On Not Being a Machine

Vacations are the most necessary thing.  They are also a rude tease, because they wipe out your to-do list for that period of time.  While this allows a space for needed relaxation, reading, personal reflection, and several rum and cokes, what it does not allow is mental preparation for the evil bombardment of “busy” the moment you step off the plane and back into reality.

Costa Rica was everything I dreamed it would be.  It had the flair and culture of a small local town and it had the little luxuries of condo vacationing – complete with air conditioning and internet connection.

We ate endless seafood, visited local dives, went zip-lining through the jungle while angry monkeys cursed squeakily for us to leave their territory.  We scoured rocky beaches, visited local festivals, drank cuba libres on the street, and I found a passion for cooking that must have been waiting to be unearthed, because it arrived with vehemence.   


A Restaurant/hotel called Villa Coletas.  It overlooks the jungle…no big deal





Jaime and Chelsea, two beauties I was lucky to get to know 


the aforementioned Cuba Libre (note: you do not need more than 1)


Back at Villa Coletas on our last night for drinks and a sunset


And we got a freaking sunset.  This is #unfiltered, people.



….still there!


And finally, a photo I took on our final morning from the living room of our condo.  

Our flights were cancelled, re-routed, cancelled again, and delayed, but eventually we slid somewhat safely (yes, our plane slid on ice as it landed) in Chicago and made our way over crazy icy highways home.  What an un-warm welcome.

And now it seems like Costa Rica is far in the past, although my skin flaking away my tan is a hint that it wasn’t all that long ago.  Since I’ve been back, Ryan and I have been frantically trying to get back on track and caught up with school – assignments, papers, tests, extra-curricular assignments (such over-achievers, right?) – and the anxiety has been UNREAL.  It has made me wonder on more than one occasion if vacation is even worth it.  

We go to escape our CRAZY BUSY lives for a few short days, only to bask so heavily in our time off that we nearly squeeze the seconds away more quickly, and then we are forcefully returned to our lives of GO, GO, GO. 

There are the people who do it without a hiccup, but I’m not one of them.  And it makes me wonder if we all tend to over-do things in life.  Do we take on too many projects, too many hours of work, too many activities?  We should all be able to make time for ourselves with or without a plane ride.  Don’t get me wrong, I will fly anywhere any day of my life if I can, but I guess this is a quick reminder to you and to me to always find time to turn off your inner To-Do list and do something for you.  Something that will help quiet and calm your busy soul, and remind you that you don’t always have to be doing.  Sometimes when we think we need a vacation maybe that should be our hint that what we really need is to turn down our GO! meter, just a notch.

So relax.  Take a deep breath.  Read, write, paint, garden (inside), cook, listen to music, stretch your muscles, have a cocktail.  (and for the love, don’t let Facebook be part of your “you” time)

To taking my own advice,



For the past few days I’ve been debating what the best thing about vacation could be narrowed down to.  Is it the lack of snow and the 90 degree sun that replaced it?  Is it the complete lack of decisions that I need to make?  Is it my adorable man friend strutting around in his speedo?  I cannot put my finger on it.

I had been counting down the days to head out to Costa Rica since we booked our plane tickets a month prior, wondering what it would look like, what we would do, see, experience.  But since I have not fully practiced fortune telling, there was no telling until it happened.

And then we got to the airport in Chicago at 4am and Ryan and his dad started talking about the time Ryan walked through an airport with assault rifles (military reasons, people) and I was like Well I guess I won’t be going on vacation since they clearly are not going to let us through security.  And then I squeaked out in a frantic voice, “Can you guys talk about that later when we are not in or near an airport?”

Thankfully they let us on and Ryan met a baby and stole it from the lady next to us, so he was temporarily preoccupied.


We avoided all of the most fearful things of travel: snow storm delays, short layovers that lead to missing flights, losing luggage, but we came close to each.  So when we finally arrived to San Jose, Costa Rica, we high-fived each other in jubilee, hopped in the cab for our hour ride to Jaco, and stopped for a six pack of Costa Rican beer to enjoy on the way.  Because we could.


Blah blah blah, we stopped and saw T-rex sized crocodiles that I couldn’t get good photographs of…now here are pictures of the trip thus far:



view  of the Pacific Ocean from our spot at the pool


first sunset (awwww)


With his speedo and my nearly uncontrollable hoo-has, we fit in quite well here.





me getting a massage on the beach, with all my side-boob glory


flea market coconuts, rum not included

And tonight we are going to celebrate the engagement of Ryan’s brother, Steve and his beautiful fiance, Jaime.  This morning Ryan wandered in to the bedroom Jaime and I share after she went out for a run on the beach with Steve.  We had dozed off and woke up to Jaime knocking quietly, and then throwing the door open and jumping on us shouting, “I’m engaged!”  To which we responded with screams (okay, that was just from me) and hugs and tears and joy.  It was the most beautiful 7am wake-up I’ve ever experienced.

Coming down here, I totally expected to get a killer tan, but this vacation has also had so many unexpected surprises.  From the people we’ve met (including, but not limited to the crazy New York boys, Brian from Canada, all of the local Ticos, and Steve and Jaime’s dear friends Chelsea and Robb) to Steve putting a ring on it after cordially dating the woman of his dreams for five years.  It’s been a trip that has warmed up my frigid Michigan heart to the very core.

And it’s not over.

With my rum and coke, from me to you,