Long time no blog. I have my reasons for disappearing. One normal and obvious, the other is something I’ve been struggling with so much that it has silenced me.
I’m super busy with work. I started running my design business full time last year and I’m learning how to run a business by doing it, so I’ve had ups and downs. Like I went broke last year when I spent all the profit on vacations. Duh. Now I’m back on track and have learned not to spend all the money that the business makes because there will be fluctuations and unexpected expenses. Another duh. Since that first big mistake, I’ve been in recovery mode and am finally back on track, swamped with work and having to turn clients away. Might be time to grow, or not (here come some more mistakes!!)
I’m in limbo. I have lived in Costa Rica for four years now. It was originally only supposed to be a year. Year one and two flew by, filled with only amazing things, distracting me from any thoughts on my future. Year three was good, but I started thinking about what the heck I want to do with my life – could I really live in Costa Rica like a 20-year old forever? I decided to move out of Costa Rica, then I changed my mind, again, and again, and again… rolling the pros and cons around in my head.
I love the Costa Rican landscape. Being surrounded by so much life really is a dream come true. The greens, the blues, the hills, the beaches. All I have to do is step outside and I can feel my body physically reacting to the beautiful abundance of nature. It’s like a warmth in my tummy that spreads all over my body.
I love leaving all the doors and windows on my house open everyday, all year long.
I also love Tico time and being more laid back. In the States, there is a standard and if you don’t meet it, you fail. Period. No excuses. In Costa Rica, there is a standard and if you don’t meet it, you are given another chance as long as it’s obvious that you tried in the first place. The attitude is that less stress is better than anything.
Little things about the culture bother me now. For example, the service industry has started to slowly drive me insane. I used to think the lack of service was cute, but I’m over it. Just for once, please, would someone come and ask me if I would like another beer or maybe more water in my very empty water glass?! Maybe a few years ago I had all day to eat lunch but now I’m working and trying to take care of myself and when the waitress plays hide ‘n’ go seek or my text messages are more important, it pisses me off. I realize that’s unfair. It’s just how I feel. I fight this feeling, though. I really don’t want to become one of those nasty jaded expats.
On the Ticos, I’m torn because at the end of the day I am from my own culture and I’m comfortable with those values. All the people in my town are extremely friendly. It’s easy to get a smile and small talk out of someone. It’s not easy to become friends, though, especially for a single woman. Single women past 30 are considered super weird here, in a bad way. I’m “supposed” to be married with children or living with my parents. This mindset is different in San José (for the 15 people that live there), but I will leave Costa Rica before I live in San José. I love living in the mountains. I hate living in concrete.
The friends that I do have are all well-traveled, whether they are Tico or foreigners. Most expat friends come and go with a quickness – it’s like being in middle school or at camp again. One day you meet, the next day you are BFFs, then a few months later they are either gone or you actually know each other and you realize that your core values are at odds.
I do have some good friends. My best friends actually live next door. In this regard I’m incredibly lucky and I would definitely have left already if they weren’t there. We all work for ourselves and that frees us to structure our days however we want. We eat lunch together almost every single day. I’ve been there to see their son learn to crawl, walk, speak, and now run. We are all into some form of art and share the same basic core values. They are my family.
We live in houses that look like an elf built them. Rainbows almost everyday. It’s like paradise, but at the end of the day they are their own family. I’m still alone.
I’m different and I’m not going to settle for someone because I feel lonely or the need to make babies. But I’m also not going to meet any single people near my age in a tiny mountain town on the edge of the jungle.
But do I really want a partner? I only think that is what is missing. I really enjoy doing whatever I want, whenever I want. Maybe I just need more friends who give a shit about treating other people with love and respect. I love the dynamic we have going on our property. We take care of each other’s houses and pets when we go out of town. Everyone has different skills. We work together to keep things going and to fix problems, it’s almost like a commune. I think I’d be super happy in a commune.
So now I don’t know whether to stay or go. And if I go, where would I go? I’m in limbo. I’m living like a kid in college, I only own enough things to fill my car. I am purposefully living simpler with the idea that I’m not permanent in Costa Rica. Or am I? Maybe it’s time to settle down and buy a toaster, really nice speakers, and a piece of furniture. I’d start with a sofa. I haven’t owned a sofa or any type of comfortable furniture to sit on in over 4 years.
There are two reactions that I get from the few people that I have tried to talk to about this. One is “come back home.” My concept of home has changed and I don’t know where that is anymore. The closest is probably wherever my dogs are. Or maybe my laptop. Or maybe just me. The other reaction is some variation of “don’t worry, life works itself out, have fun!” I like that idea. I try to not worry and just enjoy myself and I can about half the time. The other half, I’m rolling around in my head, trying to figure out whether I should make plans for my future or just roll with whatever comes or have some sort of half-plan, or go to Mexico, or California, or maybe the beach, or, or, or… UGH.
So that is why I haven’t been writing. It’s hard to talk about some fun trip or the latest struggles with the drought when this dark cloud of WTF am I doing is hanging over my head. Maybe now that I have exposed myself, I can finally find some sort of beginning to a path or at least some rest from these thoughts rolling around in my head. Ojalá.