Posts Tagged ‘getaway’

Bahamas Trip (Part 10): Parasailing

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

parasailing
Our last destination of our Bahamas trip was St. Thomas, where Alan and I went parasailing. We climbed aboard a speedboat, and when it was our turn, we got strapped into a harness. It was basically a big double swing in the sky. Very relaxing except for the cold water dip at the end. The sun was shining, and the water was a beautiful blue.

Someone told us about a secluded beach, so we took a taxi. It was totally gorgeous with virtually nobody there. We saw enormous iguanas walking around. We decided to rent a jet ski, since my husband wanted to buzz around on the gorgeous water. I thought I did, too. Alan knows I’m up for anything, but I was highly surprised when he drove as fast as was humanly possible. If I didn’t bend the same way he was bending, we would have flipped over. And at the speed we were going, we for sure would have died. I looked at the water racing by in a blur, wondering if hitting it would feel like concrete. I’m really not afraid of death, just the painful bit right before death. So I gripped the seat with my thighs in a death grip and tried not to squeeze Alan too hard, so that he could enjoy himself and feel freedom.

I let him have fun. He had no idea I was scared half to death and whamming against the seat. We caught air twice, flying through the air, and I could tell by the way Alan was whooping that he was loving it. I relaxed and told myself that I would love to see Christ. I closed my eyes and tried to become one in movement to my husband. Whenever he moved, I moved in the exact same direction. Be one. That is all I thought about. I couldn’t anticipate his movements. I had to follow. I rested, I followed, I was one in movement with him.

Looking back, I realize the experience was a good illustration for submission. First, submission to God is yielding to the Holy Spirit, being yoked to Christ and moving when He moves. Asking God what I should be doing, and calmly allowing myself to be led, and feeling joy in the obedience. Secondly, submitting to my husband was being one with him, yielding and moving in the same direction, and allowing him to lead. And feeling joy in the oneness.

That’s what it was like. But when my thighs were burning and the whamming against the seat was actually hurting, I finally told Alan, “Ummm… Sweetheart, could you slow down? I have no idea where you’re going to turn, and my muscles are sore. I thought I was going to enjoy this, but… not so much.”

He immediately slowed down. He buzzed to the middle of the bay and shut off the motor. He unstrapped the key from his arm, turned around, and kissed me. It was a really great kiss. (blushes)

The next day, we took three flights back to Spokane. The kids were happy to see us, and Alan and I were so refreshed from the wonderful honeymoon that God restored to us.

For those of you who haven’t seen the YouTube video, here it is:

Bahamas Trip (Part 9): Jeep Ride

Monday, February 27th, 2012

bahamas-trip

The third excursion of our Bahamas trip was on the island of St. Kitts, where we went on a jeep ride through the tropical rain forest to a beautiful beach. I loved the accent of the Caribbean guy who was driving. He drove like a maniac, but I’m used to crazy driving that makes you feel like you’re going to crash, because I grew up in Guatemala. So every time we thought we were going to crash, I felt like I was a little girl again in my childhood home. I miss Guatemala, come to think of it. (Sigh)

The rain forest was green, with vines hanging everywhere and gnarled roots coming up out of the ground. Now I know why we had a jeep. I don’t think this was a road. We bumped up and down like popcorn popping at a movie theater. We reached a high lookout point, and we took pictures and drank some punch. The guide told us not to step on the fire ants.

jeep-ride

Next we went to a gorgeous beach. I ran in my white gauzy dress across the white beach, with the turquoise water behind me. I felt like I was in a dream. Then Alan took me by the hand and led me over to some bushes. As soon as we got there, we saw that there was a lake on the other side of the bushes. A long-necked bird was flying over there, and I absolutely love long-necked white birds. I ran to go catch it, and it flew up into the air.

We walked along the beach. We sat under someone’s abandoned umbrella until someone kicked us out.

