A Rough Two Weeks

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Earlier last week, my mother was ill and I was trying to get her to go to the doctor or hospital because she had been complaining of stomach pain all day, but at the same time, she kept telling me she felt better. It wasn’t until she became incoherent that I had to call 9-11 to get her to the emergency room.  Mind you NONE of this experience helped with my anxiety, as a matter of fact, my anxiety kicked in OVERTIME.

Flashback November 2016 I had a similar instance with a friend of mine who was feeling “something,” but she wasn’t sure what that something was and when I asked her if she needed me to call an ambulance she said she wasn’t sure. It wasn’t until she collapsed that I knew something was terribly wrong. I ended up calling the ambulance and it took them over an hour to arrive and when they finally arrived I told them that she had been waiting for a long time and they claimed that they only received a dispatch 10 minutes prior to them arriving at her house.   

This was like déjà vu all over again, the difference was that I wasn’t in a foreign land. I had just returned to the states a week prior and I was preparing to start work in three days. When I called the ambulance, the fire department was at the door before I hung up with dispatch. They came in and assessed her situation and knew that something was wrong, but they couldn’t tell at that moment. We went to the emergency room and they ran a battery of test on her to rule out things. It was about 3:00 a.m. when the doctors told me that they were still waiting on her test results and if I wanted I could go back home and get some rest (or something that resembled rest in these types of situations.)   

When I returned, I found out that she was having surgery in a couple of hours because her body was going into septic shock (note to self: when they say do your Googles, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Especially when you are in a state of panic and confusion and it appears that your mother isn’t going to make it, when I looked up these two TOXIC words I was scared and didn’t know what I should do). Prayer was my only recourse because that was the only thing I could do for her and myself. My mother and I have a pretty good relationship, but it wasn’t always that way because she wasn’t present for a good portion of my formative years. It took some time and patience to rebuild and honestly, we’re still working on it, so the thought of her not being present (again) in my life was unimaginable.   

Of course, I am aware that we all have an expiration date, but I’m prayerful that she will be restored and we can continue to have a more fruitful time together. Well, I am happy to say that it has been a little over a week and she’s shown tremendous improvement. She’s not completely out the woods yet, but she’s definitely not where she was. Once she fully recovers we can get back to our regularly scheduled program and enjoy this amazing city.   

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Transforming My Dreams into Reality

Just Believe in your Dreams

Transformation is a process, and as life happens there are tons of ups and downs. It’s a journey of discovery – there are moments on mountaintops and moments in deep valleys of despair. ~ Rick Warren

So it’s been a little over six months since I’ve had my accident and a lot has changed since then.  My original plan was to stay in Spain indefinitely, but this accident made me realize that I wanted to be closer to family and friends (for now.) I am now in the states and it has only been four days. It’s a little early to determine my next move. Every time I’ve made a move I’ve had an idea of what I was going to do as it pertained to a job, but this time is different because I have NO CLUE. I mean, I have an idea of what I WANT to do, but I’m not sure where to start with that dream and to be honest, I’m a little nervous to put it out there.

My first step is believing my dreams can happen for me and not just for everyone else and that’s a start. More and more, I am facing my fears when it comes to me having a desire or dream. I’ve done a lot of things in spite of fear accompanying me on my various journeys. It’s not uncommon for me to pack up and move across the country or even out of the country. Those types of moves don’t bring the level of fear I’m feeling at the moment because this level requires me to reinvent and transform myself into someone new.

Before I left the states I worked in various corporate positions and in each of those positions I’ve been somewhat satisfied, but there was still something missing. Until I made the move abroad and became a teacher, corporate was all I knew after I left the military. When you think about it teaching is an extension of the corporate training that I once did, it’s just on a different level (the only difference was that I swapped out the adults for the three to sixteen-year-olds.)

My accident was definitely a valley experience and a time of despair. I honestly didn’t know what would come of that experience. The thoughts that ran through my mind are funny now, but at that moment they were real. I questioned God about my very existence and how could this happen, but the recovery process is still teaching me patience and endurance. I thought I was one of the most patient people in the world until this happened and I wanted my recovery process to happen immediately. I’m told that this process could take several years to recover. As I patiently trust this process, I will continue with my transformation and embrace that process as well.

