Upon arrival at the bar I just wanted all the pain in my heart and hate in my soul to disappear. In my past if I ever had the need to try to escape from reality alcohol would do the trick, if only for a little while. As I sat down the waitress asked me what my poison would be that evening. Tequila please…..
As it is with most busy bars in Costa Rica, when you place an order it takes 10 to 15 minutes for them to return with your drink. As I sat there I began to look at the people around me and take it their actions. Most of them had obviously been drinking for an extended period of time. The people were loud and talking about things that made not one bit of difference; The Costa Rican pastime of gossip and talking about oneself. All in all their actions looked like me when I had been drinking, a complete jackass.
For anyone that thinks they act better when they have a lot of alcohol in their system, don’t believe your brains lies. Right about that time the waitress came with the tequila shot. I paid her for the drink and left it sitting on the table as I headed home. No woman or painful event was worth killing me. If that drink had gone into my system everyone that said that I was going to fall into an alcoholic haze again would have won. I could not even have imagined the guilt I would have had if I had survived a night of drinking and the disappointment it would have caused all those that had supported me through this recovery process. It was not worth throwing it all away.
As I arrived at my house I was bound and determined to start actually doing a job I enjoyed and hopefully make some money while being employed. Priscilla seemed to be most concerned with financially being able to support her child and that was what her gringo husband was now going to be able to provide with his new job. I am sure that he was making promises and sending cash, and when a woman is pregnant the most important thing in her life is that child growing inside her belly. So I understood. What could I give her and her baby in regards to financial support without a decent job? The only thing I was truly able to offer at that time was love and support and that was obviously not enough.
As I jumped online to start searching for jobs I was struck by an offer to become editor in chief of an online newspaper. It seemed like something that has s future and the potential for advancement. I wrote my cover letter and sent my resume. I did this for about 8 other jobs as well and then headed to sleep. At least in my dreams the reality of the day’s events would not be there. As I lay down in bed and started to drift off the only thought that kept going through my mind was “maybe today was just a bad dream and tomorrow I would wake up and it would and it would have all been a dream.”
I opened my eyes the next morning and knew that the marriage and the union between Priscilla and the old gringo had actually occurred. There was nothing that was going to erase the fact that she had signed those papers committing her for at least 3 years into the union by Costa Rican law. Although I was still hurt and basically knew that this ended any chance for her and I together, I still wanted to be a part of her life and help her and she had done the same for me during my difficult times. Nothing was going to break my desire to at least be her friend through this pregnancy that she was going to have to take to delivery by herself. The old gringo was still going to be leaving in a few days and leave her alone again.
Most people would think of me as crazy for wanting to continue having a relationship in any form with a woman that had gone from an intimate relationship with me one day to married to a man 20 years older than her in the same week. Love is blind. I still had a hopeless thought in my mind that she would realize that passion and love trumps money every time when it comes to happiness. It was something I would hold onto in a desperate need to continue to believe that the world was good and love was all that mattered.
I remember the line in Before Sunset, I guess when you’re young, you just believe there’ll be many people with whom you’ll connect with. Later in life, you realize it only happens a few times. That is how I felt with Priscilla; like she was a person I had a connection with and could actually spend a lifetime trying to make her happy. I guess sometimes God puts people in your life at certain times for certain reasons the next few months would give me the reason she appeared by my side.
I had made it through one of the most difficult nights of my life emotionally without drinking. Now it was time to get the rest of my life in gear as well. Step one was getting a job that I actually enjoyed. Pretending like I was calling companies to get pest control software installed for their business was not very rewarding. The only reason I had not pursue another job was the one I had gave me afternoons off to spend with Priscilla tutoring the kids and helping her with her pregnancy and preparing her house for the arrival of her child. With the birth only a few months away she needed more help but I had to show her and I my life was going somewhere.
On the following Monday I was granted an interview with the newspaper. Honestly getting a job in Costa Rica is not very hard if you are a college graduate, can speak English, have half a functioning brain, and do not show up at the interview drunk. Interviewing drunk might not actually deny you the employment at times if you have a fully functional brain. After about a 2 hour conversation with the newspaper owner I had the job. It seemed like a decent opportunity but a low base salary for only 3 months and then commission only on 50% on advertising sales for the paper. I guess he did not want to tell me that the total amount of advertising they had coming in at the time was less than $300 a month.
Getting to know the online media business was something that was interesting and rewarding to me. It was great setting goals on readership and seeing if I could reach them by publishing articles that were interesting to me. In a couple of months I had taken the paper from 500 readers a day to 1000, but was being micromanaged to the extreme. I was told what I could and could not publish. I was told to publish only positive news. I was told I could not write my story as no one would be interested. Added onto that was the fact that the owner now wanted me to push real estate for him on a project with Jatropha, a biofuel plant, in southern Costa Rica. I had learned my lesson with the Valcor scam and was immediately skeptical of this too good to be true opportunity. Now for $750 a month he wanted me to sit and call a list of investors that was over 3 years old to invest in his project.
I would do anything to not make these calls. I fixed his website and all the errors in it. I put together an investment proposal to send off. I designed logos and learned all about WordPress web design and SEO. Although what I was doing was not producing any money in my pockets it was allowing me to develop some IT skills that I could carry with me the rest of my life. The more and more I researched about the investment the more I thought it was a “legal” real estate scam in Costa Rica. This was just to get people to buy cheap farm land for inflated prices with the promise of getting returns that could never be hit. Be forewarned of any long term agricultural investment in Costa Rica, most are scams that will never give you any type of return and you will be left with a lot on which you have no chance to build on in the future.
Although this job opportunity was turning into a nightmare, I was gaining a lot of knowledge for future ventures in which I would partake. Life’s path is a long and winding road to a destination that we will never know. Each person you meet along the way, every piece of knowledge we obtain, and each experience we go through makes us the person we are today. In Costa Rica you will have many failures and disappointments but as long as you are moving towards a final goal in a positive manner then be optimistic.
Each night I would head over to Priscilla’s to help her with tutoring and going through her multiple mood swings. This was the best part of my day. I was able to stop and see her grandmother and feel the love of family. Then I was able to help a woman going through a time in her life when she needed support. It made me feel needed and wanted at the same time. That feeling got me through the days and nights with calmness in my soul. The demons and anger inside me were silent for now, but as it is with life they would wake up again……