- It’s raining heavily this morning. It feels like the kind of rain that settles in and sticks around. We wouldn’t mind except this is the “adventure” portion of our trip. We’ve scheduled a zip line ride down the side of this dormant volcano, complete with horseback ride (our transportation back up the mountain). Do they cancel because of rain here? Do we? Can’t imagine the shower in our face on the way down or a ride on a soggy beast on the way back up. J-M and I have discussed it at great length and we’re still undecided. We keep saying, but we’ll never be here again. Which doesn’t mean it can’t suck.
- The alternative to a waterlogged whirl down the mountain is staying put and enjoying one of several natural hot springs pools that are just outside our door. Part of our package here is also a mud bath. We spend 20 minutes in a sauna (naturally heated), apply the volcano mud all over ourselves and then bathe in one of the hot springs with its natural minerals. I’ve never done anything like this and I’m not sure if it sounds icky or delightful. But the guide promises I will look younger and more beautiful following this treatment. Rain, sleet or snow would not keep me away.
- Yesterday we ate at a Subway restaurant in Liberia. It felt like we were cheating. Why is it so wrong to eat at a chain restaurant in a foreign country? We were really, really hungry, OK? We justified it by saying it’s actually a great learning experience regarding our cultural differences. Did you know you order your sub in Costa Rica either 30 cm or 15 cm long? I tried to think of how to say “small size” in Spanish and the girl sighed and said, “feefteen.” I tried harder to list the ingredients I wanted on my sub – they were posted right in front of me on the glass, I just had to read them! Tomate (tomato), lechuga (lettuce), pepino (cucumber), pimientos (peppers), aceitunas (olives)… Did you know you can get AGUACATES (avocados) on your sub here? Tell me that’s not a learning experience! I pronounced every ingredient wrong and the sandwich artist would repeat after me with the proper pronunciation, not in a way to teach me, but reprimand me. We devoured our subs in the car and promised we wouldn’t do it again. And we probably shouldn’t tell anyone about it.
- If you really want to enjoy your vacation you are, in a sense, forced to ignore reality. We have sent our kids to their grandparents and camp. We’ve left our TO DO lists behind. I didn’t even get to fully clean the house before we left. Ah well, the mess will wait till we get back. But news has come to us to remind us that this is temporary and cannot last. We are sorry to hear from our close friends in Ghana that their family home has been devoured by fire. This was after they returned from the funeral of a family member, whose death was “too soon,” whose funeral was just a year after the funeral of another family member. They are going through the trials of Job. We hear this news in Costa Rica and it brings guilt into the mix. Should we be enjoying ourselves this much? There are tragedies everywhere, even in these hills. Do we just put the blinders on and move ahead? Our work and the day-to-day will be waiting for us shortly. We can address these things – even help – if we get back. In the meantime, though, this vacation has been a welcome gift for our marriage, our friendship stronger and a reminder of how we’re in this life together. I even believe it will rejuvenate our reality when we get home. J-M says it would be a problem if all we lived for was our next vacation and saw reality as something to be escaped. So now I want to know how do we make the most out of this time away. I’m wrestling with that this morning. A rainy day when we’d hoped for sun is not the worst problem. Lord, be with our friends in Ghana.
- Since writing my first bullet point, we’ve gone to breakfast and decided that it’s not just rainy out, it’s downright dangerous. It’s not just torrential downpours, but lightning and thunder as well. We think we’re smart not to slide down a mountain in these conditions. We’ll relax today. J-M is enjoying the hammock on the porch of our cottage here as we speak. He struggled to get outside the door with two pillows, a hardcover Walt Disney biography, his ipod and speakers. And as he stumbled into the hammock, then heaved, grunted and strained to make himself comfortable, I laughed at him. He said, “Hey, I work hard to relax.”