Crossing the border was a breeze; after several moments of slight paranoia, the customs guard briefly poked his baton through our luggage and let us pass. We came up to the exit window (because of course, we needed to exit Panama before we could enter Costa Rica) and while it was simple to have our passports stamped, we did get a laugh from the tourist we saw trapped inside.
That sounds perverse, although I think you need to have seen it to grasp the full hilarity of the situation. Sandy blonde hair, slight facial burn, eyes bloodshot, and high as a kite. Instead of waiting until he had gotten through customs to toke up, he had gotten blazed and then tried to pass through. The guards took one look at him, saw that not only was he high he had not been in Panama long enough to cross into Costa Rica, and decided to tell him he couldn’t leave. The situation was absurd, and I think they may have been waiting for him to realize they actually couldn’t detain him for not having shots, he could have at least gone back into Panama, meanwhile giggling and letting him roam around behind the glass looking like a terrified mosquito.
We didn’t realize upon arriving, but there was a law passed that in order to leave Panama (a yellow-fever risk country) you must prove that you had been in the country for at least seven days. What that actually proves, I have no idea.
We crossed through the Costa Rican border, no tourist trapped behind glass this time, and waited for a bus. We didn’t really know where we were going, so on the whim of a little advice we had received, traveled to Golfito. There, while waiting for a ferry, we met a woman who invited us to join her on her water taxi. So off we went across the gulf towards Puerto Jimenez.
We were excited to be somewhere brand new, looking forward to being able to save a bit of money and meet our budget. I don’t know why we thought we were going to be meeting our budget in Costa Rica.
We arrived, and the Pacific Ocean was waiting, lapping against the sides of our boat and greeting us as we crossed the shore, murky and dark. The canopies were vibrant greens, dotted with reds and blues and yellows, as macaws crooned from the branches up above. Flowers peeked through bushes, and as we pulled into our hostel we could hear monkeys. Our attendant told us of crocodiles we could search for and find, and we light-heartedly tucked the instructions away for the next days adventure.
Straight out for the evening, we went in search of food. The currency was different, 500 colones for every 1 dollar, and so as we began to search for food we were dismayed; the grocery store was a fortune, hardly worth making our own dinner. We went in search of a cheap soda, and after searching and searching, finally gave up and sat down at a restaurant by the beach. By this point, both a little crabby, we established that travel days should have meals pre-planned.
We ordered, and as tension was slowly building, waited for our food to arrive. They came out with two plates, and as they set my edible dragon down on the table, I imploded.
How many of you have had a moment where a seemingly small irritation managed to illicit a response that was completely out of proportion to the situation?
As I’m writing, this post is actually back-dated about six weeks. I can assure you, we’ve had several similar moments throughout our trip. I had a meltdown. A full blown meltdown. It had nothing to do with what was going on. Not the food itself, not the thought of wasting money, not even the panic of being on a small budget. No, my reaction that night and our reactions several nights throughout this travel had to do with triggers, little dragons. Moments, situations, smells, things that indadvertedly remind us of deeper wounds or fears, and bring forth a reaction with a lot more heat then the situation merits.
Fear. The fear of what exactly? Of loss, of failure, of change? The fear of never being successful, never being enough, being enough. Food. Food and love. Not having enough love, never having enough love, never being loveable?
And that’s it, that’s the big one right there; deep down, in a dark corner of the heart. Deep down, for most people, a variation of that eternal fear sits and waits. The fear that there is something wrong with us, that we are un-loveable. That somehow it is a truth, and our experiences in life have formed around and validated that truth. We have moments that remind us, send us whirling in fear, that we will never be loveable. Trauma that lingers, and re-repeats itself played out on a kaleidoscope of different experiences, until we find ourselves looking at dinner and crying hysterically. Out of proportion, and built up over time. A fear that is un-true, and a fear that drives us to mutilate, deprive, alter, run, hurt. A fear that needs a bit of light shone on it, a little de-bunking. That night I reacted, and then found a way to soothe myself. I remembered who I was, even while my heart leapt in a fear I could not put into words. And I remembered the immense power I held in being responsible for my thoughts, feelings, and actions.
There will always be moments that bring forth fear, and it’s okay to be afraid. Don’t stay afraid. We ended the night contentedly, after a great deal of crying and then playing, the wind settling the curtain covering our windows, over-looking the jungle. The evening crept in, and we drifted into rest.