Archive for ‘personal’

October 11, 2015

sea

The sea pronounces something, over and over, in a hoarse whisper; I cannot quite make it out. ~Annie Dillard

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August 31, 2015

The Dog that Poops Rainbows

 

StinkerbellTink

Pink. Glitter. Sparkles. Giggles.

Those are the words that sum up our sweet girl. You’d never know it, looking at pretty much every photo I have of her. Apparently, she was as uncooperative in front of a lens as her mommy. But this girl was one of the brightest spirits that I have ever met. We always joked that she was so damn happy that when she pooped, rainbows came out. Her nickname was Twinkle Toes because of her ever present happy prance.

In December she developed a cough. She was quickly diagnosed with CHF (congestive heart failure) and we soon became what felt like constant fixtures at the vet’s office. It was so heartbreaking to watch our happy little girl battle her failing heart, but she was such a trooper through it all. She was progressing much faster than we had originally anticipated and we knew that as we constantly changed and added medications, we were simply buying time. And then last week, very unexpectedly, time left us.

We said goodbye. And now, my heart has a new hole in it.

Stinkerbell ♥

“Confess I’m not quite ready to be left.
Still, I know I gave my level best. 
 
You will rest your head, your strength once saving.
And when you wake you will fly away,
holding tight to the legs of all your angels.
Goodbye my love.”

-DMB

August 10, 2015

carrots are tasty

Sometimes, as I’m sipping my protein shake and snacking on a hard-boiled egg I think WHO HAVE I BECOME?!

You know when you are creeping, I mean, ummmm, checking in on friends, on facebook and you see One of Those People post about the amazing run they just had. The incredible salad they just ate. The pant size they just dropped? Well. Yeah. Hi, my name is Kristie and I have become one of those people.

I don’t want to say that those people annoyed me. Because really, they didn’t. I more just wanted to give them a little flick to the forehead. And then continue eating my potato chips. Because how dare they make me feel guilty about my potato chip habit? Sure sure, they weren’t intentionally trying to make me feel bad about those crumbs scattered about my body. But they made me feel bad nonetheless. How dare they?

But one day I realized that maybe I ate a few too many potato chips for my liking. Actually, if I’m being honest here, really what happened was one day I realized I wasn’t young anymore. *GASP*

WHAAAAAAAAT? and I realized that that realization? Well. It was bullshit. I didn’t want to get older. I stomped my feet and threw around some curse words. I researched Botox. I considered putting on my hiking boots and going on the hunt for the fountain of youth. And then I got slightly more realistic. I decided that I had a choice in how I care for my body. And I decided that I wasn’t about to go down without a fight. And so I have decided to fight for a healthy body.

I work out

And that is why I am writing this post. I know it is sort of annoying, but really I am just very excited about this journey I have begun. I’ve become one of those annoying people on facebook that talks about their amazing workout 😉 I’m about to interrupt your potato chip snack time.

Struggling with weight only became an issue for me once I became an adult. I grew up an itty bitty thing. I never thought twice about my body, other than feeling self-conscious that I was too skinny. I ate a TON. I just didn’t gain. I graduated high school at 97 pounds. I was at my heaviest when I got married at 120lbs. And then in my mid-twenties I went on anti-depressants. And kaBOOM. My mind grew calmer, and my ass grew wider! At my heaviest I was 180 lbs. For the first time in my life, I felt immensely uncomfortable in my own skin. And every attempt to lose weight was spurred by the idea of getting skinny again. Why couldn’t my body bounce back to that itty bitty girl I used to be? I wasn’t focused on what the excess weight was doing to my body. I was simply focused on getting thin again.

Over the years I slowly lost the weight, even with the wrong mind-set. Slowly, with an on-again off-again relationship with cardio, quitting the medication, and finally, getting a job that was incredibly physical. Which brings me to the body I have today. Which is good and all. Fluffy around the edges, slightly jiggly, but gets the job done. But not great.

I have realized I will never in my wildest dreams be that skinny little thing again. It just isn’t realistic. But here’s the amazing thing. I also finally have realized that I don’t want to be skinny. I mean, come on. SURE it would be nice, but more so I want to be healthy. I want to be strong.

I work out

I am ten weeks into this journey and am going strong. I feel so very great, and honestly, so very proud of myself. And the best part? I am not overly concerned with the scale. Depending on the day, I have lost 3-5 pounds, which may not sound like much. and really, it isn’t. But the program I follow encourages you not to concern yourself with the scale, which has been so liberating. I am not losing many pounds, but my body is changing in so many other ways, and I am finding those changes far more exciting than watching numbers on a scale.

Getting healthy is my new priority. I have realized that in order to take care of yourself properly, it truly does have to become a way of life. It HAS to become part of your regular routine. I know what I need to get done in a week, and I just make sure it happens. I used to make excuses and all it would take is one curveball in the schedule to throw everything off. And once things are thrown off, I would simply quit. Today went bad, so why even bother trying tomorrow.  I have had lots of obstacles in the last couple of months, but I have worked around every single one of them because this is too important.

And then my journey hit a road bump when I was eight weeks in and it was an amazing reminder of why I am doing this. I tell myself on a regular basis that I will not go down without a fight. I have watched both of my parents struggle with health issues and it freaks me out quite a bit. And so I made a very conscious decision to make my body fight. About 6 months ago I was hit with very sudden back pain that knocked me quite literally on my ass. And then about two weeks ago I was hit with it all over again.

Is that a curve in your back or are you just happy to see me?

Turns out I’ve got a little sumthin’ sumthin’ going on back there. I was infuriated that my body was letting me down. I was frustrated that I couldn’t do such simple tasks as wash my face in the sink or put my own socks on. And I was pissed that I couldn’t work out. That’s when I knew I was in this for the long haul. THIS was a clear winner for the old me as a reason to quit. But the new me? THIS was a clear winner for exactly why I need to keep going. I think my chiropractor almost did summersaults after I told him that I prescribed myself a treatment plan of planks 🙂

So I literally leave a puddle of sweat on my floor three times a week. And I walk about three miles three to four times a week. And I weird myself out on a regular basis when I catch myself sipping protein shakes and snacking on carrots. WHO IS THIS PERSON?!?!

This person is a new version of me. With a cute little baby bicep and everything!

I work out

******

What IS my journey?

  • I am NOT dieting. I don’t believe in diets- I never have and I never will. I have vowed to be a conscious eater. Food is my biggest struggle and always has been. I cannot commit to eating plans. I just don’t stick with them. So instead I have evaluated my habits and have begun to make very conscious decisions on what I allow into my body. I do NOT eat amazingly well. When I eat poorly (DAMN YOU FIVE GUYS!!!!! You are my kryptonite!) I do it with a mind that is fully aware that I am choosing this bad food. I ask myself if all the sweat I left on the floor was worth this choice. I do not eat out of boredom anymore. I do not mindlessly snack. I think my poor food choices out thoroughly and make a conscious decision that yes, yes this fried chicken IS totally worth it right now. And the next time I want something bad, I think about how I already had something bad a couple of days ago, and so toobadsosad I’m just going to have to forfeit and go eat a carrot. It’s really been that simple.
  • I watch my portions. Which honestly, is my toughest battle. Because guys, I luuuuuurve food! But I no longer have bad food in the house- if it’s not there, you cannot eat it! I plan my food for each day and bring EVERYTHING to work. If I didn’t bring it, I don’t eat it. I bring protein bars with me when we are running errands on the weekends so that I am not tempted to stop for fast food. *ahem* damn you Five Guys! *ahem*
  • I sweat. I need a program to follow- I am not good at figuring out what I need to do on my own. And to add to that, I have an irrational fear of going to a gym. I know, I know. A friend had mentioned on IG that she was doing a program called Bikini Body Guide, and while normally a name like that would sort of turn me in the other direction, she talked about how freaking hard it was, and so I checked it out. Because I don’t know, bikini body guide just sounds sort of silly to me for some reason. But listen to me very closely. It is fucking hard. HARD. The amazing thing is you give it your all for 28 minutes, three days a week, and walk for three days a week, and AHmazing things begin happening to your body. I really wanted to be invested in a program where I did not have to go to a gym. That I didn’t need to buy a whole bunch of equipment for. I wanted to be able to work out in my home. In a park. In a hotel room. With this guide you can take it anywhere with you and I love that! And the great thing is once the program is complete, you can go full circle and start all over again, increasing your weights and gaining even more changes in your body. I am really in love with this program and encourage you to check it out. If you are an Instagram check out the hashtag #bbg…and be blown away by the transformations. And I will also say, don’t be daunted by all those young girls….I was worried that since I am *cough* older *cough* that maybe I couldn’t expect the same results…WRONG. Search #momscanbefit and be amazed.
  • I’m going to go eat a carrot now.
July 20, 2015

keep your head up

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | Kristie Kulik Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | Kristie Kulik Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | Kristie Kulik Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | Kristie Kulik Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | Kristie Kulik

I have recently started on a new journey of trying to become a healthier version of myself. I had a frightening realization that I am no longer a spring chicken WHAT?! and I have opted to not go down the road of aging without a fight. And so I am fighting. I have two mottos that I carry with me when I am in the middle of a workout that I am sure was designed to send me to my death, when I am sure that I. Absolutely. Positively. Cannot. Finish. I repeat to myself the words “Keep your head up” and “Finish strong”.

And on that note, you really should always keep your head up while vacationing in Costa Rica, as you never know what you may find up in those trees. *So totally and seamlessly brought those two topics together, didn’t I? No? Listen people, it’s a real struggle, this whole blogging thing. Take what you can 😉

June 29, 2015

Drop Sloths

I have visited Costa Rica on three occasions now, and on each occasion I head home with eyes that are exhausted. Because during the trips they are busy busy busy hunting for the one critter I absolutely adore. The sloth. These little stinkers are So. Hard. to spot. Unless you live in CR apparently. Then you can see them without trying, while speeding down a highway, while they are hidden atop trees, tucked into the greenery. Seriously. It seems they are always just out of my grip.

Costa Rica | Two Toed Sloth | Kulik Photography

On our first visit we visited a botanical garden and when we informed our guide of my desperate desire to see a sloth he got incredibly excited and rushed us to a particular spot where there is always a sloth. I was giddy with excitement. I was going to actually get to see a sloth! FINALLY!!! Except apparently today was his poop day. And he took a trip down from his usual spot. To poo. *sigh*

On my second visit I did get to see a couple sloths, but they were always just a touch too far away. I couldn’t get a good picture. I couldn’t see them well. I wouldn’t be greedy, I was still thrilled to actually see one in the wild. But.

So when we told Geovani that really, all I wanted to see was a sloth, and he said he guaranteed he would get me so close that I could touch one, I balked. While driving around with him, he quickly pointed out a three-toed sloth travelling along a power line. Three-toed sloths are harder to find, so this was pretty exciting, and honestly, I was pretty excited to have seen it, even though it was out of the reach of my camera. And then we carried on with our day. And saw lots of stuff. Minus one thing.

Until we were charging down a busy highway. “Stop! BackBackBack. My friend, I have found you your sloth.” Wait. Wha? Where?

Now imagine going 65ish down a highway, and being able to spot this from afar…

Costa Rica | Two Toed Sloth | Kulik Photography

HOW I ask? HOW?

Geovani gave me exactly what I wanted, and then some. I could not believe we were thisclose to a sloth!!!! GAH! He was awesome and grabbed hubby’s phone in order to take video for us…it is one of my favorite pieces of memory from this trip…hearing Geovani’s voice sweetly talking to the sloth, and the sloth just looking so intently at the camera ♥

Costa Rica | Two Toed Sloth | Kulik Photography

He helped my climb onto a barbed wire fence and balance precariously in order to get some of my favorite photographs I have ever taken…

Costa Rica | Two Toed Sloth | Kulik Photography Costa Rica | Two Toed Sloth | Kulik Photography

As we finished up Geovani said, “Now let us see the baby sloth.” Ummmm. I’m sorry…..wha? He walked us further down the highway where he had seen a baby as well while we were driving by. I MEAN.

This little bugger was MUCH harder to photograph (I may have walked away bleeding from being attacked by a tree and barbed wire) and in the end I had to walk away satisfied that I was able to spend time with him, even if I couldn’t be in love with the images.

Costa Rica | Two Toed Sloth | Kulik Photography

CR 11-2014-130-WEB

Costa Rica | Two Toed Sloth | Kulik Photography

 

April 27, 2015

one of those days

There are days that, as they are happening, you think to yourself, this one is good. This is the kind of day that will forever be imprinted on the memory banks as a Good Day. This is one of those days.

happy tourist

I fretted over this vacation for some unknown reason. I made the planning so much harder than it had to be. Leading up to the trip I allowed stress to overwhelm me and I just felt like surrendering. So many things were wreaking havoc on my mind and my emotions and I really was ready to just hide in bed at home while hubby went off for a solo vacation. It is so very easy for me to allow myself to be held hostage by my sneaky little brain. However, for my brain, Costa Rica acts as an anesthetic of sorts. It is why I love the country. It has given me some of my most favorite days.

This day was one of them.

We had planned a day with our guide Wilson, who drove us from the airport the day before. There was a question of whether his friend, and nature guide, Geovani would be with him. As it turned out, he was going to spend the day with us. And what a day it was.

geovani Bogarin | Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

We perplexed our new friends in the beginning. They kept throwing out options of things to do for the day. Zip lining? No. Hot springs? No. Welllllllll…..what do you want to do? We want you to show us your country. We want to see snakes. And bugs. And ummmm, if you could please find me a sloth, I will love you forever. And then Wilson and Geovani showed us the greatness that is their country. There are so. many. things. I want to write about this day. But I am afraid I would bore you. I am afraid you would stop reading because there would just be so. very. much. Just know that I adore this day. It goes down as One of Those Days.

White Hawk | Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

humming bird | Costa Rica | kulik photography

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

Insect | Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

gold eyelash viper | Costa Rica | Kulik PhotographyCosta Rica | Kulik Photography

One thing that we desperately wanted to see was a red-eyed tree frog. You will see these beautiful frogs adorn many advertisements for the country, however they are actually fairly uncommon and difficult to find. Unless you have Geovani by your side 😉

There are times as a photographer where you capture an image. And then quietly do summersaults in your head. And maybe say with a little attitude, yeah. I took that. This is one of those images. I could have thrown my camera away after capturing this*. This. This was the shot I came to this country for. Wash my hands and call it a day.

*Thankfully, I did not throw my camera away. phew! Because I had another summersault moment later in the day 🙂

Red Eyed Tree Frog | Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

and the eggs…

Red Eyed Tree Frog Eggs | Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

Strawberry Poison Frog | Costa Rica | Kulik PhotographyCaterpillar | Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

and what about THIS moment???????????

Sloth | Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

Ummmmm. Yeah. That happened.

Remember “if you find me a sloth I will love you forever“? How about if you find me a sloth on the side of the highway going a gazillion miles an hour and it is so close I can touch it I will totally marry you? And then you find me a baby only minutes down the road? You’re a dreamboat.

Two-Toed Sloth | Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

Wanna know what baby sloth fur looks like? It looks like this…

Two-Toed Sloth | Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

It is a sad day that I have no photos of me getting these photos. Because I was sort of impressed that I have more physical prowess than I thought. There is a very delicate balancing act occurring here, on barbed wire, while precariously wrapping my arm around a tree branch and crossing my fingers that it will hold me as I lean back to get these shots. I might have been bleeding just a little bit after this little photo shoot…but so totally worth it!

This pretty sums up what my face looked like as I climbed back into the van…

Two-Toed Sloth | Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

I could have gone home right at that moment and been so insanely happy. But the day must go on! And it did. And continued in greatness, both big and small. My mind was blown by just how much we saw, and how much we experienced, in such a short period of time. I can say that I did not want the day to end, and as we hugged the guys goodbye, I truly felt like I was saying goodbye to friends.

Wilson Rojas | Geovani Bogarin | Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

 

 

 

April 13, 2015

that long-lost vacation…

Forever and a day ago (or maybe it was about 6 months ago) I went on vacation. And I didn’t tell you about it! WHAT?! I hinted. I posted a couple pictures. And then I got in a fight with my blog. We stopped talking for awhile after we called each other some unfortunate names. But then my brain started wandering back to those lovely vacation days, and I thought it was quite rude of me to not share those lovely memories here. *ok. can we just be honest? I really want to go back on vacation, so this allows me to re-live these wonderful memories. There. I said it.

For some reason, this vacation induced So. Much. Stress. beforehand. Our last trip was planned incredibly last minute. As in, tickets were bought before I even received my renewed passport. We had little time to plan, which in normal circumstances really should cause my OCD to break out in hives. But no. And then this trip? With plenty of time to plan? I wanted to throw up at times. I stomped my feet a lot. The packing?! Only I can make vacation planning so very….grrrrrrr.

I won’t even try to tell the tale of my arguments with a traffic cop at the airport. Or my attempting, yelling really, to just pay the airport guy for my oversized luggage already. I have never had someone NOT want to take my money! Our start to this trip was not a pretty one. And then there was the little stop at customs upon our arrival. Trying to explain our luggage situation. I am pretty sure if it wasn’t for the man carrying our luggage for us, we would have been short some items. A $20 bill can get you far in a developing country 😉

Really, the only luggage I truly care about on these trips is what is on my back every day…the cameras.

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

Well. that and my motion-sickness medicine 🙂 For a girl that gets carsick *very* easily, these are a must on these trips!

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

One of our biggest concerns while planning this trip was nailing down transportation from the airport to our lodge. After not much luck, we discovered our friend’s coworker’s cousin just so happened to have a tour company. I love Costa Rica! Someone always knows someone who can help you! So we contacted Wilson, and made a new friend. He picked us up at the airport. Happily brought us on some quick errands we needed to do before hitting the road. And made the looooong drive much better by being in his company. He brought us to a local soda for lunch and it was delicious, and we made some furry friends while there as well. He took us on some detours and made the drive fun, instead of a tedious drive from point a to point b.

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

While we were eating lunch Wilson had the owner make us these plantains…these were the most delicious plantains I have ever tasted! Best I could decipher, they are simply boiled. That seems too easy for the amazing flavor. If anyone knows the secret to these plantains, I will be your new best friend!!!

IMG_7828 IMG_7830 IMG_7831 IMG_7833  IMG_7838

We finally arrived at our lodge, Arenal Lodge, and made tentative plans to meet up with Wilson, and possibly his friend, the following day, depending on the weather. The weather was cooperative for us, and our first full day in Costa Rica was more than I ever could have asked for…

Just for a taste of the greatness…this was the view from my bed. I mean!

IMG_7848 IMG_7851

 

March 16, 2015

desert dreaming (and that whole queasy feeling gift giving thing…)

My most recent quilt finish has found it’s way to it’s new home, so I can now officially share it! And share how once again, sending one of my quilts off has been slightly vomit inducing.

desert dreams quilt | kulik photography

I am slightly obsessed with this backing fabric, and I insist that you get yourself thoroughly obsessed with it as well. I mean, look at it! Woodland animals? GOLD TREES? I fell over when it arrived. And then I thought about vomiting. I’ll tell you why.

desert dreams quilt | kulik photography

This quilt was a bit of an oops! baby. Totally unplanned, but incredibly loved just the same. Just like me! 🙂

All of the fabric was actually cut to go into a different quilt, but after a slight temper tantrum ensued with a bit of foot stomping and naughty words, I had to admit to myself that it just did not work for the quilt I had in mind. So all those lovely triangles sat in a sad and lonely pile. And then I had a day off. And I pulled them out and started putting them together with the few solid pieces I had leftover from the original quilt. And I quickly started discovering this was how this quilt was always supposed to be.

desert dreams quilt | kulik photography

As I was assembling this quilt, a thought was slowly forming in my mind. I tried dismissing it, as it seemed sort of crazy. But I just couldn’t quite shake it. And then, one day while I was working on it, hubby asked me what my plans for the quilt were. And I voiced my crazy idea.

“Wellllllll, this is going to sound crazy, but there is this girl on facebook. I’ve never actually met her. I think this quilt is supposed to be hers.”

This was met with a slightly blank stare from hubby. So I plugged on, hoping I could make sense.

“I find her incredibly inspiring. She makes me think, and is brave and bold and helps so many people and “fights the good fight” and she has suffered loss and then was met with a great joy and she just helped this family that really needed help and I saw on Pinterest that she liked this line of nursery stuff that was made with this exact fabric line and what are the chances of that?! and I just for some reason really think that she should have this quilt.”

I looked at hubby, unsure. I mean, who gives a quilt to someone they’ve never even met? What if she didn’t even like it?!

“I think that’s a great idea.” He said. Done. This quilt would go to someone I had never met, but who truly inspires me on a regular basis. And so I carried on with finishing it up, trying to decide how to get this quilt to her. And then I posted a picture of it on facebook, sharing it’s near completion. And the first comment came from it’s unsuspecting new owner, asking if I ever sell my quilts. And that is when I knew for sure, she had to have this quilt.

desert dreams quilt | kulik photography

So that settled that. This quilt was hers. As I started finishing it, I suddenly became paralyzed with fear. I still had to choose backing fabric, and binding fabric, and what if she didn’t like any of it???? OH THE PRESSURE!!! And then I found the perfect fabric. It made me giddy the moment I saw it. This quilt was made for this backing. And it wasn’t released yet. Wouldn’t be for awhile. *sigh* I signed up to be emailed as soon as the fabric line was released, and then sat around, biting my nails. And realized I couldn’t sit around waiting for this fabric. It was going to be almost two months! I needed to finish her. So I started looking more. And I found this backing. And fell. in. love. Gold trees? SOLD. Then I found the perfect binding, with a hint of gold as well, perfectly tying everything in.

desert dreams quilt | kulik photography

desert dreams quilt | kulik photography

And then, once again. I panicked. Gold? GOLD? What if she hates gold? Is it too much? Will this quilt be hidden in a closet? But it was too late. I was staring at yardage of gold goodness, and I needed to trust myself. I finished the quilt. I fell in love with the quilt. I sent the quilt off. And I patiently waited. And she loved it. And her baby crib? It’s gold people. Her baby’s crib is freaking GOLD. Yup. She was supposed to have this quilt.

 

the details:

name: desert dreams
size: 46 x 59
creation: Jan. 2015- Feb. 2015
fabric: April Rhodes “Arizona” and some Kona solids
backing: Brambleberry Ridge by Violet  Craft, “Timber Valley”
binding:  Brambleberry Ridge by Violet  Craft, “Trading Post”
quilting: me!

March 13, 2015

where I go

French Bulldog | Kulik Photography

I’m popping in to make excuses for myself. I have all sorts of photos to post, and I know all of you out there are simply beside yourselves, waiting for me to post said photos. But I haven’t posted any. Anything at all. I know, I know. You are exhausted from all the lost sleep, wondering when in the world I was next going to post.

Excuses. I’ve gone to the dogs! Really, I just work an awful lot, and if I’m not working, my body is probably recovering from all that working an awful lot. But you know what I sometimes do when I am busy working an awful lot? I sneak my camera into the playgroups, and steal images of my slobbery friends. And then poof! I have photos to share.

For our last trip to Costa Rica I decided to replace our dying point and shoot. It was a bit of a difficult pill to swallow, and I wondered how much I would really use a p&s when I have my trusty dslr. But I bought the Canon G1X and I have to say I am in loooove and do not regret the decision one little bit. I actually think the “real” camera is starting to get a touch jealous. I love this thing for making images of my work pups, without then having to go home and do dreaded editing. I love it for snapping pics of our everyday life, but still getting something better than just plain old snapshots. I just love it. And so. I haven’t posted a whole lot. But I have a whole lot to post. Until then…pups!

kulik photography kulik photography kulik photography

February 2, 2015

I will always return

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

I have been met with surprise each time that I tell someone that we will be going to Costa Rica for a vacation.

Again?” they will ask.

Yes. Again.

“But didn’t you just go last year?”

I will always return to Costa Rica. It will always be my go-to vacation. There are so many places on this beautiful planet that I would love to see and explore and experience. But I will always choose to return to Costa Rica. This country has had such a strange hold on me since my first visit. When I first set foot on it’s soil. When I first met the warmth of it’s culture.

On my first visit more than 10 years ago,  I was no more than 5 minutes in my friend’s home when the wife of one of his friends grabbed my hand and whisked me away down the city streets, winding through a maze of walkways and neighborhoods until I found myself in her family’s neighborhood, in the home of her mother, surrounded my a mass of women asking me questions in a language I had absolutely no grasp of. I sat in pure terror. And spoke to them in English. And they spoke to me in Spanish. And I swear we managed to have a conversation. We still somehow managed to understand each other.

I am a person that is forever uncomfortable. In her surroundings. In her own skin. I can always feel the edge of my anxiety, threatening to cut. And somehow, in a country that takes me miles and miles outside of my comfort zone, I feel more at home than I feel anywhere else. Costa Rica is good for me. It does something to my mind. It quiets it. It settles it. It reminds me of what is important and where my focus should be.

Costa Rica let’s me know that I am always welcome, and for that I will always return.