Returning from vacation is always a challenging moment. Especially when you've had the opportunity to experience tropical paradise for a week. Seven days of sunshine, Gulf breezes, sandy beaches, and relaxation were difficult to leave knowing what my daily planner has in store for me this week and next.
Our resort, which had an ecological/sustainability theme running throughout, whether we were reading plaques about the flora and fauna we might see on a given day to the very fact that it was built near a centote. The centote, which is essentially a sinkhole filled with perhaps the clearest water I have ever seen, was home to little, black crocodiles, fish, turtles and other creatures. From a prior visit to this area in Mexico, I recalled that the cenotes were used in Mayan sacrifice, which became a a tool in my box when my daughter's voice evolved into a whine around 5 pm everyday. (keep it up and Mom will sacrifice you to the Mexican rain Gods.)
And if the cenote wasn't interesting enough (the resort built a walkway along it to view its inhabitants) there was a family of eight spider monkeys living in the forest surrounding the cenote. Add the monkeys to the sometimes friendly, mostly cranky iguanas, and the very bold and screeching birds and we had a week living in Animal Kingdom.
Beyond the beautiful views, neat animal sightings and amazing food, we had the privilege of experiencing exquisite service from the nicest people in the world. They could not do enough for us. My five year old was even una "Princesa Por Un Dia" (Princess for the Day) at the spa where she had a massage, manicure and pedicure as well as the "royal" treatment. Relaxing in the "relaxation room" as we watched a few monkeys jumping tree to tree in the forest, she told me it was "the best day ever." I believed it; I had a few spa treatments as well. But just seeing how genuinely elated mi princesa bonita (pretty princess for those of you not following the Spanish) was to experience everything from her pink bathrobe, to her little cup of tea to the view of the monkeys outside the relaxation room, made it "the best day ever" for me too. A nice mommy/daughter moment.
So in absolute paradise, I ushered in my 40th year without much fanfare. First of all, and backing up a few days, on my actual birthday I got crushed in my first tennis match in 21 years. Worse, I was really sick (excuses, excuses)...like 101.4 fever, tight asthmatic chest, sharp headache, sick. But that's not entirely why I lost the match (mostly, I wasn't very good). It is however, why I missed out on a fun volleyball game with my work friends and any public acknowledgement of my birthday. And to make matters worse, my daughter's school nurse called, "Anna has a bad stomach ache"...so as I tried desperately to rest and recuperate before our Saturday flight, I had "mom, mom, mom, mom..." sitting next to me on the couch all afternoon and most of the evening. Needless to say, a couple healthy doses of Nyquil and DayQuil later had me forgetting how freaked out I had previously been about turning 40. In fact, I slept through most of the day and night, and when I finally came to, I was landing in the Mexican Riviera. Crisis averted.
With the exception of a lot of very kind text messages, phone messages and Facebook messages from friends I've made over my 4 decades and my family, I escaped this birthday. If this is 40, so far it's not so bad.
For those of you who may be looking for an opportunity to travel to Mexico, which just so happens to be my favorite vacation spot, our resort was called Azul Fives. I highly recommend it. It is part of a "family" of Karisma Resorts throughout Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe.
Happy to be home and looking forward to my next tennis match this Friday. I probably play pretty well for my age.