I am going to Costa Rica. I am going to Costa Rica.

I am actually going to Costa Rica.

I started saying it repeatedly yesterday in conversations with coworkers and friends, to myself in my cubicle, to the lady who sold me chocolate milk, to some guy who happened to be smoking near me outside, and to music I composed in my head when I wasn't obsessively creating and recreating a mental list of the future contents of my suitcase.

Those of you who have done some travelling, enough to look like you know what you are doing in airports, have perhaps forgotten the sense of disbelief that accompanies the knowledge that your body is actually going to be transported through time to another place far away. It just seems so nearly impossible, so unbelievable. We are going to take me from here and put me there. That's crazy talk.

Have I mentioned that I have not travelled much in my nearly thirty-three years? I am worried that I will be one of those travellers who spends all her time with her mouth opening in public displays of surprise, taking a gajillion pictures, and talking about how nice the people are.

Until I was twenty-eight, I had not been east of Winnipeg. I had been as far south as certain tourist attractions in California and the bright wasteland that is the Las Vegas strip, but I hardly count that tour of cheap displays as travelling. That year, my parents-in-law, Mr. Saucy (the brother-in-law), the Fiery One, and I flew to Bermuda, my mother-in-law's home country, and it was the only time I had ever been off the continent and the first time I had left Canadian soil in about a decade.

We stayed at a place that was run primarily by and for conservative Christians from the southerly United States. There was a family staying there with four children that regarded our less gainly group with what looked like fear and an obvious disdain for our possibly evil ways. One of the boys wore a t-shirt that mocked evolution.

And then the Fiery One's grandmother died, and my mother-in-law spent the rest of our time there settling her mother's estate and planning a funeral. It was difficult to feel vacationy when my thoughts kept tracing back to how different that tiny woman in the bed looked from photographs of her and how helpless it felt to be an outsider with limited knowledge of the family and abilities at consolation.

The Fiery One, Mr. Saucy, and I spent our time hiking through short jungles (the jungly bits of Bermuda are not tall), taking tiny pink busses from one end of the island to the other, and feeding large tropical fish chunks of brown bread.

One of the last things we did was attend the grandmother's funeral. When I tan, my moustache seems to move into the foreground. It's really quite impressive. I know that it is impressive, because the Fiery One handed me his razor on the morning of the funeral with smirk on his face. I had to shave off my moustache before we went to the church. I have always felt a little bad about the fact that my memory of the Fiery One's grandmother is inextricably bound to my first facial shave.

Now that I think back, that may have been the last time I left the province of Saskatchewan. My gawd. I am so totally going to be one of those travellers who spends all her time with her mouth opening in public displays of surprise, taking a gajillion pictures, and talking about how nice the people are.

But not before I get my haircut this afternoon, launder all my lighter clothes, pack and re-pack until I am sure I have forgotten everything, sleep, get on a plane, sleep, get on another plane, stop over in Houston, and deplane in San Jose, at which point I will keep my camera firmly in hand and stare openly at the citizenry as though the rest of the world is a zoo.

Okay, okay. I am not going to behave that way, but in my mind I will feel that way, because I will be temporarily bewildered by the lack of ice and snow, curling bonspiels, and downfilled outerwear.

As an aside... The word "outerwear" always sounds to me like a euphemism for something we don't want to say out loud, like bras and panties are "foundation garments", or like some old lady somewhere would cover her mouth in shock if I said "parka". "Bellaclava" would get your mouth washed out with lye soap.

So, I am going to Costa Rica for real. I am actually going to Costa Rica. My body is going to get on an airplane and be transported across a whole continent. Crazy.

Until then...

Phantom Odour