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February 11th 2008
Published: February 12th 2008
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Saturday, February 2, 2008

We're in route to Curacao after an excellent start with American Airlines. I was checked in separately from Alex due to my confirmation not pulling up in their system. Found out the hard way that they charge a flat $50 for anything over 50 pounds. Completely forgetting I packed an 8 pound laptop in my bag, I came in five pounds to heavy and couldn't transfer weight to our other bag since his was already checked in. I suppose now I know at least...

    Random Thoughts on the Plane - as this is my journal after all...

I'll be 23 this upcoming St. Patty's day.

I've never been one to take life for granted, I'd imagine after being exposed to death early on from a series of friends and peers, all before they made it to or graduated from high school, passing on naturally or tragically. I definitely don't assume I'll have a safe, healthy, old age, pass away in my sleep fairy tale ending. It's not often that happens from what I've been exposed to. The elderly that I've known to pass away, most were after battling health issues or a tragic accident. Everyday I'm grateful to whatever Higher Power, God, Fate, or Karma that has given me mistakes to learn from, close call accidents that I've walked away from unscratched and successfully continue on.

Why is this at the forefront of my thoughts? Because today, as we sat waiting for the plane to take off, Alex said the flaps on the wings weren't down. I've only noticed them extended and down during decent, but I'm not one to pay attention to detail anyway. That's when the "what ifs" kick doesn't take much. Chances are the plane is fine, everything is ready for take off, but I'm usually the one not to rule out any possibilities. What if they are supposed to be down? What if the plane does crash? What if...

Well? I continued to breath easy.

In 23 years I've managed to graduate from high school, contribute to my community, travel to other countries, re-establish a relationship with my mom and build a better/closer relationship with my older sisters and nephew. I've met some of the most incredible, inspiring, beautiful people. In 23 years I've hiked a glacier, dove the cenotes and free fell 180 feet into a canyon. I've dated amazing, talented, thought provoking young men that taught me a lot about myself, life and love that continue to be wonderful friends. I've learned to put the past behind, bring old friends into the present, I've fallen head over heels in love with the one person who brings a strange sense of comfort even when the thought of our plane going down pops up and I can only think in a selfish least I'm with him. He's had that feeling since our first flight together, but I didn't get it. I have so much that I want to see, try and accomplish, but I don't have any regrets. I don't think I've waisted any of those 23 years.

With all that said, I do hope to make it home again safe and sound. I recently met with an adviser at JCC and I think I finally know what major I'd like to pursue. On top of that, my 12 year old nephew said he would be interested in taking a Spanish class with Alex and I at the college. As far as work goes, after approaching my boss about changes I'd like to see around the shop, she did a 180 and in turn, everyone else seems happier and more efficient. Granted, it had only been two days, but it gives me hope that I will love my job again. I know those two days made me dread leaving town just because things were running so nicely.


This is a group trip organized by the Divers Mast in Jackson. However, only a few of us are actually from Jackson. We met Wanda today who is on this trip with her daughter, Danielle, and Bill, her husband. She came back over to ask how old I am, thinking that I might only be 15 and a good playmate for Danielle, who is actually 15. The most commonly guessed ages for me are 15-17 when it's based only off of looks, not knowing my personality. Alex is starting to think we must be a very strange looking couple with our already large age difference and me with my girlish chubby cheeks that he's never thought look younger then I am. He must not mind to much though...Alex keeps grabbing my face to kiss me because while I'm sitting right next to him..........................................................................he still misses me.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008
The trip has been all good so far. We're staying at the Habitat Curacao Resort. It was awarded the worlds best diving resort last year. However, our room reminds me of a college dorm with the tiled floor and nothing that seems very "resort" like about it. Well...with the exception of our ocean view. The water is pristine and you can see the clear aqua blue for about 100 feet until it drops off at the coral and turns into a darker shade of blue. We can dive right from the shore here which is a great option.

In Curacao, one book says Dutch is the primary language spoken as this is part of the Netherlands (I did not know this before), but another source says Papiamentu is the primary language. It's a combination of Dutch, English, and Spanish. Their English is very good...some you can't even hear their accent when they talk.

The city is a half hour car ride from here so our only food options for the most part is the resort restaurant. On Monday we went there for a quick
Stopping the parade to poseStopping the parade to poseStopping the parade to pose

after seeing the camera
bite to tide us over before going into town. We sat next to the rail with the ocean view and watched the local black kitten play in the patch of dirt and weeds. It wasn't long before the kitten scampered off and returned with a mouse almost bigger then him in it's mouth. The stiff creature had obviously been dead for a while and our appetites diminished after watching the kitten relentlessly play with the mouse attempting to gnaw it's head off.

The purpose of our trip into town with the group was specifically for dinner at Fort Nassau. An actual fort that eventually was turned into an elegant, historic restaurant complete with the original canons in place. The food was fabulous, the wine was plentiful and the service was top notch. Our waitress told us that she herself would be in the Curacao Karnival Parade the following day, so we took note to keep our eye out for her since that was on the agenda.

John Kendall, the instructor that certified Alex and I a year ago, made an announcement at dinner to congratulate Danielle for her advanced water certification, Mark for his 100th dive, and Alex
Cutest little boyCutest little boyCutest little boy

this little guy is the one that kept grabbing my legs.
and I for our 1 year scuba mark. Everyone at our table was surprised to hear that we've only been diving for a year and how well we have our buoyancy down.

