“Hi, I’m Flea.” she said as she sat down next to me in the airport.
“Hi! I’ve been so excited to meet you! I’m Alison.”
“And this is Simon.”
“Simon, can you say hello?”
“Hi.” (small quiet voice)
I’ve mentioned before that Simon and I are introverts. In fact most of us Chinos fall on introverted side of the scale.
Sometimes when I meet someone who is truly extroverted, I think that they must be faking it. The notion of being truly comfortable talking to strangers is so foreign to me that I feel like it must be some sort of a show.
But then every once in a while I meet a truly extroverted child, and I’m reminded that some people are truly born this way. Some people really and truly, have never met a stranger.
Flea, who is nine years old, is one such child, and Simon and I had the sublime pleasure of her company on our recent journey to Mauritius. Watching Flea make friends with Simon will forever be one of the gifts of 2014 to me.
Like Harry and Hermione, Simon and Flea were fast friends, so inseparable after only a couple of days that Sally and I were scrambling to rearrange meals and excursions so that we could all be together.
Sally and I are both bloggers who love to write about travel. We were assigned to travel together as First Choice Holidays Out of Office Bloggers, and I was not at all worried about traveling with her. We met briefly in London at a pre-trip event, sans children and we both have experience with going on holidays with strangers as part of publicity campaigns. However, adding children to the mix is always a bit of a gamble. Simon and I were ecstatic about going on a sun-soaked holiday together, but I was not sure how he would get on with Sally’s little girl.
As soon as I met Flea at the airport, I knew we were going to be just fine. Sally warned me that she was chatty, and I was completely taken with her ten-minute-answer to the question, “What book are you reading?’
Simon watched me talk to Flea for a little while before he joined in, but it was not long before the two of them fell into their own little world, without any need for me.
Of course it helped that they had an awful lot in common. A mutual love for Lego and Doctor Who proved to be the breeding ground for what blossomed over the week into a sweet friendship.
They played together in the crystal blue swimming pool and on the long stretch of beach at our resort. Invented games and imaginary worlds ensued. And Sally and I relished the hours by the pool in our loungers. It was bliss.
On our excursions, they sat together on the bus rides, heads together over one of their devices, laughing at the Lego Movie or reading Big Nate. They chased monkeys around a Holy Lake, seeing who could get the closest to one.
Flea is a bit of an adventure addict, which turned out to be great for my little cautionary guy. When Simon was hesitant to come out on the deck for the catamaran ride, Flea persuaded him that the best place to drink a glass bottle of Lemon Fanta is directly underneath the sails. She also talked him into going tubing behind a speed boat. They confused the boat driver because Flea was signaling to go faster while Simon was signaling to go slower.
However, when Flea went parasailing, Simon was content to go along and just watch. But they celebrated together with fancy drinks at the pool bar afterwards.
At meals, they would head to the dessert case, tasting different offerings each night. Then they would go back to the ice cream bar to chase down their chocolate cake or macaroons with their favorite, vanilla ice cream.
Flea and Simon sat together on the flight back to London and after we parted ways, Simon told me that he was really going to miss her.
I absolutely loved watching them all week, and I was grateful that my older children were not around to taint it by teasing Simon about ‘having a girlfriend,’ which they most certainly did when we got home and Simon talked and talked about Flea.
I delight in the thought of their paths crossing again one day.
Simon and I went to Mauritius as part of my role as an Out of Office Bloggers for 2014. I’m super thankful to First Choice Holidays for such a lovely trip and for partnering us up with such fab folk! And I’m grateful to Sally and Flea for being extroverts and for jumping in and helping to make the week so much fun!