I've fallen in love with Mexico. Again. Not that I ever fell out of love with the country, but when you can climb a tree in your backyard and see Mexico, or drive for 20 minutes and be in Mexico, or go to the neighborhood grocery store that feels like Mexico, or just live in San Diego, it is easy to take the country for granted. However, the past 10 days have been surreal and I've enjoyed every minute (except for a few unpleasant ones spent in the bathroom but even those could have been worse).
I've gotten really good at spending time in airports. Kera and my goodbye beers.
Kera and I said goodbye to each other in Costa Rica and went out separate ways. My flight to Cancun had a "technical stop" in El Salvador which turned into a pleasant layover just long enough to snap a photo and grab a coffee. As we took off I saw how close the airport was to the coastline, which is dotted with beaches and points, and noted it for my next Central American surf trip.
The flight from El Salvador was short but felt long because I was so excited to meet friends and family in Cancun. After getting through the circus that was customs I waited and waited for like 30 minutes for my amiga Nadine to pop through the Customs doors. Alas, there she was. We grabbed our bags and headed to our hotel to catch up before meeting the rest of the family, all of whom I was very excited to see.
You see, about two years ago my sister Caity started planning a family reunion for the entire Schneider family - aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins.. you name it they were there. She booked us an amazing house on the beach in Akumal (south of Cancun) that all 23 of us could live in as one big happy family for 5 days. The reservation started Monday, but a few of us arrived Saturday to get the party started.
After a few very fun days in Cancun we piled into vans and headed to our sweet ass house in Akumal. The house was over the top luxurious, with 16 private bedrooms, bathrooms, balconies, rooftop deck, pool, spa, swim up bar, coconut palms and a beach with beautiful, warm aquamarine water just steps away, not to mention a chef and his crew of four that cooked us breakfast, lunch and dinner.
But seriously, and I'm not trying to win points or be maudlin or mushy, but by far the best part about the trip was being with my family. There are some of my family members that I don't see very often, but I really like each one of them - even the uncle that makes us count off every time we go for a family outing - and enjoy spending time with all of them. And while nobody wants to read about how great someone else's family is (although I have a hunch that my family are the only people who read this) I have to say that every single person in my family is successful, which is an inspiration to me. We have business owners, journalists and reporters, world travelers, teachers, intellects, social activists and artists; everyone is well-read and up to date on current politics, engaged and hard working. It is an inspiring family to be a part of and makes me realize that I better get back to work or my slack ass will be the black sheep of a very successful family.
So yeah, great family aside, we spent a week touring ruins and cenotes, playing games, eating and drinking tons, hanging out at our beautiful house, laughing, sharing stories and genuinely enjoying each other's company. Even when I got a touch of the stomach flu (or something unpleasant of the sort) I couldn't help but think how lucky I was to get sick in the comfort of my own room with my own bathroom (big win) and have my family to fawn over me. I felt very smug that I traveled all through Peru and Costa Rica without having to take Imodium once, camped, stayed in some really crappy hostels and ate some very suspect food, and then got sick in the most luxurious place I stayed, but hey, life is a funny thing.
There are worse places to have the 24-hour flu
It was sad to say goodbye to my family at the end of five magical days together, which is rare. Most families I know would be at each other's throats by day two but as far as I know, there was no drama to speak of (kinda boring right?) Who knows when we will all be together again, but it was an unforgettable week during which I got to get to know the younger generation better and party with the older. The blow was also softened by the fact that I was headed to Mexico City with two cousins and an aunt and uncle, where I am now. I'll save that adventure for another day.