I will start temping this coming week, but I have a few days before that starts.  Right now, I’m learning how to be in a moment without trying to have it all figured out before I take a leap into my newness. So, I will enjoy these few days of cluelessness concerning long-term employment and “just be,” until inspiration hits me with the next move to make. My dreams are scaring me so I guess that’s a good thing, but I will put action behind them to make them become my reality.

Community is necessary

January 1, 2018

#IMMAKINGITHAPPEN, #IMGETTINITPOPPIN, #NEWYEARNEWME…. these are all the sayings that you see as the new year is about to approach. This year I chose none of those for 2018. With that being said 2017 wasn’t as eventful as it should’ve been, but I definitely went out with a bang (as you can see). On December 14 I fell and ended up with two arm cast all while living abroad. Initially, I had a hard time trying to understand why/how this could happen. I still struggle with it from time to time, but it’s getting better. I’m not a big believer in coincidences, so normally when things happen I try to use it as a learning experience. This is not always my initial reaction, but after the dust settles I try to learn from every experience whether it was good or bad. I believe that in order to change, growth is necessary and as I get older I never want to be that person that remained the same from five, 10, or 20 years ago. Ideally, I want to evolve into the best possible version of myself. Over the next month my goal is to post the lessons, experiences and funnies that I believe will carry me through this year and give me the ability to create a fruitful and prosperous year that will provide the catalyst to my destiny.

1. I need community

The saying “no man is an island to himself,” is very accurate for me. When you live abroad your community constantly changes because people come and go. This particular season of my life I don’t have the community that I once had. Mainly because my previous community has moved back to the states and I moved to a different school in a different location. The area that I currently live in is filled with a majority of people who are married with children and naturally their priorities are family first as opposed to someone that is single with no kids (me). It wasn’t until my accident that I realized I had a community of women (mostly mothers) that came to my rescue. These are people that I work with on a day-to-day basis and even though I see them in school and we don’t necessarily have conversation outside of a simple hello, they cared enough about me to offer help. After my fall I wasn’t thinking that I wouldn’t be able to do anything for myself (I know it would seem obvious, but I think I was in a state of shock for the first few days) it wasn’t until they brought it to my attention and asked me if they could send someone to help me during my time of need. Although I have no problem with helping others, I am not a big proponent of people helping me. It is very difficult for me to accept help. Which is something I’m working on, but this experience has given me a lesson in humility. I’m a very private person and I don’t like a lot of people in my house. The community that I didn’t know I had showed up to make sure that I was okay and they swooped in and showed me kindness during this holiday season. Holidays are always tough for me because I’m not with my family and friends. As “coincidence,” would have it my mother booked her flight last August and was coming to visit me during this Christmas season. Help came in the form of a woman who happened to be the same age and stature as my mother and she taught me some valuable lessons during this short time that she was here to help me. The biggest one was why I need community and I can’t retreat and isolate yourself. I will use that lesson to spread my wings.

Granada, Nicaragua

A couple of weeks ago I visited the wonderful city of Granada, Nicaragua!! It has a different feel than Costa Rica in a vintage kind of way. Where Costa Rica (within the city of San Jose) reminds me of modern day times, the city of Granada, Nicaragua has a sort of untouched feel that reminds you of the old town places you see in a Rick Steve’s episode you come across while thumbing through the channels late at night. Each building tells a story and while I never thought I would be into architecture, here lately it has piqued my interest. The buildings are phenomenal, I believe the combination of color contrast and age make them special. I even thought about moving there, but where they are rich in architecture they lack in income ( but they are on the radar)! I took the above picture at the top of the Iglesias de La Merced in the city of Granada and on a clear day the view is absolutely gorgeous and worth the $1 or 25 Cordobas. Now I must warn you that the stairwell is a little steep going up, but well worth it when you reach the top. At night everything comes alive (not in the sense of ghosts and goblins, but more like food, fun and exploration, of course if you’re into ghost and goblins, I’m sure you can find that also, but that’s not my cup of tea). You can find a variety of food to suit your pallette in Granada. The street of Calle de Calzada has a variety of street vendors, musicians and the restaurateurs beckoning for you to come into the establishment to experience some fine dining. You have the option to sit outside or within the restaurant. You can opt for local cuisine or stop at the Rodeo Steak House and Grill if you want a good old rib eye!  There are plenty of places to stay while there, it all depends on what suits your fancy. No matter where you stay you should be able to experience a great culture because it’s like no other!!!

