Back to Reality.

There’s certainly a lot I need to catch up on!

In regards to Mexico:

We began our journey on Sunday, December 31st with a drive down to St. Louis in the form of a caravan.  But only after everyone was stressed out to the max and we had to stop to make sure we had all our passports.

The gang right before we left
We stayed the night at a hotel and ate at Denny’s that night, where we encountered the slowest service possible at a restaurant.
Monday morning, rise and shine, gotta leave at 5:30 am for our 8:00 am flight! 
Nobody got a good nights’ sleep.
My suitcase is over 50 pounds.
Take some pictures in the airport.
Play some Catch-Phrase.
Boarding at last!
3 hour flight,
Watch some Dark Knight Rises,
Gotta use the bathroom,
Why does everyone have to pee at the same time?!
Guess I’ll wait until we land.
I did not dress for the weather…
Check in.
Stamp my passport.
Need to get on a bus to our resort…
Get sidetracked…
“Hola, Señores, come check out our excursions!”
“No, we really have to go, sorry!”
“Look at this great deal we can give you!”
“No, really, we have a bus to catch…”
Unwillingly look at some brochures.
Try to be polite but direct.
Thanks, but no thanks.
Get on the bus.
Sing the Spanish alphabet over the bus’s microphone.
Total Spanish pros.
Really, really tired.
We’re in Paradise.
We ate our first all-you-can-eat buffet meal that day.  We checked in to our rooms.  We explored and went to the beach and pool for awhile, both of which are absolutely GORGEOUS.  We got all fancy…New Years’ Eve!  Ate some dinner.  Found the Teen Disco.  The girls danced around there for awhile to some obscure techno-ish music…by ourselves.  There was nobody there.  Checked out the adult club.  The younger ones got kicked out. McCade wasn’t feeling well, so he and Kim stayed in the room. Meryl, my mom, me, Kourt, Kyleigh, and Tyler sat around outside for awhile until we saw one of the workers and asked where the New Year’s party was.  He directed us to the golf course, so we went and sat at a table.  There was a big DJ stand and a dance platform set up, but only some weird jazz music was playing.  To entertain ourselves, we set our eyes on a younger girl in a mint-green dress and watched her sway back and forth on the dance floor by herself.  Maybe sway wasn’t the right word.  It was more like spazzing out.  We took to imitating her “dance moves,” and every time we saw her at the resort later in the week, we couldn’t contain ourselves from laughing.
Meryl and I made our way to the bathroom in the club after awhile, and the next thing you knew, we were out on the dance floor dancing to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Can’t get crazier than that…But then we headed back to the golf course to be with everyone else.
Finally, some good dance music started playing, so we hit the dance floor and went crazy.  But not as crazy as mint green dress girl.  It was a blast!  Except the DJ failed to recognize the countdown for the new year until about 12:05, which is when he stopped the music and as a collective group, we counted from 10 down to 1 and yelled “Happy New Year!”
After that, all the lights that illuminated the golf course disappeared and fireworks lit up the sky while “Chariots of Fire” played in the background, giving me awful memories of my 7th grade Language Arts class with Ms. Ryan when she played that song daily during our Greek Unit.  They threw out long, skinny balloons that we danced around with too.  It was crazy and fun and AMAZING!!  What a way to ring in the New Year!  Happy 2013!!  



