While The Boyfriend and I are traveling about, we are actually working. I always laugh from the amount of people who assume one of us comes with a trust fund. Nope. Kyle is an oil painter and paints 6 to 8 hours a day. I’m a copywriter and editor and work from 4 to 8 hours a day. My work gets immediate gratification (money), but Kyle has to wait to ship his work to various galleries in the States.
His entire body of work he painted in Costa Rica was on display at J.M. Stringer Gallery of Fine Art in Vero Beach, Florida. I’d never been to Florida, so I was happy for a reason to cross another state off my U.S. travel list.
We flew directly from Costa (us and our 10 bags, which is about 5 too many) to Orlando, Florida. Spirit Airlines apparently thought we had too much luggage too and lost 2 of our most important bags. We waited around in Orlando for about 10 hours for the next flight to come in with our luggage. While waiting “patiently,” we spent time seeing the area and drove into Vero Beach late that night.
For those who haven’t been, Vero Beach is as a wealthy retirement beach town. It’s adorable. We had a ball walking around and checking out the beach and eating delicious food.
Kyle’s show reception was on Thursday night. I found a fancy outfit at a Zara in San Jose, Costa Rica, to bring with me. After 8 months of flip flops for shoes and sweat mixed with bug spray for perfume, I couldn’t have been more excited to dress up.
The show was beautiful. All his work from Costa was gorgeous 100% of the time, but seeing it framed and under the correct lighting was incredible. Everyone who came to see the works were so friendly and fun to talk to. We drank white wine and conversed with interesting people all night.
The entire weekend was spectacular. The owners of the gallery are the epitome of hospitality and style. We loved talking about Kyle’s work to all the current and potential clients. The entire time there was glorious and Kyle’s work was (of course) a big hit and the talk of the town.
Here are some of my favorites (click on the image to learn more):
I fell in love while living in Costa Rica… I fell in love with sunsets. Sunsets are everything in the little beach town we lived in: the social hour, an opportunity to soak up the Pura Vida, a way to end your day.
During the 2 week trip and then 7 month stay, I have seen quite a few sunsets. While each and everyone is spectacular, some are more magical than others. The key ingredient to the magically spectacular sunsets is simple: clouds.
When the sun goes down in the midst of a clear sky, it’s beautiful, of course. But clouds….mmm mmm. That’s when the light starts reflecting in many lovely ways. The pinks and the purples and the oranges light up the whole sky in interesting patterns. Even after the sun completely sets, the colorful remnants seem to dance around the clouds in the sky.
The best sunsets need clouds.
I think humans avoid the clouds of our lives like the plague. We want it to be sunshiney and happy all the time. We want to feel love, peace, kindness, ease, tranquility, stomach butterflies, and powerful 100% of the time. We are experts at avoiding, ignoring, or numbing anything that is less than pleasant.
I’ve always thought that the hard times in my life, or the “storms of life,” were there to make me stronger and more resilient, more mature and brave – and that’s entirely true. But it’s only half the picture. The difficult things actually make me more beautiful. They give me clouds.
You see, if I went to bed everyday having avoided, numbed, ignored, or stuffed all the negative stuff, my sun would most likely still set nicely. It’s not as though my life would be over, or I would be entirely insignificant. After all, a sunset is still beautiful. Just like every life – no matter what – is beautiful.
But if I embrace the clouds, the pain, the fear, the doubt, the heartbreak, the mistakes, the shit, the embarrassment, the failure, etc. – my innate beauty and my innate worthiness becomes a magical and gorgeous spectacle to behold.
Then my perspective gets to shift. Instead of trying my hardest to remove and avoid all hard things in my life, I can welcome them. Which is a much smarter idea because they are coming one way or another. I get to say “Hi cloud, make my sunset magically spectacular tonight.”
The best sunsets need clouds; the best people need them too.
“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” – Rabindranath Tagore
Now. It’s possible I may have had very particular interesting things in mind at the time. New countries, work opportunities, friendships, nice things and experiences.
Hahahahahahahaha <<< (That’s what the universe said when it realized before I did that “interesting” arrives in all sorts of packages.)
Interesting was supposed to look more like this:
And less like this:
But this picture ^^^^ happens to be accurate.
It all started with the flu.
As some of you know, I suffer from a smidgen of anxiety. One way my anxiety unfolds is an irrationally strong fear of getting sick before a big event. All of December (and I mean ALL) I was panicked that I would get Dengue Fever before my family came to visit us in Costa Rica early January.
If you don’t know what Dengue Fever is, don’t be like me and look it up on WebMD. (But in case you are like me = Click Here to see the horror!)
Well, I didn’t get Dengue. But I did get quite sick a few days before they arrived, and it lasted, of course, until their final day here. Truly, I didn’t know that much snot could drain from one person’s nostrils .
(Main takeaway: I obviously I should spend all of February worried that I’m going to get too rich in March.)
But that’s nothing, dear ones.
The day after my family left, The Boyfriend needed to rush to CIMA Hospital in San Jose for emergency surgery. And by rush, I mean get stuck in stop and go traffic for 6 hours.
Because I believe in being brave enough to share the gory details of my life on this blog, but kind enough to leave out other people’s gory details, we won’t get into the reason why The Boyfriend had emergency surgery. But you will get these hints: Gross and Painful and Scary. (Don’t deny it. I know your minds are currently running through all the embarrassing possibilities.)
