Ciao Nicaragua!

Ciao Nicaragua!

It’s my last night in Nicaragua. I’ve spent these last two days at a beautiful little oasis of a hotel, Hostal Mariposa on the outskirts of Léon, Nicaragua’s first capital city and the birthplace of the Sandinista movement.

Today I haven’t left the grounds of this beautiful place –  it’s a higher-standard place than is my usual fare and coming here was a fine and wise decision. It’s boiling hot out – the hottest month of the year in Nicaragua and Léon is known to be the hottest place in the country. So Hostal Mariposa’s pool and hammocks have been a perfect way to spend the day!

I arrived very early yesterday morning, coming from the town of Masaya, known as the folklorico capital of the country. There I got to see and hear some Nicaraguan music and dance and visit the local artensania handiwork market. In the past, it would be hard to imagine that I would stroll through the stalls and leave empty-handed. I didn’t purchase a single thing. It just didn’t seem like it was important to buy anything, let alone lug anything. So I didn’t. Sorry for any of you on my souvenir list – it seems to have disappeared, that list! I’m not even on it, at this point!

When I arrived yesterday, I headed directly for the local beaches, just minutes away. It was the first time swimming in the Pacific on this trip and I must say, although it was a gorgeous, expansive, empty-of-people playa, the Caribbean is where it’s at, baby! Oh the Pacific is grand, of course; but the Caribbean and its turquoise-colored waters, nothing tops it in my book!

(Tried to include cathedral pics, but they just don’t want to load right now – too bad.)

Then I spent the evening strolling through the capital city, gazing at the cathedral in Parque Central, the largest cathedral in all of Central America and enjoying a local meal and some more live music. After that full day, hanging out here today was just the ticket. I’m not nearly so inclined, as in my greener travel days, to tick off the list of must-sees. Now, it’s more about the must be’s. So today, I gifted myself the luxuriousness of lounging at the pool (no swim up bar and no umbrella drinks, I haven’t gone that far off the rails!), reading, writing, writing, writing, and even indulging in one of those becoming-more-like-a-regular-thing afternoon siestas!

Tomorrow I head out very early (5 am!) on a 12-hour bus ride to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. 12 hours on a bus crossing a border and into a new country that has me – already anticipatorily – broadening my shoulders a bit. It’s always like that entering a new country; but entering Honduras is different. It’s a bit dicey there these days; even the Peace Corps just last month pulled all their people out of there – too dangerous, it’s become. It’s developed the dubious distinction of being the murder capital of the world. Quite the claim to fame and I’ll be out of that city first thing in the morning! I won’t be venturing too far off the fairly well-trodden path in general. My first stop will be the Mayan ruins at Copan. I want to hear directly (so to speak) from the Mayans about what they’ve got to say about all this 2012 business. Preferably at sunrise. I did the same a few years ago in Guatemala and they told me then not to pay much attention to these current-day soothsayers. It’s just that they ran out of room on their carving stone, they assured me. Who I am to question them?

I’ve been telling people my trip is almost over, but then I realized that wasn’t quite the perspective I wanted to be hold, so I’ve let it go. Truth is, I still have one third of the trip left and a whole new country and culture to experience. I have that simultaneous nervous and excited energy as I ready for bed for my early departure.

I’ve so loved it here in Nicaragua – the people and their warm, friendly, engaging energy and the ease of being everywhere I’ve gone. I haven’t seen many of the places I had intended (see the reference to my greener days of list-making above) and I realize it had to do with moving more slowly and recovering from that near-miss of a bad experience in Managua. I hadn’t realized what a crimp it had put in my traveling sails. So when I arrived in Granada and found it so welcoming and wonderful, it was there I found sanctuary, pause and rest, qualities way more important than any must-see, must-do list. I’ve had a very different stride on this trip, created initially by some physical limitations which I have a feeling are carving out a new way of travel for me. More slowly. More slowly. Doing less. Being more. Settling into a place for awhile and sinking in deeper to it and thus to myself. Yes, move more slowly, the body has demanded; and the spirit recognizes and follows. Sometimes it’s like that, the body leads and the rest of me learns by following. I think there’s some big wisdom there for me.

Right now, the greater wisdom tells me to get my ass to bed, because the morning is coming and soon!

So indeed it is, Ciao to Nicaragua with many thanks to your people, to your culture and to your land, all of whom have welcomed and treated me so kindly.

Buenas Noches!

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Posted in Nicaragua | 2 Comments

Dear Backpack:

Dear Backpack:

I arrive at the Hotel Aranjuez with the cab driver who, in his limited English, promises he will help me and come in and explain my situation to the hotel worker. Not that I needed his help. Gregory, at the HA, spoke almost flawless English and became My Angel during my stay in San Jose.

“I’m going to have to stay another night now and I don’t know what I’m going to do and I don’t know if I have to go back to the border now or what, but I have to get my backpack. I have to get my backpack. But I have to stay here tomorrow night too now. But I have a reservation for tonight, you know I have a reservation for tonight, right? But what about tomorrow, can I stay tomorrow too?” I said that all in one breath, I think and in the whiniest, littlest-girl voice you could imagine.

“Well,” he says gently. “Why don’t we start with your name and I’ll look up your reservation.” Ohgod, now I’m embarrassed that I’ve just blabbered all over this guy like a fool and started in the middle of the paragraph, no less. Okay, okay, back to the beginning. So I explained it all.

He couldn’t quite understand how all this had happened though and I felt like a bit of a buffoon when he started asking questions.

Did they give you some kind of receipt?
No.
Do you know the name of the bus company?
No.
Do they have an office here in San Jose?
No. I don’t know.
Where did they drop you off in the city?
I don’t know.

It kept going like that.

Ohmigod, the tears were falling and I was trying to maintain my composure, really I was, but I just needed to fall apart. Into someone’s arms who told me everything would be okay would have been preferable, but there was no one around like that and Gregory, well, Gregory was great, but he was not that much of My Angel. I kept moving away from and back to the Reception Desk as I tried – but failed – to dry my eyes. He looked at me with all the concern he clearly had and said, we’ll figure this out, we’ll figure this out and then awkwardly looked away when I couldn’t hold back the tears. The cab driver explained all the phone numbers I had and Gregory agreed he would try them all and help me to get to the bottom of this. The cab driver took his leave and my $10, which I found out later ended up being almost triple of what it should have been. Okay, so I tried to avoid getting conned by the renownedly-corrupt San Jose taxi drivers, but in my state, I fell right into his trap. No matter. No matter.

