Long overdue… When in Fayetteville, NC visit Habana Restaurant!

Last year for John’s birthday we headed down to Myrtle Beach, SC. We had never been and were looking forward to our “field trip” to celebrate J’s big day. I had bought a great package and was excited to take John to a completely different place than where we normally go.

We left DC early and stopped at a local place for breakfast on the outskirts of Fredericksburg. We were really excited about taking off on this vacation. I don’t know about you but if I get in a car for more than two hours that calls for a nap. John doesn’t think that is good but he understands LOL. I think my parents used to drive me around when I was a baby and could not go to sleep, so for me, being a passenger in the car equals falling asleep (yep snoring and all.)

After a few hours we we wanted to explore a bit more. We found ourselves in Fayetteville, NC and although I had a couple of friends living in the area and we were left to our own device since they could not hook up with us in such shot notice. But it was all good. We were ad-libbing our trip, as we normally do, except that we needed to get to SC by the next day when our reservations were set for. Ahhhh cute and comfy hotel -Hilton related, and J found an excellent Cuban Restaurant right there. If you stop at Fayetteville please do yourself a favor and visit “Habana Restaurant” you won’t regret it, it is a gem. When we arrived a very nice lady called “China” (pronounced: Cheena) greeted us and explained everything about the menu. She was so sweet and she helped us select from our drinks to appetizers to the entrees. What an amazing culinary experience. Mind you, we consider ourselves a bit savvy on the Latin or Cuban cuisine but this place was amazing. Everything is cooked fresh and the setting is very casual, but don’t let it fool you, the food is absolutely amazing.

Quite frankly we had a very great time, the music was not too loud, the atmosphere was great and lo and behold we even got to meet the owner who graciously took pictures with John. He is a very humble man from Cuba, Miguel, who fancied cooking Cuban food all his life and now is the chef of his own restaurant. What a treat!

Needless to say our stop in Fayetteville was quite a success. We had breakfast at the hotel the following day, went to the pool and then left shortly before lunch down South to Myrtle Beach, our next destination to celebrate John’ birthday.

The Joy Christmas Brings to Our Hearts

Yes, we have a new tradition since 2017. We take professionally made photos with Santa Claus and we don’t regret it for one minute. Last year even though it was a trial year we did it, we again had a beautiful session with my personal friend and professional photographer, Jess DeLaski. Of course I want to share them because we did not send Christmas cards, instead we took a three week trip to Panama to visit family and visit this wonderful place.

Santa has my heart!

John decided to buy the tickets and fly to Panama for Christmas. Our base was my brother and sister in law’s beautiful home and from there we visited a wonderful resort right next to the Panama Canal on the Pacific ocean. We could not have asked for a better time. Sun, breeze, love and fun.

Here are some of our photos:

Three weeks that went by so fast. It was the best time to be on this tropical country because Summer was setting in, which means warm during the day, sunny and bright, and cooler in the evenings. The perfect time indeed. So many places to see and beaches to be at, and for us, it was a much needed vacation time.

So Christmas was very fun to say the least and warm. But that feeling of wonder was still there and that fun excitement that Santa would come to leave his presents as when we were kids was also there 😉 Life has its ups and downs and we took this high to celebrate that, life.

What a grand time. Thanking my John for all the effort he put into us having a wonderful time together and away from everything. “Just US” as we like to say even before the show appeared. And that is how our year ended!



CANCER ALERT

Kindness rocks painted by my sister and niece and left at our doorsteps with words of encouragement the night before my surgery.

In early 2018 I had a biopsy and was diagnosed with uterine cancer. It was shocking to say the least. At first I could not believe it because other than minor symptoms I had never felt more alive in the past 4 years…

But we grabbed the bull by its horns and prayed, held hands a lot, cried a little bit because of shock and because we were scared. And I say “we” because when you have a partner, like mine, I could not have asked for anyone better. We did this together. I could not have done this without John’s levelhead and love. I am so blessed to have this guy by my side.