Back on the jeep, we saw a monkey running along the road. (I think someone put it there on purpose so that the tour would see it and say, “Ooooo, Aaaaa…”)

That night, back on the ship, I decided to do karaoke for the first time ever. I wasn’t sure if I had a good voice or not. During the summer, we had visited various churches, and I liked the idea of singing in a choir. But I didn’t want to embarrass myself in public if I sang off key. So I had Alan record my karaoke singing with the video camera, so that later I could evaluate my own voice like an impartial third party. Plus, I’m a ham and I’ve never sung into a microphone before, and there was almost no one in the room, maybe five people total.

So I kicked off my high heels and walked barefoot to the stage. The first song I chose was by the Carpenters. I got choked up when I sang it to Alan because I meant it. Unfortunately I sang slightly off key because I was on the verge of tears. I used to sing the song about Alan before we were married. “You showed me the way to leave the past and all its tears behind me…”

After stepping off the stage, I thought, “I need to choose a song that doesn’t make me cry.” So I chose another Carpenters song, “Top of the World.” Alan said I sang pretty good except for the really high and really low notes. So I flipped through the book to see what else I could sing. Madonna seemed to have a voice range similar to mine, so I chose “Crazy for You.” Bad choice. I forgot all the smut I had to sing to the five people in the room. Yikes. I got off the stage in a hurry.

Then I sang my favorite, which was Luis Miguel’s “Te Extrano.” Of course, I was singing in Spanish, and Alan couldn’t understand what I was saying.

For my last song, I wanted to do a gospel song, so I chose “Love Lifted Me.” I must have been familiar with a completely different rendition, because not only did I not know the words; I had no idea of the melody. A Chinese guy had sung before my last song. I cringed, thinking he would sing horribly off-key, but he didn’t. His voice was gorgeous, like Frank Sinatra. Well, this Chinese guy was apparently a Christian because he knew all the words and the melody of the hymn, so I asked him to help me sing it. I bowed my head in shame as I exited the stage, put my high heels back on, and left the room.

(Coming up next… parasailing in the Caribbean, and a near-death experience on a jet ski. Don’t miss part 10 of our Bahamas trip, the grand conclusion of my dream vacation…)

Bahamas Trip (Part 8): High Adrenaline Zip Line

Friday, February 24th, 2012

st-lucia

Our second excursion of our Bahamas trip was supposed to be horseback riding on the beach of St. Lucia, but we changed it at the last minute to a high adrenaline zip line. High adrenaline, my foot.

I made Alan promise me that we would go horseback riding on the beach sometime in the next few years, not when I’m old and decrepit. He said, “I’ll take you horseback riding on the beach in Oregon.” It was a lifetime dream of mine to gallop along the beach on a horse, wearing, of course, a white gauzy dress, with my red hair flying behind me, like a romantic Joan of Arc. When I realized that you had to wear pants and closed shoes, and that we would not be galloping, it made the decision easier.

The first day that we were on the cruise, the cruise director gave us an overview of some of the more popular excursions. The high adrenaline zip line looked really scary (read super fun) to both of us, so we trashed the horseback ride. The guy said it was so terrifying that he never went again. That is absolutely and utterly ridiculous, seeing how gentle and relaxing it was.

zip-line-through-forest

So we drove to the rain forest and geared up. A woman strapped a lot of gear onto me, and a helmet. I left my cameras on the ship, thinking they would fall off. Oh, how I wish I had taken the movie camera, because I could have filmed zooming through the air over the beautiful tropical rain forest. I wouldn’t have even needed a wrist strap, since it was so tranquil. The only part that made you want to scream was the last bit, which was a free fall. That was high adrenaline for sure, but it lasted only one second.

I must pause here to explain that for Alan’s 30th birthday before we had kids, my present to him was for us to go sky diving. I knew that after I had kids, I would never do it. So we went to an all day thing with lots and lots of instructions and lots and lots of pages where you signed away your life. So bla bla bla, we were given instructions we didn’t even need because we were jumping tandem, which meant that we had an instructor strapped to our back. So it’s not like we had to pull the chute or anything. All we needed was one sentence. But they never told us this crucial sentence. It was the only thing that mattered.

