It’s 10:15 p.m. In exactly five hours, an airport shuttle will pull up to the house to shepherd Emiliano and me to the Portland International Airport. From there, it’s off to Mexico. Puerto Vallarta. For an Indian wedding. Of course.
My head is spinning. Per usual, I didn’t really even think about packing or preparing until a couple of hours ago, but I believe I’ve got all the basics covered. One day pack, filled with sandals and cameras and trail mix. And my little notebook of Spanish vocabulary. I’ve been practicing.
This will be a short, quick jaunt – five days exactly. It’s definitely dredging up, for me, some feelings of nostalgia for my days living in Cozumel. I feel incredibly old copping to this, but: that was nine years ago. Yikes! Of all my days and all my wanderings, my year in COZ still stands out as one of the strangest, and loneliest, and most important. I learned a lot of hard lessons that year. I drank copiously. I fell in love – exactly one-point-five times. My best friend was a stray dog named “Puppy.” I ate a lot of beans, and pizza. When people ask about my time in Mexico, I tell them it was wonderful, because it’s easier than admitting to the true fuzziness of the experience. It should have been wonderful. Instead, it was hard. And also beautiful. One of those spirit-versus-letter kinds of things.
Now I’m a mostly grown-up. Thirty-one-and-a-half big ones. A little wiser for the wear. And about to embark on my first-ever traditional Mexican getaway – resort and reservations and all. It feels odd and a little abashed, and as edgy as a soggy, two-day newspaper, to go to a Mexican all-inclusive resort. But I’m excited, still. We are going to have a mini-adventure. We will dance and drink and laugh, and then we’ll return to our adult lives on the high streets of the world.
Here’s me, in Mexico, on the Yucatan coast, all those years ago. I used to hate this photo. I thought I looked weird and fat. Now I think I just look cute and funny and oh-so-very young. I was.