Most people do not spend the winter on the Jersey Shore They retreat to warm climes like Florida, Arizona, or in our case, Mexico. Parts of Jersey are absolutely beautiful and not at all what my brain visualizes. As with many people, my vision was based on the popular TV program of 2009-2012 (did it really run that long?!!) with characters like Snooki and JWoww portraying a stereotypical Italian family of beach vacationers. I watched the show once. Not being a reality TV fan, it wasn’t my bag. I digress…
This was to be my husband’s and my fifth winter in Ajijic, our little ex-pat home in Mexico. Two weeks before the departure date, as David went to pack, he noticed (quite to his surprise – make that, disbelief!) that his passport had expired in November!!! It was almost 11:30 on a Friday night, so after a series of expletives left my lips, we realized we had to come up with a solution to our new-found predicament.
Why do problems always arise on a weekend?! I scoured blog after blog and the entire U.S State Department’s website looking for information detailing what a renewal of a passport means in the time of Covid. Expedite takes on a totally new meaning. Everything I read indicated the renewal would take between four to six weeks, rather than the 72 hours it used to take if you paid extra and went directly to a passport office. Oh so long ago! Covid has turned everything on its head.
Monday morning, we found out that everything I had read was indeed the case, so after filling out the application and taking the requisite photo, as well as paying an additional fee, there wasn’t much we could do but wait it out. Me, being an action driven person, knew I had to figure out a back-up plan. Small detail, we had rented out our primary residence for the first time ever and those people had given up their lease to move to our house the following week.
Thank God I am blessed with wonderful friends and family members. I made several frantic calls explaining our soon to be homeless situation. Lesson to be learned, always make friends with beach houses! You never know when they might come in handy. We wound up with several choices, all excellent, but my good friend A suggested waiting out the passport delay at her place on the Jersey Shore – Long Beach Island, or LBI for those in the know. Not a bad option!
So, dog in tow and bags packed with sweaters instead of bathing suits and shorts, we wait for the passport. With vaccinations rolling out for us “elderly” folk, we hope to be inoculated before leaving the United States for what might not be winter by the time we get there!
Life throws us curves constantly. We must be ready to catch them, pivot, go with the flow. If we don’t, we will be miserable and grumpy, a state of being I can’t be with a name like “joy”! So much pressure.
So, this morning as I walked the dog on the beach with the sun rising over the beautiful Atlantic, I thought to myself, how lucky am I? Winter at the Jersey Shore, a wonderful surprise!
-Be flexible. Go with the flow. Embrace what life tosses your way.
-As my daughter, Dana, said to me when learning of the passport fiasco, “No one died. No one has Covid. You will or you won’t get to winter in the Mexican sunshine this year.” Not so terrible. For sure, first world problems!!
Again, thank you, A, for being our savior!
Enjoy the ride.
xox Barclay and Joy