Be Less Crazy About Bugs On Your (My) Honeymoon

Well, hey! I got married to this lovely guy, and it was so beautiful.

And then we went to Costa Rica, where the jungle tumbles down into the most beautiful stretch of coastline I have ever seen, and where we had adventures everyday. We went on long bike rides, snorkeled for hours, strung our hammocks up on the beach, rode the bus to visit the sloths, practiced our Spanish, drank naturales and cervezas, and sweated our asses off under the hot Caribbean sun.

Even just hanging out at home felt like an adventure, because our house had almost no walls, and is in the middle of the jungle! Monkeys, toucans, and dozens of hummingbirds cruised through every day, and it was a blast to just have a cold drink and sit and watch them.

Manzanillo days — yes. Absolute perfection. But the nights … They were a little on the terrifying side, because there are bugs everywhere, and they are GIANT.

I know this kind of thing doesn’t bother a lot of people, and it’s not like I have a full-on phobia or something, but yeah. Not a big fan of the ginormous insectos, especially not when they are within what I would consider my personal space.

The first few evenings, in fact, were like a mini horror movie. Everywhere I looked, every cupboard I opened, every time I went into the bathroom, I’d see something shocking. Maybe an unearthly grasshopper in the rafters above, or a behemoth moth that was somehow invisible until I grabbed something it was sitting on, or a spider with a legspan as big as my hand dangling from the hook where I was reaching up to hang a saucepan. Eee eee eee!!!

I will admit, my friends — after one grueling morning where I was kept awake all night by mosquitos and ants, then woke up to a 5-inch cricket INSIDE the mosquito net, I took a Xanax. And I kind of wanted to come home.

Which is utterly ridiculous! I know! I’m the luckiest gal ever to have a whole month to be with my beloved in freaking paradise! No, no, insect-induced paranoia was not how I wanted to spend my honeymoon. How silly! Especially when I already know how to Be Less Crazy, right? So I started working on it, chipping away at that buganoia bit by bit. And it helped!

First: deep breaths and reality checks. Yes, there is a croissant-sized grasshopper on the doorjam I want to go through. No, it’s not going to hurt me.

Then: reason. What am I actually afraid of? Am I upset that this grasshopper exists? No. I just don’t want to touch it. Which, OK, I can work with that — either I can flick him away with the fly swatter, or I can go slowly past him.

Finally: distraction. This was especially important at bedtime, because at first I was imagining all the millions upon billions of crazy huge bugs right outside or possibly inside the mosquito net. Which made it a little hard to sleep! So instead, I turned my attention to something equally as compelling but far more positive — snorkeling! As I drifted off, I felt the gently rocking waves and recalled some of the cute fishes I got to see, so neon bright that they must have had lights inside them …

I’m happy to report that by the time our honeymoon was over I was able to blithely walk past giant bugs without even going “Eep!” I still don’t want them to touch me, but it became much much less of a big deal than it was when we first got there.

And I noticed the sanity leaking into other activities, too. Like when we went snorkeling one morning I saw a blue fish almost as big as me, and a huge sting ray, and all kinds of other stuff I could have potentially had mini-wig-outs about. But I kept breathing and the potential wig-out feelings passed and I got to have hours of the most amazing fun watching the sunlight and the fishes and the sea grass all playing in the waves.

It’s always that way when you face down your fears, right? You get to the edge of what’s comfortable and then you keep going and at first you’re like “Whooooaaaaa!” but then, soon enough, the new place is just fine, too.

And then you get to see things you never saw before …