I am back from the Caribbean and had a fantastic time, from Puerto Rico, Antigua, St. Thomas, to Tortola, it was a fantastic time. My roommate and her friends were the best and I am so glad I got to meet them (can I get a holla from the ATL?). :) There were people from Australia, to Greece who attended and our teachers were amazing, including the infamous Heidi Swapp and Stacy Julian!
As we left Tortola, the most amazing rainbow was on the side of our ship. You could see it from beginning to end (and for the record, there was no gold and no leprechaun at either end...I had the zoom lens out to check it!). What an amazing reminder of the promises God made to Noah, and such a blessing, because about 2 hours later, that all changed.
My fears of heading to the open ocean during or right after Hurricane Tomas were not unwarranted, as there were 20+ feet waves and we were "rocking and rolling" the entire trip. I can't say enough about the REI Seabands! There was one sad moment where a gentleman slipped down the stairs in the pool area (the water was moving so much it was dumping out of the pools and making the floors very slippery) and he cracked his head open. We had to head back to St. Thomas to get him medical attention (127 stitches + cat scans) and this along with the bad weather later made it so we weren't able to get to Nassau and there were no other ports we could make.
There was a moment after this on our cruise where we were passing by Haiti and people were complaining about how much this change in itinerary stunk. I agree, it wasn't ideal, but putting this gentleman's life first really was more important, but the reason I mention Haiti, is that Hurricane Tomas hit them hard. What we felt and experienced on the ship was nothing like the impact they experienced. This country that has been through so much this year, just got hit by a hurricane, an life-shattering earthquake, already stricken by an insane amount of poverty, starvation, disease, etc. Most recently having issues with cholera, and people on this EXTRAVAGANT cruise ship 1-2 miles from Haiti at the moment were whining about one less beach. I started falling into this trap, but as I looked at the map of where we were, this was a monumental moment for me.
Do I take the blessing of another day to scrapbook with beautiful views, knowing that our fellow passenger got the medical attention they needed, or do I get upset that things didn't go as originally planned? I chose to go to almost every show, movie, comedy show, dinner, snack bar, pool party, bingo, drawings, etc. etc. etc. and think about all of these options I had. And then I focused on the options I have everyday of my life and how blessed I am.
It has been said that poverty can be best defined as a lack of options. I praise and thank God that my options are plentiful and I pray for the injured passenger, those in Haiti and around the world without the lack of options living in poverty. Please let God show them see the rainbows before the storm and help them recognize God's promises for them and let me never forget His presence.