One Happy Island
Who doesn't love a good old-fashioned family vacation? Especially when it takes place in Aruba, or "One Happy Island" as the locals call it. I am so blessed to have in-laws that have a time-share deal in the Caribbean, and invite family to join them every other year. This was my first year to go, and it was totally not what I expected.
I've been to the Caribbean twice before, and neither prepared me for the unique beauty of Aruba. I pictured white-sand beaches, palm trees, tropical forests, maybe even some monkeys. I only saw the first two things on that list since Aruba is a desert island. (Who knew?!) In place of the jungles and tropical animals are ocotillo cacti (whole forests of them!) and some of the most breathtakingly rugged coastline I've ever seen. We got to explore it all in the week we were there. I mean, it doesn't take long since the island is only 17 miles wide. We signed up for an ATV tour that allowed us to see most of it in one afternoon! It was incredible to go from one side of the island that is beautiful, white-sand beach to a side where the coast is being slammed by 30 foot waves going at 50-60 mph. Yeah, it's pretty windy there. In between, we saw the remnants of Dutch settlement and how the Dutch culture has blended with Caribbean culture to create a flavor that is uniquely Aruban. I haven't even been gone a month and I can't wait to go back.
The best part of the whole week, though, was who I spent it with. I got to spend 7 uninterrupted days with my husband, my in-laws, and my husband's aunt and daughter. Thankfully, we like each other enough for it to be a week of bonding and not a week of torment. (Thanks, God!) I've never had the opportunity to spend so much time with Christian's cousin, Haydin, so this was super special. Especially since she has decided to follow God's call into the Air Force. I am beyond thankful that we all had this time to relax and hang out before she leaves for basic training. I am so proud of and so grateful for her choice and sacrifice to spend the next several years defending our freedoms. This country is lucky to have Haydin and other brave men and women that will put their dreams on hold so that we have the freedom to pursue ours. I'm so glad that she and I got to spend a whole week getting to know each other better while also getting to know Aruba. 10/10 would recommend that you make plans to visit. It is definitely "One Happy Island!"