It has officially been one month that I’ve been here now. Jan asked if I thought I could live here and what did I miss/not miss. I think of the joke about this guy who said he was from some little town in Virginia (I hadn’t even heard of it and I’m FROM Va.). He said, ‘if your doctor says you only have a few months to live, move here because everyday feels like an eternity’. Somehow it’s not the days that feel like an eternity here. It just feels like I’ve been here a lot longer than a month.
I think if I had a steady income and was able to contribute to my retirement funds, I wouldn’t feel as pressured as I do now. The realization is that this can’t last forever unless I think up something that will allow me to do that. Or at least I need to gain a new skill so I can come back to the U.S. and not have to work in I.T. or for ‘The Man’. I felt that a job should be something you look forward to doing. That’s basically my goal here…to find that…whether it’s here or somewhere else.
Could I live in Cocles longer than 3 months? I’m not sure I want to. It’s expensive and basically a tourist town. Even the locals that live here can barely scrape by. Everything costs about twice as much here as it does in the Central Valley. So I’ve decided to move there in July and see how that goes. The weather should be better as well, but I will sacrifice the beach. I could get to one within an hour or so, but not within two minutes. I’m sure I’ll miss it once I don’t have it anymore. It IS a great feeling to ride my bike by and look out at the beautiful blue Caribbean everyday. It’s what I’ve always wanted. But I pay the price being this close to it.
What do I miss/not miss from my ‘normal life’? I miss a DISHWASHER!!! I miss a washer and dryer too but I can deal with that. I miss a microwave in a big way. It’s so time consuming to have to reheat something on the stove, which doesn’t always work well. I miss cheap groceries and being able to get whatever the hell I want. I miss meat, I miss BBQ’ing. I don’t miss a car, TV, negative news reports, solicitation phone calls…heck, I barely miss a phone! Oh, I do miss fast internet. It takes about 3 hours to watch an hour 1/2 long movie. I sometimes miss air conditioning. I miss having a boyfriend and I miss being able to see my friends and hang out with them.
I don’t miss the fairly crappy diet I used to have. I feel that I do eat somewhat better here. I mean, I got another cacao pod today that’s HUGE for $2. I miss cheese a LOT. That’s probably the food item I crave the most. I did find some fairly reasonable mozzarella cheese ($4 for a small package of grated). My dinner tonight consists of pan grilled red pepper and thin slices of salami and garlic. I used half a ciabatta sandwich loaf and grilled that in the remaining olive oil, flipped it over and put the mozzarella, Parmesan, peppers, salami and garlic on it and let it melt…along with a glass of wine. It tasted awesome. Whether it was that GOOD for me, I don’t know. But I never did that at home. I have to work with what I have and try to make it appealing. I don’t eat as much here as I did there which is good too. I have much less trash that I ever have in my entire life. I’m in better shape from riding my bike and walking instead of using a car.
I’m getting used to the howlers at 4:45 a.m. as well as the birds who wake up at the same time. I can actually stay in bed until 6 now and I scored some foam for the bed which makes it way more comfortable. Oh yeah, I miss my mattress. Like you wouldn’t even know. I miss laundry that smells good. The stuff I wash it in smells awesome but something happens when it’s been on the line in the sun…the smell goes away completely. Weird. I don’t feel that anything I have is all that clean, so I can’t wait to have my laundry done back in the states.
So overall, I think I’m getting over the shock of being here and accepting the bugs, the heat, the rain, the language barrier. But I don’t feel like it’s ‘home’ yet. Not sure I ever will. One thing I did want to say about the people here that I’ve noticed. When I’m riding my bike and someone local is approaching from the other way, they will always look at me with whatever expression I have on my face. I always smile and wave or say ‘hola’ and they immediately smile back and say the same. If I don’t do that, they will just stare at me and pass. It makes me feel good to be nice to them and I think they appreciate it. I’m in their town and don’t want to be rude. So the people are friendly and very willing to help out and are very patient when the language becomes an issue. I’ve never had one person get upset with me or frustrated, so that’s nice. It’s a good place to be and I’m glad I do live here…the sacrifice was worth it. I already know that I will look back on it with a fondness I’m not exactly feeling now and REALLY miss it.