By Megan van Ewijk
“I am Megan van Ewijk. 17 years ago, I was born in The Netherlands and after 12 years of living on the most beautiful island in the Caribbean, called Aruba, I will be moving back to my motherland, to make my dreams come true. My dream is to become a journalist, and to live my most wonderful life. I am going to study journalism at the Hogeschool of Utrecht, and currently taking an internship at Aruba Today.
When people hear that I get to call Aruba my home, they tell me I live in paradise. Which is absolutely true, Aruba is paradise. Long white beaches; turquoise blue oceans and happy people drinking Aruba Ariba’s under a palm tree. When I think of paradise, I do not see face masks, neither signs that are telling us to keep our distance, but it is the reality that even the one happy islanders are living in today.
The year 2020 will go down as the Covid-19 year. However, if you had asked me how I would have liked to remember 2020, it would have been slightly different. Nevertheless, It was a special year for me. It was my last year of high school, I graduated, I started working, I got to spend a lot of time with my family and I fell in love.
Last year Aruba was in a lockdown for a couple months. We had to work from home, the schools were closed, just like the stores, the restaurants, and the borders. Luckily we were allowed to exercise outside and go to the beach, of course with the necessary measures. To go to the empty beaches, walk, swim and get away from home, if only for an hour. It was what made the lockdown somewhat bearable. Another thing my family and I used to love during the lockdown was hiking. Before the lockdown, when I was busy going to school and having a social life, I was not a big fan of hiking, even though I only live five minutes away from the national park, which is called Arikok. We hiked the most beautiful trails, often climbed the highest mountain on the island, which is actually just a hill, and enjoyed the nature, the fresh air, the sound of the birds chirping, and the happy view.
Windsurfing with a group of girls, that is how I used spent my Sundays, as a small girl. Wanting to keep getting better and better until one day when we stopped playing in the water and started to compete against each other in slalom races. I started to miss the days when we were just twelve year old girls, looking for starfish while we had blue, pink or yellow colored sunscreen on our faces. I stopped windsurfing for a while, until my best friend convinced me to get back in the water together, last year during the lockdown. Flying over the water, with the most perfect view of the coast, and sometimes when we were lucky we spotted turtle’s, it is the most wonderful feeling.
I feel lucky to grow up in an island like Aruba. It is one of the luckiest places to be during a lockdown. I would recommend everyone to get to know Aruba this way, while enjoying the elements Aruba has to offer and try to fall in love with my home.