Friday, April 11, 2014

This is how our family lives

Last week the breaking news in the States was about a sailor family who was crossing the Pacific Ocean, the biggest Ocean in the world. They were already 900 miles off Mexico. What was the big deal? It seems all smooth sailing in the waves and wind if no one gets sick. The youngest crew onboard, a one year old baby girl, got ill from complication after a Salmonella infection contracted prior to departure and, at the same time, the vessel lost its capacity to steer and had no electric power onboard. As last resource the family decided to press the distress bottom of their EPIRB (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon) system to seek help from the United States Coast Guard.
I’m not sure if in Macau, Portugal or Thailand this news was reported, we are not up to date about the news going on TV in our countries! However, this emergency and safety issue should be what our family and friends are concerned about, as well as us. They were an American family from San Diego, the man was a US Coast Guard captain holder and the wife was a former teacher, they were travelling with their babies, 3 and 1 year old girls. In the States they were criticized for bringing such small babies in this trip. Some say they were selfish, some said they were irresponsible, one even suggested that they should invest their money on a big screen TV for the kids to watch cartoons at home! After a while the discussion was already about who would pay for the rescue bill! Was it being paid by the US tax payers?

For me as mother of a one year old baby girl, I’m happy that their little one recovered and got better. Most of the comments didn’t even ask about the child health. I just hope it won’t happen the same to us! Accusing us, sailors who live with young kids aboard, without even knowing us or know how healthy our lifestyle is. The lack of Government or private support to our trip can’t even be compared with what happen to the Kaufmans, but the reason behind it seems to be the same. Before we left Macau we heard some rumors that the Macau Government didn’t recognize or support us because we bring our baby! We don’t know if it’s true, but if it is, at least they should invite us to explain. Or, should we leave our baby behind?! Even our “Sail Around The World” trip tries to carry the Macau flag and promote the first encounter of the East with the West (between Portugal and China) no organization officially supported us. One of the Macau private companies even asked if we changed our mind after a while and then they offered to sponsor but the money offered was just shy of the money we spend on a good bottle of wine! We, unfortunately, don’t have friends in important positions, if we do, probably the Government and the private will see how important it is!

Only one of all my colleagues told me that it will be great for our baby to have the opportunity to see the world and if he has one he will do the same thing! The problem is we are just a minority and we don’t do the “normal” things. What society think is normal? Working your ass out the whole day? Many people say they need security in life, a stable job, big money in the account, good car or big house. However, I believe that deep inside they are not happy. People are never happy with what they have! And we have to admit that we are afraid of changing because if they have their comfort zone why they have to change? Even they are not happy.

When you say something that is not real many times, it becomes, somehow, real because no one’s knows if it’s real or not. Sailing is just one lifestyle and is not dangerous like many people think. It’s like driving, accidents can happen any time, the gasoline can run out in the middle of the traffic, you may need to change a tire, or over heat the engine. If you think living in the city is safe, in Thailand is recurrent to see news about kidnapping or missing kids, in US kids bring fire arms to school, in Macau youngsters do not respect the elderly because they grew up with the word “ME” or in Portugal and many other countries where the kids become more materialistic. Sailing is much safer compared with this.

Raising a baby is not easy. Travelling and raising a baby is even more difficult. First thing, no more travelling light! Of course for sailors, our babies are the first priority and a constant concern. We didn’t decide to do our trip over night, everything we plan since we knew that we have to save money to buy a boat! We know that some of our friends and family members don’t agree with it. We know that our baby will be too young to remember this trip. However, was our decision to raise our baby by our own, instead giving it to the grandparents, baby sitters, or to just leave her at a nursery which we don’t even know how qualified are the young teachers. We decided to take in hands the most important stage of the life of our baby, to help her build her personality. And we believe it will be a great family time.  
I don’t regret that I decide to quit my job and spend 24 hours, 7 days a week, with my family. I used to work from morning to late night, arrived home just to feed my new born baby the midnight milk. And lost her first tooth because was our domestic helper who told me about it! Now we caught Maria Dee’s first steps, first words, first adult food, first swimming in the sea, first body gesture and the 12th teeth and another 2 coming out. Also the first tantrum, then first baby fight and many other firsts!
If you ask us what is our plan? We don’t know yet. Maybe after we finish the “Sail Around The World Trip” to celebrate the sea route to Asia, we may go back to have what people call a “normal” life in Macau, keep sailing or stop to live in someplace we may feel we belong to… We never know but like Mr. Kaufman was quoted saying to the media “Please know that this is how our family has lived (…)”.
Self learning
Moo Baa La La La  
Quality time with papa in the beach
Maria Dee with Noel
Learning to make noodles
Shower on deck
Dinghy first experience
Reading with mama
Learning to go up the stairs
playing with Noel
Sailing with papa
Helping mama to arrange the shoes cabinet


NaE, Maria, João and Noel,
This is something! 100% with you guys! This is the true about the way to feel the live... thanks for you to share with us. The decision you two are make are a big lesson for all of us! I believe in that way of live to give us more... us!

Nice trip, enjoy, and have a good winds for all of you in that sailing boat around the globe. I know that in this life the important thing is life... freedom, happiness, family!
Antonio Veladas

Post a Comment