Month: January 2019

Communication… is hard

Sometimes relationships aren’t all sunshine and roses. There are times full of difficulty and confusion. It’s not easy to go through and in the end, it does make you stronger if you work through whatever is put in your path. I have talked about some amazing things that have happened in my relationship with Jonathan. He is a great guy that respects and shows me love. Our relationship is good. We have a lot of fun and silly times. However, our relationship lately has been tested by a number of things that we have worked through for the most part. There is one thing that is a constant issue for us.

COMMUNICATION…. This is the hardest part of our relationship. Since we don’t speak the same language fluently it makes it really hard to communicate. I believe it is the hardest for Jonathan to do because his main love language is physical. He has a harder time putting into words what he wants to say or communicate. My main love language is words of affirmation. It is much easier for me to talk and ask questions because it is how I feel the most love.

I believe he gets overwhelmed when he wants to communicate with me because I don’t always understand his Spanish. My Spanish has come a long way since I moved to Costa Rica. I do still have a long way to go with understanding and using the language. It is not always convenient to use google translate. And quite frankly, we get tired of using the phone to talk. Neither of us knows what to do about this, other than be patient with each other. It is easier for him to be patient with it because he feels love the most with being physical. I get frustrated and upset because I don’t have the communication I want. I can remind myself all day long that it’s temporary because I am learning Spanish and it’s not enough sometimes. I want that communication with him. When I have girlfriends to talk to it does make it easier. However, my girlfriends have lives that don’t always allow us to hang out and chat. Also, it is not the same thing talking with girlfriends as it is talking with him. I want to know him more. We have only been together for 6 months; there is so much more we have to learn about each other. I want to be a part of his life. If we aren’t talking about his life, I feel like I am not a part of it.

I don’t need or want to talk all the time or every day. I do want to know what’s happening with his children, and what his plans are for the future. He was supposed to take an English course. It hasn’t happened yet. I ask what’s going on with it and his response is I don’t know. Am I asking too much to want to know these things? Is it a cultural difference between us? What will I do about it if it continues to stay like this?

What do you guys deal with in relationships that have you feeling upset and frustrated? Do any of you have a relationship with someone who doesn’t speak your native language? If so, what do you do to communicate better?

Nicaragua Trip Part 2

Even though I had surgery and was sick, I had a lot of fun too. We went to Ometepe Island for the first 2 days. Jonathan’s friend was getting married there.

We took an hour long ferry to the island. Which was a beautiful ride. The water is kind of nasty looking. The view was amazing. The island has two volcanos and some small lakes. It has a tiny airport you can see from the ferry too. We rented a motorcycle while we were there. It made getting around much easier. It was only $30 for the two days.

The first day we visited his friend for an hour or so. It was nice to meet the bride and their children. They cooked us a nice steak lunch and showed us their house. After, we went to a swimming hole. The water was freezing yet it was so much fun. There was a Tarzan swing we used to get into the water. The cold water was nice to keep my fever down. We did some swimming and relaxing before heading to see a local beach.

The beach was not really a beach because the tide was so high. We just drove by and saw the town. I was hungry and tired so we went back to the hotel for the rest of the evening. We had tacos, which are more like taquitos, for dinner. They are one of my favorite Nicaraguan foods. I fell asleep in the hammock the hotel had around 4:30pm. I was so exhausted I slept through the night.

The next morning we went to Charco Verde. Charco Verde is a nature reserve with a lake on the island. We went pretty early in the morning. It was beautiful. They had a butterfly exhibit. They had a beach, which we couldn’t swim in due to the tide being so high. They had some beautiful trails we walked through. It reminded me of the fall time in the US. They had leaves falling off the trees with a cool breeze. A light jacket would have been perfect. Leaves were covering the trail as we walked. I started to get a fever and body aches so we headed home. We rode the motorcycle through the runway of the airport which gave us a beautiful view of the volcano.

Once at the hotel, Jonathan ordered soup for lunch and made a trip to the pharmacy for medicine. I took a nap that lasted from 11 am to 4:30pm. I knew at this point I had the flu and needed rest before making it to the wedding at 6pm.

After spending two days in Ometepe, we headed to Acoyapa, Jonathan’s hometown. It took us 6 hours to get there from Ometepe. Two buses and two cab rides.

The town of Acoyapa, has one hotel. To me, is in the heart of Nicaragua. I was the ONLY non-Nicaraguan there. People would look at me as though I was a foreign object that didn’t belong. I didn’t quite feel safe there for this reason. Anytime we left the hotel, Jonathan was at my side. Most of his family lives here. I was able to meet many aunts, uncles, cousins, one of his children and his grandmother. They were all inviting and nice. I enjoyed my time with them as well as their cooking. They made me feel right at home. They understood I was sick and in pain for most of the trip. They made me feel right at home.

For most of the time there, we spent time at his aunt’s house. I took many naps because I knew my body needed it. It was also too painful to do much walking. We attended a rodeo on Christmas day. It was not like the rodeos in Costa Rica. There were too many people that it was too overwhelming for me. We stayed for an hour and a half.

Later in the evening, Jonathan told me he had a gift for me. We were sitting in the living room watching a rodeo in Costa Rica. He and his cousin were looking for his jacket because the gift was inside. After a good 5 minutes of looking, he comes over puts his knee down and asks “will you marry me?” I was in shock for three reasons. One was because he said it in English. I thought if he ever asked it would be in Spanish. Second, his aunt and grandmother were there. Third, the ring was gorgeous and not what I expected.

The Friday after Christmas, we took the bus to Juigalpa to do some shopping. I got new shoes, a dress, and a pair of earrings. Jonathan got new work shoes. The town of Juigalpa has many markets that line the streets. You can find anything you need there. Shoes, pants, beds, sunglasses, diet pills and all kinds of other things.  

I stayed at the hotel all day New Year’s Eve. I had a lot to take in from the engagement, surgery, and difference in culture. I needed some time alone. He brought me food for lunch and dinner. I just spent the day relaxing and watching Netflix. He spent the day making a doll for them to burn for the New Year with his friends. It’s a tradition they do every New Years. It signifies the start of a new time by burning away the old. There was a ton of fireworks. It sounded like a war was going on outside the hotel. I could see the night sky lit up from the hotel window. It was a nice calming feeling being with myself in this new country.

We went home a few days later. I was so happy to be back in Costa Rica. I missed the hot showers and the safety of the familiar. The night after we got back someone posted on Facebook that they needed a place for two puppies. Jonathan mentioned getting a puppy this year. I responded to the post, within 15 minutes, I had two puppies. They were super cute and adorable. A boy and a girl.

The next day, we took them to the vet to get medicine for the worms I was sure they had. I got the correct food for them as well as flea and tick soap. The boy puppy found a home before we even left the vets office. Jonathan and I just had the girl. We named her Nina.

It has been a great experience with her. She is learning so many things quickly. She spent one night in the vet’s office for dehydration. Other than that, she is recovering well. She hasn’t pooped in the house in 3 days. She is learning to like the crate. She is absolutely the perfect puppy for us. We are happy to have Nina as part of our family.

The 3 weeks I had off of work was full of adventure, pain, and growth. I am happy to start the New Year off with a new puppy and a great man. I am excited to see what more this year will bring!

Nicaragua Trip Part 1

waiting to see the doctor

It has been an adventure filled few weeks. During the holiday’s I went to Nicaragua with my Jonathan. It was one hell of a trip. I woke up in the morning with a sore throat. That turned into the flu the next day. I had the flu for about 5 days. That’s not even the worst of it.

Getting through the border was easy. Getting to the border was interesting. We took the bus really early in the morning. There were quite a bit of people on the bus so we had to sit in the open area where the wheelchairs go on the first bus. The second bus we sat on the stairs by the back door. Since there were a lot of trucks waiting to get checked at the border, there was a line of trucks. The bus was unable to pass. We would have waited for hours and hours, so we decided to walk. It was about 4 miles to the border from where we were. We walked about 2 miles before a colectivo picked up.

The buses in Nicaragua are a whole new experience. They pack the buses full. They will put as many people on these buses as possible. Most of the buses we rode on while in Nica we had to stand for a minimum of 30 minutes if we didn’t get on the bus first. The longest we had to stand was an hour and a half. You pay for the bus after you get on the bus so the man you pay is trying to walk between the crowd of people to get everyone’s money. The one good thing about the bus is people will sell you things at the stops or on the bus. We were on one of the buses in Nica for 3 hours. We bought corn on the cob, cooked beef with salad, and cough drops during the 3-hour trip. We either yelled out the window or the person was on the bus asking us if we wanted any.

On the second day of the trip, my Bartholin gland became infected which caused some pain. I have had them before and antibiotics would take it away within two days. That did not happen this time. I tried sitting in a hot bucket of water 3 times a day as well. Nothing worked.

By the time Christmas came along I was just sleeping all day because the flu and the pain were unbearable. I wanted to wait to see my doctor in Costa Rica. I couldn’t make the trip back even if I tried. We went to a local gynecologist in Jonathan’s hometown. We explained to the doctor what was the issue was and how many times I have had the cyst in the last year. None of the doctors spoke English. We decided the best course of action was to have surgery the next day. I told Jonathan there was no way I could make the trip to the hospital (2 hours away) on the bus. I was crying all the time because the pain was horrible. Jonathan arranged everything for me. He hired a driver to take us to and from the hospital. He made sure I had all the medicine I needed. The local bank would only accept Visa and my card was a Mastercard, so we had to borrow some money from his aunt to help pay for the doctor. He took care of everything.

