“I see you two are working on your tan.” The Slovakian accent came from over our shoulders as we were walking hand in hand across the muted grey slate patio at the beach resort. We turned in unison to be cheerfully greeted with open smiles by Andrea and her mother. Regaining our composure from the aftershock of being recognized from behind took a split second before we settled into charming introductions and comfortable conversation. (Andrea and her husband are the discerning owners of our luxury condo, residing above us on the second and third floors as their own year-round permanent residence.)
Although Andrea’s mother (Matka) spoke no English, we discovered she was visiting her daughter for the winter months to escape from the cold, snow, and harsh weather of her native homeland. The wrinkles on her eyes were unique and lightly creased as if they were made for her. In unfeigned fashion, her universal smile was as refreshing as a couple of Mai Tai tiki cocktails sipped poolside. She went on to point to her right forearm while Andrea translated her message: “Matka was working on her tan as well.” It just goes to show you, the inner child in all of us is willing to leave our cares and winter coats behind to head for a paradise of luminous sand, sparkling blue water that stays summer warm, and golden rays of sunshine.