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Maniacally Hopeful

Updated: Apr 19, 2022

I walked back down the hill and watched as a huge morpho butterfly fluttered by me, its massive iridescent blue wings glinting in the sunshine. I took in the foliage on the road, trees stretching impossibly high, thick vines roping their way around them. Goliath leaves and ferns, some green, some a shocking shade of pink or purple. I stopped as a family of 15 or so monkeys travelled by on branches just above me, leaping one by one and catching themselves effortlessly on the tree across the road. A daily pilgrimage I imagine. Hearing them heckle one another, I watch as a toucan flies by, then a hummingbird buzzes past, stopping to gather nectar from deep purple flowers. Back at the house I’m renting I drink cold water as I look out the vast expanse of glass windows facing southwest. The jungle valley dipping low before me, the sparkling Pacific Ocean spreading to the horizon.

I’m seeing through a different lens today. Today everything is in sharp focus, like I’m wearing my glasses but I’m not. I hardly ever do now, it’s too hot and too bright and I’m experimenting with the notion that you can actually repair strained eyesight (more on that one day perhaps). The blades of grass, the stones in the dirt road, the vibrancy, the lushness, the constant growth so obvious. There is nothing subtle about the jungle. Everyday it’s inching ever closer, I wonder how quickly it would consume us if it wasn’t constantly chopped back by machetes. A flock of birds and howler monkeys wake us early most mornings and a chorus of insects and frogs sing us to sleep each night, the darkness too comes early here. The deluge of rain from yesterday is a distant memory as now the bright blue sky stretches like a tarp as far as I can see, seemingly strung atop the high mountain peaks in the distance. The humidity that lay heavy as a wet wool blanket this morning has disappeared on the breeze coming up from the ocean.

It’s almost unreal. The beauty, the bigness, the majesty of it all. I’ve been in Uvita now for weeks and somehow am just now properly seeing it for what it is.

Because tangled up with the beauty is the discomfort. As our weeks turn to months of a nomadic life, we slip from feeling like adventurous explorers to displaced foreigners that have no country to return to. And no belongings. We fulfilled the prophecy from the Economic Forum, we own nothing…are we happy?

I waver not wanting to fully give into the immense challenges we’ve faced in this time when all of it came from decisions we knowingly made. I fear that my blog will become a sad string of complaints when what I most hope is to show what’s possible, that we can create our own reality, and that truly life is meant for us to live fully and enjoy. But I have to paint a full picture. I know I can keep burning my torch brightly, still be a beacon for whoever might be reading this right now (hello, thanks for being here, I love you.) and stay in my integrity telling you the whole story.

Ugh. And this house smells like a mushroom. The bed is too soft, like a hug from someone you’re not sure you want to be hugging. Creeping damp. But then look! The ocean, the wildlife, the quiet! Oh but the weirdness of being in other people’s homes month after month. But hey, we chose this! Pura Vida! Like I said, hot mess.

There are times I am so tired of living out of a suitcase that I just truly don’t know if I can get out of bed. But then the bed is unlike the one I had at home and missing it makes me then miss each and every thing I left behind. All the things I acquired over my marriage. I already wrote about it so let’s not rehash. I am surprised sometimes at how much I miss things. At least with the people I miss I can still communicate, somehow the things are feeling like a bigger loss in this moment. I feel completely untethered, I am staring at the explosion that was once my neat and tidy life, I’m sifting through the debris to find the pieces that matter (home, community, kids for my kids, nourishment, meaningful work) and I can’t seem to make them quite fit back together here. The puzzle has changed but I’m trying to use the old pieces. Nothing is linear, nothing is easy. I can hardly manage at times the anger and confusion I feel at the state of the world, the disparity I now see as families are ripped apart, and all of this is secondary to the fact that I don’t even feel like I have a home.

I wonder at times if we completely lost the plot in choosing this — a massive move to a foreign country with little more than six bags and inflated desires and a maniacal sense of hope, during the most uncertain time we’ve ever known. But it simply cannot be the wrong choice, for it was the choice that was made, there is purpose in it.

But I am seeing in a new way. The beauty envelopes me here, I want to really love it, I want to really be here. I don’t want to be chasing something, I just want to live now. And I am, I just have to constantly remind myself of it, it’s not second nature quite yet.

Fast forward through Christmas, still in the house on the hill overlooking the ocean. I got my prayer fulfilled, to be with friends. Friends upon friends as it happened; four days of pool parties, beach outings, singalongs, picnics, Christmas dinner with a roomie who feels like family, feasts, river swims that led to secret waterfalls, brunches. I couldn’t have dreamed it up any better (I did dream it up though didn’t I?) and honestly still feel stunned that in such a short time I landed in a place that offered so many people who shared a similar way of thinking — we could simply meet, give a hug hello and know that nothing more need be said, friendship can just unfurl. What a gift, I am so immensely grateful.

And now as you’re reading this I am packing up this same glass house in the hills where we’ve been the last two weeks, I have only just secured our next rental less than 24 hours ago. It feels like each

This is a topsy turvy story that is only just starting to be told. I am feeling that sense of wanting to read ahead to what’s next but knowing that I actually am writing it as I go. It’s not perfect by any means, it hasn’t felt seamless as I had once hoped. But I’m reminded often of the story from Under the Tuscan Sun. The part where Diane Lane stands back at the wedding and is reminded by her dear friend that in fact all of her wishes have come true. She just wasn’t seeing it through the right lens. As are mine, when my perspective shifts, when my focus sharpens I see it; the magical lush land, the ocean that I just want to look at forever, the green hills, the community, the friendship. And soon…the home, the feeling of belonging. Living an ordinary life. That sense of hope, so strong even when I can’t see an option before me. I don’t have the answers, I just have the trust.

I remain maniacally hopeful, in the face of impossibility, in the midst of the chaos I have chosen. My life a little like the majestic blue morpho butterfly that is so elusive I can never snap a photo — from one vantage point it’s dull brown, pedestrian, large in size but nothing overly special. Ah but then it turns, and you see the hint of iridescence, a startling bright blue that seems otherworldly. Shiny in the sunshine, floating up and past on a breeze, gone before you know it. Vanishing like a dream.

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