Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Notes from the Caribbean and beyond

The answer is yes.


The cruise hit Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos...

San Juan, Puerto Rico...

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands...

And Half Moon Cay, Bahamas...

We were pretty tired by the time the ship stopped at Half Moon Cay, so this is about the most exciting picture I have from there. I was also really sunburned, hence the hat. I had done a pretty good job of keeping my sunscreen on (went through a whole bottle of SPF 50!) until we went to St. Thomas.

Watch out for St. Thomas. The rum will sneak up on you.

We were able to do all the excursions we wanted to do: clear-bottom kayaking in Grand Turk, where we searched for conch shells and held non-poisonous jellyfish; ziplining in San Juan, which is something I've always wanted to do and had a lot of fun doing; and snorkeling in St. Thomas, which is pretty much the greatest place in the entire world, ever.

Fun fact: our snorkeling guide was from Woodinville! He graduated from my high school a few years ahead of me. I'm thinking the whole leave-Woodinville-and-move-to-St.-Thomas thing sounds pretty good. Or move to any part of the Caribbean. The weather was sunny and warm — upper 70s and low 80s — every single day.

Did I mention that it snowed the day after I got back to Seattle? Did I mention that it began snowing about 10 minutes after I crossed the finish line at the Green Lake Gobble 5K? Did I mention that I thought I would never cross that finish line since I had just spent a week eating and drinking to my body's capacity nearly every day?

Oh, man. Was I ever happy to cross that finish line.

How to look like a giant nerd while... you know.

I was only back in Seattle for a few days before I was off to southern California for Thanksgiving with my dad, his fiancee, my brother and our extended family — my 91-year-old granddad, his partner, my aunt and uncle, and my cousins/their wives and kids.

The goal of the trip was to spend time with my granddad, as his time left on Earth is growing shorter. I was able to hear more of his great stories, fill him in on my recent adventures and tell him some things I wanted him to know before he passes.

My granddad once wrote in a Christmas card that he wished he knew me better, and that broke my heart a little bit. I grew up in Washington and only visited him every few years, and never had in-depth conversations with him. There obviously wasn't time this Thanksgiving to catch up on all 23 years of my life or all 91 of his, but there was time to tell him about this past year, during which I've been able to catch my footing in life and figure a few things out. I also printed out several entries from this blog that I thought would help him know me better, and I'll never forget how delighted he was as he started to read them.

Most of all, I just wanted him to know that I'll be OK. That we'll all be OK. That he's been an amazing father and grandfather, and that he's helped create a thriving family of slightly weird people who really love him a lot.

I know he's visited some fantastic places in his life, and I told him that I'd like to see the world. He said he thought that was a fine idea. "I really hope you do that," he said. "You'll never regret spending the money."

I said yes, I will do that. And when I do, I will think of you.


1 comment:

  1. Wow! lovely trip, I can't believe I came to know your blog by a chance, while you were cruising around San Juan.
    We (Wife, daughter and myself) live a 5 minute drive from the 1st and 3rd pic, and Toro Verde (The ziplines on the 2nd) were great! just tried them earlier this year.
    Soooo many other stuff worth doing in SJ, next time let us recommend you new adventures!


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