Mircea & Joanna’s Island Adventure!

October 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

I am trying my hand at adding no photographs this post, hoping to conjure up a picture in the minds of my readers with words!

Part 1: Florida

It was a dreary morning at the Buffalo Airport as we boarded the plane to fly to Baltimore for a short stop, then on to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I had never been on a plane before. In all my 23 years, I either did not have an excuse to fly, or I was terribly afraid. I know, I know, “Flying is safer than driving.”  I get it. It wasn’t so much the flying part as it was this idea I had in my head about being trapped in a small compartment in the air, with no turning back. I supposed it was a mix of an overactive imagination and having a horrible habit of psyching myself out.

Needless to say, it all went well. Not a hint of panic. I must add, that if I WERE to truly have claustrophobia or a fear of flying, this would have been the worst plane to take. There was turbulence 3/4 of the way, the plane was small and there were no TVs for distraction.

Arriving in Baltimore was when we finally felt like, “We aint in Canada ANYMORE.”

A well-dressed woman stood in front of us speaking in a loud voice so everyone could hear her phone conversation.

“DID YOU HEAR? MEGHAN WAS ON TV! She must have been the most put together, good looking girl in that Starbucks, because the camera wasn’t pointing at ANYONE ELSE.” A proud mom, clearly.

We decided to order a Big Mac Meal from Mcdonald’s. We had checked the dollar difference and around this time the Canadian dollar was worth more than the US dollar, so we wanted to see if their prices were still lower.

We approached the counter as a heavyset, African-American girl shouted out a, “Can I take your order?!”

Mircea quietly asked, “Do you accept Canadian money?”

We might as well have spoken French.

“Excuse me, can you run that by me AGAIN?!”

“Canadian money.”

“No, sawry we do not. I’ve never even seen it. What does it look like?”

Mircea handed the girl a 50 and she puzzled over it for a few seconds.

“I know,” I said,”It looks really foreign doesn’t it? So many different colours.”

She agreed, it looking nothing like what they were used to. We purchased the Big Mac meal and paid less money than in Canada. Regardless of how low the American dollar will dip, I suppose us Canadians will always pay more. We boarded our flight, spent two and a half hours of turbulence and voila! Florida and palm trees at last!

We spent the night there because the boat did not leave until the next day.

Part 2: A Miami Taxi and a Floating Paradise

In the morning we loaded up our minimal amount of luggage (we really under-packed) into a taxi and we were off to Miami. Our taxi driver was very interesting. She apparently was a personal friend of Richard Petty and had even raced him on some back roads. In 45 minutes we arrived at the docks. I had envisioned having time to explore Miami. Not the case. We stood around in the searing heat, then onto lineup after lineup before we finally boarded the ship.

It was much grander than I had imagined, made to look  like a boat from another century in some areas, with  intricate details on the walls and centre staircase. I loved all the original art that hung in the halls. If there is one thing I can say that Americans do better than Canadians, it is SUPPORT THEIR ARTISTS. Canucks can be a bit stingy when it comes to that sort of thing!

We went and had lunch up on the “Lido Deck” which was deck 9. It had an endless array of nearly whatever kind of food you could think of.

Part 3: Cozumel, Mexico

I do not have many good things to say about this place. We docked early in the morning and I woke up overjoyed to see land! We had been out at sea for an entire day and a half and I was feeling like I needed to see more than an infinite expanse of water. I saw huts and palm trees…it all looked so promising!

Reality hit once we made it past the conveniently placed Duty-Free shop situated on the docks. We were getting yelled at left and right to buy this, buy that! One funny little man, having heard we were on our honeymoon told me he would give me a “Special honeymoon deal.” He took the price of a dress (worth about $10) down to $30, having been originally priced at $55. I told him, no it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but I may come back if I do not see anything else. His response? “Twenty-five if you take it NOW!”

We didn’t take it.

Then we took a taxi to downtown Cozumel, bad idea. Men were walking up to us from everywhere, trying to sell us cigars off the street. You could not do anything without someone trying to charge you for it. One kind soul in a jewelery shop told me he would give me something “ALMOST FREE.”  After selecting a pendant for a necklace himself (No, I did not get the novelty of choosing my own purchases) he did a few “calculations” on his calculator and came up with the price of $218.00.

I couldn’t help but laugh. Who did he think we were? I know what you’re thinking. SUCH AN AMAZING DEAL! NEARLY FREE! Sorry to let you all down, but I DID NOT take it.