Gregory tried all three of the numbers and none of them worked. One of them was for a restaurant where the bus man told me they sometimes store luggage when the official place is not open. This was news to the restaurant. No one answered the “Official Number” and the bus driver for the next day didn’t either. None of this was giving me any sense of confidence in ever seeing my bag again.

I was beyond bereft. It was one thing to lose this stuff: all my clothes, all my electronic chargers, swimsuits, jacket, sarongs, all the exactly-right toiletries, medications. My vibrator. Now we’re talking important. None of this stuff was irreplaceable, obviously. I had all the, quote, Important Things on me. But what is important, after all? Can I be out here in the world with absolutely nothing? I thought not. I thought maybe I would have to just end the trip. Okay, girl, slow down, slow down, sister, no need to get ahead of yourself here. But I loved that blue dress and my new orange sarong and that little light, white, short-sleeved thing that was the perfect find and oh yeah, my sleep sack, my sleep sack. I’ve had that thing for fifteen years! I’ve got this packing-for-traveling thing down to a science and that’s taken some time and Virgo diligence – how could I possibly replace all this stuff? I couldn’t. Yes, everything was replaceable, but here, here in Costa Rica or Nicaragua or Honduras? Really, how was I going to replace everything? Okay, okay, slow down, slow down. Breathe. Fuck that, I can’t breathe, I’m freaking out. Where is my bag? Am I ever going to see it again? I’m fuckin’ all alone out here, all alone out here and my bag, where the fuck is my bag? Okay, so the tears were coming big time now. But I wasn’t alone in this. Really, I wasn’t. Gregory was on it and involved and determined to help me.

The Hotel Aranjuez was the perfect choice of a place. Not spendy, but beautiful, in a quiet, old neighborhood (not that I cared much about that, at this point) and clean, with sweet attention to creating beauty in its ambience and service. It was truly a refuge for me. I noticed a big exhale as I turned the key in my door and saw nothing outrageously splendid, but a nice big double bed, attention to art on the walls, and a motif of orange throughout. Orange, a color very similar to the color of my backpack.

I would not be leaving for Nicaragua in the morning after all. Whether I would be going back to the border or whether I would wait for the daily bus to arrive tomorrow seemed to be my two choices.

Gregory was not reassuring. I was on the hotel computer when he came to me and said he and his colleague had been talking. It all sounded quite fishy to them. He thought maybe I ought to file a report with the police.

Ohmigod, really, you think so?

Yes, I think so. This doesn’t make sense what happened to you. Why should they have kept your bag at the border? I’ve never heard of such a thing.

If my heart wasn’t as low as it could be, it sank even lower.

I stayed at the computer, if for no other reason, that it gave me something to do with my hands, something to focus on. I was letting my hotel for tomorrow night know that I wasn’t coming. I was writing to “my women,” – those women in my life who are with me every step of the way – about what was happening. And I was crying. Typing and crying and typing and crying. But I was somewhere pretty and clean and with someone who could understand me and who wanted to help me. And while I wished for the comfort that I didn’t have in the moment, I also had everything I needed.

I approached Gregory again, not eager to take the next step he had suggested: contacting the police. He smiles when I appeared and says, “Good News!”

“Huh? What’s the good news?”

“I just spoke to someone at the border who knows about your bag. You don’t need to contact the police. She has your bag. And she’s going to try to get it on tomorrow’s bus. Everything will be fine. We’re going to work all this out.” And then he smiled again. And then I tried to, I tried to, but I couldn’t yet quite believe it. No, he wouldn’t be working tomorrow when I would need to call her (ohno, ohno, Gregory, don’t leave me now, I need you!), but I could explain everything to his colleague and he would help me to call Maria in the morning and find out what had happened with my bag.

“Don’t worry, don’t worry. Everything will be fine.”

I liked Gregory, really I did. But I hatehatehate it when people tell me not to worry. And I liked Gregory but I hated that he told me that and I hated that he wasn’t gonna be here tomorrow when I needed him. But I didn’t let him know any of that, for god’s sake, of course I didn’t. I thanked him over and over and over again until I think I started to annoy him and then I went out to get some food.

It’s the next morning now. Gregory’s colleague tells me to take a taxi back to the bus stop and wait for the bus to arrive. It should get there at 3 pm.

2:15 pm

The bus stop is 10 minutes away, so I order a taxi and I’m there at

2:32 pm

I vaguely remember the surroundings now that I am back here. Waiting in front of the Hotel Cocori which looks like a place that rents rooms by the hour, even if it doesn’t.

There’s no sign that this is a bus stop, there’s no information of any kind. I am just standing here in the wind and the cold in my red spaghetti-strap dress that I’ve been wearing non-stop for three days now. (I know, Flea, you told me red isn’t a good color for me, but I swear this dress works, or it did before it was in its current state!) It’s smelly and so am I and I’m waiting for the bus to arrive. Maybe I look like I’m one of the women who could be available to hang out in the Cocori for an hour or so. I feel like I’m getting those kinds of looks from passersby, but maybe that’s just me. I’m cold. It’s blowing, the wind; and I have no warmth. I’m nervous. What if my bag isn’t here? What if the bus was early and already got here and left? Lots of tension in my body. Even tears at the surface and I’m not sure whether they are tears of relief or tears of frustration and fear of what I will do if my bag isn’t here.

A homeless man walks by. He is digging in the garbage can, finding food in there and eating it. He has a once-white sheet (double flat, it looks like to me) draped around his shoulders and it’s dragging on the sidewalk. It’s a filthy dirty mess and so is he. He is carrying an empty, huge metal wok. I know not what for.

The smell of urine wafts through the air carried on the wind that’s blowing, blowing, blowing and there is no relief from the cold for me. There’s a coffee shop connected to the Hotel Cocori and even though I could probably see outside from it were I to venture in and get out of the cold, I am so consumed with being right there, my vigilance on high alert, that I can’t even take the chance to step inside lest the bus arrive and rapidly depart in that very second. Yeah, I know there’s noting rational or realistic about it, but that’s what I’m thinking.

2:47 pm

My stomach is in knots. I feel palpitations and the tension is rising all through my body; it feels like my nerves are so close to the surface, I feel like I can almost see them. Yeah, yeah, breathe, breathe. But I can’t seem to stop the flow of anxiety. Tears begin to fall and again, I don’t quite know what I’m crying for except as a release of some of this tension.

