Happy June! After our Jackson family see-you-soon shindig yesterday night, we have been busy rolling up our belongings to travel back to California for the summer. Departure is in two days, and all my belongings- except for my library of books- I packed into two bags in less than half an hour. Meanwhile, hurricane season is on the brink of its return and the sky is weeping. Just like me.
Okay, that’s not entirely true. After hugging and saying my goodbyes to our extended family at church this morning, I shed a few surprising tears, suddenly overcome with emotion. It has been ten months since I last stood on North American soil and set foot, for the first time, in Playa del Carmen. I had lived in the same house in California for most of my life, and Playa was the start of my families’ nomadic lifestyle.
It was here that I pierced my ear by myself in the upstairs bathroom https://maiainplaya.com/2013/12/25/we-all-know-hes-in-it-for-the-cookies/,%20here%20that%20I%20went%20to%20my%20first%20party%20https://maiainplaya.com/2013/10/06/learning-to-kiss-all-over-again/,%20and%20got%20a%20taste%20of%20a%20nightlife%20besides%20reading%20under%20the%20covers https://maiainplaya.com/2014/01/05/nice-to-meet-you-nightlife/, and here that I went to my first concert with Mum. During my time living in Mexico, I traveled to different states https://maiainplaya.com/2014/04/23/road-trippin-palenque-san-cristobal/, countries https://maiainplaya.com/2014/02/04/aventuras-en-belice/, and remote locations, befriended the people of a Mayan village https://maiainplaya.com/2014/01/22/expat/, swam off the coast of the best beaches in the world, played soccer on a field of all boys https://maiainplaya.com/2013/10/26/im-going-to-college/, lived in torrential, tropical rain every day for two months, and went to school run in a different language for five months. I spent a night in the hospital https://maiainplaya.com/2014/04/02/bladder-rain-dances-and-other-social-reforms/and countless hours talking about the obnoxious tendencies of tourists. We had bad days and good days and bored hours; we passed birthdays https://maiainplaya.com/2013/12/12/jungle-diseases/, holidays https://maiainplaya.com/2013/10/31/vida-y-muerte/, and were still here when our guests flew home from their vacation, because to us this wasn’t a vacation. I got in the most T-R-O-U-B-L-E I have ever been mixed up in, and learned life-altering, valuable lessons that will be with me forever. I made some of the best memories of my life and became closer to the world, people, and to the Creator. My eyes were opened to the simple beauty of a kind nature that the people of Mexico share, to culture, and to the ultimate importance of family; how they are ones’ support, “gang” https://maiainplaya.com/2013/12/01/some-brainwashed-zombie/, best friends, and most valiant defenders. Thank you to the most passionate, forward-thinking and historically-enthusiastic, hard working, and loving parents in the world, the people who have guided our family with rolled up sleeves throughout the thick and thins. I could not ask for better traveling buddies or leaders.
In our immigration to Playa del Carmen, one can say that our action in itself made us expatriates of our homeland. But I say we became expats, through the tests of learning to live in and speak a foreign language; through the routines we established and routes we came to know, such as which market sells peanut-butter pretzels, who has the largest organic section, and which restaurants have the best limonadas; through the months of early mornings to make lunches and to walk to school on time and the nights of alternating dish-washing duties, missing our dad, and making do because Papa wasn’t there; through the friendships we made with people who are like-minded and enjoy a level of commonality and kinship because we are so used to living out-of-the-box. There is no going back now: forever we will live the lifestyle and mindset of an expat, like how morals and values are ingrained in a child as they grow, all thanks to Playa del Carmen.
Is this the conclusion? The epilogue to the phrase “Maia in Playa”? Or is it just another prologue?
The Jackson eight, God willing, will be zipping off to new adventures in Cuenca, Ecuador after our visit to family for three months- our first time back to the place we came from in a year. My blog will continue to be an outlet for our family to have documentation and for you to experience, through photos and words, the amazing things we see and do- loose in the world. What was meant to be a year-long project has evolved with my family, so I will continue to blog about our escapades as long as we are having them! Maiainplaya.com will retain its original name (thanks for thinking of it, sis) despite the fact that our future homes will be in different countries and continents around the globe. Thank you to each and every reader of this ongoing journal and all your support- it means so much to me.
As we say in Playa: Hasta la vista baby! (Okay, we don’t actually say that.)