Roughly 28 years later our paths would cross in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, at a moonlit rooftop happy hour overlooking the sparking sea. Marge, Neil, Allan and I would eventually become great friends and epitomize the Playa del Carmen experience: a bunch of slightly tweaked individuals who love a little adventure and are very open to new ideas and experiences meet in this sunny beach side oasis and become part of this large disjointed family living in Mexico. Although life long friendship bonds are irreplaceable, there is something remarkable about the level of trust and openness that each one of us has for each other. Perhaps it is due to the fact that we left our friends and family behind in the US or Canada and came here not knowing anyone. A common bond of adventure and willingness to meet new people and try new things has united us.
30 years after Marge and Neil were married, roughly 30 of us atypical adventurers united on a warm moonlit evening on the soft sands of Coco Beach to attend their wedding vow renewals. Both Marge and Neil donned sandals and gave each other costume jewelry as rings. The atmosphere could not have been more jovial and lighthearted, especially from a group who has learned that life is about painting your own picture, having fun and surrounding yourself with great loving friends.
After the short beach side ceremony we retired to a poolside buffet to feast and fraternize. The affair was catered by the local restaurant La Fregata, and the food certainly did not disappoint. A few cocktails into the affair we were up dancing to the music of local musician Barefoot Skinny and doing what is very important in life - laughing, loving life and having a great time.
If you were to ask me when I lived in Boston when was the last time I laughed out loud for an extended period of time I might not be able to answer the question. Whereas Playa del Carmen is most memorable for joyous laughter, warm hugs, bright eyes, large smiles and a carefree attitude. Since moving to Mexico I have met some amazing people who have made our experience here such a real joy: Marge and Neil, Mary Lou, Jim and Janet, James, Scot and Vicki, Jan and Rick, Maria and Steve, Kim, Barbi, Scottie and Jim, Roger and Jonelle, Diane and Brent... to name a few.
Marge and Neil's wedding vow renewal ceremony was certainly a highlight on our social calendar. It was one of many amazing experiences with great friends we have had in Playa del Carmen. Just the other night we were celebrating another ex-pat friend's birthday, Scot (who just so happened to live in Kingston, MA, 1 mile from my best friend's home). There were 19 of us twisted souls eating Arrachera steak, downing Tequila shots, and musing how anyone of us would help out another group member in need. Surrounded with such a loving and caring expatriate family, Allan and I look forward to the next day with anticipation and contentment.
|Marge and Neil - still gorgeous and in love after all these years.|
|Debi shows us how balance a full glass on her head and still look stunning.|
|Let the dancing begin.|
|Mary Lou and Diane|
|Henry and Maria|
|Neil leads by example - drink up, let loose and have fun!|