It’s too close to 3 pm. I almost don’t want 3:00 to arrive; I don’t want to be reminded that the bus has already come and gone. Ohgod, what if the bus has already come and gone, how am I possibly going to track it down after it leaves here. There is no bus station, there is only an unmarked stop.

The minutes are simultaneously dragging and flying by. I am pacing and beginning to attract more attention. Even in their hurried walking along, people seem to be wondering what I’m doing standing here, pacing here. But maybe that’s just me, yeah, I’m sure it’s just me.

I’m freezing in my red spaghetti-strap dress as the local Ticas walk by in long sleeve shirts, jackets, boots and scarves and here I am a flimsy, gauzy red spaghetti-strap dress that needs a wash as much as I do.

2:58 pm

Ohgod, it’s almost 3 pm. What if the bus doesn’t come? What if it already came? I can’t believe I’m so anxious about this, but I am, I am. I am standing alone in a crummy neighborhood in San Jose, Costa Rica, freezing my ass off and waiting for a bus that supposedly has my backpack that might have already come.

The noise of the passing trucks and taxis and cars doesn’t stop. Horns blowing and tires squealing. The fumes are toxic and give me a feeling of queasiness on top of already too much tension. The skies are darkening and it looks like it’s threatening to downpour at any moment.

But then I look in another direction and the sky is almost crystal clear and blue with some scattered white friendly-looking, puffy clouds. So I move my head back and forth – clear over there, dark and threatening over there. I guess I have a choice which way to look, which perspective to take; but all that New-Age, high-falutin, spiritual gobbledy-gook feels just like that right now. Sometimes cloud are just clouds, for fuck’s sake. I’m anxious and that’s all there is to it and nothing, nothing is making it better.

3:08 pm

Out of nowhere two large green parrots suddenly appear and land on the traffic light dangling from the black overhead wire. They begin chirping, singing, squawking loudly. No one seems to notice them or at least paying them any mind except me. I’ve decided they’ve landed to announce the bus’s and my backpack’s imminent arrival. Nothing like a little narcissism in the midst of the anxiety to really round out the picture. Last night I had a dream about having a pet bird, so maybe these parrots are somehow related.

I should have come earlier. Why didn’t I get here earlier? I wasn’t doing anything at the hotel anyway; why didn’t I come earlier?

3:15 pm

A man approaches me and starts speaking to me in Spanish. He remembers me from yesterday, he says. I wonder if it’s me he remembers or the red spaghetti-strap dress. I realize that it doesn’t really matter. I don’t remember him, but I was out of my mind yesterday and I’m still pretty close to it today. No, the bus hasn’t arrived yet, he says. Soon. Pronto. Yeah, I like the sound of that. I breathe a little deeper, notice the slightest lessening of tension in how I’m holding my shoulders, but slightest, slightest. What does he know? Why should I believe him?

The parrots are gone.

I notice lots of dead roaches (as in insects, not as in marijuana) in the cracks of the sidewalk. And lots of cigarette butts. It makes me want to smoke. Cigarettes. Ohno, I don’t really want to, but if there was a cigarette nearby right now, I would light it right up and smoke it. And I’d feel even more sick to my stomach, but I would do it, I swear I would.

3:24 PM

There must have been 100 buses that have passed already. I keep sticking my head around the corner, around the corner that I think I remember is the corner that we came from; and I keep seeing buses coming from that direction and then my heart jerks a little bit thinking maybe this one, maybe this one is my bus. But no it isn’t and I wonder, how the fuck many buses have passed by in the almost-hour I’ve been standing here in my red spaghetti-strap dress, freezing and thinking I could have spent this time counting the buses. But I didn’t.

3:33 pm

Well, the bus is either late or this guy is wrong and it already came and I missed it. Ohfuck, I hope I didn’t miss it. What will I do if I missed it?

Another man arrives and him I do remember. He remembers me, too and approaches, puts an arm around my shoulder and asks me how I am. Terrible, I say, in my best Spanish accent, rolling my r’s just like I’m supposed to. How the hell do you think I am? (I don’t say this.)

“No, no, don’t worry” (people hear love this expression – I hear it a lot – it must be in the texts of Learning English 101). “Everything is fine, the bus is late, but it’s coming, it’s coming soon.” Then he gets on his cell to call the driver.

A woman in the tiniest shortest shorts walks by. She’s got the longest legs I’ve ever seen in the shortest shorts I’ve ever seen and she’s wearing the thickest wedge shoes I’ve ever seen. Wedge shoes are back, did you know?

3:42 pm

“Here comes the bus! It’s coming around the corner now!,” the man yells towards me.

I run to the corner to watch as yes, the Bocas Torenos bus is turning the corner and coming in this direction. Ohgod, here is the bus. Is my backpack on the bus or is it not on the bus? That is the question. I’m so nervous about this moment, I can’t believe how dramatic I’m being in this process, but it’s just what is so, so I’m standing here in my red spaghetti-strap dress and feeling ridiculous and cold and nervous and worried and anxious and now the moment arrives.

The bus is here.

The driver gets off and opens the big door on the side to get all the bags out.

I don’t see my bag.

Boxes of bananas and suitcases and over-sized bags of rice and god-knows-what are being lifted up and placed onto the sidewalk.

Still, I don’t see my bag.

Then.

Suddenly I see it.

It’s the last bag coming out of the bus.

And then the driver puts it on the sidewalk like it’s just another bag.

But it’s not.

It’s my backpack and though it looks a bit worse for wear and dirtier than I remember it, it’s here.

My backpack is here.

I go to it, approach it slowly, almost tentatively, but more like with great intentionally and with sacred attention.

I pick it up and hold it against my body.

I think I probably look ridiculous but I don’t care.

My backpack is here.

When the taxi driver offers to carry it to the cab, he stops immediately when he sees the look in my eye and reconsiders. I almost always accept the offer of help, but not this time. Not today. Today carrying the backpack is my responsibility. And so I do and we are off, together again, like we belong.

Posted in Central America | 2 Comments

Water

And yet another from KFW:

Ahhhh, water.

A time that I was called to the water – ? Impossible to say only a, as in one time. I am always-always-always called to the water. When I am out here in the world, as I am now, as I am so often, it’s the water that calls me. Ohsure, the mountains are grand, spectacular, magnificent, but I’m not one of those people who sees a mountain and says, ‘oh, I’ve got to climb that!’ Yes, I love the mountains, but the sea, the sea, the sea is in me in ways the mountains can’t begin to touch (unless of course, we’re talking the mountains’ rivers and lakes!).

