I’d shared my home with scorpions before in Africa but when we moved to Costa Rica it was bug central. There were scorpions under the fridge, a stick insect as long as your forearm peering in through the window and a tarantula the size of a dinner plate strolling across the patio.
To begin with I shuddered, cringed and backed away but slowly things changed. With no TV, no radio and often housebound for days in this aptly named rain forest I started to get used to the uninvited visitors. Before too long I wasn’t just used to them, I kept an eye out for them and was delighted to see them no matter what they were.
Soon when a critter of any description came to visit I’d call the kids over, take photos and even pose with them. We’d try to work out what these creatures were doing, see where they were going and pick them up if it seemed safe for all parties.
Not all the wildlife was traditionally creepy. We cradled panic stricken hummingbirds that were trapped in the house and placed them back in the wild. We listened out for the toucans and woodpeckers that decorated our garden. We practised bellowing like howler monkeys.
Those feathered and furry creatures are easy to love but traveling in Costa Rica we grew to love the seemingly unlovable. The hard shelled, spiny legged, bug-eyed beasts gradually transformed in our minds eye from ugh to ah.
We noticed crickets with faces locked in a cheesy grin, drab moths hiding vibrant colours under their furry wings and beetles gleaming like a precious jewel.
Swept away in the throes of this fresh new love I started emailing photos of my new buggy friends to human friends and family overseas. I was as proud as any new mother with my latest discoveries then when replies came back saying “Yuch!”, “Ewww” or “Nasty” I was saddened, could hardly remember that not so long ago I too would have been disgusted by the sight of a ten inch cricket on my dining table.
Travel changes you in ways you never expect, changes things you never wanted to change. You may not think you could find beauty in a bug but if you look closely it is there.
You may not think you could love the unlovable but, if you take time to wonder and open your heart to the possibility, love can creep in anywhere.
Is this an exceedingly good looking cricket? Or is it just me… Have you ever fallen in love with someone or something unlikely during your travels?