Wednesday, February 22, 2017

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

I've been so caught up in recapping my cruise that it's been a while since I've posted something "non vacation" related.

To those who also do What I'm Loving Wednesday posts, I will continue to do the link up for the people who want to participate! I hope to get back to my weekly WILW link ups!

I'm loving...
That I got to attend my niece's birthday celebration last month. She and I are close in age, so we've been more like sisters our whole lives. We went to Painting With a Twist. I don't think I missed my calling to be an artist, but it was a lot of fun!

My lovely niece!

I'm loving...
That I've been able to hang out with some of my amazing friends over the past few weeks.

I'm loving...
The Valentine my friends Misti and Larry got me- they know me so well! :)

I'm loving...
That I was able to watch my neighbor's dog Holly last weekend while she was out of town. I'm super sad that they are moving soon, I will miss them. :(

Holly got me a gift certificate for a manicure as a Valentine's Day gift!
I'm loving...
That I got to meet comedian Jason Earls last week. He's hilarious. You can check him out here.

I'm loving...
That I got to see my bestie Brandy last week. I don't sit two hours in rush hour traffic for just anyone, but when I do, it's to hang out with her!

I'm loving...
That I was able to see Theatre Arlington's production of School of Rock on Sunday- it was amazing! If you are in the area, there are performances this weekend and next weekend. Click here for more info. My friend's son just happens to have the lead in it- he was fantastic!

The star's proud momma is in front there! :)
I'm loving...
That I've already read seven books in my reading challenge. Hopefully I can actually finish the challenge this year, I have failed the past two years. Oh shameless plug, follow me on GoodReads here.

What are YOU loving??


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

My Jamaica Trip!

If case you missed the other posts recapping my cruise adventures, here are the links:

The last port stop on our cruise was Jamaica. 

My folks, sister, and I decided to go on an excursion that gave us a tour of the island and also stopped along the way for some shopping (I think my mom was most excited about that. Lol). Most of our sight-seeing was done from the bus but they did stop so we could take pictures. And we were able to get off the bus at some locations. At first I thought I was going to be disappointed since we were going to be in a bus for most of the day, but we got to see SO MUCH MORE of the island this way. We didn't just see the "tourist" section of Jamaica- we got to see the heart and soul. I'm trying to word this in a PC way- but not all of Jamaica is as "glamorous" as the beach resorts you see in all of the advertising. Don't get me wrong- all of that is beautiful, but there is so much more to Jamaica than that. So many of the residents aren't living that glamorous life. They do whatever they can to make ends meet. Some pick up trash on the side of the road for what would be only a few dollars a day to Americans. They sell homemade items, produce- whatever they can to feed their family. They are proud people and don't just want a handout- they want to earn it. 

Okay, enough of that, back to my adventure. Our tour guide was this great kid named Zachary. He was awesome. You could tell that he was proud of his country- he knew so much information and told us amazing stories and interesting facts. He made us all say "Yeh mon" instead of "yes". You could tell he loved what he was doing. We found out that he was in college trying to earn a business degree and this job was helping him pay for it.

I've never seen the movie, but this house was used in How Stella Got Her Groove Back
My grandfather was in the US Coast Guard, that was the main reason I took this pic
We could see some mountains off in the distance. I don't know why I was so surprised there were mountain on the island
Some residents selling produce

After about an hour drive, we made our first stop (and we were able to actually get off of the bus). It was at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church. It is a cute little church. We were only there about fifteen minutes, and there wasn't any information on location about the history (I later found this website when I got home that told me more about it). It was a nice place to see, I wouldn't recommend that someone go out of their way to see it though (but swing by if you are in the neighborhood). We went on a Thursday so there was no service going on, but we were able to go inside it.

I could probably bore you with a lot of stories that Zachary told about Jamaica, but I will just bore you with pictures instead. :)

Zachary kept talking about how they were going to get a Walmart in Jamaica. He said we would pass by the location where it was going to be built. We all laughed when he pointed this out. :)
Some Jamaican coins (which I sadly was not able to keep)

Part of Fern Gully in Ocho Rios 

I thought this was a colorful home

Zachary told us that in Jamaica they move into a home before it's completed- they just keep adding on while they are living there. They only build what they can pay at that time- they won't take out a loan to build a house. There were a lot of unfinished houses along our tour
Outside this library there is a statue of Marcus Garvey, a famous Jamaican political leader, journalist, entrepreneur, and publisher
Found me a Baptist church!

I almost fainted at the sight of $146 for a gallon of gasoline, but then remembered that was in Jamaican currency (I think it came to about $6 a gallon in American money- so it's still not cheap). Jamaicans walk a lot of places.
We were able to stop at this one place called Oceans On The Ridge in Ocho Rios that had a beautiful view

This lady was selling homemade bracelets. My mom, sister, and I all bought one
We went to a place called Reggae Hill for lunch. I'll be honest, I didn't eat because it was buffet style and all the food included seafood (there were only three meals to choose from). YES I WENT ON A CRUISE AND DIDN'T EAT ANY SEAFOOD- DEAL WITH IT. Lol. It also wasn't a cheap buffet, even my sister and folks passed on lunch. We didn't realize we wouldn't have more options for lunch or we would have packed snacks. But it was a beautiful and peaceful place to relax for about an hour. I even found free WiFi and did a FaceTime with my BFF in Austin while I was there.

After lunch we finally got to the shopping portion of the excursion. Honestly most of the places we stopped were places I call "tourist traps" (with just your every day tourist souvenir), but my dad and I both got Jamaica caps and my mom bought a few things while we were there. I did find a "flea market" type place where people were selling homemade items. I bought a necklace and a cute wall decoration from there. As nice as relaxing on a beach would have been, I learned so much more and got to see WAY more of Jamaica on this excursion. I'm so glad we went on it. And I got to spend the day with my folks and sister this way. I evidently don't go on vacation to relax, I go on vacation to learn and see history. :)

Our bus driver was named Godfrey and he was great!

You can only use a debit or credit card at a payphone in Jamaica. I haven't seen a payphone in years!

My folks with Zachary
Me and my folks at the port after our adventurous day!
My Jamaican souvenir 
I hope you've enjoyed the recap of my cruise! As always, thanks for reading!