When I was in preparation mode for this journey through Panama, Nicaragua and Honduras, it’s as if the waters charted my course. The waters of rivers and lakes and the sea, ohyes, always the sea. Why here, why this part of the planet? Well, of course, because here, all these waters are warm and that is the very best kind of water of all!

So on this pilgrimage through the waters, I’ve been swimming in the warm turquoise waters of the Caribbean sea on tiny little Isla Iguana in the San Blas Archipelago in Panama, an island I was able to walk around in under two minutes. I stayed several days there and for all that time, the water was the center of everything. Crystal clear, warm as a bath and turquoise the color that’s a color that can come only out of god’s palette.

From there it was the Caribbean waters of Bocas del Toro, swimming in waves that were almost, almost too big on Red Frog Beach at Isla Bastimentos and Cayo Zapatillo, the idyllic nature reserve island seen only here and in our tropical dreams. And then Playas Estrella and Tortuga on Isla Colon near Bocas town.

And then there was the snorkeling off a boat out in the middle of the waters – the most extraordinary snorkeling I’ve ever done (and hey, I’ve done some snorkeling in my life!) – healthy coral, vast colors of every hue and fish doing their fishy thing. Not a goosebump to be felt anywhere on my body hours and hours after being in the water. Yes, this is my water, this is my kind of water!

 Ahhhh, Playa Estrella – Star Beach – so named because of the tons of the brightest, most brilliant orange starfish blanketing the sea floor. No need for a mask, the waters are so clear all you need to do is look down and there they are, the largest I’ve ever seen. No tortugas at Playa Tortuga, but still, the ever-present clear, warm water, salty enough to remind me of my own salty body, my own salty tears and sweat and fluid, all part of this salty sea where I feel so at home, so comfortable, so warm and so safe. At peace.

I’ve dipped into the mighty Rio San Juan that’s had a critical historical role in this entire region, let alone here in Nicaragua where I have experienced it at El Castillo. And again, to my delight, warmwarmwarm. And now, today, there’s the waters of Lago di Nicaragua calling me. I will leave on a ferry from Granada this afternoon and spend the next week on Isla Ometepe a huge volcanic island in the center of a lake that boasts thousands (yes, thousands!) of miles of shoreline. And again, warm, warm water. Are you getting the picture here? It’s not just water that calls me, it’s the warm water in which I am alive like in no other venue. (Venue, that’s a funny word to use, but there it is, venue.)

I step into the warm water – my body fully relaxed, no need for the slightest flinch or contraction. I can stay in the waters for hours with no need for a break or to get warm; I am simultaneously cooled, refreshed and held in the warmth. The warm water says: welcome, welcome, this is your home, this is where you can float free and easy, relax into your body, float and submerge, go down and come back up. You belong here, you belong here. You are held by this water, the salt of the earth is the salt of the sea. The salt of your flesh is the salt of my sea. Come. This is your home. This, the water of life, the elixir of life.

Warm water

Floating

Submerging

Droplets of water kissing me

Playing in the waves

Holding the deep respect for the water that lets it know I know it’s in charge.

I accept its grand and generous invitation that welcomes me here.

I know I’m a visitor, a guest on guest status and that respect and honor for its power means everything.

So I respect and I honor.

And I play and I frolick.

And I am deeply at home and in a state of ecstasy I find here, only here, in warm water.

From Isla Ometepe, I will swim again in the Pacific waters near the ancient colonial city of Leon. Then it will be the Rio Cangrejal in Honduras, where the whitewater rafting is the finest in all of Central America. And then I will complete by trip back in the warm Caribbean waters of Honduras’ Bay Islands where more floating and frolicking and snorkeling and diving await.

And so I am called to continue to follow the rivers and the lakes all over this planet. All over, I follow them, as they find their way out to the mighty sea, ultimately the one sea, where all of them, where everything, where all of us converge. Into the mighty and warm sea that welcomes all life, that welcomes us to find the pleasure and joy of being alive, embodied, in our bodies, in its body as we dance and celebrate in the waters of life.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Out of the Blue”

Yet another KFW prompt. These are short, you may have noticed; shorter than my typical posts. These are timed prompts – 11 minutes. Ready, set, go and then done at only 11 minutes!

Take a Chance on Me – 55 (The City)

Date: 2012-03-15, 1:47AM PDT
Reply to: dvsxz-2903126807@pers.craigslist.org

I’m a middle-aged, not middle-of-the-road soft and powerful woman who is available for a partnership of the heart. I want to share life with someone of substance and spirit; someone who can laugh and cry and share tenderness in the middle of the night or the middle of the day. Someone who knows how little they know and yet is intelligent, psychologically aware and has created a life of their own worth sharing. Someone who values curiosity, adventure, depth, presence and sensuality, for starters. Someone who is flexible & grounded, patient & determined, kind & truthful. I don’t need to be completed, nor do you; but we both realize that sharing the path of love makes both of our lives more whole.

Oh, and here’s the catch in taking your chance: I’m in SF for only a few days next week … then I’m off for some traveling adventures; but I WILL return in very early June to pick up where we left off. Yeah, crazy idea, I know … so what?! Here’s to the crazy ones! Care to take a chance, have an easy, relaxed, no big expectations-kind-of meeting and see where it goes?! Could be fun, could be way more than fun … it could change our lives. We won’t know if we don’t say YES!

Tell me something about you – your height, weight and other demographic details matter little – it’s your energy and attitude that I’m interested in.

I am NOT interested in casual encounters. I’m looking for the real thing. If you are, too, then, what are we waiting for?

**********************************************************************************

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t “Out of the Blue,” but if you knew how many online ads I’ve placed with dismal results, the fact that anyone of interest would respond to this one was not high on my list of expectations. If I’ve learned anything from online dating, I’ve learned hard and fast that leaving expectations out of it is one of the very least of the requirements to survive what can be a pretty brutal way of trying to meet someone.

And how unexpected that I was even writing this. It had been all set. Jordan and I were meeting on Thursday night at a bar near his home in Hayes Valley. And then maybe to his house for dessert. We had been talking, on the internet and phone – intermittently – over the course of several months. When I knew my schedule in SF, I wrote him right away and his eager enthusiasm couldn’t have been greater. Oh, fun, I’ve got a date in SF on my way to Central America!

