April 16th marked 5 years for us. It was wonderful. We knew we were heading on an awesome Puerto Rico trip so decided to keep the actual anniversary pretty low key. Alan kept things fun by providing ammo and guns for nerf wars to re-enact our first time "hanging out" up at school. He was so sweet and remembered little details that I did not. He took me somewhere real classy. Taco Bell. Yep, why could we not have met at a fancy steakhouse, or somewhere Good?! We are those people who met at Taco Bell and it gives Alan the chance to be romantic and gross at the same time. HAhaa...But for real. For sentimentality's sake, I ordered the same thing I had when we met, my grilled stuffed burrito. Plus, I secretly really enjoyed it! That's why he loves me.Ha.
We had a blast that night, and I am so grateful we had time together on Our special day. A couple days later we headed out for our blessed trip to my Isla del Encanto. (Funny story: The reason we ended up taking this trip is because we were asked to go with the youth on Trek as "Ma and Pa" but Alan couldn't get the first day off (thurs). He was given Friday through the next Wed, so we like to say we owe it to Trek that we were chillin on the beach while they were hauling handcarts. hehe.) We love getting Jamba, getting on the plane and having hours to talk just the two of us. Of course, I worked the night before we left, so the whole night I stayed up packing, cleaning, etc. and was awfully tired on the plane ride, but too Excited to sleep. We rented a car, drove out to Luquillo where we were staying, and checked out the resort and beach right away! Oh my heavens, Can I just tell you I forgot how much that island pulls at my heart. I didn't serve my mission on the side of the island we stayed on, but the scenery, the smell in the air, the familiarity of it all made me want to cry. I love sharing moments like these with Alan. I love that we can share mission experiences and completely relate. It was magical. We spent the rest of the trip exploring, zip lining in the rainforest, repelling down forest trees, kayaking the bioluminescent bay, taking a ferry out to Culebra, and I spent 85% of my time lying in beach chair, reading or just soaking up the sun while listening to the ocean. I read 2 whole books! It truly was one of the best vacations ever! We ate everything we could, and found this strip of like 40 restaurant, down the road from our resort, that had every native/traditional food I had been dreaming of. We had arroz con habichuelas, arroz con gandulas, mofongo, tostones, Limber de coco, Alan had fresh coconut milk(always wanted to, but decided it wasn't has tasty as he imagined,) seafood, and giant pina coladas topped with cookies! haha. We swam in the ocean, and Alan helped me get over some of my fears since a white water accident years ago. I was still pretty anxious, but he was right by my side and it's amazing what swimming in crystal clear water will do for your nerves! Bahaha. We really could not have asked for a better or more relaxing vacation. Even when our flight home was delayed by 5 hrs, we were on vacation! who cares! We used that time to reconnect, to discuss big things in our lives, and to just enjoy each other's company.
Over the last couple months I have been feeling at such a low in my life. Not ungrateful, not necessarily sad, even. Just low. I felt unfulfilled. My self esteem was shot. I was feeling like I was "stuck." I realized a lot of it was due to the fact we are settling down in life, and I am used to "the next big thing." I am used to working towards something. I started asking Alan if he would support me going back to school. I kept thinking, I would do great in medical school, and I am already doing the work, I might as well get paid more for what I do. Lots of pride based feelings, I think. ANyhow, I spent the day with a good friend, and was telling her some of my feelings. She talked to me about how maybe I need to find something to do that just makes me happy. Not work. Not a responsibility. Something for me. I used to feel running was that outlet, but even now, running feels like a "to-do" to just keep from getting "hefty" shall we say? She serves at a nursing home weekly because it is something she enjoys, and that got me thinking about things that truly make me happy. I talked with Alan that night at dinner, and was telling him these things, when I mentioned how I had always wanted to go on some type of medical mission, maybe go to Africa and work there like one of my good friends had done during her residency. Then I moved on to other ideas. My sweet Alan then stopped me and said, "You should go for it. You should go to Africa with that group. I can understand how you feel. If I were in your shoes and had your training, I would want to go too." HOW did I ever get such a supportive husband?! So, I immediately became so excited and am now PLANNING A TRIP TO AFRICA!!!! I will go for a month, work in Emergency Medicine, helping to train the natives in emergency care, and I could not be more thrilled!
Going on behind the scenes of all this, was a new job offer. Actually, for Both Alan and myself! I had been given a job offer just before leaving to Puerto Rico, and by the time we came back, I knew what I had to do. I put my 90 day notice in at work, and the Games began. They came back with a better offer, but I just know the other group is where I need to be. I will be making a much longer commute, however am paid more to work less. And amidst all of this, the timing is perfect for me to take a month break to accomplish something else meaningful in my life.. (Africa, if you aren't following.)
Alan also started a new job after our vacation, still with the Bank of America, however it is a promotion and title (AVP) and raise. So--who could say no?! haha. We, both had told each other we had something we needed to talk about when he got home that night, and both of us had received job offers the same day! So we talked about it, over food naturally:)
All of this is so jumbled, but I had to write it down so I could remember how led by the Spirit we have felt in all of this. There were moments of fear and doubt with the new job, which made me wonder if it was right for me, but in the end, it all just made sense. No fear or doubt with Alan's job, and of course, I am thrilled that we are at such good places in our lives. I am also so excited to be working less, so I can fill my days with more meaningful service in my callings and in my home especially. I LOVE being home when Alan gets home. I LOVE knowing that I can be here for him. And as much as I like knowing I am contributing financially, I LOVE contributing to a stable and loving home, where he doesn't have to come home to an empty house most days of the week. I am so grateful for our many opportunities, so grateful for the Lord's guidance, and so grateful for Alan-who always encourages and pushes me.
I am so looking forward to my/our next adventure, and I'll write from Africa-hopefully. It isn't until August, but let's face it, you may not hear from me til then anyways. HA!