Emotional Crash Landings: Transitioning Home

Dave and I in Costa Rica

Dave and I in Costa Rica

We arrived in Salt Lake City (where we are spending the summer) Saturday evening, and Dave left for San Francisco this morning. Somewhere between one of my, “damn it, Dave’s,” to the tears rolling down my face as I held a pillow over my head, I had an ah-ha(-ish) moment.  That is when I said to myself,

“Beth, why in less than twenty-four hours time have lost your Costa-Rican cool?”

The To-Do List I made yesterday

The To-Do List I made yesterday

Here is the deal. Yesterday I completely freaked out.  I was mad at Dave about who knows what. I could not decide if we needed to move to another apartment down the hall, or stay where we are (true story), and consequently, I made Dave and the boys talk about whether we needed to put the bunk-beds up now or wait until we move. I urged Dave to buy a vacuum (he did). I considered and actually tried fixing my overfull hard drive, and before I went to bed I convinced myself that I needed to finish all my homework (slight exaggeration). Reverse nesting or crash landing?

Andaz Papagayo Rio Bhongo Eggs Benedict

Andaz Papagayo Rio Bhongo Eggs Benedict

Andaz Papagayo Rio Bhongo Coconut French Toast

Andaz Papagayo Rio Bhongo Coconut French Toast

Friday was our last full day in Costa Rica. We slept in, had an amazing breakfast filled with crispy pork belly Eggs Benedicts, coconut French toast, tamales, and fresh strawberries.  Right after breakfast, Kyle walked me to the up-and-down pleasant and hilly walk to the gym.  Kyle told about friends, summer jobs, and the cute girl he met at the beach club.  As we walked we saw our flower-eating iguana friend. Kyle and I always laugh because the iguana’s slithering through the flowery leaves startles me every time, and yes, I always jump.  Once there, Kyle decided to go back to our room, and I read my assignment while I walking on the treadmill. Sweaty and shocked that I walked on the treadmill for an hour, I took a big gulp of water, and leisurely walked back to our room.  Kyle and Dave were already at the beach by then. Instead of forcing Eli to go to the beach too, I let Eli him play a video game while I began to pack; soothingly organizing and rolling all of our dirty clothes into suitcases. Eventually, I knew time was running out. That is when Eli and joined Dave and Kyle at the pool. As we walked up, we heard thunder and had just enough time for Dave and I to sit at the beach and for the boys to swim. The lightning was still far away so the four of us met in the pool for one last swim. It was no big deal that the boys were crazy fighting with pool noodles.

Andaz Papgayo, Costa Rica, Pool and Bay View

Andaz Papgayo, Costa Rica, Pool and Bay View

“Mom, Kyle broke a noodle – again!”

As the words left his lips, on cue, lightning began, and this time it was close. We left, showered, and I packed some more.  We were blessed with  late check out. We brought our luggage to the car, and then we enjoyed a lovely last Rio Bhongo dinner. It was perfect!

Pictures taken while waiting for our Rio Bhongo Dinner

Pictures taken while waiting for our Rio Bhongo Dinner

Guess what? Somewhere during all of the happy memory making and relaxation I was able to get an awful lot done. Hmmm, maybe real-life Beth could learn a few things from vacation-styled Beth. You think?

And then I saw it.  Between time with my family, cozy beds, ocean breezes, yummy pineapple slices, warm swimming pools, beautiful flowers, howler monkeys, wet swimsuits rolled into suitcases, passports, bureaucratic forms, security lines, our airplane’s engine trouble (three extra hours on the tarmac), and landing back in Salt Lake City, Utah, I went from relaxed to complete panic.

Andaz Papgayo Pool and Bay View

Andaz Papagayo Pool and Bay View

In Costa Rica, I was able to push the world away, yet once home, the world came crashing in. In seconds I went from happy exotic memories to talking like a sailor. Before I could catch my breath, I let myself become crazy overwhelmed with summer camps (ultimate Frisbee camp began this morning and we had forms to fill out), finishing school (me finishing school, that is), paying rent, insurance forms that needed to be signed, doctor’s appointments to make, calling our travel agent (I know. We just got home), Dave’s job, and simply, our crazy reality.  Sure, I can see why my current responsibilities would cause anyone some angst, but back to my question,

American Airlines flight from Liberia, Costa Rica to Dallas, TX

American Airlines flight from Liberia, Costa Rica to Dallas, TX

“Why? Why couldn’t I leverage the peace I gained on vacation, and use it to pace myself upon my return?”

Is it simply that transitions are difficult? I actually think I might be on to something. See, once I took a minute to stop saying “damn it” to Dave, and once I started washing clothes, and asking for help, life seemed to ease back into normal.  In truth, all of these things could wait.  Even when I am home I can stop to look at flower-eating creatures, and still get my homework done.  Lesson learned from one self to the other!