He was very flirty, very seductive, very interested and eager to move things right along into the sexual dimension, no matter the spiritual/intellectual leanings of his profile. He wanted to meet that night, have me spend the night, share some time in the morning and maybe even come over after the Marsh show I was going to on Saturday night. Whoa there, slow down, boy! Let’s just see what happens in person, shall we? When our eyes meet, when our bodies meet, when we’re breathing the same air, when all that testosterone and oxytocin and pheromones come together. Or not. Let’s just wait and see. I’ve had too many hot and heavy phone conversations that leave me cold and dry in person, so I wasn’t counting on anything; but still, I was excited. And I was counting on meeting.

That is, until his email arrived just days before I was to arrive; and suddenly, it seemed, Mr. Zen Buddhist seemed to be getting cold feet. No, he couldn’t meet after all, after all these months of emails and phone calls across the Pacific ocean, now, now that we were getting closer, now the Buddhist priest had too much work to do, preparing to teach a Sangha that week-end, had too many board meetings to attend for the Zen center. Oh, and there was suddenly that matter thrown into the long list of work duties of having met someone with whom he thought things just might be serious and after all, why was he bothering with me, a world gallivanter anyway.

Okay, pull out the mantra – this is not about me, this is not about me. Breathe. It’s all for a good reason I don’t know about right now. Oh fuck, I hate this, I really hate this. Breathe, breathe, he obviously isn’t someone I want to be with anyway if he would do this. Breathe, breathe. It’s about him, not me. Ohshit, I don’t have a date anymore. Ohgod, another one who can’t show up. Another one like all the other ones, who just can’t be in the real and now, no matter all those thirty years of Buddhist whatever-the hell. Best kept online, I guess – the real thing is just too scary. But those judgments of him didn’t do much to make me feel better. I was hurt and sad and disappointed. Yeah, well, not new territory. Feel the feelings, feel the feelings and that’s it. So, I felt the feelings and just like always, they didn’t kill me.

And then in a fit of I’ll-show-him-alright – I wrote the ad up there. Yep, that one up there at the beginning of this post. And I was inundated with responses. Big deal. CL is filled with people looking for a good fuck or even just any ol’ fuck will do. It’s not the best place to place an ad for what I’m looking for. But obviously I haven’t found that best place or else I wouldn’t be posting this one; but still, I was impressed with the quality of responses. It was just days before I was leaving Hawaii, but I found time to write back to a handful and even to talk to three of them on the phone. One of them for three hours. One of them, who did, come Out of the Blue.

Generally I can tell within about five seconds of that first phone call whether I want to continue the conversation. Sometimes I continue even when I don’t want to, just not to be so quick to judge and to give someone more of a chance. But every single time, it’s proven that what is true in those initial five seconds is what is true. So here I was with Miguel. And those first five seconds were all about yes and more, please. Three hours. Three hours. We talked and we laughed and we flirted, but not in a way that left me thinking this was all about that typical CL-looking-for-any-kind-of-fuck flirting. No, it was sexy and engaging and fun and funny. He made me think and he made me laugh and he made me wet. I would say that was a damn good start. He was eager to make a date. I told him I just so happened to be available on Thursday. So Thursday it was. In the East Bay. He wanted me to come to his house, but even me, the one with no rules, remembered my rule. Let’s meet in a public place first and then we’ll see how it goes. He teased me about that and tastefully; but tease as he might, I kept the boundary. Well, sort of.

I ended up being dreadfully sick with a cold and fever that Thursday night, so sick I had to delay my departure to Panama. I went and saw him anyway. Yep we met in that public place and then when I sensed that no, he wasn’t a psychopath (I didn’t really think so, but you know, people can be pretty suave over the telephone – here’s my mother speaking now) and I could feel our pheromones dancing even through the haze of fever. We did go to his house. And I even got in his bed. But it wasn’t for that. I nestled under the covers, which he tucked in tight all around me as I lay sniffling, sneezing as he sung to me and played his congas. He soothed me with hot tea and warm words. He told me how beautiful I was as snot dripped from my nose and my productive cough blew all over his room.

What was happening here? Where did this man come from?

He was wooing and cooing and taking care of me.

What was this?

Maybe this was sickness-induced delirium. But I had to go, I was so sick, I had to go. So I got up to leave, pulled on my brand new, urban chic, and pretty damn hot looking black leather boots (who has need for urban chic in Kalapana or black leather boots in Hawaiian heat and no dungeons anywhere to show them off?) and said, “Hey, I’ll give you a call when I’m back in the Bay,” meaning “I’ll give you a call when I return and don’t have a fever that must be clouding my judgment here.”

He looks deeply into my eyes, holds me – close – and says, “Should I wait for you?” Ohmigod, no, don’t do that, no, don’t wait for me! And then he says, “I think we could love each other.” Ohmigod, ohmigod, what’s happening. Love? Wait? After one date? Are you crazy? Co-dependent? Needy? Clingy? Out of your mind? What are you thinking? But he didn’t stop. He kept holding me and being right there, not moving away, no matter my resistance, no matter my germs or my obvious judgment about his moving too fast. He asked me to Take a Chance on Him. Here he was, showing up and calling me out on showing up. He was meeting me right where I was asking to be met and yet I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready. I was leaving for Central America. I wasn’t ready for this to show up. For him to show up. So we had one more date at his house. This time I felt a little better and we were both in bed together, touching and kissing and playing and laughing and having depth-ful conversations, having that, “intimacy across the pillow.” No, we didn’t have sex, I mean real sex. Oh, he was ready, way more than ready. So was I. And yet, something told me not to do it, something told me to take my time with this one, to let the process evolve, to, yes, wait until I got back and see what happened from there. No matter, he was still right there, no matter my caution, he met it with openness and tenderness, with effusive adoration that’s like a dangerous, addictive drug for me. I had to resist it, I had to resist it, it felt so good, but I couldn’t let it in. This very thing I long for and I couldn’t let it in!

He told me he loved me. I told him I didn’t. I told him I needed there to be room for both of our paces. I told him I needed to trust the organic process that would unfold. He teased me about this New-Age babble and I laughed.

And so, Out of the Blue, there’s suddenly this man in my life who adores me, who wants me, who is choosing to wait for me, who tells me his dreams and fantasies about creating a life together. The words of his emails drip with a quality of romance I am finding myself more jaded to receive than I wished were true. I didn’t know I had become so jaded. I’m sad to find this out, but still, I’m here and I’m staying open, too. I think he’s for real. I think he actually means this stuff. In the first two and half weeks of my trip, we Skyped for over sixteen hours in less than a handful of calls. He’s sung to me on every one of them. I am swooning more than I let him know. More than I let myself know. I am being courted by a fiercely romantic, incredibly hot and brilliant man. He is wooing me with his brain and his heart and his cock and not always in that order.

