Here There Be Monsters

Hiya, gang! Sorry I haven’t written anything in a while, but most of what happens I post on Facebook anyways and I don’t have the time to write it all out in chronological order. Sorry! I’m a monster, I know!

Speaking of monsters! That’s our theme for this blog. Not like real monsters, though. Invisible monsters (though not of the Chuck Palahniuk variety)! If you ARE looking for a chronological detail of happenings, just ask and you shall receive in a personal message or e-mail. Of course it may not be as exciting as you think it will be, unfortunately. Life is great, but you also have to work hard to keep yourself afloat. So when I talk about monsters in this blog, its about the other side of living abroad. The less than glamorous details that you never read about in the brochures. That’s not to say I don’t think its worth it to take a leap and step out into the unknown. On the contrary, I’m just being realistic.

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First, I don’t want you to take away from this blog that life is hopeless and that we’re all being suffocated by the bad stuff. That’s not what I’m trying to say. I just think its important that, when you take a leap into the unknown, you are understanding that it’s not an escape from all of the bad stuff. Sure, you can leave some of it behind, but some of it will hide itself away in your suitcases and surprise you when you start unpacking. It’s normal; it’s life’s casual reminder that you’re human and, more importantly, that its okay to be a flawed human being. CELEBRATE THAT!

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In my case, I’m surrounded with beauty every day. Costa Rica, of course, is a paradise unlike I’ve ever known. But there’s beauty in the mundane, too. The students in my classes that I consider friends, the awesome teachers and staff I work with that keep me sane, the daily walk to school, going to get groceries and settling into our temporary home, my awesome roommates that have enriched my life tenfold within just three months. There’s too much to count. Life is beautiful, full of eccentricities, inspirations, heart aches, delicacies, allures, splendors, virtues, blemishes, and limitations.

WHOOOOOAAAA ADJECTIVES!!!

But in all seriousness, I left 2013 after many financial difficulties. I had completely drowned myself; I wasn’t even making enough to live off of. The fact that I got to Costa Rica in the first place is a miracle in and of itself. For months I was anxious that I wouldn’t be able to go-that something would happen and I’d have to call it off, and it almost did. I was depressed, not just because of the lack of money thing but I felt like I was drifting away from my loved ones, and that was, to some point, my own fault. I let my depression consume me and tell me I was unworthy of beautiful things. 2012 had been such an amazing year for me and 2013 felt like an A-bomb went off in my mind (ooooo, DARK, man).

For the most part I left that chunk of my life behind. I’m much happier now than I was last year, and I’m eternally grateful for that, but of course I’m still the same person I was when I left (I mean, hopefully I’m a little better! You can’t stay the same forever, right? Progress, ya, know?). I have the same fears, same anxieties. I’m still the same Lil’ Miss Introversion I was back home, except now I don’t get close to having a panic attack and passing out when I have to speak in front of a group.

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It sucks when you’ve gotten off that plane and you think you’ve left all the bad stuff behind you, but soon you realize that life is still life in another country. You can still cut your finger when slicing potatoes, you can try to do laundry and wind up with a flooded kitchen, bathroom, and dining room floor, and your debit card PIN won’t work. It won’t be the hunky dory work vacation you thought’d it be. When you get drunk, you can still get sloppy drunk. If you’re feeling anti-social you’ll still be anti-social. If you’re feeling anxious you’ll still continue to feel anxious. And that’s when the guilt starts in. Who are you to feel bad about being in a beautiful place like Costa Rica?

Who are you not to, though? Who says you have to pretend to be less human because you’re in a tropical zone? A few weeks ago I was sick and was blowing my nose rather loudly and I apologized to my roommate, Adam, and he said, very genuinely and astutely, “Kate, we live on Earth. On Earth there are humans, sometimes those humans get sick. You should never have to apologize for being a member of your species.”

So feel anxious, feel lost, feel depressed, feel like you’re languidly floating along with no purpose. Let the feelings come but don’t let them drive you. Just sit them in the passenger seat (or in the back seat if you want), and go where you want to go. There’s no use in leaving parts of you behind. We’re all a big mish-mash of space stuff, and sometimes the bad things can bring around amazing new adventures. So sure, your foibles may be back seat drivers or may turn up the radio way too loud, but, as with most road trips, one day you’ll look back on everything and realize how lucky you were to have what you had.

To those who know me in Costa Rica, be patient with me if I seem aloof, or worried, or anti-social. It’s not because I don’t want to hang out with you, I sometimes just need a reboot and have some personal time. And to those at home, I miss you and love you always, and I hope to come back to you a more loving, patient, understanding and kind person. ❤ I’m infinitely lucky to be sharing this journey with so many amazing people, and I’m thankful for you every day. 🙂

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