Well here we are, the final installment of my trip to the beautiful land of Costa Rica. You have heard about my awful journey there, the wonderful times I have had and the amazing people I met and I hope that you would now consider it somewhere you might like to visit. I would highly recommend it of course.
So the only other thing to cover now is my journey home. For me the journey back always seems to take twice as long as the journey there. Maybe it’s because by that time I’m longing to turn into Dorothy, click my heels together and wish myself home. Sadly this is not yet possible and I am stuck with a car ride, two planes, a bus and another car ride to get home.
On Sunday morning I packed my case and tried very hard to squeeze everything back in. I don’t know about you but it never fits in as well on the return journey and I have to fight with the zip for 10 minutes or so until my fingers turn purple and I’ve broken about 3 nails. Only then does it finally close completely. We had to leave at 9.15 so that we could drop the car off and get to the airport. Annie’s flight was 5 hours earlier than mine so I would have to sit and wait for a while. I didn’t mind that, I had a good book and could write some more blog while I’m hanging around.
Before all that though, I had woken up at about 5.30 and was really glad; I didn’t want to miss another minute. I could hear Monroe moving around downstairs and I knew he would have a big pot of coffee on. I went down and sure enough there he was in his shorts with his blue cap on busying himself in the kitchen. We exchanged good mornings and with our coffee went and sat on the porch as usual. We sat for a while in silence, both enjoying the sight of the clouds playing on the tops of the mountains, listening to the morning calls of the exotic birds and catching the odd glimpse of a red squirrel climbing the tree to steal little pieces of the bananas. This would be something that I miss greatly and I told Monroe so. He is such an interesting guy and has led a life so different from my own that I am fascinated every time he talks to me. To my surprise he turned to me and said, “You know, I will miss you too. You are a lovely lady and a very talented writer. I could listen to your tales for ages.” I was quite choked up at that. Here was I thankful that I was meeting all these fabulous people and they had been thinking the same about me. Only last night Earl had told me that I am a beautiful spirit. What lovely things to say.
At about 9am just as I had finished packing, the door flew open and Lily came running upstairs. She thought she had missed me and when she saw the car still outside she was relieved. We had a huge hug and yes, both of us cried. I will think about Lily often. She is stunningly beautiful with a big heart and a great sense of humour. I will miss our laughs. Randomly we swapped phone cases so that we would have something of each other. Photos were taken and before I knew it we were off. 24 hours later I would be home.
We stopped at Denny’s for breakfast and I ordered a side of pancakes as I wasn’t overly hungry. Goodness knows what they would have brought me if I had asked for a full breakfast, see the size of the pancakes in the photo below. Ha ha.
After dropping off the car and being bused to the airport, Annie booked in and we went for a final coffee. We reminisced for a while about the fab week we had spent together and all too soon she had to go and I was left alone. I remembered that on the journey out I had felt like a grown up, really for the first time and I felt it again then. That may seem strange considering I’m 42 years old but there is a reason for this.
In 1995 my father died suddenly and a few months later I started to have anxiety attacks. Over the following years this became a full blown anxiety disorder from which I have suffered greatly. 3 years ago I was also diagnosed as having rapid cycling bipolar disorder (I won’t go into what that is here, if you want to know Google will tell you). I have had long periods where being too far away from my home was a huge fear in itself and I have struggled not to let this ruin my life. I have never stopped going outside although it would have been very easy to do that sometimes but I have found it very debilitating and also very hard on my family. On top of this I have a fear of flying (now you’re thinking I’m a wreck of a woman, I know, I’ve thought it myself for many years). However, this year I was medically retired from work as a police officer and I found I was much more able to cope without so much stress. So, not one for doing things by halves I decided that this would be the year that I conquer all my fears at once. Before I could change my mind I booked this trip to Costa Rica. Four and a half thousand miles from my safe place, travelling on four planes and all this on my own. So before you throw me a pity party let’s just get back to where I left off. I was alone in the airport feeling grown up, yes? Well it was because I was feeling so proud of myself. I had done it. Yes I still had two planes left to take but I had already conquered it all. I had not had to take one anxiety tablet during the whole week. Obviously I had them with me (Trevor says my bag is like a portable pharmacy), but I didn’t need to take them.
So with my new found confidence I boarded the first plane and as we took off I quietly thanked God, the land of wonder that is Costa Rica, the beautiful people who treated me so well and I said goodbye to the old flaky Julie and looked forward to sinking into my own bed next to my wonderful, supportive, long suffering husband who was waiting for me.
I just wanted to thank you all for reading this blog and for giving me so many positive comments on here, on twitter and in person; it is great to have your support. I will of course continue blogging about writing and anything else I think may interest you and in February 2013 I am going on a cruise round the Caribbean, this time with Trevor and Sam so of course I will be blogging about the whole trip, warts and all. I hope you will share it with me.
See you soon.