Maybe, just maybe – Out of the Blue – I’ve got myself a new man in my life!

Shocking? Yes. Life changing? Maybe so.

So what’s the problem?

Well, it’s been almost two weeks since I’ve heard from him. Granted, I haven’t had much of any internet connection. But that hasn’t changed for him; the East Bay, after all, is pretty well wired. Not one email, not one Skype message. Nothing. No response to any of my emails, the last of which was practically a plea for something, anything, just tell me what’s happening. Still, nothing. So now, the second – Out of the Blue

He’s gone.

Shocking? Indeed. Life changing? Not so much.

Back to breathing. Back to: it’s all the way it’s supposed to be, because it’s the way it is. Everything’s fine. Everything’s fine. Breathe.

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“The Outfit”

Another from our KFW Group:

My High School Reunion Outfit!!!!!

I know which one it is, I know which one it is! (giddy with excitement, jumping up and down, sillily) It came to me instantly, no other outfit even came close to coming up!

It was 1994 and I was preparing for my 20th high school reunion. I was working at Hospice of Petaluma in California, far – in way more than miles – from the life I lived back on Long Island where I had lived from early elementary school ’til early college. And where I was headed for the Reunion. At HOP, I worked with the most amazing people – some women who are still my closest friends. Of course there was plenty of input about attire, as there was on a daily basis – we called it “Fashion Assessments” and while often fun, playful and flattering, it could also be brutally honest. We were generous with the compliments and with letting each other know when grave errors in judgment had been made.

“Did you look in the mirror this morning before you came in here?

Of course I did, what’s the problem?

And still, there was some part of you that thought you looked fine in … that?

Well yes, I don’t get it.

For starters, that shirt doesn’t work at all with those pants and what’s with the shirt underneath being longer than the one on top (waaaaay before that was the fashion)?

Well, I like it that way.

You may like it, but I don’t and it looks ridiculous. What do you think (talking to the rest of the team) – should we let her go see patients today?

Yeah, well, why not, at least then we won’t have to look at that crazy outfit.”

You get the idea.

Anyway, I was slimming down, back in the days when I was pretty slim to begin with and also back before the days when I was so invested in ego awareness. I sort of liked my ego, actually, and it was pretty filled up with feeling like I was looking good and feeling good about the stellar life I had; and I wanted all those Long Island people to think so, too. I needed the perfect outfit and I was determined to find it.

My normal shopping haunts were places like Ross and Mervyn’s, ever the budget shopper I’ve always been. But now I was throwing budget to the wind as I headed down to Marin County and to – of all places – Nordstrom’s. Nordstrom’s. I had never bought anything in Nordstrom’s. I had never even been in a Nordstrom’s. But all that was about to change. I needed to consult the Fashion Assessment team just to find the place.

In no time, I had my own personal shopping assistant and she went right to work. She was eager to help transform me into the Reunion Queen, even if my place amongst these high school chums was far away from the Queen of anything, Homecoming certainly included. And of course, the perfect outfit revealed itself as soon as I put it on.

I’m not sure whether it’s the outfit I loved as much as I loved the size. 8. Size 8 and it fit me like a glove. And not a tight glove, either. Do you have any idea how long it’s been since I’ve been a size 8? Well, I didn’t either until I started writing this, but I guess it’s been since … oh, since about 1994.

It was fancy, but not overly so. Sexy, but not over-the-top. I didn’t want to look like I was showing off, even if I was. Especially if I was. I slipped it over my head and knew immediately this was the dress. Just above the knee, a slightly flaired skirt and three layers of varying length fabric from the hips down. A very form-fitting fabric underneath that clung to my – even at a size 8 – still curvaceous hips. Diaphanous, silky-feel fabric of dark browns, gold, burnt red and oranges, with sparkly thread running through. Thin straps and a scooped neckline with a form-fitting bodice. It came with a jacket of the same material for the likely air-conditioned room in the middle of a New York summer. This was the outfit. She asked me what I thought. I smiled at her broadly and said yes, I’ll take it.

I hadn’t even bothered to look at the price tag.

I could hardly wait to bring it back to the Team for what I was sure would be their overwhelming applause and approval. I was not disappointed.

My hair was long then, longer than it’s been ever since – thick, dark brown and very curly and wavy. The dress colors were a perfect compliment to my olive complexion and my long, beautiful hair. How can I remember this all so clearly?

It was just a few months ago when I was scanning old photos and came across one from the Reunion. Damn, I looked hot! Never, I tell you never, do I like photos of myself. But that one is sizzling. It even got me to start growing my hair again. The size 8 … well, who knows, maybe I’ll see it again, maybe I won’t.

But that outfit? Not a chance. Years ago, after too many dormant years in the closet, I folded it up and shipped it off to Goodwill. I only hope it’s given such pleasure to someone else.

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‘My’ Manarola, The Cinque Terre, Italia

No, I haven’t suddenly jumped on a plane headed to Italia, but Manarola could do that to me! This is a writing from our Karma-Free Writing Group in response to Joshua’s prompt on ‘a special place.’ (On, an aside – the Cinque Terre suffered some devastating floods recently and the stunning village of Vernazza was practically wiped out. I think they’re still in recovery mode. But they will, because it’s what they do.)

My Manarola
The Cinque Terre on the Ligurian Coast, Italia

Ahhh, Italia. The land of my ancestors, the land of love and food unequaled anywhere on the planet. Don’t just ask me, everyone knows that’s true. Although I do have one friend who returned from Italy and said she didn’t like the food – all that pasta and cheese – yuck. She actually said that. Huh? I looked at her with a kink in my neck and an upturned mouth resembling nothing like a smile; and there was simply no place inside of me that could register or make sense of what she could possibly be thinking.

