Today I wore my favorite necklace. I don't wear jewelry often other than earrings and my wedding ring so when I do people at work tend to compliment me on it (maybe in a subtle encouraging sort of way as though I should dress up more often even though the only thing I did different was to wear a necklace). And when the pro bono partner admired my necklace while walking past my open office door, I had to stop myself from launching into the story behind it. I tend to do that - have a story behind things that I love to share (obviously since I am blogging about this), but I restrained myself because it is weird to open up your life to a partner like that (even a super cool one like this particular partner).
But I got my necklace right at the end of law school, 2 weeks after the swine flu broke out. This was back when my littlest sister Jessica was set to start study abroad in Guadalajara, Mexico that summer. Only it got canceled because of the 'epidemic'. Paul and I had already planned to go to the Yucatan Peninsula in May, and we decided that if we were going to get swine flu, we were as likely to get it in Utah as in Mexico (maybe not true, but we really wanted to go to Mexico and didn't want to cancel our plans). So we invited Jessica to exchange her no longer necessary plane ticket to Guadalajara for one to Cancun and join us.
It was the best trip. Seriously, I feel amazing and happy and wonderful just thinking about it while I am typing this. We didn't get sick and there was NOBODY in Mexico. It is like that dream you may have had (as I have) that you go to Disneyland and you are the only people in the park so there is no waiting in line for any rides, ever, but the whole place is still open and running. Except it was Mexico, not Disneyland. And it was Jessica's first time out of the country.
She is the one who bartered with the necklace seller, entirely in spanish, to talk him down a few pesos so I could get the necklace. She had been a little hesistant to use her spanish when we first got there, but when the transaction concluded and I owned my orange necklace, I could tell she was so pleased with herself and what she had done with the language she had put a lot of effort in to learning. Now she is in Uruguay and is fluent in Spanish. I miss her a lot today I guess.
I don't know why, but I think about this experience in Mexico a lot. Maybe because it is a lot like one of my greatest fantasies, which is this: If I had unlimited resources, one of my biggest dreams would be to take each member of my family on their very own trip to someplace amazing.
Since I already got to do this with Jessica in Mexico (even if we didn't pay for everything), I think that I would now take her either to Peru to visit Macchu Piccu or to Thailand and Cambodia. I would take my mom to visit Scotland and Denmark, where her ancestors come from. We would see castles and listen to bagpipe music. My dream trip for my dad is to go to Africa and go on a safari, then go hike Mt. Kilamanjaro together. I would take Jennie to England and we would go see Stratford-upon-Avon and Shakespeare's Globe theater and the crown jewels and all of the palaces - maybe with a trip to Bath and Stonehenge thrown in just because they both sound interesting. I would take my brother Ryan somewhere where he could be really, really warm since he doesn't like the cold very much - maybe someplace like Morrocco. And if my brother Seth, who we haven't heard from in a long time but who I still love and think about a lot, ever decided to talk to me again, I would love to take him to India so that he could see the extremes of what life is like elsewhere and maybe realize how wonderful he had it growing up with parents who not only loved us, but were able to provide so much for us. I would take my Aunt Judy to Disneyland Paris (it wouldn't be a dream trip for her without something Disney but I think she would love the amazing food and seeing the Eiffel tower) and I would take my Aunt Renita to do the Germany, Austria, Switzerland trip that Paul and I did while we were living in Europe for a summer since she took German in school and still remembers a word or two and would probably be fun to take anywhere.
Paul is a whole other story since there are so many places we want to go together. But if I was doing a trip just for him, it would probably have to involve fishing. Even one of the National Geographic photography expedition trips would still be just as much for me as for him. So I think his trip would either be to Montana or Alaska (preferably Alaska).
I'm not very sentimental over many objects, but I'm sentimental over this necklace because it means all these things to me.