Swimming in the rain, just swimming in the rain! Yes, swimming in the rain, not singing in the rain, although we were singing as well. “Uncle Marky we are wet anyway so what does it matter if it is raining,” said Millie as she dived into another wave.
The last of the summer guests have just gone home, it’s been yet another busy summer season. My “baby” sister and my niece, my soft spot, Millie were the final chorus in this year’s summer song. And what a way to finish, a crescendo.
How a nine-year old girl can wrap a whole family around her little finger is fascinating. We pretty much did what she wanted when she wanted, although nobody minded, far from it. And yes we went swimming, and yes it was raining. But for Millie the sea was like a bath, a warm bath. She crashed through the waves and had the whole beach to herself.
The culture clash was interesting to observe. Here she was running up and down the beach whilst on the promenade behind us parents had wrapped up their children like it was a polar winter. Swimming suits versus thermal underwear. And at home she ran around barefoot with all the doors open, no fear of any draft from Miss Millie.
Now she is getting “older” she is no longer a little baby. The questions came thick and fast, many of them tricky to answer. She has a very open view of the world, she is the product of a different surrounding. Race, creed, colour and religion, or maybe I should say differences in all of these, are completely normal for Millie. She has even already been to a gay wedding. “Have you got a boyfriend,” asked my wife. “No,” she Millie with a cute smile. To which my sister asked in a flash, “Well maybe she has a girlfriend.” I could see the confused look on my wife’s face. “Yes, Boba, love is blind,” added Millie. “We don’t differentiate between people, it’s what’s inside that is important,” added my sister. I was having flash backs to my childhood and my upbringing. A liberal view on life.
Moments like this were broken up with funnier times, more awkward times. “When will I get fluff on my fufu,” she asked once. Just to fill you in “fufu” is her word for...well...ladies parts. How do you start to answer that? She is getting older. Gone are the days when she was happy watching Mickey Mouse, now we had Nickelodeon on at every possibility.
Brainwashing! I was going mad watching teenage programs featuring all the angst and insecurities of the pimpled part of growing up. But she was happy, letting out a chuckle every minute.
How refreshing it is to be young. I was accused of being nostalgic, and yes I admit it, I was. Although everything seems so much more complicated today, in these instant times there doesn’t seem to be any time. She was two-screening most of the time. Yes, two-screening, watching Nickelodeon with one eye and surfing Youtube on her iPad with the other eye. This was multitasking taken to another level. I soon lost my nostalgia. It seemed like all too much hard work.
“What do you want to eat tonight,” I asked her. “I don’t like Japanese or Chinese or Indian,” she replied. Thank God because we don’t have a great choice of those cuisines, I thought to myself. I was thinking of a pizza. She has a Dubrovnik memory based around food and shopping. As she has been here many times before she has learnt to navigate via ice-cream shops and shops. “Shall we go to the Stradun this morning,” I asked. “Oh yes then I can have an ice-cream in Dolce Vita and have a look in the Christmas shop,” she replied. She hasn’t been for a year but remembers her “important” spots. “Where shall we go for lunch then,” now I was intrigued. “How about the fish restaurant in the harbour,” she answered. “Haha, you are like a mini Tripadvisor,” I replied automatically. “What’s Tripadvisor...is that an app,” she answered. I basically followed her around the city; she seemed to know where she was going. And yes we had an ice-cream, bought a Christmas souvenir and of course had a fish feast in Lokanda.
The week flew by, and then Millie flew home. After taking them to the airport I slumped down into the couch, hit the remote control and was greeted by SpongeBob on Nickelodeon.