Friday, December 24, 2010


It's Christmas Eve here in Cozumel and I'm just waking up from an afternoon nap following a week of intensive working (diving). Ever feel so tired that you almost feel drunk? Well that is how I am feeling today!
Anyway I tried to call my parents and borther to wish them a Happy Christmas and kept getting cut off (skype must be overbirdened at this time of year). So I've been lying here thinking of all of the wonderful Christmases I had a child and how lucky I was in comparison to lots of the children here. Its not really about privaledge or money but about the love that was in our house particularly at Christmas time.
Buying our tree - Christmas always started with the family outing to buy our Christmas tree. We'd all troup to Chopwell Woods to choose our family Christmas tree about 1 1/2 weeks before Christmas. I remember times where there was light dusting of snow. I'd be in my duffle coat and wellies. Trees would be piled high in groups of height and dad would pull trees out, one by one, for our approval. Mam would usually want a Scotch Pine tree (that none of the rest of the family would like) and then we'd settle on a classic pine tree, full of thick branches and smelling heavenly! We'd then take it to the man who'd push it through a big machine, which would put the trees in big net bags for transportation, and pay. As a little girl I remember hugging the Christmas tree in its net sock:) We'd then strap the tree to the top of the car with washing line, strung through open car windows, generally with a lot of family bickering and my dad sustaining some mild injury, which would usually bring us back to a state of hilarity!
Back at home we'd have to wait for my parents to drink coffee and maybe eat some lunch and then dad would cut the end off the trunk of the tree, to make sure it could drink the water we'd feed it and it would be set in a bucket and lodged in place with bricks (in later years things would get easier, with the advent of specially designed Christmas tree holders). Andy Williams would be playing on the record player while the decorations were broken open. In those days the decorations were stored in an old dusty suitace in the attic (actually I believe that that suitacse is still in the attic).
First the lights: we had little pink gold, green and blue carriage lights which were magical and then borbles, and ornaments. The ornaments came out every year and we knew them well. The pipecleaner Santa Clause, the little toy train, my favorites: the little drummer boy and his girlfriend, and of course the golden angel for the tree top. Many of the ornaments had come from my grandma's house, I especially remember a white raindeer and two little elves that sat on the branches. I can still smell the mixture of dusty old decorations mixed with fresh pine. Then when we'd finished it would be growing dark and we'd all settle down and watch television with the tree glowing in the corner. I could sit for hours, as a child, gazing into its sparkling branches. Imagining the little ornaments springing to life. We'd all choose our favorite light, or favorite bauble. Mam would always choose one of those clear baubles that look like big soap bubbles, because of the way some light close by to it would reflect in it and make it look a pretty color.
After much anticipation and opening of advent calendar windows, Christmas eve would finally arrive. I would be so excited - Santa Claus! Imagine, as if by magic, someone would come and fill our living room with presents. We'd usually be sent to bed early after leaving a sherry and a mince pie out for Santa Clause, and of course stockings for Santa to fill with presents (my dad's socks). Dad would read me a book I had on the nativity storey and also an illustrated version of 'Twas the night before Christmas". We were told to go to sleep or Santa might not come. I'd sometimes stand up in bed, stick my head under the curtains and press my forehead against the glass, looking for Santa's sleigh as it sped through the night. It was the most intolerable night of the year in terms of trying to get to sleep. I felt like I didn't sleep a wink, but in all likelihood that is probably not true. I'd talk to my old bear, big ted, about all of the things I hoped Santa and his elves would bring for me, into the early hours of the morning.
We had to stay in our rooms until a time set by my parents (probably 7am) when we'd be able to wake them up. We would all stand at the top of the stairs while my dad would go downstairs to check the living room and see if 'he' had been. He always had and we'd all rush down stairs and into the room where our little Christmas tree was glowing, surrounded by presents. I remember stockings filled with nuts, tangerines, foil covered chocolate coins and little trinkets. I'd always get a doll, my brother the latest Star War's toys. We'd go to church and I remember often hearing a baby crying and believeing that baby Jesus was actually hidden somewhere behind the little door that the priests would comeinand out of. We'd see Carol and Pete, my mam's friends with their kids Claire and Micheal who were mine and my brother's best friends; Then we'd go to Grandma Charlton's for more presents and then Grandma Quinn's - where all of my aunts, uncles and cousins would gather, drink sherry, be happy and exchange more gifts. Christmas lunch would be turkey with all of the trimmings (back then I ate meat). Grandma Charlton and my aunt Judith and uncle Robin would be there. After lunch we'd watch the 'Wizard of Oz', which was always televised on Christmas Day at around 3pm (in the days before video). That movie was a little like Christmas, all is grey and dull until the day Dorothy opens the door into Oz. I loved that movie. Then by evening time we'd all be wiped out and fall asleep on the sofa, well fed, happy and tired!
I hope that if I am lucky enough to have children I can make their Christmases as magical as mine were as a child.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Long Awaited House Update...

