Dec 10, 2010 by Krysta
I've returned to Dubai once again after an absolutely incredible vacation. I've had several people ask when I'd finally blog about my trip, but there was just so much to tell that the task seemed incredibly daunting. I'd scrawled notes on hotel paper from my resort in Mexico, planning to remember every single detail, but that would be the world's longest blog entry and you'd all stop reading past day 1. I've decided to stick with the highlights for the sake of all of us.
After my quick trip to Seoul, Korea, I hopped on a plane bound for San Francisco. I wandered the airport for 5 hours before catching another flight to Calgary, Canada, where I was met by my boyfriend who kissed me and handed me flowers. There is nothing like the feeling of coming home. As we were leaving the airport (and making the mandatory Tim Horton's stop), my friend Carley popped out of nowhere, surprising me. We happily headed out into the absolutely freezing weather and began the drive to Red Deer. At home I hugged my mommy, cuddled the 2nd most important boy in my world (my puppy, Titan) and crawled into my very own bed. The next day I woke up early in a desperate attempt to beat jet lag, got ready, and met up with some of my family for an early Christmas lunch. My grandma and her husband head to Arizona for the winter, so it was the only chance of us seeing each other before they go off to their own sandpit. Together with my cousins, aunt, and Ryan, we ate delicious greasy Chinese food, far better than any I've tasted in China. The next couple of days were a blur of visiting, eating, and freezing my bum off... I hadn't seen snow in a year, and the ground was covered in a thick layer of it.
On Friday after Ryan was finished at work, we drove to the tree lot to pick out our very own Christmas tree. I watched and took photos as Ryan tied it to the top of his car, and then we took it to his house to let it thaw out for the night. We pulled out a mattress from his basement and spent the night cuddling under our very first tree. The next morning was Christmas! At least for us. Ryan's family was kind enough to have an early celebration since I'll be spending the actual holiday in Dubai. Ryan and I decorated our tree with all sorts of awesome little airplane decorations that his mom had bought for him over the years... are we a perfect match, or what?
We drove to my house where I got ready before returning to his house for Christmas lunch... TURKEY! I was so excited, as I'd missed out on Thanksgiving and longed for turkey ever since. After an amazing meal, it was time to exchange gifts! The room was a mess of wrapping paper as we happily tore open presents. Oh how I love Christmas!
The next morning was the day we'd been waiting for. Our suitcases were packed and Ryan and I were bound for beautiful Mexico. It was a nice change boarding a plane with him by side. 6 hours later we'd landed in paradise. We were greeted at our resort by champagne and I was more than ready to switch into vacation mode. By the way, if any of you are planning on traveling to the Mayan Riviera and are looking for an awesome romantic resort, we'd both highly recommend El Dorado Maroma near Playa del Carmen... absolutely amazing! We headed for dinner at the Asian restaurant, indulging in amazing food and sipping delicious drinks. I'd waited months for a pina colada.
The next morning we woke up early, just in time for sunrise. Since we arrived late, it had already been dark and we'd yet to see the beach. It was stunningly beautiful, with clear blue water and soft white sand. We spent the day the way we'd spend most days for the next week... After a delicious buffet breakfast (and plates full of bacon!) we took a long walk down the beach. We returned to order delicious cocktails at the swim up bar and lie in lounge chairs placed in the pool. After a buffet lunch (which had a different theme each day... Skewers, Mexican, Tacos, Fish.... oh my!) we were exhausted and napped. The location of our nap varied according to the day... sometimes in the comfort of our hotel room, other times on the beds on the beach or in hammocks. What a tough life we were living. We spent the afternoon lazing around by the beach or pool, occasionally finding the energy to go swimming, snorkeling, or kayaking. Given the fact that both of us tote our large cameras around the world, we didn't take many photos during the week. Instead, we focused on relaxing and vacationing, using only my small camera and having fun with the instant camera. We drank many amazing fruity and creamy drinks, and as many times as Ryan tried, we could never get a perfect Long Island Iced Tea. It was always a combination of 90% alcohol, 5% ice, and 5% pepsi. Mudslides were definitely my favorite.
