It’s just two weeks over a year since my bags were packed and I left my nestled home in the States.
My point of exit left me with two things on my mind.
Going to Cape Town, South Africa to spend my days with a man that quite literally swept me off my feet
and get a teaching contract somewhere, somehow in Costa Rica.
I had the plane tickets to both South Africa and Costa Rica, but the reality of living life in Cape Town and a teaching job in Costa Rica, well, these were just thoughts. Ideas I had hoped to turn into realities.
Cape Town, South Africa, that month, that month living and falling in love.
You see, what I learned, what become so deeply known to me was acceptance.
Love and Acceptance.
My world changed.
My direction, mindfully known, heart fully felt but universally, unknown.
Of many things, my time in Cape Town yielded a contract for Costa Rica.
Within a matter of a few skype calls and emails, my job and home in San Jose
were in place just two weeks before my scheduled arrival.
In-between this time,
only the journal of my soul truly knows what evolved,
what contributed to my reality,
That plane ride from Cape Town to San Jose was sadly filled with tears.
I cried, cried and cried some more until reflection consumed me by it’s magic and what do you know,
I woke the next morning with my luggage lost somewhere in Africa,
but filled with a massive smile on my face and that ever curious soul that I believe has some contribution to all this. Here, in San Jose, Costa Rica I spent the next six months living and teaching English to various executives throughout the week and high school students on Saturday mornings.
I simply, quite simply, really loved it.
Teaching was an exchange I had longed for.
My classes were intense, informative and always a good laugh, probably more at me than the subject matter.
My going away present was an email from one of my students;
she had, for the first time,
as an executive of a multinational corporation, given a speech, a presentation, fully in English.
The words in her email were, unbelievably proud, forever grateful.
I was touched.
I am touched.
The in-betweens of teaching, squeezed somehow with planning were spent on buses.
I took buses.
Buses all over and beyond the country.
To every which possible place.
Jaco. Puerto Viejo. Nicargua. Playa Hermosa. Cartago.
My packed breakfast, lunch and dinner, a change of clothes,
bathing suit or newly known as a swimming costume and camera in bag.
All else was left at home.
My home. That home.
That home in San Jose.
It was always filled.
Always filled with so many people.
People from all around the world.
Oh, how I enjoyed Sunday’s sitting on the couch talking about life lessons
or packing a lunch for a girl’s day trip in Jaco.
Costa Rica was a chaotic love of indulging in the present
while sharing the serendipitous realities with a very special someone half way around the world.
Six months ended, and there I was, back on a plane.
Headed to New York.
Spent the night with my yoga mat rolled on the floor, suitcase as a pillow, cold tile on the airport below watching episode after episode of Orange is the New Black all the while laughing with my sister and niece on skype.
The next morning.
My boots and warm jacket on, I arrived back in the arms of my ever grateful and reflective partner in Cape Town.
Oh yea, can’t forget in the dead of a very cold South African winter.
And then came another few months.
Well, what imprints of the world turned this time into my reality?
I taught English at an International School walking distance from our apartment.
I shared mornings with students from all around the world, afternoons taking or teaching yoga and evenings playing around the city, eating way too much food and falling in love.
Oh and on the weekends, we went adventuring.
A new city.
A new restaurant.
A new hike.
Ah, okay, a bit more wine.
These moments, they really do,
go just like that,
Dan was offered a job back on Mafia Island and after a short phone call, somehow, I was too.
The next few weeks were spent making arrangements, buying toiletries to keep us feeling some what refreshing in a sweat filled, yet bright fully colored reality.
And this, a few more months down this incredible path I call my reality,
my journey leads me to where I’m sitting and typing this very moment.
Living in a hut along the beach in Mafia Island, Tanzania.
Days are filled, I really mean filled with managing an intern and research camp for whale sharks, teaching yoga, marketing, a bit more marketing and eating, a lot more eating.
And in-between are moments of teaching back in my classroom,
playing with Raymond,
taking a bus to Kenya
and capturing time capsules to share with others.
And now, this leaves me.
With a smile on my face.
Bright pink nail polish on my fingers and toes.
Locally made clothes on my body.
A yearning to hug, to hold my family and friends.
Confusion of myself after all this time of thinking this self, this so called me, was known.
And a lot, a whole lot of gratitude.
A gratitude for each and every individual I have met along this journey, along this zigzag of a travel experience.
Through each person I met, friends that visited, a love that became discovered, a self that has been lost and found and lost again and somewhat found again, I am a better me.
A me, more capable, more willing, more able to live my truth, dance my dance and walk this path I am blessed to call my own. Thank you to each and everyone of you I have been honored to meet and be support by.
I wouldn’t be me without you.
12/21/2014 03:47:10 pm
Ashley, you are a remarkable young lady that never ceases to amaze me...and I have had an amazing adventurous life! You are indeed a window to all who come within your presence.
12/22/2014 02:23:54 pm
Thanks so much for the support and inspiration! It truly means so much to me! :)
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