We booked the perfect balcony room months ago, not wanting to miss a single viewing moment of the canal’s engineering masterpiece -- one of the largest and most challenging projects ever undertaken. Andy packed his travel books, and greatly anticipated traipsing through the Costa Rica jungle in search of rare birds alongside a skilled guide. I’m confident it would have been a glorious day for a dedicated birder and his wife.
Some of Andy’s favorite novels have pirates hiding in Cartegena, Columbia, and we couldn’t wait to tour its colonial walled city and fortress, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I never pass up one of those places—especially when we might see Blackbeard.
Unfortunately, our trip was cancelled after I woke up the day before our scheduled departure with a horrible, dizzy sensation that made my world to spin, causing me to become helplessly sick. My doctor told me I have benign positional vertigo, a non life-threatening condition that takes 7-14 days to resolve. Armed with anti-nausea medication and tips on how to successfully evoke the dreaded Epley Maneuvers, I returned home from the medical office to hide, mope and heal.
For fun, Andy and I pretend we’re on our trip, and make ‘observations’ about our day’s discoveries or a fancy meal or the nightly entertainment. I imagine practicing my Spanish with native speakers, while Andy records the new birds he’s discovered in exotic places. We figure it’s important to laugh about this disappointment, so we don’t cry.
I know I must accept my reality, but it’s hard not to be a little depressed right now. Oh, I know there will be other trips, it’s lucky this medical problem happened at home instead of Honduras, my health will get better and brighter days are ahead, but none of those platitudes really help as my world spins and my spirit dips. I glance at Andy and can detect his sadness, but he says nothing as I wallow in guilt. I believe it’s a good thing to be humbled every once in a while, so I’m waiting to learn what the universe is teaching me with this set back. Only time will tell.
Meanwhile, I’m wondering how the Toucan eats food with such a large beak, I’m imagining the new friends we would have met on our trip and I’m marveling at man’s ability to carve a path between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, enabling ships to avoid the hazardous Cape Horn route around the southernmost tip of South America. One day, Andy and I will experience all this, but not today. Today is about disappointment, broken dreams and finding a way to accept everything, knowing it’s just a part of life. Our ‘real break’ will have to come another day.