Warning: There is no mention of motorcycles in the below post.
It's a very special for a man to invite a woman to live with him, to be part of his daily life. To say to her "not only do I love you, I LIKE you so much that I want to spend every day with you". This is what Christian did when he invited me to come back to Cozumel for 2 weeks.
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Me and Christian at a local Cozumel cantina[/caption]
Living someone's life with them for 2 weeks teaches you a lot about them. Much more than occasionally hanging out with them ever could.
As a reminder, or for those of you who are new to the blog, I met Christian when Phil and I were in Cozumel at the beginning of April. We clicked immediately and fell in love, and had been in nearly daily contact from the time I left Cozumel to when I flew back there in May. I missed him terribly, and went back to see him because I felt that I had to explore the possibility that we were soulmates.
It turns out that we aren't - but that doesn't in any way negate the love we had, or make me regret going back to Cozumel. It is true that it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. It is a rare and amazing feeling to fall in love with someone who loves you back, even if it doesn't last.
A side note on falling in love:
I have made a particular effort during this journey to meet new people, to connect with them on a deeper level, to foster intimacy, to be open and honest, say what I feel, ask difficult questions and fall in love.
These are all things that I somewhat lost by living in London for a decade, being dragged into the cold, closed, lonely world that living in a giant metropolis can create. In London you are constantly surrounded by people, but hardly ever do you even make eye contact, should you speak to a stranger they will likely think you are mentally unstable, or trying to get something from them. Forming meaningful relationships with anyone is challenging. I had a small, amazing group of friends, but was rarely open to connect with anyone else.
In the past 11 months (I am writing this 11 months to the day since we left Vancouver, apologies for the delay - it's over a month ago I got back from Cozumel) I am very lucky to have met so many new people whom I love dearly, both male and female. Friends who I know I will be friends with for the rest of my life. (Tom at Burning Man, Ed in Vegas, Calgary and Mexico City, Brad in Austin, Jaime in Phoenix, Kristen in Joshua Tree, Stu in Mulege, Frida in Durango, Graham, Sheila, Brenda and Moonyeen in Chapala, Sarah and Shawn in Trocones, Anja in Oaxaca, Alex in all the places we meet up, Tanya in Guatemala, Cisco in Guatemala City, and of course Christian in Cozumel, to name but a few...)
Love is not just about romantic, get married, be together forever love. It is about connecting with people with whom you feel a kinship. People are scared to use the "L" word. I am trying to use it every day. Everything in life is enhanced when you allow yourself to love. You will get hurt, and not everyone will love you back in the same way you love them, but it is worth it every time.
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Cool Cozumel graffiti.[/caption]
Back to Cozumel:
Meeting Christian had changed everything. I wasn't travelling in the same way as before. I spent hours each day talking to him, I was always thinking about him, and wishing he was there with me. I wasn't being present with the people I was with. I was being rude to my brother and all the other people I was staying with or meeting. I was always on the internet on my phone, only half paying attention to what they were saying or what we were doing. I was aware I was being rude, but I didn't care. Talking to Christian was more important. I was head over heels in love. It's a powerful drug!
I left my brother and my motorcycle in Guatemala City, and got on a plane to Cancun. I was so happy when I arrived in Cozumel, Christian met me at the ferry terminal with his beloved dog Tina and everything was amazing.
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Christian had made and decorated a side table and put the conch shell he had cleaned and polished for me on it. Beautiful![/caption]
Christian runs a beach club on the far side of the island, which is the "wild side" of the island. There's no electricity on that side of the island because it kept getting knocked out by storms. People say that it is close to what Cancun looked like before all the development. It's beautiful.
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The beach club[/caption]
Every morning we would drive *to the beach club*in the rust bucket old truck that the owner of the beach club provides Christian. When there we would set up the kiosk, the sunbeds, tables and chairs and souvenir table, and then we would hang out on the beautiful,*abandoned*beach. In the time I was there, not a single customer came to the club. Not even one.
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The gorgeous, wild beaches of Cozumel[/caption]
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Christian in the kiosk[/caption]
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Oh to be beside the Carribean - nice office![/caption]
At the end of the day we'd pack everything up and head back to Christian's place.
