So the first chapter of my little jaunt around the world begins at the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. It’s not actually a scheduled stop for Semester at Sea but my parents decided we would schedule our family vacation here so they would be able to send me off from Nassau, which is where the M.V. Explorer embarks from. I felt kinda spoiled getting to go on both a vacation AND a two month study abroad experience all in one summer, but I have since decided to consider it the universe’s way of repaying for me all the mega SHIT that went down over the past seven months.
It’s been quite the nice repayment too, even after a rough start. No more than three or four hours after I posted that first blog were my parents fighting at the airport. I can’t even remember what it was about now, because it was so trivial, but it did involve storming away, the silent treatment, a few choice curse words, and what can only be described as an adult temper tantrum. Like really? Now, I love my parents to death, but they are supposed to be parents. In the early morning hours of June 11, 2011 they were anything but.
Luckily, all that passed by the time we landed in Washington, D.C. for our connecting flight to Nassau. Which I slept through. That whole “I’m staying up all night to pack and write blogs and hallucinate a purple elephant on top of my dresser” energy I had totally vanished by the time I sat down on flight #2. This was fine, because when I woke up I was in the Bahamas. Stuff like that should happen more often.
My week in Atlantis was a lot of fun. There was just enough to do so that you weren’t bored, but also enough down time to relax. And I got to build up a base tan for Semester at Sea. I tan really well too. Yeah, be jealous about that one. One of the definite highlights was getting to go on the 50-foot water slide in Atlantis’s built-in water park, Aquaventure. The slide was appropriately titled “Leap of Faith.” My sister, Angela, and I had to coerce my mom (whom I affectionately refer to as Miss P because of her incredible fierceness) to take the near vertical drop, and she is usually the adventurous one in the family. Maybe her fear had to do with the height, maybe it had to do with the screams people bellowed as they plummeted down, or maybe it had to do with the fact you plunge into a pool filled with sharks.* I guess that’s something that makes you think twice about jumping.
There was also an enormous amount of really good food. We had everything from Mexican to Bahamian to good old fashioned American. My favorite dinner, though, was our meal at Carmine’s, the Italian restaurant at Atlantis. They serve family style portions of all the food, and our appetizer dish of zucchini fries literally consisted of more zucchini than I had probably consumed in my life up until that point. Then we had ravioli that rivaled the size of Texas and meatballs as big as my fist. Now, I like balls (haha, Craig made a gay joke about himself) but when you practically need a pitchfork to handle your food things can get a little intense. But it was fun and hilarious, just like all our dinners in the Bahamas.
I love traveling, and I especially love traveling with my family. All of our lives are so hectic we barely ever get to have dinner at home with just the four of us. Someone is either going out or not home or whatever and we all just end up eating alone at random times, which sort of bums me out. Knowing that you have a limited time to live at home really makes me want to spend as much time with my parents and sister as I can, so I always get excited for vacation. We have a great time, laugh constantly, bicker lovingly, and rehash all sorts of old memories and stories that won’t get spoken of again until the next family vacation, so it’s sort of cool.
The weird part about this vacation was knowing that I wouldn’t be on the returning flight. I wasn’t exactly sad per say—I had that moment a few days before I left after some friends from home threw me a surprise going away party—I just felt very off. Like I was unhinged from the vacation in a way. This crazy two month journey I had worked and fought so hard for was looming and I was so nervous and I was running through all these final details in my mind all the time, and to be honest at some moments it really ruined the vacation. At the risk of sounding completely bat shit crazy, I will admit that ever since my depression returned I’ve that this Voice in my head. I’m working on a separate post to elaborate on this further, but in a nutshell the Voice is always trying to bring to me down and freak me out at the worst possible moments—like when I’m on vacation. So there were some down moments in Atlantis, but luckily not many.
Well now that I’ve introduced that little teaser and everyone at home is looking up different psychiatric institutions they can commit me too, I’ll end this post on a high note. My vacation in the Bahamas was just what I needed. I got to ease into my world travel with my family by my side, I had adventure, good food, relaxation time, and even something I thought only happened in movies: a little vacation “fling.” I contemplated talking about it in the post, and telling you about the guy, but in the end I decided to keep the moments private. A few people out there already know about him and some of the cool stuff we did, and I’m happy to talk about it a little, but not too much. Cause how often does that happen? The answer, if you are wondering, is “not that often.”
So that was time in the Bahamas. Typical family fun, getting sun burnt, digging your feet into the sand, burying your face into fresh, fluffy pillows every night, and buying six million dollar photos of yourself swimming with a dolphin named Icaro**. Now I’m sitting in my cabin on the MV Explorer talking about how hilarious it is when people fall over in the hallway from the rocking of the ship. It is not, however, funny, when you yourself do this. Especially when you are walking to the very first meeting of the voyage and everyone watches it happen…not that that happened to me….
*You don’t actually plunge into a pool filled with sharks. Well, you do, but you’re encased in a glass tube and the sharks just swim around you. Still, the glass wasn’t that thick…
**The photos of us with the dolphin did not actually cost six million dollars. That was how much the dolphin paid to get a photo with me
“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to leave the shore” –Andre Gide