Opinion: Wisdom Workout

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The Easy Magic of Laguna Living

“Grandma, we are coming to visit you! When we get there can we ride on the trolley?” Aroha who is nine is the expert on negotiating the plan for herself and her brother Tiaki. Aroha is nine and Tiaki is six.

These two have been to more countries than I have in my lifetime. My daughter Sara moved to New Zealand and worked for the New Zealand Stock Exchange right after finishing college at Columbia University. She secured a permanent visa and fell in love with all that New Zealand has to offer.

Sara is my globe trotter and her interests took her from building a corporate career to working in rescue efforts through relief organizations that took her to Indonesia, Pakistan, and the Philippines. She met her partner, Stephan, who was heading up a rescue effort in Pakistan. Together they decided to make New Zealand their home base. Stephan is a native of Berlin, Germany, and since moving from country to country seems to be second nature to each of them, both their children were born in their new hometown of Otaki, which is on the coast of Wellington, New Zealand.

I have been anticipating getting my arms around them for months since I learned they were coming. They traveled from New Zealand with a three-day stopover here at the beginning of August to catch their breath before they returned to the airport to finish the rest of their journey to Berlin to see Stephan’s parents and relatives.

Columnist Susan Velasquez with two of her grandchildren, Aroha, 9, and Tiaki, 6, who live in New Zealand. Photo courtesy of Susan Velasquez

They arrived here last Tuesday and they left Sunday to return to their home. It was a whirlwind visit filled with as much fullness and richness as we could create. Still the days sped by with no consideration for my feelings that it is never enough.

“Grandma?” “Yes?” “Can we go to Bluebird Park?” Good idea! “Grandma?” “Yes?” “Can Tiaki and I sleep with you?” Good idea! “Grandma?” “Yes?” When our time together is so limited, I become the closest to being the nicest and accommodating grandma who has ever graced this planet.

I love it. I am committed and involved and there are no bad ideas. I am an automatic yes machine and they are most appreciative so it is a mutually beneficial relationship triad and I am 100% in for the win. Of course, I am exhausted now that they have gone and crying just before they left did nothing to recoup any energy but there is always a price to pay so I have no regrets.

On Friday, we headed out to Mountain Street to catch the trolley, headed to The Cliff shops to find the perfect pierced earrings for Aroha and a shark tooth necklace for Tiaki. We explored all the shops, found the best choices and moved on to the playground at Main Beach. Aroha wanted to see it for “old times sake” and Tiaki gleefully chased pigeons. Next came Peppertree Lane and the Gelato Shop. We decided that the best choice was a cup because three scoops of gelato would definitely fit better if we gave up the cone. We also decided to visit the library because Aroha remembered the fairy garden in front and wanted to share it with Tiaki. We returned to Coast Highway and caught the trolley home, delighted with our adventure that was so special in its simplicity.

Susan has lived in Laguna since 1986. She is the author of Beyond Intellect: Journey into the Wisdom of Your Intuitive Mind. Find her at susanvelasquez.com.

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