We just got back from a lovely trip.
Caribbean cruise. A Caribbean cruise.
And yesterday, it snowed here.
I can’t stop thinking about palm trees and blue ocean and every kind of mocktail under the sun.
Oh, the sun.
That’s right – thanks to my dad’s super-generous Christmas gift to his family we packed up our two older kids and joined 10 other family members, hopped a plane to Houston, and spent 7 days seeing three countries, swimming in the ocean, and stuffing our faces with food better than any I’ve had in my entire life.
It was amazing. I didn’t have to cook dinner or make my own bed for a whole week. And judging by the looks of my house right now, I have obviously not yet recovered.
So I’ll be reminiscing today. But I want you to come away with some practical tips as well, because that’s how I try to run this blog. A little laughter, a little fun, and a little bit of sorta-kinda-decent advice from someone who learns everything the hard way.
|Cozumel, Mexico port.|
|The whole fam-damily (minus Dad, who was the photog) |
with me, Aaron, and Big E and Sis top left.
|Iguana mania in Honduras.|
|Drinking from a for-real coconut.|
|Cotton candy on the beach. |
The South American flavor didn't bother her one bit.
|Riding on the tender boat to Belize.|
|Mayan ruins (Altun Ha) in Belize.|
Ok, so now that you’ve seen a little of the awesomeness that is the western
Caribbean, here’s your tips.
10 Things You’ll Be Glad You Took On Your
1. Sunglasses – when you’ve been living on the frozen tundra withan average of only 9 hours of daylight for most of the winter, the sun is bright. Really bright.
2. Five bottles of sunscreen – ok, we didn’t quite go through five, but seriously. When you are as beautifully pale as I am (not to mention my even lighter oldest son), burn is the only thing you know about the sun. And I’ve mentionedbefore what a hypochondriac I am, so talking about my fear of death by skin cancer is pretty unnecessary.
3. Extra swimsuits – one of them is always wet and it’s nice to have a dry one to alternate with. And, if you’re like my dear hubunk, climbing into precarious motor boats may just tear your trunks from crotch to knee and leave you a bit… exposed.
4. Random medications – because sometimes people get pinkeye the first day of a vacation.
5. Your own snacks and water – I don’t care what you have to do to fit them into your checked luggage, you will never regret that you had fruit snacks and bottled water for yourself (and for the kids who have meltdowns over such things), especially when a hamburger and fries is at least $10 in American cash.
6. Cash in small bills – you won’t find anyone on an island with change for an American $100 bill, my friends.
7. Someone who likes to hang out with you – because even if you have a group of 14 people like we did, you need a special buddy who will wonder where you went when you get lost from the rest of the group.
8. Lots of underwear – Changing from swimwear to clothing and back all day is confusing. For some reason, no one can remember which underwear is clean and which ones aren’t.
9. A good camera and video camera – Aaron tried to talk me out of bringing my big camera. I told him, “Yeah, right!” What kind of photographer doesn’t take her bulky camera and bulky camera accessories to all the beaches to get covered in sand and cloud up because of the humidity? I didn’t regret it for a minute. And the videos Aaron got are priceless.
10. Your inner party animal – cruise ships are made for fun-lovers. Granted, many cruises are full of the fun-loving elderly. But you will have endless amounts of fun if you can karaoke anything from the 50's and 60's, I’ll tell you what.
5 Things You Might REGRET Taking on Your
1. Your small children – there are kid centers on cruise ships. There are fun things to do. They have their choice of foods and entertainment practically every day. But nothing can keep them from having their typical hungry/tired/bored meltdowns at the most inconvenient times, in the most inconvenient places (such as crowded tourist areas where they shlump to the ground proclaiming their legs hurt and they can’t walk, or on the floor of the fancy dining room on the fanciest night, or on board airplanes where they pee their pants just before you land at a busy airport where you have to walk a mile to find your luggage and fresh clothing). I was grateful every day we left the 2-year-old at home.
2. Your electronics – Wifi costs too much wherever you go and unless you have international cell service, you’re not calling anybody. So why bother? Oh, that’s right… we’re all addicted.
3. A large group – maybe my dad feels differently about this, because it really was so fun to all be together. But holy moly getting everyone on the same page and gathered up every time we went somewhere was not an easy task. I was usually the crazy-lady straggling 10 yards behind the others with the 3-year-old who “couldn’t walk.”
4. Your fear of enclosed spaces, open ocean, germs, wild drivers, and strangers – You will live for a week in a tiny room sans windows, without being able to see land, surrounded by thousands of people with questionable hygiene, be driven around on South American roads by South American drivers, and not know anyone except the people with whom you travel.
5. Only a 7-day cruise – You will not want to go home. The only thing dragging me back was the sweet little boy who had spent the whole week in the homes of relatives wondering what “trip” we could all be on without him. Did you know there are 6 month cruises that go all over the world??? Yeah. Do that.
Someday we’ll vacation again… someday. But for now, we’re easing back into real life (it sucks) with homemade mocktails and pretending the snow will be gone again soon and sleeping all together in the same bedroom every night (still adjusting to normal sleep schedules again).
I can’t wait for someday to come.