Barbados | My Family Travels
West Indies
Island and the harbor.

Ah, Summer. The August air was moist and school was approaching ever so rapidly. My main goal was trying to embrace the last month of freedom.

Camp had just ended, and I had acquired many new friends and heart-warming memories that would forever leave their handprints on my heart. I wasn’t aware that I was about to make many more in just a few short days. I was going on a tropical vacation, but it was hardly what I had in mind.

Let’s just say I didn’t think I’d be living with a goat for a few days. A few weeks earlier, my mother received a phone call from her step-mother who lives in Barbados. She informed us that she was very sick.

My mother decided to visit her before her condition worsened. Mom asked me if my sister, Zoe, and I wished to accompany her. I thought, ‘Hey it’s Barbados, what could be bad? I’ll just lie on the beach all day and work on my tan.’ So, before we knew it, we were packing our bags for a tropical paradise — or so I thought.

Upon arrival, the air was balmy and the scent of sea water was pungent. As we entered the customs area we were hit with an unfortunate surprise; the line was out the door and moving no faster than the way my grandpa drives, which is another excruciating story all by itself. But I won’t get into that now. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced waiting in line at customs, but let me tell you, it’s an awful, miserable experience and I wish that none of you ever have to go through it.

My mom, sister, and I must have been waiting there for at least an hour in the hot, sweaty, cramped room, but it felt like a day. Finally, it was our turn to get our luggage. But, not-so-lucky for us, everyone’s bags were strewn about in no particular order.

Searching through the sea of luggage also felt like forever. After we had found our luggage, we dragged them, and ourselves, outside in the dreadful heat to wait for one of my mom’s unknown distant relatives to pick us up. After waiting for, what seemed like, an eternity, my mom said she saw someone that looked somewhat familiar.

This woman took us back to the house where we were staying. I was expecting to see beautiful landscape, including palm trees, sandy beaches, and lots of tourists enjoying those drinks with the little umbrellas in them. Boy, I don’t think I could have been more wrong! We were staying in my mom’s step-aunt’s house, in pretty much the slums of Barbados.


To make matters, well, interesting, as we were walking up to the house, we were startled by a very strange sound. We turned around and saw there was a goat across the street from us. Just a goat, in the middle of the neighbor’s front yard. So much for my tropical vacation. I was miserable that whole night. Needless to say, Zoe and I were very reluctant to sleeping in our own rooms, so she, my mom, and I all stayed in one room.

We crammed ourselves into one twin-size bed, twisting and turning to find the most comfortable positions. And to make matters worse, the house was missing the one necessity which was vital for my survival- air conditioning! The whole night I was uncomfortable, sweaty, and cramped, and the most we had was a little desk fan. Unfortunately, we made the mistake of leaving the window open during the night, thinking we could get somewhat of a breeze.

We awoke the next morning to mosquito bites the size of golf balls! That whole day was spent in agony, trying to resist the temptation to scratch the evil red bumps, which were all over my body. That day, we decided to go to the beach. I wanted to experience somewhat of an actual vacation here, so this was good news for me.

I got ready in a flash; equipped with my favorite bathing suit, flip flops, and what ever else we could possibly need at the beach. Apparently I didn’t use enough sun block because by the end of the day I was as red as a lobster. This made the heat even more unbearable. We reluctantly retreated back to the house. All Zoe and I wanted to do was find a hotel. We couldn’t stand staying in that house anymore and there was ultimately nothing to do. On top of it all, I was extremely homesick. Since camp had ended less than two weeks before, the thing I wanted to do most was go home and see all my friends, and, most of all, sleep in my own bed.

After barely surviving another day of misery, one of mom’s other very distant cousins said he would get us a room at the resort he worked at. All three of us were ecstatic. We got to the resort at night. It was such a ‘breath of fresh air,’ especially since there were two beds, a TV, a pool, an entrance to the beach, and air conditioning.

Zoe and I wasted no time. As soon as we got there, we threw on our bathing suits and ran down to the pool, which, by the way, was heated.The next three days were like this. Finally, I thought, here’s my tropical vacation. This is the way Barbados is SUPPOSED to be experienced. I got a perfect golden tan, met some kids my age, and drank one of those umbrella drinks. I realize it’s somewhat spoiled of me to want to have all these necessities and not be able to adapt to a different culture, but hey, can you blame me? You try living in those conditions and see how long you last!

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One Reply to “Barbados”

  • wow. sounds like you really learned a lot about the way the locals live. maybe you’ll go back one day and appreciate what your relatives make of what they have, and find a way to contribute to making it better.

    thanks for sharing your story, really interesting.

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