Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Punta Cana {First} Anniversary

We spent our first anniversary in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic – it was the perfect vacation and completely opposite of our honeymoon. We spent our honeymoon in Maui and we packed our week full of activities, wanting to enjoy everything the island had to offer. Our honeymoon was fabulous but this year we decided to do absolutely nothing but lay on the beach and relax.. and that is exactly what we did. It was perfect to just refresh and enjoy each other. We are so thankful to have had this opportunity. We know that as the years go by, life will just get busier and we want to take advantage of the time we have now to just get away and focus on our relationship.

Arriving in the Dominican...

We stayed at the Excellence Resort and I would definitely recommend it. The grounds were beautiful and the staff was amazing and so very generous. The only tricky part was getting from the airport to the hotel. We had arranged a taxi transport service prior but we had no idea that it was a little over an hour drive to the resort. We left the airport in a taxi with a Spanish-speaking driver (neither of us know much Spanish) and had no idea where we were going. We drive for about 30 minutes before our driver pulls off on the side of the road by a rundown stand? fruit market? Andrew looks at me and in an attempt to make me laugh says "Have you ever seen the movie Taken?" - at the time that was not funny. I was a little scared to be honest - I felt completely at the mercy of this stranger to take me where I needed to go. After a few minutes he got back in the car with two cokes, a bottled water, and a bag of chips and handed it all to us but one coke for himself. What a relief and I felt extremely grateful for his small act of kindness - proof that kindness can surpass even language barriers. 

I'm going to back track a little, but as we drove through the streets of Punta Cana (which got worse the further from the airport), I was reminded how blessed I am to live in America. Where nice roads and clean houses are too often taken for granted. I wish I had taken more pictures during the drive but at the time I was a little too nervous. Looking back one thing sticks in my mind. Every one I saw was doing something productive. From the crews working to build new roads to the lady sweeping the dirt floor of her fruit stand, no one seemed to be sitting around waiting on someone else to get things done. The more I think about that, the more it saddens me that although we have so much in America, we have become complacent. We are too "settled" with the way things are. We should never stop trying to make it better. 

Okay, so back in Punta Cana. When we got married we had a sign at the entrance to the church that said "Choose a seat, not a side" - we had written it on a chalkboard and I kept it. We took the same chalkboard with us and wrote "1 year" on it. My plan is for us to take a picture with it every year on our anniversary - I don't know if we will always remember - but I will always treasure these we took on this trip.

On the night of our anniversary we had dinner at The Lobster House. Our waiter was so generous and brought us a bag of Dominican coffee as a gift, as well as whipped up a heart from towel napkins and sprinkled it with rose petals to decorate our table. I fell in love with the Dominican people - they were such happy, generous people.

Each night there was special entertainment, but on Monday night they fixed an extravagant dinner and set it up on the beach. It was a beautiful night.

Other pictures from around the resort. There were two pools but our favorite was the cascade pool - where there were lounge chairs in a shallow part of the pool. It was the best idea ever. Especially considering the heat there - I only thought Louisiana was hot and humid.

And I just couldn't leave without taking a few more pictures of us on the beach. There was a wedding our last night there and we took advantage of the wedding gazebo.

Happy first anniversary to my sweet husband! Thanks for taking me on this trip - I will forever cherish the memories we made! Ready to see what the next year brings!