10 days ago, I married my best friend.
Two days after that, we embarked on our first big trip together: our honeymoon to the beautiful island of Turks & Caicos.
Our plane left Toronto, Ontario just after 10am on a Monday morning. Less than half full of other eager travellers, couples either our age or elderly, or young families, there was excitement and anticipation in the air.
After several hours of looking outside to nothing but a blank, white canvas, Johnny and I oohed and ahhed over the dreamy turquoise of the ocean that separated the islands we hovered over.
Talking, as I always end up doing on plane rides, about how incredible our God is and how vast the ocean is and, damn, how SMALL we are led to awing in Him and who He is – and the way He glorified Himself on our wedding day, and in our relationship thus far.
We were incredibly blessed by a friend of Johnny’s from college, Belboi, who lives on the island, and who was willing to pick us up from the airport.
Greeting us grandiosely with outstretched arms and a jolly, “Hello you beautiful people!”, Belboi whisked us from the airport to our hotel – on the left side of the road, with a right-sided steering wheel, to my and Johnny’s surprise.
That same evening we dined at a restaurant on the beach called Hemmingway’s, at the recommendation of several friends. Not only were we blessed by Belboi’s Turks expertise, but the advice and recommendations of several friends caused Johnny and I to catch on pretty quickly to the fact that this island was a “Favourite Place in the World” to many.
This was one of our favourite dining experiences of the trip! Johnny had what he dubbed one of the best chicken Alfredos ever, and I had a delicious fresh salmon with crispy skin, asparagus, and potatoes.
While servers weren’t incredibly used to the question, “is this dairy-free?”, so we took time at each meal to explain that that “includes butter and milk… can it be made with oil…?” they were exceptionally accommodating, caring, and friendly.
Johnny has always been very careful regarding my allergy, and his care in this regard is one of the easiest things to brag about him and his husbanding. It seems he is always thinking of me before himself, and I see Christ in that daily.
The following day, our first full day on the island, was such a gift.
Because of the kindness of his heart, Belboi offered to take us for an exclusive tour of the island, showing us the places that tourists likely wouldn’t go otherwise. We looped the whole island in his car, as he showed us some of the prettiest beaches, a dock full of yachts, including one owned by the Kardashians, and, my favourite, the field where he trains for soccer as a player on the National Turks and Caicos team.
One of the most frequently-recommended spots we “HAD” to check out was “The Patty Place,” right next to our resort, for “the best Jamaican patties and ice cream.”
Here, I learned that Jamaican patties are not dairy-free, but, surprisingly, two Patty Place ice cream flavours were! I had three coconut sundaes over the course of our trip, and I’m not mad about it.
Something I was faced with over the honeymoon was the need to accept and learn about my new, bigger, softer body.
In the past few months, I have been healed from the belief that I *needed* to weigh less than x weight (x being a specific number in my head), and an addiction to weighing myself. This healing followed healing that occurred three years ago, in which I broke up with all “food rules.”
With those lies out the window, I learned that, still, being a girl, even eating-disorder-free, in our culture is to be thronged by media ideals and images. And so, feeling my thighs rub together for the first time when I walk and bits of flesh spilling out of my underclothes was difficult to get used to… but I am blessed by a husband who promises never to lie, and reminds me every day where my identity is found, and that he’s more attracted to healthy Cassie than underweight Cassie.
Beyond Johnny’s comments, though, I became more and more free over the span of the honeymoon – more and more grateful, others-focused, and energized in this bigger, BETTER, healthier body. This temple of Christ.
This was the most time Johnny and I have ever spent together in a span of time… we were literally never without each other.
And we loved every second.
No, we didn’t fight. Yes, we had some tearful and beautiful and prayerful, powerful conversations, because vulnerability and truth are at the centre of our relationship. CHRIST is, and must be, at the centre of our relationship, and His fruit in us individually and as a couple is, ultimately, the fruit of our marriage.
It is because of Johnny’s persistent, loving, prayed-about comments of, “What are you thinking about right now?” that I’ve brought lies that plagued my mind to the Lord, and REALIZED that they were lies with the Lord’s help.
Now, I wouldn’t be a barista of four years if I didn’t peruse every Turks coffee shop I could.
Lemon2Go coffee was my favourite. The drip coffee was heavenly, and the cute shop also made for a perfect, quick lunch stop a couple of times throughout our trip.
Next door to the shop was a cute, quaint lunch spot called The Sandbox. We got this vegan Big Mac to share… and Johnny LIKED IT. (He also liked a coffee I made him the other morning, which is a BIG DEAL if you know Johnny).
The highlight of our trip, besides, of course, being together every moment of it, was SNORKELLING.
At the recommendation of a couple that also stayed at our resort, we embarked on an hour-long walk along the beautiful beaches of Providenciales to a spot known as the Coral Reefs.
We masked up, and waded into the water, where, even in very most shallow, there were at least ten large, exotic-looking, colourful fish to be seen by just ducking below the surface. Johnny and I couldn’t get enough of gawking at God’s many creatures flitting about below the surface.
I wish I had an underwater camera to take pictures, but I will forever have the images in my memory.
Later that same day was the Thursday Fish Fry that we’d heard about COUNTLESS times from locals and tourists alike. It’s a “Turks and Caicos Must,” and we understood why.
Featuring local music and truly local food, I was grateful for this authentic night of strawberry daiquiris, music, craft vendors, dancing, and food.
When it was time to return home, Johnny and I were sad to be leaving the island, but mostly excited to start the life God had for us at home, better together.
I can attest to the fact that being married to Johnny has already meant more of Christ in me. I am literally brimming with excitement for what MORE Jesus has in store, for His renown, in our marriage.
Our lifelong honeymoon has just begun!