At last I have found the time to get my photographs saved to my computer and uploaded to blogger. I had planned to do this at work (here in the dive shop there really is NOTHING to do in low season - I've spoken to only 4 potential clients today in a period of 5 hours), but the internet service was so slow that I could not upload the pictures. I decided to go ahead and write this and add the pictures at home while I cook dinner. Phew – this is why it often takes me so long to write a blog post!

So my last update predated my trip to Greece and London in October/ November. Before I left, preparations were being made to put the roof on the house (the roof will ultimately be the floor to the second floor of the house). Here in Mexico houses are made of bricks and the roof of flat concrete. Once the walls are in place a platform is constructed in wood to carry the weight of the concrete, which will be poured to make the roof:

After the wood is laid, tubeing is placed over the top of it to house electricity cables and the drainage pipes were also laid for our 2nd floor bathroom.

Our roof was poured the day before I left and I did not manage to be there to take pictures. There are a few ways to make these cement roofs and we arranged for a cement truck to come and pour pre-mixed cement. This only takes a few hours and the pre-mixed cement has additives which make it harden faster and give it more resistance to moisture. After the concrete has been poured it is left to harden over a period of 5-7 days and then the wood is taken away. This is the house as it looked when I arrived back from my trip:

Obviously the walls all need to be finished with a smooth layer of cement, and ultimately painted, but you can see how things are shaping up. It was really cool for me to arrive back on the Island and see the house with its roof. For the first time, I could walk into each of the rooms and get a good feeling for the space of each room and how it will look when we move in. I was very happy with the way all of the rooms looked - each one felt just right. Here is a picture of what will ultimately be our living room. You will see that the room has been partly finished (we'd say plastered in England). The groove running round the walls, about 1/2 way up the, is being left for a ceramic chair rail (maybe dedo rail in England). They would usually be made of wood in England or America, but because of the humidity here, we have chosen ceramic.
Before I left we'd planted a coconut tree in our back garden/ yard (we've actually already planted another of these in the opposite corner of the yard now). Here I am, pulling weeds out of the dirt around the tree:
Here is a picture of the back of the house taken from the yard. Again, all still needs to be finished and windows and doors added (the white metal gate is temporary - to secure Julio's work room until we have wooden doors made). The picture looks into the kitchen with the terrace in the foreground. I am really looking forward to our spending a lot of time out on the terrace - most of the year we'll probably eat out there:
Here is another picture from the side of the terrace and yard, with our little coconut tree in the corner. We planted this tree a little over a year ago and it is almost as tall as me, although we have actually planted it below ground level so it lost a few feet!
The last picture is of our kitchen. I LOVE how big our kitchen is going to be. I already have my eyes on the washing machine and refrigerator that I want (I find it less easy to get excited about an oven – they all look/ do the same).
So there you have it. We still have a lot of work to do. Julio’s brother Christian is almost finished putting in the electricity (with the help of a qualified electrical engineer) and when the walls around the windows are finished (hopefully this week), Julio and Christian will be able to make a start on the windows and doors. When I look at the land I sometimes see a dirty messy building site, and other times I am able to imagine our lovely finished home. I promise to post more soon.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Well I have been so delinquent in writing my blog that it would surprise me if anyone is still reading it - except maybe my parents (who I know are more excited about an update on the building of our house than our England trip which they witnessed first hand).
Life has been such a whirl wind since September that I've not had a chance to sit down and write. I'm now sitting at the desk in the Dive Shop that I work for. A cold front has hit the Island and the hotel has only 30% occupancy, so it has been a very slow afternoon. I do have other work I should be doing but I decided that it would be much nicer to update my blog instead. I just realized that the most recent photographs from our house are still on my camera - so maybe for tomorrow.
England... It seems like an age ago that my husband and I set off for England. It was Julio's first time out of Mexico and first time on a plane! We were very lucky because my brother works for British Airways and we were able to get an insanely good price on Club Class tickets through him. The jorney over to the UK was a breeze as we were able to sleep all of the way. We then rented a car and drove to Newcastle, arriving late at night. It actually felt very natural for me to have Julio in my parents home (which ofcourse is home to me to - my parents have lived in that house since I was born). It was weird for us both to sleep under duvets/ down comforters and still be a little cold.
On our first day, we went with my parents to an old English stately home called Wallington Hall. The Hall has beautiful grounds full of gardens loaded with flowers and trees.

