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Entering My 2nd Trimester of Life (30th Birthday) During a Pandemic

Last week my husband I celebrated both of our birthdays. Before the big day arrived, we discussed the possibility of planning something to do in celebration. Despite the current circumstances, we looked forward to enjoying our day and making it some what special. We had already cancelled our Summer vacation trip to Florida after several times of re-scheduling. After spending nearly 2 weeks doing online research and a bunch of phone calls, we finally found something that we thought would be worthy of our efforts, a nearby resort and spa.

The afternoon before our official birthday, we set off on the road for an hour and forty minutes drive until we reached the beautiful beachside city of Long Branch, New Jersey. Before arriving to the resort, we decided to stop at a nearby Shake Shack to grab something to munch on.

This was one of the first moments during this trip that the reality of what we were living through kicked in.

First, as we waited on line outside of the restaurant to place our order, an elderly women came up to us to ask if it was now a law to wear a face mask. Without any hesitation, I quickly replied, "Yes!" Meanwhile, my husband tried to respond some unsure answer. I interrupted whatever he was about to say which could‘ve possibly given her a reason to remove her mask and said, "masks must be worn whenever in public and where social distancing is not possible". We walked away astonished to see how all of this has yet to sink in for some people and what's even worse, we were less than two hours away from New York, the epicenter of this pandemic just 2 months ago! Once our food order was placed, we waited and prepared ourselves for a family meal in the back of the pick up truck. (Pandemic or not, there was no way my husband was going to allow us to eat inside of his brand new truck.)

Upon arrival at the resort, I was thankful and relieved to see, even before entering the building, that safety precautions were being implemented. As we walked through the automatic doors of the resort, there was an employee at a desk blocking the entryway waiting to take our temperatures and give us our guest bands before directing us to the check-in desk. After checking in, we rushed upstairs, checked out the room we would be living in for the next two days, admired the beautiful beachfront terrace view for a couple seconds, and quickly changed into our swimwear. We were determined to take full advantage of every minute of this mini-getaway. We made our way to the outdoor pool deck and I was so glad that there was literally no one there but a few hotel employees doing some early cleaning and the lifeguard.

As much as I wanted to try to enjoy this birthday trip, the thought of being in the middle of a global pandemic, never left my mind and to be honest, I'm glad it never did.

We had the entire pool practically to ourselves and Celine was really enjoying it. I could tell she really missed having her swimming lessons this Summer because she took the opportunity to practice all the skills she had learned before. I could see the pride in my husband's eyes as he watched our little girl hanging on to the walls of the pool, moving along the edge singing, "monkey, monkey, monkey" all by herself. (This was a skill she learned from taking swimming lessons since she was months old. (*Check out my blog post on "What to Expect: Mommy & Me Swimming Class"). As the afternoon sun began to fade away and the wind picked up, we were reminded that we would be dealing with yet another pernicious factor, tropical storm Isais. We bribed Celine out of the pool by telling her we would go for a walk on the beach so, we headed back upstairs to our room and changed into dry clothes.

As we walked along the boardwalk, observing everything, it almost felt as if we were on a trip much farther away than a mere less than 2 hours drive from home. The beach looked so different from the ones we were used to seeing at home. Even the sand felt different on our feet as we trudged through it. The water was much lighter in color. The sand was a deep tan color and it's texture was grainy and not as fine as the ones on Long Island. Walking through the sand, I was reminded of the exact feeling of the sand in the Dominican Republic which brought a smile to my face.

Before heading back to the hotel, we wanted to have dinner at one of the restaurants. However, because of Covid-19 and the storm coming, nearly all of the restaurants we approached had stopped seating people for dinner. We walked to the hotel with some snacks we picked up from 7-eleven, ordered some beers from the hotel bar, and called it a night. It was a little bit of a shock to experience the reality of what we are going through at this time. We quickly realized that we would have to make the best of our trip with the little things we are able to do safely at the moment.

The next day was officially our birthday and thankfully my little sister came by to give us a treat, which we enjoyed very much. She had booked us an appointment with the hotel spa for Swedish massages and pedicures. While we were getting pampered, she stayed with Celine. Little did we know that in the meantime, she was setting up a surprise for us in our room. It was the perfect way to save our special day despite the intense storm that was undergoing outside of the hotel.

Right before we left the spa, the power went out in the hotel. In that moment, we knew the rest of our time on that trip was going to be unlike anything we had expected.

Walking into our room and seeing everything my little sister (who is practically our daughter also) had prepared for us while we were gone, filled us with so much joy. (I wish you could hear Celine tell the story of how they went all the way to the hotel parking lot together to get all the decor and cake from my little sister's car, in the middle of the storm. You would get a stomach ache from laughing so hard!) We sang "Happy Birthday" to each other and had some tres leche cake, my favorite.

