One year ago two Iowans got on a plane and flew to a new life in St. Thomas, USVI. Never in a million years would I have ever dreamed that I would live on a rock in the middle of the ocean! We’ve laughed a lot, learned a lot, and enjoyed creating our own little piece of paradise. Life in the Caribbean isn’t always sunny and carefree, but it is pretty amazing that we live in such a beautiful place! We feel blessed to have had the opportunity to experience this together and continue to try and enjoy each and every moment.
This weekend we got to get off our rock and fly a whole 20 minutes to another rock, Puerto Rico! Since this was our first visit to this awesome island, we were super excited to see something new. Traveling with friends C and C, the boys got to golf, the girls got to shop, and everyone enjoyed lots of great food and a relaxing long weekend. When we moved here last year, nobody told us what Carnival was or that we would be arriving in the middle of the signature event – the parade. This year, we wanted to get away from the craziness and enjoy a much-needed siesta.
We stayed in Condado on the north side of Puerto Rico. Old San Juan was just across the bridge from our hotel and we got to enjoy lots of restaurants during our stay.
Friday morning I took a SurfSET fitness class, which has a surfboard-esque board balanced on three giant exercise balls, making it an unstable surface mimicking water. You may have seen this concept backed by the financiers on SharkTank. You’re using tons of muscles just to balance on the board, and the class is all about core work and strength. It was a fantastic class with Diana and I definitely felt it the next day! I’d love to see these classes in St. Thomas somewhere.
On Friday Dan and his golfing buddy C went to the Trump International golf course about 40 minutes away from our hotel. They seemed to have a great time and the course was beautiful.
The ladies enjoyed lunch at P.F. Chang’s and some good ol’ fashioned mall shopping. Before you chuckle to yourself and wonder what’s so amazing about chain restaurant food and shopping at a mall, realize that we don’t have either of those things in St. Thomas. While fast food options like McDonalds or Subway are available, there are no “casual” places like Panera Bread or Macaroni Grill. We also don’t have a mall. So…that pretty much explains itself.
That night we ate at a delicious Asian fusion restaurant, Budatai, in Condado. Great food and drinks and great company made it a great night! Saturday brought breakfast at Pinky’s (yum!) and Dan and I made our way into Old San Juan for some exploring.
After an afternoon at the pool we ate dinner at a tiny courtyard restaurant serving scrumptious Italian fare with fantastic service, La Cucina de Ivo. After dinner we headed back to our hotel’s lounge where they were showing the much-hyped Mayweather-Pacquiao boxing match. We stood for nearly two hours before the match began, and then I only made it five rounds before my tired feet gave up and went to the hotel room. Later I learned it wasn’t that exciting.
Sunday came and after a lazy morning of coffee and getting packed up to go home, we met C & C’s friends for lunch. This family is awesome and we had so much fun piling into their car to go on an adventure together. We at ate Aurorita, a local spot serving Mexican food that is to die for.
It was such a fun weekend, and I fell in love with Puerto Rico in our short time there. I was able to flex my (tiny) Spanish language muscles and at least hold my own with the taxi drivers and waiters. I know there is so much more to see and do on this island and have already began researching our next trip.
One year ago we started a new chapter of life. Today I’m reminded of how fast time goes and of how little control we have over that. However, we do have control over how we spend what little time we get on this amazing planet. You can spend your time hurrying from one distraction to the next. Or you can spend it enjoying every moment you’re given. It’s not easy to let go of the control we crave over our lives and where we want them to go. But the time passes anyway, whether it goes the way you think it will or not. We are lucky to be passing time together on this speck of sand.