I woke up this morning and I was covered in termites.
I smelled them first–a strong, piney smell. It comes from the terpintenoids in the wood they eat. Makes them taste minty, too. But then I started to feel the little legs in my sheets and in my hair and responded my usual way–freaking the hell out. Then getting ahold of myself and tracking down the columns of invading insects to the source.
We’ve been getting a lot of intense rainstorms recently, unusual for this time of year. The last one must have flushed the termites out of their burrow and sent them scurrying for new cover. Either that or they’d decided to snack on the wood paneling of our building. Either way, I was able to use a little bit of spot-applied repellent to disrupt the columns and chase them out. Termites have a hive structure very similar to ants, although they are more closely related to cockroaches and mantises.
But it’s been a while since that kind of thing has happened, and after I’d calmed down I reminded myself of that fact. After all, one year ago I was in that crappy house with opossums climbing over me and interrupting my nightmares of psychotic monkeys. Looking back, I’d say I have it pretty good now. I mean, yes, there are still psychotic monkeys, but they’re in cages and I go home to my own room every night. A few termites aren’t so bad.
This is, by far, the longest stretch of time I have spent in Costa Rica–or anywhere abroad, for that matter–and it has me considering many things. The choices that brought me here. The successes and mistakes. The animals I’ve terrorized and have been terrorized by in turn.
This will also be the first Christmas I’ve ever spent alone, away from home and family. Instead, I’ll be celebrating here with coworkers and neighbors and the few friends I’ve made along the way. Many of whom are in a similar place in life, and share my views on ants.
I plan to be here a while yet, and no amount of ants, crazy monkeys, or crazy monkey people can keep me away. This is were I am most happy, and this blog is a testament to that. Thanks for reading.
Merry Christmas everyone, from a Happy Place in the jungle.