Forget the visual board for 2018 I made early in 2017, forget the plans, this was urgent and needed to be taken care of. And together, as a family, John and I, and with the prayers and support of my mom, sister, brothers, and some of my nieces and nephew I was able to come hold my head in its place instead of going crazy.

Trying to be brave…

It was lonely. It was scary. It was quiet. I preferred not to share with anybody because that is how I roll. I am vibrant but when it comes to these things I don’t share, I rather stay with my inner and intimate circle. But God in his love and mercy surrounded me from my husband, my mom, my sister that stood by me day and night.  I’d rather share the news once I knew what was coming so keeping the secret was hard but I had to do it so I could hold it together.

At first I looked for a way to blame why I had cancer. I asked myself if perhaps because I was a big girl and never had children. I searched the internet and tried to find a reason… When I spoke with my great oncologist she said, don’t blame yourself. We still don’t know the root of the cause. Through my doors come women that have been fertile and non-fertile, that have been as healthy conscious as those that have skipped a few rules. Don’t blame yourself, it just happened and you have been great at coming to get checked even if your symptoms did not seem too bad. We may be on time, we don’t know yet. Let that guilt go, and focus on what is to come. Have hope, think positive and get prepared for this journey, because whatever the outcome, you will never be the same. And I believe it is a journey of growth in many areas. Wow! I did not expect that, but I took it and ran with it.

The truth is that during all these years John and I have lived a happy life. We did not have the opportunity of being parents but we both have been the best auntie and uncle we could have been. Then when I received the news I think it hit me, this was the period to that. There it was, the struggle of dealing with the end of that story. In a way dealing with this was tougher than the C word. So that was a situation I would still need to deal with on top of all this… But when time is of the essence you don’t have time to feel sorry for yourself because you are fighting for your life.


Live as if this was your last day on earth! Don’t waste time in pettiness, it’s not worth it. Love like you mean it, and yes, love with all your heart!

But everything turned out how it was written in the book of Life. God spared me, he showed me his mercy. I won’t go into details, but I as of today I am okay., and of course there are more tests and appointments to endure but I am grateful and I will show it in my demeanor e-v-e-r-y d-a-y. And yes, while I don’t know what may come after this and I don’t take life for granted, but I do try to live every day to the fullest and slow down when I need to. I do listen to my body, and am trying to change some habits, but I continue loving perhaps more than I loved before, I try to not linger on things that want to rob my peace. I center my happiness in God, my husband and my family and true friends. Along the way I have made new friends and I embrace them and they may think I am a little bit crazy, but it is lie my oncologist said; life has changed and the perspective from where I see it is much more different that where I was coming from.

Together we are invincible!

I’m going to be okay. John and I are going to be okay. And whatever comes we won’t let it rob us of our peace and happiness. Get ready because this year we will be back with a lot more.

Always look at the bright side

Celebrating GeeGee

I don’t know about you but I had a wonderful mother in law. Her name was Kathy (Kathleen) she was born to Irish parents in New England and she was an amazing woman. Tomorrow, a year ago, she left us.

Kathy welcomed me to her family. She did not say it but she did show me with her actions. One of the fondest memories I have about her is that when I got married, John and I had said we would switch at the time of giving the sign of peace, and he would go to my family and I would go to his. So when I did this, my mother in law whispered in my ear” “You look beautiful.” I treasure that moment in my heart.

Field Trip with Geegee and Belinda 2016

She also welcomed my mom into her life from day one and they got along famously and had much fun when they were together. John and I were surprised because since day one they just loved each other. Kathy was easy to get along with she made things better for everybody.

She loved her baby boy (my John) and when I went to say goodbye I promised her I would take care of him always and thanked her for my greatest gift, my husband.

How can I not miss her? How can I not want to honor her? How can I not mention her? She was and is in our hearts forever.

