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When we plan our own trips, we normally do them for about four days at a time. Even if the most amazing venues, we get burned out and homesick after a while. Travel is stressful, regardless of how fun it is. Today, my yearning for home is strong. I awaken to find an ugly cold sore pushing from my mouth like a fat lip, and any denial I had about the amount of stress I was feeling has gone right out the window. I begin to wonder if I can even recognize when I’m under stress anymore.

We’re supposed to see my husband’s colleagues for dinner but it looks like I took a punch to the mouth. The pain is excruciating and I plead with him to cancel. I just can’t face the group of perfect couples with this horrific open sore on my face. We go downstairs for breakfast and the line is the longest I’ve ever seen during our stay. When we are finally seated, our table hasn’t even been wiped off. The donuts we’d promised my son as a reward for his patience are gone, the consequences of taking our time getting ready.

We decide to send my husband to the pool and I will take my son to ride his beloved shuttle for a ride. My husband leaves us to grab chairs poolside and I stay at the breakfast table a few minutes longer to finish my coffee.

The radio begins playing the local music instead of the top 40 mix. It’s like island college football band music, a sound big and happy and motivating. My son begins clapping and cheering. A woman from the next table comes over to comment how happy my son is. Her kindness comes at a very vulnerable moment for me, as I’m feeling ugly, tired and defeated. She chats with us, telling me what I need to hear, reassuring me that everything will be okay.

It’s moments like this when I feel like the universe must be watching out for me somehow. I was almost in tears when she left, thank goodness for the kindness of strangers.

We ride the shuttle for a while, until my son begins to become difficult. We chat with another family on the shuttle who tell us about a ferry that runs to downtown that my son might also enjoy.

We join my husband at the pool, which turns out to be pretty good strategy in terms of saving seats. Unfortunately, another round of cruise ship passengers unload and take up the seats next to us. These are the worst ones yet. Sitting on our chairs and crowding out space. Two light up cigarettes in spite of the no smoking signs. We resolve to not leave the chairs unattended since we have credit cards and cell phones in our bag. They consume a ludicrous amount of alcohol, loudly spouting foul language within earshot of the children playing nearby.

I nearly retch as one of the classier ladies regales her comrades with a story about how she and her siblings would mistake spit cans for soda and chug them by mistake. One of the gentlemen is eating an apple and one of the women loudly calls him a “fag” for doing so.

In spite of their awfulness, my son actually seems to be enjoying the day at the pool and doesn’t want to leave. So we end up spending practically the entire day at the pool, which is mostly a win.

However we miss our nap, so dinner is a cranky mess of refusing to eat and actually spitting out the food we do manage to try. Our moods are sour and although we crash early, it’s another rough night. Each time my son awakens and I’m not holding him, he cries and hits and takes forever to console. He’s in a mommy only stage at the moment, which is doubly frustrating as I am completely exhausted from lack of sleep.