A Taste of Asia Part One

Hello All,

What can I say about mid tour? Even now, I feel a certain rush of emotion when it crosses my mind, and I haven’t been home very long at all.

Despite some last-minute troubles that left us wishy-washy on whether or not my love would actually meet me in our planned location, Green Lantern did make it late in the evening on the very same day that I arrived in Phuket, Thailand. It was here, in the tropical, hot and humid climate that we made our home for two weeks, blissfully unaware of the world’s problems. For those days, it didn’t matter. I had what I had been aching for.

Green Lantern planned this whole trip. I was take myself dutifully to the airport closest to our home and allow myself to be whisked away to Asia. I can admit I was nervous… but he planned for that. In fact, he made it fool-proof. He booked the plane ticket… he booked the hotel… he even booked and paid for the cab that would take me from the airport to the hotel to wait for his arrival. Sitting in the Frankfurt airport, it was impossible for me to focus. It was a whole day of travel… practically two until I would see my Lantern, but knowing that all I had to do was get on a plane… it was exhilarating.

Seeing him… it was magical. I had a vague recollection of high school; I was overcome with those nerves that set the butterflies fluttering in your stomach. I almost couldn’t believe that he was real. Even now, the memory of that first touch and first kiss is the strongest memory I have of the vacation. It was what made it all real, and took away the dreamlike state.

We had a late dinner at the restaurant in our hotel, completely unable to stop touching. It was as if we were afraid the fantasy would melt away if our hands let go of each other, and we would again wake up in separate, but lonely beds. I didn’t want him to disappear. Looking back, I still have a little bit of the surreal quality veiled over the whole time. Did it really happen? Or did I finally miss him so much that I dreamed the whole thing?

When I woke up the next morning with Green Lantern snuggled into my back, I wanted to cry I was so happy. We spent many of our days in Thailand (when we were not on the scuba boat) at the beach. Our hotel had a free shuttle to Nai Harn beach, which we took the very first day. The beach was beautiful, nestled in a pretty little cove. We laid on beach chairs, waded and played in the water, and wandered in and out of the little shops along the edge. The best part was the fact that it was not overly crowded, like some of the other beaches we wandered across. We visited this beach many times, and every time it was perfect.

Our first night out we spent in Patong Beach, and found our way down Bangla Road. The night life on this part of the island was CRAZY, with bars and clubs galore, plus street vendors and shopping everywhere. In fact, there were many nights we came back to this beach for the wonderful food they had to offer. The nicest Hard Rock Cafe that Green Lantern and I have ever been to resides right in the heart of Patong beach. Not only that, but a wonderful steakhouse (In which I had the best burger of my life) and a fantastic mexican restaurant. It’s hard to pass that up!

Three days after we arrived in Phuket, we started the process of our next great adventure: scuba diving. On our honeymoon, Green Lantern and I had done a little intro-to-scuba dive in the Bahamas. It was a nice little introduction, and it definitely wet my Lantern’s interest. I, however, had discovered a few problems, and was slightly less keen than him on the idea. Green Lantern was so excited though, and I couldn’t take that away from him. I got some Sudafed to try to help my equalization problem with my ears, and jumped it. The first day, which was composed of mostly classes, and some skills in the swimming pool at the faculty. The course was fairly straightforward, and we learned and reviewed the basics that we had been given well over a year ago. I struggled a bit more than my Lantern, especially with the weight of the equipment, and regulating my breathing so I didn’t rise underwater. By the end of the day, I was sore and frustrated, and Green Lantern was energized and excited.

The next two days were spent on a Thai boat with a bunch of other divers. Our instructor, who I am going to credit as perfectly sarcastic for us, and wonderfully patient with me and all my problems, dived with us 6 times in those two days. The sites ranged mostly around Racha Noi, Phi Phi Islands, and a place called Shark Point. The first dive off the boat, I will admit I got nervous. Standing on the boat, in all of my equipment, holding on to Green Lantern just so I could keep my balance, I was not particularly anxious to get in the water, but I jumped anyway. As I let the air out of my BCD unit and started to sink, I was greeted fairly quickly with a sharp pain in my ears. So I had stop and clear. Of those dives in the first two days, Green Lantern and the instructor both sank a lot faster than me. However, by the end of the first day, I had learned how to keep myself level, regulate my level in the water with my breathing, and mastered the skills. I learned that I hated currents when our instructor and Green Lantern would swim into it…. and I would just stay swimming in one place. On the second day, I was able to enjoy more of what I was seeing. I did develop a certain love for the quiet, and an interest in the fish and animals we were seeing. The reefs were among the most beautiful things I have see in my life. Something about what is going on deep beneath the surface of the waves, the mystery of this whole other world so close, but so far from us, is just exhilarating. We saw all kinds of creatures, including, much to my Lantern’s excitement, black tip sharks in the waters around us. I still won’t go as far as to say that I get the kick out of it that Green Lantern does, but I was learning to love it. After this three-day set, we were certified open water scuba divers.

