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How I Spent My Summer Vacation

There’s almost nothing more satisfying than reaching into the oven and pulling out a loaf of bread that I consider to be the embodiment of perfection: well-baked crust; deep golden hue; tiny bubbles of fermentation; beautiful open crumb. A well-deserved vacation is also one of those things that can be truly satisfying. For the last five years, Brian and I had spent our winter holidays on Turks and Caicos, a tiny island in the Caribbean. This year was no exception. We traded a week of record-breaking temperatures in the single digits for a week of warmth in the sun and a turquoise sea.

We couldn’t have timed our departure better. While grabbing a quick breakfast in the Delta Airlines terminal at Newark International Airport, we soon realized we were seated next to Team Sweden, who were returning from the Olympics in Sochi (the stack of hockey sticks at the check-in counter was a dead giveaway). The team was catching a flight back to Detroit, where they played for the Red Wings. So what if they didn’t get the gold; we were eating scrambled eggs with silver-medalists!

We chose this all-inclusive, adults-only Club Med for a number of reasons. First of all, you must be at least 18 years of age to be allowed on the resort; you can eat and drink as much as you like, whenever you like, up until two in the morning; you can partake in any or all of the sports activities offered; you can watch free nightly entertainment performed by the Club’s team organizers (the French are renowned for their raunchy humor);—all of this without spending a sou. But if you want to have internet or phone service, book a diving or sunset excursion, share a bottle of Moët & Chandon with your partner, or pick up that tube of Crest you forgot to pack along, be prepared to spend an arm and a leg. Since most guests tend not to venture off of the resort, there is also little boutique on site that sells Club Med t-shirts and other color-coordinated outfits—mostly from France— at rip-off prices, as well as Trojans and Alka-Seltzer.

I’m embarrassed to say that no matter how many times we travel to Club Med—I believe this year marks the seventh time—I never pack the right clothes. If I were headed to a desert island, I just might get away with carry-on, but what makes matters a little complicated is the fact that that there is an optional dress code for the guests. (If you’ve ever been on a Club Med vacation, you will know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, the Club organizers want you to dress according to a theme each night, and each night requires wearing a different color). Since I’m one of those suckers wishing to partake in the Club Med “experience,” I cram as many different outfits in as many different color combinations as possible into my suitcase. Lots of extra underwear and socks are obligatory, since the high humidity makes you sweat a lot—especially if you take one of the aerobic classes offered, such as Zumba or body conditioning, or want to play tennis—and you want to avoid paying for laundry services ($5.00 for a clean pair of undies!).

After arriving at the resort and unpacking our bags in our hotel room, Brian and I joined our friends, Jay and Martie, from New Hampshire, whom we’d met at the very same resort, and with whom we’d coordinated our vacations for the last two years. Jay, a retired ophthalmologist and an avid murder-mystery-novel reader, always brings a suitcase full of books to last him the week and passes them down to Brian to read. For this trip, Brian had brought only one book along, and was eagerly anticipating an assortment of suspense novels from Jay. This year, Jay and Marti brought all their books on their Kindles. C’est la vie.

Seven days of sun, fun, and sand does wonders to relax the mind and body. It’s just long enough before you say to yourself, it’s time to leave.

Fast forward to one week later: We pull into our driveway in Beach Lake at one o’clock in the morning and the temperature registers -3°. In Providenciales the previous afternoon, it had been 80 degrees warmer. It feels great to be back home!

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