We met a couple parrots, one’s name was Nicole. They were so interesting and quirky. Nicole would lie on her back in our hands like she was dead and would kiss our cheeks. The parrot aimed for the mouth but I didn’t want to be smooching a parrot anytime soon, if ever! We really wanted a memory of our two little friends but in typical Cozumel fashion, it was going to cost us money to take photos of the parrots on our  own camera. We had to leave them behind with no photograph, sadly.

By the end of the day we both had had quite enough of Mexico.

Part 4: Grand Cayman

Words cannot fully describe this beautiful place! It is a British colony full of tropical fish, turtles and brightly coloured stucco buildings. Mircea really enjoyed looking at all the cars there, as many were older Japanese imports and much like the kinds of cars he likes to drive. He likened the place to Japan, I likened it to Canada. In Grand Cayman we experienced our first free wifi in DAYS. We sat down at a Dunkin Donuts shop and tried to connect with as many friends and family at home as we could. It was all very short-lived, as our boat was leaving early. I found a little soapstone turtle for my parents and a Tiffany blue coloured sun-dress for myself. I also found a tourist shirt that I absolutely adored, but Mircea had other plans and that purchase was not meant to be.

The boat left Grand Cayman behind, late afternoon and I suppose a little piece of my heart went with it. If there was any tropical island (so far) that I would choose to live, this place might be a candidate. We never got to swim with dolphins, nor did we swim with the sharks and sting rays (thankfully) but I loved every moment!

Part 5: Jamaica, No Problem!

Our last stop on the cruise was Ocho Rios Jamaica. At this point Mircea had already surprised me by buying a little Swarovski crystal swan, that I now wear around my neck! It was well worth it not to get that tourist shirt!

We were driven from the port to our destination of Misty Mountain by a man named Carlton. That was his birth name, but people call him, “No Problem Peter…because nothing is a problem, only a SITUATION.”

No Problem Peter proceeded to sing to the entire bus some Bob Marley. He then blessed us with a song called, “Shame and Scandal in the Family.” I suggest you look up the lyrics! He sang the whooole thing!

After leaving our dear friend Peter behind, we took the Sky Explorer 15 minutes up the mountain. This is very much like a ski lift. We were told that if we drop anything, we are not getting it back and we will see it for sale on Ebay in the next few days. Our feet dangled in the tropical foilage, toes clinging desperately to our flip-flops.

At the top of the mountain there was a beautiful pool with water flowing down the side. All the boat’s pools had salt in them so it was nice to be swimming in some fresh water. We then bought some water shoes (mine I am very happy with as they are three shades of neon and have “Jamaica No Problem!” written on the sides).

We were adventurous and bob sledded down the mountain, through the rain forest. It was attached to a track and much like a roller coaster. We did have brakes, but were advised against it. “Full speed, the whole time, stop at the bottom.” Was our advice.

It was a blast.

When I got to the bottom, one of the attendants snapped a picture of me on his digital camera for his own personal collection. But hey, Jamaica…NO PROBLEM!

We then climbed the famous Dunn’s River Falls. I followed closely behind a very large American woman who fell into a couple holes in front of me, legs flailing, her daughter screaming, water gushing everywhere. She was truly my hero. If it wasn’t for her falling first, I would not have known which areas to avoid.

Having climbed the falls, our journey complete, No Problem Peter took us back to the port where we boarded the ship.

Part 6: Closing

Jamaica being our last stop, we spent one more day at sea and were back home safely in home sweet Canada this weekend. I do have a new-found love of traveling, although nothing beats that crisp October air, warm sweaters and freshly made Romanian food.

MY ONE YEAR BLOG ANNIVERSARY!

September 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

This calls for some major celebration! I have maintained this blog for an entire year without fail. I hope you all have enjoyed my ramblings…and I trust that there might be a little bit of Joanna rambling for everyone? MMMM I should make cookies and call them “Rambles” and serve them with Black Currant Tea and Crumpets.

Then I shall invite my readers for a reader’s tea party. If you read this blog, speak up and you are added to my guest list.

I also want to write a little on the state of being insecure and how to change it into a positive outlook. I am not really an insecure person myself, but I must say that if you are one it would be wise to change your mindset from “they probably won’t like me” to “I know they like me, why shouldn’t they?” I did that years ago and my entire life went from negative to positive…just like that!

