Posts Tagged ‘getaway’

Bahamas Trip (Part 6): Outrunning the Hurricane

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012


If you’re sitting on the edge of your seat biting your fingernails, wondering if we outran the hurricane, you can rest assured that we did. We miraculously had sunshine every day, and it was an absolutely idyllic vacation. Meanwhile back at home, my parents, sisters, and friends were all worrying about us, because there were red swirls all over the radar. It seems impossible that we had such gorgeous weather every day, but I’m telling you that we serve a God who is in charge of the weather, and He can do whatever He pleases. He happened to want to give me my honeymoon back, so that’s exactly what happened. God rules.

Our first port-of-call was canceled, since we were high-tailing it out of the way of the hurricane. (This was Hurricane Irene, by the way, in late August 2011, so I’m sorry for the people on the east coast that got hit by it. Apparently there were many deaths and billions of dollars worth of damage.)

But God protected us with His hands around our ship, where exotic-looking black guys with dreadlocks were playing Reggae music while people swam in one of the many swimming pools. I think there were 3,000 people on the ship. Yes, it was a large ship, almost like a floating city.


The food was exquisite. Every night we would have a three-course meal, and twice we had formal dinners where I wore an evening gown. Once I wore the turquoise mermaid-looking dress, and the other time I wore the red dress that I got for 50 cents at a yard sale, the same one I wore to Clinkerdagger. Except that here on the ship, I ate food that tasted like Clinkerdagger food every day. And our waiter just loved us. He smiled whenever we came to the table. One night he asked me if I wanted another lobster dinner, and he brought me another lobster smothered in melted butter.

If you’re wondering if I blimped out and got fat, the answer is no. We went swimming and snorkeling with sea turtles, zip lining through a rain forest after hiking, parasailing, jet skiing, etc. If you think jet skiing doesn’t make your muscles sore, you’ve never gone when your husband is driving at full speed. Your thigh muscles will ache afterward from trying not to die, but more about that later.


What I wanted to say about the cruise in general, was that I felt like I was alone with my husband. We had a long table for dinner, which was supposed to seat 8 people. But day after day, there was only one other couple who sat by the wall. We sat on the opposite side of the table. God knows that I hate small talk with strangers, saying “How are you?” and “Where are you from?” over and over. (I don’t even know where I’m from, to be honest. Guatemala? Texas? California? England? Washington?) I don’t mind talking to a stranger about God or any other real subject, but superficial chit chat is annoying to me. Well, God catered to that idiosyncrasy. He also prompted my sister to pray toward that end without my knowledge. Yes, when I got back from the trip, my sister told me that she prayed that there would be no annoying people around me. What an odd prayer. It would have never occurred to me to pray that, because I don’t really care that much about annoying people. I just walk away from them.


Our cabin boy was a 20-year-old from Jamaica. He was such a sweetie pie, and he was overjoyed every time we passed him in the hallway. He made wonderful towel animals to surprise us. Every time we returned to our rooms, our bed would be made and our room tidied up. A comedian on the ship made a joke about it when he said that he went to the bathroom in the middle of the night, only to return to a bed that had been made.

(Coming up next… snorkeling in Barbados with sea turtles. Stay tuned for part 7 of our amazing Bahamas trip story.)

Bahamas Trip (Part 5): Boarding the Ship

Monday, February 20th, 2012


After our romantic walk along the beach where our every move was being watched, we decided to eat some dinner. As we walked along the street, I felt a strange sense of being home, only because it looked like a third world country like Guatemala, where I grew up. And the other thing was that I heard Spanish everywhere, from people talking, to the radio announcers of music blaring along the street.

I remembered having a delicious paella when I was in Spain, back on my “Nightmare through Europe” backpacking tour, before I was married. So when I saw a paella in one of the restaurants, my eyes lit up, and we decided to eat dinner. It was an outdoor cafe with a beautiful mural with bright colors on the walls. We sat beside a fish tank. We were served a disgusting, cold, rubbery paella that hardly had any seafood in it, completely unlike the paella in the window. I comforted my husband that false advertising was totally acceptable in third world countries, and who cares that it cost a lot of money because they were poor, and with our being ripped off, they could go and feed their families. So it was kind of like a donation of sorts. We laughed at how bad it was.

Then we went back to the hotel room and decided to go swimming. There was also a hot tub, and palm trees surrounded the pool. I felt like I was inside a movie set. It looked so perfect that it was almost surreal.

The next morning we woke up surrounded by a poofy white duvet. I had coffee out on the balcony, looking down on the exotic-looking pool, with the ocean in the distance. I felt giddy with joy.

The front bell hop told me where we could put our bags after we checked out of the hotel, because we couldn’t board the ship until 2pm. We took a walk along the beach after breakfast. The clouds became overcast, and since we didn’t have an umbrella, we quickly walked back to the hotel to get our bags and take a taxi to the ship. We were glad to arrive early because there was a long line of people.

As we boarded the ship, we were handed a paper that said we would not be leaving. A hurricane was coming directly to San Juan, and no ship in its right mind would disconnect with the dock when a hurricane was about to strike. After checking in and dropping off our bags in the room, we looked at the ocean water. The sky was an eerie green, and the water was bizarre, all choppy in different sections. I’ve never seen anything like it. My husband and I just looked at each other…

Suddenly an announcement was made that the ship would be leaving immediately, two hours before schedule. Anyone not on the ship would be flown to Barbados and meet the ship there. We pulled off from the side of the dock, and the ship moved so quickly; I was surprised that we weren’t thrown backwards.