the hospital

I didn’t sleep well the night before the surgery. No matter how I laid, I couldn’t stop the pain. I was not allowed to drink or eat anything so medicine was out of the question. We woke up early to make it to the hospital in time for the surgery. The hospital was an open-air hospital. In the middle of the hospital, there was an open area with trees and flowers. There was no air conditioning in the main part of the hospital so this open-air allowed for it to stay cool. We sat in this little room with another doctor as she took all my medical information. They did blood tests and gave me an IV of fluids. I sat in this room with Jonathan for a good two hours. At one point, I killed a spider or two while we waited. The wait was one of the worst waits I have ever experienced. I am thankful I brought the pillow from the hotel to sit on because they didn’t offer me a pillow, a bed, nothing to make the waiting better, even after I kept crying. Jonathan was having a hard time as well because there was nothing he could do to make the pain go away. The lady had put the tape on my IV a little too tight so the fluids weren’t actually entering my body. We told the nurse. Her response was it is a very slow flow. Jonathan and I tried to explain to her that the tape was hurting my arm and the fluids were not going in my body at all. She didn’t seem to listen so we just waited. While we waited I went to use the bathroom. Since there is not a good water system in Nicaragua, using the bathroom was interesting. They have a huge container of water sitting in the middle of the bathroom with a bucket inside. After you use the bathroom, you take the bucket full of water and dump it into the toilet. This allows the toilet to flush.

The inside of the hospital. We sat in the room at the end of the hallway.

After two hours another lady came to get me. She walked with me to the operating area. At this point, Jonathan was not allowed with me. We stood for a few minutes in a hallway linking the main hospital to the operating area. It was cold and much cleaning than the other part of the hospital. The lady noticed I was in pain and got me a bed to lay on. As I laid on the bed she fixed my IV so that it wasn’t so tight and the fluids were entering my body. I do have to say I am proud of myself for being able to communicate and somewhat understand the nurses and doctors. I was in the hallway for about 15 minutes. The doctor wheeled me into the operating room that was really clean, cold, and half-updated. They had new lights and equipment. The table was a more outdated one yet it functioned and was clean. They used cloth for everything instead of the disposable linens they use in the US. I got situated in the stirrups.

Next thing I know, I am feeling and seeing crazy objects I can’t make out what they are. I was thinking where am I, what is happening. Then I remembered I had been put to sleep. I didn’t feel like I was in my body. It was like my body is laying on the table and my consciousness was someplace else. It was like I was in a kaleidoscope of reality and something else. I could tell the cyst was gone and I had no more pain. I am not sure how long I was in this state of disconnect. I kept trying to look around the room and see where I was. What I thought at the moment was that I was in the scene of interstellar when Cooper was in the black hole or alternative universe. He’s in what seems to be a library that he moves around in until he finds his daughter and the house. He sees his daughter and is yelling and screaming for her. She can’t hear him. That’s how I felt. I was floating in this space that I didn’t understand until I could slightly see the people in the room. I wanted to ask them questions. I wanted to open my mouth and ask where Jonathan was. I just wanted Jonathan. No matter how hard I thought they couldn’t hear me. There were 3 nurses and a man that had surgery as well. None of them could hear my cries in my head. Not only was I crying in my head, but my body was also crying too. I have never felt anything like this in my life. I started to feel really drunk as I started to reconnect to my body. The nurse took my IV out and rolled me to the hallway where Jonathan met me. He told me it was time to go.

I could start to speak what I thought at this point. I told him I couldn’t get dressed on my own. I felt so drunk that I had no control of my body. I couldn’t hold my head up without help. He got me dressed and we slowly walked out of the hospital. I was laughing because I felt completely crazy by the drunkenness. He put me in the cab, got the prescriptions, and headed home. It was hard to sleep because I didn’t feel right. I felt tired and awake at the same time. The experience of drunkenness lasted until much later in the evening. It gradually decreased as time went on.

The next day, I felt normal. I was still tired from the surgery, yet I was happy I wasn’t in any pain. The surgery I had was a marsupialization. It is where they drain the cyst and use stitches to hold the skin open. This allows for the gland to still drain. I needed to use warm water and antibacterial soap to clean it 2 times a day. Since there was no hot water, Jonathan borrowed a coffee maker from his aunt for me to sponge bath myself.

The whole experience was intense. I had no idea what to expect. I was nervous I wouldn’t wake up from surgery. I was afraid the doctor would mess up and cause more damage. I had a ton of fears going into the hospital. I have only had surgery under general anesthesia once before in the US. Having it done in a country where I speak the language very little was terrifying. No translator. Except google translate which doesn’t always translate correctly. Jonathan can translate certain things into a more simpler form of Spanish for me. Yet it’s not as clear as it would be if it was in English.

I am happy that I was able to go through this there. I felt safe having Jonathan and his aunt with me. She is a nurse so she was able to help us find the doctor and answer some questions we had.

The day we got back to Costa Rica, I had my gynecologist look at the area to make sure it was healing well. It is doing well. He said it looks just like it should. They would have done the same thing.

I am still healing two weeks later. I have another appointment with my doctor next week to check it out again. I am happy with the results.