My family and I took a trip to the Dominican Republic to the Club Med resort for a week in March. This was the first time I had traveled on vacation with my family since my divorce. It was my mom and dad, my brother, his wife and their two girls (13-year old and 10 year-old) and my son (9) and I. I was really nervous about this trip. What was I going to do while the kids went to their activities and my parents and my brother and sister-in-law had each other? I felt awkward and alone before the trip even started. I kept telling myself that there is a beach and I have my books and that is all I need. Still, I was so nervous.
I tried to sit on the beach and just enjoy listening to the waves and read my book. I sat at the pool and read my book while people frolicked in the water. I was trying to feel liberated. It is very difficult to feel liberated when these young girls keep walking by in their skimpy bikinis. They have flat bellies and no stretch marks and the men just watch them walk by without blinking. I was feeling very insecure about myself and lonely. I needed to figure out what to do to change this into something good for me.
My 13-year old niece, was part of the 14 to 17 year old group and they didn’t have much of a schedule so she and I spent some time together. We decided to take out a speedboat (with a guide and another group of people in their own speedboats) and we got to drive it out to the lagoon. We took turns driving. I drove first and the faster we went, the more wind would blow the water into my eyes until I couldn’t see. It was exhilarating to feel the wind against my face and feel the water sting my eyes.
The lagoon was beautiful. The water was clear blue and we could see the bottom of the lagoon floor. The water was shallow so we could stand and swim if we wanted to. The skies were clear of clouds, the sun was shining and we were on vacation. My niece so delicately put it as “This is better than boys and relationships. Screw all that! I could do this forever!” The feeling was very mutual.
Knowing the water was shallow (and the guide told us we could) I decided to get out of the boat and go for a swim. I stayed fairly close to the boat but enjoyed the water and the sun and the serenity of the lagoon. Then I decided it was time to get back in the boat. Here lies the problem. I couldn’t get any leverage to get back in the boat. The water was shallow enough to stand, but I am only 4’ 10” tall and it wasn’t shallow enough for me to jump back into the boat. So our brilliant idea was to drive closer to the shore and have me jump back into the boat. I think our guides said something about not going to close to shore, but I figured we would just get close enough to get me back in the boat.
She drove the boat to shore and I was getting ready to jump in when the engine died. I guess we got a little too close. Here we are, two females, with no clue on how to move the boat back to the water or how to start the boat back up. We see some guys in a boat down the shore a bit and figure they must be our guides so we needed to ask for help. Lexi starts running down the beach (which is difficult to begin with), waving her hands over her head, yelling for help. She was running really funny and I started laughing at the predicament we got ourselves into.
These two men came over and helped us push the boat from the shore and helped us get the boat started. It didn’t hurt that they were nice looking men. I got in the boat first at the shore so I could drive it away Lexi was still in the water. Now she had no leverage to get back in the boat.
One thing about the Club Med resorts is that not everyone speaks fluent English. There is a mix of French, Spanish and English so communication isn’t always easy. The men we asked to help us didn’t speak fluent English. We asked for help and the man (the cuter one) patted his back to tell my niece to get on so she could climb into the boat. I wasn’t really sure what he meant for her to do and from what she did, she didn’t understand either. My niece jumps on this guys back as if he was giving her a piggy back ride and she starts reaching for the boat but from the position she is in she can’t get in. What a sight it was! I started laughing. Not just a giggle but a good belly laugh.
I think she figured this wasn’t working so she got down off his back. He then points at her foot and patted his back. OK, now we are getting somewhere. She was supposed to put her foot on his back for leverage to get in the boat. We get it now. So she puts her foot on his back and she jumps into the boat, HEAD FIRST. Her legs sprawled wide apart in the air as she struggled to turn back over and sit in the chair. I decided to let her drive because I was laughing so hard that tears were streaming down my face and my eyes were almost completely closed. As she drove, we kept reliving the scene from before and we laughed over and over again.
I took over driving again and she decided to get out of the boat again. We thought we had figured this out but we are not quite that smart. I tell her I am going to drive to shore again so she can get back it and then we see our guides telling us it is time to go back. Well, crap, how are we going to get her back in the boat? We wave at the guides and ask them for help to get her back in the boat. The guide comes over and puts out his knee. This time we are smarter and she actually steps on his knee and jumps in the boat. You think you learn from your mistakes the first time around. She got the step on the knee part but still went HEAD FIRST into the boat. Legs sprawled in the air again, trying to right herself. I was belly laughing again and the guides were laughing too. At least she was in the boat. She drove again because I laughed all the way back to the beach.
When we got back to shore, I knew that my trip had just begun. That even though I was lonely, I wasn’t alone. My niece and I spent more time together during the week. When my son and younger niece were done with their groups, I spent time with them too. The whole family had dinner together every night. William and Myah got the lead in the performances they were going to do at the end of the week and our vacation had begun. For me, it just gets better from here.