Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fun in the sun, catching up on summer

Mexico 2008 - our belated summer

Saturday, October 11 we decided to get away somewhere so we could focus on our family and on rebuilding connections. Jordan had been thinking of this for some time, but when he posed the idea on Saturday morning the time was right. Drew's service had been the previous Friday and the week following the service was a bit of a blur. My sister and her son Lincoln were in town so we were pleasantly distracted and focused on functioning. When Nicci was getting ready to leave, we didn't really want to just head right back into the "normal" daily routines. We missed so much of the summer and when we were outside at all, the weather was brisk at best so it felt like summer had passed us by. All these factors led to the conclusion that we should take advantage of Jordan's time off work to escape somewhere. We were all too aware that we wouldn't be escaping reality, but a break from life at home would be nice.
About 2 hours after making the decision, we had a week booked in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. About 1 hour after that, we realized my passport was expired. Groan. It had expired August 2, 2008 - ironically that's Drew's birthday as well. In the craziness of the last couple months, somehow that was the last thing on my mind. We called as many places as we could think of to see if we could still go, but who's open Saturday??? The airline said to give it a try, but to be ready for either answer at the airport. We quickly packed our bags and Sunday morning at 5:00 a.m. we were at the airport ready to go but trying not to get our hopes up.
We passed all the necessary checkpoints, and the one time my passport was questioned they readily accepted the reason, but urged me to renew it as soon as I stepped foot back into Canada.
When we got to Mexico, the immigration officer wasn't too sure what to do about the situation so he went in search of his supervisor. The supervisor came over, took one look at me, groaned, laughed and then said no problem. I would have loved to know the thought that was going through his head at that moment!
Mexico was wonderful - it was the break we needed. The weather was so warm and comforting. The heat enveloped us in such a relaxing way, and the resort we were at was all-inclusive so we didn't have to make any decisions about food or where to go for recreation (we have made so many difficult decisions over the last couple months that I shirk away from the simplest decisions right now!). We swam, built sand-castles, read, sat in the sun, and thoroughly enjoyed each other's company. Jordan and I had spent so much time away from each other and from Peyton this summer that it was good to be able to be together with no distractions.
There were many moments where we noticed the gaping hole in our family, but there were also many moments of quiet reflection, peaceful silence and joyful excitement over the gifts God still provides.

Jordan took this picture below - he has a great eye for art.

Both pictures above and below were views from our room.

I am so thankful for a 3 and 1/2 year old! He keeps me from getting too serious.

We could really get used to eating outside all the time!

Peyton was so curious about the coconuts all week. On the last day we were there they had a big beach party with coconut drinks, a beach buffet, and dancing. He wasn't too keen on the coconut milk!

If you ask Peyton what he thought of the week, he would tell you that his highlights were painting ceramics, swimming, and seeing lizards. He is thriving on having Mommy and Daddy around consistently, and has learned more in the last month than it seemed he learned all summer!

It alternated between extreme humidity and rain all day the day we walked to Playa del Carmen downtown. It was nice and warm (you could never enjoy a rainstorm like that in Calgary!), but I should have known better when fixing my hair that morning! I forgot what humidity was like!
Peyton was ready to take the big brown lizard home. I wouldn't mind, but I'm not too sure about the lizard diet!

He liked the lizards better than the monkeys - he didn't know what to think of the monkeys climbing on his head. I wasn't too sure what to think either!

My handsome husband... the beach suited him well, as did the sunburn - I mean suntan!

And finally, here's one of my favorite pictures.

