Punta Cana

We honeymooned in the Dominican Republic.

Deanna and I threw around several honeymoon ideas but the first place that stuck was Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic. A tourist town for sure, but it offered everything we were looking for in a destination.

Looking back, I don’t think we could’ve chosen any better. The beaches were gorgeous, the place we stayed was comfortable and great, and it was the perfect place to slow things way, way down after the wedding.

It was the perfect spot for us, in spite of the recent headlines coming out of the country.

I remembered all the drama I had been hearing about the Dominican Republic on the news, about an attempt to rid the country of its ethnic Haitian population.

It’s a shame really. But hey, having people get along with each other is always a lot easier as an idea than as a reality. Marriage teaches that lesson pretty quickly. Sometimes we act surprised and devastated when countries fight, but grow apathetic and unalarmed when the Love between two people goes neglected. I didn’t want to do too much overthinking on my honeymoon, but for just a minute, I thought about how the two sorts of relationships could be connected.

This honeymoon would not have been as enjoyable and easy without the generosity of my aunts who let us use their timeshare to stay at this beyond comfortable resort.

So… thank you Auntie Ella & Auntie Fely! If you ever wanna visit the DR, I know a place to stay I’d highly recommend.

In the past I’ve never been the biggest fan of the idea of a resort… always a little more interested in the idea of meeting locals in the area where they actually lived, doing simple, everyday things like grocery shopping or haggling with cab drivers, or trying to rough my own way through rough terrain to get where I’m going.

But for the purpose of a honeymoon, an all inclusive resort was just perfect. After the (fun) chaos and hectic activity that surrounds a wedding, getting to go somewhere that required less thought allowed us to be with each other taking it easy and reflecting on the amazing day that just happened. All the cultural experiences and exploring that I usually love to do can and will be done. But for kicking off a marriage, I’m loving the low-key start. And all inclusive food and beverages is never ever a bad thing.

This was the place for falling in love with all summery things- eating meals on the back patio, sleeping outside, and taking extended siestas.

I don’t expect marriage to always be this easy. But, I’ve been fascinated with the idea of the Truman Effect, named after the President, not the Jim Carrey character. When he succeeded the extremely popular FDR, most people had no clue how he would fare, himself included. In the long run, he ended up doing pretty good by most people’s accounts.

We all contain ancient strengths inside of us that we may not know about until we are truly challenged… When wellbeing comes from engaging our strengths and virtues, our lives are imbued with authenticity.

– Mark Seligman

I like what this idea suggests. When isn’t life full of challenge?. Some can be a whole lot of fun, some can been really difficult, and then there are the tests we put ourselves to which perfectly embody the concept of a challenge. You don’t really know what you can do sometimes until you’re legitimately tested.

In the meantime, loving life in Punta Cana just after getting married isn’t exactly the biggest challenge.

Let our teppanyaki chef take his eyes off the food for just one second, and Deanna springs into action.

Actually, I’ll bet she could do a better job, so we should all just let it happen.

Quality time… it’s something Deanna and I have valued since back when we were “just friends” for years and years.

We’ve gotten married and stuff since then, but the importance of hanging out with each other has never gotten buried.

Marriage, in some ways, is like a mega-ultimate-hang-out session. I’m glad we’ve gotten a bit of practice for that.

Relationships do funny things to the perception of time. Sometimes you can meet somebody and in an instant feel like you’ve known them forever. Sometimes you can know a person forever and feel like you’re just getting started. One month can seem like a week, five months can seem like a decade.

James Taylor says the secret to life is to enjoy the passing of time. This isn’t something I’m naturally good at. If anything, I’m naturally inclined to dislike the way time goes by. To me, there’s never enough of it, it always seems to slip by, and with every page turned on the calendar, it’s a bit of a mystery of how the month seemed to end just as soon as it started. Every day seems to go by quicker and quicker, and each one is another step towards another ending.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve hated the passing of time. I’ve done all sorts of things to slow it down in my mind, from mindfulness to moving slower to distinctly marking each day. It wasn’t until more recently that it occurred to me that perhaps this passing shouldn’t always be fought, but that it could actually be enjoyed.

