Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Birthday Wish Come True

The scene is Columbia, 2011 and a family celebration is taking place. It is her 82nd birthday and grandma tells her son . . . “I want to go to see Iguazu Falls” for my 83rd Birthday. Her son replied with the only possible answer to give, "... yes, mother we will go to see Iguazu Falls."

Fast forward to November 2012. The scene is Iguazu National Park in Argentina and I am sitting in the safari truck waiting to go on our safari adventures jungle and zodiac boat ride tour.  I notice a large family board the truck and sit in the rows behind me. Here is when I first notice grandma. She is helped onto the truck by her son. The jungle tour will take approximately 45 minutes and after the drive they will drop our group off at the dock for our adventure boat ride.    

The jungle tour was fascinating, but the zodiac boat ride was the part that I was most looking forward to. We finally arrive at the drop off point just above the river dock. I was the first one in line (he, he) and was assigned to sit in the first seat (yay!). As I sat there waiting for everyone else to board, I have to admit that I was a tad worried for grandma and wondered if she was going to skip this part of the tour. But with her big orange life preserver strapped on and the help of her son, grandma gingerly steps onto the boat. I thought to myself, how cool is this.

After everyone is seated, the driver steers the boat up the river, dodging and weaving our way on the rapids. There were a lot of oohs and awes coming from everyone. I was having a lot of fun but I also couldn’t help but think about grandma and how she was doing. Then, we are given one last pause in front of the falls. The video guy, puts on his heavy duty water proof pants and jacket. It was a clear sign to me that we were about to get seriously soaked.

Here we go, the boat traverses the rapids, bobbing and weaving then heads directly under one of the falls! We all raise our hands up toward the sky and we are soaked through and through. The poncho I had purchased did nothing to repel the water. I can feel the coolness of the Iguazu river on my skin and to be honest it felt refreshing. The boat captain asked if we wanted one more and we all unanimously screamed yes. One more! To be honest I could’ve done this all day long, it was so much fun.

The boat darts back to the second falls and we receive a second soaking, staying a bit longer under the water thundering down on us. There were cheers and laughter and more oohs and a lot of Whoo Hoos (mainly from me)! Awesome rush!

We then head to the dock where we exit the boat. I was one of the first ones out.   A few minutes later I look up and see Grandma walking up the steep steps with her son by her side. She was completely drenched. I smiled and gave her a thumbs up to which she smiled back and with water dripping down from her soaked big rimmed hat, grandma gave me a very enthusiastic thumbs up back! Priceless!

They walked up the trail ahead of me, but her grandson stopped to chat. He was the one who told me about her very special birthday wish. He said, "when Grandma asked to see Iguazu Falls on her 83rd birthday, what could we say. We have to take grandma to see Iguazu Falls, so here we are. My grandma is so energetic and although it may take her a bit longer to walk up she is healthy and strong enough to do it." I so admired grandma for that. And I admired her family for fulfilling her birthday wish and bringing her here to see this amazing natural wonder.

During the holidays, I can get a bit reflective.  Remembering this story of grandma and her family reminds of the things in life that I find to be the most important to me.  It reminds me that the relationships that we have with our family and friends are the most important thing in our lives.  Her story also reinforces my belief that we should follow our dreams to see and do the things that we want to do in life. No one in her family told grandma that she shouldn’t come to Iguazu Falls, that she couldn’t hike down and up these difficult trails or that she shouldn’t ride this very exciting boat ride.

Well, why not at 83 years young ride a fast high speed boat under a raging Iguazu water fall and get soaking wet. Thank you Grandma for teaching me a lesson. A lesson that we should not place limits on ourselves and that we should live our lives guided not by fear or uncertainty, but by our hopes and dreams!

As 2012 comes to an end and the new year is upon us, I feel so thankful and appreciative to be able to continue to do the things that I love doing and to have such wonderful people in my life. I'm looking forward to spending the holidays with my family and friends and I am looking forward to seeing what the new year will bring.

This is the only photo I could find with Grandma in it.  She is being held by her son.  I wish I had taken a better photo of her, but I was so in awe of what was unfolding before me that the photographer actually took a back seat to the student! I had something very special to learn from Grandma and that lesson demanded my undivided attention.

Here's what Grandma Columbia and me decided that we just had to see in person and I am so glad that I had the privilege of sharing the experience with her.

I'm currently getting over the flu and haven't had much time to work on my photos but as soon as I do, I will do a special blog post on the Safari Adventures Zodiac Boat Tour, complete with my a video of the soaking, I mean ride. :) I'm excited that my sis will be coming to town today and I am looking forward to their visit and our upcoming road trip.

I want to wish you and your families a very Happy Holidays and a Safe and Healthy New Year!


  1. What a wonderful post, Kathy. Brava to grandma for following her dream, and cheers to her family for helping and encouraging her.

    You and she have a lot in common - you both are living your dreams and having the adventures that you want, on your terms. No wonder you felt such a kinship with her!

    I hope you are feeling better soon, I can't wait to see more of your wonderful photos!

    1. Hi Sandra, thanks so much for your comments and yes Brava to grandma Columbia. :) You're right I did feel a kinship with her and was very inspired as I am with what you're doing with your life in Rome! I wish I had the courage to do what you're doing in building a new life in Rome and following your dreams. Double Brava to you! Btw, Happy Belated Birthday! Wishing you, your friends and family a very happy holidays and a safe and healthy New Year.

  2. What a great story. I hope that I'm 83 years young like Grandma someday! And wow, that rainbow you captured in the photo - awesome! I'm looking forward to hearing more about that boat ride. :)

    1. Hi Annie, me too! :) I love that rainbow too and was so lucky to capture it from high above which is unique and first for me. I'm hoping to find the time to organize my photos and videos so I can post more highlights of my trip.

      Hope you're having a wonderful Holidays!

  3. Great post Kathy! Thanks for sharing and hooray for grandma!!! :)

    1. Hi YTSL, I'm glad you liked the story. Isn't grandma columbia the coolest. And yes, Hooray for her! :)


It's me Trekcapri (aka Kathy). Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment.