La Lucha de la Tigra, Costa Rica- June 20
You never fall in love for the first time, again. This was our first taste of Latin America: strong, sweet, and now, bittersweet. La Lucha de la Tigra, Costa Rica. (I can’t say it without a sigh).
A loving glimpse back at a simplier life, one that was ours not that long ago; and yet, it feels like a lifetime ago. The following is a touching entry from my personal journal on Monday, June 20th, 2011. Then, we were living life as volunteers, life as locals, life in a rural school, life on the ranch. Ahh. Teary-eyed as I read it.
1-Woke Up I Don’t Know When
We don’t use a clock on the days we don’t volunteer in the school and have to be there at a particular time. So, on two big mattresses on the floor, lay Gabi, with Orazi and Solai snuggled up on either side. Kobi and Dahnya are in Panama buying a car (which we can sell in the end for maybe even more than the great deal they got it for!). So, Orazi and Solai have mom all to themselves.
It was warm, cuddly, beautiful, golden. I’m rubbing their soft little heads. “Thank God we have this time together.” And then, they open their mouths, and within seconds are fighting over if Orazi needs to give Solai back a lollipop for the one she gave him yesterday or not. They are yelling in my ear, whining, trying to get me into the fight, and I lie there. “Dear God, why do we have so much time together?”
2-International Gabi Health Month
What you haven’t heard? It’s a self declared holiday from June 7th (my brother’s birthday) until July 8th and you’re invited to join in on the festivities! I exercise (every day except on school days when we walk two million miles each way anyway!), eat healthy food, and love myself. It’s great fun!
Today, I made the kids a quick breakfast, told them they could go online, and headed out the door to exercise. I even took my blue exercise stretchy band thing to work on arm muscles as I walked. Stopped on the way to invite Sonia and Jose Ramon for lunch; after which, I was so invigorated, I began to run. A minute later, it began raining. So, here I am running IN THE RAIN. So cool.
It is moments like these that I pinch myself. “Yes, I really am here on a mud and stone road on my street in La Lucha de la Tigre jogging in the rain!” So, the rain, sweet and refreshing, swiftly turned to a raging downpour. And yes, I’m still running in it (and pinching myself).
I come home soaking wet and decide that nothing will stop my exercise routine when I’m on a roll. (Have I mentioned that I am determined to return to the muscular, in-shape, sexy Gabi I know is hiding in there?) So, I go down to the outdoor pavilion where I teach English when the Dona is home. I do (get this) sit-ups. (I’m impressed too. I think the last time I did sit-ups was in ’99). I do sit-ups, leg exercises, squats (I know!) and because my body is so used to this type of torture, I stop the second it burns and move on to the next exercise. Still, I’m glowing, in the rain, under the pavilion, doing my exercises in honor of International Gabi Health Month.
And then, I hear something. I get up and find that Jose Ramon‘s horse and her colt are right there, in the rain, sending me their blessings of strength and goodwill for working so hard on my health. I get up, and do this profound mumbo-jumbo soul-inspired Thai Chi looking stretch dance while smiling at the horses. It was going really well till I got stuck on some squatted move.
3- Watching My Son Watch The Rain
This was a soul-pinching inspirational highlight for me, and a reminder of exactly why we are doing this open-ended volunteer travel thing with our kids. I had the immense honor of watching my son watch the rain. One more time, slowly, I got to watch him, watch the rain.
And why is that so cool? Because of two reasons: a- out of inactivity and boredom, my children have the honor of just hanging out, exploring, learning seredipituously, watching the rain. how many of our over-programmed, rushed, over-achieving kids today have the time to watch the rain for as long as their little hearts desire? and b- out of inactivity and boredom, my children’s career-driven, busy, busy, busy juggling mom has the honor of just hanging out, exploring, learning spanish, writing her two books and blogs, exercising almost every day, volunteering, and watching her son watch the rain. How often in my busy life have I had nothing else to go do, worrry about, to hurry off to physically or mentally? I was just there watching him watch the rain. Ahhhh.
4- Scissor Happy
So, with boredom and unstructured time comes marvelously genius bursts of innovation and creativity. Orazi, who wants to look like all the other boys in school, has these blonde cherub-like King David curls. He wants a school uniform and wants the curls off, and now. so, one of the well-known dangers of Gabi being unsupervised for several days at a time (remember Kobi is in Panama) is Gabi going scissor happy. We sat outside, the three of us, and cut off all of Orazi’s curls. We took turns, it was fun, and the results were surprisingly lovely.
It’s addictive, you know. when you see someone with a nice new haircut. So…. it’s hot and I just flop my long, thick hair on top of my head in a bun all day. That just won’t do anymore. So, I cut if all off. It softly brushes my shoulders now. And then, yes, Solai WHO HAS NEVER IN HER SIX AND A HALF YEARS HAD A HAIRCUT wanted one too. (Too bad the camera is with Kobi in Panama. He’s barely using it I bet!) So, lo and behold, she’s got the cutest little chop you can imagine and the joy was watching the kids get so involved in brushing, cutting, and then gelling each other’s hair.
5- Lunch With Honored Guests
So, Don Jose Ramon and Sonia accepted our invitation to lunch. They came showered and in their Sunday best. Oh my god, how cute are these people? We ate beef soup, rice, and salads made by the veggies Lula had brought over yesterday to pay for her English classes. I mentioned to them that I had tried to get a guavana off the tree with a stick but couldn’t. After the meal, they took us for a walk to pick different joys off fruit trees. They introduced us to the jangpion tree and its acidic, sweet, delish flavor.
And now, I’ve got to go. Solai and Orazi have been working in the kitchen for over an hour. They’ve picked carabola fruits, made a shake with them in the blender, and I think maybe even prepared a fruit platter with fresh pineapples. So, they are here by my side, waiting to blindfold me and take me to the table to see what magic they’ve cooked up. Gotta go. I’ll save you a sip of my carabola shake.
Have you ever fallen in love with a place and its people? Do you ever wistfully look back at a former time in your life, and sigh? Do you have your own Lucha de la Tigra place reserved deep in your heart?
We’d love to hear about it, and share with you on our journey, as well. I thank BootsNAll for reminding me to write about that place, that one place sacred in my chest, always.