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Within 24 hours of my move to the Gulf Coast in 2005, I learned this hard lesson: There is no such thing as paradise.

I moved South in pursuit of adventure and career, and to escape Northern winters.

It was only once the job had been accepted, the move made, the apartment rental deposit paid, that I realized with a sinking heart: “Wait a minute, nasty huge bugs are everywhere.”

And here I thought I’d gotten one over on the system.

Indeed, there are lots of critters in the south. The trade off for living in any tropical climate is a gecko or two on your pillow. (Geckos are some of the more delightful critters. Palmetto bugs: Not so much.)

In sub-zero-winters Minneapolis, those critters die and start afresh in spring. So, they’re always small. In the tropics, they keep growing and growing and growing.

This lesson is true of anything in life. Anything that looks perfect from far away never is so up close.

I just returned from a week vacation in Mexico. I’ve posted more than 200 photos on Facebook of my husband and I having a blast. What you won’t see? Plumbing woes, dirty air and bugs in our luggage.

Earthly perfection doesn’t exist — not in a vacation, not in a home, not in a marriage, not in a job, not in a bank account, not in a place. And that’s OK.

You can’t run from imperfection. You will simply find a different set of flaws.

Accepting this fact takes the pressure off. It lets us enjoy moments and people, with all of their buggy imperfections.

A cup of coffee

This is one of my favorite photos from Mexico. It is a cup of coffee from the El Espresso cafe in Sayulita. It almost challenges my entire thesis, as I can see lots of perfection in this latte!