• Lara Flanagan

Living on Tico Time

Updated: Feb 28


I must admit I struggled a little bit over the last week.  I was going simply brilliantly.  I thought I was mastering the sweetness of doing nothing and I was acing the whole travelling mum thing.  I was working so hard on relaxing that I reminded myself of a joke my Momma used to love about a stress pot who goes to see a therapist about learning how to relax and he says to the therapist that he “wants to be on the cutting edge of relaxation!”  That about sums me up really.  A right royal fucking nutcase.  


Anyway I got sick in terms of a stomach bug.  It knocked me out for a day and took me 2 days to get back my equilibrium.   I suspect I now better understand the term to “shit through the eye of a needle”.  It meant that for about 12 hours I lay horizontal on the bed, near the toilet so that I could make it in time.  Suffice to say there were a few times I did not quite make it.   Pleasant really, lucky I am single.  The kids were great and looked quite happily after themselves.   I must admit I did die a little bit inside when I read one of their blogs which said “Mummy slept all day and we got lunch ourselves which was lollies”.  I wish they had of used a little bit of fucking creative licence and had themselves making a lovely salad with avocado on toast or something.  That sort of writing makes me look really bad.


Anyway, because I was sick and useless and feeling wretched I think my brain went into overdrive and I started analysing and questioning everything.   “What am I going to do when I get back?”  “Have you remembered that you don’t have a car?” “What if you can’t settle when you return?”  “What exactly is it you are doing with travelling for 12 months with your kids?”  “What is the point of travelling when you aren’t even doing anything, just lying on the bed?”  “I miss the dogs.”  “I miss adults.”  “It would be so nice to shoot the breeze with someone who is not 8 years old.”  “Have I just shit my pants again, how is it that I don’t know for sure?”


It went on and on and on to the point of exhaustion.  If I was not dealing with the shit in my head, I was dealing with shit coming out the other end and apparently the kids were sitting quietly in the lounge room eating shit and looking at shit on their ipads.  It was a shit couple of days.  By the time I started feeling better I was ready to tell myself quite simply to fuck off out of my own life.   I was sick of myself.  The other thing that shit me to tears was that I should have been feeling like one of those skinny supermodels after shitting like a tornado for 12 consecutive hours and not being able to eat for 2 days.  Instead I felt bloated and lethargic.  I needed to snap out of it.


On Saturday morning when we woke the sun was back and the beach was absolutely glorious and I  had had a good talk to myself.   Firstly I like working freelance and I will probably continue to do it when I return but I will worry about getting back when I get back.  The dogs are fine, we checked with John John, they are in good hands, of course they miss us but they are both well.  I will sort out a car when I get back.  What I am doing with my kids is giving them a taste of the world that they live in and maybe a glimpse of a world of possibilities.  Sometimes doing nothing is the best thing in the world.  


Now that I felt better shitting my pants was no longer a worry, I am only 44 after all.    My three days of isolation had worn me out and I just wanted to enjoy doing nothing.  Now that I have stopped worrying about doing what a tourist should do and now that I have turned my brain off we have moved into living on Tico time.  I had to check that the term “Tico Time” was not an insult, I have found out that it is instead a rather affectionate term.  It is just a way of referring to the Costa Rican way of life which is not dominated or ruled by time.  Rather frustrating if you are waiting for a technician to come and fix your telephone line but rather lovely if you are us.


Since Saturday when I started feeling better, it was like a switch had been turned off and I am not going to listen to my brain anymore.  We are  living in our little isolated beachside bubble and forgetting about anything else for a while. We have started walking earlier in the morning as I tend to wake with first light as I sleep next to a wide open window (it is screened so I do not have to fear monkeys, iguanas and other creatures).  I love the light in the early mornings.  When we return from the walk, we have breakfast and I tend to start work earlier as do the kids with their school work.   By the time we finish whatever it is we are meant to finish it is time for lunch and I have started having a little siesta after lunch as a daytime nap for me is as delicious as an endless bowl of sorbet.   Then after I have woken I wake and check emails and then we hit the beach.


Archie and Rissie take it in turns choosing to go left or right – left is the miles and miles of sandy isolation, right is where the jungle meets the shore.  As of yet those little bastards have not selected going right so I am pulling rank tomorrow.   Our lives are about as simple as that.  We may be doing nothing but we are getting to know a little area that is governed by the tides and the rains.  


As I was sitting on the beach in my little hole I had built myself so I could wallow literally for hours whilst the kids played in the waves I was reminded of childhood holidays at Fraser Island or when we stayed at Jerome – the big old Queenslander that was in Hastings Street Noosa before Hastings Street became ‘Hastings Street’.  I don’t remember doing anything in those holidays but I remember those times as some of my fondest memories from childhood. Endless days of sunshine, beach, water and doing nothing.   We stayed on the beach until sunset tonight and came back as daylight faded.  I had no idea what the time was as we are living on Tico time.  It was just time to move that’s all.


On Saturday when I felt better the kids and I found a sign covered by greenery that said “Pizza’.  It was hand written and had no times or any other details.  We stuck our head in and lo and behold just off the beach was a pizza oven.   That afternoon at around 4pm we wandered down to check out our pizza oven.  I must admit the pizza was bloody amazing.  Also the waitress was from Miami so I got to talk to someone who was not 8 for an hour or so.   She was married to the Costa Rican pizza chef and they were trying to make a go of it with their little beachside pizzeria.  Talking to an adult for a little while was the final thing my addled brain had been going on about when I was sick.  My life was complete.


As we were finishing our pizza the heavens opened and the monsoon rains started.  Absolutely torrential, warm, tropical rain. The kids and I walked home in the rain and arrived back at our apartment absolutely drenched and mud spattered.   It was early but we showered and all fell asleep listening to the sound of the downpour outside our windows.  It was so heavy I could feel the moisture on my skin through my screened window.   It seems that I have managed to turn my brain off hopefully for a while longer and that we are now living on Tico time.  We went to the beach and had a cheap pizza and got drenched on the way home.  For some reason it felt like the best day ever.


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