Vacation details are pretty difficult through which to navigate. You give too much, the audience loses interest. You don’t give enough, they think your trip was totally lame. I usually just stick with the whole It was amazing! when I respond to friends, but I’ve been back for three weeks now and while all (miniscule) interest has most likely all but waned, I still thought I should post SOMETHING. Something about the place, not just the guy of whom everyone still asks if I’m dating.

Top five favorite things about my trip:

1. Surfing. I won the superstar award in my class – the next day I didn’t stand up at all so I must have peaked that first day. We took lessons with three guys from Israel. I stood up my second time and rode all the way to shore. I have no idea how I did that. By the end, The Firefighter and I got cocky and when one was riding and the other was walking back from shore, we’d put out our hands for the other to five. The cockiness lasted a day, as we then went to a beach with real waves and got both our asses kicked.


2. Monkeys. Hi Monkey! Four different varieties. Never got tired of them. We were forever on a mission for monkeys. When we’d only see birds (exotic, beautiful birds!) at a park, we’d leave the park bitter. We were better than birds.

3. The Firefighter. Yeah, he makes the top-five list. Don’t really want to elaborate on too many details – some you’ve heard, some are eye-rollers, some would make you vomit they are that barfy – so let’s leave it at he makes the top-five list.

4. Hammocks. I had time to hammock. Vacation Molly is a pretty chill chick, who has time to hammock. She also enjoys playing cribbage and drinking in the afternoon. I like her. Sharing a hammock is pretty enjoyable, too – especially when The Firefighter would share half his ipod with me. He’d listen to the classical station when driving but when relaxing on the hammock: hard rap. Yes, that makes sense.

5. Night hikes in the parks. Sloth? Yes. Tarantulas? Two. Scary noises in the dark? Of course. I like walking at night.

Honorable mention: Waterfalls. Because I like standing next to them and have the mist drench me.



The couple thing started before we were even together. On the first day of our trip, I called The Firefighter from MSP (Minneapolis/St Paul Airport) to tell him, “If we’re going to keep track of how many times we’re mistaken as a couple, the count is already at two – as people from check-in and airport security just asked about my ‘boyfriend in Seattle’. And you’re not even with me yet.”

He laughed at that. “Ah, MollyE, why fight it.”

So we let people assume what they wanted, without trying to convince them otherwise. Actually, with our behavior, we only reinforced those erroneous assumptions.

Putting the whole hooking-up thing aside, we acted COUPLEY. We HELD HANDS. I would lie on his stomach when we would read in bed. He’d plant small kisses on my neck when walking behind me. I mindlessly scratched his back when waiting on a bench for a tour to start. My knee grew accustomed to having his hand on it. We FROLICKED in the ocean at night. BARF, right?

What’s worse than being COUPLEY: being a HAPPY couple. We ENJOYED each other.



The Eff.

And we’ve always been close, with little to no adherence to personal space, so our behavior felt natural. Just odd when I would step back and overthink it. Sharing midnight tiramisu = acceptable friends activity. Having his hands on my waist at the bar = COUPLEY. Which sent off the bells in my head: WARNING! NOT A FRIENDS ACTIVITY. I rarely allow myself to indulge in the couple stuff, probably because the majority of my guy friends are kept securely in the arms-length friends category. He’s the exception, apparently.

It was good.

I only see him twice a year, if that. So it was what it was for the time that it was. The end.

**Stories (and pics, too!) to follow – but I wanted to cover the boy-stuff first. Because that’s what’s been on my mind.

Is there a condition that transfers all good associations of a trip onto a person? The Florence Nightingale syndrome of travelers. There has to be. Transference is a bitch like that.

Needless to say, I am back and Costa Rica with The Firefighter went well. Amazingly well.

How do I, at age 26, still feel uncomfortable buying condoms? I am having protected, premarital sex – what a dirty, dirty whore. I never felt weird picking up birth control prescriptions –was freaking chipper about it –so I must associate condoms differently (and yes, I realize that The Pill is a safer choice, but with my medical history, its best for nature to run its own hormonal course). In college, I always made The Kid buy them. Which he did, until he thought it would be good for me to extend outside my comfort zone. I think his eloquent words were something to the extent of, “Dude, get over it.” I still didn’t buy at the store though; the Internet is an amazing marketplace: 100 for $20? Yes, please, and extra points for the bargain shopper. Alas, these days, buying in bulk would be laughable.

Any summer reading suggestions? Appears I have a slight case of reader’s block, where nothing looks particularly appealing. On my trip, the reading will be minimal, as The Firefighter isn’t a reader (nor a speller, apparently, as he advised against bringing travel Scrabble; I predict a lot of card games), but I will need something for the plane, at the least.

