[Side Note: It’s interesting to see what I wrote about, and what was important for me to capture traveling through the years – high school, college, as an adult. ]

This is the first trip where I was allowed to bring a friend. No more BORING trips with my parents *eye roll*

We weren’t able to rent a locker for our winter coats, so we had to stuff them on the plan with us.  [This was back when I was used to having lockers at the airport to store stuff I didn’t need until I returned.  Something airports removed after 9/11]

We sat on our jackets at the airport waiting for our turn to board the plane.  No starbucks in sight. Of course! [First documented obsession with Starbucks]

Lauren: We’re mad sticky yo!  The humidity was real, but we were in a resort a block away from the beach so life was good.  Dr. Boyer called… we have a two hour delay back at home. Wind advisory chill of -12.

Two words: JET SKI.  Pretty sure we rented these every day. They were way too much fun! I want to have a boat one day – with jet skis!

Lauren and I enjoyed going to the bar – and buying ourselves drinks! A bunch of 18 year olds at the bar, what is the worst that could happen?

Mom made us get up early so that we could say while everyone else was getting to school, we were in the ocean.

We were going to take an easy drive around the island and pop into the ocean wherever there was beach – but that somehow turned into a climb a mountain in flip flops with sticker bushes and alo very plants bigger than me.  Plus it had just rained so the ground was mushy. I was not a happy camper – especially when my flip flops broke.

We bought some jam from a woman at a road side stand desperate for human conversation.  She told me how to cut open and work with aloe plants to heal the sun blisters all over my face.

One day, I went to the store and bought a pint of ice cream to eat on the beach and Smirnoff to drink. Pretty much the coolest experience ever. [yup – high school kid]

On the last day after packing up we said goodbye to the house, the beach, the island, the country.  Said goodbye to the crystal-blue water, warm pleasant nights, fast-speaking natives, and driving on the other side of the road. A week has gone by and we spend our money on jet skis, ice cream, and alcohol, a zip line over the jungle, and some snorkeling.

We’re all going back with a little more color, some more patience, more relaxed and a hundred more memories.  We’re ready to go back to our lives, to work and school, friends and family, and even… to the cold.