Timeout: Difficult Lessons


“That’s the thing about lessons, you always learn them when you don’t expect them or want them.”
― Cecelia Ahern, If You Could See Me Now

Crimes of opportunity. We should have known better than to leave our Brazilian hammock swinging on the second story porch of our casita. Rain pounded on our tin roof muffling all sounds, our hammock swayed lazily in an unprotected and dark area, our dog too was sick to bark at intruders…all were signals for an opportunistic ladrón (thief).

We should have known better. In a three-year period, we’ve lost a bunch of bananas (over 50 pounds of bananas), a long hose snaking through Ron’s garden, a sharp machete, Ron’s new hiking boots, an iPhone, and now our Brazilian hammock. These petty crimes of opportunity make me want to cry!

IMG_3425Though, we should have known better. We installed a bright light on the casita porch, took down our rope swing hanging from a mango tree, rolled up the remaining hose, and stored assorted rakes and our kayak on the gated porch of our main house….a real fortress. “What about this old mop and the broken plastic bucket?” I asked Ron. “Debbie, if some thief wants that old mop and bucket..let them have it,” he laughed.

I’ve followed trails of bananas and washed out partial footprints in the sand…all leading to a dead-end. I’ve warned all the neighbors that a ladrón is in our neighborhood. They have all had experiences with petty crime, too. In a way, it reassures me that we aren’t targeted because we are foreigners. Yet, it infuriates me that a stranger invades our private property.

The advice from the locals is to: get a mean dog or two or three, lock everything up at night, and spotlight the property with bright lights. It won’t help to install a high razor topped fence around our property. First, it is too expensive, and second, if a thief wants something bad enough, they’ll find a way. If they can easily shimmy up a coconut tree, a fence will not deter them.

We should have known better. But, we got lazy and didn’t expect a ladrón. That’s when things happen…when you least expect them. Lesson learned…again and again. It could have been worse. I won’t live in fear, but I’ll sure keep everything locked up tightly in our house from now on.

I still want to cry. The hammock was given to us as a gift when we visited Brazil. In Zeebra Designs and Destinations this week, Lisa quoted Kahlil Gibran, “I have learnt silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind;  yet strange, I am ungrateful to these teachers.”

I’m working on learning to be grateful for these lessons…but, sometimes you just gotta cry.
A friend sent me a picture she took of her toddler when she laid her down for her nap. Her expression is priceless and demonstrates the feelings I had last week. I’m practicing sketching hair..I still have more practice to get it lifelike. YouTube had some excellent lessons on drawing hair.

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8 thoughts on “Timeout: Difficult Lessons

  1. I echo John & Mary’s sentiments about the portrait. Your sketch evokes emotion. There are a lot of things we shouldn’t leave out and we might pay for it someday. We just bought ourselves new bicycles and the first thing the salesmen did was register the serial # with the Sheriff”s Dept.That’s pretty sad.

    • I know, Lynne. Yet, when I read of the school shootings in Georgia today and the violence in Chicago, I feel very fortunate that all we have to worry about are the little things that go missing. Something is very wrong with our world today and I don’t know how to fix it.

  2. I always enjoy your “take” on life – finding the positive….followed by taking action, as well. Love the sketch as well as the sentiments. Ahhhh…. if we could only have the enthusiastic life-approach of the toddler – the Living Every Minute Full Out approach, 100 percent of the time: This is the Worst Day of My Life immediately followed up with This is the Best Day of My Life.

  3. Debbie – Sorry to hear about the loss of your hammock, etc. We have been very blessed here and as a result have gotten too lax in leaving relatively valuable items out all night and neglecting to secure things when we are gone for long hours during the day. One of these days, “when we don’t expect” it, we will probably learn our lesson and have to amend our ways.

    As for the portrait – I love it! It may sound cruel at first, but I like seeing a young person cry. To see all of the effort they put into the complete expression with no holding back over the disappointment of a spilled ice-cream cone or having to go to bed! Not the subtle facial movements of adults, but the eyes, mouth, total face, and all else is very interesting to me and you captured the moment perfectly in your sketch. Good job.

  4. The drawing captures the essence of the moment. Again, I am so sorry that this happened. We want these pristine sweet communities to stay sweet and pristine, and it’s painful when the ladrones strike. Crime has worsened where I once lived in the Nicoya penisula, and everyone is trying to become more proactive and find ways to halt the escalating crime. I hope that you can find a way to unite the neighbors and halt the crime there.

    Thanks for sharing your story and for the perfect illustration! You did well! z

    • It’s so disheartening! Ometepe Island is still generally an oasis of peace, but with increased tourism, comes the petty thievery. I just can’t accept this behavior and brush it off lightly. Our neighbors at Puesta del Sol have a tourism business and many groups visit weekly. They were grateful for the warning because they have beautiful hammocks strung in their community house and lots of bicycles for rent. I think we’re going to start a neighborhood watch program and organize a friends of the police group. Not that we want to become vigilantes, but we want to make ladrones unwelcome here. On a good note, I am getting better at portrait drawing. 🙂 Thanks, Lisa for your kind thoughts. You always know the right things to say!

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