November 30th………WOW!! This month has been an absolute whirlwind! My wife and I decided that one of the things we wanted to do thanks to Grandma leaving some inheritance, was go away….just the two of us…..sans Shockley for the first time in 7 years. After about a week of researching ideas for destinations that were reasonable price-wise in our timeline, we decided, booked and left for a 5 night cruise.
Those 5 nights away were wonderfully relaxing for us! We actually slept in until 9am the first day at sea. What an amazing 5-day experience to do what we wanted, when we wanted! We visited Jamaica and climbed Dunn River Falls. If you have not had that experience, trust me, DO IT!! It is nature at it’s finest; over 60 feet of the most beautiful waterfall I have ever seen in my life surrounded by lush jungle-type vegetation and even wildlife (we saw a crab during our climb). The beach was stunning and the people who worked there were the friendliest people I have ever met in my life! After the falls, we went back to town and shopped at the local market. This was such an interesting experience for me. I have shopped in poor countries before, like Mexico, St. Thomas, and Dominican Republic but nothing has ever prepared me for the poverty of Jamaica. These people are so amazingly poor that many of them hustle for survival. NEVER would they ask for handouts; they offer services. Jamaican are very proud people. I did feel over-whelmed at the market as I was repeatedly asked to visit each and every stall. Out of necessity they are fairly aggressive in trying to make sales. But I absolutely FELL IN LOVE with the country! I can’t wait to go back and spend a week or more exploring the lush island, and submerse myself in the daily life of the Jamaican people.
Our second port of call was Grand Cayman Island. If there was ever an island that was the complete opposite of Jamaica we visited it! The island was tiny in comparison and completely flat. As we tendered in to the dock I was told that there was 100% employment on the island. 100%!!!! My head had a really hard time going 360 degrees from the poorest of poor countries to one of the richest islands in the Caribbean. I completely enjoyed my time on Grand Cayman Island; we swam with the Stingrays and went snorkelling. Incredible experiences I will never forget, but, I felt like being on this island only solidified my love and affection for the country I had visited just the day before. I felt guilty spending money on such a rich island when I could have spent more on souvenirs in Jamaica.
The ports of call were one of the highlights of our cruise. Spending time as a couple was another highlight. Adult conversation, relaxing by the pool, walking on the track, or relaxing in the adults-only hot tub after our semi-formal dinner; we relaxed, rejuvenated, and completely enjoyed our time away. I know that it will not be 7 years before we invest in a getaway just for the two of us again. Every relationship needs time away from our children. This does not mean we love them any less, or can’t stand being with them; it means that we need time alone as adults, to be our adult selves. Life is too stressful, so take time to re-energize, relax, and re-connect. Your marriage, and your family will be better for it!