What first grabbed our hearts was that we were treated just like family that had been gone from home to long. We, in 4 years, have never met an unfriendly person, we have never had an unpleasant moment. We stumbled into JA, having never heard of Couples, we went on the advice of our TA, she assured us we would love it, and she couldn't of been more right. Every year in October, she emails us and says, "Couples in January right? " and we book. CTI is amazing. We look forward to it every year like a child looks forward to Christmas. Thanks Couples for all you do
what first grabbed our hearts was the bus ride to the resort. We were there in 2007 in July. the road was torturous but we met a couple on there who were on their honeymoon and we are going back with them this July. We had an amazing time and on our last morning, my boyfriend opened the french doors, let the sun and breeze in and for the very first time, told me he loved me. Apparently, I caught his heart in Jamaica. We knew were hooked when shortly thereafter, a hurricane was bearing down on our beloved COR. We were glued to the tv and message board and we prayed for our new family. Our prayers were answered and we are going home in 23 days, we are going home again. It is a magical place and I am hoping for more magic.
I have my sister-in-law to thank for getting us to Jamaica. She planned the first trip in 2001. She has only been back once because she now loves Mexico. Silly woman! We've returned every year since and will do so as long as long as we're able. I remember being in awe when I got my first glimpse of the island as we approached MBJ. The topography was incredible, steep, green hills rising so close to the shore, breathtaking. Then we disembarked onto the tarmac and I got my first taste of the warm, sultry Jamaican air. Ahhhhh. I enjoyed the bus ride to CTI (COR then). It was our first taste of the island and we 'drank' everything in. Steve and his sister were a little white knuckled on the ride (you all know why!) but I enjoyed it. I just sensed we were fine, and there was no doubt we were in a tropical paradise! An hour and a half later we finally pulled up in front of the entrance to CTI, no doors, just a big open, inviting entrance into the lobby which we could see straight through out to the sea. Wow. As we stepped into the lobby Steve and I looked at each other and knew we were feeling the same thing, a VERY strong, overwhelming sense of peace and wellbeing, unlike anything we'd EVER felt before, anywhere. From that moment, although we didn't know it then, Couples and our soon to come Couples family, became an integral part of our lives. And then we were handed our oold washcloths and a glass of sparkling wine. It just kept getting better! Kirk just happened to be the one who took our bags to our room that day. I remember him throwing the balcony doors open. Room 274, we loved it, and it was an unexpected upgrade! It's now tradition that Kirk takes us to our room every year. Fortunately, Kirk was working at CSS last January, when we were refugees from CTI, and was able to escort us to our room then too. We've met his family before and had lunch at his house this year. And that's what has brought us back to Couples every year since '01. Not only the peace we find there but especially The STAFF, we can't begin to praise them enough. We are very fortunate to have others besides Kirk that we talk you throughout the year until we can return to see them. Two of them have even been able to stay with us for a week while they were here on work visas, Charmaine and Tyrone. Next Thursday we are going to Maine to see Tyrone who is working there now. We met him the day after we first arrived. CTI had it's own riding stable then and he was a guide. Steve and Tyrone were riding at the back of the group and so had plenty of time to talk. They really hit it off and for the next 2 mornings Tyrone took us on an extended, private ride. That gave us the opportunity to get to know him. Tyrone was the first to invite us to his home and since then we have gotten to know his family and we visit them every year. I'll never forget our first visit, we were walking around up in the hills after dark but we felt safe knowing we with Tyrone. We met so many people that night and we felt comfortable with every one of them, an unusual experience for me. I have never had such a feeling of acceptance before or since. One year his brother Ziggy, who was 11 at the time, wandered off from us as we were walking around from house to house. He returned a half hour with beaded necklaces of yellow, back and green for Steve and I. I asked him where he got them and he told me his father made them (he and Tyrone have different fathers). I found out a few years later that Ziggy's father is Brother Albert who has a craft shack down the road from CTI. I know many of you know him. I treasure those beads more than any jewelry I have. Nothing in my life has ever meant more to me than being told that we're now considered part of Tyrone's family. His grandmother (who owns all the property where the extended family lives) has said that we will always have a place there if we want to build a house in Jamaica. Also going to Maine to see Tyrone with us are 3 other couples who we met at CTI and are now lifelong friends, Kelly and Zane, Mary and Dave, Rod and Sopenny. We'll be calling Merna, Sharon, Kirk and Ava while we're there, and Kimberlee from CSS. It's our Jamaican reunion here in the states. It was the unbelievable sense of peace that I have only experienced in Jamaica that first touched my heart but it's the people who have brought us back every year. 198 days until I hear welcome home again. Soon come.