You also should never look at failure as permanent, only a mere change of plans. If something is not working out, it is clearly a door that was closed only for another (possibly better) one to open!

I am someone who lives by faith and although I am obviously not perfect, I do try to look at life as a journey. Imagine this: You are a traveler on a long and dusty winding road. A tree falls in front of you. You cannot explain why it happened and it was not in your plans! What do you do?

Well, clearly any wise person when looking towards a goal will not turn around or crumble into a heap. Wisdom will tell you that pounding your fists into the dirt in dismay over this sudden obstacle that has come your way will get you nowhere.

You could also BLAME someone. This will insure that you will never move from where you are. Sounds like a plan? Not in my books!

There it is, your path ahead of you and that massive tree in your way. It may take time to overcome it, but the tree does not have to be the end of the path for you. There is so much more beyond it! Maybe someone passing by can help you move it? Maybe there is a way around it, over it, under it? Or maybe (if you are a God fearing human being) you can wait on Him, and He will show you how to get through.

These are some things that I have thought about through the years.

a) The only people with no purpose on earth were the ones who were never made.

b) Do not waste your time blaming someone else for your misfortune. Everything after it is up to you, and wasting your life blaming someone else ends up hurting YOU far more than it will ever hurt them.

c) Do not hold grudges. The pain is all yours when you do.

d) You get nowhere by only talking about it. If there is something you dream of becoming give it a try. If it does not succeed, that only rules out the fact that it was ever for you and you can move on.

e) Assume when meeting someone new, that they like you. You have done nothing to make them dislike you so they have no reason to. If they treat you harshly, that isn’t your problem, that is theirs.

f) If someone treats you unkindly, shower them with kindness even if you do not feel like it at the time. You may not realize it, but it does begin to give YOU the upper hand. The Bible says it best. “On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Romans 12:20

g) When one door closes, another will open.

h) Look at every human being as someone that God took the time to create.

There are never ANY dead ends, only new opportunities.

-Joanna

Something Blue.

September 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

Now do not get the wrong idea, I like my face. That aside, if I were to get to choose to look like ANYONE, it would probably be Kiera Knightly. Not to mention, she rocks the cardigan in this shoot and I am a huge fan of the dress.

 

-Joanna

The Tale of the Purple PINK Sweater.

September 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

Click the photo if you actually want to see it. Yeah, I’m kinda boring…but after three weeks of waiting for it in the mail…it came. I am planning to live in it for the next few years or so. I am artistically expressing my anticipation for the wedding through this collage!

-Joanna

I’m a Belieber?

August 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

Oh Biebs! Okay, so I got this really weird thought one day while listening to an old Moby song. What if Justin Bieber did his own cover of it (With maybe some rapping from someone in between? You know, the typical formula for many songs…although it would be something a bit different for this guy.)

The song I was thinking of I will post a link to in a second. But here’s the catch! Where the singer says “Lawdy” replace it with “Shawty.” HAHAH I am awesome. I think I just lost all my friends! My made-up version with “Shawty” is much, MUCH better than the original if I do say so myself.

Copy and paste this into your browser.

(Photo found at http://www.rockpic.net)

-Joanna

Sunflower Power.

August 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

I was thinking of making a few more of these magnets but I have a few questions. I will list them numerically in order of importance.

1) Will anyone find a use for these?

2) What kind of price would someone be expecting to pay for something small and handcrafted? It is made of polymer clay and about 3 inches in diameter.

3) Does anyone have any other type of flower that they would like to see as a magnet?

-Joanna

Sophie Conran for Portmeirion: From the Potter’s Wheel

August 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

This collection, when I saw it I knew that THESE were what I wanted! It helps that they are so tastefully sold in mint green boxes (that I am planning on reusing). They remind me of something made on a potter’s wheel because (I do not know if you can see in the picture) but they have little grooves along the sides as well as being slightly irregular in shape which I absolutely LOVE!

Needless to say the colour that I will be serving little cupcakes to my guests on is the colour “Celedon” which is that lovely greenish/grey/blue colour that you see in the picture. Very calming!

Any future bridal showers I attend, I will probably buy a piece or two to “gift” to someone, as pieces can be bought separately and the collection has a lot of variety. It ranges from your traditional place setting, to pitchers for water and exquisitely shaped decorative bowls that can be used for salad…or maybe even some potpourri?

-Joanna