After hours in the car, we made it to the outskirts of San Jose.
Let’s pause here.
In Costa Rica, my iPhone and his Android do not have any cell service. We use them only through Wi-Fi. We purchased a super cheap local phone that’s totally circa 2000 and put minutes on it to make local calls.
So on this little medical emergency voyage, we had no Wi-Fi – thus no GPS – and a circa 2000 local cell phone.
Yes, of course, we did get lost in a city of hundreds of thousands of people who speak Spanish. At night. And street signs in San Jose are as rare as people who speak fluent English.
Since the Boyfriend and I are really evolved and mature in our relationship, we handled this little hiccup the best way possible: screaming at each other in loud tones of love.
With our brick of a Costa Rican cell phone circa 2000, I ended up calling the doctor since she was the only English speaker I could think of. She gave me instructions, but we only managed to make it to a gas station before getting lost yet again.
**Enter more screaming in loud tones of love**
I called the exceedingly patient and gracious doctor again. (Could you imagine ANY doctor in the U.S. caring about whether or not we could find a hospital?) She agreed to come get us and show us the way. Bless her rich doctor heart.
This lovely woman gave me one instruction on the phone. Just one. She said, “STAY BY YOUR PHONE BECAUSE I’M NOT 100% SURE WHICH GAS STATION YOU ARE AT. DON’T LEAVE YOUR PHONE.”
Ever obedient, I didn’t leave my phone. Really, I didn’t. Promise.
But I did manage to drop it in a large puddle of Sprite that had seeped through a McDonald’s cup and filled up the cup holder. See, I told you I didn’t leave the phone. I just let it swim. Could we have cleaned up this pool of Sprite during the 6-hour-long drive? Sure. Did we? Of course not.
Apparently, Sprite can both give you diabetes and completely ruin cheap brick-like cell phones circa 2000. Let me reiterate that this was our only way of calling any phone number in Costa Rica.
Cue: Tears. Lots of tears.
Cue: Dramatic, “We are done for.”
Cue: Even more screaming in loud tones of love.
Then, my friends, I have no idea how, but she found us. She found us!!!! And showed us the way to the hospital and performed a flawless surgery. She then showed me how to drive to the nearest hotel to take my anesthesia-stoned boyfriend to bed. She said goodnight and told me I could call her if I needed anything else. I smiled and expressed my sincere gratitude.
All while knowing I could never actually take her up on her last gift of kindness.
After all, I had dropped our only method of Costa Rica phone calls in a pool of Sprite.
I walked back to the hospital to pay the bill. The Anesthesia-Stoned Boyfriend sat next to me in his wheelchair as I stood waiting to pay. Out of nowhere, he yelled (REALLY YELLED): “Taylor! In the OR, they pinned me down like the cross!” and dramatically puts his arms out as if he were being crucified.
In an exceedingly Catholic country, that’s how he chose to have the anesthesia crazies affect him. He imitated our dying Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in an attempt to recreate his surgery.
This is my life.
I looked around slowly and nonchalantly (only with my eyes, like a spy) to see if anybody was offended.
Bless their hearts. None of them spoke enough English to know how offensive The Anesthesia-Stoned Boyfriend really was.
Sometimes “Interesting” looks less like travelling to an exotic land and more like getting lost in a foreign country.
Clean up Sprite when you spill it.
Don’t spend entire months worrying about Dengue, or you will get another type of flu for two weeks.
Park your anesthesia-stoned loved one’s wheelchair OUTSIDE and FAR AWAY from other people while paying their bill.
It’s an exciting moment for me because it marks the beginning of my new blog focus (see the new header image up there ^^^) and the release of my “The Interesting Project Workbook” which you can buy TODAY!
I was full of worry today. All the “What if”s any new business-owner, traveller, woman, or human could imagine began floating through my over-analyzing brain. I did this all worrying while listening to a back episode of the wonderfully inspiring “The Lively Show” podcast. Right in the midst of my “What if” panic attack, Jess Lively said “let your ego totally get a chill pill.” Is that not the best?!
She reminded her listeners that one moment is not necessarily any better than another moment, but right now it is the only moment we have. This one is good enough.
My ego’s best chill pill is gratitude.
I was flooded with gratitude for this moment I’m living in. I don’t need to be the best. I don’t even need to be one of the best. My ego tells me that I do. But it’s wrong, and it needs to chill. All I need is to be fully awake in this moment. The rest is just details. Maybe I’ll never be a massively successful anything, but I will have been grateful for and aware of the beauty life kept handing me.
My friends, my cup overflows. I’m bursting with thankfulness this Thanksgiving for everything this year has given me.
— I fell more madly in love with The Boyfriend – and by moving to a foreign country together, grew and strengthened our relationship. He’s just marvelous.
So my ego needs to chill a bit. Instead of a panicked “What if…?!?!?!” – I’m flipping the script and saying, “Look at what life has already offered me!”
Have you been there – when your ego freaks you out and convinces you that you have to do everything and be everyone in order to have a full life? Does your ego need a gratitude chill pill too? Welcome to the club
The truth is, doing everything and being everyone will only get you into a harried mess. We need to drown our ego with gratitude for everything we already have and who we already are in this very moment. Let’s practice. Just leave a short (or long!) list of gratitude in the comments!! Let’s fill up the comment section with a gratitude overflow.