Friday, February 16, 2007

Oh, How I Yearn for the Crystal-Blue Water...

You may not believe this, but I am afraid of the ocean. I am afraid of what lives in the ocean. And it is a paralyzing, choking, unreasonable fear. But...
Some people are afraid of Mexico. They are afraid of drinking the water, eating the food, the differences in culture... Not us. Dr Pop and I first went to Mexico together in July of 2001, approximately three weeks after our first date. We stayed at the Moon Palace, just south of Cancun. I've always heard that you can tell a lot about a person when you travel with them. What I learned about Dr Pop on that first trip together was that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. I remember just hanging out in the lobby bar, making tons of new friends from all over the world, watching wedding parties walk by throughout the day and saying to him, "This is where I want to get married." But I said it in a in general kind of way. But then he agreed with me! That first trip together put our relationship on fast forward. That was when "I love you" happened. Dr Pop bought me two silver rings that I still have and still cherish. He also bought me a silver necklace that still sits in my jewelry box. I need to get it out and wear it. It is so pretty. I remember that we swam with the dolphins in Cozumel. I was so thrilled and so scared and it was incredible! I still have the video and wish I could watch it again, but alas, we have no VCR. We did a tour in little two-seater boats of the lagoon, through the mangrove, and out into the Carribbean Ocean and snorkeled the crystal depths. Yes. *I* willingly got into the water. But only because Dr Pop was by my side...
July, 2005... Hook 'em!

We love the Yucutan Peninsual/Riviera Maya area of Mexico. In fact, we'd move there if we could make it work. We almost pulled the trigger in 2001. That was way back in the day for us, though. We were newly-dating (about 6 months) and on our second trip together to the beautiful Yucutan Peninsula. This time, we went to Playa del Carmen. It was the week before Christmas and smack-dab in the middle of college bowl season and the final NFL games before the playoffs. We took a cab into town and went in search of a sports bar. And then we found it. We met the extremely nice owner and his girlfriend. We hung out all night. Then we ended up there every night for the rest of our time there. Towards the end of the week, the owner told us that the bar was for sale. He quoted us a price, had all the revenue numbers handy, answered all of our questions before we could ask them... It was a hell of a deal. And we wanted to say yes. But, of course, reality stepped in. We didn't have that kind of cash. We also didn't have a place to live. All things that we would need in order to move. But we kept in touch with Bruno. He kept the bar. And we didn't see him again for just over a year.

On the balcony of our favorite hotel. July, 2005.

The next time we went to Mexico was in February of 2003. In fact, we left 3 years, 11 months, and 20 days ago. We returned to the Moon Palace near Cancun. This time, it was to celebrate two milestones... The first was my 29th birthday. The second was the day after my birthday. On March 1, 2003, I became Mrs Pop on the grounds of the hotel in front of both sets of parents and my brother. We had spent the week driving up and down the coast of the peninsula, visiting Bruno in Playa, playing in Cancun, parasailing, and getting ready to take the biggest step of our lives. After it was over, I hiked up my wedding dress and got in the pool for pictures. No, it didn't get wet. :) That trip was incredible and it had to sustain us for over two more years.

Little Pop came along and we were involved with a new house, a new baby, a new WORLD and we put our travel on hold. We spent the summer of 2004 in various ways. While Dr Pop wanted to go to the lake and go to the pool, I was scared. I didn't ever want to leave the house. So I stayed inside with Little Pop and sent Dr Pop out to do all those things that he wanted to do. I never told him that I was scared. Or that I longed for those things, too, once I got a few good nights' sleep. I spent that year immersed in no life but my own and that of our son. I ignored everything else and even when we had the opportunity to go out and do something fun together, I declined. It was a miserable time for both of us. We missed each other. We missed Mexico. We NEEDED Mexico...

Dr Pop in the water, July, 2005. Look at my muscle man!

After making it through that first year of parenthood and marriage, things began to change. We began to reconnect and repair the damage we'd done to one another emotionally. We went back to our roots to remember why we'd fallen in love to begin with. And as I returned to the work force after 19 months as a stay at home mom, Dr Pop planned a trip for us... Back to Playa. So in July of 2005 (when all of these pictures were taken), we returned. We were different people in so many ways from the last time we set foot on the beach, but we were so much better. As we continued on the road to rediscovery of each other, we rediscovered our love and our passion. We returned to our old haunts, marveled at the changes, went sailing/snorkeling, visited the dolphins again, brought friends along, and had a fantastic time. I think we came back from that trip stronger than ever.

The beach on our next to last day, July, 2005 (taken with my camera phone)

Since 2005, we've made a pact to make it to Mexico at least once a year. We went back in May of 2006. It was an incredible trip. We met people who lived down the street from us. They have become such amazing friends! We made other new friends, too. We shared our passion and enthusiasm for that part of the world with many.

And now we're getting ready to go back. We're calling it our anniversary trip, even though we won't be there until May. There are different types of anniversaries. I like to think of each time that we return to Mexico the anniversary of us finding each other and falling in love.

Thanks again, Dr Pop, for the trip down memory lane. You make my life spectacular!

4 comments:

Miranda said...

I've been reading your blog for a while now and thought I owed you a comment. I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy reading about how much you love your family; it's a beautiful thing.

I went to Mexico for my honeymoon last year and am itching to go back. Have a fantastic time!

Ellen said...

Well thank you! :) Your blog is blocked from my work, but I'll be sure to check it out when I get home.

I used to love to go to Europe and do all the tours and the non-stop deal for however many days, but now I just love to lay on the beach for hours. :) You should definitely try to make it back as soon as possible!

emily said...

I've never been to Mexico, but after reading this, I'm pretty sure amazing things will happen if I ever do go.

Ellen said...

I guarantee it! And there are some great all-inclusive deals out there. If you ever do decide to go, let me know and I'll give you some ideas on places to stay and places to avoid. :)