Mainely on the Nubs

I am so completely in love with my friends. Even when I don’t get to see them regularly, it’s like no time has passed when we get together. They are the best group of people I could ever know, and on more than one occasion, have saved my life both physically and mentally.

My grad school girlfriends in particular kill me in the best way possible. When we are together, we experience the most side-splitting laughter, tears of empathy, and emotional connection that leaves us so fulfilled at the end of our time together. Those are the kinds of friendships that sustain you, leave you excited to see each other again, but independent enough to need our own lives…because let’s be honest, living our own lives gives us better stories to share the next time we see each other!

In the past, we’ve visited Charleston, Colorado, DC, San Diego, and any trip we take that one of us is unable to attend, we will simply print out a picture of their head, attach it to a stick, and take pictures with our absentee floating head of a friend. Our trips aren’t as often as they were when we were in grad school, but now we definitely don’t pile 9 people into a 1 bedroom place anymore. We’re grown ass women now after all.

We planned our trip to Maine nearly a year before because Mel was pregnant and ready to get the hell out into the world with adults. We actually end up planning many of our trips WAY ahead of time because our group is filled with type-A planners, whom many of which now have children. And we all know I love a good plan, so I was down immediately. We planned it the weekend after Labor Day, which was excellent timing since I hadn’t really gotten too deep in my doctoral program yet. However, my full time job was a different story, and by the time this trip rolled around, even though we were only 3 weeks into the semester, I felt ready to drown.

Once I landed in Boston, I was of course, the last one. And I mean like 1 am, last one. Nidia, Handy, and Lauren were all waiting for me, and once I got in the car, it was a freaking sitcom of a shitshow watching us try to get out of Boston. I swear, that city and its roads have been under construction for like 25 years. We at one point were seriously driving in a circle trying to find an exit, and at some point, we ran over a skunk, which should just sum up what driving in the Boston area is truly like.

We decided to take a few day trips while making our homebase in York, Maine. It didn’t hold any special meaning, other than it was 1 hour from Boston, and about 1-2 hours from other sites we could do in a day. We had originally thought up a plan to drive to Acadia National Park, which would’ve meant nearly 7 hours of driving in one day. See, this is what happens when you plan things far ahead AND you still think you’re 18 years old. When we got together that weekend, we all immediately were like, WHAT THE EFF WERE WE THINKING, and decided on another idea quickly.

All in all, we made as much of the weekend as we could, while also taking the time to relax, sleep in a little bit, and enjoy each other’s company. We rented two cars and had assigned seating in those cars the whole weekend (not intentionally, but it worked out well). Mel found the house in AirBnb, and it was completely amazing. Enough bedrooms and bathrooms for 7 women, 2 of whom were sick, so we quarantined them in the upstairs, pirate-themed bedroom. Lauren and I shared a room and our view was beautiful! It was walking distance to the Nubble Lighthouse and the quaint little town of York.

Our first day, we just explored York. It’s small but oh so freaking cute. I have to say how proud I was of myself when we went grocery shopping and I guessed our total amount so closely that I was only off by 75 cents! Go me! We visited the Lighthouse, which we didn’t know you can’t actually get to. So we looked at it from afar, and got some yummy lobster because duh, you’re in Maine. We also took a walk along the coast, and you gotta love a New England coast. So incredibly different from Florida, but beautiful nonetheless.

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The next day, we drove to Portland, ME. Our first stop was a bathroom, and we ducked into a tea shop for it. It was crazily enough, one of the most memorable places we’ve ever been, because if there’s ever been a tea shop with its head up its own ass, it was this one, Dobra Tea. We had to ring a bell to get service at our table, we couldn’t order a tea for the table then ask for it to go because the sizes were somehow different, and honestly, I didn’t know what the hell 75% of the teas were anyways. I just got chamomile and a cookie.

