Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Tale of Two Vacations

We went to Mexico for ten days.

It was over all AmazeBalls.

Jeremy, Hayden, Zeni and I flew into Cancun and drove West to spend two nights in Piste, just outside of the Ruins of Chichen Itza.  Jeremy loves piles of rocks.  The older the better.  He also loves museums.  He reads every plack that has ever been placed ANYwhere.  True story.  I am just as happy looking at a replica.  I would rather lie down in the jungle and stare up at the sky and wonder if I am hearing what the Mayans heard, then scour every inch of the ruins to make sure I get to see the entire complex.  Last time I was in Paris I decided to forgo the Louvre and use the money for a bottle of wine and a bench on the Seine.  We are, how do you say?  Different.  Not the same.  When it comes to old things.

That said, we all enjoyed the ruins together for a good 90 minutes before I took the kids back to the hotel for helados and a swim in la piscina.  Jeremy toured the entire complex and came back in time to eat dinner with us at a taco stand down the street.  Win, win, win win.

From Piste we drove to Akumal, a oceanfront town about 100 kilometers south of Cancun.  We spent an amazing week at a beautiful house on a saltwater lagoon with wonderful friends.  We swam, we snorkeled, we swatted mosquitos and spotted inaguas and toucans.  It was fantastico but, just like anything in life, if you knew only of the trip through a few pictures on Facebook, you would be missing much of the story.  So here are some pictures, and some *true* stories:



Oh look.  Two well behaved children, quietly coloring while waiting for their flight.  
Truth: two children who did what you see here for about 3 minutes before they decided to see who could hurl his or her backpack furthest across the pedestrian walkway.  Did I mention the backpacks were not zipped up?








Here is Hayden reading serenely in bed at the hotel in Piste.  How lovely to all share a hotel room all together - some real family bonding time.
Truth:  two children and two adults in small hotel room for three days = two adults so frustrated with the children's propensity to spring from one bed to the other that, when one child tries in the middle of the night and lands on the concrete floor neither adult opens and eye or stirs a cover.  They just mumble that cracking one's head open is an almost guaranteed side effect of general dumbassery and go back to sleep.




Ahh, breakfast at an outdoor cafe in Piste.

Truth: Instant coffee with powdered milk doesn't cure a caffeine withdrawal headache, and my children are the pickiest eaters in the world.  When their plates arrived with two seaming piles of pancakes there was no "oohing" and "aahing", only complaints.  "This isn't maple syrup!  This is honey!"  (Yes, it is.  And it was harvested this morning and is amazing).  "My butter isn't the right color".  "My juice has bits in it".    Yes.  Well.  Good morning.


Chichen Itza is amazing.  My kids were grateful to get to spend the day here absorbing the history and learning about the Mayan culture.  As soon as we got home they began to work with recycled hemp to create a to-scale replica of the ruins, and are co-authoring a book on the experience.                                                                                                       Truth:  They did think it was cool.  Until it got hot, about 7 minutes into the visit.  Given water and candy they were able to stave off the urge to complain until we got to see the place where Mayans pulled still-beating hearts out of sacrificial victims and offered them up to the sky.  After that they began to scream and run around, trying to tear out the heart of their sibling.  Once that got old they asked "Oohhhh can I have it" EVERY TIME we passed a souvenir vendor, which we did every ten feet or so.  Awh mah gawd, they are LOUD!

(These two shots are just to remind me that it was in fact an amazing vacation, that I am being very sarcastic and ungrateful, that I love my family and friends, that would do it again in a heartbeat, and that I feel nothing but excitement and confidence when I think about spending a month in Ethiopia with the kids this summer. )




Our rental house was beautiful, and spacious.   We were spoiled.  The living area had this huge peach couch and the living room walls retracted so that the house opened up onto a huge covered porch and beautiful swimming pool.

All true.

Not pictured here:  The fleas that infested the couch, the dog that bit a kid, and the for some reason incredibly annoying game that the kids invented which involved dumping every snorkel, mask and flipper they could get their hands on into the pool and then yelling at each other to jump in get them.*

Also not pictured here:  the hours spent by the pool drinking and laughing and soaking up the mexican sun.

*additionally:  the gate that Stacey had to snake her body through when locked out of the compound upon arrival and the tree that tipped over and onto the hammock almost always but somehow miraculously NOT occupied by a child at the time of the fall.


How many screens does it take to keep seven kids occupied on two flights for 8 hours?

Truth:  Seven.  Well, six if you don't give one to the baby.  And only until the batteries die. More truth:  this is NOT a complaint.  I finished an amazing book on the plane (Sharma SheildsThe Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac.  I highly recommend it.  Thank you to Mrs. Sheilds for the book and Mr. Jobs for the ipads.)
One last bit of truth and hope:  may these six always be there for each other.  May they grow up to always have each other's backs, even when they don't particularly like spending time together.  May they know the gift which is lifelong friendship, and may our two families continue to adventure and explore the world together for decades to come.