Christian hadn't been paid (pretty easy to see that the owner may not have had a lot of money coming in, especially if his other businesses were suffering from lack of customers too) and so we didn't go out much. We stayed home and played backgammon and cards, and watched movies. Also Christian cooked. Amazing, delicious meals. I hadn't ever eaten that well.
Let me give you a "taste"...
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One of our first meals - triggerfish filet that Christian had caught himself.[/caption]
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Christian with the Triggerfish. Look at those teeth![/caption]
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This fish soup is the first I have ever eaten that I liked. It was spicy and savoury and amazing.[/caption]
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Best. Apple. Pie. Ever.[/caption]
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Fish with mashed potato[/caption]
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Steak with potatoes baked in bechamel and cheese. Heaven on a plate.[/caption]
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The chef with his creation[/caption]
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A traditional Chilean salad, avocado, cilantro and onion.[/caption]
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A pie, filled with gooey brownie, served with ice cream... To die for.[/caption]
Although most evenings were spent at home, we did go out a couple of times. We enjoyed this beautiful sunset:
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On Christian's day off we got up very early and went spearfishing.
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Trying on a wetsuit in preparation for spearfishing[/caption]
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About to hit the water with Christian's friend Luis[/caption]
I had never been spearfishing before, and so it was very exciting to see Christian diving down and spearing fish. He caught one, and missed a few. He was pretty upset about the ones that got away...
In fact Christian was upset about a lot of things while I was there. My happy, in-love state of mind was more and more often disturbed by Christian's negativity. He didn't like that I slept later than the 6am that he woke up every day, or when I took a nap one afternoon. He didn't like that I didn't want to drink as many beers as he did one afternoon (not that he was drinking a lot, I am just not a big beer drinker), he expressed concern that I kept forgetting to turn the fan off in the other room, *I didn't wash the dishes after dinner right away one night and he was not impressed... We argued several times over petty things.
Basically we fell into the day to day routine of an old married couple, and I realised that Christian's mood changed frequently, and that if things weren't working out in one aspect of his life (ie. his boss not paying him) he would take it out on me in another.
The honeymoon was well and truly over.
Here are a few things I learnt about Christian:
He's a fabulous cook
He's extremely artistic
He wakes up very early every day
He doesn't have much money
He is very clean and tidy
He gets very upset when things do not work out as he wishes
He loves his dog Tina
Here are a few things I was reminded of about myself:
I am never going to love getting up early.
I am never going to love being told I have to wash dishes (I will do them in my own time).
I don't drink a lot of alcohol.
I love sleeping and I sleep a lot.
I don't know what I want and I change my mind.
I am a dreamer.
I am very*independent and often selfish.
I say what's on my mind.
I love to travel.
I don't want to live a normal, boring life where I go home every evening and hang out in the house.
I have a lot of friends who I love dearly.
When I am sad, I talk to my brother, my parents, and my friends about my problems.
I want to be happy.
In the end, living with Christian didn't make me happy. Most of the time we had a wonderful time together, but the times when we argued were too frequent, and over such minor things. A relationship should not descend into that after knowing each other for less than two months!
There are a lot of reasons that Christian was having a hard time. Trouble with his employer, he threw his back out really badly in the last week I was there and was unable to do a lot, I was leaving... However those are all just excuses. In the end we weren't the soulmates I had hoped we were.
Realising that I am not ready to live a "normal" life, even if that life is on a Caribbean island, was an important lesson for me.
Christian and I are still friends, and I think that the experience made us both look closely at our lives and priorities and learn from each other.
I personally am grateful for Christian, the experience of falling in love, sharing his life for that short time, and the challenge of putting the experience into words, both in our discussions after I returned to Guatemala, and in writing this post. I feel that I am a more complete person because I met him.
Since I returned to Guatemala on May 21st, 2013 so much has happened. Phil and I have travelled through four countries and are now in Nicaragua. We're going to try to catch up on the blog ASAP. Please bear with us.
Sending much love to each and every one of you.