Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Feliz Navidad

Someone's Christmas in La Cruz (from the street)

Oddly Christmas. On the one hand, I have been so happy to be away from the comedy of The Holidays in the US. The onslaught. The hammering. The crushing pressure to shop, to bake, to cook, to invite, to visit, to give, to receive, to always be behind and attempting to “do it all” before the deadline. But the pressure is here, too. The kids (Ben and Samey) have been so focused on Christmas and Santa Claus and presents. And Ben on his 9th birthday (December 26). I had hoped, when imagining this trip, that we could avoid it all but I have since learned that it is not possible. As with so many of my “assumptions” about cruising and what is and is not possible living on a moving boat. It’s been hard to “feel” like Christmas since it feels so much like summer here. Our shopping and cultural integration skills have been weak thus far and our meager holiday decorations amount to a 20 inch plastic tree, bought in La Paz, that was decorated by Ben and then undecorated for the crossing and some cutout snowflakes. We’ve been reduced to shopping at Wal-Mart down here. We did spend some fun time over on Rebel Heart, sweating and making flat felt ornaments for their Christmas tree and that was “festive” (but I would enjoy doing just about anything with Charlotte!).  

Samey and Cora (Rebel Heart) in front of the tree!!
I also bought a fabulous paper mache Santa at the La Cruz artisan market for $150 Pesos (around $11).

Ho Ho Ho
But I had a white night feeling badly, mostly for Ben, about my lack of ability to “bring the magic” for him this year and make Christmas come alive. He is so anchored by the holidays and the decorum and the “traditions” and I fear that I have really let him down. With so much change and so much to adjust to and such a continual flux, the kids cling to what they know is set and “fixed”. Like holiday traditions. “We’re having stockings, aren’t we, Mom?” ACK! I didn’t think to bring them! He is so bright and eager and open and trusting and innocent. He sincerely believes in magic and I am convinced that he still believes in Santa. His letter to Santa reminded him that we would be in Puerto Vallarta… He prays at night. He just trusts. And we get impatient with him sometimes and his seemingly blind questions to us about “the obvious” but we forget and too often ignore the beauty of his age and sweet character. He has not yet “turned the corner” into “knowing”. He is such a fantastic child. I guess he will not be too scarred by this wonky holiday season. I hope. I hope that he’ll remember it as odd but special… Just like he is. Odd but special.

Paid some guy$30 Pesos for this shot on the beach in Yelapa.
As I write this, we are on the “A” dock at Paradise Village in Nuevo Vallarta (basically Puerto Vallarta). This is the most “resort” we have done thus far. HUGE resort. Multiple pools, crocodile slides, beach, tiger rescue cages, spa, a “Kid’s Club”, drink specials. The stink of the brief, stolen moments of luxury vacationing. You get the picture. It is fun to be at a marina at the base of the huge hotels with people everywhere. We are right in the resort but also apart and that is nice. And since our “vacationing” is extended, we don’t have the same desperation. Being at the Marina and at the Yacht Club here have their advantages. Fishermen in canoe-like boats throw their spiked nets right behind our boat. Luxury yachts pass by, excursion boats pass by, sport fishermen pass by. It is charming. For sure. But we are a long way from “Mexico” and getting food, necessities and the likes is a challenge. The laundry is at the shopping mall. Yes, I said that. At the shopping mall, down from McDonald’s. Around the corner from Starbucks. There is a nativity scene there, at the entrance of the mall, but someone apparently thought that the Baby Jesus deserved better and he was "removed". So much for religion.

Oh where or where has my little Jesus gone? Oh where or where could he be?
I miss La Cruz. It really felt like a good mix between cruiser world and “actual Mexico”. Simpler. Accessible. Less hustle and bustle. We aren’t far away. La Cruz is just a bus ride away and many friends are anchored or at the marina there. We even took the boat over there (one hour motoring) on Sunday to go to the market again since I love it so much and was looking for more Christmas gifts and the food is so good there. I’m sure we’ll be back. Sand Dollar and Winterhawk arrived there yesterday. Moments and Unleashed are there now, too. The holidays bring communities together. I find myself wishing we were there instead of here or rather that we could have BOTH places at once. Today, Christmas Eve, we are awaiting the arrival of Oma and Opa (Ilse and Pete) and Max’s dad, Holm, all three of whom are coming to stay for a week at the resort here with us, staying in the hotels. They will be arriving overladen with suitcases full of gifts from my mom and Amazon.com purchases made over the past month or so with the intention of making Christmas, Christmas. And of some things we have not been able to find here in Mexico (again, our lack of shopping prowess and know-how, possibly). We’ll make tacos for Christmas Eve dinner once everyone has arrived and is settled into their rooms and then, once the kids are asleep, we’ll do the “elfing” and wrapping and staging and get the little tree on our salon table ready for the waking of the kids… Christmas Day we’re joining several other boat friends on the dock for a “potluck”. The marina is supplying tables and chairs. I even forgot to bring the sour cream coffee cake recipe that we make every Christmas morning (my Dad’s favorite), that is how “oddly Christmas” it is going to be. I hope you all out there following us have a wonderful, warm holiday season... I'm sending you some spices, some sunshine and some Mexican color and cheer.
San Blas

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