Tuesday and Wednesday and Friday were spent at the beach and the pool, just chilling and relaxing and tanning and reading and playing sand volleyball and getting sand EVERYWHERE.  We played some catch in the pool, and even took a water aerobics class from one of the entertainment people (his name was Paul, he was 19, and we became besties with him).
On Thursday, my family went on an excursion to zipline, repel off a 70 ft. tower, and swim in an underground cave called a cenote.  It was incredible.  We had to get up at the butt crack of dawn so our tour guide, who can only be compared to a Mexican hippie for the number of times he preached about the importance of a good environment and getting along and all that jazz, could pick us up in a van.  We were in a group with some British people too (who definitely used the word, “rubbish”).  First, we snorkeled in the underground cave.  It was so cool.  The water was so clear that it didn’t seem like we were even in the water.  Apparently there are at least 800 (or maybe it was 8,000…what’s a zero anyway?) of these caves, and they are all connected.  We then repelled off the tower.  We climbed up the stairs of doom and got all strapped and roped in and then…we lowered ourselves to the ground like pros.  It was pretty neat, despite the rope burn on our hands through our gloves.  Ziplining was last.  We got to do 3 different lines, equaling over a mile zipping over the Mexican wilderness.  It was pretty awesome.  We were pretty exhausted after that, but such a blast!
At nights, we all got all dressed up to go to dinner together.  We went to a Japanese restaurant one night, and an Italian one, and a steak one.  At the Japanese one, we sat next to an older Mexican couple who didn’t speak English, so I tried my hand at conversing with them.  It actually surprised me how well I was able to understand them and talk to them!  It was a fun experience.
After dinner one night, we played some group Catch-Phrase.  Another night we went and saw the show the people at the resort put on.  It was neat because it was a bunch of dancing to movie-themed music, like Austin Powers, Rocky, and even a really ridiculous version of Titanic’s “My Heart Will Go On.”  That same night, we made our way to the Melody Bar at our resort for karaoke night!!  All the kids stood up and sang (very poorly) our rendition of Barbie Girl.  Kourtney and I were going to sing again, but unfortunately they said we couldn’t do any more songs. Until…
The next night, we attended the show again.  This time it was like a game show, called, “The Perfect Couple” or “La Pareja Ideal.”  3 couples from the audience participated and we got to watch them re-enact their first kiss, do their version of the famous dance from Dirty Dancing, and pop some balloons in some compromising positions.  It was pretty funny, but also inappropriate. 
When the show was over, we had assumed we’d go back to our room or something.  After all, my family was leaving the next day and we still had a lot of packing to do!  But, lo and behold, the karaoke gods were smiling upon us, and the announcer told us that they’d be doing karaoke again…on the big stage!  Kourt and I looked at each other, but couldn’t make up our minds about whether or not we wanted to participate.  But we did.  We got up on that stage and “sang” the Spice Girls’ “Wannabe” like it was our job.  We tried to make a performance out of it to distract everyone from our awful singing, but it was so much fun!  We got some cheers and claps, and before we knew it, we were back on stage with the rest of the kids, and Paul from the resort, singing, “Don’t Stop Believing.”  It was a great way to end the night.  
We got home late Saturday night, where laundry began immediately so I didn’t have to take dirty clothes back to school. (Thanks, mom and dad!)
I left for school around 3:15 on Sunday.  I started crying a little.  It’s not that I didn’t want to come back to school; it was just that I didn’t want to leave my family.  Even as I sit here, I feel more homesick than I felt all first semester.  I don’t even know why!  I’m a mess!
Pictures (in no particular order):
Midnight at the beach



The ocean! Or maybe it’s the sea…


The group






The kids


The fam


The fam (again)


A real-life Mariachi band!


Awkward family photo


Pyramid at the airport!


The gang again.




Underwater camera



Teen disco


In regards to school:
It was so nice to see everyone back at school again and catch up.  It took me forever to unpack everything.  I have no idea how I’m getting all this crap home for the summer…
I met my new roomie, and she’s pretty cool!  So far, so good!
I’ve been to all my classes by now.  I like my professors (so far), and we’ll see how the classes themselves go.  The good news is that I don’t have classes at all on Thursdays! Yayyy!  Unfortunately, that means I have 5 on Mondays… but I think it’ll be worth it.
In regards to the research project I told you about awhile ago:
Through my DeVito class, I get to work with a professor to work on a project.  My professor, Dr. Servaty-Seib, does work with grief and how it affects people, so I get to work with her and a graduate student to read through narratives of college students and grief and help organize them for a book prospectus!  I’m so excited for it because that type of thing is right up my alley.  (For those of you who didn’t know, I was thisssss close to majoring in English in order to be an editor…I’m glad I decided not to, even though I still enjoy that type of thing!)  We’ll see how it develops!
In regards to a new opportunity:
I joined the Life Guides at St. Toms, the church I go to.  I get to teach Sunday School to 5th graders every Sunday at 10:30!  Yayyy!
Hope everyone is enjoying the New Year and what it’s had to offer so far!


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