This is Claire. To be fair, she isn't normally in a tree, but she is normally a ton of fun. Let's start at the beginning.
We met while both working on PhD's at the University of Missouri. We were both members of that higher education seeking club of academics - a small, slightly nerdy club. My area of study was Agricultural Education and hers was Human Development and Family Studies - specifically early childhood, but we worked in the same building and ended up in the same statistics courses. What started as a friendship over homework became a connection over the TV Sitcom "The Office" with Steve Carell. Claire and her friends gathered to watch this show (I had never seen before) and I needed friends, so I came to eat and watch as well. I was a fast fan of the show and forever grateful that Claire's natural gift is making people feel special, included and appreciated.
When she called and said she was getting married, there was no question I was going. I am good at choosing friends because it was a destination wedding in Jamaica! I took off May 14 for a long wedding weekend.
The views were amazing. I am not a sun-worshiper. I think I could be but my dermatologist would disown me, right after she chopped me to bits looking for atypical cells. I am not built for the sun. And, I don't know why I have never gone somewhere with shady beaches before, but this place is made for me. Amazingness. This was the view looking forward.
And this shady philodendron-covered cliffside was right behind me. Oh yea, and they kept the all-inclusive Pina coladas coming. Did I say it was amazing? It was.
There were something like 19 pools to hang out in and around - and yes, that is a swim-up bar. Thanks for noticing. This was the main pool up on the mountainside half of the resort. It is a shuttle ride away from the ocean, but I think it was my favorite of the pools
Of course, there was always the option to swim in the crystal clear Caribbean. Did that, too!
I was lucky enough to be able to share with one of Claire's bridesmaids (a Texas friend), Lisa. She is a pediatric nurse and all-around fun gal. Almost everyone else (besides Claire's younger brother) were coupled up so it was nice to have a couple single friends in the mix to hang out. Lisa, Marshall and I could usually be found together.
The accommodations were great, but put my OCD to the test. (It is not normally like this - They had moved the bed to bring us a rollaway.)
This was the view from our balcony. Not a bad way to start the day. Well, that and some Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. Ah-mazing.
And then it was wedding time. The clouds rolled in but it didn't matter - the bride was radiant walked down the aisle by her mom and dad.
And surrounded by her brothers, sister-in-law and new hubby.
The wedding party was the funnest bunch of people you ever met. This is by far my favorite photo from any wedding I have attended ever.
The clouds came, but the rain never really fell. May sunshine follow you both the all the days of your marriage. Congratulations Jane and Justin... Or Claire and Justin... Or Claire and Shep... Or Mr. and Mrs. Shepherd... Or Mr. and Dr. Shepherd....Or Mr. Shepherd and Dr. Cook? The details can work themselves out.
And Jamaica, you will see me again sometime - hopefully soon.