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Vacation Journal
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Part 4 and Final - The Best Trip Yet - Xmas 2007

By:
Date: 1/20/2008

Part 4 Xmas 2007 – The Best Trip Yet

Danielle left on Christmas Day – what a bummer! There were tears involved – both hers and mine. What great fun I had with her. But it went so fast. The time (10 days at this point) has just zoomed by and Elana and I have just a week left. Before anyone gives me grief, let me acknowledge how truly lucky we are to be able to spend this much time on the island. It’s just that I always leave wanting more.

My notes are so sporadic at this points – complete days with nothing written down, a couple of days with 4 lines written – guess I was so caught up in living I forgot to write it down.

Here are some things I remember:

Long talks with Elana. With me traveling and out of town so much, we don’t always get the time to do that.

Drinks at Playa Sol on a rainy day, under the palapa – and a girl asking me if she could take a picture of the tattoo on my back because she thought it was cool (I have 9 different religious symbols across my shoulders, the words “One Truth, Many Paths” under that, and then a large lotus under that – it is my newest and biggest tattoo). I thought it was cool that she had the courage to ask me. And of course I said yes.

Having a long and serious talk with Rogelio on Christmas Eve. He has always been one of my favorite people and I feel like I know him a little better now.

Having a local admirer buy me and Elana a round of drinks one day and then bringing me flowers the next.

Having to cut back on the talking for days because my voice was still froggy from the three nights of partying.

Meeting Alton (also known as Whitey), one of the most charming and fascinating people I’ve met and feeling like I could talk to him for days.

Regretting AGAIN that I don’t know more Spanish and vowing to get back to studying it.

Learning lots of new Spanish words and using them (and not just the swear words). Figured out the key for me is to spell them out, write them down and then use them.
Flirting with Mexican men all over the island and realizing that they like me just as much as I like them.

Remembering how good it feels and how good I feel when I am outside, in sunshine and moving my body – whether it is bobbing in the water, or walking across the sand, or doing yoga, or just wandering around downtown.

Hanging out with three of the coolest people I know – my daughters and Marianne.

Having nowhere to be and nothing planned and waking up every morning and thinking about what I might like to do.

Reading fifteen books in seventeen days – that in and of itself makes Isla paradise. Not all of them were great literature but they all kept me interested.

Falling asleep in my beach chair, listening to my iPod.

Sitting in my beach chair and staring at the water.

Watching my skin turn a golden brown and my hair turn platinum blonde.

Feeling at ease in my body and thankful for everything it does for me and rarely criticizing myself for being the “wrong” size or shape.

Laying down at night and all feeling right with the world.

Waking up in the morning and all feeling right with the world.

Elana and I left on New Year’s Eve and it was a bummer. We had a late flight out and I was antsy all day. On the days we have to leave Isla, my inner 3-year old comes out and I am POUTY! I don’t want to go home.

We packed in the morning and spent the day going around and saying hasta luego to everyone. I had tears in my eyes more than once.

I know that we will be back but it is so hard to leave. I spend the whole day doing a reverse countdown – which makes the day an even bigger bummer. We finally tired of wandering around and headed back to Chac Chi. We still had 1 ½ hours before we had to leave for the ferry so we sat by the pool and read.

Finally, our time has run out (no amount of wishing or hoping or pouting or whining changes that – although I try every time) and Plu is there to take us and our stupid amount of luggage to the ferry. I get my last hug and kiss of this trip and relinquish the bags to one of the luggage guys to put on the ferry (turns out I am no more willing to mess with the bags as I am leaving, as I was when I was arriving). We wait a bit and then load on with VERY heavy hearts.
At this point, there are no more tears – just gloom. Take one last look at the island on our way back to Cancun.

A little McDonalds on the other side as the torta stand on the Isla side wasn’t open – more pouting and heavy sighing – and then it’s time to battle with the taxi guys. I reluctantly agree to $30 – knowing I am paying too much but not willing to argue. Turns out the taxi driver was great – drove fast but not crazy, very personable and we manage to converse in that mix of English, Spanish and Spanglish that gets us by on every trip.

