Eva Rusz lights up the room when she enters. Her platinum blonde hair and arctic blue eyes speak of her Swedish heritage, but her sun caressed skin says she’s been living a little closer to the equator then Stockholm these days. It’s difficult to ever imagine this successful, strong, confident woman feeling a moment of self doubt, but that’s exactly how she felt at the end of 2004.
In the wake of a bitter divorce, fighting to keep assets she brought to the marriage, Eva knew she had to get away for awhile. Her beloved Sweden was so very cold that year and the pressure of being a well known respected psychologist – with a successful talk show on the radio and her first book ‘The Ultimate Singles Handbook: New Ways to Find Your Dream Prince’ quickly climbing the bestseller list – meant that she was living her life in a bit of a spotlight. She had to maintain professional dignity, even though her personal life was falling apart.
One day, when low hanging, thick grey clouds had brought with them a particularly savage chill in the air, Eva decided that she needed to go ‘as far as the peppers grow’ for a vacation to rejuvenate her spirit. That evening, Eva whimsically spun a globe while lightly tracing a fingertip over the world’s topography as it spun by. When the globe stopped she was staring at a cluster of tiny islands, half a world away that she’d only ever heard of in grade school geography classes. Of all the ABC islands, Curaçao was the most recognizable because of the song ‘Måste Vägen Till Curaçao Gynga Så?’ by the legendary Swedish entertainer Povel Ramel. But it wasn’t Curaçao that was beckoning Eva; it was the tiny island just to the left of it. It was Aruba.
The next day, at Oden Travel Agency, her travel agent arranged an incredible vacation package to our tropical piece of paradise. The day Eva was leaving on her vacation she had her bathing suit and sunglasses packed in her carry-on but she had something else with her as well – an envelope that signified the end to a chapter in her life that she was more than happy to begin calling the past. With an incredible sense of lightness that she hadn’t felt in months, Eva casually tossed that envelope of freshly signed divorce papers into an airport mailbox before boarding that KLM flight to Aruba and what would eventually become an exciting new chapter in her life.
Flying into Aruba is an incredible experience. As the airplane descends, a tiny speck of land appears beneath the clouds. The plane’s descent quickens and that speck blossoms into a landmass of sandy gold and green, surrounded by the unique azure color of the Caribbean Sea. Stepping off the airplane into balmy, salt-scented air, Eva could feel the last, lingering tendrils of stress she’d carried across the ocean with her melting away. By the time she settled into her room at the Tamarijn, she found a sense of peace that had eluded her in Sweden and she found something else as well; inspiration.
On Eva’s first evening in Aruba she went for a walk on the beach at twilight. She hadn’t left all that many footprints behind, when she had to turn around and race back to her hotel room because she was struck by inspiration for her second book. ‘Are You Married to a Psychopath?’ was born as Eva walked barefoot along Aruba’s surf-kissed shoreline. She spent the rest of her vacation working on her manuscript and developing a writing routine that would stay with her for the next decade.
Her other books, ‘Become a Winner with Cognitive Coaching’, ‘Why Do I Always Choose the Wrong Partner?’ ‘The Relationship Code’ and ‘Bullshit! 10 of the Dumbest Reasons Relationships Don’t Last’, were all written here on the island, during Eva’s yearly visits. After breakfast and a swim – while the midday sun blazed overhead – Eva wrote in the cool comfort of her hotel room. Every evening before dinner, she went for a long walk down the length of the beach. Voice recorder in hand, the trade winds gently playing with her hair and the sky awash in sunset; she found the inspiration for the chapters she would write the next day.
Every time Eva Rusz came to Aruba she got to know her way around the island just a little bit more. She made friends, learned her way around the local scene and hated to leave when her time was up. One year, Eva was wrapping up her last evening in Aruba with some friends when she casually mentioned that she was thinking about spending more time on the island.
Her friends immediately encouraged her to do it, pointing out that Aruba could use a psychologist with her extensive skill set. Eva laughed off their suggestions as crazy at first, but back home in Sweden, rattling around alone in her huge, cold penthouse apartment she wondered if it was really that crazy after all. The next year when she came to Aruba, after being formally asked to establish a practice here, Eva Rusz decided to go for it and bought a house where she could hang out her shingle.
After some initial hiccups getting established, Eva’s practice is doing great and she is so happy to be helping the people of her second home. One of the things she’s noticed is that Aruba has a high divorce rate compared to other countries. She has a theory that it’s because so many of Aruba’s citizens are constantly torn between two worlds; the somewhat boring work-a-day world we all must live in so sharply contrasted with the seductively indulgent, vacation lifestyle that every day dangles in front of those working in the tourist sector.
Some relationships are doomed from the beginning – like the one that inspired Eva to write ‘Are You Married To A Psychopath?’ – but many can be saved and she’d like the people of Aruba to know that she is here to help. Without judgment, assigning blame or spending years trying to get to the root of the problem, Eva can teach her patients to reboot their relationship and remember why they fell in love in the first place.
H&H magazine is delighted to announce that Dr. Rusz has agreed to become a continuous contributor! In our next editions we’ll be featuring a column called ‘Ask Eva’ where our readers can write in and ask Dr. Rusz any questions they might have concerning their personal relationships or mental well being. If you have a question, or personal matter that you’d like Dr. Rusz to help you with, write to AskEva@amigoe.com. The queries that are answered will be published anonymously in upcoming edition of H&H. Just one more way that Dr. Rusz is helping the island she now calls home.