Today I’m crashing from jetlag, and had a rough day between dealing with dodgy Internet during my first day working remotely and the weird disorientation and isolation of being in completely unfamiliar territory, both existentially and physically.
There were a few bright spots, however. One involved going to two stunning beaches and being lulled by the sight and sound of the Atlantic. All the beauty in this country makes my stomach hurt; sometimes I wonder how people here can stand it. Do they notice it and appreciate it every day or just take it for granted? It makes me feel pale in comparison and more beautiful, somehow, at the same time just to bask in it.
Another bright spot was that Emanuel, the 25-year-old son of the German woman who owns the guesthouse where I’m staying, is getting an advanced degree in computer programming and is an information-technology whiz kid. When I started having Internet problems early in the day, I thought to myself, “Shit, I’m stuck out here in the middle of nowhere and I don’t have access to an IT guy.”
Imagine my delight when I found out that I actually did after asking him to help with a “Hey, do you know anything about computers?” and hearing him say with the ironic restrain only a German could muster when uttering such a dramatic line, “Computers are my life.” I love it when you get just what you need just when you need it.
Another highlight of the day came this morning when I had to approach a Portuguese pharmacist for drugs for a bladder infection, which I developed yesterday and put me in a lot of discomfort this morning. I actually looked up how to say “bladder” and “infection” in Portuguese on the Internet, wrote down “Eu quero medicina por um infeccao da bexiga” (I want medicine for an infection of the bladder–I think, anyway) and handed it to the pharmacist to ensure nothing was lost in translation. (You don’t want to mess around with that sort of thing.)
She got me what I needed right quick, and I felt better quite soon after taking the first of two doses. You really have to love how easy it is here to get drugs you need for basic ailments that in the U.S. would require a prescription.
Now if I could only stop wrecking my head over so many other things (goddamned jetlag), all would be fine…
On that topic, I do wonder what I’m doing here, why I decided to do this, what inside me felt the need to isolate myself from everyone and everything familiar just when life seemed to be looking brighter in New York.
I have always struggled with being on my own, have always felt disoriented and slightly off when I haven’t been in a relationship, as if that relationship to another is what validates me. This makes me like a lot of other people, actually; I in no way think being codependent makes me special, but it’s not something in myself of which I am proud, and I want to think that I can be happy no matter what my personal situation is. What better way to test the ghost of my recent happiness with everything as it is than to force myself to be alone, and in a place that, while beautiful, also was the site of romantic and personal defeat of the most spectacular fashion?
Indeed, it’s a pretty intense way to try to break the cycle of co-dependency. Then again, I never do things halfway, as evidenced by the whirlwind of events that transpired in the months and even days before this trip.
It’s a good thing life is full of surprises. Once I get over this blasted jetlag, I hope I can be open to all the ways this trip can surprise me. Because even in these last few months as I have repeated so many of my past mistakes, even as I’ve tripped and stumbled in all those old familiar ways, I also have certainly surprised myself. And my draw to this part of the world has always been the magic that I know is possible here.
So as I continue to swim in uncharted waters, I’m curious to see what comes next…