Flying at 7pm on a New Years Eve is a great plan, from an airport perspective. There is no one there and we walk right up to Frontier’s ticket counter. The older gentleman who has worked there forever always remembers me (he has often commented that I should buy a house since I am down here so much) and jokes with me about volunteering to give up our seats (a trip several years ago, we volunteered to be bumped 2 days in a row, got free tickets both days, and used them to take extra trips to the island). No such luck this time though. About to walk away from the ticket counter, happen to look at our seat numbers on our tickets and realize they have done it to us again – they always think it is a mistake that we are not sitting next to each other and so change our seats for us. I go back and assure them that, really, Elana and I both want window seats and it is really okay that we aren’t sitting next to each other. You can almost see them shaking their heads, thinking those crazy gringas!

Wandering around the airport for a few as we wait for our flight – it’s like taking off from a great big mall in that new terminal. You actually have to walk through the duty-free shop to get to your gate. All fancy and new and with American restaurants – ick!

The flight is uneventful and I sleep a good chunk of it. Wait forever for our bags (it seems like) and go out into the cold Denver air (when we left Isla it was 80F, when we arrive in Denver it is 8F – brrrrrr) to find our driver. Ummmmm, no driver and he isn’t answering my call. Dammit. $85 later in a taxi, we arrive home.

I find out later that our driver, Omar, was hit by a drunk driver on his way to come get us. He was okay with a few bumps and bruises and was thankful that he was is in a great big SUV or it would have been way worse. Yikes! I take back all the mean thoughts I had when he didn’t show up.

Laid around New Year’s Day – depressed and cranky to the very marrow of my bones. And then flew out Jan 2nd to LA and back to real life.

Epilogue

My Isla depression hit hard and fast and it took me a few days to get back in the groove. Usually it takes me weeks but here is why it lifted so quickly.

First, we began planning our next trip. Looks like it will be in early April. Probably for 7 – 10 days, which will seem short.
But the real reason it lifted is because we have a longer-term plan….

I commute every week for my job (right now I go from Denver to LA, but when this project is over I could end up anywhere is the US). So, Cancun is a major international airport and it occurred to me that they probably have flights to all sorts of places in the US. And that sparked the idea that perhaps there was no reason I couldn’t commute from Isla.

And so, I started looking at flights and where I could fly to non-stop in the US from Cancun and how expensive they were. Atlanta, Miami, Dallas, Houston, Denver, Chicago and LA. Hmmm, not any more expensive than flights in the US – even in high season.

Then I looked at schedules. Yep, they align with when I need to come and go.

Ok, first potential obstacle removed.

Next, housing. Lots of inquiries and googling and I am seeing possibilities. Second obstacle seems surmountable.

Third, my kid. Hmmm, that was easy. She wants to go too. And we start thinking about a plan for her. Check.

Fourth – do you suppose Mexico cares how often I come and go? Nope, they only care if I want to work or stay longer than 180 days at a time. They would be happy to have my money. Check.

And so, as I am writing this, we (Elana and I) are planning to move to the island. Everything seems to be falling into place. If they continue to do so, we should be down there at the beginning of November, staying initially for six months and seeing how it works out. I’ll continue flying back to the States for my job, coming down every couple of weeks for 3-5 days at a time.

I have that flutter in my heart that tells me I am about to undertake a big adventure and step way outside my comfort zone. And to tell the truth, I am a little bit scared. Scared that by moving there it will change the safe haven that Isla has become for me – the one place I know that I can go and let go and just be me. Scared that it won’t all come together and I will be badly disappointed. Scared because it has been a dream of mine for over a decade and what if it isn’t all that I imagined it would be?

And so I breathe, and acknowledge my fear and realize that it won’t be exactly what I have imagined but it will be what it is. And I know that whatever it ends up being, I will learn lots about myself and I will grow. And I breathe some more and let the Universe take over. It will either come to fruition or it won’t. And if it doesn’t, it’s because it isn’t meant to be right now.

And much greater than any fears I have, is the sense that I am planning my return home. That later this year, goddess willing, I will get to wake up and see the water and be out and about on the island and know that I am home. That when I am flying home from a business trip, that I will get to come home to all the wonder that Isla is for me (and for lots of us).

Life is very good and I am very blessed.


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