One Happy Island

I typically write as I go through life, but lately everything has been way too hectic to sit down and share my thoughts on here. Now that I have some free time again, I want to catch you all up on everything. I’m going to start with our honeymoon, then work backwards to our wedding and the planning process.

We went to Aruba for a week and a half, and it was absolutely amazing. I am kind of obsessed with the island now, and despite having a good amount of time there, I wasn’t fully ready to come back yet. Our first day there was exhausting because we had to wake up at 4 in the morning to go. This was our first honeymoon lesson as a married couple. I don’t do well waking up early like that, and it turns out Robert isn’t the biggest fan of it either. So next trip — leave a little later. Noted.

Our flight was pretty easy. Robert carried our suitcases through the airport and I made sure we had plenty of snacks and gum for the road. Even enough, right? Really, though, one thing I am quickly learning about marriage is that it isn’t about evening out the playing field or exchanging chore for chore. I think it’s more of a team effort to create similar goals and desires, then find creative ways to achieve them. We will talk about this in another post, though.

Once we arrived to the resort, we were exhausted. We looked at our beautiful view of the beach, and decided to spend the rest of the day recharging.

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We had such a beautiful view with two balconies, but after finding out it was our honeymoon one of the managers decided to upgrade us to a gorgeous suite. It felt like a dream and was really what a honeymoon should feel like! My only concern now is that we won’t ever get anything quite as nice as this.

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We stayed in a smaller building called “The Villa,” and still had a beachy view from our third floor balcony. We had a private pool and a little bar right outside our room for us and the other Villa people.

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We had a great routine in Aruba. Wake up, eat breakfast at the buffet, grab a cappuccino, and play cards until we were ready to go out to the pool. Then, we relaxed in the cool pool water with a refreshing drink until we were ready to venture out to the beach for the rest of the day.

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The beach at Aruba was one of the most beautiful ones I’ve ever been to. The water was bright blue, and the sky was always the perfect shade — with the exception of ten minutes of rain a few days. We enjoyed letting the water toss us around and swimming into the deeper area of the “swim zone” every day. I really felt like the water was so healing and good for my heart.

The last full day of our trip we decided to go on an ATV tour. We had left the resort once before to go explore and shop, but we wanted to see some of the other sights Aruba is famous for. We saw the Natural Bridge, Andicuri Beach, the Alto Vista Chapel, and the California Lighthouse. I was really stiff after the adventure, but it was so worth it. We drove on the streets of Aruba with other cars, then made our way to the beaches to go off-roading. Towards the middle of our excursion it started to rain, so instead of sulking when we got soaking wet we decided to make a game of it and drive through the giant mud puddles that were forming. I had a blast and wouldn’t have changed a thing.

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Selfie after we hit a huge mud puddle. I did not get new freckles this trip; that is pure mud!

Our honeymoon was so amazing and I wish we could go back again like, tomorrow. I highly recommend going to Aruba if you can make the trip, and will offer a few tips on honeymooning in one of my next posts. This is going to be one of the most special vacations, but I know we have so many more great ones to come.


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Honorable mention to our little Iguana friend, Mojito. He loves lettuce and coconut water, and will fight other lizards for food. 

Full

First, I would like to start this blog post by saying “Hoppy Easter.” Macy is sitting in my lap right now and wanted me to include a cute animal pun.

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The change in weather in the DC area has been crazy lately. This is a huge annoyance because it’s made me more symptomatic. Fall has become my favorite season since the temperatures are typically pretty mild, and there doesn’t seem to be as much rain as there is in the springtime.

This summer will be my 5 year anniversary with POTS. Did you know that a 50 year anniversary is called a “golden anniversary?” I guess you’re typically supposed to get your significant other something made out of gold. My brain is a funny thing and works really quickly jumping from one subject to the next, so I somehow got to thinking about that and wondering if a 5 year anniversary had a name. After a quick meeting with Google, I found that silverware is the token gift for 5 years. I couldn’t help but grin since I often feel like I don’t have enough spoons throughout the week. This is a kind of cruel irony.

One of the hardest things about having a chronic illness is just the simple fact that life is more drastically unpredictable than the average human’s. You often hear someone with a chronic condition say that they are having a “good day” or a “bad day,” but either way it will pass and there will be another kind lined up and ready to take its place. POTS has taught me to really enjoy moments, especially when I get to do something out of the ordinary that might cause a lot of joy — and bring with it a lot of pain the next day.

I write about pain a lot more than I ever talk about it because I do want to enjoy my life and have the little moments that make life so beautiful. Regardless of feeling crappy right now, I want to remember that four years ago my life was being lived horizontally. I do feel really blessed that I can walk, sit upright, and enjoy so many amazing things that I do take for granted. A few years ago I couldn’t stand more than a minute at a time without fainting, and the only time I really left home was to go to the doctors office or to the gym for my daily recumbent bike routine.  The thing I find most interesting about this is that I have really fond memories even from way back then. The amazing part of being an optimist and looking at the glass half full is that I do remember how shitty I felt, but it isn’t at the forefront of my mind when I think about being 23 years old. I think about watching Top Chef with my mom and dreaming about being able to cook again one day. I remember making “Dunkaroos” with Goldfish and salt because I couldn’t figure out another way to eat enough, and I remember close friends coming over and sitting on the couch with me and telling me stories about what their life is like post college. I remember sitting with my passenger seat reclined as my dad drove me two miles down the road to do my gym workout, and the stories we would tell each other back and forth. I remember him telling me I would get better one day, and my mom playing “Would You Rather” with me when I couldn’t sleep at night. I still have the memory of lying down in the middle of the movie theater floor so I wouldn’t pass out while waiting in line for popcorn with friends, but I don’t remember the extreme nausea and dizziness from that episode anymore. Now it’s a kind of funny memory, and I wonder how there was a time I didn’t feel embarrassed to be the center of attention for something so out of the ordinary. In fact, I feel lucky that I get embarrassed about POTS things now. This means I am healing and major health complications are not a regular part of my day.

Tonight I am stiff, sore, and ready for sleep. My shoulders hurt from a long week and I am ready for the pain to subside so I can get a good night’s sleep. Instead of remembering this feeling a year from now, though, I know that I am going to remember what it was like going out on a fun double date and reminiscing through old college memories, rather than how badly my shoulders hurt or how tired I am of “working to get better.” I know that one day I will be a lot more normal because I am still making improvements, even if they sometimes feel small.

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I don’t know whether looking at the glass half full is something you’re born with, or an outlook you develop, but I am so thankful that I have that ability in my life. I know sometimes it can be easy to feel frustrated or wonder why you got the short end of the stick in one way or another, but the way I see it is if a glass is half empty, it is because you enjoyed something from it, so there is something to be joyful for. Glasses are things that are meant to be filled and emptied, kind of in the same way that life sometimes has its ups and downs. We may not have the ability to control everything that happens in our lives, but we can learn to control our outlook, which is actually one of the most incredible and worthwhile things a person can do. Life isn’t always easy or fun, but there is always something to be joyful for — you just have to learn how to look for it.