Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

It is strange to be in this strange land.  Leaving the United States is a new experience for me and Dan.  Thankfully, most people speak some English, much better than the few Spanish words I know.  Back when Shannon and Erin were little, Dora the Explorer taught me a bit of espanol, but I haven't been able to work the words abuela or vaminos into any conversations yet.

We are here as the guests of one of Dan's customers and his wife, along with two other couples.  There are those awkward "get to know you" questions that are such a minefield for us.  And then, of course, the new acquaintance small talk that is necessary.  That left me feeling a little heart sick last night.  I feel I am almost incapable of small talk anymore.  I don't care about the latest celebrity gossip or the hottest new TV shows.  And yet, life goes on and people go on vacation and this is all normal.

Today is a better day because I am doing a better job of taking care of myself and getting what I need.  Dan and I played golf this morning with the other three guys.  Yes, me and the four men played 18 holes together while the other women went to the spa.  In case you hadn't noticed, I am not your typical chick!  I was out there with the boys, laughing, swearing, and smoking cigars.  (I skipped the cigars.)

Our golf games were average, but the course was stunning.  Several holes played right along the Caribbean Sea.  I don't get to do that every day, so I'm grateful for a new experience.

Erin is staying in touch with us easily via wi-fi and e-mail and she admitted to me last night that she misses me.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder and while she's used to Dan traveling every week, I haven't been "absent" from Erin in a very long time.  She and Grandma have everything under control at home and even though she misses me, she's busy and doing just fine.

Now I am sitting at the beach and listening to the waves and I am trying to think not only about the past, but about the future.  I was a bit apprehensive about this trip - meeting up with strangers in a strange place is way out of my comfort zone.  But, a dear friend told me I should go and take advantage of the opportunity to be a little selfish and try and relax.  She also reminded me to dream.  I've certainly spent a hell of a lot of time reminiscing about what has been, but I should also allow myself to dream about what may be.  So, here I am, sitting on the beach, looking at the Caribbean, and trying to dream...