Dear Stephen & Anna-Marie,
Back in the earliest days of the Puerto Cayo expat movement it wasn’t always so much fun. The sunsets were just as beautiful as now, the sea just as turquoise blue on a sunny day, but when we used every towel we had soaking up water from leaky windows on rainy days, or when insects invaded the house, or when we learned there really is no consistent schedule for much of anything, we sometimes wondered what the heck we’d done. You know the moments I’m talking about.
Not a single thing has changed, mind you, yet something now feels different, nevertheless. I’ve realized this go-around what was missing in the early days.
We didn’t have friends.
And I now see how friends make all the difference in this place of exotic extremes.
After all the years of long-distance Facebook exchanges and tracking trips from Montreal and Memphis, it’s been such a genuine pleasure spending time at Anna’s Casa and knowing you better. Breakfast last week ranks among the best I’ve had and the bread-making session with Stephen has me on course for a new hobby back home. And I’ve never has smoother ice cream. Little did I know Puerto Cayo had its own Heisenberg of gastronomy and that he’d be such a likable fellow on top of it all. We have a lot in common, sir. I’m confident in the future we’ll solve many of the world’s problems yet to come as we sip cold drinks in the forgiving shade.
(Above, Stephen and Anna-Marie share some experiences about what it’s like moving to different continent and a completely new world.)
Anna-Marie, between Iron Man status and the quest for adventure that brought you here for solo exploration a few years ago, how can I not call you my friend? What is it that gives us a desire to push the envelope in certain areas, for some of which our friends think we’re completely bat-poop crazy? It thrills us to do such things, doesn’t it? If others don’t understand, it’s okay. We need such things to make us feel alive. It’s how we go on.
I’ve always had a slight love-hate relationship with this place, more love than hate mind you, but the occasional hate always lurked. But I see it clearly now.
There was a friendship void.
Sharing stories you couldn’t make up if you tried, sitting together speechless as yet another work of original art forms to the West, laughing genuinely at the amazing absurdity of it all. It changes everything.
Thank you for the gift of your friendship on this trip. I’m not even gone yet, and I already wish Dana and I were back.
Can’t wait to see y’all again soon. Y’all come now, you hear?
A kindred spirit and friend,