It is officially the first week of Spring. As I looked out of our window at the light dusting of snow on the ground early Saturday morning, I briefly wondered if I woke up in the middle of February. I don't think Spring has arrived just yet.
Especially compared to last week when it felt like summer to us, as the sun, sand and surf greeted us every morning during our winter family holiday in St. Lucia. Visits to natural spring waterfalls, mud baths in volcanos and just hanging out on the beach. What a blissful time.
As our children become seasoned travellers, it has been interesting to see other countries through their eyes. This year, we tried an "experiment" to see how long we could go without iPads and gaming devices. Seeing first hand, what resources different countries have to thrive. I didn't want them to not miss anything with their noses buried reading about it on the internet. These are the experiences I want them to have when they travel on their own someday.
During an excursion, we discovered that our personal island guide was a savvy businessman who truly understood what visitors to St. Lucia were seeking, creating a really unique local experience to truly discover the land he loved so much. His personal tour company was starting to expand, as he was in the process of building a bed & breakfast type cottage next to his home, where he hoped that those who enjoyed his excursions would one day return for a more personal experience at his own "resort". His wife cooked a traditional Caribbean lunch for us while his little boy entertained us with their pets and local animals. We could see how he was shaping his own family to be a part of his expanding enterprise, creating a springboard for his children's future.
After our excursion, we had a renewed understanding of opportunities we have as North Americans. At home, we have readily available access to free Wi-Fi to keep connected, or digital devices to pay for things in advance (instead of cash). I wonder if all of this has made things too easy for us...taking things for granted and stripping us of our thirst for knowledge, our hunger to succeed, our inner drive to move forward.
When we returned to our nicely groomed beach, lounging with the perfect shade under the palm trees at our resort, the kids didn't even think twice about any digital devices...for the rest of the week. They spent their time connecting with new friends, analyzing the fallen coconuts off the palm trees, and exploring the creatures of the sea. And while they tried to hatch up an interesting enterprise of their own (bottling up the lava mud for facials back at home...sorry kids, customs!), what they really saw, was the promise of opportunity...and how blessed they really are.
We were able to go almost a whole week without the kids playing on their devices (they made up for lost time on 6 hour flight home though!). Although the warm weather is now behind us, I think the kids have a renewed spark of interest in discovering the world in front of them, relishing the possibilities of building initiatives in the real world, not a digital one on their devices.
As I listen to them re-tell their discoveries about lava, coconuts and earning enough money so they can return to St. Lucia again soon, I realized...maybe we did spring forward after all.
Roasted Garlic Spring Green Beans with Parmesan
Makes approximately 6 servings.
- 4 cups, whole green beans, end stems removed
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 garlic head, roasted
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese (I used a vegetable peeler and "shaved the parmesan on top...makes for a pretty presentation for dinner guests, but grated also works for every day meals).
- Slice the top of the garlic head.
- Slightly drizzle olive oil on top of the garlic, and wrap in tin foil.
- Bake in the oven at 400degrees until roasted (about an hour).
- Cook green beans until tender but firm, approximately 7 minutes. Drain.
- Meanwhile, in 1-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat.
- Add garlic; cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until garlic is tender.
- Toss the green beans into the saucepan until complete coated with melted butter and roasted garlic.
- Top with parmesan shavings. (or toss gently with grated cheese).