Welcome to week two of Green Lantern and my wonderful Thailand vacation.
The second week started with another bout of my Lantern’s favorite activity EVER. If you have been paying attention… that is more scuba diving. The second set of 6 dives allowed us to get our Advanced Open Water certifications, and gave us different skill sets that can be applied to any dives we might do ourselves in the future. This includes things like a navigation dive, a deep water dive, as well as photography diving, wreck diving, drift diving, and fish identification diving.
This second set of dives came to me much easier than the first set. I had a better sense of how to control my buoyancy (though not perfect), and was finally given tasks that matched up better with my skill set. Basically, the instructor was asking me to be smart as opposed to demonstrating actual physical techniques… and I am SO much better at that. I struggled the most with the navigation dive. But really… those who are familiar with me know that swimming in a straight line is not nearly creative enough for this BG. 🙂 Overall, in the water I felt a lot more relaxed. The real trouble actually visited me on the boat this time; I swear I had never been so sea-sick in my life! For once, I was extremely happy to get in the water just because the shock of cold would take the nausea right away. Green Lantern’s enthusiasm had not been dampened in the slightest. He jumped in the water with the intent of seeing every little thing he could, and he was not afraid to get right up on the reef to do so. Where I would hang back, unsure of myself and how much space I was taking up, he was fearless. This was something I really began to admire about him. He was passionate, and he was courageous. That made the experience with him beautiful.
Oh the fantastic things we saw! This time we were able to see and experience much more, swimming into caves, into shipwrecks, and up and down the walls and reefs outside the Phi Phi islands. It was completely gorgeous, and wonderfully captivating. The deep dive presented less challenge then I expected with my ears, so overall I was much happier with this set of dives then the previous three days worth.
At the end of the second day, I was presented with the one problem that I had not anticipated dealing with. After 11 dives and less than a week, plus a full day of work in the pool, I had officially given my body the work out it was not quite ready for. After the second dive on the last day, I could hardly stand anymore for the pain in my knee. Besides that fact, once I was suited up in my rig with the air tank, I could not support it standing. The last dive, I literally had other divers holding part of my weight for me so I could get to the end of the boat to jump off. That was when I decided to wave the white flag. Granted, it has been 8 months since the surgery, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. I am so much better, but high stress and high strain… well I know when it’s time to give. As Green Lantern went down for dive number twelve, I relaxed up on the boat. Overall… it was a good choice. 🙂
With all the scuba diving behind us, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a little bit relieved. I’ll do anything to put a smile on Green Lantern’s face, but with the heavy lifting behind us, I was happy to relax. The next day we split between the Phuket Zoo, and the Botanic Garden. The zoo was one of those places that would have been wonderful if they would have had a little more money to put into it. They had a decent array of animals, but it was sorely in need of an update. However, Green Lantern and I had fun walking around and taking pictures.
After getting slightly lost with our taxi driver, we arrived at the Phuket Botanic Garden. According to the brochures, this attraction had only been open like three months. Now THAT was amazing. I have always had a weakness for photographing flowers, and it was running in overdrive through this gorgeous setting with every kind of flower and plant imaginable. Some I recognized, some were exotic and new. The garden was split into different sections, and it was like a walk through Wonderland. I felt like Alice; all I was waiting for was the roses to start singing about golden afternoons. Being there with Green Lantern just made it more magical to me.
The following night, we took in a wondrous display of Thai culture with Siam Niramit. This show, a cabaret, almost Las Vegas style entertainment event, was absolutely fantastic. Besides starting out with buffet dinner to suit all taste buds, the show is rich with refinement that cannot be touched. In three acts, it takes the audience through Thailand’s history in various parts of the country, into the religious ideals from Hell all the way up to heaven, and finally into a study of the rich festivals that accompany the Buddhist faith. This was a spectacular display. I was especially taken with the full size, completely real river that appeared on the stage, wide enough for two boats to pass each other. The costuming was fantastic, as well as the special effects and wire work. There were people flying all over this place! I could not believe was I was seeing, truly. This is something that I would recommend to everyone. The beauty of it can not be rivaled.
The last few days passed in a blur. It’s funny how that always happens once the time starts to wear thin. We played mini golf for an afternoon… Played billiards in an Irish pub until we finally got tired… swam in our private pool when the hotel upgraded us to a private villa for last part of our vacation. We wandered on the beach, got suits and dresses custom-made for us (just wait until that next military ball 😉 ), and I decided to cut all of my hair off and wear it short for a while. We wandered through the little aquarium on the coast of Phuket town, and visited the Big Buddha. That one in particular made me feel very tranquil. I got the feeling that this 45-meter statue acts as a guardian for the island, overlooking Phuket in every direction, from the rainforest to coast to the bay we sailed out of every time we went diving. It was here, the day before we were to get on a plane, that it sank it that Green Lantern had to go back. And I did my best to ignore it.
The next day, my Lantern and I boarded a plane for our 7 hour flight to Abu Dubai. I was restless. I was desperate for sleep, but it only came briefly. My stomach slowly became more and more upset, so much so that by the time we landed in UAE, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be sick or not.
It was here that I had to experience the real heartbreak of deployment again. I don’t remember it being like this the first time, but standing in the airport, looking at each other and waiting on two separate flights, I was struggling to hold it together. Green Lantern walked me to my gate, and put my head against his chest. He whispered to me that I needed to be strong a little bit longer. That I needed to do the bravest thing I was ever going to do, and turn around and get on the plane. He took off his wedding ring, and slipped it on my index finger. He asked me to hold it for him, for just a little longer. I broke at this. I cried like the world was ending… something I don’t remember really happening the first time. But this was different. So much more intimate… more personal. I told him to be careful… that I loved him…that he needed to come home to me.
When he walked away, I watched him until I couldn’t see him anymore. I saw him turn around too… I saw him look back and could just feel that ache. I knew that he didn’t want to leave me. Besides that, I knew he needed me to be strong. So I wiped my eyes, took out my passport and boarding pass, and joined the line. Of course I was heartbroken; I think all of us are when the guys head off to go save the world again. However, I tried to take solace in the fact that this side of R&R is much shorter than the former.
I love my Lantern, and this is me being strong… just like he asked me to. Less than three months to go. ❤