After this, I insisted we take on some activities on dry land. This led to full day trek of amazing proportions in the Phuket Rainforest. We spent the day elephant trekking, traveling through the forest, and canoeing down the river. I don’t think I had ever been so amazed. It was beautiful, it was exciting, and it was the opportunity of a lifetime. We were “lucky” enough, according to our tour guide, to get the only male elephant in the camp. The elephant wrangler (for lack of a better term) even let us get out of the chair and ride on the head and neck of the elephant that Green Lantern affectionately named Steve. It hit me on the back of that elephant that this is the kind of thing that other people dream about… and here I was, with the man I love, doing it. From there, we moved onto the canoeing which took us through a more up close and personal view of the rainforest. The landscape was gorgeous and looked like those exotic, National Geographic kind of prints that I had only ever seen in magazines.

Even after all of the traveling Green Lantern and I have done, and knowing that there are still more exciting and wonderful places to fill our time on the horizon, I can’t help but still be amazed by the world around me, and all that there is to see. It truly is a blessing to be married to a Super Hero/Military man. Sometimes it’s a lot harder than it should be, but the wonderful rewards outweigh it all. I have the love and devotion of a courageous and fantastic man. I have learned that my capacity to love is vast, because I never thought I would ever love anyone the way I love my Lantern. At this point in our trip, I was sure I had never been so blessed in my life.

Well, I do believe that’s enough ranting for one post. 🙂 Tune in for the second part of our vacation in Thailand in the next blog.

All the best,

BG

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Giving Thanks

Hello All,

I know that my absence has been long, but I promise, my Asian inspired blog is currently in the works. R&R was amazing, and that is all you need to know until then. 🙂

Today, however, I want to take on a different topic. And that is the idea of Giving Thanks.

Let me start with this statement: I hate thanksgiving. With a passion that has been fueled through my childhood. Don’t get me wrong, the fact that we celebrate the idea of being thankful for what you have been given in your life is a beautiful thing. However, the idea that the entire holiday is based around the consumption of a HUGE meal is just kind of ridiculous for someone like me. Why? Because I hate the food. Seriously. Turkey? Don’t eat it. Stuffing and Mashed Potatoes and Gravy? Nope, not a chance. Cranberry sauce? Green Bean Casserole or the like? Pumpkin Pie? Apple Pie? Pecan Pie? SOME kind of Pie? Not even kind of.

When I was young, my mother Phoenix started making a variation of Homemade Mac and Cheese, and this became my turkey to the Thanksgiving meal. (Thanks mom, for giving me some tradition 🙂 ) So for as long as I can remember it was this, fruit salad, and fresh hot rolls with butter and jelly to sustain me while everyone else went for the super traditional meal. Honestly, I get more out of the football games then I do the mountain of food that we will continue to eat for the next three weeks following.

When Green Lantern was home last year, we went all out to make a meal that worked for both of us. We chose Ham over turkey, because Green Lantern was kind enough to spare me the burden of trying to actually figure out how to cook one of those infuriating birds. He made some fried potato concoction that he assures me is the best in the whole world. Then we made Green Bean bundles wrapped in Bacon and topped with Onions and Mushrooms, Salad, Fresh Rolls, and of course, my traditional Mac and Cheese.

At the approach of the holiday this year, Green Lantern started expressing concern. He asked me what I was planning on doing. I replied with “nothing.” He pressed on. Aren’t you going to cook anything special? Go be with friends? Go to the base and eat the big thanksgiving meal that they prepare? I continued to tell him no.

So here we sit, Thanksgiving morning. Judging purely off of my stomach right now, I feel like I might make a cheesy garlic bread and some pasta today. Sounds good. I’m gonna put something on the tv, probably a season of Psych that I can run all day without paying a whole lot of attention. I’ll do laundry. I’ll maybe work on some art. I’ll take care of my fur babies, and spend the day alone and secluded.  A most ordinary day, and a most unusual thanksgiving.

However, the fact that I can do all of this is a reason to be thankful. I have food in my house that I can make. I have a plethora of movies or seasons to choose from to break the silence. I have clothes to wear, and a roof over my head. I have a passion for art, and the undying love of our animals to keep me company. And you know what? I am thankful for all of it.

Of course, the major players in my blessed life aren’t here: Green Lantern, Batman and Phoenix, my brother Ironman and his sweet Pepper Potts, and so many others that I can’t even count, but I feel blessed that I get to have them in my life at all in the first place. I wish that I could see them, and spend the holiday with them, but I really am ok with being here alone. I am in a beautiful and fantastic country with opportunities to travel the world. I have the love of the greatest man I have ever known (besides Batman 🙂 ). I have a wonderful and supportive family. This life I have been given is sometimes difficult and confusing and frustrating and unpredictable, but it is also beautiful and passionate and amazing. So this season, I am thankful for everyone and everything I have been given, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds in this alluring and lovely thing we call life.

Best wishes to you and yours. I hope your Thanksgiving holiday is filled with happiness and laughter, and that good blessings stay with you all year long.

BG