I was walking along the beach and I bumped into her, Adrianna, she introduced herself in a broken english kinda way, Jodi, I said. She said I’m going surfing, I said Oh I have always wanted to learn to surf, she said meet me here at 3:00pm and I will teach you. WHAT! Seriously! My dutch friends had just left the day before and I was feeling a bit melancholy and there she was, Adrianna! Turns out she use to surf all the time as well as teach, it was my lucky day. On Brigitte’s ranch, her sister had a place of her own offering bike rentals, surf board rentals and did laundry. I excitedly walked over to her place to rent a board, no one around so I helped myself with the full intention of paying for the rental. I chose a small board about the size of me; its what Adrianne had so I thought it was what I should have taken. I walked down to the beach and there she was waiting for me, she immediately noticed that my board did not have a leash so she gave me hers.
Into the water we went with our boards, she explained how to paddle, how to get on the board, how to sit on the board and tried to explain how to get under the waves; that took awhile and few good hard hits before I was actually almost getting under the waves. I was wobbly, unbalanced, falling off the board as much as I was on it, each wave pushing me a little further back to shore. I can still here her voice judi, judi, this way, judi judi get down, judi judi get on your board, paddle, turn around now, watch the waves judi watch the waves, now judi get on and paddle, paddle hard judi.
Playa Negra is not so much a surfing beach but this day for whatever reason it was, there was baby surf just perfect for a 51 year old beginner. The first wave I caught sailed me right into shore, wobbly trying to simply maintain my balance just laying on my tummy although still trying to stand (my perfectionist showing up again) I got part way to my feet then splashed head down into the water. I tried again and again and again. Exhausted already from all the hard work trying to balance and steady myself, from paddling using muscles that were clearly enjoying the the sloth side of me. I forged ahead with her encouragement and constant chatter. Another wave took me for a bit of ride, I lifted my body and stood up, I was surfing for a split second before I crashed down hard into the water. Feeling bruised and battered, I tried again. This time we went deeper, further out into the vast sea, as we sat on our boards watching the ocean, talking and sharing suddenly she yelled paddled judi paddle, I paddled as hard as I could and the wave simply picked me up, like a mother with her child, I felt steady, I felt assured and I stood up and rode the wave all the way to the shore. Pumping my fist in sheer pride, Adriane screaming with delight, you did it judy, you did it! An exhilarating moment! Exhausted now I told her I had had enough and was ready to go back to shore. She just smiled.
Absolutely loved being with the ocean; aware of its power, its brilliance, it force, its egotism, knowing that this massive beast is in charge. The ocean does not play favorites, it speaks the truth, no holding back, no censoring, just pure honesty laid out right before your eyes. Bold and Beautiful. Its sounds can lull you to sleep; its power can knock you down; its ever changing reminds me that the only constant in life is change. It reminds me of the constant Eb and Flo of life, the ins and the outs, the ups and downs, the slow moving subtle shifts. It reminds me that change is slow, progressive, and patient. It reminds that if you stay in one spot and don’t move you become stagnant, saturated, wet, heavy; bitter, angry, unhappy stuck unable to see the beauty of this changing moment. It reminds me to relish in all the moments; the good, the bad, and the ugly because I know …
This woman, a native of Costa Rica, living in Cahuita for 23 years but in the last few years she had been living in the mountains. This open woman shared with me that she was an alcoholic and used too many drugs, she was a wild woman, but something inside her had to change. She changed. She moved to the mountains for a more solitary life living sober and clean for the last 9 years. She was here in Cahuita helping a friend with repairs around her place.
An extreme extrovert talking to everyone, she knew everyone and everyone knew her, hugs all around. She made sure she stopped and gave the time to each and every person, always a hug, always some laughter and always an introduction. It is a strange experience to be with people who are conversing in a different language, I have no idea what is being said but I sense the body language, the facial expressions, I witness the deep connections. Without really knowing this woman I know she has a kind, loving, compassionate, honest, open soul and she showers love and attention on all who cross her path.
She invited me for dinner after surfing and I accepted. She was staying a a friend’s place just down the road, we would meet at 6:00pm, just as it was getting dark. She and her friend, Virginia greeted me at the gate and we all walked up to the cabina together, she cooked a spaghetti dinner, we talked, we laughed, and we enjoyed the moments we all had together. Each one of us completely different in so many ways, Adriana a native, Virginia a tall black woman, and me a little white woman from Canada. We managed good conversations with Adriana chatting incessantly, Virginia translating the words that Adrianna spoke in Spanish, which was every second or third and me listening, laughing and enjoying the moment.
A day or so later I walked into town and as I was walking home she came up behind me riding her “jungle” bike, all beat up and broken down she sailed down the street with that great big smile on her face yelling and waving like a lunatic to everyone on the streets. We walked and talked all the way home.
The following day she invited me to come and meet her other friends, so I did. An older couple in their 70’s both sound asleep on the couches inside the cabina when I arrived, we went for a bike ride to get mandarinas instead. We go get some mardarinas judi. Okay I said. She got on her jungle bike and I got on another jungle bike, the left pedal not fully functional making it a challenge to maneuver the broken down jungle bike and at the same time navigating the deeply cavernous holes in the rocky road. We rode for about 20 minutes, in that time she stopped and talked to at least three or four people and took two phone calls, each time I stopped my bike and patiently waited. Finally turning down a side road and coming upon the most beautiful property I have seen to date in Costa Rica. A beautifully manicured property completely gated with so many beautiful trees, a well kept home just beyond the gate, with a matching shed. Horses freely roaming throughout the property, a smaller home in the back where the caretaker and his family lived. Roosters, chickens and of course a dog.
We stopped at the gate, she yelled and whistled over and over again until we heard the faint sound of a male voice calling back, she was relentless and kept calling until finally an older Costa Rican man came walking towards us, nice looking, nicely dressed, finely manicured himself. They greeted one another and she spoke continuously, he seemed apprehensive, she continued speaking until he finally opened the gate and invited us onto the property. We laid our beat up broken down bikes onto the ground and walked through the gate. She spoke continuously barely taking a breath in between her sentences, me not understanding a word she was saying but understanding through body language and facial expressions that she was giving it to him; in a”kind, caring” sorta way.
We walked around the property and came upon three magnificent mandarin trees with the biggest juiciest mandarins I have ever seen, together they pulled them off the tree one by one filling the shopping bag she had brought. She handed me one, I peeled it and ate it right off the tree, the most succulent piece of fruit I have ever eaten. Delicious. We continued wandering around the property, the caretaker grabbing his mashcette to cut down two coconuts, hack off the top leaving a small hole to drink up the divine coconut water inside. Slurping it down, spilling it all over my face and down the front of my shirt, I laughed out loud at the absolute pure joy I was feeling in this moment. A complete stranger has taken me under her wing sharing her knowledge of the vast ocean and how to surf, her cooking skills and now a private tour of this magnificent property she once called home.
She shared her story with me on the way home, she was once married to a woman named Vicky who owned this property and where they once lived together. They split up some years ago, her heart still tender from the break up although claiming that was not the case. I could see the signs of her heartache, her sadness well up as we walked along the property, she would always hold a special place in her heart for this woman who was her wife. As we departed she pointed out a tiny ceramic tile posted on the fence post, an anchor to the gate, she said I made that, I gave that to her and she still keep it, a smile spread across her face.
We peddled back together, Adrianna busily talking the whole way sharing her story with me, I was filled with gratitude for her and her honest, open sharing. Gratitude for my new friend, Adriana. Thank you for showing up at just the right moment.