We ended up at a sandwich shop, Sisters Gourmet Deli, right around the corner, and it was DELISH. Highly recommended. We walked around for a bit, went to the Liquid Riot brewery, an outside gallery, and then tried to go to Portland Head Lighthouse right before it closed. Only half of our group made it, the other half (my half) went into a private neighborhood, snapped some pictures of the lighthouses we could see, then went to dinner at Bao Bao (again, highly recommended as well). This is also how many of our trips go: we base our walking on food and drink stops. Isn’t that how everyone plans their vacations??

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Our last day, on our way back to Boston to catch all our flights, we stopped at Portsmouth, NH. I feel like I had been there in college, but I can hardly remember anything (thanks antidepressants), so even if I had been there, it was a brand new experience this time around. We were only there for about an hour, but man, I just can’t get enough of these little New England towns. The history, the bricks, the sights…just too beautiful. Our first stop was a coffee shop, and I was so confused when I saw that the  names of all the pastries in the display case were in German. Once we walked outside and I actually read the name of the GERMAN coffee house, it all made sense (and clearly I needed that coffee for reals).

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We all left on our flights that afternoon, and it was done. Our trip we’d planned so well and efficiently was over, and thankfully I have these amazing photos to remember it by.

Some of these ladies discovered Marco Polo a few years ago, which is a video chat app that allows you to record yourself, send it to one person or a group, and the video waits for the person in the app until they can get on and see it. I resisted. And resisted some more. I refused to download one more app that required me to figure out how to use it. Then during this trip, I acquiesced and it’s been one of the better choices I’ve made (I’m looking at you, stupid Snapchat). Since we left Maine, we’ve been in constant contact, and it makes it that much better when you can see each other’s faces regularly.

I can’t wait for our next trip. This being Thanksgiving week and all, man am I grateful for amazing girlfriends who only make my life better. Thank you ladies, I love you so much.

♥, VB

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Cruisin’ into Stress

So this post has sat in draft form for nearly 3 months because as usual, life got in the way. Because the outside world keeps stressing me the hell out, I thought now would be as good a time as any to relieve our big cruise vacation at the end of July.

We had originally planned on going to Belize with another couple and those plans fell through pretty quickly. My boss didn’t let me take the original start date of the vacation off after all, and then we waited too long and the couple couldn’t go. We thought about what else we could do since we could still take a week off, but just not go to Belize anymore since we also waited too long to get our money refunded (don’t worry, we used the credit for a trip to the Bahamas in December, so it all worked out just fine).

I ended up finding a 7-night cruise that took us from Fort Lauderdale, Grand Cayman, Honduras, Belize, to Cozumel aboard the Caribbean Princess from Princess Cruise Lines.

I absolutely LOVE cruises! There’s just something about boarding and not having to worry about anything: no driving, no taking luggage all over the place, no having to worry about drinking or where to eat or how to get to different places. You just get on the boat, unpack, and let the ship take you to the next location.

With the exception of maybe 4 major cruise lines, I’ve now been on them all at least once. I had never been on Princess but had only heard good things, so we booked and off we went!

And it wasn’t that great.

Let’s just say that the week started with me PMS-ing haaaaaarrrdd, and I wasn’t exactly the most delightful person to be around. Combine that with Timmy’s incessant lateness, and we didn’t have the best start or middle part to the trip. It was like the perfect storm of ugh.

The boat was beautiful but old, and many areas really REALLY needed an update. Our room was in the very back with a beautiful view and a huge balcony, but other than that, it was very late 80s in decor and nothing incredibly special.

Added to this delightful mix was the HORRID customer service we received from most of the wait staff at nearly all the locations except the specialty restaurants that cost extra,  the lackluster food selection, and we were left totally underwhelmed. And we spent a pretty penny on this trip, from the additional packages, massages, drinks, room, and food…just 100% disappointing all around.

We actually left one dinner early and ended up skipping our last two nights of the main dining service because our servers were just that bad. I’ve really never experienced anything like the service we had on board. At all the bars, the coffee places, the frozen yogurt spot, all of it was terrible. I’ve had better service on Carnival, which is just for like spring breakers and 20 year olds. I’ve had better service anywhere but Princess.

But let’s not dwell on the bad (believe me, we did enough of that on the trip). The excursions were the saving grace of our trip. Everything we did on port was something active and totally worth it. We’re usually not excursion people because they cost so much most of the time, but this trip we agreed we wanted to see the sites in a unique and active way.

Our first stop was Georgetown, Grand Cayman. We’d both been here before, so we decided to sign up for a bike ride around the town, which was super fun. We saw the major sights (including the Turtle sanctuary we stopped at during our Disney Cruise 5 years ago), sweated a ton, but definitely spent a unique afternoon seeing Georgetown!

Our next stop was Roatán, Honduras. I had never thought to go to Honduras, but this little tiny island was so interesting. We took about an hour-long ride to get to the other side which was totally uninhabited and free of most tourists. We passed through some of the most abject poverty I’ve seen. It’s always so hard to go these types of places but you know tourism is their main economy so support is necessary. This day, we did horseback riding in the ocean, which is an item we can now safely check off the bucket list. The views were incredible, the staff was amazing there, and we had a really relaxing, memorable time there.

The next day we were in Belize City, Belize, which, if you can believe it, English is the main language spoken there! We were so surprised, expecting to speak in Spanish first, which we still did because practice makes perfect. In Belize, we booked a zip-line tour of the jungle and underground cave tubing adventure. It took us almost an hour and a half to reach our location but the tour guide was one of the best we’ve ever had because it only felt like 30 minutes! We learned a crazy amount of information, like most Belizeans had kept panthers as pets before an educational campaign told them this wasn’t the best idea, most Florida orange juice contains a majority of Belizean oranges, and more! After our adventure above and below, we got some fresh coconuts (yum!) and when we did the additional rum, the bartender went overboard and I’m pretty sure my coconut ended up being 70% rum.

Our last stop was Cozumel, Mexico. I’ve been here, honestly, I don’t even know how many times. It’s such a popular cruise stop, and I’ve done the bar drinking, partying, and seeing the ruins before. Timmy had seen ruins in Belize in high school, so we made the decision together to do something totally different and took a cooking class instead.

This ended up being my favorite day the entire trip! We each had our own stations, and there were only 5 of us there: one other much older couple, a woman from Montreal, and us. We made delicious food from start to finish (nearly. It would have been even better if we’d been able to make our tortillas from scratch) and the staff was amazing.

The best part was when they learned I spoke Spanish. You would’ve thought I was a goddess who came down from heaven, the way they treated me. It made me laugh so hard because it reminded me of our senior year trip to Cancun when my mother and her best friend were our chaperones. One night, they went to dinner and when the staff learned that they were Spanish, OMG, it was like their own personal spring break. The waiters were just lavishing attention on them, giving them an entirely free bottle of Bailey’s, and were just crazy about them!

The chefs were all about me, let me tell you. If I ever need a self-confidence boost, I know EXACTLY were to go! 🙂

We also didn’t factor in the fact that we live in a beach town year-round now. When we went on our last cruise, we lived in hell-hole Lakeland, so a Caribbean trip was oh-so-needed. This time, we were like, “Oh cool, more hot weather. Nice, more palm trees. Cool, clear blue water again…” Not to sound jaded, but St. Pete is amazing and we’re no longer in that head-space where a trip in the Caribbean is a needed getaway.

Unfortunately, the cruise brought some crazy news regarding both Timmy and my jobs that undid any relaxation our amazing massages gave us (and they were no doubt, the best massages we have ever had). I’d give this trip overall a C+. It certainly wasn’t our worst trip together, but it definitely doesn’t land amongst the best (other than our excursions, which truly were memorable and awesome).

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our anniversary package

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one of the last nights on the cruise

Oh well, we can’t win them all, can we?

♥, VB

North Georgia

Over the holiday break, I decided to do a little special something for Timmy. This past year, he has traveled on average for work almost 2.5 weeks of every month. That’s a lot of airports, rental cars, losing things in rental cars, contacting rental car company and getting stuff back, ubers, luggage, hotel stays, hotel food, and stuff. Needless to say, by November, he was over it. I was over it. Floyd was very over it.

Traveling that much, I just can’t imagine. Going back and forth to Miami and Atlanta over and over and over again can really wear a person down, and in 2018, not only has travel started back up in high gear again, but he has now been given Alabama and Mississippi (the most shameful states in the Union I must say) to boot. My schedule will also be insane this spring semester, so quality time will be prioritized over most everything.

I wanted to do something special to show him how much I appreciate what he does to provide for us, and really give us a comfortable life through sacrificing time with me and Floyd so I secretly started planning a getaway.

When we lived in Atlanta, there was a bed and breakfast only about 2 hours away in Hiawassee that was beyond adorable. It was also the area that Timmy’s family owned a lake house that contained many happy times and the most sad memory ever for them.

We loved going there. I had never really been in my life and it’s just so beautiful in the North GA mountains. I also loved being able to give Timmy new memories of a town that had given him and his family so much despair and sadness as that was where his father had his accident before passing away nearly 14 years ago. It was healing for him in a way that I wish could be possible for everyone. Since we moved to FL, we haven’t been back up there, and we’ve missed it.

The holidays, year after year in FL, just SUDDENLY happen because we have no seasons, so out of nowhere it’s HalloweenThanksgivingChristmasYearOver. I wanted to experience cold again, and winter, and heavy clothes, and all that crap. Each year we’ve gone home for Xmas, it’s been barely cold enough to wear gloves, which is a real let down over the holidays.

My gift to him was a 3-day, 2-night stay at the Brasstown Valley Resort and Spa. We had been to dinner there once but never stayed, and I always wondered what it would be like to stay in a resort in the mountains. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint.

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On our way up, we stopped in Helen, GA for a quick bite and a beer. If you’ve never heard of Helen, it might be the most random town in the world. It’s quite literally in the middle of nowhere GA (which is never a good place to be in my opinion), completely German-ized. German architecture, German food, German music, all of it German. It’s kind of crazy yet awesome.

We arrived at the resort on the Wednesday before New Year’s to a nearly empty lodge. It was full of old people (hey, we’re Floridians now so it felt totally normal) and MY GOD WAS IT COLD. I left my heavy coats at my parents’ house since I have zero need for them in FL, and thank the Lord above I did that because my knee length down coat was a savior. Along with the hat and leggings I bought in Helen, I finally felt like winter had arrived for the first time in years.

[BTW, a high of 31 degrees is cold for anyone, so none of this “You think you were cold??? Let me tell you…” nonsense that I know some of you are thinking.]

I had reserved a cabin, which was like having a private hotel room in a cabin. We had a fire place, rocking chairs, and a really pretty view. As soon as we arrived, we got drinks from the bar (a hot chocolate with Bailey’s for me, thank you very much) and watched the sunset behind the mountains. It was just magical.

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the hot chocolate was the star of the show

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IMG_0969.jpgI didn’t do the greatest job planning because we tried to make spa reservations and they were completely booked up which was a bummer. No way in hell was horseback riding going to happen in that cold, so we opted for a 2-mile hike along one of the resort’s trails where Timmy proceeded to take a work call because hey, you can’t totally unplug sometimes in his profession.

If you ever get a chance, go there. It was definitely worth it and for us to experience winter during the holidays (finally), well it’s just another memory to treasure.

♥, VB

Just The Way We Like It

This past month has been grueling. I’m 100% not ready to write about everything that happened as it’s been a pretty emotional and exhausting time, but I promise I will.

In the meantime, I thought today was as good a day as any to share something Timmy and I have had so much fun with the past few months: planning them, taking them, sharing them. When I say fun, I mean F-U-N. As in tears streaming down our faces because we can’t stop laughing at ourselves and all of our completely brilliant ideas.

I am of course talking about our engagement pictures.

If you know us, you are probably slightly aware of the fact that Timmy and I like to laugh and enjoy making others laugh as well. We’re pretty self-deprecating and will do whatever we can to get that laugh. Even when others think we’re morons, at least we’re laughing first and foremost (and sometimes last).

Clearly, our engagement pictures were the perfect vehicle for this. I originally had some really ambitious ideas for photoshopping and visual imagery that were, in essence, our way of saying “F*&k You Pinterest” for making everyone believe that having the exact same type of engagement picture is somehow a good thing. As if couples should no longer seek to share something that makes them unique or create a little window into their life together for others to see.

Railroad tracks, old bridges, and brick walls are not unique, my friends. Not anymore.

Unfortunately, I had to give that dream up as our original photographer almost died after taking our original shots in February and I didn’t really think it would be appropriate to be like, “Hey James’ family, I know your son is like at death’s door, but can I grab those pictures when you get a chance? Kthanksbye.”

Like many things I wanted for our wedding planning, compromise was the name of the game. And also a pain in the ass, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

So we enlisted our wedding photographer, Raven Shutley from YouAreRaven (I found her on A Practical Wedding who is not only affordable but takes the most breathtaking photos with a very light editing touch), to meet us one weekend morning in Atlanta in May. I loved her work online and couldn’t wait to work with her. I feel very strongly that our photos should look like us; I didn’t want us so retouched that we look like robots. We filled Raven in on what we were looking to do: nothing serious, nothing romantic, nothing lovey-dovey, and certainly nothing Pinterest-like. Not only did she get it, she was 100% down with getting the photos we wanted and never once tried to sway us from our vision.

Why go through so much trouble to get silly photos, you may ask? Honestly, that’s just who we are. If you’ve ever spent time with us as a couple, you know that we poke fun at each other and ourselves, we’re silly, and we genuinely enjoy bringing people into the fun, crazy world we bring to life every time we’re with each other. To showcase any other image through photos that we’ll own forever would not only be inauthentic, it would be a flat-out lie.

Anyone can capture a loving gaze. Anyone can shoot just the bride and ignore the groom entirely. Not everyone can capture the essence of your relationship through a photo. And that’s what Raven was able to accomplish.

Once we finished the session (which included about 30 minutes of searching for the Beltline Trail entrance until we just gave up and went to the park I played in as a child, and afterwards we drove to the restaurant to finish shooting and meet my parents for lunch, we drove right over the Trail not even 2 miles from the park…), we anxiously awaited the return of the photos. Once they were ready, we had a Google Hangout with Raven where, I’m not joking, the 3 of us laughed so hard at the final products that we barely got a word in the entire time we were on the call.

I’d call the entire thing a complete success. Once we chose the photos we wanted to include in our Save the Dates, I got busy designing the cards and spent HOURS staring at my computer, collapsing in never-ending giggles. Timmy and I chose 6 different Save the Dates, so everyone on our list got a different one. Timmy and I spent last weekend going through our guest list, and one by one, decided who should get which card, and laughed the entire time we did it.

Are these Save the Dates completely appropriate? Not so much. Are they romantic? Nope. Are they us? YES. 100 million times YES.

I’m sure our parents would’ve liked something a little more tame and traditional, but I have to admit, we wouldn’t change a single thing about the photos or the cards. I have the feeling that our parents think that I’m 100% responsible for the direction these photos took, but I want to remind them and everyone else that like most everything in this relationship, we make EVERY decision together (which drives me insane the majority of the time). Nothing that represents us as a couple is decided by either of us in isolation, so if you’re a little ticked about the photos, all I ask is that you remember that it wasn’t just me.

Oh, and get over it.

Timmy and I will remember planning the poses, taking these photos, and choosing who gets which card as times of doubled-over laughter and deep bonding, as we were continuously reminded of why we chose each other in the first place and why we choose every day to stay together.

Enjoy a few of the photos we took that day.

FYI, I doubt our wedding pictures are going to be much different, so stay tuned. 🙂

To Raven, you made our dreams come true. You can read Raven’s blog about our engagement session here.

♥,

VB

Panama

This last month has been exhausting. There’s been a lot of traveling, a lot of stress, and a lot of heartbreak. There’s also been a lot of joy and hope, so let’s start with the first story and make our way through the rest later.

The weekend after our Bach party (as in 3 days later) we flew to Panama for a friend’s wedding in a remote location off the coast called Bocas del Toro. My father’s side of the family all still lives in Panama City, so imagine my surprise when I ended up being the first in my entire family to visit Bocas. I’m such a world traveler.

On the flight from Atlanta to Panama, we got upgraded to First Class and holy shit I don’t think I can ever go back to being a regular citizen. That was legit. AAAAAANND I totally forgot that my friends’ gelato company, Honeysuckle, is now served on first class flights on Delta, so that was definitely fun and filled me with pride at how cool my friends are.

We sat next to two gentlemen that were THE definition of the odd couple, talking extremely loudly, making each other laugh, and just genuinely becoming friends. It was a much older white man who was super overserved with wine (as we all were) and a SUPER tall black man who, as we learned later on the flight, used to play for the Atlanta Braves in the 70s and was roommates with Dale Murphy. How cool is that??

My cousin picked us up from the airport and drove us to our hotel around 9:30p, which gave us just enough time to shower and fall asleep only to get up at 5 am to make our flight to Bocas. We got into the cab, told the driver Albrook Airport, and took off.

About 30 minutes later, I had the feeling that something wasn’t right. I had purposefully picked our hotel because it was only 15 minutes from the Albrook airport, so I signaled to Timmy to tell our driver, and lo and behold, we were one exit away from the WRONG AIRPORT. So we turned around and proceeded to take one of the most dangerous drives back in order to hopefully make our flight.

I had neglected to tell Timmy about driving in Central and Latin America. It’s really fun when you think about it: lane markers are really just suggestions, traffic lights are there for funsies, pedestrians get dropped off on the side of the highway, including school children, and the emergency lane is really for when you want to go faster. Timmy, bless his heart, almost had a heart attack.

And I just laughed quietly to myself.

We ended up making our flight by about 20 minutes. Thank god it was a small airport and not the international one, because we would’ve been screwed. And I had amped myself up to have a good ole, knock down drag out fight about payment since the driver was the one who messed up, but he charged us fairly and all was good.

We landed in Bocas after about a 45 minute flight and wow. What a cool freaking town. It’s laid back (think: not rich and glamorous resort living), friendly, and cheap. We stay on Isla Colon, the main island, which was about a 15 minute water taxi ride away from Bastimentos, where Jasmin and Todd were getting married. Our hotel was ADORABLE and definitely worth it.

We immediately found OUR spot, a teeny little bar restaurant with a surf/dive shop in the back. This town is clearly a surfer’s town, as everyone was unkempt, sun bleached, and suuuuuuuper laid back (read: high). This place served the BEST FISH TACOS EVER. No, I’m not kidding. They were amazing, and we went back again before we left for a repeat meal.

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The day of the wedding, we decided to take a day trip to Starfish Beach. We took a $35 cab about 30 minutes through the jungle to the other side of Colon. This was not a fun ride. The streets are “paved” and very very very hilly. It’s a miracle I didn’t get sick.

From our drop off spot, we took a water taxi about 5 minutes to the beach and OMG. This place. Unbelievable. It’s called Starfish Beach because there are starfish EVERYWHERE. You’re not allowed to pick them up but you can touch them underwater. It was just so cool.

We were pretty hungry when we got there but knew that the wedding was a few hours away, so we decided to split a meal at one of the little restaurant/shacks on the beach. There were only about 100 people on this remote beach, with a few spots to get food and drinks. We had brought the beer (which was like 85 cents for pretty delicious beer) and ordered a lobster with creole sauce from a dude who spoke perfect English. Then the coolness started.

We were told to go pick our lobster. Here we are thinking, “Oh from a tank. Cool.” Nope. FROM THE WATER.

Then we’re told to take a seat. Here we are thinking, “Ok, one of these tables.” Nope. THE TABLE IN THE WATER.

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Then he brings out the food. Here we are thinking, “This will probably be pretty good.” Nope. THE BEST LOBSTER I’VE EVER HAD.

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We clearly highly recommend checking this place out.

