Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I want to take you to

Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama

Key Largo, Montego, baby why don’t we go 

Ooh I want to take you down to

Kokomo, we’ll get there fast and then we’ll take it slow

That’s where we want to go, way down in Kokomo…

So, a couple of weeks ago I had the most amazing fortune to travel to a place just 12.5 degrees north of the equator. Where the year round average daily temp is 85 or 89 or 83 – basically perfect. Trade winds blow constantly across the island in cadence with the rays of the blazing sun; those same trade winds also gift one with wind-blown beach hair and daily exfoliation as the sand brushes across one’s skin. So what is this place that is just 12.5 degrees north of the equator you ask? It’s Aruba. And I’m in love.

And since I am in love – I am taking a short break this week from the “Truth Series” to share my new-found love with you, my readers. Not to worry though, we shall return to the truth next week, next post. Inspired, no doubt, by truths uncovered in Aruba.

In the meantime, let me tell you about my latest love…

The island is referred to as “The Happy Island” – I’m not sure when or why or how it was nick-named that, but what I do know is that it is indeed, the happy island. The skies are the brightest shade of blue and the grains of sand are the finest kind creating the most perfect softness to touch. The people are kind and accommodating and respectful. I never once felt uncomfortable or unsafe.

There are times when I find myself in a new place and I just know that I was meant to be there. And then those places carve out a little spot in my soul and it becomes a part of me. Walking onto the beach in Aruba for the first time was one of those moments. It was love at first sight. Relief at first sight. Peace at first sight. I could breath. You know kinda like when you meet someone who strikes something deep inside of you and you may not know quite what role or shape or form that person is going to play in your story but you know they are important and special and you know your paths have crossed for a reason and your life all of a sudden becomes divided into “pre” this person and “post” this person. Well, that’s how I feel about Aruba. There was the me before Aruba and now there is the me after.

The island has what I think of as two personalities. What I refer to as the “resort side” is lush and beautiful with palm trees and sand and while strong, the surf is manageable for a swim. Pina Coladas are never more than an orange flag away. It truly looks like a postcard came to life. It is every Corona beach commercial ever made. In one word – paradise.

But then, because of the trade winds I suppose, the other side of the island is desert landscape. Really. I thought for a moment I was in Arizona. But there was an ocean. And the ocean on this side of the island made me feel like I was five years old. I was in awe of its power and force; charmed by its beauty and rhythm. In fact, it brought me back to the first time I saw the ocean. I was five. The Gulf of Mexico in Naples, Florida. It appeared massive to me; I was intrigued and terrified all at once. And now approaching 40, I felt that same way as I danced with the waves at Moro Beach on the desert side of Aruba.

I left a piece of myself in Aruba. And I brought a piece of Aruba back with me.

The pictures below don’t do it justice. And mistakenly, I didn’t bring my “good” camera so iPhone pics it had to be…but hoping that my love for this beautiful place is translated…for what it’s worth.

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Palm trees on the resort side

img_3645

We named him Joe…

img_3703Bluest of blue skies and powder sand on resort side

img_3691Pina Coladas never more than an orange flag away!

img_3873Trade winds

img_3758Arizona or Aruba? Aruba – desert side

img_3752Desert sideimg_3753Rock Wish Garden at The Gold Mine Ranch

img_3757I had not planned to participate in the Rock Wish Garden; however, as I ventured back from the shore these three guys were lying side by side in my path. So I bent down and stacked them and made my three wishes – one per rock.

img_3772Black Rock Beach

img_3763Black Rock Beach

img_3794

img_3789

img_3814

img_3807Coast along east side of the island

img_3827img_3834img_3839

img_3833img_3845img_3846Moro Beach at Arikok National Park

img_3852Sunset resort side

Director of some corporate stuff who happens to like writing a lot and other creative outlets - like karaoke - even though she is quite certain those in the room with her while she sings wished she didn't like it so much... Runner of all distances, but prefers longer distances as God gave her the gift of endurance not speed... Mother of two boys and two dogs, who on most days, are perfectly sweet and good...mostly.

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