My blog has always been about my new life in small town Costa Rica, as it should be. That was the point, how I got talked into this whole mess. But after a three-week whirlwind through LA, Las Vegas and NYC, I’m feeling more of a need to re-connect with my city roots. And I’m feeling weirdly guilty about it. Why? Simply because I spent most of my trip feeling pretty uncomfortable in those three cities I used to call home.
I now feel so much happier living on a dirt road in a house with plenty of space, than any cooped-up apartment I’ve previously inhabited. (No one is more surprised than me.) But I still lived in a big city for most of my adult life, and I love that about myself.
Ten months in a sleepy pueblo can’t really erase 14 stressful years of history in bustling big cities, can it?
I called my blog The Jungle Princess, because city life had spoiled me just enough to be teased “princess” when I first moved to Coco. But that’s been almost the only recognition of my past that I’ve admitted to. Most of my expat friends here come from a big city in Canada or the US, but we hardly ever talk about it. Brynn and I sometimes laugh about the short time we overlapped in Manhattan, and Lisa and I have the only longer talks about New York, because we both worked and lived for years in NYC. But that’s all.
After all, at the end of the day, I’m still the only person in my new small town attached to her BlackBerry, and instead of hoofing it on a bike, I call myself a taxi. I think fast, I talk fast, I sometimes can’t turn off my brain in order to get a good night’s sleep. I also compare myself to others more than I’d like and work too much at my computer, even as I live near the beautiful beaches of Costa Rica.
That’s just me, and it’s not going to change. And for all the best reasons, I might add. I have my BlackBerry with me at all times so that the news agency I started from scratch after losing my job doesn’t miss a sale. I work hard so I can save my money. Some day, I want to build a house or have a family. I saw debt creeping up on me once, and I never want to see it again.
I have dreams, and they’re not going to go away.
But I have not tried to bring the cosmopolitan pitfalls down here to Costa Rica with me. Instead, I’ve been working hard at changing to adapt to my life here. (Again, that was the point.) In fact, when I was in NYC, I couldn’t believe how insecure I felt in the clothes that make me so happy down here in the tropics. And the BlackBerry? I get relentlessly teased in Coco for checking it every so often; when I was in NYC, people had it out on the dinner table. My life now is no longer measured with immediate victories, like breaking a cover story in a magazine or buying a new couch. I sleep soundly for the very first time that I can remember. It doesn’t kill me to tap out long text messages on my local keyboard-less cell phone. I laugh when I hear monkeys.
But expect to start seeing a little bit more of the old me on my blog. Or at least the life I left behind. I miss people who were edgy, racy, clever, had a glimmer of danger in their eye. Nightlife? I now want nothing to do with it. But maybe I’m still interested in people who are. I’m not sure yet.
Let’s face it, any move requires a lot of sacrifice. I gave up so much in order to come to Costa Rica. It was well worth all of it, of course. But I now choose to recognize my past and my connection to it. Sometimes acceptance is the first step in letting go. Pictured here? Me getting my city on in Vegas and Manhattan with my closest friends during my recent trip. I couldn’t wait to come back to Costa Rica. But it doesn’t mean I don’t miss my past.
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