This year, we planned to celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary June 17. My husband, Emmanuel Ogiozee, wanted to make this celebration memorable, so he bought us Carnival cruise tickets for the Western Caribbean. We were supposed to leave July 21 to combine it with my birthday celebration July 24.
On Father’s Day, I took Emmanuel to Kohl’s. While we were shopping, my wallet was stolen. It had my driver’s license and my green card in it. I contacted the immigration services immediately. I reported my green card stolen, applied for a replacement and thought I had everything together to sail. The ship was leaving on a Sunday afternoon
from Galveston, Texas. We left Dallas early that morning and were so excited about the trip. After all, we were going to Belize, Mahogany Bay and Cozumel Islands. Unfortunately, I couldn’t buy the shore excursions while driving so I thought we would get them on board. However, we didn’t make it on board.
After hours of showing all the documents and arguing with the cruise officials, I was not allowed to sail. They asked if my husband wanted to go without me. He was shocked by the question and answered an emphatic “No!” We were devastated by the loss of this cruise. Money lost was one thing, but this was also supposed to be a celebration of our seventh anniversary, my birthday and our love.
To add to the disappointment, of the four bags we had, the crew only found three with my husband’s pieces, but they didn’t find my bag. My clothes, toiletries and all personal accessories sailed to the Caribbean without me. We were told that we could pick up the bag the following Sunday, or it would be mailed to us.
We were upset. I started crying. But Emmanuel resolved that we would have a good time anyway. We thought of driving down to San Antonio, Texas, instead. But that night we were so tired. We stopped at Chili’s to eat and decided that we needed to lodge for the night. We didn’t know Houston very well and weren’t sure where to stay. I asked the waiter for our zip code. We went to hotels.com on our iPad and entered the zip code of where we were. A lot of choices popped up. But we didn’t want to spend much. We almost stopped at Motel 6, but then I saw that South Shore Harbour Resort was under $100 a night as well. It was also the closest to us. We went there thinking of staying for the night.
The large resort and conference center featured a 10-story hotel with 240 rooms and suites. Among the amenities were 185-foot tropical swimming pool with swim-up bar and 130,000-square-foot fitness center and spa. The paved pathways meandered through manicured grass lawns with tall palm trees and colorful flowerbeds all around the premises. The check-in was quick and the hotel staff courteous and helpful. The manager gave us a rate that was a few dollars cheaper than what we had found online. And when Emmanuel asked for the top floor available, we were given Room 717. When I first saw the number, I thought it looked familiar. In a few minutes, I realized that it was special to us since we celebrated our seventh anniversary June 17. Of course, the manager had no clue. But God knew.
Our room was decorated to resemble a cabin on a cruise ship. The view from our
balcony gave to a harbor and marina filled with yachts. Later, we found out that this was considered one of the best resorts in the area. We were touched by God’s love and care for us. We decided not to go to San Antonio but to spend our vacation here.
After resting all day on Monday, we took a stroll down Kemah on Tuesday evening. The place was bright—full of lights from the rides, fair games, restaurants and many other places to visit with things to see and do. A live band played country music by the fountain.
Emmanuel and I played two fair games and won stuffed animals for our 3-year-old Nicole and 5-year-old Daniel. Our oldest, 6-year-old David, got a different gift later in the trip. We fed the fish as they swam in circles near the pier. A lot of hungry fish fought for every bite of food the visitors would throw them. The night sea was calm as it reflected the moonlight.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time on the boardwalk. This was my Facebook post that night: “It is not where you are, but who you are with that makes all the difference…”
Watch our vacation video:
Besides being fun and restful, this vacation was also a great lesson. God showed my husband and me that not the expensive celebration but the celebration that mattered because of our time together was a true celebration of love.