Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Stepping off the airplane on Saturday evening, feeling the one-digit temperatures pierce through my not-thick enough long-sleeve t-shirt, the reality that we were not in paradise anymore was like a snowball to the face. With each step away from the plane, I felt as if I was drrrrraaaaggging my feet- avoiding the impending return into the “real world” that exists outside of being on vacation. Fighting with all my might, I wasn’t in our home for more than 5 minutes before the to-do list and memory of all the things that need to get done before the holidays, flooded into my brain and washed away the “not a care in the world” attitude that developed while in Puerto Rico. It’s in those moments when “regular” life requirements come crashing in, that I am reminded of how extremely thankful I am, for the opportunity to take a hiatus.  Taking a break from the routine, setting aside the daily demands, concerns, and worries to soak up a little sun, jump in the ocean for hours on end, and experience an unfamiliar place- is like a breath of fresh air.

Being in Puerto Rico for a week with my husband and our two friends was the perfect escape, a huge blessing that apparently was just what I needed. It’s funny how easy it is to fall into the “take a break and leave it all behind” mindset when you’re in a completely new place. I mean really, there’s no time to think about all that needs to be done at home when you are spending hours upon hours in the ocean, going on expeditions to explore the El Yunque Rainforest, ATVing around the foothills, and wandering the streets of Old San Juan overwhelmed by the sight and history of the two forts that surround the city and loom over the ocean. And besides that we basically ate our way through Isla Verde and Old San Juan, filling our guts with quite a bit of Churrasco (skirt steak), mofongo (stuffed plantains- which I must be honest, was not so much my thing), rice and beans, all things guava, a delicious breakfast sandwich called mallorca (ham, eggs, and cheese on yummy sweet bread), and maybe one or two Coco Locos (a mighty delicious cocktail sipped from a coconut)… oh and maybe a few Medallas (local Puerto Rican beer) too. Let me tell you, it was pretty great.

Left: Building in Old San Juan Right: Yokahu Tower in El Yunque Rainforest
Exploring the Castillo San Cristobal.  One of the forts in Old San Juan.
Isla Verde Beach sunset from the Water and Beach Club hotel
Looking outside my window at the blanket of snow that is oh so cold, but sparkling in the sun, I can’t believe it was a mere 4 days ago that my toes were outside of my socks and slippers and I was walking on the beach taking my last jumps and body surfs in the ocean. I am so so thankful for this little vacation that we were blessed to take. And I’m so thankful for the sweet couple, friends whom we love mucho, Julie and Shaun who made each moment (even in the ones where the rain was coming down so hard we were watching cars stall in the flooded street) a fun and joy-filled memory.

Going on vacation and setting aside the routine is such a blessing. I’m still dragging my feet, not wanting to say Adios to the vacation feelings of freedom. But at the same time, I want this love for hiatus and the feelings that come with it, to fuel a new attitude. My hope is that even though I am back in the routine, I might learn to take necessary breaks, to throw caution to the wind, and to explore the beautiful world that the Lord has placed right in front of me.  Vacation mentality while at home? Sign me up! I can't wait to find some freedom and joy in the busy, crazy world in front of me.

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