(Stay tuned for part 6 of my Bahamas trip story, to see if we outrun the hurricane and actually have the honeymoon of our dreams despite all the odds…)

Bahamas Trip (Part 4): Misgivings

Saturday, February 18th, 2012


On the night before the Bahamas trip, I suddenly had misgivings. My sister called me the previous week and told me that even if there was a hurricane, I have a husband who loves me, so everything would be fine. Um… no. My husband and I were burned out and felt like crap, and the last thing we needed was to board a ship in the middle of a hurricane, puking vomit at each other. If that was going to be the case, I would rather not go, thank you very much.

I felt nervous. Our bags were packed, and then my sister called. She said that she was watching the news, and the hurricane had gone a different direction, and she prayed that we would have sunshine every day, and she had so much joy that I would.

Even though it was just words in the air, for some reason I believed her. After hanging up the phone, I felt excited as I put my bags by the front door.

We woke up early, and my parents arrived. My mother walked in, since she was going to watch the children, even though they were still sleeping. My mom handed each of us a bagged breakfast, and off we went with my dad to the airport.

We had to board four airplanes that day. On the longest flight, which was over five hours, Alan and I weren’t even seated together. I told the man next to me that I was going with my husband on the honeymoon I never had. Within minutes, he had rearranged the seats so that I could sit with my husband. Later on a different flight I saw an angry woman who was yelling about her rights, that she should be seated with her 12-year-old. Nobody changed seats for her.

When we landed in Puerto Rico, we went to our hotel, which was right on the beach. It was my husband’s idea to leave a day early because there were so many flights, we could easily have missed our cruise if one of the flights was delayed. Some of the layovers were only 20 minutes. Yes, we had to run like two kids through the airport a couple of times.

But the fact that we had come a day early meant that we had an extra day of vacation, the first vacation my husband and I had ever had in 14 years of marriage. The hotel was gorgeous and exotic, but it had been inexpensive because it was attached to a casino. I have no opinion about gambling, and my husband and I were too busy walking along the beach in the moonlight to waste our time in a casino.

Yes, the night was a perfect temperature, and the moon shone down on the beach. I had talked in Spanish to one of the guards, who told us to take off our watches before going on the beach. I asked if it was dangerous to walk on the beach at night, and he basically said that you get attacked if you have a watch, but you’re fine if you’re not wearing a watch.

I know what you girls are thinking: why on earth would I walk along a beach if it was dangerous? But I felt completely and utterly safe, almost as if angels were surrounding me. I wanted Alan to throw me down into the foam of the waves and make love to me right then and there, but he said as much as he would love to do that, there were four pairs of eyes watching us. I said, “Really?” I looked around and saw nobody. Alan, being the son of a police officer, pointed out the four men who were hiding in the shadows in different locations.

(Stay tuned for part 5 of my Bahamas trip story, where we boarded the ship on the same day that a hurricane struck…)

Bahamas Trip (Part 2): The White Dress

Thursday, February 16th, 2012


Ever since I was a little girl, I always wanted a beautiful white dress that was gauzy, that would make me look dreamy on a beach. Whenever I thought about my honeymoon, I would envision myself standing on a beach with turquoise water behind me, and the wind blowing my beautiful white dress and my long red hair behind me. I never told anyone about this dream. Only God knew.

While Alan and I were in Oregon before the conference, we stayed at the house of one of Alan’s friends. As a thank you present we wanted to get them a basket with some gourmet foods in it. I told Alan that Ross Dress for Less had good baskets, so we pulled into the parking lot. As we walked through the store, I noticed a white gauzy dress, hanging alone amidst various other dresses. It was my dream dress. I was stunned as I stood there. It was a size small, so I didn’t think it would fit. But after trying it on, I saw that it fit me perfectly, almost as if it was made for me. I showed it to Alan, and his face lit up. He said, “You look really good.” I wondered if it was too low cut. He said, “I wouldn’t wear it to church, but it would be fine on a beach.” He smiled.

It cost $12.99. My dream dress. Nobody knew but God. At that moment, I knew I was going to the Bahamas. I can’t explain it, but this was the first step that led to us going to the Bahamas. This was the day before my speaking engagement in Oregon, so I hadn’t made money yet. I had no idea how God was going to provide for it, but I knew from the moment that dress fit, that we were going to the Bahamas.

Back home in Spokane, I found the second article of clothing for the Bahamas. I was walking around the house one Saturday afternoon, when I saw a coupon clipped to the board for the Salvation Army, for 30% off clothing. I suddenly felt a surge of peace, and I wanted to go there. I told Alan I wanted to go to a resale shop, and he said, “Bye.”

When I drove up, I saw that all the items in the entire store were 50% off. It was the first time I saw a 50% off sale at this store. There are four resale shops in this area, and strangely, this was my favorite because the clothes prices were so low. For some bizarre reason, I was looking at the evening gowns, and I found a gorgeous turquoise evening gown for $8 (which cost $4 with the sale). I tried on the dress, and it fit me perfectly. I looked like a mermaid. I pulled my hair up, and I thought the dress would look lovely on a cruise. I felt so much joy, I almost started crying. It was similar to how I felt about the white dress.

On other days I found other clothing for the cruise, all from resale shops. I prayed for specific items. For example, since it was the summer, I wanted some shorts. I also wanted cute jeans that fit me properly. I wanted all my clothes to be super attractive, since that’s the whole point of a honeymoon. God provided every little thing I asked. God is good.

I want to pause to say God is good. I’ve been through a lot of pain in my life, a lot of horrible things that have sometimes seemed beyond my ability to endure. A couple of times I thought I had lost my mind with grief. But I’m telling you that through it all, God is present. God will pour Himself into you in your moments of greatest horror, and then later He will turn around and surprise you by giving you something extraordinary. But the greatest gift is always God Himself.

(Stay tuned for part 3 of my Bahamas trip, where God set the finishing touches in place before our departure…)