At dinner we'd go to one of the restaurants, depending on our mood of the night. The food was all gourmet and served in tiny portions, which suited us perfectly as it meant we could try everything without getting too full. On a typical night we'd order 2-3 appetizers, soup, 2 meals, and of course, dessert. Afterwards we'd go back to our room, determined to stay up late enough to see the evening entertainment. 5/7 nights we failed, falling asleep immediately after dinner and waking up early the next morning.
The majority of our trip was spent in the resort, as we had no motivation or desire to leave. On Wednesday, however, we took advantage of a free shuttle to Playa del Carmen to do some shopping. It was Ryan's first time in Mexico and we saw it as an opportunity of him to see a little bit of the culture outside of our 5 star resort. After a morning kayak to the reef, we waited for the bus. Arriving in Playa del Carmen, we walked the busy tourist lined streets, strolled down the beach, and found an incredible restaurant off the main tourist area where we enjoyed the most amazing seafood meal at a ridiculously low price. As for shopping, we didn't do much aside from buying the essential fridge magnet to stick on my fridge in Dubai, and a cute little Christmas ornament of Santa wearing a sombrero to stick on our tree. Despite the fact that we hadn't napped that day, we managed to stay up late enough to make it to the circus show, where I laughed as Ryan was pulled onto the stage to assist.
Thursday was quite an exciting day, so I'll go through it in detail since it's one I want to remember. As usual, we woke up at sunrise. No matter how late we'd stay up the night before, we couldn't sleep later than 7 am. We went for breakfast followed by our longest of long walks down the beach yet. We went a good distance, to where the beach was full of waves and other resorts. Ryan swam in the warm water, but I just dipped my feet, afraid of getting swept out to sea since there were red flags indicating it was unsafe to swim. Once we returned to the resort we ordered drinks, sampling a variety of colorful and delicious concoctions. Along with a few other couples, we participated in Spanish lessons by the pool, affectionately confessing our love with "Te amo". We made the rest of the couples jealous as we ordered room service and brought our food to eat by the pool. Still hungry, we headed to the lunch buffet were we dined on fresh grilled fish. Yummy! We had dinner plans that night so we decided to nap to be able to stay up and enjoy them. Upon waking up from a nap we agreed to go for a walk down the beach as it was sunset and we wanted to take some good photos. Holding hands and cameras, we walked towards the beach, watching as a newly married couple emerged from the chapel. "What a beautiful place to get married", I thought. We continued walking until we found a nice stretch of beach, set up the tripod, and began talking photos. Ryan was acting a bit strange as we posed, but I went along with it. He is a bit goofy. For those of you who have any interest in photography, you probably know what light painting is. For the rest of you, it's when you use a light to draw in the air and a long exposure on the camera to make your drawing appear in the photo. We drew hearts and cutesy things. On one particular photo, he wrote something and we ran back to the camera to see how it had turned out. In his messy handwriting I really didn't know what to make of it, but I said "Oooh, that's pretty!" and kissed him. The mosquitoes were running rampant and I was ready to go back to the resort, but we decided to take a few more photos. As the timer counted down I waited to lean in for a posed kiss, but instead found myself watching Ryan get down on one knee. What the heck was going on? "Will you marry me?" he asked. My heart was racing a million miles and hour as I stared at him, stunned. "Really?!" I asked. It was only a few months ago since he'd held out a ring box containing a chocolate, so it was only natural for me to ensure that he was serious. While most girls would have jumped up shouting "Yes!", in typical ruin the moment Krysta fashion I asked "Is it from Walmart?" (A few days earlier he'd joked about buying a cheap $5 ring from Walmart to trick our families... I refused, of course.) He pulled out an amazing Tacori diamond ring, which was most definitely not from Walmart. I held him close and kissed him, answered "Yes, of course!" and stared at the beautiful ring that was proudly shining on my finger. I was in complete disbelief, but I'd never been happier. We went back to the camera to flip through the photos, happy to see that he had captured the exact moment of being down on one knee with the beautiful beach at sunset for a backdrop. As he went back through the photos, I realized what the light painting photo was meant to say. I could vaguely make out the words "Will you marry me?". He changed his plan and did it the traditional way when I couldn't read his handwriting. We were blissfully happy, filled with love, and ENGAGED. Yeah, that's right.. I'm engaged!!! It's still so surreal. We were now covered in bug bites, so we returned to our room and got dressed and ready for a romantic dinner that we'd booked earlier in the week. We were led out to the beach where a table was set up, lit by candlelight, just for us. A few other tables were scattered along the beach, but for some reason we were the chosen couple who had the privilege of eating in the hut over the water. It was very romantic, and the food was amazing... a 5 course meal, with everything except for dessert containing lobster. As the main course was delivered, fireworks went off down the beach. They might not have been intended for us, but it was the cherry on top of the best night of our life. The food was so unbelievably good and after we'd finished we were too full to move. It was straight to bed. Despite having just got engaged, we didn't spend the night cuddling. Instead we slipped into a food coma until the next morning. It was the perfect end to a perfect day... it all seemed like a dream. I woke up and looked at my hand just to make sure it hadn't been.
