First, let’s just get this over, BORA BORA is the BEST ISLAND! No, really, it is the most beautiful place. The sand is so white and the color of the water…Crayola does not even have a color in their coloring box the color of the water. It was truly a dream vacation and exceeded our expectations. The Bora Bora Pearl Beach Hotel and Spa was incredible as was everyone that worked there. Heck everyone we had the opportunity to meet were amazing. Beautiful island, beautiful people. We even met some great people, new friends from Indiana (Hi Carlos and Maureen).
So what could we have learned, besides that French Polynesia and specifically Bora Bora is an incredible place? Lots!!!
The weeks leading up to the trip, I began to get nervous. Not nervous about how Bora Bora would be but how would the traveling with a wheelchair be? How would the Little He do with such a long trip and being on a place that is really known for honeymooners? Would the Little He enjoy himself? Would the Big He have problems getting around? Would we actually get a chance to just relax and forget about Alpha Lima Sierra? Would we want to kill each other at the end of the trip with so much “family” time?
Traveling in a wheelchair was not as big of deal as we thought. While the Big He hated being in it, there were some positives. Southwest airlines was amazing. We started in Austin, had a layover in Phoenix and ended up at LAX before transferring to International terminal. Every leg of the way going and coming home was met with wonderful people. Air Tahiti too was great, providing us with anything we needed. Bora Bora was not the best equipped at being handicap friendly like here in the states, but where they lacked accessible sidewalks they fully made up for it with their willingness to help get the Big He in and out of the boat taxi’s, the tour groups accommodating the wheelchair when they clearly were not expecting it. Not as scary as I imagined and I am incredibly proud of the Little He for stepping up and making his dad and I so proud. He truly enjoyed his time on Bora Bora.
The Little He took full of advantage of everything Bora Bora had to offer. The snorkeling and lagoon activities kept him busy for hours. He was adventurous with his eating trying all kinds of fish and even duck. He was not a fan of the duck, but he tried it. He has always been a good eater. The Big He likes to say, “if it can’t defend itself, the boy will eat it”. Pretty accurate statement. The boy even did a Polynesian dance. Let’s just say he takes after his Dad and has ZERO rhythm. We were proud none the less. The Little He was wonderful and while we hate that this disease is causing him to grow up faster then we would like, we see hints of the man he is becoming and we are amazed, incredibly proud and just so blessed.
The Big He didn’t have the problems I had imagined. For starters, he was walking by the time the trip rolled around. We had no idea how the progression of this disease would be and if he would be in the chair because he had to or would it be because it just made it easier on him. We didn’t know if he would still be talking or even breathing on his own. Well he still is talking, in fact, if you know the Big He, there was quite a bit of yelling and bitching when his patience was tested. Which it was. Mostly with us I think. He did get tired easily but we knew that was going to happen. When he did get tired, he would kick back and enjoy the Bora Bora scenery and take little naps. He was able to enjoy snorkeling with me and the Little He, we did several excursions around Bora Bora and he fully enjoyed taking pictures. He got a new camera several years ago and really enjoys photography.
While Alpha Lima Sierra is now part of every moment of our life, we did have time to relax in Bora Bora. We enjoyed the Bora Bora sun on our faces, the coolness of the water and how the sand felt on our feet. We laughed lots. In fact, while not funny immediately, we did laugh at the Big He and I getting stuck in the very tiny elevator at the hotel. I kept telling the Big He he was just not talking nicely to it. Well, he wasn’t.
So what did we learn in Bora Bora? We learned as a family, we can do anything. Even travel around the world and survive. We learned that we must take advantage of any and all opportunities provided to us. To make memories. Lot’s and lot’s of memories. To trust our instincts as they will guide us correctly when our heads are not in the right place. That sharing this journey with others is something we need to do, we have to do. Awareness about this disease is a must if we are to shed light on it so we can raise money and find a cure and that we are stronger then we think we are. Every day we fight Alpha Lima Sierra, or every dream we chase we are conquering this damn disease.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. -Nelson Mandela
All my love,
Now, for all our friends who didn’t pick up on this, let’s have some fun. Reread this post with a cocktail and drink every time you read, “Bora Bora”. You are welcome!