an intense, eye-to-eye 15-minute conversation in Spanish with a 40-year-old Hispanic gentleman who inquired how she learned to be so fluent in Spanish when both her parents spoke “no Español.”

He was having difficulty learning English and asked her for tips on how she learned (in case you’re curious she told him it helped her to watch movies with Spanish subtitles, read Spanish books and practice speaking it as much as possible.)

Sometimes it’s interesting to experience the dichotomies of life — the Muslim woman with head covering and fully covered beach attire walking past the topless European sunbather.

As is my usual vacation tradition, I read a few books. “If You Find This Letter.” I borrowed the book from daughter Aly after she finished 20-something Hannah Brencher’s just-released memoir about “My Journey to Find Purpose Through Hundreds of Letters to Strangers.” Her book made me look at people differently.

It reminded me that slowing down to fall in love with humankind is a seaside lounge chair in itself.

On the Web

You can now view the student documentary films from the Whiteland students here: