Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

Turks and Caicos: Part 2

Logic will get you from A to Z: Imagination will get you everywhere. – Albert Einstein

IMG_5148

We’ve been on this magical island since last Tuesday. I have no idea how many days ago that was. I’ve kind of lost track of time here.

1) I’ve had the privilege of traveling to quite a few places in my lifetime. This place tops it. You’re going to get tired of hearing me say that. I apologize in advance, but it’s the truth. This is what I imagine life after after death looks like. It leaves you speechless no matter how long you sit and meditate on the pure beauty that lies in front of you.

2) You have to come visit at least once. You can thank me later. 🙂

3) Sunscreen doesn’t work here no matter the SPF. Or, maybe it’s because I’m as pale as a vampire. Despite the shade, sunscreen and hats, I look like a ripe tomato with freckles.

4) Met a guy on the beach named Mike. Hotel business guy from Europe. Lived here for 8 years. Came and visited. Never left. I get it. He’s helping us look for a house here.

5) Just kidding about #4. Maybe…Not about Mike, but the house thing. Again, maybe…

6) Apparently this is the hangout for movie stars and musicians, like Beyonce, Jay-Z and Bruce Willis. The paparazzi don’t really hang here. We just missed Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick last week. “Bueller. Bueller….”

7) Four words: Chalk Sound National Park

IMG_5126

8) I’ve been doing laundry in a hut out back. I never thought I’d hang everyone’s underwear on a clothesline. There is a first time for everything..

IMG_5156

9) Lizards are everywhere. One joined me in the shower last night. We talked about Geico a bit before he left.

10) There is a $300 million dollar yacht off of Grace Bay Beach. Owned by a Russian. It’s his “play money” apparently. Been asking the locals about it. We see it every night at sunset. Look up the “A” yacht on Google. You’ll find it. I wish I had $300 million dollars to just throw around for the heck of it. 🙂

11) I’ve read 3 books in less than a week. In a hammock. Amen.

12) The stars at night are extraordinary here. We miss so much of this at home with all the city lights. Has a way of making you extremely grateful, thankful, and in awe of the vast universe we reside in.

13) They have one radio station here. It skips from Billy Joel to weird music about getting your hair cut with your friend. I’m not kidding. I’ll call it…ECLECTIC.

14) Canadians love Turks & Caicos. I don’t know why. But, I’m pretty sure I now talk with a slight Canadian accent…

15) It’s $11 for a small box of Cascade, and $5 for a pound of bananas…

16) Our rental car is from 1990. Has to be. A Nissan Sunny. What the heck is that?! You have to turn the air conditioner off to get it to start. It’s like Back To The Future here when it comes to vehicles. Every car has at least one broken taillight, a trunk that has been roped shut, or hubcaps that have been zip-tied on.

IMG_5157

17) My hair looks like perfect mermaid hair here. Natural beach waves and sun kissed color. If I attempted the same look at home, I would no doubt look like a cat who had been recently electrocuted.

18) Swimming works off calories in a hurry. Thankful for this. Bacon, eggs and hashbrowns every single morning…#CaloriesAreInevitableOnVacation

19) Not a lot of bugs on the island, but dragonflies are the size of a small child here. Terrified.

20) Cows like to stand in the shade under abandoned semi-trucks on the side of the road. I’ll let you imagine this picture on your own…..

21) The local fro-yo hang-out spot here is called Giggles. I find this odd and laughable at the same time. No pun intended.

22) Driving on the left hand side of the road, your husband driving in the passenger seat (per the USA) is puzzling. It’s especially puzzling when the vehicle that rolls up beside you at a round about contains a local driver with a large beer in his hand and a dozen people stuffed in the back of the bed of his pick-up truck with wheels that look like they are going to fly off at any second because they are missing two of the four lug nuts. In other wards, traffic laws are kind of non-existent here. *Again, refer to the word ‘Terrifying’*

23) Swimming here is like swimming within the depths of Finding Nemo. Fish love people here. They’ll follow you. All shapes, all sizes, all colors. It’s incredible. I’m cool with this as long as I don’t meet Bruce the Shark or his friends…

24) Speedos should be outlawed. That is all…

25) You can’t bring Conch shells back to the US. You can take them back to Canada, but not the US! What do they think; we’re going to hock Conch shells in a back alleyway of Dallas? “Psst. Hey, hey you. Want a Conch shell? $20 bucks. Follow me around back of the 7-Eleven across the street. Billy is watching for the Conch police. We good.”

Love From The BeachBums Who Are Never Coming Home,

VSK

Uncategorized

Turks and Caicos: Part 1

I’ve always pondered this question:

Is there really such a thing as heaven on earth?

To put it bluntly, YES.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

The first question asked when I told someone we were vacationing in Turks & Caicos this year was, “I’m sorry, WHERE?”

TCI

My husband and I first heard about this place years ago. Originally when we started looking into it, the $$ dollar signs $$ were way too shocking for us, so we pushed it aside, and vowed to visit at least once after one of us was willing to sell a kidney to do so. 🙂

Kidding. We didn’t sell a kidney. Wouldn’t…I don’t think. But then again, this place is damn amazing…..

We saved up. Looked for airfare deals, planned…planned some more, and finally made it happen.

1) Don’t stay at a resort unless you want to eat rice for a year to pay for it. Book a private villa. We did. Four bedrooms, two baths, a private pool, four minute walk to the beach, and the ability to cook some of your meals at home. A fraction of the cost. Quieter. All around, don’t do it any other way. Mean it.

2) Book your airfare in advance. Don’t fly direct. Look for airfare deals on Tuesday mornings. We were able to fly First Class, all 5 of us, for a VERY reasonable price on US Airways. How? Loads of patience and early planning.

3) Stay near Leeward Beach. The island is small, so renting a car is a must to explore. We opted to stay farther away from the resorts. It’s quieter, and our beach is deserted this time of year. Amazing.

My kids haven’t fought once since arriving. Not that they fight all that much at home, but they are best friends here. It’s astounding when you walk away from life, the stress of it, all of it…how the ability of just being alive settles in. The appreciation of just breathing becomes your focus, and the beauty of nature encircles you. It’s astounding, quite honestly.

IMG_5059

Upon our decent into Turks and Caicos, the entire plane grew silent. Cell phones were raised to the windows as everyone snapped photos of a place you, up until that moment, only imagined existed within the pages of a picture book.

The water is crystal clear. Whether you are snorkeling 10 feet above a coral reef, or over 100 feet, you can see the bottom. Just like a swimming pool, except with hundreds of neon colored fish, powered sugar sand rifts on the ocean floor, and conch shells the length of your forearm. Everywhere.

The locals here are so accommodating and friendly. Someone told me the heart attack rate here is almost non-existent. I’m not surprised. It is the most calming, methodical existence any human being could ever uncover here.

What I’ve learned in the past 48 hours since arriving is how much stress we put on ourselves to simply survive. I, for one, am a terrible stress hoarder. We shouldn’t have to visit a place like this to savor life. We should be able to do it wherever we call home, but it’s hard, right? I get it. I hope to walk away, that all of my family walks away, with the value of just BEING. At home, routine is what fuels us, not the quiet means of just being alive. I see it so clearly here.

Sunsets are postcard like.

IMG_5079

Last night, my middle child and my youngest laid out under the stars for hours. Without city lights, the constellations are so bright here. My middle child loves the stars, and has ever since he was very young. He taught the rest of us last night where certain constellations were, what they were called, how long astronomers had known of their existence, etc. We saw shooting stars, many of them, and it was invaluable to me to watch my kids stare in wonder at the beauty of the sky that lie above us.

Are we ever coming home? Questionable at the moment. 🙂 When you capture photos like this, it’s very hard to ever fathom stepping back on a plane to return to the life we walked away from.

~ VSK

IMG_5069

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

Where Heaven Meets Earth…On Family Vacation

Vacation. We’re here. I’m beyond tired, sunburned already, and emotionally exhausted with the simplicity of things. When I say “emotionally exhausted with the simplicity of things”, I mean that in GREAT way.

Those that know me understand my life. BUSY. A dedicated homeschooling mom who works from home as a Social Media Director, who is passionately seeking a full time writing career. <—–This does not include the other tasks such as grocery shopping, washing countless pairs of Hanes whitey tighties each week for my three boys, and cooking meals that could feed a small army because my boys are GROWING boys who don’t understand the concept of what a “serving size” portion is.

It has been ages since I’ve just sat on the couch doing…well, NOTHING. I see a dirty cup across the room now with a 1/4 cup of milk still in it from 14 hours ago, but I just roll my eyes at it. I’m not going to pick up my lazy rear up off this couch with a view of our quaint backyard complete with swaying palm trees, a rooster crowing in the background (we’ll talk more about roosters later), and the smell of earth in the air. Bliss.

We arrived this past Saturday after a two hour plane ride to Miami, followed by another two hour plane ride to San Juan, followed by a three hour drive that should have taken an hour and a half, to the Western part of Puerto Rico. Don’t get me wrong, the drive in was beautiful for about an hour, and then it got re-donkulous. Every 1/2 a mile there was a stoplight. Let me also add that although the speedlimit on the main roads are 60, nobody, NO-FREAKIN-BODY drives more than 45. My husband was passing people like we were running from the cops after stealing a litter of puppies.

