I like a variety of books, and am open to trying many new things. But as you may have noticed with My Summer Reading, it’s mostly a summer of chick lit. Yes, it’s mostly Jen Lancaster (she is cracking me up) but there are a few others too.
One of those is Sleeping Arrangements by Madeleine Wickham, which I just finished reading a couple days ago. This definitely qualifies as a fun summer read solidly planted in the chick lit genre.
The set up of the story is fairly predictable. Two families are preparing to leave on holiday to a friend’s villa in Spain. And wouldn’t you know it, they’re headed to the same villa for the exact same week. More twisty plot….the wife of one family and the hubby of the other know each other…intimately…from their “prior” lives. This creates some tension from the get-go, and you think you know how it’s going to all play out. But there are some twists and turns in the story that keep you turning the pages.
I don’t want to ruin the story, and this isn’t a book review (other than to say that Yes, I would definitely recommend this to lovers of chick lit). But it did make me question: how well would I handle a vacation that was NOTHING like I had planned? Would I be able to make the best of it?
We’ve had a couple experiences that challenged us to reset our expectations. Most notably…
I grew up mostly in California, and am used to the California coast and the fun coast towns. I thought all coastal towns were like this (Murder She Wrote only fed this stereotype as Cabot Cove looked equally charming and it was set on the East Coast). And this was at a time when my husband and I enjoyed spa-weekends at various coastal resorts. Yes, it’s easy to get addicted to those.
But then we moved to Oregon. And we decided to head out to the northern Oregon coast for a weekend getaway. I was so excited to have another spa weekend. We found a great little place called Inn at Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City, OR. It sounded lovely – ocean view from every room, massages right on site. Booked and ready to relax.
Even then, we knew we were a little “California-snobby”, but on our first visit I was sorely disappointed. The coast was….flat and cold. Long stretches of flat sand without many landmarks to look at except for the one big rock (Haystack Rock). I was also expecting lots of fun little shops and yummy places to eat. Not so much. The massage? Okay – but not a spa. Just a massage therapist that they could bring on site in the one little massage room. I left that weekend sad and missing California – terribly. (Okay, so I guess I’m not so good at dealing with disappointing vacations as I thought.)
During our couple-hour-drive back home, we griped, moaned, whined, and complained. And then we got over ourselves. We realized that we just needed to reset our expectations. What were we really trying to get out of a little getaway anyway? Ultimately we really just wanted to escape the daily grind, spend some quality time together, and chill. Okay – we totally could do that in Pacific City. So we set out to try again.
And this time, we had a GREAT time! Nothing changed except our attitude. The same rock was there, the same handful of restaurants and shops (yes, there were SOME), and the same ocean view from every room. Guess what? Since this time we were able to look past ourselves, we saw that the field next to the hotel was home to rabbits – dozens of them! And this time there were plenty of cute baby bunnies! (I’m going to have to find the pictures of some of those cuties.) The hotel sold rabbit food (why did we not notice this last time) so we bought some and spent plenty of time luring out the rabbits and just observing their cuteness.
Lesson Learned: Yes, if you allow yourself to go with the flow, you can have a great vacation, even if it is not what you expected when you started out.