April: Part 2 - Fire Dancing and Couchsurfing

All kinds of wonderful people are born in April. My mother, for one. Our super-pal Rich. Our other super-pal Matt. Thomas Jefferson.  Me, as you all know. And also three of my Cayman girlfriends, two of whom share a birthday! As soon as they figured this out, a joint celebration was in order.

The birthday girls, Becca and Rachel, were treated to a high-class beach bonfire at the Ritz-Carlton, courtesy of Rachel's husband, Michael.

Michael's thoughtfulness and attention to detail made both of the girls (and all the guests) feel very special, which is all too appropriate during birthday month.

Guests could write messages to each of the birthday girls on special frames and on Chinese lanterns to commemorate the occasion. 

Of course the Ritz created a dual-candle dessert for the girls, which preceded traditional s'mores over a fire pit.

But the excitement really kicked into high gear when a friend of Becca's arrived to do a little more with fire than roast marshmallows and chocolate.

This dude had all kinds of twirling, over-the-head, behind-the-back moves that made me really nervous and really thrilled all at the same time. Talk about being mesmerized by fire; Josue had our full attention (and the attention of all cameras and recording devices)!

Just when we thought we'd seen all the fire tricks in the book, Josue moved the beach performance down the beach to an open spot, and all of us were told to stand far back. 

There's something more? we all thought. What could top the performance we'd just seen?

Well. That did it. Everyone instantly wanted to become a fire dancer.

 The pyrotechnics continued with the lighting of two beautiful Chinese lanterns, which were set to sail off over the sea.

Folks, being born in April is something I cannot recommend enough.


In other April news...

Ok, so do you remember the couchsurfing phase we went through? It's been a while, I know, but back in 2011, we both hosted and were hosted by friendly people in the Couchsurfing community. (For ease of review: We hosted Stu from Australia, two girls from Chicago, and Joao & Sara from Portugal. We were guests in Paris, Brussels, Prague, and Berlin.)

Anyway, somewhere in there--probably in 2013--Nate changed our status to Inactive. Our jobs were getting busier, we had a trip to Oregon planned that didn't require couchsurfing, and we were in the midst of moving. So it just didn't make sense to host people frequently.

Recently--I couldn't tell you when because he didn't consult me (but that's beside the point)--Nate changed our status to Active again. And that's when we got a couch request.

Katie and Ashley are one-and-a-half years into a two-year around-the-world honeymoon. Katie is American, but the couple met in Australia as marine biologists (read: Great Barrier Reef territory.) Cayman was on their Caribbean itinerary, and when they saw our profile, they dropped us a line.

It's been so long since we've hosted couchsurfers that it took me a day or two to get used to the idea when Nate posed the question. So we decided to meet K&A for dinner at Southwest Collective just to get to know them.  The four of us clicked immediately. We were talking about weddings, babies, futures, and pasts within the first hour! There was no other choice than to invite them to stay with us.

Kelly & David took the four of us out for a Friday evening sunset cruise to introduce the Aussies to the Cayman weekend traditions.

Floating around in the North Sound after five days in the office with nothing more than a cooler, the sunset, best friends, and a dog is the most excellent way to wind down.

We finished the night with the six of us around a table playing Wits & Wagers. My ideal Friday night.

Katie and Ash fended for themselves most of the next week while we were at work, amusing themselves with snorkeling, visiting Stingray City, driving around the island, and even meeting members of the local marine biology community. In the evenings, it was great to share our home with them, as well as some homemade meals - one of which K&A made for us! What a lovely weeknight treat. I'll gladly share my kitchen with people who do all the cooking and clean-up.

Any. Day.

K&A left Cayman for more Caribbean destinations a few days later, but we're quite sure we have not seen the last of these two. The globe is too small a place to keep us from another visit with these lovely people.

I mean, they really bring out the best in us, don't you agree?

  photo credit: Kelly
Sorry about Olaf. It really wasn't that kind of party, I promise.

I vote for a visit to Oz for our next rendezvous. Apparently, they care for orphaned baby kangaroos at their house. Can you just imagine me with a little joey?!?! I might never return. The last time I interacted with baby animals I was basically glowing:

The baby cheetahs loved me.

I need to wrap up this post because it's getting super long (this always happens!), but I have to give credit to Nate for pushing me out of my comfort zone and helping me to keep connecting with people, even ones we've never met. Our week with Katie and Ashley was very relaxed, loads of fun, and left me realizing that life is so rich and full due to the people we've met and the friendships we've formed. Life is all about people. People are the things that stories, memories, and adventures are made of. I'm glad that part of our story involves these two.

Safe travels! Hope to see you very soon!


  1. Love the fire dancing! What great entertainment! So glad you enjoyed your couch surfers!