A week or so ago I wrote about going on vacation with my family. I ranted about carry-ons and shopping sprees. The need to break away from the daily grind is essential. But it doesn't have to be a Caribbean vacation, it can be as easy as a few hours out of your norm .You need to understand that vacation is so much more a state of mind then an actual location. This is something I just learned.
We woke the kids up at 3:00AM to make our flight to Montego Bay at JFK. We were traveling with my husbands family. Some could call this a recipe for disaster and believe me, I had my worries. We pulled up to JFK, my husband dropped me and the girls at the door and headed to park our mini-van in short-term parking. We met up with the rest of our fellow family travelers and you could just see it in everyone's face that a layer of the daily grind had already lifted. My family sat together and my in-laws were lucky enough to have an extra seat in each of their rows. The kids bopped around the plane like they owned it. When we landed to the 80 degree weather we grabbed our bags and jumped in our guided bus ride to our hotel. The bus driver was incredible, entertaining us with fun facts about the country. I had no idea that Jamaican children go to school in either a morning or afternoon session. Can you imagine the kids being home every day by noon? After my weekend, I could.
We arrived to our hotel, which was enclosed by giant gates. At first sight I must say they did intimidate me. What did I just get our family into? What were they keeping out? I had heard about not traveling outside of the resort, but these were some serious gates!
Once there we were greeted by the most friendly people I have EVER encountered. In fact - I have a friend Mary Sunshine, she is probably one of the most happiest, friendly people I know - she would be put to shame by these people. Their smiles were radiant and yet another layer of the grind melted away. We got settled and walked down to the pool and beach area. Instantly my children were invited to a kids club. We had discussed this prior to our trip, if they wanted to go they could, but we were their for a family vacation and wanted to spend as much time together as possible. The girls showed no interest and ran directly into the turquoise water. We all did.
The next few days were the best. I found out early that there would be no phone, no computer, no communication with the outside world. The very intelligent people at AT&T shot me a text explaining that I did not have international roaming. Bill was already $450.00 and we had only made one call. The phone was off. There was Internet availability in the lobby, for a mere $25.00 for three minutes. It was almost like the Jamaican Gods were going to make sure I was completely engulfed in what I really wanted which was a complete connect with my family. Blogs, emails, and FaceBook updates we out of the question.
So instead we (I) did do - endless swimming in the ocean, more so then the pool, we drank blue drinks with and without rum. We played water football, taught the kids billiards, table tennis and had water chicken fights. We snorkeled, had an actual professional photo shoot on the beach and ate Jerk Chicken. We did morning water aerobics, and ALL got corn rows. We watched Grandpa Mike and Uncle Mark para sail right over us. We collected shells and swam right next to the most colorful fish. We almost were spooked by a crab. We watched shows on the beach and even danced on stage to Cupid Shuffle in the disco to a packed crowd. We laughed til our stomachs ached and at each other getting out of their comfort zone to soak in the fun we were having.
We had a late flight and knew we were going to spend the day at the beach, in the water that was like a giant ocean of chill pill. We showed respect to our new Jamaican friends and realized that there really is NO PROBLEM MON! The day ended, we got back on our guided bus. It was a little after five in the evening and we drove through town. I saw where some of these people live. I actually realized how fortunate we are. These people with NO PROBLEM lived very different then me.
We got to the airport with notice of over four hour delays. The weather all up the east coast was going to push our arrival back to 4:00AM. There were no tears, no one was affected. We were happy to get to spend just a little more time together. We camped out like you see on the news. We made friends with people on our flight. We bumped into someone that my husband works with. The state of mind continued.
We collected our belongings and walked out of JFK to get back into the mini. The kids passed out. We drove home and made a decision to do it again - to get away, might not be to Jamaica, but to the NO PROBLEM MON attitude.