In search of it…

Bliss

Welcome 2014!!!!

I’m so excited to welcome the New Year, mainly because 2013 was a bit of a roller coaster for me. If I had to sum my year up in one word, I would say that “TRUST,” would be it! I finally made my move to Costa Rica and although I didn’t know what to expect, I felt that I made the right decision. I arrived with no real plans other than I was going to work as a TEFL teacher and although I had done some training in the corporate world, I had never taught students in a classroom setting before, but I went through the necessary training to get my TEFL credential and I was ready to start! Well not quite, I had never been to Costa Rica, but a desire to learn Spanish and a few stories here and there, inspired me to take a leap of faith. I had one contact via my cousin who teaches in Africa. She had a friend who lived here and she introduced us via email (don’t you just love technology). My plan was to stay with her a few days while I go job hunting and find a place that I could call home in this land of “paradise.”

Before my arrival I was told that Costa Rica does not have addresses, they navigate by landmarks (even landmarks that no longer exist, but in the minds of those that once knew the landmarks were there) case and point, in order to get to other areas of Costa Rica, the most familiar bus depot is the Coca Cola station, but if you’re looking for a Coca Cola sign, you won’t find it because it hasn’t been in existence for over 10 years, it’s just used as a point of reference without the reference. The first time I heard that there were no addresses, I thought that had to be the most bizarre thing I’d heard in a while because how does one get around without an address?!

I arrived sometime after midnight and hopped in a cab and quickly realized that I was no longer on familiar territory (you’re no longer in Kansas, Dorothy). After a failed attempt to communicate I immediately asked the driver if I could call my new friend because I was never going to be able to speak to him with an understanding that either of us would feel comfortable with. Now that I think about it, I’m not even sure how he understood that I needed him to make a call for me because he didn’t speak English and it was clear that “hola and adios,” weren’t going to cut it (flashback to my high school Spanish teacher who constantly asked me to pay attention in class because I may need this one day), at the time my thoughts were “sure I will Mrs. Moreno,” boy was she right!!

That late night arrival to a country I had never been to and the meet up with a person that I had briefly chatted with via email would be an indication of what my journey would be like during my time here, be mindful, but trust that it will work out even when fear wants to silence you and send you back to a comfortable and complacent place. These were feelings that I felt from time to time.

Fast forward almost a year later and I’m happy for the experiences that I’ve had and the lessons that I’ve learned and continue to learn. While there are many lessons that I will take into the New Year, there are a few that stick out.

My first lesson is that there are times that you have to depend on others, which may include family, friends and strangers (depending and trusting in others is a big lesson for me because it can be uncomfortable). I’ve learned many hard lessons following the Do It Yourself motto and it does not work. Don’t get me wrong, there comes a time for DIY, but when there’s time for help, just accept it and be open.

Secondly, perfection will never happen and fear is the enemy. Many of us are perfectionist and it is my belief that “perfection” is a myth, you work with what you have and you put it out there. Of course you will continue to build upon it, but don’t waste your time on perfection because you’ll never move forward. I’ve struggled with fear and perfection and they can be paralyzing. I read a quote that said’ “courage is doing what you’re afraid to do in the face of fear.”

Lastly, we are all placed on this earth for a reason and it is our responsibility to find the “why,” for our life. During your quest, you will make mistakes, learn from them. You will also have achievements, applaud them and take time to enjoy the moment.