We both liked being outdoors and enjoyed comparing the plants and trees with those in Mexico. Julio was particularly impressed with the Robin, who has a very distinctive song as well as a bright red breast.
It made me think of how excited I feel when we get parrots in our back yard in Mexico - this little Robin must seem just as exotic to Julio. Here is a picture of my parents walking through the walled garden:
We stayed in Newcastle for a few days. Julio met all of my cousins - and for the most part managed to understand their Geordie accents. We had lunch with my best friend Lisa and coffee with a friend Julie. It was really nice to introduce my husband to all of the people who mean so much to me in my life. Most of the time we just spent relaxing with my parents. Of course I managed to squeeze in a shopping trip! I also took Julio to Tyne Mouth to see the sea off the North Coast - a little different to our nice, warm cristal clear waters!!
We had also really wanted to spend a little time alone together as we really have never been on a vacation together before. We decided to have a mini belated honeymoon in The Lake District. The Lake District is a mountainous area in the North West of England which is famous for its lakes and hiking. We stayed at a little cottage in Troutbeck.
We had two days alone and then my parents, brother and girlfriend and my aunt and uncle all came over to join us for a family get together. The cottage was beautiful and had amazing views over the fells. The weather was a little crappy - but then the Lake District is also famous for its rain! This did not bother us in the least, we hiked over a mountain into the town of Ambleside, cooked in the cottage, snuggled, talked, watched videos and enjoyed the views out of the window...

I was very happy to find that my husband fitted into my life in England as well as we fit together in Cozumel. I think he and my parents are developing a real fondness for each other, and it was a first for me and my brother to sit at a table with both of our partners.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day three juice fast

Well, so far this fast is proving very difficult. Or at least should I say yesterday evening and this morning have been hard. I had forgotten what a terrible headache detoxing produces. Last detox, I got my headache on the evening of day 1 and it was over by day three. This time it started the afternoon of day 2 and is still here the morning of day 3. Hoping to see the end of it today. Today is the day of the salt water flush. Believe me, drinking a litre of salt water is the last thing you want to do after 2 1/2 days of juice fasting, but I'm hoping it might see an end to my headache. I'm treating myself to a cup of camomile tea after this!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Detox Fast

