There is a scene in the movie 500 Days of Summer where they do a split screen of the guy's expectations vs what really happened. It's a sad scene, his expectations were awesome and the reality of what happened was... not so much.
I just came home from a cruise and I had the exact opposite situation.
The night before the cruise I was talking to my parents, and I was, less than enthused about the cruise. Stupid you may think, a cruise is a cruise, but never-the-less I almost didn't even want to go.
I flew out on Saturday morning and from that moment on, my expectations were blown out of the water with how awesome the reality was.
I flew out with one of my best friends, and we met up with some guys who were nice enough to let us stay at their hotel instead of the airport floor which we had planned to sleep on, (we got in at midnight).
As soon as we got there, and started meeting the people in our group it just got better and better.
Day one, St Johns, by way of St Thomas. Laying out on the beach, snorkeling and playing ultimate frisbee. Awesome. That night karaoke party, never have I had so much fun dancing (interpretive which was beautifully hilarious) and singing with my friends. At one point, Kelly and I were singing Goodbye Earl and went out into the audience and most of our crew came out and danced with us, it was SO MUCH FUN!
Day 2, day at sea, not much to report. Also formal night, I do so love seein guys all gussied up. Every night we would rotate who we ate dinner with, which I loved because I got to meet so many people that I otherwise may not have.
Day 3, Barbados. This day a good friend and I rented a scooter and rode around the island a little bit, looking for Crane's beach. We found it at it was beautiful. We hung out there, laid out, he went body boarding and then we rode the scooter back. We both got sufficiently and uneavenly burned but it was awesome.
Day 4, St Lucia. This day most of us took different routes but all ended up at this natural mud bath, it was cool to take a tour around the island, I got to hold a boa constrictor, which in the picture looks like I was scared, but nah.. I was good.
Day 5, St Kitts. Some people took scooters to Cockelshell beach, others took a tour to a "rain forest" I put that in quotes, because when I think of a rain forest I don't imagine paved walkways, but whatevs. Then we went to the same beach, played some volleyball, some took wave-runners, threw a football around, it was awesome.
Day 6, St Maarten. This day was kind of up for grabs, some people went on a shark dive, some people got scooters, some people went to a beach. I didn't know what I was going to do. One of the guys on the dive said, "You should just come with us and see if they will let you just wait on the boat while we dive." So I decided to do that, but as it turns out, I couldn't go with them on the boat, so I ended up hanging out alone on this beach for about 2 and a half hours. Which honestly was pretty great. I took a nap under some palm trees. Listened to some good music. I had a grand, relaxing, albeit lonely day.
The nights were spent, dancing, singing, playing games and eating ice cream.
On Carnival cruises they do what is called the Carnival Legends show. On this show people on the cruise audition, during karaoke, to impersonate different "legends". And the last night of the cruise that is the main show. They had 9 legends to impersonate, and people from our single's group did 7 of them. Including, Ricky Marten, Frank Sinatra, Britney Spears (me), Aretha Franklin, Garth Brooks, Elvis Presley and Gloria Estefan.
During the show one of the dancers told me that was the best legends show she'd ever seen, with the loudest audience. It was so fun to be a part of that with so many new friends.
Sunday we got back to Puerto Rico and Kelly and our other roommate Marianne and I decided to go skydiving which was amazing, a definite highlight.
We went back to a hotel and met up with everyone to watch the superbowl and have one last night together. By that point I had so many new people in my life who I can see myself being close to forever. There are already plans of reuniting, future trips and plans to see each other.
In addition to all that, there were prank wars, there were "cruise crushes" there were deep conversations, there were games, there was so much laughter I think I am knocking on the door of a six pack. Numbers have been exchanged and relationships have been forged (as in created, not faked).
People ask me how it was and I can't even find the words. I told a friend that I feel like I was gone forever and he said, "That's how much you lived" and he's right. I couldn't have planned a better week, and I didn't even explain some of the best parts of it.
It was a Dear Diary trip, and it has been documented.
Those expectations had NOTHIN on what reality gave me.