Was it National Geographic or National Geographic Traveler? No idea. But I was transfixed and transported the moment I turned the page and came across this place of the Five Towns. It must have taken over a decade before I actually landed there. I showed David the photos and said, “We got to go there, really we do.” There was no argument. I planned the trips and he went along for the ride. We were grand traveling partners, if not life partners, and so the dreams and fantasies were set in motion. Our round-the-world trip was coming up and the Cinque Terre was high on the list. Like one of my other favorite places on the planet – Big Sur. Same same, but different. Where the mountains meet the sea. Where 1500 year-old small villages are built into the mountainsides. Where lemon trees and olive groves drip down the hillsides. Where there are no cars, only dirt trails along the cliffs that along with the train, look out over the Mediterranean Sea and connects the five towns of Monterrosso, Corniglia, Vernazza, Manarola and Riomaggiore, Make sure you’re pronouncing those with feeling now, with the Italian accents just where they belong and your hand gesturing like it ought to. And give the r’s plenty of roll, plenty of roll.

Ahhhh, the Cinque Terre. And now it was becoming real! We had our tickets, we had our plan and we were going! The anticipation was palpable – in the air, in our talks, in my body.

But then something happened, something happened to our marriage and we were done. 17 years and now we were done. No time here to go into all that, but with everything that I gave up, at least I didn’t have to give up going to the Cinque Terre. But I was alone. All alone and dreadfully lonely. I never imagined looking out on this vista without my husband by my side. While the marriage needed to end, did it really need to end before we got to go to the Cinque Terre together? Ohgod, really? Did I have to be tortured with experiencing this place all alone? Have no one by my side to stand stunned and stupefied silly with when the vista over the sea opened up and I stood there with tears streaming down my face, the beauty and the loneliness overwhelming? Did this really have to happen in the vacuum of a solitude I was nowhere near ready to welcome or embrace?

Well no, not exactly.

Ohsure, the tears were there. And the loneliness was there. And the gorgeosity stunned me. I walked and cried and looked and laughed and then became paralyzed in rapt attention at how the place, this place, the Cinque Terre – how it could be even more beautiful than my imagination, all the photos, all the anticipation couldn’t begin to touch. And so I said so, to myself, as I am wont to do out here traveling around. “Wow, this is un-fucking believable!” I hadn’t noticed the men sitting on the cliffside behind me. No, I hadn’t noticed that three of them sat there, two of them singing Italian songs as they strummed their guitars. That might sound crazy – I mean, how could I have missed the music? I hadn’t missed it – I heard it, of course; but it just seemed like it was built into the landscape, like of course there were Italian men singing Italian music on the cliffside above Manarola. What else would be happening there? Wasn’t that a given? I hadn’t given it a thought. It was all part of what made it that un-fucking believable I had shouted out earlier.

And then one of them replied in a voice that was accented, but definitely not Italian. “Yeah, it is, isn’t it amazing?” I turned and looked into the greenest eyes I had ever seen. The brightest smile I had seen in a very long time. And in that moment, it became clear. No, I didn’t have to experience this all alone. And for the next week, I would be on the trails, on the train, in the restaurants and the bars and in bed, oh in bed, far, far away from alone.

The Cinque Terre. Manarola. The only land I ever return to – over and over again. And where – every time – there’s another lover to gaze and play with. The land of lovers – Australian, then Italian and American and German. The land where the Via del’Amore is more than just the way to get to Riomaggiore. It’s in the air, in the water. It’s a way of life. It’s the way of love. It’s the way the pesto drips off the pasta. It’s the red peppers marinated in fresh olive oil. It’s the tomatoes that taste like real tomatoes, like tomatoes somehow stopped tasting a long, long time ago. It’s the crusty bread that crumbles all over your lap while you’re eating it. It’s the al fresco dining over the sea. It’s jumping into the sea, the warm water as refreshing as the stracciatella gelato at the stand just near the dock. It’s the fresh limoncello that quenches the palate after every meal. Just like love, here in the Cinque Terre, the five lands – connected by a dirt path. People living here for 1500 years. You don’t like the food? I don’t know if you can be my friend anymore.

A train whistle blows and tells me it’s time to go. Tears stream down my face again, but it’s okay; because it’s the Cinque Terre, the five lands. The only place I ever return to. So I know not when, but I know I will return again. And I know I won’t be the least bit lonely.

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I LOVE Nicaragua!

I’ve been in Nicaragua now for just over a week and already, I absolutely lovelovelove it here! So much less expensive than Panama, feels extremely safe (outside of Managua) and beautiful nature and cities. A big YES for Nicaragua!

I started out in El Castillo, a sleepy little town on the mighty Rio San Juan in the very south near the Costa Rican border – no cars, no vehicles of any kind except bicycles and big-wheeled carts that they haul around to carry their stuff. The old “chop wood and carry water” way of being came to my mind many times in my days there. My days which were simple, Internet-free, spent walking, writing, reading and talking with a lovely young man in town, Yamil. Within minutes of meeting him, he announced to him that he was gay, although I didn’t really need the announcement; although he might have – it seems he really appreciated the warm reception he received from me. He runs a restaurant/coffee house there (Borders Coffee) and it just so happens he’s the son of the woman I’m staying with. Of course they are family – it’s a small town, so everyone is related or at least knows one another, it seems.

Staying with I say because I was the only tourist there in their little inn, so it felt more like I was living with the family. The family lives downstairs and the guest rooms are upstairs with a huge veranda, hammock-filled, with a view over the river and plenty of lovely breezes. I had the entire area to myself!  I was the only tourist in the entire town – there are some advantages to traveling off-season, although trying to take tours can be difficult without enough people to make them happen.

Anyway, back to Yamil. We hit it off immediately – he speaks little English, but my Spanish (especially comprehension) is improving rapidly and I make myself understood. He made some lovely vegetarian meals for me and we laughed, had lovely conversations and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves together. What is it with me and gay men, I mean, really – ?! No matter where I am, we connect, often so very intimately and have the best damn time together!! Oh, what would my life be like without my dear gay brothers – I cannot even imagine!

From El Castillo, I thought I was going to Isla Ometepe, only to find out that my one-day delay out of Costa Rica made that impossible because of the limited ferry schedule. Now I had to go to Managua, then onto Granada and then further transport from there. That shifted my entire itinerary around, so I decided to take the bus to Managua and then go to Granada and stay there for a bit and then rethink onward travel from there. And Granada is where I still am!

My travel through Managua was quite unpleasant, I must say. A Nicaraguan man befriended me on the long, boiling hot bus trip over several hours and while he ‘seemed’ nice enough, there was something I couldn’t quite get that was just a little off about him. He was showing off, it seemed like, and striking poses for my benefit. Not in a flirtatious way, there was none of that kind of energy, just that puffing up kind of thing that straight men sometimes like to do (sorry for the sexist generalization, but sometimes, it’s just what is so).