Last year on Sept 2nd I started a detox fast for 5 days. I intend to start a similar 7 day detox fast on Monday Aug 30. This time I am also going to incorporate a 'master cleans' drink first thing in the morning - that is water with lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup. I also plann to add chia seeds to my vegetable juices for protein and they also are good for cleansing the stomach and intestines, as well as helping prevent dehydration. This time I want to make it to 7 days. Last time I managed 5.
As with before my main aim is to improve my health. I have done quite a bit of reading about fasting. Eastern cultures will often fast to allow the body to care itself when people are sick. The first part of the fast (1-3 days) is said to flush out toxins and thereafter the body is able to rest and repair important organs like the liver and kidneys. People have shrunk cancerous tumours by fasting, and its said that toxins flushed out by a good fast, left to build up might lead to cancer's in later life. There is also research to suggest that fasting produces positive effects on those with depression or mental health issues. Well I'm happy to say that my lifestyle here in Cozumel has blown away the depression problems I used to have, but recently I have been feeling a certain amount of mental angst about one thing or another and I remember that by day 4 of my last fast I was feeling truely on top of the world, mentally. This is the part of the fast that I am looking forward to.
As with before though I'm going to need a good deal of resolve. I've been reading the autobiography of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandi) which is titled "The Storey of my Experiments with Truth". The book deals with his experiments with morality in his search for absolute truth -Sat Nam. I have really enjoyed this book on many levels. Of course Gandi is an inspiration and actually a very entertaining writer. I mention his book though because of his experiments with food and their effects on his spirit. He fasted regulalry and I liked his discussion on the difference between 'trying to do something' and 'vowing' to do something:
"'I believe in effort, I do not want to bind myself with vows,' is the mentality of weakness and betrays a subtle desire for the thing to be avoided. Or where can be the difficulty in making a final decision? I vow to flee from the serpent which I know will bite me, I do not simply make an effort to flee from him. I know that mere effort may mean certain death. Mere effort means ignorance of the certain fact that the serpent is bound to kill me". I think Gandi had the same idea as the Jedi Master Yoda who said "Try!???!! Do or do not, there is no try".
Well I am intent on completing my week long fast.
One small amendment has been brought about by the fact that I cannot find cayenne pepper on Cozumel and also all of the Maple syrup is not REALLY maple syrup, but sugar syrup with maple flavoring. So I'm back to juicing and drinking leamon water with chhia seeds.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Diving today for FUN!!!!

