Costa Rica has long been on my dream trip list. I’ve been spying on the lush green jungle and kooky animals online and thinking about how cool it would be to show my kids such a different world for years. Maybe thats why, when we arrived a few weeks ago, I expected to land and instantly feel the sense of arrival one gets when returning home.
With two weeks to visit I wanted to assimilate immediately to maximize our time there, and dang it, I wanted my family to get on board! After a night’s rest in San Jose, we spent our first day driving through mountains and plantations on our way to the Caribbean coast. It was an amazing opportunity to see part of the country before putting down our roots in one spot for the rest of the trip.
*Side note: There are so many amazing places to travel to in Costa Rica, the choice can become overwhelming. Ultimately we knew we didn’t want to spend a ton of time in a car with four kids so we chose Punta Uva for its sheltered, warm and relatively calm waters on the recommendation of friends.
The first few days I struggled with my desire to figure out all the spots, get a routine down and be fully immersed in the easy breezy beach vibe of this little town. My deeply imbedded hurry-up pulse of the city was in conflict with knowing that I just wanted to melt into this place, linger wherever we found ourselves and not worry if the best places were around the corner waiting.
Thankfully, my family is here to teach me always.
My kids could not handle more than a few hours out before wanting to lounge back at the house for the rest of the day. I can’t tell you how many times I reminded them that we were in COSTA RICA, that swimming pools are not absent in our own city but cacao trees, monkeys and warm oceans are. This didn’t sway their sunned out stance.
I was grateful to be whisked off for an afternoon by a friend, to a cacao ceremony and women’s circle. There I could disconnect from the energy of tired hot kids and my fidgety self and settle into a magical vortex of tradition and centring. We meditated in an wall-less canopy living room, hearts open with raw cacao, the sounds and humidity of the jungle working their way into me. I left with the high of beginnings and the cozyness of softening.
I’d like to say I was all love and light and flow from there on in, but I still had this nagging impulse to get my family out as much as possible. I’m talking beach early, rest and beach later. Or adventure, rest then beach. I’m not totally crazy-I do realize that we can’t do epic all day extreme adventures with little kids in tow. They kept resisting though, and promises of ice cream had to get thrown into the mix.
Then the baby got a fever and while my family, sloth like (see they assimilated very well actually), prepared for a leisurely hike to the jaguar rescue centre, I I plopped myself in bed to nurse all day, content to gaze out the patio doors so long as my littlest would be comfortable and get the healing rest he needed.
Oh universe, you keep throwing this message at me and I keep trying to evade it. I keep chasing and worrying I’ll be late and you keep slowing me down, stopping me in my tracks hoping I will open up enough to let the lesson in.
It’s in these moments of suspended time — of napping under an almond tree at the beach, of placing my hand on the roots of a giant jungle tree, when lying in meditation at the mercy of someone else to watch the time, laying up in bed with a feverish babe, in letting my people get ready in their own time, miraculously still arriving “in time”-that I melt like that once solid jar of coconut oil we brought along with us. That I feel that wave of home wash over me.
And just like the coconut oil, I know that this liquid state is not necessarily permanent. I’m liable to solidify and melt over and over but it’s comforting to know the potential to soften is always there.