Ahhh...to reminisce. It's so crazy to think that just a few short years ago, Dane and I were on our honeymoon! We were married early September 2016 (you can read more about that magical day here), but decided to wait until that following February to head off to Thailand for a honeymoon spent sailing the Andaman Sea to Malaysia and back.
After a few long plane rides, we finally landed in Phuket. I remember feeling so giddy seeing the ship from the beach for the first time. It looked magical! Like a giant pirate ship! Once on board, we quickly realized we were the youngest couple there by at least 20 years. Not a deal breaker for me since I'm an introvert at heart, but I think Dane was hoping to make friends and spend late nights drinking up on the top deck.
Of course the beaches we visited were beautiful, and the towns we visited were as to be expected. But what stands out to me most are the crazy stories we came back with. First, the topless beaches in Phuket. Most people were not topless...but it seemed that those who were, were over the age of 60. And not the type where you're like....."wow! she looks great for sixty!". Are ya pickin' up what I'm puttin' down?
The city itself was very tourist driven, which was depressing for me because I really wanted to experience the culture. We were constantly approached to buy sunglasses and selfie sticks, and the street seemed to be lined with 'happy ending massages'. ...we did not partake! We did however get the most amazing 1 hour Thai massage for $7. The smell of the city was terrible, but I'd go back just for the massage if I could! There was also this truck that was filled with young fighters in the bed. They had a megaphone where they advertised the upcoming fights as they drove up and down the same main street over and over again. Dane and I still joke about them. "TO-NIGHT! TO-NIGHT!" Hahaha!
The people on our boat were mostly classy Europeans. When no one was around, Dane and I would practice our British accents. I'm not too bad at it, but Dane always seems to sound Australian.
One of the most memorable islands we visited was 'Monkey Island'. Of course that's not the actual name of the island, but it was named perfectly for tourists. The uninhabited island, as I'm sure you've guessed, had a large population of monkeys. We were told before leaving the ship not to feed the monkeys because they can get aggressive. So...yeah. The guests fed the monkeys anyway. Too cute to resist I suppose. And they were aggressive! Thieves too! If you weren't careful, they knew how to unzip your bag and steal your things. One man had to chase a monkey into the woods to get his camera and wallet back. Another person was standing as they ate an orange, and a monkey proceeded to climb up their leg to get to the orange. I think it was at that moment Dane and I decided to head back to the ship for lunch.
Once in Malaysia, Dane and I opted in for a hiking excursion. It was labeled in the brochure as a pleasure walk with great views. So we grabbed our sandals and our camera and headed out. I'm not sure who wrote that description, because the hike was anything but pleasurable. It was hard work! There were points of this hike where you had to use rope to help you climb up giant rocks. The older folks in our group were not too happy about the bad information. After the hike, we boarded a small boat that was to take us back to the tour bus. But that boat began to sink about half way back. It was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life!
Of all of the stories, the best (not for me personnally) was the time I left our camera and all of the beautiful photos on a tour bus in Malaysia. The bus took us around the city and to a few excursions. Dane and I opted in for a nice hike. On the way back, the tour guide thanked everyone for our business, and reminded us to check our seats before we exited the bus so that we wouldn't leave anything behind. Naturally, I got up and left the bus without looking back.
It wasn't until we were boarding the ship that I realized I had left our very expensive camera on the bus. I jumped out of line and began running toward the bus as it was driving away. I guess I shouldn't have given up running after high school, because I was definitely not going to catch the bus. You guys. Dane was SO mad! He yelled at me and lectured me for the next hour. I remember thinking that if he didn't push me overboard himself, I was going to jump onto the next boat I saw just to get away from him.
I felt terrible as it was, so the lecture and anger only made me feel worse. I locked myself in the tiny bathroom in our room and cried. After I calmed down, we went to the ship's Captain and explained what happened. The tour bus company is a company the ship partners with, so there was a small sliver of hope that we may actually get our camera back. However, being that we were in the middle of the sea, he'd have to wait until we reached Phuket again before he could send an email.
Fast forward a bit...about four months...and we got our camera back! It only took A LOT of prayers and about $90 in shipping charges. It shipped over the North Pole back to us, so it literally went a full trip around the globe. Luckily, no one was pushed overboard and our marriage has lasted past that terrible experience.
But I'll tell you...never will I EVER leave ANYWHERE without checking my seat first! ;)
September 10th, 2016 Dane and I were married. When we became 'official', back in 2013, I think we both knew that this day would come. When you know, you know, right?!
Now, I could go on and tell you all of the things that you hear about most wedding days: It was perfect, it was magical, it was just like a fairytale, etc. It was all of those things! But why tire you with what you already know, when I could show you proof?
The only thing you can't see from the photos is that it was sunny and 73 degrees that day, and had the perfect lake breeze. Okay, now remember that when looking through these photos, and it'll be like you were there with us the entire time. Enjoy!
New Years Eve has always been a night to celebrate for Dane and I. NYE 2013 is when he first kissed me, and when we officially started dating exclusively. So each year on NYE, we celebrate our anniversary. It's always been the perfect way to ring in the new year!
NYE 2014, Dane had bought tickets to a NYE party in downtown Saint Louis. I was very much looking forward to the party, until he told me it was Ninja themed. I remember telling him how dumb I would look in the dress I planned on wearing at a Ninja party. Haha!
That day, I got home from work to find two dozen red roses on our dining table, and headed upstairs to curl my hair. Before leaving for the evening, we sat down in our living room and exchanged our anniversary gifts. Dane opened mine first. It was an electric grill starter for the Big Green Egg I bought him for Christmas the year before.
Then he handed me my gift. It was a small box perfectly wrapped in gold wrapping paper and a big gold bow. He told me it was a two part gift, and that I was to open the box and only take what was on top. They were diamond earrings. He then took the box from me and told me that he had written me a letter, pulled out a piece of paper he had hidden behind a pillow on our couch, and started to read the sweetest letter I've ever heard. And at the end, he took a smaller box out of the bottom of my gift box, and got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. Did I cry? Of course I did. Duh. And naturally, I immediately had to call my Mom, Dad, and sister to share the great news!
He then told me that a driver was on its way to take us to a secret location and that I needed to wear a blindfold. No Ninja party! Woo! The driver showed up and about 30 minutes later we arrived at our location. I walked blindfolded while I held onto Dane until we reached the door. While the door opened, my blindfold came off, and we were standing in my parent's foyer with all of our friends and family.
You guys. Dane had not only planned the most sentimental engagement in the living room of the house we loved, but (with the help of my Mom), HE PLANNED THE PERFECT ENGAGEMENT PARTY TOO! I mean, at this point, I clearly hit the jackpot!
-PS: Our 'driver' was my Dad. :)
The night was amazing! We celebrated the start of our next chapter while surrounded by everyone we loved, and brought in 2015. It was a night I will never forget!