Blackouts. Ice storms. Christmas. New Years. Something called a polar vortex. It’s certainly been an eventful few weeks back.
Though I’ve been back numerous times in my three and a half year absence from living in Canada, those visits differed greatly from this one. Every other visit had a specific end date; I always had a ticket back to Costa Rica. This time I don’t. That’s not to say that I’m back in Toronto indefinitely – that isn’t true – but I don’t have any definite plans to leave. This changes things considerably.
I’ve written about this before, but it’s worth noting again. When you visit home on a temporary basis, you never escape vacation mode. There’s a hard beginning, and a hard end. You know how much time you have, and hope to accomplish as much as you can within that time frame. If you don’t do one or two things, or miss out on seeing a few friends, you know you’ll catch them next time. Not the end of the world.
I was speaking with a friend the other day about the lack of pictures the two of us take. This may not seem surprising as we are both male, but living abroad tends to bring out the desire to snap a few more photos than normal. The curiosity, then, is that neither of us has found ourselves to be in that situation even though we both definitely should be.
In terms of our lives abroad, we represent both extremes. He has just arrived to Costa Rica and I am on my way out. With him having less than 30 days in the country and me now finding myself with less than 30 left, the camera should be flashing nonstop.
As he told me of his regret thus far at his small picture count, I gave him some advice that I’m glad someone gave me when I first arrived: take as many pictures as possible. For whatever reason, it’s not in our male nature to take pictures. But now reflecting back over my time here, I’m very glad that I forced myself to take pictures in certain situations. Of course over time that regularity declines to an “only on special occasions” frequency. But in my database of pictures from the last three years, each one represents a story – and I can still remember most of them like they were yesterday.
Los Inlinguanatti en río celeste
I don’t always watch Fox News, but when I do it’s in a drunken stupor.
Whenever I need a good laugh I turn on the conservative network. Never in the morning, because that’s too much to handle before my first cup of coffee. Never at night either, as that’s not what I want to be thinking about as I go to bed. Also never for more than thirty consecutive minutes, as that becomes simply overwhelming. But for those thirty glorious minutes in the afternoon, Fox News hits the spot.
There’s something to be said for over-the-top, completely ridiculous television. I understand the need for this type of programming – and more importantly the audience it attracts. I also understand logical arguments when I hear them; I don’t often hear these on Fox News. Needless to say, I don’t schedule thirty minutes of my day to be intellectually stimulated. Rather, this blocked off period is for pure amusement.
Darkness. Evil. Satanism. Anti-Christian. Halloween is a disgusting celebration and culmination of all of these concepts and anyone participating should be condemned immediately.
At least that’s what the protesters I came across last night would have you believe.
These sentiments are not new; every year at this time it’s common to hear these types of thoughts no matter where you are. Perhaps it’s a little more pronounced in Costa Rica, which identifies as being over 95 percent Catholic. But, even then, those that were represented in last night’s protest are definitely the minority.
I don’t usually do this. I am a creature of habit and thus like doing things when I say I’ll do them. This is for a few reasons but mainly it’s about organization. Without previously setting aside time to do certain tasks I would let my overwhelmingly best quality to take over: procrastination.
Up until I got my first “real job” a few years ago – though most people still tell me I’ve never had a real job – procrastination was my best skill. I practiced it. I honed it. I got better at it every day. But since I’ve crossed that mythical and mysterious line into adulthood I’ve had to put my most practiced skill on the back burner and start honing my new best skill, though definitely not my favorite, of organization.
I like to know when I’m doing something and for others to know that it will be done by a certain time. Google Calendar has really helped me with this and I can attribute much of my organizational skills to that. If you don’t use Google Calendar, you really should. *This is not an advertisement for Google. But if Google is reading (whoever that is) I’m not not listening. *
Gregerson’s in town. He got in on Tuesday afternoon which meant that we were convening at by far his favorite place in Jacó that same evening: Los Amigos.
I have this feeling that Gregerson has been a long-term friend – mostly because I hear his name on an almost daily basis as I’m sure he does mine – but I’m not sure that he actually is.
We’ve only met in person once up until this visit. Granted, it was great and historic in terms of Toña consumption, but I don’t think that qualifies as an elevation to buddy status. We aren’t even Facebook friends; though he isn’t with anyone except his wife. We are connections on LinkedIn, so maybe that says something.
I’m used to buying plane tickets. When you live abroad, visits home at least once a year are usually requisite. This is doubly true in my case. I spent an entire twelve months in Costa Rica when I first arrived, almost to the day, before I went back home. After that, I’ve made the trip roughly every six months. Always at Christmas – as per mom’s orders – and then once to enjoy the (normally) gorgeous Ontario summers.
So when I sat down this week to buy yet another plane ticket, nothing felt weird about it – until Expedia kindly asked me to specify a return date. I didn’t have one. Err, I don’t have one.
I haven’t bought a one-way ticket since that first flight that brought me here to Costa Rica. As it dawned on me that I won’t be coming back this time, I unexpectedly felt many similar emotions and thoughts that first occurred to me on my last one-way adventure; feelings that I haven’t really felt in the last three years. That sense of an unknown entity. Not knowing what exactly the next step is or what it’s going to be like when you arrive at your destination.
My alarm has been set for 6AM for the past three weeks; it hasn’t gone off once. I suppose that’s what happens when you go to bed at 9 after falling asleep on the couch at 8:30. While never declaring myself as a morning person, many have identified me as such. I enjoy mornings. I find great pleasure in watching the sunrise, listening to the birds chirp and the roosters crow – if that’s in fact what you call what they do.
Three weeks ago this amazing splendor that nature provides did not shower me with the same sentiments. Rather, it filled me with feelings of discomfort, grogginess and a search for recollection of what time, that same morning, my head in fact did hit pillow.
When you wake up to a welcoming of assorted bottles and cans from the night before, a search for aspirin and reciprocal questions from your friends – à la The Hangover – about what had occurred exactly, the shining sun and robust roosters don’t give off the same sense of equilibrium.
I’m not a writer. I’m not a blogger. I don’t claim to be either one while simultaneously admitting that I’m not sure I understand what either term means. I know it’s not as simple as a writer being someone who writes. By that logic I am many things; I’m a part time runner, an occasional binger and a full time and glorious eater. But those don’t seem to fall in line, either.
Are you a reader?
In 2013 people seem to be everything without being something. I meet people every day who claim to be writers, marketers, teachers and realtors all at the same time. To me, this person doesn’t actually do anything – or at least do anything well. If you claim to do all of those things it screams that you’re actually terrible at all of them – trying to do many things sparingly, so that people won’t notice that you glaringly do all of them poorly.