As you may know I've been living on the Island of Cozumel for almost 2 years. I work as a Scuba instructor and, at least in the high season, dive almost every day. I do love my job, but like every other job, it does become work. It can be stressful looking after people and, although I always snatch a few minutes of relaxation during each dive, its just not the same as diving for sheer fun.
One of the other instructors who I work with, Fernando, has also become a very good friend. He is also cave certified and although he has much more extensive experience of cave diving than I do, its been around the same period of time for both of us since the last cave dive.
The slow season is now upon us. We went from the hectic roller coaster of July/ early August, with 10-15 divers a day as well as tons of certifications to barely a couple every day at the pool. We're meeting to work out a pared down schedule which will mean we each only work 3 days a week, although I intend to work a few shifts in the dive shop.
Fernando and I got to talking on one of these slow mornings about cave diving. We've had these talks before and always decide to go but we never quite get round to it. This time I think we just might. He is in the process of getting his gear all set up and going to the mainland to pick up some equipment he has there, but I have everything all together. I also have a set of doubles that I bought off Hans when he left Playa which had yet used. Fernando and his friends did a lot of cave diving and I am concious that I will not be up to their experience level so today I decided to hop into my doubles and take myself for a test dive in the Ocean.
At first it was a little rocky (literally). Not as bad as the first time I put on a set of doubles, but I was very concious that my fin stroke was making my body seasaw through the water. I remembered that I hate my fins (I wear a full foot fin normally, but have paddle fins & booties for cave). They were pretty cheap (DEEP SEA) and they are an aweful fit. They really hurt the top of my foot. If I were really to get into cave diving I would have to buy a new pair of fins. I loved my old TUSA fins - they broke, but I would really like to replace them.
Of course, with double tanks, you have lots of air. I planned to dive on Villa Blanca Reef where I work, as I know it very well and its only around 20-30 feet deep. My plan was to spend the first hour playing around with my bouyancy/ trim and taking pictures with my camera. I then planned to do valve drills and run a line, like I would into a cave, with a primary, secondary and other tie off. I figured on being in the water for around 2 hours. My major limiting factor was most likely to be my bladder, as air supply and no decompression limits were unlikely to become problems.
That morning I'd been watching the latest Shrek movie. In particular the part where, Shrek is granted his wish of being a scarey Ogre again for one day. He tears around scaring people, knocking things over and playing in the mud, and the music playing in the background is 'On Top of the World' by the Carpenters. This is just about how I felt during my dive. I was able to stop and look at all of the creatures I see on my daily tous of the reef, pick up shells and look inside, and just enjoy not thinking about anybody else but me. Almost an hour had gone by before I stopped to look at the time - I also realized that for that whole hour I had done nothing but think about what I was doing right then and there. By this time my trim had become much more even. I made my way back to the area where I had planned to do my line drills. Reached down for my very expensive and extremely sexy Halceon reel and found that it was not there. 'HUmn' I thought, I was sure I'd attached it to my harness before I got in. Oh well, its probably on the bench. I went ahead and did my line drills using my spool. I did a couple of drills shutting down the right and left posts on my manifold (for people who dont dive - when you dive in double tanks its important, in an emergency, involving a tank malfunction that you can isolate and shut down the offending tank quickly and save your air supply in the ramaining tank). Easy peasy - its so easy to do valve drills in a wet suit after the torture of struggling through them in a dry suit with 7mm gloves on!!! Its difficult to do a share air drill on your own, but I practiced pulling my reg out of my mouth, slipping the long hose over my head and presenting it to an imaginary diver in frount of me, while switching to my back up.
When I got back to the dock, my husband informed me that my beloved reel was nowhere to be seen. Although I'd had to end the dive due to a rather pressing need to go to the bathroom I decided to go back. My desire to get out of the water to go to the bathroom necessitated a quick search. I followed my own dive plan out and turned back with no sign og the reel. I was just making peace with the situation (you never use that reel, you could always use your big, ugly, NJ wreck reel, of all of the valuable things I have this is one of the least useful etc..), when something made me turn my head to the left. There she was!! with her little pink bobble, which stops the line slipping through the bit on top. When I collected it I saw the hole where I'd stoped to photograph a lion fish - she must have slipped of her clip then. I was very happy and made it back to the dock having spent just 20 mins in the search and managing not to pee in my wet suit.
When I got out of the water my husband noticed that one of my back up lights had exploded - a small loss in comparison to my reel:)
So it was a nice dive and I feel much more prepared to go for an easy cave dive next week. We're planning to dive Aerlito and stay on the mainline - nice and simple. I think Fernando has it in his head that we might do a decompression dive as well, once we get out equipment all together - in the open water. I will be pleased to flex my decompression diving muscles again as well. My plan is to leave my dry suit in NJ sometime soon and dive the next time I am in NY for work. Maybe I'll invest in a small storage space. Oh I did have a wonderful day of diving today. Made me miss my old cave buddy Michele Carvale and Jose, Fernando and Hans.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Guanabana fruit


I tried Guanabana fruit last night for the first time. The one I ate looked a bit more like this:


They are pretty good. Not so good as to knock the Pitaya off my #1 new fruit spot, but sweet and juicy. I did a little google search on guanabana's and found this:

"The Guanabana Fruit has cancer curing abilities. The Sour Sop or the fruit from the Guanabana tree is a miraculous natural cancer cell killer 10,000 times stronger than Chemo. The taste is not bad after all. It’s completely natural and definitely has no side effects.."

Although this statement seemed a little too good to be true I did some more digging and it does seem like there is ainterest in the cancer fighting properties of the trees leaves. I also read that is is good for both bacterial and fungal infections, and is effective against internal parasites and worms, lowers high blood pressure and is used for depression, stress and nervous disorders. I'm in!

