What’s For Breakfast?
Amazingly, the entire family has really gotten used to the fact that we are way far away from home. We’re used to the lizards on the ceiling in every room of the house, the occasional snake-frog-iguana in the swimming pool, bats in the house if you leave the screen-door open too late (the ceiling fan took care of one, I had to go after the other with a bath towel), scorpions on the tile floor, Mexican Tree Frogs sticking to the windows, tarantulas lurking in the furniture, Howler Monkey’s surrounding the house, and so on and so forth…
We’ve settled into Costa Rica fairly well all things considered. In fact, we’ve settled in so well that our sense of time has almost disappeared entirely.
At first time seemed to be ticking by ever-so-slowly. It felt as though it would be easy to soak up every last moment of this family adventure and time away from the normal routine. Then things started to move at a more “normal” pace for a while… and the last 10 days have flown by uncomfortably fast!
I have been having the girls write a letter home every weekend and even they freaked out a little the last time I told them another week had gone by and it was time to write another letter. They could hardly think of what they had done since the last letter they had written.
Let’s see… there was surfing, a little 4×4 road trip to Montezuma, a 5 hour horseback ride through the jungle and along the beach, more surfing, tide-pool exlporing, several swimming days…
“All of that was since last weekend dad? It seems like we just wrote a letter yesterday!”
All of that makes it seem like we are packing in the activities much more than we really are. We have had a blast, but probably most of all we have been enjoying the simplicity of each day. I think that is what has made our sense of time begin to melt away.
In our normal life, there is nothing simple about most days for our family. We are six fairly busy people, moving in six different directions, at six different speeds, attempting to coordinate a few pick-ups and drop-offs and trying to figure out a way to stay connected.
Here, we all get up at about the same time every morning. We work together to figure out a plan for breakfast. Then we read, write, talk and swim for a couple of hours, before packing into the car for one activity… all together.
This one activity has sometimes been a pretty big deal, like surf lessons or a rugged hike to a nearby waterfall, but sometimes it is just trying a new place for lunch and chasing some hermit crabs around the beach before heading back up to the house for the rest of the day.
I can’t remember the last time I’ve enjoyed this much downtime… and without that feeling that usually comes with it. You know the feeling… “I really should be ____ing or getting ready to ________ right now.” There is nothing else we are supposed to be doing and that feels pretty amazing most of the time.
There have been a handful of moments where my wife or I have experienced a little bit of the American anxiety we’re used to. All of the sudden one or the other of us starts to feel like we need to get on top of “something”… or make “something” happen.
Just a couple days ago I connected via FaceTime with a good friend of mine and was explaining that I was feeling a bit of pressure to have some kind of big breakthrough or epiphany or something. He knows that I meant for this journey to somehow help my family and I to discover a greater sense of purpose for our lives and shape our plans for how we will operate moving forward.
I asked him if he thought I should start trying to summarize what’s going through my mind and what discoveries I’ve made, knowing full-well that I would be grasping at straws at this point. He responded with what I believe was some pretty good advice.
He basically reminded me that I did not take my family off the superhighway we had been traveling to write an essay about who we are or what our purpose should be, but to connect… to slow down and enjoy each other… to distance ourselves from the buzz of the traffic and the meaningless pull of the road.
We agreed that the best course of action at this point was to just be here with my wife and my little girls. There’s no reason not to keep asking the questions and figuring out how to get my family asking some good questions, but for now there’s no need to define, write down and attempt edit the answers.
I could easily get lost in my head trying to figure out who I am and what’s next when where I need to be is right here, in this moment with these people, trying to figure out what’s for breakfast.