“We could do it, you know.”
“Leave the district. Run off. Live in the woods. You and I, we could make it.”
― Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games
Yesterday, we walked to Moyogalpa instead of taking our motorcycle. “Where’s your moto?” many people asked. “We need the exercise,” I lied. There is no way I’ll admit that I am afraid to get on the moto after taking another spill. Wait! Did I just say that I hit a speed bump in our expat life on la isla?
It must have been divine intervention that led us to walk into town. Arriving at the Corner House for breakfast, I met a bemoaning tourist. He rented a scooter and wove through a herd of cattle on the road. Unaware that there was a giant unmarked speed bump ahead, he flew over the speed bump leaving his scooter behind. He broke his toe, damaged the scooter, and had gravel and dirt embedded in his legs, arms, and body. “Why don’t they mark the damn things?” he lamented.
I’ve learned many lessons about expat speed bumps…sometimes the hard way. Wait! Most of the time, the hard way! Yet, lately, I’ve become too complacent and very comfortable in the boomer nest we’ve created on Ometepe Island. Too smug with my achievements…too self-satisfied with my life.
I’ve grown too comfortable watching the hard realities of life as the local islanders…haul water several times a day up a steep dusty path to their homes.
I’ve grown too comfortable watching the local islanders…wash their clothes in the lake.
I’ve grown too comfortable watching the local islanders…work 8 long hours a day for $5
using only manual labor as they piece together a new road
or families working together struggling to make ends meet.
I’ve grown too comfortable watching the local islanders… haul 50 pounds of firewood on their backs or try to save enough money to have firewood delivered
so they can cook their daily meals.
It’s time to reevaluate my expat speed bumps. Sometimes, I get so caught up in my life, many times being obsessed with posting about my own achievements or sorrows and feeling so “bad-ass” because I think I’m tough…that I forget about the truly resilient people on our island.
How tough am I really? if I had to work manual labor for $5 a day, climb a tall tree for a coconut, haul 50 pounds of firewood on my back, scrub my clothes in the lake, chop firewood, haul water, milk cows, kill chickens, or the multitude of daily chores that consume the local islanders’ lives…could I do it? Absolutely not!
My expat speed bumps seem so insignificant when compared to the locals’ daily lives on Ometepe Island. It’s time for me to get back on the moto and stop whining about my little boo boos in life.
How do your speed bumps compare to our local islanders? Do you think you’re tough enough to survive in a primitive society? Could you run off? Live in the woods? Could you make it?