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Harder Than It Looks

Updated: Apr 19, 2022

Fast forward nearly 6 weeks into this journey and I have yet to take that breath. That’s not entirely true, I have experienced moments of ease, joy and relaxation that has felt inaccessible in the last nearly two years. There is a pace to life here that is completely different than what I experienced at home and we have had so many moments of fun as we explore what this country holds. There’s no overlooking the beauty in this habitat where Mother Nature runs wild. But the lifestyle I thought I would so easily step into has evaded me still.

I’m idealistic to a fault, I know that about myself, and so I offer myself grace that not all details of my fantasy have come to fruition yet. And there is that yet, that all important word that invokes the sense of hope and trust. Yes I imagined this as a near instantaneous happening, like I would step through a portal and cross the threshold from a life that had become restricted to one that would be expansive in all ways. I would feel light, easily meeting new families, become engaged in meaningful work with likeminded souls, grow into a community. I imagined that we would spend Christmas in the fold of our new friends, all of us adopting one another in this weird place where the holidays feel not quite right but our friendship would make it amazing all the same. There is still time!

But I do fret over this. I have brought my habit to worry to a new locale, quelle surprise. I worry that we won’t find anywhere amazing to spend Christmas and we

This past several weeks has been highs and lows of staying in beautiful places and in dumps. Of finding amazing deals and then also spending a mini fortune. Of meeting such wonderful people and then feeling intensely lonely as we are moving so frequently. Of savouring meals at restaurants after not dining out for so long to then missing the comforts of home cooked meals. We are simultaneously happy and excited to see what’s next and fearful that what we have long dreamed for is actually totally out of reach.

Did we come at the wrong time? Is it just not the right place? Were we just not prepared? Did we underestimate the challenges of navigating a new country with a toddler? Is it literally impossible for me to stay present to what is even though I do so much work around this?!

Back in Canada snow is falling, people are cozying up to their fireplaces and having candlelit dinners. Gatherings are being planned, gifts are being surreptitiously bought and wrapped, goodies are being baked and delivered. My friends and family back home are experiencing the glow of holidays and also some huge life changing losses. I’m missing birthdays and homecomings. I’m absent from it all.

We’ve had two days of Skype phone call battles with the banks to keep our cards from being frozen, they keep putting fraud alerts on them. As I walked from our rental to the main shop where I can pay for our accommodations today, praying that the third time processing the payments would be the charm, I took in my surroundings. I didn’t notice before this white horse across the street in its lush green field. I walk up a steep hill and notice behind the curtain of dense cloud cover that emerald green mountains loom in the distance. How did I not see all this in the last two days? My preoccupation of frustration and stress keeping me from accessing what’s already right here before me.

This makes me ask the bigger question, is the problem what is happening or is the problem what I think about what is happening? Ah.

If the earth is a playground for our souls where we experience all the vibrant feelings a human body can feel and learn all the lessons a soul can learn, then I guess I’m right on track. A lesson I will just continuously learn, and share, about cultivating presence, to see how even without the rooted and settled feelings I seek I can feel them anyway. Rooted in the unknown, settled in the transition. And wide open to possibility and miracles.

As I go to bed each night I still take time to check back in to that vision I previously held about our Costa Rican adventure. Let go of the particulars like exact location and instead anchor in the feelings — of providing meaningful work, of being encircled by friends who feel like family, of sharing meals and parenting and all the loads we each carry. I can feel it burning brightly in my heart so I know there is possibility. I can keep it alit by revisting the vision and calling it ever closer. I remain hopeful that Christmas finds us gathered around a table laden with nourishing food, cheerful faces, laughing children and the new year ushers in a season of belonging, connection and stillness.

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