I like to try new fruits and I figure if they have health benefits as well, all the better. I think I'm going to buy another of these tomorrow and maybe try to make a shake with it. Now that the slow season is approaching I'm considering another juice fast followed by a much healthier diet.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Almost ready to put the roof on the first floor!!!

The house is really starting to take shape now. I'm starting with a picture taken from the street of the front of the house. The clear area on the left will be the car port. The window on the right will be my study.
Here's another picture of the front door and my study window - a little closer:
This is my study again and the cruved supports at the top is where we will have a little 3' balcony on the upstairs bedroom (which will also probably be the guest room):
Looking into the kitchen from the terrace:
View of the upstairs stairwell from the kitchen:
From the kitchen, looking through the double archway which leads to the living room. The bathroom door is off to the left and the double cupboards/ closets are to the right. The background is the living room and front door:
This picture is taken from the terrace - my husbands work room is off to the left and one of the kitchen windows is right of that.
Here's a picture of the terrace with one of the workers moving bricks for some perspective:
And finally the kitchen taken from the double arch hall way leading to the living room.
Its all very exciting. We've also been shopping for tiles for the floors and bathroom. I'm hoping the roof will be put on in the next month or so. The builders are slowly leveling all of the walls at the top, so that the roof will have a strong even base. They will also need to finish the supports for the terrace roof so thae roof can be puored all in one go.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

38th Birthday

Wow - I am 38! I remember when I was younger thinking how old will I be in 1999 (like the Prince song). Anything older than 27 seemed incomprehensible. So how does it feel being 38. Very nice indeed. My life is going very well these days with my Mexico move being a huge positive turning point.

Monday, June 28, 2010

By popular demand (or at least the insesant demand of my mother!!!)

Well the house is going through another growth spurt. My impression so far, is that the fastest thing about building a house is the actual building of the house itself. The foundations have taken a long time and I am told that all of the finishing of the house (electric, water, plastering, tiling, fittings, windows, door etc..) will take a very long time.

So I think the last pictures I posted were of the foundations looking like a 3' high wall, outlining where our rooms are going to be. Well things have advanced a litte from then. We now have a good number of walls and the land around the foundation has been filled to almost floor height. It is very difficult to show the progress clearly in pictures because its difficult to get enough of the house into the camera shot to make sense. So here it goes.

First is the view into the kitchen from the terrace. The kitchen will be aproximately 15' x 15'. Along the left of the picture leading towards the back are the bathroom, living room and study:
Then my husband in the kitchen poiting to where the stairs to the second floor will start (taken from the terrace). His being in the shot gives everything a little more perspective:
My husband's work room - or as I like to call it his 'man cave' (6' x 9'):
Me standing in the living room at the door of my study before the foundation was filled (the living room will be around 12' x 18' and my study will be 9' x 9'). I say 'my' study but I will let my husband put a small desk in there:)
My husband standing in the study doorway after the land was filled. The front door will be to his left.
Me in the kitchen this will be where the sink will be and the washing machine will be to my left, with a nice bench inbetween.
View from the kitchen to the covered terrace. You can see that our garden, behind the terrace, will be small (9'x24'):
The bathroom:
My husband and mother-in-law looking into my study window from the driveway, this is where my desk will be so that I can monitor all of the comings and goings!
So there you have it. I am hoping that Tropical Storm Alex will take its wet weather away today so that work on the walls can continue. It is possible that we will be able to get the roof on the first floor by the end of this week or next. Then I have to wait until all of boring stuff is completed before we can start the exciting things like choosing the decor for the bathroom!!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

