Friday, December 3, 2010

Postcard from Jamaica, Part Deux

Barbara: Well, here I am, on the eve of our last day, getting ready to post my second postcard to all you guys. I’m happy to tell you that it’s been just perfect in every way.

And PS, these are still my crappy iphone photos (no camera cord, remember?). Phil hates himself here, but I think he looks adorable.

 Here are a few benefits to traveling in the “off season”:

The not even half-full resort means that you can partake of any activity at any given time because there’s always space (like on the gratis snorkeling excursions––where you might find yourself memorizing every underwater phenomenon in case you never see its like again).

You can always find a primo beach spot (Phil and I favour a gazebo that is perched over the ocean on a boardwalk––actually you can see it behind our heads in the photo. Normally, we’re all about the sand, but here the sun and shade are available in equal measure under the gazebo, whereas the beach often loses sun or broils under it—not so good for my pale skin.). It feels like we have our own hoity cabana.

Not only does the resort lure you to it through cheapo half-price sales, but it even throws in spa credits (yes, you heard me: spa credits!! Imagine if you will a couple’s massage on that same gazebo perched over the sea as the sun sets.).

You always get a table overlooking the ocean (if you want one).

And there aren’t nearly as many drunken partiers overestimating their ability to ingest the all-you-can-drink offerings.

The downside? My empathetic nature inclines me to worry for the poor half-full resort and its staff: how will they survive without legions of revelers as fewer and fewer people seem to have the time or money for this kind of indulgence? Anyway, just wanted to point out that my husband and I are doing our part in the all-important save-the-resorts campaign. We are selfless people.

So, it truly is lovely and relaxing and beautiful. And I am grateful beyond words for all of it. Not only that I’ve been able to come here for my own indulgence, but grateful that the world even has such bounty to offer. I never take for granted my home landscape, but there is something powerful about meeting a foreign landscape for the first time. I am always moved by how the world feels both majestically hardy and heartbreakingly fragile.

And maybe a vacation between a husband and wife offers the same magnifying glass to the hardiness and fragility of relationships. I have seen couples here bring all the petty grievances and tribulations of home to this paradise, and couples who sit side by side in complete and utter silence, maybe for lack of common ground or maybe in communal comfort, and couples who seem to see and hear each other with fresh (windswept) eyes and ears.

 Phil and I haven’t had many issues with honesty and communication over the years, but there’s nothing like throwing off the shackles of responsibility to give us a burst of refreshed and renewed romance. Luxuriating on our loungers between naps and reading, or bent over candlelight and under evening stars, we’ve been talking a lot about our joys and hopes and ideas and, of course, our daughters. We talk about them a LOT. Some things you don’t want to leave behind.

I’ve told Phil a few times already how grateful I am that he is as good a listener as he is a talker. It seems I need both.

But my favourite moment with my husband so far? The other night at the resort show, they were having a “Newlywed” type game where couples on stage were asked about their relationships while their significant others were sequestered. Phil and I played along privately in the audience, telling each other the answers we would have given had we been up there. The men were asked what was their beloved’s most annoying habit. Phil––who never misses a chance to tease me mercilessly (it’s his “thing”)––was stumped. I mean truly stumped. I couldn’t believe it (especially since I could name half-a-dozen habits I thought annoyed him). He insisted he couldn’t think of one. And then something came to him: apparently I gasp. Surprise, delight, fear, shock, empathy: all of it makes me gasp. And me gasping scares the bejeezuz out of him. I'm proud to say I took that one on the chin like a man (and kissed him for it like a woman ;) ).

Not bad for a comfortable old couple with miles of experience, huh? It’s good work when you can get it.

See you back at home!!


  1. It sounds like you had such an amazing trip. And don't worry I know a lot of people that gasp at things.It just shows you truly are interested at what a person is saying when you gasping at things. That is the perfect thing to do when someone is telling you something and all you have no idea what to say,just gasp. Perfect. I tend to gasp at things that scare me or shock me,but thats it.

  2. Barb it sounds heavenly and Phil you look adorable she is right! I agree with Lyndsie I love the gasp for the same reasons and those reasons so apply to you! You are so very focused on others and their joys and sorrows. I have not thought of it before but you do gasp and it's great. Because when you do I realize that you are reacting to what I have said. I have probably heard the gasp often given all the stories I share with you. I am so thrilled for you both that your trip was the stuff that dreams are made of!!!!!!!!! Love, Deb xo

  3. Loved the descriptions and the gasp-who knew.

  4. Wow, Barbara! Pure bliss! You'll be smiling all the way into 2011! :)

    Eager to see more pics when you can hook up your camera back at home.

  5. I love stories about couples who are happy together. And husbands who only have nice things to say about their wives, and vice versa. And I agree, Phil is lookin' good!

  6. Yes happy couples or happy people are always nice to hear about aren't they Kate. The one thing you failed to tell us though Barb is what bad habits of Phil's you dredged up!

  7. Oh Darling Barb! I am sooo so happy to hear about your wonderful trip!
    So glad you enjoyed every second if it. Soak it in! It is so good for your soul, and knowing what a generous spirit you are, you'll come home and share that goodness with everyone around you.

    (Did you go to Sandals? That's our place!)

  8. This just sounds heavenly Barbara--I'm glad you've had such a wonderful time! I promise to get there if we ever have means to do my part! (off season sounds PERFECT). I adore that little towel critter! It's possibly the cutest linen creation I've ever seen.

  9. So glad you had a fabulous guilt free trip!

    We are completely off season travel people - inexpensive (well, or less costly), people are in a better mood and it feels like your own private get away.

    Did you swim nekkid????

  10. Wow, so happy you're having a great time there. And so happy to hear your happy marriage story. Mine is happy, too, but hasn't left home for a very long time - glad to read about your adventures. Someday. . .

  11. Holly Barb will love to read your good wishes when she gets home. Hart too. And I agree with you the linen creature killed me with the cute. Tannis I wonder if she will ever tell?????????? And Erica, believe it...someday.

  12. Yes, you do "gasp" Barb! And it makes telling you stories or answering questions all the more fun - you "interact" as a listener and that is satisfying for the "teller"!

    This sounds like heaven - you have so much to celebrate together - I'm so pleased it was indeed wonderful for you both!

    Love Sandy

  13. heaven indeed Sandy! Let's all go with them next time!

  14. We have an award for you today at our bog! :0) erica and christy

  15. THANKS SO MUCH ERICA AND CHRISTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!You are dolls.

  16. *eager to know Barbara and Phil arrived back home safely*

  17. Barb, howled at this one...I have that same habit of greeting all sorts of stimuli with a sharp intake of air. Recently overheard the two offspring chatting, Daughter, "Did you tell mom about the parking ticket? Son, "Yup!" Daughter, "How'd she take it?" Son, "Predictably...she responded with Mom's totally meaningless gasp!"

  18. loved all these vacay posts... a photo is worth a thousand words, too, isn't it? :)


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