This Guest Post comes from Anika Emmanuel, who transports us to the midst of a family celebration on the glorious island of Barbados.
This trip was two years in the making for a very special occasion, my Grandma’s 90th birthday. It was inspired by my great Aunt Stella who celebrated her 100th birthday in Toronto, Canada. So the emails began, back and forth trying to decide on the destination and accommodation. The decision was made: Stanford House Polo Ridge, St James, Barbados.
You may ask why Barbados (aka Bim or Bimshire). The answer is because my Grandma spent her three-month honeymoon there some 65 years ago and her paternal grandparents were from Barbados. It was a place she visited and spent time in her younger years and as an adult. She still has a few friends who are alive that reside in Barbados. So it was a fitting choice, made all the more special by the four generations present.
The location was fit for a queen, with a butler, chef, housekeeper, laundress and gardener; luxury at its best and THE PERFECT place for the celebration! Her four daughters (aka candles) would have it no other way, on this special occasion she would celebrate like royalty – and she certainly did!
As we counted down the months, there was tremendous excitement and anticipation for this trip. There was family who hadn’t seen each other in over 30 years, since their childhood growing up in Guyana. Lots has changed since then, all have adult children, even some grandchildren. Uncle Peter introduced himself to Aunty Mags (having not seen her in 40 years) as a complete stranger, not recognizing her at all. I guess she looked slightly different from how he remembered her growing up in Guyana all those years ago. Family and friends came from near and far for this celebration: Trinidad, United Kingdom, St. Lucia, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Canada and United States of America.
The Big Day arrived and preparations were in full swing; from getting spa treatments to decorating and putting the finishing touches on the photo presentation which captured the life of Jessie Angoy. In between all of this, we listened to old tunes from Kitchener (famous Trinidadian Calypsonian) to the smooth vocals of Ella Fitzgerald that brought back fond memories for my Grandma, her children, nieces and nephews.
The most magical times came when we were simply “in the moment”; sitting on the terrace either taking in the peacefulness of the early morning or the awe of the magnificent sunsets. One such sunset provided our welcome to Stanford House and Barbados on our first night and is impossible to forget. We won’t forget either rolling around with laughter until our stomachs hurt as my Grandma, uncles and aunts told many a funny tale.
We also had time to enjoy the island, particularly the beaches. If you know anything about Barbados’ beaches, they are just like the dreamy postcard images. We also did a couple of tours, like the Mount Gay Rum Bottling Plant, which I would highly recommend. We ventured out to the east coast for lunch at Atlantis Hotel in Basheba, a place that was there from my Grandma’s earlier days, although it’s been renovated since then!
Now it’s all said and done and we’ve all gone our separate ways. However, the memories will last forever! We are onto planning the next starry-eyed vacation and none of us can wait. This one will be in three years’ time, in Guyana, where so many members of the family grew up.
Anika currently resides and works in St Lucia at The Holistic Therapy School of St Lucia, which is a spa training school and day spa: www.thtssl.com . She enjoys writing on a personal level and has a keen interest in travel writing.