There have been so many events, big ones and little on the second half of 2018, that have made me REALLY want to write, and for different reasons I never did. I have lost the details of those memories, and I don’t have the discipline to carry a note pad – like my sister in this day and age still does– or record my main ideas on my phone. I will try to write about those that I remember most.
In August 30th 2018 my husband and I celebrated our 15th Anniversary . We took a trip to Alaska by Cruise to mark this date. Years ago we promised to take a trip every year by ourselves (no kids), we really haven’t; many years it was just impossible with the kids being so young, or we just couldn’t afford it.
But on the summer of 2018 I had my intentions set on doing something. I told my husband..let’s go somewhere, anywhere, a weekend in San Diego, Baja California, the mountains, Carmel. I was game for ANYTHING, as long as it meant taking a break from our routine. So he suggested Alaska, and within days we had something booked.
I had expected to be going in a cruise for seniors, where all activities where planned around this age group – anything from the pace of activities to the type of food and tours available on the ports of call. I really thought we would feel a bit “off” on the ship, but to my surprise we didn’t.
Having traveled before to several cruises in the Caribbean , I could definitely see the difference in the type of crowd that was on board. Alaska is not a cruise for everybody- for sure. It was a more of a laid back, relaxing and enjoyable trip. Surprisingly there were a lot of families with kids, a lot of couples on their 40s and 50s and yes, a ton of seniors; the type that have nothing to do except figure out their next trip, back to back sometimes.
We experienced the “random group seating” during some dinners, and met very interesting and pleasant people- mostly European. I felt so relaxed and idle , that I found it sometimes overwhelming so have so much free time. We took some adventurous and fun tours on jeep, canoe and bike, at the ports of call like Ketchikan and Juneau. The landscape was just picture perfect and the glaciers were beautiful in their own way. It felt strange at first to walk the promenade on the ship wearing jackets and swimming at an indoor pool because outside it was 40 – 50 F degrees. The outside pools were heated (mildy) anyway so I did dare myself to swim outside one day in 50F degree weather. It was…very refreshing! My skin felt incredible tight and almost numb, but I liked it. They say it’s good for you anyway.
Neither of us had ever been to Alaska. What a beautiful State! The feeling of being so far and yet standing in US Territory felt welcoming in a way. Same language, same currency, and yet, the culture different there: more native and community-like.
One of the ports we stopped at was so small, they had a barge come in once a week that brought toiletries, produce, etc that was all sold at the one store in town. Also, there was no barber shop or beauty salon in town so also, once a week, someone came to town to cut people’s hair! AND, there was no hospital in town, just a small clinic that would airlift patients if needed to the nearest city (Juneau). It was hard to imagine life like that, but people seemed absolutely content with that rhythm in their lives. We asked someone how they bought stuff online and they said Amazon did not deliver there, so they just made trips by boat to the city.
Today, I make 3 clicks to buy something and receive the next day, and here was a town that had to plan their shampoo purchase a week ahead….unbelievable and kind of awesome at the same time.
It was a great trip, at my mind was at ease all times because my sister and my brother in law took turns watching our kids. We even decided to NOT get WiFi on the ship, so we really were disconnected.
In November my brother and his family came to spend Thanksgiving with us. We took them to visit Joshua Tree National Park and I felt like a tourist just like them, since it was my first time there. Joshua tree is nothing like any other State or National Park. Not much green and not many trees, since it is in the middle of the desert. What makes it so unique is the many many rock formations (huge rocks) and of course the Joshua Trees themselves. It is beautiful in its very own unique way.
A couple of weeks before Christmas I did a weekend trip to Monterrey, to see my siblings and friends. It was like recharging batteries of very positive energy and lots of love from family and friends. I went downtown to do some sightseeing -like a tourist- and enjoyed some authentic northern enchiladas, street corn on the cob and churros.
Christmas time was rather quiet. It was just our family, the four of us, and also the first Christmas we actually spent at home, no travelling whatsoever. That part I loved. No stress, no packing, or standing in long lines everywhere, no lost luggage or delayed flights. Just home.
It was a calm and quiet way to close the year 2018 and I was grateful for all it brought, even for the additional 12 months it put between the pain of my parents passing and myself. My feelings and my perception of their absence had changed…for the better.