I had a rough week. And because I can’t bear for one more person to go, “But you live in paradise; go to the beach!” I am going to honestly talk about it, for the first time. Loneliness, sadness and bone-chilling fright are common ailments of living the dream, believe you me.
I became attached to a dog I rescued this week. He was skin and bones when I took him home, and he barely moved, lethargically moping around my small patio. As he gained strength and started to feel better, due to the two sets of pills I was tricking him into eating for his painful kidney infection and small amounts of cooked chicken and dog food four times a day, he started to run around the yard, smiling, tail wagging. He barked for the first time one evening when I came home, jumping up on me with a strength I didn’t know he had.
Meanwhile, a wave of crime has frightened my little town, especially single women like me. It’s rainy season, so all the tourists are home. (Translation: Time for the town’s criminals to target the locals.) I had a long talk with two friends about the latest (nearby) hits: a woman alone waking up to a man in her room hissing, “shhhh,” renters robbed at knifepoint, a cat burglar with dreadlocks spotted casing a wall like a monkey. The last one, of course, is my buddy Mario, who so changed the course of my life last year.
I was spooked.
My house’s internet was AWOL, so I’d been traipsing between friends’ houses with my laptop, trying to jump online whenever I could to keep up with my little company, which is sometimes all I have. My BlackBerry charger had decided to stop working, so I was cut off completely. The very afternoon I heard of all the new crimes, I was walking home alone. I’d been sitting in 100 degree heat, outside, to nab a neighbor’s wireless, and as I turned the corner, I was hit with a wall of fear and nausea.
My gate was wide open, and a muscular stranger was slipping around a corner of my house.
The man turned out to be the gardener I hadn’t yet met. Even after he convinced me so, I was left so scared and traumatized. The dog? He hasn’t been seen since.
Sorry to call him “the dog,” but his name was Chase, coined by my neighbors who spent a few weeks before I took him in chasing him with food. He certainly won this chase, huh? As usual, I feel right now, the joke’s on me.
In the meantime, I’ve been left with some very legitimate concerns. I could very well wake up at knife point and afterwards not be able to reach my mom. Something bad could happen with my company, and I won’t know, won’t be able to fix it. (Oh, and I finally found a charger in town that kinda, sorta worked, but the electricity went out, and the surge protector didn’t do its job. It’s now dead. I can’t get a replacement here.)
Realizing one day that you want a different life than the one you’ve got, and actually ripping out your insides to approach the unknown, takes guts. I love myself for doing it and commend anyone else who does. We’re the ones who didn’t spend years dreaming of giving it all up to move to a hut on the beach. We did it. I love us.
As a single woman living as an expat or traveler, you spend so much time alone. Every hiccup along the way is spent alone, handled alone. It takes ages to fix any and every problem. And meanwhile, you’re basically … alone. Sometimes you’re so on the lookout for something meaningful that a snippet of a Taylor Swift video can drive you to tears.
I woke up Saturday morning by myself, sad and upset, at around 5:30 am. I hadn’t eaten dinner, so I was starving, and I of course wanted nothing short of some kind of magical comfort food feast. My options were slim. Absentmindedly staring into the fridge, I spied an unopened bag of perfect parmesan cheese left from the previous tenants. Score! Pasta it was!
And just like that, life again became about the little things. No one said that changing your life would come easy.
Latest posts by Abby (see all)
- 3 Destinations to Escape the Cold this Winter - December 2, 2016
- 7 reasons Cape Verde should be on your holiday hit list - May 30, 2016
- Top Ideas for Day Tours from Jakarta - May 27, 2016