“Baby, your mantra is ‘Trust not Try’”. He’s looking at me gently.
Damn, he’s got this down. The tiniest titch of anger wells up, but I know I’m only envious of the way he knows how to self-soothe and enjoy the process. I sip my tea and stare out the window at the sunrise gaining momentum. I want answers…where are we going to settle? We need a washer, we need furniture, and tools! Should we ship everything we have from the States, or buy it all here? What is our five year plan?!
Marty is comfortable anywhere. He knows how to make any place home. He has no angst, no desire for material comforts, no need to hurry up and figure it all out. He knows how to be happy. All he desires is alone time, time to make art. His ornate mind and agile hands give him endless hours of entertainment. He Is a wonderful accomplice in my life. We balance one another in such perfect and opposing harmony.
I remind myself, “Sunny, here you are, sitting in paradise. This is what you have worked your ass off for the last 15 years. This is what you wanted, prayed for and dreamed of.”
I guess I thought once I got here, it was going to be easy. There was such a huge push to get us here, that I didn’t even consider there might be more effort after the fact. And although its a pleasurable feeling, I sense my mind is turning off. The monkey chatter express has come to its destination. Time to climb out of the vessel of my own crazy-train psyche, stretch my legs and unwind. I need to take a rest, then look at where I am and take it all in. No decisions should be made yet.
This is an idyllic paradise. Each day is luscious- a long, relaxed unfolding of cool morning trail runs, bird calls on the deck during yoga, time at the river playing with the kids. There are afternoons with coffee and friends on the patio, and random meet-ups with friends old and new. Once a week is feria to get our organic goods for the week and see friends. I am just discovering there is a women’s group, an art class, and daily yoga at a nearby retreat center.
I have SO MUCH time all of a sudden. Six month ago I would have a list and fill every square centimeter with projects, ambitions and plans. But now, I find my mind is mushy and slow after years of adrenal fatigue and stress. And I don’t even care enough to care anymore. My reset button has only just turned back on, and its taking a little while to warm the system up again.
Its OK. Somehow it’s all OK.
Stressful moments like this morning are becoming increasingly rare. The Ticos say, “Dont worry. Tranquilo.” And for the first time, I know what they mean. The frenetic pace in the States seems like a crazy circus from here.
I love to walk the kids to their new school. Donning crisp, white button-down shirts and fresh haircuts, they look eager to learn. Against all the beautiful Tico kids with big brown eyes, cocoa skin and dark hair, they look SO gringo! They look exotic, these little gems of ours. I admire their courage. They took to school easily, had friends within five minutes. They already know some Spanish. They’re like their father- easy to adjust to nascent surroundings. They find comfort in one another. The three Musketeers. I am able to savor simple moments like walking to school, snuggling in the hammock, laughing and making dinner together, building a sand castle.
The afternoons tend to be hot and breezy this time of year. The gold beetles are mating and dozens make their way into the house every day. At night, they sound like rain hitting the windows as they fly toward the light inside. This afternoon, I was sweeping up the dead beetles strewn all over the floor, and paused to watch puffy, white clouds curl up over the green mountain. I make dinner as the sun sets…garlic and onions, sips of Chilean Malbec. And there are hours for Marty and me to give one another massages, watch movies, and make love.
And within these tranquil days, there’s learning. I am trying to learn as much Spanish as I can. I feel dependent on Marty because he is beautifully fluent. Although he has bright green eyes and taller than most Ticos, they often mistake him for a native Mexican because of his accent. It often opens doors for us here. I spend 2 hours a day on Duolingo. It is helping, however, I don’t think I’ll ever use the phrase, “The ducks drink milk.” again.
And we’re trying to glean as much information about how to make a new life here. I inundate local friends, Ticos, and members of the expat association, with endless questions. We have heard so many scary stories of Ticos taking advantage of Gringos, how we must find a competent lawyer ASAP, to trust no one, the crime rate is soaring. Settle in Ecuador or Panama! People tell us Costa Rica is unstable, too expensive, already discovered and overpriced.
One the other side of the story are the big, warm smiles from our Tico neighbors. Our happy friends who have lived here for 15 years. And then there are the people in the States. Friends and family trying to escape the “hamster wheel”. Just about everyone I talk to either says we are nuts to live here, or that they want to move to Costa Rica. But living in Costa Rica really isn’t for most Americans. Many people I know would love to visit, but not love living here. There are a lot of bugs and snakes if you’re squeamish like that. And there’s a deep wildness unlike any I’ve experienced in the Sates (both in ecology and culture!), and the Ticos’ way of doing things can feel very foreign.
It feels like I am letting go of any vestiges of materialism. Compared to the locals, we live like kings with our 1992 Isuzu Trooper jalopy, and $400-a-month, humble rental house. But it truly feels like what we have is all we need. We don’t have a washing machine, so I made a deal with a local to do our laundry in trade for coaching sessions. One hundred little rivelets of deals and agreements add up to a river of comfort. It somehow all works out. How you get your raw milk, laundry done, and bananas add up to a fun daily adventure of hunting and gathering. The Ticos call is “Camaroneando”, literally “Shrimping”– lots of little jobs and set-ups to get what you need.
I told Marty our future is wide open, so we must be careful what we fill it with. What do I want to create? What do I want to do with the second half of my life? What is best for our children?
And this leads me right back to where it all started…Me.
Because wherever you go, there you are. Again and again there is still that unanswered question that it all boils down to me….”Who am I?”
What do I want?
Now that the old external pressures have faded, and I am on an ever deeper level of my be-ing in this life, in this time, this age, now…Who Am I?
I observe the pressure that wells up from within and question their origins. I witness the persistent ways of being that have been there my entire existence. And then I attempt to decipher which of these are ‘real’ and which are old stories that keep me bound to reacting.
What a gift it is to be able to have time to reflect and appreciate! All paths seem to circle back to gratitude.
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