I think I had a vacation at the beginning of the summer, but I can’t really remember it because so much happened since then. And the most recent vacation has pretty much wiped out any legitimate memory of the time before that. What I do know is that I spent too much and not enough time at the beach, which you can tell by the additional wrinkles around my eyes and the tan lines that will likely land me in a dermatologist’s office, in an unpleasant way, someday.
In the meantime, highlights from the most recent vacation below.
We setup camp and packed it up: We went camping in Northern New Hampshire with some friends. And in truth – I hate camping. Not because it’s not fun to be under the stars, or to wake up on the river, or to sleep wondering if that sound outside your tent is a bear or a really large man (for real, though) – but because even the simplest of tents is an advanced physics equation I can’t wrap my head around. But when my friend saw my about-to-break-into-tears state, she calmed me down, and helped me set up. And when the kids all found each other and squealed in excitement, and when they ran off with the independence they’d found in the gated campground – and most of all, when we decided to rent tubes to float down the river and I watched the tribe of people I love walk in front of me like a green donut brigade, it was pretty awesome.
And when I freaked a little (a lot, though) about the second part of our trip and decided we needed to pack it up early, my two friends were next to me, in the dark, packing up my tent with me.
And people that will pack up your tent with you in the dark are good people, guys.
We Chicago’d: I’d forgotten what Chicago was like, and why, the first time around, I found it so exciting. I left New Hampshire when I was 23. I’d always been here, in New England, and after a weekend in Chicago – meeting new people, seeing new neighborhoods, finding new things to explore, I thought there was no other place I would rather live. There would be such opportunities in such a huge city that I could never have found in New Hampshire. I imagined reinventing myself into someone better than I was – finding some way to not feel so not myself. I could be anyone in Chicago. It turned out though, that I was the same girl in Chicago that I was in New Hampshire. Crossing the city lines for the first time or the 50th time didn’t change anything. And until this weekend – I didn’t realize how much my first trip was an escape, and this one – exploring a relationship with people I’ve wanted to connect to for a long time, was a true indication of change for me.
We Typical’d: We were staying on the 12th floor of our hotel – and the windows that overlooked the city were floor to ceiling. We had a beautiful view – of the city, of Lake Michigan, and of the rooftop pool a few floors below us. I kept the shades all the way open all day and night – because once the city lit up, it was even more beautiful than it was in the daylight. And when we got home Saturday night after dinner, it was late. We were exhausted, and prepping to get up at 4am to catch our flight. So I trudged to my bed, nagging at Anna to start packing her things while I took off my dress. And then my bra. And as I bent down to pack my own things into my suitcase, sitting near the window, I heard Anna say,
“Oh look Mama – all those boys are jumping and waving at us! HI! HI EVERYONE!”
And turned around to see about 30 college-aged boys waving and making undeterminable but it seemed fan-based gestures towards our window.
And let Anna know they weren’t just being friendly, they were waving because I’d just undressed, slowly, mind you – backlit by our own lamps in the room while standing in the window overlooking the pool. And while she got down on the floor and yelled at them, (quite sweetly on my account), to leave her Mama alone – I waved back, smiling, and bowed.
Don’t go camping if you can’t set up a tent, guys. It’s not worth it. Or at least bring my friend Meg, who is magic. And don’t run to Chicago to escape, unless it’s for a weekend.
And for fuck’s sake – if you have floor to ceiling windows and your room overlooks the rooftop pool – close the shades, or at least turn off the lights before you get undressed.
Or prepare to be the star of the show.