Geegee we love you and we send you hugs to  heaven. Thank you for your love. Forever in our hearts.April 2016 The Gang

WHY WE STARTED OUR BLOG…

On October 2016, John and I had a marvelous week of love and fun on the open road for our 15th Anniversary. At first we wanted to go to Miami, Florida (actually The Keyes) but the weather conditions were not that great so we changed our plans and instead rented a Ford Fusion and set out up north to see where it would take us. We wanted to search for Fall foliage but it was sort of elusive in 2016, but nonetheless we pursued our intention which took us to discovery of new towns and much joy, as well an enjoying each other’s company. It was actually John’s idea of starting this blog and share our adventures. So welcome to our life. We hope you enjoy our posts.

Hershey 33

 

Pandas & Pearls

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Belinda & John Blog

In life there are things that have gotten my attention and been a constant in my life. There is something about giant pandas that has attracted me always, something deeper than the cuties they are or seem to be. I really feel as if they are more than my spirit animal. Perhaps when I was a child I did not feel it as strongly as in my teens and there forward. And I think I projected this affinity strongly when I wrote my first paper for my Human Relations class in college. My professor asked us to write an essay about an animal we felt resembled us more closely. I think I emulated the giant panda, not the other way around. How could that be? My professor seemed amazed and enthralled at my way of explaining why I chose the panda as my equal. He even brought his family to class and they all had chosen my paper as the one. Yes, from the outside and like everybody else does, I find them cute and cuddly, and even charismatic, but as you get to know more about them you grasp how they represent gentleness and strength at the same time. They are fierce, playful, noble and courageous. In the Eastern culture, the giant panda is symbol of peace and harmonious resolution of conflict.  Under its soft and fuzzy appearance, it shows the importance of strong personal boundaries to feel safe and grounded in life. The message of wisdom of the panda also emphasizes the importance of feeling at ease with ourselves, whether we are alone or with other people. When John came to my life he understood and related as he has affinity with wild cats himself. It is as if we were meant to meet at this exact time and comprehend our minds without question. We are fortunate. He gets me as I get him.

On the other side I have always liked pearls. I think the white ones are beautiful but I am also attracted to the gold and also the pink ones… but wait, what about the gray ones? I am mesmerized by those although they say their meaning is not that great. I personally don’t pay attention to that. But did you know that pearls are the only jewels created by a living animal? A natural pearl of value is found in less than 1 in every 10,000 wild oysters. I like to think that I John and I are like a pearl…

The more I found out about pearls, the more I liked them. Pearls are formed inside the shell of certain mollusks as a defense mechanism against a potentially threatening irritant such as a parasite inside the shell, or an attack from outside that injures the mantle tissue. The mollusk creates a pearl sac to seal off the irritation. The quality of the nacre dictates the quality of the luster, or shine of the pearl, which is very important to its beauty and its value. So as I learned about pearls I also learned that from irritating circumstances a thing of beauty can be made. What an analogy for our own lives.

John and I have traveled together for 16 years and continue to do so. Not knowing still everything but we maintain very close, not allowing circumstances keep us apart but bring us together. We may not know everything but we do know we care for each other and how to be there for each other. I tend to think that our lives intertwines among pandas and pearls.pearls

CHRISTMAS, IT’S MAGICAL…

Once again, where did time go? 2017 is almost gone. But we are here, safe and sound. This  is the first year in our 16 years of marriage that we did a Santa Session and it was really fun. Yes, John retaliated but in the end I convinced him to do it. Yes, I offered to pay for brunch after the session and that seemed to do the trick. The pain was in waking up super early since our session was at 8:10 AM or something like that on a Sunday (think the emoticon with the bug eyes.) We don’t have kids so we have not had the experience of waking up really early to take care of no one before, but we did it!

I love Santa and have been captivated by this guy forever, and John simply loves Christmas, one thing we both agree upon and never have had a discussion about. We are subscribed to Christmas and anything Christmas. So there you go, of course we have more photos but we are just sharing these two as proof 🙂 that we committed to the task and we actually enjoyed it very much.

