Summertime, y México

Updated January 21, 2018: This is a #latepost of a blog entry from the summer of 2017. Thought I would share anyways. 🙂

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Am sitting in our hotel room in the Mayakoba resort, Mexico. Raindrops are gently drizzling on the mangrove trees and water canals, making soothing pitter patter sounds. They are the remnants of a tropical storm that was rambunctious enough to have been given a name – Franklin – that has since passed as it continues westwards. Franklin dropped a lot of water over Cancun and Playa del Carmen – over a foot within 24 hours – and is gaining strength and status, as it travels over land and turns into a hurricane sometime within the next hours.

But here, in our neck of the woods, calm has returned. The birds, hundreds of which are scattered hidden in the forest in front of our room, are starting to sing and chirp again. Fish are swimming past. I even spotted a turtle sticking his neck out to catch some air.

Alex is at the gym, working off the steak fajitas we had for lunch. I opted for a low energy activity and decided to soak in the view and the birdsong.

It has been months since I posted on this blog. Actually, it’s been more than half a year to be more precise. I have the same feeling now as I do when someone I haven’t met in a long time asks, “So, how have you been?”

I am well. Currently have a slight cold which is thankfully going away, and relaxed almost to the point of boredom, but not quite. It’s actually a big accomplishment, to be this….chilled. Because up until Alex and I arrived in our temporary contemporary abode a couple of nights ago, life has been pretty hectic.

In one of the last posts, in December or January, I mentioned that when I committed to doing freelancing, it’s as if the world rose up to meet it. And the good thing is that this hasn’t changed much since. In fact, there is more and more work coming my way, and I’ve had to think hard about turning (or not turning) down clients and projects because I feared that I would be stretching myself too thin or deliver sub-par work. Delivering bad work is worse than having no clients at all.

So underneath the lounging and the tacos, fajitas, green juices and tamales, is that bit of unrest, a nagging feeling that I should actually be working. I’ve read and heard that this is not unusual. Most people who run their own business or become their own employers have a hard time switching off, because they work in their homes, among others. That’s true for me for sure. Even though I have a separate office, it is still located in my place of residence, and when I need a break I sneak in housework, or I sneak in work at night when I should be relaxing with the hubby.

Add that to the fact that I work while traveling. I want to spend time with my family, who are scattered here and there, but I can’t just drop everything and leave, so I just take my work with me. Meaning that I hold calls with the US while I’m in Munich or Skype with Erlangen when I’m in Jakarta. And I edit and write and type in hotel rooms, my mother’s living room, my bedroom in Jakarta, my sisters’ houses, wherever I may be.

And now, as I’m hanging around one of the nicest resorts I’ve ever stayed in, I think about work. Because, hey, my laptop is here. And a wifi, and all my files. And that is a big no no. Because that is not why we – just the two of us – traveled all this way. So against my neurotic instinct, and for my personal sanity, I won’t.

Last night, Alex and I sat in a restaurant located right on the canal and watched as half a dozen birds struggled in the rain to hang on to branches that swayed heavily up and down with the wind. The restaurant was part of another hotel within the resort, which we explored after dinner. It felt like we were somewhere in Southeast Asia, with tropical flora and beautifully landscaped walkways. The clever lighting made spaces that seemed somewhat gloomy during the day totally tantalizing at night. It was like taking a trip to another world.

We’re not actually resort type people. Our views were that they are large and impersonal, run by big corporations who are only in it to rob you blind. But now, being here, away from any hustle and bustle, away from cars, roads and pollution, away from city traffic and noise, I, at least, am beginning to have a change of heart. The quiet and the comfort, the manicured landscapes and buildings set thoughtfully among the natural mangrove forest and man-made canals, which incidentally have attracted hundreds of new birds and animals to this area, have been a blessing.

And today, despite being forced to stay indoors because of Franklin, and despite a bit of cabin fever, we’re still enjoying ourselves. Isn’t that nice? Not least because all that time has forced me back to my do some personal writing, which is needed.

So, what else has gone on the last months? Chad, Paula, Eli and Nela moved to DC in February. In May, Christine and Johannes, and then Bärbel, visited us. Annette, Dom and Chad were also all in the city for a short time. Our neighbors Julien, Carolina and their children went back to France at the end of July.

In the meantime, this summer, Alex and I spent a lot of time away.  Alex’s schedule was Hoboken – Croatia – Munich – Hoboken – California – Hoboken. Mine was Hoboken – Munich – Jakarta – Munich – Hoboken. This year, we both traveled a lot, just not with each other. On Saturday, as we were walking to our gate at the Newark airport, I realized that it was only the second time this year that we were flying together.

Which brings us back to México. Here, in our large, corporate-backed resort, I am most enjoying rekindling my somewhat dormant school-level Spanish, eating fantastic food and hanging out en la playa. Looking out into the Caribbean sea instead of a sea of buildings, well if that isn’t a luxury, what is? I am loving the tropical climate and fruits; they have papayas, pineapples and mangoes, not to mention jicamas, guavas and jackfruit.

It’s important just for these days to simply not work and to tank up energy instead. It will help me tackle the next months – which will for sure be pretty stressful all in all, what with a couple of new projects, one new customer, and my existing clients – with efficiency, professionalism and a bit of grace.

And now, it’s time for la cena. Fish or beef? Chicken or octopus? All of the above? Hmm… am looking forward to it at any rate.

Hope you’re all having a beautiful summer.

Below some pics from Playa del Carmen.

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