My better half said, “What the heck are these people doing?! Why are they driving so slow?” I shrugged my shoulders and replied, “Hey, if I lived on this island, I’d take my time too. This is not Dallas sweetie. Slow your roll.” We didn’t slow our roll…we passed everyone driving their 1985 Corolla’s and 1971 Lincoln Towncars. Nobody drives a vehicle here made from 1995 or above. I feel like I’m living in the 80’s…And apparently everyone adores Michael Jackson here. That’s ALL that’s on the radio. If I hear “Beat It” one more time, I’m going to moonwalk over the next person I see…

We arrived to our condo, walked in and toured and three story home for the week. My youngest pinched his nose and said, “Mommy it smells like poo in here!”

I sniffed and agreed. Come to find out, someone had tracked poop, not dog poop, CHICKEN poop into the house. Thankfully, we found Clorox wipes and paper towels. For the next half hour, we all cleaned up chicken poop puddles on our floor. Good times…

5:40am Sunday morning…The light, oh my stars, THE LIGHT! At 5:40 in the morning the sun is blazing like it’s 2 in the afternoon, and the town roosters were crowing. I got up at 7am. By then, the sun was screaming at me, so I trudged downstairs and fixed a Chai Tea. I walked up to our 3rd story patio. Totally rocks, thank you for asking…Here’s what I saw.

A chicken coop behind us with a horse tied to a tree. Next door, a tin roofed house with two dogs ON the roof sleeping in the sun. The yard below them was a collection of porcelain toilets and beach chairs that hens were roosting on. On the horizon, the most amazing view of the white sandy beach, and PERFECT clear blue waves.

Next was the trip to the grocery store. Grocery stores don’t open here until 11am each day. At 10:30am, locals line up to do their shopping. It’s like standing in line for a ride at Disneyland.

Upon completing our grocery shopping, we stopped off at Little Caesar’s next door for pizza. $5 hot and ready’s, right? WRONG! Try $26 for two hot and ready’s. We bought them, and savored every freakin’ morsel! I licked the box…just kidding. Maybe.

Off to the beach for the very first time. 50 steps EXACTLY from our doorstep. Unbelievable  The beach was empty for the majority of the day. We did meet a sweet young couple from Detroit who left the snow last week for some sun and surf here. We ended up having some kind of really GOOD drink they made us with orange juice and some kind of local melon flavored liquor while we watched the unbelievable sunset. I have NEVER seen anything like it. The beauty…I could write a whole book about the sunset alone. Especially because it set behind an island 11 miles away that is said to be inhabited by 3 foot tall apes. <—Seriously. There’s also buried treasure from local pirates still buried there. I may try to swim it tomorrow. I’m looking for a great adventure like “The Goonies”.

Rincon, Puerto Rico is an amazing town. Everyone here is very friendly and accommodating. We went to the town square to their local farmer’s market and picked up fresh fruit and veggies from local farmers. Cheap and AMAZING flavor. Lady finger bananas…good gravy I think I’ve had 13 of these since yesterday morning! Don’t judge.

To complete our day yesterday, we got in our private jacuzzi on the 3rd floor during an afternoon rainstorm, having memorable conversations as a family. These are the things I’ll never forget. The pieces of our vacation that I will forever treasure.

A family conversation during a rainstorm in 104 degree jacuzzi in paradise. PRICELESS.

Paradise calls ~

VSK

Uncategorized

The Beach…And How It Ruined My Life

I believe the tiny particles of sand on a beautiful beach are powerful little magical creatures that mess with your brain. Yeah, white sandy beaches! I’m talking to you!

See this?

This is where I spent 7 days last week with my hubby and three kids. We had plans to visit a museum, see an IMAX movie and other touristy things while we were away…yet every morning at 10am, I planted my behind on this beach until 4pm every afternoon instead. No regrets. Until I got back yesterday.

We ate soggy sandwiches last week, sandy Baked Lays and drank a mass of Dr. Pepper. We built awesome sand castles, caught baby crabs and shrimp and met sweet people from as far away as Canada.

Beaches whisk you away. It’s kind of like being taken to Hogwarts, minus the wands and dementors. Your robe is a swimsuit, your potions class is swimming with the sea life and Professor Snape is the weird dude in the Speedo sportin’ a beer belly with a braided black beard. Dumbledore was with him. Guess he likes Corona….who knew! I’m gettin’ side-tracked here…

Everyone cried yesterday morning when we had to head home…geez, can’t a girl cry about leaving paradise? (wiping tear stained mascara from the corners of my eyes)

We unloaded everything and I saw those sweet little magical white particles in the back of my car. I had to have a private moment to myself as I reflected on the awesome-ness of last week. I miss that sand in all the wrong places….

Until next time, sweet paradise. I miss your magic, but I’ll certainly hold onto your memories.

Daydream Believer ~

VSK