Can you pinpoint it? Was there a day that you told yourself, remember this? Or is that just me? I can recall a few days that I told myself to ‘remember’, and really for no specific reason at all other than to see if I could.
Now, before I talk about this day, you should know that I’ve had many amazing days. Days that were unbelievably special and unforgettable, but this day was somehow different. When I think about it and when I look at pictures from that day, I physically feel my heartbeat…like my heart is smiling.
That day took place in Costa Rica. My folks (my mom and her long time boyfriend) used to own a condo on the west side of country, in an area that most Costa Ricans would consider ‘country’. It’s a stunningly beautiful place with a laid back vibe that forces you to stop and enjoy life. It’s simplicity allows you to take a look at the more important things, which I’m certain is part of the reason this was so special.
I was a sophomore in college and was just starting to really appreciate the college life, making new friends and embracing freedom. Nonetheless I was missing some of my best girlfriends from high school. The two that I was closest with went to college in Northern MN and Georgia, and I was in small town Wisconsin. So for Spring Break that year, we decided they would come to Costa Rica with my folks, for a reunion.
We did so much during the trip. We explored, enjoyed, and caught up as best we could. As far as I can remember, my folks had set us up on a boat excursion for the day (St. Patrick’s Day I later realized). Think of this like one of those catamaran tours you take in Mexico, but ten times more laid back. Since I had never been on one of these, the only thought I had was…’why do we need to be up at 6am?’.
We arrived to the beach that morning and they brought us out to the sailboat in a dingy. On the boat was fresh fruit and rum punch…this changed things.
We were starting to embrace this experience as they shuttled other groups out. Per usual, we were trying to get the others excited by shouting “Happy St. Patrick’s Day!” to them as their dingy pulled up to the main boat — likely forgetting it was still only 630am…and naturally starting to wonder what the day was going to be like if everyone on the boat was boring.
As we took off further out into the water — it was a beautiful morning, but that was nothing out of the ordinary for Costa Rica.
We eventually stopped near a beach for lunch. The crew was preparing everything so we had time to hang out and meet others from the boat. We sat by the water and chatted, and the mood lightened as the Imperials started to crack open.
A man walked down by us and cracked a joke about is peeing in the water– [we were] — and we started chatting with him. He mentioned that he and his wife had come on the boat to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. They were from Savannah, GA which naturally sparked some common interests with my friend. He talked about his life, children, and wife…who eventually came down by the water to chat.
We had lunch and made our way back out to the sailboat for the long ride back. Which, the ride was only long because they took the long way back and we were actually sailing at that point. Magic. Everyone on the boat seemed to come together like we were a big family that never knew the others existed, but there we were…all together for the first time.
There was music, dancing, laughing, you name it — everyone was completely blissed out. As I am writing this I realize that I am forgetting a lot of the fine details from that day, but I do remember that it felt like pure joy. Imagine it like when you are watching a movie, and those scenes where there is only music playing and they are showing you the happiness that the characters are feeling. You can’t hear anything they are saying, but you know for sure they are happy. That’s how I imagine this day if I had the ability to watch it from afar.
Probably some reggae song playing while this group of strangers takes in a day with everything they have. As if they all realized how special and amazing that day was, but in the moment they didn’t want to talk about it because they knew that would mean they could never have it again.
Trust me that I mean that in the best way possible.