On Saturday the 18th we left leisurely mid-morning, anticipating our arrival back home in Calgary that evening, refreshed and as ready as we could be to resume our lives. We were early leaving and the trip to the airport went so smoothly that we were sitting at the gate waiting for the plane for over an hour. Our plans for the day seemed to be moving well... but we should know by now that plans should only ever be drawn up with pencil. The comedy of errors started at that point.
After sitting on the plane for an hour on the tarmac, the pilot finally came on and said we were having mechanical difficulties - the flaps weren't working. Minor detail... uh? We taxied, sat, taxied, and sat a couple more times before we finally departed (in the same plane!) 4 hours after boarding. About an hour into our 3 hour flight we missed our connecting flight. When we arrived in Denver we learned we would have to leave Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m. instead. I should maybe say we were disappointed, but my sister lives in Denver and any opportunity to spend time with her is a good one. We spent the night catching up and arrived bright-eyed and ready to go early Sunday morning.
Once again my passport passed all the checkpoints and we made it to the gate in the nick of time. When we went to board the plane they wouldn't let me on the plane! What?!?! Peyton and Jordan would be allowed to fly, but due to my expired passport I would have to stay behind. We were a little suprised to say the least! Immigration had no problem with my passport and the supporting documentation I had, but the airline was not willing to take the chance of letting me go in case Immigration in Canada had a problem with it on the other end and fined the airline. My coping mechanisms still weren't working very well, so I'm afraid I was a basketcase at first. The poor gentleman working with us was our age and single - I don't think he knew what to do with this crying lady! I tried to pull myself together while he and Jordan worked out the details of the situation, as we had now missed the flight. Jordan would return on Sunday and Peyton and I would stay until I could get my passport renewed. When all was said and done the airline offered to provide hotel vouchers until I could leave, meal vouchers, first class tickets for all three of us, and coupons for future flights. The best part of the deal was that I would be able to stay with my sister for a bit longer.
I would love to say that's where the craziness ended, but no. On the way home from the airport that afternoon with my brother-in-law and sister their car ran out of gas. Then the next morning when we left to go to the passport appointment, I forgot my wallet with all the extra ID I had and my cash to pay for the passport. Fortunately I had my passport holder with the necessities and just enough cash in it to pay for the passport and the documentation I had stuffed into the holder with my passport proved to be enough (or else the lady helping me felt sorry enough to call it good). An hour later I had a new passport! That has to be the quickest way to get a passport.
Peyton and I were on our way to Calgary by 6:00 p.m. and were so glad when the plane touched down at 8:30 that night. What a trip! We felt so blessed to be able to spend that time together. Mexico refreshed us, Denver reminded us how to laugh, and Calgary was comfortingly familiar. It amazes me again and again how you can feel so different one minute to the next, but I am so thankful that life has both downs and ups.


erinlo said...

I still think those Mexican officials let you in because you're a babe!!!

Love you guys and praying often.

Anonymous said...

Wow!! You guys certainly know how to make trips more adventurous than normal!! Great pictures of Mexico, and wonderful to see some smiles on those faces!

See "y'all" Friday.


PS - I think you're a "babe" too. No not you Jordan?!

Svetlana said...

I just love the way you describe things, Kari! Sounds like it was one great trip!:)Awesome photos and great to see you guys relaxed and having a wonderful time together!
Thinking about you often.


dorinda said...

We so did enjoy being able to spend a little time with you this past week. Thank you again for sharing with us! You've inspired many, many! Now we need to follow through! Your family continues to be in our thoughts and prayers as does Drew and the looking forward to seeing him with Jesus! How awesome that will be! And last but not least....sardines! I'm ready! :)
Our love,

Richard said...

Glad you guys had a good time. And it's amazing that no matter how well planned out your trip is, something always comes up. You guys seemed to deal with it quite well.

John, Angie and the kiddos said...

Hey. We're thrilled you guys were able to get away despite all the annoying passport stuff. We're back in Calgary Dec. 3 until the 8th. We'd love to grab breakfast or coffee or whatever.

Love you.

John and Ang

Anonymous said...

Hey you! great blog addition :) I laughed with the visual of the Mexican customs fellow! Mike and I just returned from Playa on the 9th of November, it was wonderful there. I'm so glad that you all decided to take in a little beach time. keep writing.

Maria said...

Hi Kari/Jordan
How are you doing? I've been thinking alot about you. I have left the hospital, I am now working at Britt Land Services. My email address here is Hope this finds you doing well, my thoughts and prayer are with you all.