So after leaving Jess DeLaski’s studio we decided to take a couple of other pictures at the only tree we knew was already up at The Villages at Leesburg and we actually loved it. We decided to kiss next to the tree and the security guard was very nice to take the picture for us. Needless to say we were elated.

winter wonderland

Then what? We went to brunch but we had to wait til the restaurant opened because we were up so early nothing was opened yet. I wanted to introduce John to the rooftop at this restaurant in Belmont but it was freezing and windy so we ate downstairs, had a mimosa and a great breakfast. Then we went upstairs (he raced me -I went in the elevator and he ran up the stairs) and he won 😦 but to be fair I had technical difficulties closing the elevator door (it was not an OTIS nor Lucent Technologies – John will get this.)

So this is our life it seems in a hurry but we try to include things we both enjoy. So much more has happened and we will share more real soon. As I sit here writing…  I cannot wait to live the magic of Christmas, the real reason for it, the love, the kindness, the spirit, the light.  John and I are definitely looking forward to our new year with hope. Because hope is the last thing to go and we are holding on to it. How about you? How has this year been going? If we don’t talk again we hope you have a season of splendor and that you feel loved!

 

Belinda and John or John and Belinda?

Welcome!

Funny things happen when you suddenly begin a blog with your other half. First the name. Belinda and John or John and Belinda? Obviously John wants his name first but I tried to persuade him by explaining that Belinda (alphabetically) comes before the J in John, therefore, “Belinda and John” sounds better. He “sort of” conceded 🙂 But in any event, at this point, it’s too late. The domain has been set-up and “Belinda and John” has arrived to Word Press.

We just came back from a “In Pursuit of Fall Foliage” trip on the East Coast to celebrate our 15th Anniversary. We think it would be an opener to share our trips, our funny experiences, pass on some of our wisdom, great ideas and and some of our mistakes so you won’t make them!

belinda-and-john-fall-2016

What else to expect of “Belinda and John?” Anything and everything unexpected about life as we roll, as we see it as we share it and as it is. Humor, Faith, Travel, Family, Marriage, Community, Kindness, Love, Lifestyle and Inspiration. Perhaps we will share a bit of everything mentioned above, and we promise it won’t be boring.

We are just a couple living life as best as we can.

Thank you for joining us. Enjoy the ride!

This is how we Roll

For some reason we both know we were meant to be together. I write the most here, although this was John’s idea, because he is normally working or checking the news and some videos or sites on his phone LOL. He probably won’t be happy with this comment, but I guess I am more gregarious than he is and make the time. But back to what I said, we were meant to be.

When I met John he said he had had a dream about meeting Belinda and he did not want to scare me away if he shared this. I did not learn this until we were married or about to be married. He said he knew it was me. I believe him. When I met him it was like we were at the same level and at the same time opposites that melded well together. We did have some obstacles, we did not have much experience with being a couple to others so  with faith and perseverance, because we knew we belonged together, we made it through.

In my mind there is no doubt… we hope you enjoy our journey.

Summer Don’t Go

I know, summer in November? Well we had crazy year so when we took vacations it felt like summer, plus the weather definitely was mild. So here we go…

It seems like it was yesterday we planned to start this blog and then life happened LOL. But we’re baaack!

Last year we were so full of hope and looking forward to doing something together, like this blog which would be fun and light even though life can throw curve balls… but then we did not know what was lurking ahead. So we needed some time off to nurse ourselves back slowly into us, into our lives, as we knew it.

So here we are, back to life in semi slo-mo but not really able to catch up with Summer, and watching it go by in fast forward, so much things we did not get to do (like using my giant yellow duck pool float) and all of a sudden trying to understand that Fall is finally here. Heck no, we refuse to call it Fall yet because we are pretty much still in a Summer mood. So last Friday when Fall season was announced I found a pretty funny meme that explained exactly how perhaps we both felt.

So there you have it. Fall is here, we need to get with the program, soooo… since we could not even do a proper spring-cleaning this year we are preparing for a “much dreaded” fall-cleaning so we can feel renewed and kind of unburden the guilt for not doing it earlier. Yep, wait for our next blog post, we may post a picture or two.

In the meantime, stay out of trouble, we’ll try the same 😉