Today I should be in Thailand.
Last year, my husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary in Bangkok. We immediately booked flights and hotel reservations, eager to return this year.
Covid-19, Korean Air, and Delta cancelled our flights.
I started reading a book called Happier at Home published long before the coronavirus and lockdowns. Would I really be happier at home than in a luxury hotel? Of course not. But just maybe I could bring a bit of Bangkok into my day.
I showered with hotel soap and a sample-size shampoo that smelled like lemongrass. I put on my Thai robe bought at the Bangkok market.
My husband found mangoes and dragon fruit for breakfast.
As much as I wanted a chef to make our meals, I gathered ingredients and cooked a few Thai recipes. The taste of lime juice, fresh chilies, and fish sauce brought back memories.
On our many trips to Thailand, we had taken boat tours, visited temples, and even bathed an elephant.
This year, we were going to spend our time luxuriating at the pool.
We are fortunate to have our own outdoor pool, but the cement deck is cracked and our lounge chairs have seen better days. I headed out in my new bathing suit and sarong. The backyard did not resemble the outdoor oasis in Bangkok with its palm trees and waterfalls.
Later that day, I triangled the toilet paper and administered a turn-down service. I put a fresh bottle of water on the nightstand and chocolates on my pillow.
Sadly, I could not turn my bath towels into kissing swans.
At the end of the day, I learned it was futile to try and recreate a five-star vacation in our comfortable, yet no-star home. I sorely missed the hardworking staff that made our fantasy retreats come to life. My husband and I never took those special getaways for granted. We also didn’t think they would end. We will miss the days of easy-going travel, open buffets, and servers that brought un-masked smiles to our table.
We are slowly adjusting to the new normal.
What does your new normal look like?