[Originally published August 12, 2009.]

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I am loving this trip, Erica. The hotel, the beach, the amazing food. It’s perfect. I must say, the romantic in me is thrilled with how things are going with our relationship so far. My inner pragmatist, however, knows the day will come when we’ll likely part ways. Whether the reality of my back hair finally sinks in, or your cute high-pitched voice begins to sound inhuman, our Achilles heel will inevitably reveal itself.

But one thing I’ve learned through my years of dating is that just because I’ll want to erase you from my memory, I don’t have to erase all these great travel experiences. Will I want to forget hiking up that volcano the other day? Of course not. I’ll just want to forget that you were hiking with me − and thanks to the magic of Photoshop, I can.

Looking at you in this light with the sun bouncing off your adorable freckles, it feels a bit strange to be wondering if I can extend the sky behind your head and torso so it looks like you’re not there. I’m pretty sure I can, although it might look a little creamy at the edges. I bet if I add some grain, no one will notice. But right now the only thing I’m noticing is how beautiful you look, freckle-face.

I feel like you and I are entering such a fun, playful phase of our relationship − I really love getting close to you like this. Speaking of which, you’ve been pressing our faces together in a lot of shots, which is so sweet. The thing is, you have no idea how many more hours of clean-up that generates. Basically I’m recreating the entire contour of one of my cheeks. With skin tones and shadows, it gets really tricky. Trust me, it’ll be just as cute if we stay like an inch apart.

And how about you yesterday, Ms. I’ve Never Gone Fishing Before! You could have fooled me with the twenty-pound Dorado you reeled in. Very impressive, little lady. Thanks again for throwing on those mittens before posing holding your catch. You literally saved me about four hours of dodging and patching on those fingers. I have a feeling that shot’s going straight on the mantle − hopefully with you in it.

Hey, we should head into town tomorrow to pick up some charming handicrafts. Of course, I don’t need to remind you that dense urban environments are a nightmare in post, but I’m not going to let that stop us from a fun day of shopping. FYI, I’ll probably just end up using the lasso tool to place a local merchant’s head on your body in some of these. I don’t love doing that because the angles are sensitive, but you focus on the rustic Mayan goods and let me worry about those silly angles later.

Right now I just want to savor this moment and raise our Pinâ Coladas in a toast to us, funny face. Actually, this seems like the perfect time to shoot our first romantic video. We only have a few minutes before sunset so hurry and zip yourself into the hooded, green body suit I gave you − which you may have noticed is the same emerald color as your stunning eyes.

To new beginnings, Erica. To new beginnings.