So, I close with this note of reflection, as I continue to use this blog to chronicle my journey in life, travel and whatever else comes up. I am a work in progress and will continue to be the best person I can and live life the way I was meant to live it and that’s with total bliss!

Thank you for reading, until next time, besitos!!

Black don’t crack?! Lies you tell!!!

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There’s an old saying that says “black don’t crack,” but (in my NOLA voice) baaaaby don’t believe the hype!! Due to my ignorance and decision to not use sunblock, I’m experiencing a burning sensation that I’ve NEVER felt before! I’ve always heard people tell stories of sunburn, but for whatever reason it has never been my experience. I’ve gone to the beach many times and relaxed with no problem, until Jaco Beach entered the picture or I entered Jaco Beach!!! Let me first say that I had an absolute ball at the beach and when my friend suggested it, I admit I was contemplating whether or not I wanted to be there all day and do nothing and the answer was YES honey and loved every moment of it!! Fast forward to a day later and I get this tingling sensation all over my body (lips included- like WOW, really, the lips too?) and I’m thinking to myself, “what in the world is going on?” I first thought sand, but after my shower I knew exactly what it was (in my Newman voice (Seinfeld character) – SUNBURN!!!). How could this happen to me?!?! It happened because I didn’t think the sun would be an issue! Based on stories that I’ve heard I have a minor case and don’t want to imagine anything worse, but it feels like the devil is running up and down my body with pitchforks continuously poking me and laughing as I think about the sunblock that I actually brought to the beach, but didn’t take out the bag. My friends explanation was that it’s easier to burn as oppose to back in the day because “there are holes in the ozone layer and the missing filter of the U.V. rays .” I honestly don’t know what that means, but I do know that this adds new meaning to Alicia Keys song, “Girl on Fire!” https://soundcloud.com/aliciakeys/girl-on-fire-bluelight-version.

So, to all my chocolate friends out there that love the beach like myself, but think you and the sun have a special relationship and you choose not to protect your skin, don’t do it, don’t trade places with me Ms. Celie (Color Purple reference) and feel the burn because this pain right here, could’ve been avoided!! Now off I go to nurse my skin with the Aloe Vera leaf that I plucked for the yard.

Words of wisdom USE YOUR SUNBLOCK!!!

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Peace and blessings

Dating

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Interracial dating
When I decided that Costa Rica was in my future, I didn’t count all the cost, one cost in particular would be dating. I’m a single woman living my dream, but at the same time I’ve always envisioned being in a loving relationship with a man that shared my interest of travel and exploration. I mean I have my girls, but it’s always good to hear a man’s (just any man, my man) point of view. The dating scene didn’t really cross my mind until I arrived here and noticed that this is the land of the pint size man. I’m not saying there’s something wrong with pint size, but I’m a tall glass of water and I like my water to be the same height (at least) or taller. My rule of thumb is, “If I can’t see over his head, there’s nothing to be said!” For whatever reason, I’m a little man’s magnet, you know the pint size guy that you can pick up and put in your pocket or throw over your shoulder? Oddly enough those are usually the ones with the most confidence, which is a trait I admit is admirable, but I still have my preferences. I must say, over the years my “preferences,” have decreased, but I’m faced with a new challenge now and that’s dating outside of my race and that’s something that I’ve never really thought about because my attractions has always been towards the brown hue. It’s not that I wouldn’t date someone besides brown, but in all honesty I’ve never noticed one looking at me in that manner, to be real honest, if he did I probably would not have noticed because of my subconscious “allegiance.” Of course I’ve seen attractive men of all types, but that’s pretty much been the extent of that!! A few of my friends feel like I’ll end up with someone other than brown and that’s something that I’m grappling with because it has never crossed my mind. Now when I say that and look at my gene pool of friends I realize that I’m part of the rainbow coalition, but I’m on the outside looking in and now I have some choices to make. My choices are either wait for the brown man that I’ve always envisioned myself being with or be open to that MAN (regardless of color) that will treat me right and we’ll make each other happy. As for now, I’m working on my openness and only time will tell….