We then, waited for the storm to pass inside the powerless hotel room, watching the ocean waves as they began to gradually hit the shore with less intensity each time. We listened to the sounds of the heavy rain and the wind hit the glass doors of the terrace. Feeling super relaxed from all the pampering we had received at the spa, my husband fell asleep while, I used the little bit of battery charge I had on my phone to find a restaurant where we could make dinner reservations. To further complicate things, nearly every restaurant in the area had been closed or solely taking orders for take-out due to the storm. Thankfully, after numerous phone calls and google searches, I was able to find the perfect restaurant just a few miles away from the hotel with availability for a reservation that night! Next thing I knew, it was 4 o'clock in the afternoon, and I had to figure out how to get online for my online Summer class. I know what you're thinking, it's mine and my husband's birthday, I'm at a hotel on a getaway trip, why on earth would I even attempt to attend an online class?! Well, that’s just the way I am. The challenge of multi-tasking at this magnitude is just something, my super-mama self couldn't pass up. To my advantage, my professor had also been out of power apparently and so there was no class meetings for the next three days.

Despite the MANY circumstances we were facing, that evening we had an amazing birthday dinner at The Rum Runner. This restaurant is perfectly located beside the Shrewsbury River in Sea Bright, NJ. Being that seating was only permitted outdoors and with a reservation, we had dinner with a beautiful view. Settling to my paranoia, our seating area was set up with very few additional guests around us. I was in the mood for seafood, which was one of the reasons why I had chosen this restaurant. I was beyond pleased with my grilled salmon and vegetable couscous. I can still taste the amazing flavor and texture in my mouth as I write about it. My husband had the steak sirloin dish and Celine devoured her marinara pasta. For appetizers we had coconut shrimp and bbq wings which, were to die for.

After dinner, we were disappointed to see that the hotel still had no power. When my husband tried getting some answers from the front desk, they simply handed him a flashlight and two glow sticks which, only helped to further infruriate him. I, on the other hand was in such a pleasant mood. Don't get me wrong, I totally understood my husband for being upset. It was ridiculous that we had spent so much money to be there and had to go over 24 hours without any electricity. Our phones were dead, Celine's ipad had no power, the room t.v. couldn't be used, and we had to carry a flashlight everytime we needed to go into the bathroom. Yet, I was mezmerized by the beauty of mother nature right outside our room terrace and the fact that we were finally spending time together as a family, just the three of us. As my husband put Celine to bed, I decided to go down to the bar and get us a couple of drinks. We spent the rest of our birthday evening sipping on our sangrias, having long overdue conversations, and simply watching the full moon shine over the ocean.

The next morning, I noticed there was still no power in our room. However to my delight, the weather had done a complete 360. The sun was shining bright through our terrace glass doors. The loud and stormy ocean was now calm, gentile, and welcoming. From the terrace, I could see people already out doing their morning run or simply laying on the sand watching the sunrise. While, I had the terrace all to myself, I soaked up all the beauty of the ocean view and did my morning prayers. Soon after, I anxiously began to awaken my two sleepyheads, while also working on getting ready for a day on the beach. It was our last day at the resort and I was determined to take full advantage of all we had missed the previous day. First we walked down to the pier feeling relieved to see local businesses had reopened. We purchased a light breakfast and coffee for take out and made our way on to the beach. There, hotel employees immediately set us up with our very own lounge chairs and umbrellas making sure to keep a reasonable distance from all other resort guests who were already on the beach. I felt full and at peace just laying on my lounge chair reading my book while, Celine and my husband played on the sand.

Celine loves collecting seashells whenever we are at the beach. She always makes sure to bring them all the way home with her to add to her collection.

My husband was so upset with the way the hotel handled the power outage situation he wanted to be out of there ASAP. I managed to convince him to let us enjoy the beach a little while longer before we checked out and headed back home.

This birthday has been a very significant one for me. As some women would call it, I’ve officially entered my “2nd trimester” of life. I was talking to my grandmother over the phone a few days ago and she said to me, “This is your prime years. During your 20’s you were unknowledgeable about so many things. This is your time to truly make something out of yourself and live your life the way you really want to live it because now you KNOW.“ It wasn’t until then that my perspective about turning 30 years old completely shifted. All those experiences I lived during my first trimester as a YOUNG ADULT will consequently determine the GROWN ASS WOMAN I am today and will be tomorrow...

...Sew This is Life!

"30. Old enough to look back. Young enough to look forward. This shall be my best decade ever!"

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