When I was on the airplane with the open door, I boldly jumped out of the airplane on the count of three. I was lying face down on thin air, with the ground rushing up at me. But I couldn’t enjoy the jump whatsoever. Why? Because my mouth was open, and the air was entering my lungs at an alarming rate. It was like a huge fan had turned itself on. It was worse than when I was on the Isle of Wight in England, where the wind nearly threw me off the cliff, and I had to hug the ground, no, claw the ground, to keep from falling off the cliff.

This was worse. I had no way to breathe. Afterwards I thought, “Why didn’t someone say the one sentence that mattered?”

“Shut your mouth.” — This was the only instruction that I needed.

Eventually there was a pop, and the chute came out, and a painful iron contraption cut into my thighs. But at least the suffocation was over. We drifted calmly through the sky, almost like the hot air balloon ride, but with the metal cutting into my flesh. Not happy. So why didn’t I blog about sky diving after blogging daily for two years? Because I didn’t care to relive the stupid experience.

But I needed to tell you that so that you can use the sky diving experience as a comparison to the zip line. I felt completely and utterly safe. I did not feel like I was going to fall. If I let go completely from the zip line, the contraption was still attached to the main wire, so there’s no way I would fall. So it was fun and relaxing. It was a wonderful day, absolutely gorgeous in the sunshine. I just wish I’d taken my video camera; that’s all.

(Next up, a jeep ride that nearly crashed several times, and an embarrassing karaoke song. Don’t miss part 9 of our amazing Bahamas trip story…)

Bahamas Trip (Part 7): Snorkeling in Barbados

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

barbados

Our first stop was Barbados, where Alan and I went on a catamaran to go snorkeling with sea turtles. We looked out at the tropical paradise going past. I didn’t pinch myself for fear of giving myself a bruise, but I really did feel like it was a dream.

It was so relaxing, and the sun was shining, and it was the perfect temperature. After a while, the catamaran stopped, and everyone put on life vests and snorkels. Alan splashed into the water before I did, and when I splashed into the water, I felt like I was suffocating. I calmly swam back to the boat and pulled off my snorkel.

barbados-boat

People who go through a panic feel like they are being rushed. I decided to sit on the step and relax and not feel rushed. I looked at my snorkel, analyzing how I could use it without feeling suffocated. Alan said to put on the face mask without the snorkel, to just hold my breath, and it worked. The sea turtles were absolutely stunning and beautiful, and one of them even touched my leg by accident. They were so close.

Later I thought about how that situation was a perfect picture of how we respond to life’s difficulties. After panicking for a moment, I could have decided to give up, and I would have missed something spectacular. Trusting God is like that. You have to calm your heart and reach upward, even when you want to rip the mask off your face so you can breathe. Or get out of the difficult situation that you’re in. You can stress about it and worry and have a negative reaction, or you can choose to trust. Whenever you trust God in a situation, there is always something spectacular. It’s the transformation that happens inside myself, when God makes me more into His image.

catamaran

We swam over to a coral reef and looked at the fish swimming in and out of the white coral. The water was turquoise, and the seashore had white sand and palm trees. Treading water for a whole hour was exhausting, and when we climbed back onto the catamaran, a hot lunch was ready for us.

After lunch we went to another part of the island that was even more beautiful. We saw lots of tiny turtles hatching on the shore, which is an extremely rare occurrence. Most people who live in Barbados have never seen turtles hatching. Alan splashed into the water to go see them. I said I was fine watching from the boat.

The day couldn’t have been more lovely. We just buzzed around on the catamaran, watching the lovely scenery go by. Then we went back to our cruise ship, where we had a lovely dinner. All the waiters started dancing to the YMCA song. Every night after dinner, the waiters would start dancing in a cheesy way. Our waiter was a total ham and did funny things just to amuse us.

(Stay tuned for part 8 of our amazing Bahamas trip story, where we go on a high-adrenaline zip line…)

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