Just Married

Best Honeymoon Ever, Sea Urchins and All

By Simi Lichtman

  • Print
  • Share Share
Over the Moon: Simi and Jeremy vacation in St. Lucia.

On the way back from our honeymoon, Jeremy’s back was hurting so much that I carried his backpack — much to his chagrin (he’s chivalrous) — and I had nine sea urchin spines embedded in my left foot from a minor altercation with the Caribbean coral reef. But when our parents sympathized at how our honeymoon must have been affected by these physical ailments, we were baffled. It simply hadn’t occurred to us to let silly things like pain and immobility get in the way of our good time.

Jeremy and I decided to go to St. Lucia for our honeymoon, more because of the sunny weather and a LivingSocial deal we’d found than anything else. It turns out the Jewish bargain gods had pointed us in the right direction, because St. Lucia was an island paradise beyond our expectations, where everyone is happy all the time — and it’s easy to see why. The resort we stayed at was all-inclusive. (Of course, as kosher-observant Jews, the delicious-smelling free food was there just to tempt us. We trekked back to our room twice daily for a meal of bread and vacuum-packed deli.) We spent a large part of our honeymoon sitting next to the pool or beach and reading, occasionally making use of the water to cool ourselves us from the sun. The rest of the time we enjoyed water sports, took a day sailing trip around the island, and, of course, slept a whole lot. As weeks go, it was not a bad way to spend one.

For better or worse — one could argue either way — our honeymoon, like most Orthodox honeymoons, was not immediately after the wedding. Instead of the hopping in a car right after the wedding and rushing off to the honeymoon, we Orthodox Jews like to do a little thing called killing the fun. For a week after the wedding, we spend every night having dinner with a different group of people, many of whom we don’t know.

The Orthodox call this weeklong celebration Sheva Brachot, and it’s designed mainly, I gather, to exhaust the couple so much that they don’t even want to have sex that first week, which, did I mention, we can’t have anyway. (That’s right: after the marriage is consummated, Orthodox Jews enter a state of ritual impurity, in which the couple is not allowed to touch again for a number of days.) So a honeymoon right after the wedding would be pretty lame even without Sheva Brachot.

But honeymoon we eventually did. Like many things concerning marriage, no one told us this time is often incredibly anxiety-provoking for many couples. Luckily for us, we experienced the exact opposite. For an entire week, Jeremy and I were in a state of utter bliss and relaxation. We didn’t fight once. We were simply happy. Sunstroke in the dead of winter will do that to you.

That’s not to say things didn’t go wrong. Like I said, I stepped on a sea urchin one day. Not knowing anything about sea urchins, being as we live in New Jersey and our main association with water is driving over it to get to New York, we decided to go to the local clinic to see what needed to be done. And if you’ve never stepped on a sea urchin before — it’s a rite of passage in St. Lucia, apparently — let me tell you: it hurts. A lot. So there I was, drenched from head to foot and whimpering and weeping in pain in the middle of our tropical paradise resort while Jeremy ran from one room to another, arranging for a taxi and getting our wallets. The clinic itself was entirely underwhelming, exceptional only because of the wait time (3 hours before we saw the doctor). She took a look at my foot and told me to wait for the spines to come out, then sent us on our way.

I felt horrible for ruining our afternoon and taking up hours for nothing. I spent a great deal of time apologizing to Jeremy for making him sit with me in the waiting room for ours as our bathing suits slowly soaked our clothing, and he spent the same amount of time telling me I was silly to apologize; he was happy to help, and he was sorry that I got hurt. It wasn’t a fun way to spend the afternoon, but Jeremy’s complete devotion to me made it a sweet one. We spent the evening recuperating in front of whatever television show I wanted to watch.

Two days later, Jeremy woke up with back pain that only intensified as time passed. In return for his attentiveness to me in my pain, I was able to take care of the packing for both of us and carry as much as he would let me. (I love him dearly, but he’s not immune to silly male pride.) And we had fun anyway — we went jet skiing (not a good idea for his back, as it turned out) and got massages to make up for the jet skiing. Our injuries got in the way, but they didn’t stop us from enjoying ourselves.

When I look back on our honeymoon, I’ll probably forget that we ever endured any sort of pain that week. The theme of the week was happiness and enjoyment, and if I remember our injuries at all, it will only be to appreciate how much we were able to take a potentially disappointing turn of events and turn it into kindness and selflessness.

Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: sheva brachot, sea urchin, honeymoon, St. Lucia, LivingSocial, Orthodox

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Find us on Facebook!
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.