New York

I have just returned to Cozumel after two weeks in New York. I think I have written about this before, but it is the wierdest experience being back in New York, especially because I spent two weeks working in my old company. More than just visiting a place, its like visiting a different time in my life and an all together different me.
Work was actually great - I felt like I fitted right back in. I love the people who I used to work with and two weeks of quick chats and lunches made it possible to catch up with almost everybody.
I had been worried that my 1 1/2 years in Cozumel might have irradicated all knowledge of shipping from my brain (thanks to my VERY bad memory). I was pleased to find that this was not the case. Everything came flooding back and by day 2 it was like I had never been away. It was nice to sit and work at a desk for a change and give my back a rest from lugging tanks around.
So what are the differences between working as a scuba instructor and working in an office (probably more sensible to ask what are the similarities but bear with me). It was a friend who put her finger on the main difference. She'd taken a year off from her stressful, marketing position and had recently returned to work. She told me that returning to her desk job had had a dramatic effect on her health, this she put down to feeling very disconnected to the universe. That is exactly what I think I felt. Here in Cozumel I feel very at one with nature and the forces at work in the universe. I feel the sun, wind and sometimes rain on my skin. I'm in the Ocean alomost every day; sometimes its soft and billowing waves wrap around me like a blanket, sometimes they knock me on my ass. The current rocks me to and fro or flings me 1/2 mile in 5 mins. In the city we tend to live and work in environmentally sealed buildings, see the world virtually through computers, communicate by e-mail and telephone. Our appartments are luxurious but airconditioning and tinted windows keep us at arms length from what little nature exhists in the city. Two weeks was a nice break but I was very ready to get back to my Island.
I did have a great time catching up with friends. A couple of dinners with Carey, catching up on her eventful life is always fun. I managed to spend some quality time with Allie and little Griffin, and also a nice dinner with her husband Hans. Cat was in town from Germany for a flying visit and I got to hang out with her and Beth. Allie came over for dinner and although we had to cut things a little short due to Cat's jetlag, my general uselessness at staying up late, Beth's early presnetation and Allie's mommyhood, it felt good to have a girly night with close friends. A wonderful weekend in Lake George with Christine. It did rain which stopped us from getting out on the boat - but did allow us to hit the outlet mall, where I was able to load up on flis flops for me and my husband.
I also managed to spend some time with a good friend who has also decided to take a year off from corporate America - boy did he look more relaxed.
I stayed with friends in NJ and Long Island during my trip. For the seocnd week I had the use of a friend's wonderful apartment in Jersey City.
A great 10 min train journey to lower Manhattan (perfect for early morning shopping trips to my favorite discount designer store - Century 21). The most wonderful thing about this apartment were the views. Check out the views of Manhattan from New Jersey. I'd have to say that I love crazy New York...

Looking at these pictures I am reminded of what Hans said about loving the energy of the city and being inspired by it everytime he needs to be in midtown for work. He is right about that. Maybe its something about so many people being packed into such a small space, all busy like worker ants. There is a creative energy about the city- it almost buzzes with the energy of its people. Maybe not the peaceful connection to the universe that I feel in Cozumel but there is definitely a powerful and compelling energy to the place.
On the morning of my return I woak up early to get to the airport for a 8am flight and caught the sun rising over the city...
Later when I returned to the Island, I watched the sun set over the ocean with my wonderful husband...
...and I thought to myself that both were beautiful in their own ways. I am lucky to be part of two such wonderful places.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My Wedding

