Sunday, September 18, 2011

Love From Bermuda

Hello! Loving With Chronic illness is officially back in action, and I wanted to say thanks again for being so patient. Between our recent trip to Bermuda, a wonderful visit to see John's family, and the beginning of classes, I haven't had much free time. Rest assured,'ve all been in my mind.

As I mentioned in my last post, Bermuda was incredible! The truth is John and I really needed this time together. Although we moved in together and got engaged this past June, we've had very little quality time together. Sharing a home is wonderful and we both cherish the small daily joys, like waking up and ending our days together. But because John recently began his fourth year of medical school, there just hasn't been much time to breathe. He's been confronting the natural pressures of becoming a doctor, and returning home with little physical or emotional energy left to spare. I was desperately trying to hold on to that shiny, new engaged feeling and dove right into wedding planning...especially when I realized that the whole world was apparently booking their wedding at the same time. John began studying for his board exam and applying to residency programs for next year, so wedding colors and cake tastings became low on his priority list.  It was as if someone hit the "fast forward" button on our lives, but we were simultaneously drifting apart. Suffice it to say, it was the perfect storm.

We knew that John's medical school schedule wasn't going to make things easy, but now the realities are quickly sinking in. I'm incredibly proud of his work ethic and his commitment to his patients, but it comes at a cost - both for him and our relationship We both knew it was time for a break, so when we realized he had 5 days off, the search was on for wallet-friendly vacations. We found a 4 night package to Bermuda, and the rest is history!

As soon as we touched down, we were surrounded by turquoise water, palm trees and islnders who were just as warm as the weather. We successfully left our stress back in New York, and went into full-fledged "vacation mode." When we reached our hotel (Grotto Bay Beach Resort), we soon discovered that we had two natural caves in our backyard! After we dropped our bags in our room, we rushed to explore them and were amazed by their beauty; the the stalagmites and stalactites, the crystal formations, and the gorgeous illuminated water inside.

John and I are perfect travel buddies, which was first apparent during our amazing trip to Italy last year. We both cherish new experiences, and would rather spend our time and money making memories than acquiring things. We both love learning and exploring; meeting locals, understanding history, tasting new cuisines, and seeing the sights. This trip was no exception. We were both seeking some combination of relaxation and adventure, and while laying around with tropical drinks was glorious, we also wanted to learn about the country we were visiting. John studied the local bus routes and, by the time we left for home, we had actually seen most of the island!

Undoubtedly the highlight of our trip (and perhaps our lives) was swimming with four gorgeous dolphins! We had decided that we'd do one special activity, so when we discovered there were dolphins nearby, the decision was easy! I had been lucky enough to do this once before with my dad, but never thought I'd get another chance. On our way there, we looked like two excited children on Christmas; we couldn't wait to share this experience together and meet our new aquatic friends.

When we arrived at Dolphin Quest, we saw several large pools filled with bobbing gray heads. Although the experience was quite expensive, we valued the program's commitment to public education, conservation, and research (click here to read more about their current projects). We met our trainer, changed into our gear, and lined up by the pool to learn more about these incredible animals. We could hardly wait to get in!

As we listened to the trainer speak, the dolphins swam by repeatedly, studying us with great focus and curiosity. Every 10 seconds, we noticed a little head popping up in the distance and had a hard time controlling our laughter. We later found out this action was called "spy hopping", which was essentially just to get a better look at us. When we finally made our way into the water, we could barely contain our excitement. The experience felt as natural as possible. For example, instead of holding onto their fins, we swam among our new friends were really able to appreciate their behaviors and interactions. Ready for the best part? There was a baby dolphin in the group! We were told to clap more than usual, in order to boost her self esteem :) We followed our instructor's lead, sending signals through our body language and praising them with fish. At one point, we made a certain hand motion and suddenly had two dolphins in our hands! I will never forgot those eyes: the kindness, warmth, and intensity behind their gaze. We were told to lean in for a kiss, and we were more than happy to oblige. If you wish to see the rest of the pictures from our encounter (there are 160!),  just click here. I honestly don't think we stopped smiling for the rest of the day.

We also visited two beautiful beaches - John's Smith's Bay and Horseshoe Bay Beach; the former being a secluded local favorite, and the latter being the most popular beach in Bermuda. At John Smith's Bay, we were one of maybe 10 people on the beach, and understood exactly why the locals loved it so much. The water was clean and crystal clear, and we loved lounging on the pale pink sand.  I even scooped some up into one of my pill bottles - a hiding spot that I thought was unlikely to be discovered in U.S. customs (I know, I'm such a rebel). I guess that's one perk of having to take medication!  Horseshoe Bay beach was (unsurprisingly) shaped like a horseshoe, and is famous for its caves and coves along the shoreline. The beach was packed when we visited, so although we didn't stay very long, it was an incredible sight.

I will honestly never forget this time with John. We're both beginning our final year of graduate school, and this adventure helped rejuvenate and prepare us for the year ahead. We've returned home as a stronger, happier, and more secure couple and I can't wait to start planning our next trip together!



  1. so happy for you! do i see a destination wedding in the future? :)

  2. WHAT AN AWESOME TRIP!!! Thanks for sharing! :)

    What site did you use to find your 4 night vacation package? :)

  3. Thanks Betsy! More than most, I know you understand the value of alone time. A destination wedding would be a dream.

    Kelby: Thanks for reading! We searched AirTran Airlines site...they have some great packages now, especially to the Caribbean.
    I hope you get your own adventure soon :)