So I was friendly in return but cautious too. Then I just happened to open my guide book which I’ve hardly referred to for most of the trip and thought of letting go earlier along the way just to reduce my weight. But in this moment, something interesting happened. I ready a highlighted box of “Caution” related to Managua. As an aside, I generally avoid the capital cities and had planned to do exactly that with Managua, hearing that it had pretty much nothing to offer. But sometimes the capital city is the transport hub, so there’s no getting around it and here I was in that exact situation.

So, the Caution Box speaks to a scam happening frequently on the long-haul buses into Managua where a local befriends a tourist and starts warning them about the dangers of Managua and how they should share a taxi so that the tourist doesn’t get themselves into harm’s way from some local person. Then, in cahoots with the taxi driver, the local on the bus drives the tourist to several banks at knifepoint and demands that they withdraw money and then they drop them off at some lonely place on the outskirts of the city – YIKES! I’m not making this shit up and yes, it happens, which is another reason I avoid the big cities. Anyway, I got chicken skin just reading this thing. It felt like it was describing exactly what was coming down with this guy. He had already called a taxi and said we would take one together (didn’t ask me, told me) which I initially thought was muy amable (very friendly), but then I wasn’t so sure.

I didn’t know, of course, whether this was what was happening, and even at the chance that I would offend him, I decided offending him was a chance worth taking more than the other chance that I thought I might be facing. I was not taking a taxi with this guy. Period. When we approached Managua, I told him so and he looked very surprised and taken aback. Now, to find a taxi on my own – not easy in Managua because all taxis are collectivos and I must be very careful who I choose to get in the taxi with, because this situation can occur with anyone. I see a full taxi of women and children and that’s the one I decide to take. When in doubt, go toward the women, go toward the children! It doesn’t always work, but I thought it was my best chance.  We drove all over the city, it seemed, driving out of the busy part of town. I was in the front seat with my hand gripping the door handle, imagining how I would roll out of cab with my backpack and my shoulder bag if I had to. I must say, it was one of the scariest times I’ve ever experienced in my traveling life. Deep breathing helped. Feeling solid and grounded in my body helped. Declaring that I was safe and well helped. And fortunately, all was well. He delivered me to the other bus station where I immediately boarded a mini-van to Granada.

And since I’ve been here, I’ve heard more about the nightmare of the Managua taxis – it seems this is quite ordinary fare in that city and many tourists have the awful experience. I don’t know if I would have, had I gone with guy on the bus, but I am so very grateful I opened my guide book and paid attention to my intuition!

Now here in Granada, all is well. I love this city! Unfortunately, the original little hotel I planned to stay at was closed for repairs on these now earlier dates that I arrived. But I went there, dropped off my pack and went hunting for a place. Most were full and this was not looking good. I found one hostel with only one room left for $10 and while it was awful, I figured I could just spend the night and find another place the next day. But awful it really was and I was disappointed to have a cell of a room in this lovely city.

But that didn’t last long. As I strolled around the gorgeous colonial city, all around Parque Central with the grand cathedral in the midst of it, I came along a sign, “Room for Rent” and the man just happened to be walking by inside. We spoke and I asked to see a room and couldn’t believe what I had stumbled upon. A private old colonial home with a gorgeous inside courtyard (typical of most all the buildings here) and yes, a few rooms available at $15 each. Gorgeous! Fantastic! At $15, I told him I would return first thing in the morning! I went back to the Hostel from Hell, told them I found another place and while I would honor my agreement to stay the night if they insisted, I would really prefer to leave right now! They were fine with it, I packed up my pack in about 30 seconds and hauled ass over to Guillermo’s place! He was surprised to see me, but welcomed me in and tonight will be night #5! It feels like my Nicaraguan home and it’s 1/2 block from Parque Central with everything, everything I need! A great strolling city, wonderful restaurants and warm Nicaraguan people! And Guillermo is great – speaks plenty of English so we’ve enjoyed some colorful conversations, and shared plenty of laughs and listened to great Nicaraguan music together!

AND, I’m thinking, in a pretty solid way in this moment, of returning this winter for 1-2 months and being here for the holidays! Horray! Donna is open to the idea of Christmas in Granada, so we are pretty excited about the possibility! Guillermo gives discounts for longer stays, of course and doesn’t even raise his prices during High Season or the holidays. Both of us could stay here for $400 per month – you got it, $400 for both of us!

I think I’m a bit spoiled here at the moment because it’s low season and there’s not a lot of tourists around and I understand it can get pretty crazy busy with tourists. but from what I’m seeing, there are also plenty of local people here living their lives and are friendly and welcoming, not terribly jaded by all that tourism.

Ohmigod, and it is bloody HOT – the hottest month of the year here before the rainy season arrives very soon and while that wasn’t the best planning on my part, this was the time I could come, so it is. There’s no doing nothing outside in the middle of the day, so the whole Siesta concept has become crystal clear to me. I’ve enjoyed having a base here, a place that feels homey and safe and comfortable. Guillermo doesn’t advertise at all – just his sign out front of the place and that gets him the business he wants. Most people stay here for months at a time and I’m hoping I’ll be one of them before the year is out!

Although I feel like I can stay here and just sink into Granada life, I also do want to see some more of the country. So, I’m off tomorrow afternoon to Isla Ometepe for several days where I’ll be Internet-unplugged again and then to a town known especially for its artesans and dance and then back here to Guillermo’s place and then onto Leon, another ancient colonial city. I actually changed my itinerary and am not going to a place I really wanted to, because the only way to do it was to spend the night in Managua and have to deal with more taxis there. I simply don’t want to have to face that experience again. So I’m not.

From Leon, my Nicaragua time is complete, and I will head on a fancy bus for the overland trip to Honduras. But that’s not for awhile and no sense getting ahead of myself here – plans are bound to change again, because, well, because they do!

I can’t say it’s been an easy trip, what with starting off on the end of a terrible cold I got in SF, to spraining my ankle, to losing my backpack and to feeling like I got close to getting robbed. No, it hasn’t been easy, really. But I am putting one foot in front of the other and in this moment, all is well, all is very well and I am grateful to be in good spirits, good health and open to more experiences and adventures as they unfold!

Sorry, no photos right now – they take lots of time to upload and I’ve got to get to my Online Writing Group assignments! They’ve been deeply engaging with awesome writing prompts from the Master Joshua!

Ciao from Nicaragua, a country I highly recommend for a visit!

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