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The only time we were taken advantage for being tourists was on the water taxi over to Bastimentos to the Red Frog Beach Resort for the wedding. We didn’t get an itinerary in our gift bag, so I was going by the wedding website which said the wedding started at 4:30p. Knowing how long it takes Timmy to get ready (AGES), I said 4, so he’d be ready on time. We boarded the water taxi, paid the driver, and headed out.

First, he lied and said English was his first language even though it clearly wasn’t. Then, we stopped for gas (without telling us first) and asked for more money (which we didn’t give him). Then he dropped us off at the wrong dock at the island even though there were only 2 and I clearly didn’t know which one we were supposed to go to (side note: the resort is the only thing on that island. He clearly should’ve known). Thankfully, he was still close enough to come back and pick us up because at this point, Timmy and I didn’t have any more cash for a new water taxi. Silently and clearly disgruntled, he drove us to the other marina and HAD THE NERVE to tell me it was because my Spanish was so bad that he didn’t know where he was going.

F*%k You, sir. Clearly, you’re an idiot.

Finally we end up getting to the resort, which then entailed a golf cart ride to the actual wedding location, and by the time we arrived, it was 4:17. On time, right? Wrong! Apparently the wedding had been moved up to 4p, so we were late. AND YOU ALL KNOW HOW I FEEL ABOUT BEING LATE.

The Bride and her bridesmaids were already at the top of the stairs and I can’t even explain how bad that feels. We did it once before for a wedding in Beaufort, SC where the church was surrounded by 25 other churches and we got super confused as to which one we were supposed to go to. We ended up running into the church right before the bride, and I do mean, RIGHT before the bride and I’ve never felt so bad in my life.

Cue a second time doing this in Panama. We apologized profusely and explain what our taxi driver did (which apparently happened to a few people at the wedding too), and ran down the stairs only to be seated about 4 minutes before the wedding started.

Whew.

After the ceremony, they served fresh coconuts and I drank that sucker down in record time. We made our way over to the cocktail hour which was in a really cute hut overlooking a spectacular view.

And it was also in direct sunlight with no fans. I’m not going to lie, I don’t think I saw anyone use napkins for anything other than wiping off the profuse amount of sweat torentially downpouring from every inch of skin. Welcome to life on the equator. Thank god we were all wearing white.

The party moved back to the ceremony site where we ate, danced, and caught up with old friends. I heard someone say that I was Todd’s oldest friend present at the wedding, which just made my heart warm. I’ve known that dude since 1st grade, and he’s been solid ever since.

We were able to get back to our hotel much later that night so Timmy could shower. And then in the morning he showered again. And then he showered after breakfast. He took 5 showers in 18 hours. I’ve never laughed so hard at someone being unable to control their bodily perspiration. Did you realize that knees and ankles can sweat?

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We made it back to Panama City where my cousin took us on a whirlwind driving tour of Panama. I hadn’t been back to Panama in over a decade, since my Abuelita’s funeral, and holy shit, this city is insane. It looks like Dubai. The entire downtown looked NOTHING like that the few times I came to visit when I was younger. It’s really incredible.

We got dropped off at our amazingly beautiful Marriott for a quick snooze and another shower for Timmy, and then we were ready to meet the family for dinner. We went to a restaurant in Casco Viejo, which is the oldest part of Panama that they’ve beautifully restored. It looks a lot like Viejo San Juan, with its cobbled streets, white walls, and beautiful architecture and plazas. This was Timmy’s opportunity to meet nearly all of my dad’s side of the family, and I was so happy we were able to fit in a quick visit. It’s been so long since I’ve seen them, and it was so so so fun. And Timmy was a HUGE hit (when isn’t he, really). All in all, it was a fantastic but too quick 4 days.

Thanks and congratulations again to Jasmin and Todd! You gave us a reason to come to Panama to celebrate your love. We both couldn’t believe how gorgeous Jasmin looked (not that it was surprising since she’s already beautiful), I mean really stunning, and Todd couldn’t have been more happy to have all his friends and family in one place. We love you guys! Panama, we’ll be back, don’t you worry.

♥, VB