Reddit, what's the story of your best "ships passing in the night" encounter?

There was a German woman I met in Costa Rica who said something really simple and mundane that I'm sure she doesn't even remember that changed my life.


I had a traumatic experience in college in which I found a friend of mine after he had killed himself. I ended up dropping out of college and took off into the world. I did alright at first. I got a gig as a wildland firefighter, and the nomadic lifestyle, hard work, and drinking culture allowed me to run away from the consequences of what happened instead of dealing with them.

Of course, in order to keep these kinds of things up, you have to escalate them. At first, the exhaustion form the work is enough to numb your emotions, but after a while, they start finding a way through. So you have to start drinking as well. Then that stops working, so you might start smoking weed. When that stops, you might find that risky sexual behavior is thrilling enough to keep you numb, etc. So I just kept going, and eventually ended up on a forestry crew in Costa Rica far far away from my real life and my troubles.

This was a temporary job, and I didn't really have a plan for what I would do when it ended. So once it was over, I just kind of stayed in Costa Rica. I found my way to a little hippy farm where I worked a few hours a day for room and board. I kind of felt like I could just spend my life this way. I drank a lot and did a lot of drugs and hooked up with foreign hippies who came to the farm for their vacations.

One evening, I was sitting on a ridge looking out over the ocean watching the sunset waiting for some mushrooms to kick in. A woman from Germany named Yasmina was there with me, and right around when I felt the trip coming on, I looked over at her, and she was laying on her stomach looking at the ground as if she were looking through it.

"I can see through the world like a glass house." she said in English (I think, it might have been the mushrooms), which is the only time I had heard her speak English. In Spanish, I asked her what she saw, and she said she could see her home. I turned and looked at the ground. She asked me if I could see my home, and I told her I never wanted to see my home again.

And something clicked. Something about the phrase, "I can see through the world like a glass house" made everything become instantly clear, like a glass house. And I could see through my world. I could see my friend's face, dead. I could see myself finding him. I could see that the events that followed where I dropped out of school and ran away were a direct result of me never dealing with what happened. And I knew that I had to go home.

The next day I took a bus to San Jose and bought a plane ticket back to the US. I lived with my parents for a while, and then went back to school. I never got Yasmina's contact information. I only knew her for a week. Sometimes I think I'd like to tell her how important those few words were to me. But I know I'll never see her again.

/r/AskReddit Thread