Freedom… sometimes as Americans we take it for granted. Today John and I would like to thank our military service members and their families, for their bravery, risks taken and especially the sacrifices made by them. This weekend we express and convey our respect specifically to those who have given their lives in defense of freedom. This year is Rolling Thunder’s last ride to the city because of lack of funds. This makes us sad. We want to be there this last time to applaud them for the many years of peaceful demonstration and for making all of us aware of the importance of understanding what this day is all about.
Rolling Thunder – Where are They
In case you didn’t know it… Rolling Thunder is an advocacy group that seeks to bring full accountability for prisoners of war (POWs) and missing in action (MIA) service members of all U.S. wars. They have been doing this for 31 years, with a slow ride of motorcycles riding into the city, starting at the Pentagon and entering via Memorial Bridge.
John and I rode his motorcycle for many years for Rolling Thunder paying our respect to those that gave it all for our country. John and I started doing this together since 1998, but he rode the very first rally in 1993 and every since with his friends, before we met. For me the most gut wrenching moment is as you enter the city through Memorial Bridge and start seeing all the people still holding signs up of #MIA and #POW with their relatives names. It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve done it, it gets me every-single-time… it continues to be heartbreaking. Can you imagine not knowing (even today) what happened to your relatives or friends, those that sacrificed everything for our freedom? Many people do not understand that Rolling Thunder, with their revving motorcycles and slow ride, just wants to create awareness and shed a light on those that said yes to the call, and fought for those at home and our next generations and have not yet been accounted for.
The Last Ride
This Sunday the last “Ride for Freedom,” will take place. This ride leaves the Pentagon parking lot at noon, crossing the Memorial Bridge, and ending at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (“the Wall”). Following, at #ThunderAlley, there will be speeches and other events taking place from there, and this is also a #mustvisit place to get memorabilia. We ask that if you are in the area, that you visit DC tomorrow, take your children, and teach them to be proud and pay their respects, because sadly… #Freedom isn’t Free.
We just learned that President Trump said that “Rolling Thunder” is taking place again next year in Washington, D.C. We are elated because this event is such an amazing one every American must experience it one way or the other at one point in their life. See you in D.C. next year!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 😉