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Reveries and Soliloquies: Family Vacation Part 1: Are We There Yet?

Reveries and Soliloquies

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Family Vacation Part 1: Are We There Yet?


Family vacations constitute the majority of my most cherished childhood memories. When we were younger and could be loaded into the back of a Toyota Sienna at a moments notice for road trips along the Oregon and California coast, vacations seemed like a no-brainer. Clothes? Check. Sunscreen? Check. Travel games, music, and books? Check. Check. Check. Forget the map-dad never used a map and never made hotel reservations, yet we always got where we wanted to be and stayed in nice places.

Now that we-and by we I mean Rebekah, Matthew, and I-are adults, family vacations are an endangered species. In fact, the last whole family vacation we took was 10 years ago to Puerta Vallarta, so this was a long time in the making. Juggling the work schedules and church commitments of five people to come to a consensus took some doing, but we ultimately blocked off July 3-10 for a trip to the Mayan Riviera. My parents, Rebekah and I had been the previous year and, although we enjoyed ourselves immensely, Matthew's absence was a constant reminder that we needed a redo. Because when Matty is there, everything is different.  

This is where family vacations have changed the most. The packing process. And it is a process:

Me: Rebekah, you do not need that many pairs of stilettos. This is a vacation, not a runway.
Dad: Did everyone weigh their suitcases? Lydia, I don't want the agent telling you take out one flip flop because your suitcase is overweight again. 
Mom: How many dresses is too many?
Me: Um, we're leaving tomorrow morning and Matty still hasn't packed...
Matty: Dude, all I need is underwear, toothbrush, and swim trunks. I'm a guy.
Dad: PASSPORTS! Give me your passports! 
Me: No way. You are not touching my passport. Not after you "lost" it in the airport bathroom in London. In fact, hand me all the travel documents like a good boy. 

Because our minivan days are long gone, we split into two cars: the parents in dad's car and the kids in Matty's. As is a ritual whenever the three of us are in a car together, all good taste in music is thrown out the window and out comes the playlist that call only be referred to as "The Low Points in Music History."

Matty: Alriiiiight. And to kick off this early morning drive...wait for it...Careless Whisper by George Michael.
Rebekah: Sweet Lord! Roll the windows back up! People are looking! 
Matty: [singing along at the top of his lungs]
Me: Are these windows tinted?

I'm sad to admit that it only go worse from there. I am sadder to admit that we all sang along to Celine Dion's greatest hits for the next 20 minutes. Matty took the falsetto. But, alas, we finally reached the airport and stumbled towards check-in. Ok ok, I stumbled due to lack of caffeine and genetics. At the counter our bags passed through without a hitch...but then came the passports.

Agent: There is a problem with Rebekah's passport. It expires in a month.
Dad: Okaaaay....
Agent: Some countries require at least 3 months before a passport expires.
[enter Rebekah hyperventilating and the Agent clicking away at the keys]
...2 minutes...
...3 minutes...
Agent: Oh good! Rebekah you are good to go!
Me: Um, I'm not Rebekah.
Agent: What! I just processed you and that bag as Rebekah.
Me: Nope. Me pasty white. Rebekah bronze goddess standing behind me.
Agent: Oh no! Um, I guess we just won't tell anyone.

I ask you now: what is the point of hideous passport pictures if they don't look at the pictures?! 

And so, one pit stop at Starbucks and Duty Free later and we were off. Or so we thought....

Stay tuned for Part 2

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