The tagline for this blog site is “Learning from YOU to empower ME.” The appropriateness of this tagline became evident during the recent SisterGirlfriend MeetUp 2016. Six women gathered together on the beautiful island of St. Maarten for a week away from their everyday lives. It has been almost 2 months since we returned and I am just now posting about it. I was delayed because I stepped back into my busy life and it became even busier. However, the time I spent rejuvenating on that tropical island helped prepare me. You see, that’s what the trip is primarily all about – rejuvenating and recharging – to step back refreshed into your daily life.
The Resort Experience
My first impression of our resort was not a good one. I must admit that I was disappointed because there was no “WOW” factor when I stepped into the lobby. After I settled in later, I determined the resort was comfortable, clean, and cozy with complete amenities. The food and drinks were good, the overall service was excellent, the nightly entertainment provided good music and great singers, and the other guests were very participative when I invited them all up on the dance floor with me each night.
Our beach view was fantastic. If we were in our room, on the patio, by the pool or on the beach, we had a fabulous view of the pristine ocean and green mountains across Great Bay where the cruise ships parked on the pier. On some evenings, we enjoyed good conversation relaxing in front of the large opened windows where we enjoyed the cool breeze and full moon hanging over the ocean.
We did venture out as a group to enjoy the island. Our first adventure was a history tour of the island. We wanted to learn about this small island and the mixture of the cultures – Natives, Dutch, French and African. We were impressed that the tour guide included so much information about the contributions of the African slaves to the economy and culture of St. Maarten. The statues of these two women of African descent were impressive. There is one on the French side of the island that is reminiscent of our great lady in New York Harbor. The other one on the Dutch side of the island has a missing breast which was her punishment for attempting to escape to freedom on the French side of the island as they abolished slavery first.
Our next adventure involved hanging out on the beach. We spent the day on the famous Orient Bay Beach. Since 1994, I wanted to return to this beach and stroll nude across it but that was only a dream. Instead we enjoyed cool drinks served by hot, sexy French guys while we people-watched on the beach. It is nothing like an ice-cold Heineken on the beach. We also enjoyed mouth-watering burgers at the beach side restaurant that hosted our excursion.
On our last outing, we decided to visit the other Sonesta resort near the airport. Now, this resort had the WOW factor and was a newer resort. It was beautiful but it did not have the fantastic ocean view that we enjoyed at the other resort plus it was too close to the airport with all of the noise of incoming/departing flights.
The highlight of the SisterGirlfriend MeetUp is the discussions we have throughout the rejuvenating week. Some of them occur via a planned activity where we choose a topic card and respond to the surprising question on the card. Other times our discussions are impromptu and we flow from one topic to another with the ease of longtime friends even though some of us have just met. We share, we laugh, and sometimes we cry. It is liberating, enlightening and empowering. Whatever happens, it is always in a very caring and healing way. The openness of these moments forges bonds among the group as we listen to one another in a non-judgmental way. We all leave from these discussions enriched and inspired.
Overall, we all enjoyed our time in paradise. The ingredients of sun, moon, ocean, mountains, palm trees, and gentle breezes will always ensure a successful SisterGirlfriend Meetup.