Tigger_bouncyWe are home again, back at my desk next to my bed wearing my sheets (the bed, not me). So happy to be in my house with my stuff. Overlooking my valley. Through my razor wire. Which seems to have lost its lustre. Sigh.

I have to tell you: I came back a tad confused. That’s how good a time I had in Key West. The bouncer is me: here? There? WHERE? In limbo which is not a happy place.

Like when I first stopped drinking, there was a period of time where I wasn’t really "in" with my new buddies who didn’t drink, yet I no longer felt comfortable with my old buddies who still did. It was a lonely, scary time. Like when you first become parents. You have to make friends with people who are also parents because your old friends who don’t have kids have no idea what the heck you are talking about.

Like the summer after my first year in college, I had a mini-nervous breakdown. My summer of madness. College was a huge culture shock to me. You’ve heard it before: from tiny town in KY to Indian guys in dresses, Jews, Catholics, virgins, people from Boston who talked funny, people all manner of color and eye shape and accent. Turned me upside down. It was exciting and dramatic to have this world unfold before me, like being turned loose in Disneyland with free tickets and all the strange and exotic characters were my friends. Then I went home for the summer and a strangeness took hold.

Plopped right back into my old Kentucky home exactly as I’d left it, everything seemed different, out of reach. I couldn’t connect to the people I’d connected to all my life – they had changed. Like we no longer spoke the same language. Suddenly, I was isolated from the people and situations I’d known all my life. Right next to them but out of reach.

That scared the very breath out of me. Within a month of being home, I was having five and six panic attacks a day. I was afraid I was going stark raving mad and was powerless to stop it. I stopped eating, stopped drinking, melted down to almost nothing (madness is very thinning.) And all I could think about was getting back to Disneyland. To real life.

As obvious as it is to everyone now, it was years before I realized it was me who had changed. Everyone in KY was exactly the same; I was different. The panic attacks subsided just before going back to school. Part of it was being really sick of them. And I’d read a self-help book that suggested, when I felt an attack coming on, to touch my wall, touch my chair, name the physical pieces of my universe as I touched them. An amazing little trick that brought me right back down to earth.

Thank God I didn’t go to a therapist who would have put me on drugs. I’d probably still be on them today.

That’s what it was like going back this time: no panic attacks (too bad, I could stand to lose a few pounds) and I connected fine to my really close friends. But the whole scene felt different. I’m different. I bounce slower and at different stimuli. I was a professional Type A when we left Key West. I’m practically a B now. By the end of our three weeks there, I could feel the frenzy trying to worm its way back into my system. No thank you.

For now, I can’t talk about the pros and cons of here vs. there. Keeps me in limbo and I can’t live like that. It doesn’t matter anyway. We considered going back, but nah. We are here, this is home. Maybe not forever, but for 2008, Costa Rica gets to keep us. If I keep comparing, I’ll be really grumpy. There is at least as much to love about Costa Rica as there is about Key West. And we’ve only scratched the surface.

The world is in limbo right now. So much is changing: a new President, the housing market thing, a global correction, rampant inflation, a dollar in trouble… too much goin’ on, too much movin’ and shakin’ for me to be changing my life, too. We have a sane, comfortable space here on the planet. I think we’ll enjoy this for awhile longer, keep the world’s insanity at bay for a few more minutes.

You know, I would buy a property here: like five hectares (10 acres more or less). Raise goats and make goat cheese (don’t ask me how I, city girl, latched onto this idea.) It would be nice to spread out a little, grow herbs and tomatoes and chickens. Chickens for eggs. I don’t think I’m up to killing my own pot pie. Although who knows? I’ve done a ton of stuff in the last couple of years I didn’t think I was up to.

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