Kirsty Blake Knox: The unexpected joys of holidaying with your parents as an adult
It's unmistakable - the look of pity in people's eyes when you tell them that you, an adult woman, are going on holiday with your parents.
Typically it's followed with an unconvincing 'that'll be nice', a nose wrinkle and then a joke about your parents picking up the tab. "Well at least it won't cost you an arm and a leg."
And I get it. I was exactly the same until last year when I found myself sorely missing travel buddies.
Pals were either too broke or had selfishly decided to go travelling with their spouse instead of me. Rude.
Three weeks on my own was too daunting, and so I admitted defeat and scuttled along to my mother's and asked her to go away with me.
She agreed and then five days later my dad decided he would tag along too.
In the lead up to the holidays I started getting anxious - 21 days was an awfully long time to spend with your parents and I wondered if I would make it through the holiday without murdering them in their sleep.
But as soon as I reached the airport I realised travelling with your parents as an adult is actually the business. And the sooner you realise it the better.
Of course there has to be a sufficient time lapse between the adult family trip and your teenage and childhood family holidays.
You need that break; a few years when you do the sixth year vacation to Magaluf, or the backpacking trip around Thailand, or the post break-up gals holiday to Dubrovnik when you drink a whole bottle of discount limoncello and spend three days with your head down a toilet.
But once those bucket-list holidays are crossed off the list, you can return to the joy of family holidays. Over the course of our holiday in Mexico we spent weeks eating guacamole, swimming, and sunbathing.
We went on a sea safari and saw manatees having sex (a little awkward for everyone, especially the manatees), we went on a cantina tour in Mérida, and we spent plenty of time psychoanalysing every single member of our extended family. It was ace.
Of course, there are downsides; holiday romances are off the cards (unless you like chatting people up in front of your folks in which case, get thee to a therapist).
They also get up early, move slower and can on occasion point out insurmountable flaws in your character that will lead to you suffering an existential crisis. It's also highly likely that your mother will get drunk and emotional and recall giving birth to you.
And contrary to popular opinion, it will not be less expensive than other holidays. Your mam and dad are at a stage in their lives where they should be enjoying the good things. Unless you are the sort of person who prides themselves on scrounging off your parents, this will bump up the cost of your holiday. On the plus side, you will drink some very, very nice wine. But the pros far outweigh the cons.
Firstly, there is zero stress or consideration about getting 'beach ready'.
These are your parents and they therefore have to love you and your cellulite-ridden body unconditionally.
Also Irish mammies are walking pharmacies who sweat Sudocrem. No matter what happens to you on holiday, your mother will always have the remedy. Blister plasters, aftersun, eye drops, ear unblockers, codeine - whatever you need she is your handy holiday Dr Quinn Medicine Woman and will look after you.
Parents are also infinitely more organised than you and will remember all the important stuff like boarding passes and currency exchange rates.
You will unearth long-forgotten family gossip and finally understand why your aunt Pauline walks like that.
Plus, you'll stockpile an arsenal of "you won't believe what dad did then" stories to tell your siblings.
Unlike your childhood holidays which can all blur together, you will remember these memories and treasure them the older you get.
Yes, you will fight a lot but you will probably laugh a good deal more and for that alone, it's worth it.
Myth about jellyfish and pee will leave sting in the tail
Not one, but two, fundamental medical truths were up-ended this week.
On Thursday, we heard that contrary to what every doctor in the history of medicine has told patients, you should not, I repeat, should not finish a full course of antibiotics.
Apparently all it does is make your body immune to the medicine. How's that for a kick in the teeth?
It was followed by news that the traditional first-aid treatment of peeing on jellyfish stings is nothing but a pack of lies.
Accordingly to Dr Tom Doyle, lecturer in zoology at NUI Galway, the 'cure' has remained a popular solution thanks to that episode of Friends.
"It definitely didn't help," Dr Doyle said.
"I don't know anyone who has actually tried this method, but I can confidently say that it doesn't work."
Dr Doyle also said an episode of Running Wild with Bear Grylls in which former Spice Girl Mel B urinated on Grylls' hand led to further confusion.
"He got one of the Spice Girls to pee on him…This was just done for TV and drama and didn't actually make things better," he said.
Dr Doyle is right; it did make for compulsive viewing - afterwards Mel and Bear killed and then ate the jellyfish in some sort of bizarre ritualistic practise.
The incident even earned Scary Spice the nickname 'Mel Pee' but Bear later admitted it "wasn't the miracle cure we'd hoped for".
I am sad to hear that this natural remedy is nothing but a ruse - I quite enjoyed the idea of people all over Ireland urinating on their nearest and dearest in moments of blind panic. But our man in the field, Dr Doyle, says the answer is much simpler.
"All you need is some vinegar and lots of hot water."
Sounds great. Just one slight problem - does anyone pack a bottle of Sarsons Malt Vinegar and a kettle when heading to the beach? Didn't think so.
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