We slept most of Tuesday and skipped out on diving. After lounging in and around the pool we finally got up and around for the day just in time to head into town at four in the afternoon. Karnival is an annual HUGE party for Curacao. Tuesday is the biggest day of the event because it's the last day. I've never seen such an extravagant and large parade with vibrant costumes and detailed face paint. They had semi trucks with live bands on them playing local music and the singers in the street with wireless microphones. It was an amazing sight to see. I kept feeling a tiny hand latch onto my leg about knee high and I'd look down to find the cutest little boy who was there with his parents, but very friendly to everyone around. His mom picked him up so that he'd quit grabbing my leg and I let him play with my camera. His eyes were huge with excitement when I turned on the screen so that he could see the pictures I had taken. It was like I had just performed a magic trick. I had my Nikon D70S in hand and probably due to the size of the camera, perhaps they participants of the parade thought I was with the paper, almost everyone who's attention was caught by the flash literally held up the parade to stop and pose. Of course my intentions weren't to hold up the party so I just clicked away snapshots as quickly as I could and hopefully something good came of it. One happy participant came over to dole out hugs and kisses before she went on her merry was in deed our waitress from the night before!

We cut out right at the end of the parade - around 11:30 p.m. and the shuttle driver had us cross through a couple backyards, go down around the block a piece, and there was the shuttle, nestled in his friend's backyard waiting for us to make our escape without getting caught in traffic.

So now it's Wednesday. We're making another lazy day of it (We are on vacation after all) which works out
Of course McDonald's Of course McDonald's Of course McDonald's

makes their way into EVERYTHING.
well for me so I could catch up on this and transfer my pictures from my memory cards to here. We have a two tank boat dive in two hours and then the plan is to go to the aquarium where you get to swim with dolphins and feed sea lions.

Friday, February 8, 2008

The aquarium fell through. We learned that contrary to what the promotional video shows, the dolphins are in a pool and the sea lions only have a small opening in their cage to pass them food. No thank-you. Sounds more depressing then fun. So instead of venturing off for that, we stayed here for shrimp fajitas, a bottle of wine, the discovery channel and popcorn. MmmMMmm.

The dives have been going great. Calm water, lots of fish, ears are cooperating (for the most part). Mike on the other hand, our adopted diver, was stung by something - possibly a jelly fish. I saw his face and didn't remember him having really bad acne and later learned that he doesn't/didn't have acne - it's just a bunch of swollen bumps all over his right cheek, left cheek and jaw line. Yeow. He's still in good spirits though. Above his room is John's room where his wife, Marty's, bathing suit was blown off their patio. Mike returned it...on his very own body. I wish I had witnessed that. Luckily there's pictures. As far as him being "adopted", this trip is all Diver's Mast people and some others from Florida, where John and Marty live now. Mike, who's from Seattle, was on a trip of his own one year when he ran into the Divers Mast crew and somehow became suckered into going on future trips with them.

When we came in from our morning dives yesterday, we saw a flock of flamingos nearby. The wildlife here isn't what I thought it would be. We've seen flamingos, donkeys, billy goats, and cacti grows everywhere from 12-20 feet tall.

Last night we went into town for a five star restaurant. The chef has won a national award four years in a row. Since we had a large group, they had a menu consisting of tuna or beef for the main course. I hate tuna in large doses and asked if there was a vegetarian option. The chef came out to talk
Fort Nassau's HistoryFort Nassau's HistoryFort Nassau's History

(the restaurant we ate at)
to me to see if I would be okay with - something - I couldn't understand a word he said and told him I trust his judgment, anything vegetarian would be great. The very young, bleach blond hair, pale skin, braces on his teeth young man smiled big and agreed.

You know the commercial, it might be for mastercard, where the couple goes to a fancy restaurant and receive a couple bites worth of food on their plate then go out for junk food at the party store? That's what last night was like. I don't understand restaurants like that. I'd prefer to go to a local joint with good food and lots of it. Everyone else felt the same. While everything tasted wonderful, it was a riot as to how small it was. I guess it could be an effective, expensive, weight loss program.

As far as today goes - Alex was up a lot blowing his nose, creating a mountain of used tissues on the floor, back in full swing of his cold. We skipped out of the dives since he wouldn't be able to clear his ears. We can't dive for the rest of the day because you can't for 24 hours before a flight. We're hoping to go to a museum about the history here and the slavery. I think it would be fascinating to learn more about how this place came to be.

Tomorrow we have a 10 hour layover in Miami. I don't care how cheap the tickets's not worth it.

Monday, February 11, 2008

We didn't get to go to the museum, survived the layover, and are home once again. Alex is flu like and I'm hoping I don't catch it.

That was the last of our planned adventures. While the traveling will be on a stand still for an undetermined amount of time, the journey is far from over with the challenge of getting work back on track, school in my future, and of course the adventure of the unknown. Until next time...

Additional photos below
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12th February 2008

Amazing! You are the luckiest girl I know. You have an awesome man to keep you company and have the most amazing adventures. All is well here. Oh, and the flaps are supposed to down (but not fully extended like in landing) before takeoff. In 1987 a Northwest Airlines flight crashed in Romulus, Michigan because the flaps were not set. 154 people died. There was one survivor.. a 4-yr-old girl. Gah... sorry to go all morbid on you there.

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