Aaaaand we’re back! Six days of sun and sand sure do make me feel good. And by “good” I mean sunburned, hungover and so relaxed I’m almost comatose.
But HEY NOW. Lest you think that the past week was nothing but fun and games and shots of Costco bourbon (it was) I also learned a lot. That’s right, I used my vacation to get edumacated. And here’s what I learned myself:
1. USA! OMG! You have entire malls inside of grocery stores! The first grocery store we went to was 24 hours. Like, open all day and night forever thank you god amen. You know what we do in Canada when it’s 11:30 and we are craving cheese whiz? Pay triple the price for a half-sized jar at 7-11! And in the one-in-a-million chance you are craving someone that 7-11 doesn’t carry (like, I don’t know, fine cheeses or vegetables or things that don’t cost eight times their regular cost just because you’re buying them after 9pm)? You’re screwed. But not in AMURICA! In America you can go to the grocery any time of day or night, AND buy liquour AND do your banking! That’s three different stops here in Canada, THREE. When we realized what the hell was going on, Adam and I were drunk with possibilities (and vodka. purchased at the grocery store. at midnight) Just imagine! One could go, deposit ones paycheque then promptly blow it all on food for a fancy dinner party (read: salsa con queso and burritos) and top shelf booze (read: the cheap stuff found out of arms reach) without even setting foot outdoors! USA!USA!
2. Leatherface. Oh sweet jesus people GET OUT OF THE SUN. We saw a couple who were on the beach every single day, all day, for the entire six days we were there. They were Caucasian but I think the colour that would accurately describe their skin tone would be maroon. Or possibly teak. They looked around 60, so they were probably 40. Observing them in awe on day two as as we cowered beneath our beach umbrella, lily-white skin audibly blistering Adam mused “I wonder what their skin looks like underneath the swimsuits” and, yes! can you imagine? It would be like your nethers were aging at a rate twenty years behind the rest of your body! Smooth, supple, unfreckled skin beneath the layer of lycra, coarse, leathery wrinkled skin beyond it. Unfathomable.
3. Shave Ice. Not ShaveD ice, Shave Ice. This missing ‘d’ didn’t bother me as much as it should because this was the most amazing invention known to man. I was trying to figure out how to describe this to anyone living in a Shave-Ice-less backwater hell and Adam suggested it was like a snow cone. Guys, I almost spat in his face. A snow cone? NO. Shave Ice has a soft, fluffy, smooth texture. Shave Ice is a delicate flower, classy and refined. A snow cones is Shave Ice’s degenerate cousin, hardened from rough nights and hard living. Shave Ice saved my life as I wilted while waiting in line, the two woman working the Shave Ice booth looked visibly alarmed and kept handing me cold towels as my face got increasingly red (I may have also been flinging my hand to my forehead and exclaiming ‘“Mah nerves!” and “Ah do declare!”). Shave Ice saved me, I got a mix of Grape, Pina Colada and Watermelon and my life is now complete.
4. I think I developed an ulcer? Maybe? Maybe it’s just indigestion? Or hunger? I first noticed it on day 4, but I attributed it to the aspirin I had taken earlier to combat the effects of a particularly nasty and uneven sunburn. It’s an achy, crampy, hollow feeling in my gut that comes and goes. I’ve had it on and off since that day and I have no idea what it is. I am resisting looking it up online because by now I know that googling medical symptoms is just a gateway drug to becoming a hypochondriac. One time I had a strange blue vein on the inside of my lower lip, I didn’t even notice it until Adam pointed it out and then it bothered me for days until I googled it and realized I had JAW CANCER and spent hours crying and looking at pictures of people without jaws (who looked beautiful and courageous and had far more dignity than I could ever hope to possess given the same situation, by the way) and realizing I would have to buy stock in a turtleneck manufacturer. Then I forgot about it and when I remember to check again for signs of impending jaw amputation it had disappeared. Internets I will never have those 7 hours of my life back. NEVER.
5. My dog is adorable. Seriously. We missed this jerk like crazy and I’ve never seen such a happy bouncy whirlwind as the day we walked in the door. I don’t even mind his farts anymore, they smell like home. (I may have also forgotten about his pork allergy AGAIN and accidentally fed him bacon, so they probably smell like impending bouts of diarrhea, too.)
6. Nothing changed while I was gone. It’s the weirdest feeling when you arrive back from vacation and you have experienced so much and been in a whole different city, looking at a whole different view and then you come back and it’s like you never left. In a good way. But also a bad way, because last week I was swimming in the ocean and this week I’m holed up in the man cave typing this as I sit next to two empty beer bottles and a cup full of chicken bones (I don’t know, I’m too jet-lagged to ask.)
7. Alright one small, but kind of huge thing changed while I was gone. After one of the teens I worked with died a few weeks ago I tried to track down a handful of kids that I would classify as high-risk. I contacted them the best I could, given their transient status and I touched base and offered support and expressed a desire to see them. While I was away, one came in looking for me and then asked to go back to treatment, she’s been using meth on and off since she was 13, had been clean for over a year and recently relapsed but, guys, she’s going back! She’s getting help! My boss texted me while I was away, I received it a few hours after I stepped off the plane and I couldn’t have written a better ending to my week if I tried. You can’t win them all, but the ones you do give you the strength to keep trying.