After a long first semester at college, winter break was welcomed with open arms. A change of scenery, my own room, and meals made not entirely of tater tots were all I can think of in December, leading up to my departure from Minnesota. Although I had spend time away from home every summer since I was old enough, last semester was the longest I have ever been gone and it was a big change. So it was so nice to get back home and spend some time with my family. And that’s exactly what we did. Shortly after Christmas, my entire family got on a plane and set off for Cancún, Mexico. Seven days of uninterrupted family time on the beach. It was perfect.
Most of our days were spent at our hotel, Grand Oasis, without much of a plan. As a natural early-riser, I had many mornings to myself to do some reading, some photography, drink lots of coffee, and ocean-side yoga. I really value travelling and getting out in the world, which is why I want to find a career with travel as a main aspect. Even in at the resort my family stayed at it was very easy to find a whole other piece of myself. Everyone can benefit from a little time to think about their lives, and for me it’s so much easier in a new environment. While wandering around the beach, I realized that some things that are very important to me I don’t put enough time into when I get busy with school and work and general life things. Reading, writing, art, and yoga take a backseat to homework and college and I need to do a better job of living my life with balance. As a nineteen year old, I have a lot to learn about myself and the world, but every time I leave home I learn a little bit more. Of course, family vacation rarely revolves around self-discovery and there was much more to the trip than that.
I really, really enjoyed the days that I spent just reading on the beach, but I also really loved going out into the town and exploring what else Cancún had to offer. We made a ton of trips to the local outlet mall, determined to stock up on clothing from Zara and lime flavored Fritos. One night we made the trip to Senior Frog’s which was more than worth it, the whole family had a great time and the staff was so fun. As a family of five with three teenage girls, it’s not often that we can all find a place we enjoy. Plus, we saw a super huge crocodile on our walk over to it and I got a good picture. We all really enjoyed the night life and overpriced ice cream, but the absolute highlight of our family vacation was the Talum/Xel-Ha combo.
Before we left for this trip, my parents talked about this being the last time we went to Mexico together. With that in mind I was determined to see the Mayan ruins and after several days of pleading with my family that it was important, I got my way. My dad and I got one a separate bus from my mom and my sisters at 6:45 in the morning for the two hour ride to the site. Once we were there, we were separated into the English speaking group and took a simple little tour around the ruins. It was amazing to see and hear about but I was more than a little disappointed that I was not allowed to climb up the stairs and wander around the temples and buildings. It was pretty hard to take good pictures so that was kind of a bummer, but it was worth the experience. And my dad bought me a coffee so all in all the morning was an experience.
The day didn’t even really take off until we got to Xel-Ha to meet up with the rest of my family. That place knows how to do tourism. It was like Wisconsin Dells, but with more fish and more nature. There was snorkeling, water bridges, a beautiful garden, and we even got Mom to jump off the small cliff. I definitely recommend it if you are in the area. We all had tons of fun, even though some guy stole my flippers and googles while I was ziplining. You win some, you lose some.
My family is interesting and wonderful and I wouldn’t trade any of them for anything. I am so grateful that I was able to spend so much time with them over break because I hardly ever see them now that I go to school in a different state. I miss them sometimes, but you’ll never grow as a person if you always do what you’ve always done.