And we ate our lunch here, where we sat and watched for several minutes as this stork decided whether or not to eat the fish, how he should catch the fish, or whether perhaps a different fish was a better fit for him. It was a lot like the dating lives of some of our friends.

One of the best parts of a serious, committed relationship is developing an odd sense of humor together. Maybe it isn’t even humor per se but the spidey senses to pick up on those odd little quirks that other people wouldn’t pick up on, but between the two of you, you already know what’s good and funny long before either person has said a word. Sharing a sense of what’s funny or interesting has to be one of the most underrated qualities behind two people who mesh well. But you need those senses to make it through life, so it makes sense that they’re needed to make it through life together.

Ever wonder about things that can probably be pretty easily researched, but you don’t want to because wondering about it is more fun?

I wonder how the practice of walking the plank as a punishment came to be.

We went on a sweet walk around a nearby ecological preserve where some of the trees took an… interesting shape. Attention getting to say the least. I loved the clean slate of that first week of marriage, where no matter what we were doing, it pretty much counted as the first time.

I don’t know what it is about the past few days, but I’ve hit one of those weeks where so many unpleasant surprises keep popping up out of nowhere. And it’s had me in a much crankier mood than my norm: not a lot of fun. I don’t have much else to say about that, but I suppose since I post mostly photos from sweet moments like my honeymoon, it’s worth it to note days like these for the sake of a little honesty.

Walls and mounds of seaweed added a more interesting texture to the ocean.

Lately, I’ve felt more of a challenge to take note of the little things, the really little ones. Especially after getting married, such a huge life milestone. But really, milestones are meaningless without all those walls in between, the everyday adventures of making breakfast together or going on a long drive. The milestone is only a marker of the pieces that make up life.

Here’s a mental image that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

The sun, the bright blue of the Atlantic, and just having fun with Deanna- our extremely young marriage feeling something like a blank slate.

I know from here life will give us crazy highs and lows to deal with, as it tends to do with everybody. But I’ll never forget its most simple beginning and the pureness of the moment.

Truth: I’m an easily nostalgic person, which is probably good in a lot of ways because it means I have a lot to look back on fondly. The trap? A little too much of it makes the present seem lamer by comparison. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but it’s hard to tell with those distorted lenses sometimes.

The best remedy I’ve found is remembering that the time being will be the future’s nostalgia. Trying to treat the day ahead like a fond memory to relive makes it much more of a thrill.

Contentment has been the theme of the past few days, perhaps weeks, and I think I’m getting better at allowing myself to recognize a good day while it’s happening.

You can take any day out of your life, like a playlist on shuffle, and it’ll have its uncertainties, things that aren’t quite settled, things that are unknown about the future. But life isn’t meant to be all resolved in one day. Just one day at a time. Today was a day of extreme simplicity. And it was a good one.

With all the changes and activities of the early summer, it still feels like it’s just getting started.

It’s tough for anything to compare to that summertime zen feeling. Feeling good at the end of the day is less tied to what we’ve gotten done or what we’ve crossed off, and more about carnitas tacos, water sports, and just being still. As it should be.

No doubt, this was my very best summer, and I’ve had some seriously good summers in the past… I’m looking at you 2010 and 2014. But Summer 2015 will probably go down as the best ever. Which raises the question of how to ever have another summer that can compare. I guess, you just don’t. I don’t think I’ll have another summer ever like this, and yet, I’m cool with that. It was such a good one, that I think it’ll keep me content for life.
I am, and always will be, a firm, dedicated believer in the importance of putting your feet up.
Sometimes it can be a challenge to allow ourselves to do nothing. Practice is a must.
The wedding and honeymoon combined have given me such an abundance of really amazing memories and a backlog of pictures… In Instagram lexicon, that means a year supply of latergrams, pretty much.

Although, that will give me stuff to post the next few weeks while I plan on catching up on a lot of the sleep I skipped out on the past two months.

I’m getting more and more used to having a piece of metal wrapped around my finger. Actually picked up a sweet wedding band tan on the honeymoon.

The past few weeks have been both packed with fun and also kicking back. The married life is A•Okay.