I am really very very happy to be married to my husband. My parents flew over from England for what was to be an intimate affair with less than 30 guests. We wanted our wedding to be special but did not want it to turn into a huge production so we decided to get married in a house my parents were to rent on the beach with only family and a few close friends. Villa Loyd
The house was amazing and we got married right on the beach. There were some stressful things about organizing the wedding. Actually the fact that it was so small meant that most of the leg work was down to us, but in the end everything worked out perfectly.
My parents arrived on the Sunday before and we collected them from Cancun airport. My parents had met my husband before and already were very taken with him. The weather was unseasonably warm for April which was nice in a way - but a little difficult for my parents who prefer a good hike through the rain in the lake district in England than a day lounging on a tropical beach, dipping in and out of the water!!!! That said, my mother was very brave in the water and was looking very comfortable swimming in the Ocean at the feet of the house by the end of her stay. Next trip snorkeling, and perhaps the trip after scuba?
I'd ordered two sundresses from England back when I lived in New York, one in blue and the other in white. I remember thinking 'I can't wear the white one, it looks like a wedding dress'. I put the dress into a drawer and thought little more about it. As it turned out it worked perfectly for a beach wedding in Mexico, even the embroidery looked a little Mexican in style. Then last October, when I returned to England for a few weeks I bought a veil and a little gold hair grip:
My aunt Jude in England could not make it to the wedding but sent me a little box containing an old gold watch which belonged to my grandmother. I'd not seen the watch in years and holding it in my hand brought images of my grandmother flooding back. We were very close and It meant a lot to have her special watch on my arm on the day of my wedding. I know she would have loved to have been there, and in a way I think she was:
"SOMETHING OLD - my grandmother's watch, SOMETHING NEW - my veil, SOMETHING BORROWED - Allie lent me some diamond earrings, which I think had belonged to her grandmother, SOMETHING BLUE - a blue bead in my locket".
My husband wore a traditional guayabera shirt with a pink rose in its pocket:
A good friend here on the Island, Josie had asked if she could buy my bouquet as a wedding gift. I chose light pink roses and dark pink daisies. It worked perfectly with my dress.
Allie was my bridesmaid and thankfully stayed in Playa Del Carmen for the whole next week, which gave me some time to catch up with her properly and get to know her lovely son Griffin:
A friend Tanya is a wedding photographer and kindly took pictures of us as a wedding gift. She turned up an hour before the wedding and took pictures of us in the house and on the beach:

I walked onto the beach with my dad who handed me over gladly to my husband. I think my dad has been waiting to give me away for a very long time and he was very happy, especially since the bright sun gave him an excuse to wear a hat for the occasion (my dad likes to wear hats!).
My new nephews, Alex and Jesus gave readings from the Gospel of St John:
My yoga teacher, spiritual guide and friend Selene conducted part of the service with a beautiful meditation on love. This was a very special part of the wedding for me as I meditate in a group with Selene twice a week and these meditations and my yoga have been an integral part of my really finding myself since I came to Cozumel.
We were married a little after 6, by Fr. John Skivington, a priest from England who'd married my parents years ago, and we think christened me (but no one can really remember this). He gave us the cross in his hands as a gift (it will have pride of place on our terrace when the house is built!).

It was wonderful for me that my special friends Cat, Hans and Allie were able to make it to the wedding from Germany and the States as well as Sophia from Playa Del Carmen and Josie from the Island.

Another good friend on the Island, Monica gave us our cake as her wedding present. My mam had ordered beach wedding figures in outfits which matched mine and hubby's:
We were given lots of generous gifts from friends in the US, England and here on the Island. We're enjoying some beautiful cotton bedding, new glasses and plates and are looking forward to sleeping on a new mattress that we have ordered with all of the $$ gifts. Most of the money we received will go towards building our new home. Thank you all so much for your generosity - it was lovely to know that friends and family were thinking of us even though they could not make it to the wedding. I also wanted to say that it was very difficult limiting the number of people we invited. There were many people who we would have loved to have had there but the numbers would have gotten out of hand and our little intimate gathering would have turned into a crazy party. I hope no one is offended by their lack of invite, there were many of you who we would have loved to share our day with. That said, I found it difficult to speak to all of the people who did make it to the wedding and I have no idea how brides manage to pass the time with all of their guests when they invite 100's of people!
It was especially nice to have my parents and brother there for the whole week of our wedding as we were really able to spend time with them - I think it also allowed them to get a real sense of our feelings for each other which hopefully made them feel a little happier about the fact that their daughter was to marry a Mexican and settle on a continent some 8 hour flying distance from home.
How does it feel to be married - well pretty much the same as it felt just living together. I feel very loved and secure. He is one of the most honest and kind people I have ever met, he's my best friend and he brings out the best aspects of me. Our marriage brought about a subtle change, in that our bond feels a little tighter. Its nice to make vows to each other in front of family and friends. It also feels nice to wear his ring on my finger and see him wearing mine.