I leave for Costa Rica TOMORROW. Packing has proven difficult, as I am trying to pretend that I am pro-nature and low maintenance (as my mother likes to quote from Billy Crystal, I am the worst kind of maintenance: I am high maintenance but I think I am low maintenance. No, Mother, I REALLY AM LOW MAINTENANCE.) Ho Hum, and now I shall prove her point and talk about shoes. Do you think I need rainboots? What if I have really cute rainboots, how ‘bout then? I mean, we’ll be tramping around a rainforest where there is MUD, shouldn’t I bring waterproof footwear instead of ruining my white Sauconys? I’ll bring those, too, but not for the muddy trails. And even one pair of heels is unnecessary, right? Flip flops are all-encompassing.

Also, my wardrobe should be more browns-based and less blacks-based. I do not have enough color for Central America. I do, however, have exactly the perfect amount of color for Paris (read that: none). Will probably experience the same unbefitting feeling as last year in Greece, where only the widows wear black. On the positive, I read that the jungle animals tend to shy away from dramatic color (indicates poisonous), so maybe the black thing will work for me. Either way, I rarely plan on leaving my comfy pants. How awesome is a vacation of comfy pants (answer: very).

Final question: The Firefighter will have a birthday while we’re in Costa Rica. I should buy him something … something fun and slightly relevant … I have no idea what that should be. Thought his favorite booze sold in MN but then I’d have to check my bag and that’s a hassle, blah blah. Ideas?

TOMORROW. Maybe we should have booked even one hotel room? NO. We are adventurous! We will not be tied down! I have no anxiety about being a free spirit because THAT’S WHO I AM.

When The Brother announced that he was moving to Peru for six weeks to perfect his Spanish-speaking skills, my first thought was –because I am very self-involved and I knew The Brother would be safe and I have strongly encouraged him to do something like this —Vacation! Who can I drag along to visit with me? Vegas, Venezuela, NONE of my trips have worked out this year and without those little escapes, I sink into a depressed winter rut.

BUT NO MORE. The Firefighter has agreed to be my traveling companion. We’ve never traveled together, but I think it will work out really well … as long as he remembers that, as much as I like to try new activities, I do have my limit. His latest idea involves six days of jungle adventure, where he would learn to set-up perimeters to protect us from the wet, dark, bug-ridden, indoor-plumbing-less rainforest under constant threat of wild animal attack.

Six days. Of jungling.

During his jungle-plea, he said, “But Molly E, think of all the totally sweet spiders.”

Spiders. This was his convincing argument. Not brightly colored flowers or magical waterfalls or the beautiful, calming animals –none of which bite or slither.

He tells me spiders. Totally sweet ones. Sign me up!

Neither of us was looking for a beach vacation, so, as I am trying to remain open to ideas, I said my max was three days of jungling but he was in charge of all jungle-related research. And that I would not die. He said that was fair. We’re not even sure which country we’re going to visit –we might skip Peru altogether –so if anyone has been to South/Central America, I would appreciate any and all suggestions. Especially those unrelated to spiders.

A friend has scheduled a destination wedding for Vegas in March. I’ve never been to Vegas nor have my high-school friends, the same clique that is friends with the bride-to-be, even thought we have always planned to make the trip. This wedding, we’ve decided, is the perfect opportunity to make Vegas happen.

A few email threads have passed back and forth, planning our girls weekend. Which is how it was explicitly sold. Girls Weekend in Vegas.

Until one mentioned that her boyfriend was also excited to go. His ticket has already been booked and it works perfectly! because his birthday is that weekend.

The other two friends, well, once the date floodgates were open, dates were on-board the bandwagon. The other two … well, one can’t NOT invite her HUSBAND and the other, her boyfriend’s father – who, by the way, has CANCER – lives four hours away and he wants to see him while he still can. Only a heartless bastard could say no to the cancer patient.

Now, as the lone single gal, I have a few options:

a) Go dateless. While they are cozy and coupley and flirty. A weekend of third-wheel-dom.

b) Invite a guy friend. Maybe one of the ones that I try to keep at a distance because I am not interested; one that I would hesitate to bring to a local wedding – but a few days in Vegas? Sure! Swell! No mixed signals there! Also, remember that most of the ones to whom I am closest have girlfriends. Boundary-crossing, much?

c) Invite one of my favorite girl friends. Which is where I am leaning, but I feel like this is the somehow taboo – to bring another female into the cliquey girls-weekend dynamic. My friends wouldn’t be exclusive and bitchy, but I could still see it being … off. But then, they have dates, so I guess I don’t care.

d) Not go. And start the precedent that I need a date to attend all activities in the future, ensuring that I am dependent on other people to have fun. Not to mention anti-feminist. Awesome.

I want to experience Vegas with them but not necessarily them and their dates. Would much rather spend that vacation fund on visiting friends around the country. I have a long travel To-Go List. But then, I also don’t want any pity – either from not going or going alone. Advice? WW[The Internet]D?

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