The next 2 days were a flurry of eating, drinking, sunbaking, and of course... photoshoots of my beautiful ring. We spent a great deal of time taking photos of it shining in all of it's glory. If there was one negative thing about the entire trip, it was a large wedding group that was occupying the majority of the resort. They were loud party people who were very inconsiderate about the fact that it was a small resort intended for romance and couples. It didn't bother us too much, as we were still enjoying ourselves, but I'm sure many of the people who were kept awake until 5 in the morning were not very impressed.
The week had went by far too fast, and before we knew it it was Sunday, and time to go home. We made the most of our final hours, drinking, eating, and enjoying the last bits of tropical paradise. We went kayaking to the reef one last time with Kary, the amazing activities coordinator. Ryan convinced her that we should go wave surfing and she agreed, despite having never done it before. It was fun at first, until one particular wave when I realized that the kayak was about to tip. "No Ryan nooooooooooo!" I cried, as we flipped upside down and I landed on a jagged reef edge. I felt bad about the damage I had probably caused the coral, but in my defense my knee was bleeding and it hadn't been too kind to me either. Kary was immensely concerned, but I was fine. We paddled back to the shore, laughing it off.
The rest of the afternoon was spent by the pools, enjoying cocktails and exchanging Facebook information with some of the awesome resort staff. As Kary looked through our photos she discovered that we had just got engaged and hit Ryan on the shoulder for not telling her. She happily told us about her very own engagement and ran to get her ring and a photo of her fiance to show us. The week had been a dream come true, but it was time to return to the real world. We bid farewell to our amazing resort as we caught the bus to the airport and flew back to snowy Canada.
The next day, we slowly broke the news to our friends and family, starting with our parents... who were all overjoyed. The general reaction among everyone was "Finally!". Apparently it didn't come as too much of a surprise to anyone besides me.
It was karaoke night at my favorite lounge, so I celebrated, sang, and reunited with some of my best friends who all admired my pretty ring and congratulated me throughout the night.
On Tuesday I had one last dinner with Ryan's family before heading home for my last night in Canada. It's always so difficult leaving, and this time Ryan wouldn't be able to drive me to the airport since he'd already had so much time off of work. I couldn't bear the sadness of goodbye, so I kissed him quickly and shed only a few tears as I pushed him out the door, before I became a complete emotional breakdown. Sadness lingered in the air, as it will for awhile. Coming back to Dubai is never easy when I remember how amazing the people in my life back home are. I took comfort by staring at my ring, a sign of hope that this distance is not a permanent thing. Once I'm finished traveling the world, I'll go home and be able to spend forever with Ryan.
It was a long journey back, involving hours spent at London Gatwick airport unable to get on a flight back to Dubai as they were all full. I spent the entire day on standby, lucking out as a family was offloaded on the last flight of the day. I'm back to Dubai and back to reality, but there is still no breaking my good mood. I had the best vacation, EVER.
PS... On a bit of a random note, Ryan made me awesome cards with a link to my blog! They are so cute, and so very me! He's pretty great.