This started off as long winded, and as I became more engulfed in the time I was spending there, I started to write less and less. These are just random personal thoughts, so I hope they’re somewhat interesting to someone other than myself. Enjoy!
Costa Rica Journal 7/10/17
We boarded a plane and flew here on 7/8, making today my second full day in Costa Rica. I’m here for a study abroad trip focused on Spanish immersion for 3 full weeks. I’m staying in a quaint Tican household with a woman named Marianela who has three adult children, one of which who stays here but is away for vacation and will be back the 20th of this month, 9 days before we leave.
One of her sons came to meet us yesterday, and is very nice and speaks Spanish in a way that is easy to understand. He took us on a hike up into the mountains where we had an amazing view of the city, the mountains, and even a small portion of the ocean. It was incredible, and I saw so many different insects and plants that I’ve never seen before. So many things here are so beautiful, it’s honestly mind blowing.
At first, I was having a lot of trouble and I didn’t really want to stay. I still kind of feel that way, but it’s getting much better. Every conversation I hold is one step closer to being fluent and boosts my confidence even more. I hope by the end of this I am confident in my Spanish speaking ability. It really is an incredible opportunity to be here, and to be able to take classes and travel around and see this gorgeous country. I feel truly privileged and blessed, like God put me here for a specific reason and I will find it somewhere along the way.
I also feel like this trip is going to bring Caleb and I much closer together. We are spending less time together here, but they say absence makes the heart grow fonder. Because I’ve been so scared and unhappy, he’s been much more needy and attentive – and probably because he’s scared too. Being in a new place and not knowing anyone or anything is intimidating, but if anyone can thrive in a situation like this, it’s Caleb. He loves this and has been working so hard to be as good at it as he is. I’m really really proud to be with someone like him. The more I know him, the more I love him. I never thought I could know a love like this, or put all of my selfish ways aside to accommodate for someone who is much bigger than me.
He’s so smart and talented and charismatic. I love so many things about him, and am so happy I found him. Again, there must have been some divine intervention, because something this perfect cannot possibly be an accident. We just belong together. I’ve never felt like I belong anywhere, but with him I know I do. I find myself in my car so many nights crying and thanking God for giving him to me, and begging him to give me a long and happy life with him.
In my short time on this earth, I have been through so much heartache and turmoil and just awful things, but I know I can overcome anything at this point. I have grown much closer to God, just from talking to him aloud and understanding that he is there, and that he is good, and that he has a plan for me. There have been so many miracles in this world, and so many in my life. There is no way I could ever not believe in something greater, and something powerful, and something good.
Costa Rica Journal #2 7/22/17
Today was our first official day of classes. The professor is really nice, and SUPER young. She’s only 22, but she is incredibly intelligent and well spoken and is a very good teacher. She is pretty intense, but she obviously wants us to learn and to succeed and corrects you in a way that helps you remember your errors for future attempts. Her name is Maria Jose.
I still get to spend a lot of time with Caleb, and that makes me pretty happy. Times like this though, after school when there’s nothing really to do, I just miss him. We’d be together right now if we were at home and spending so much time apart is strange. It actually hurts, but it’s only 3 weeks. I’ll survive, even if it’s a meager existence for a few hours a day.
There are so many things to do and see here, it’s incredible. Around every corner there is something I’ve never seen before and so many of those things are beautiful and unique to a place like this. I’ve seen new butterflies, birds, trees, plants. It’s like waking up in Oz and finally seeing color, just with a lot of buildings everywhere. That’s the one thing that isn’t very aesthetically pleasing about being here is that there are SO many buildings pressed directly on top of one another that it’s almost suffocating. But the same was true for San Francisco, and I love it there with a passion I haven’t felt for any other place.
It hasn’t rained as much as I had expected, but it’s raining a little right now. It’s so soothing, the sound of rain on metal roofs. It reminds me of being home. Everything seems fresher here when it rains, though. The smell, the vibrant colors of the surrounding flora. This country lives and breathes in a way America seems to lack except for in the places untouched by man. Here there is still a lot of enterprise and pollution, but the earth doesn’t seem so angry about it. The slow life just grasps you all at once, and there is an immense peace in it.
My Spanish is already improving exponentially. I’m learning so much and so quickly, I never knew I was capable of something like this. I thought I’d scrape through and barely make it by, but other than Caleb, I think I’m doing the best in the class when it comes to understanding and speaking. It really is amazing the differences that are already completely evident. By the end of these three weeks, I’m going to forget how to even speak English.
My house mom is also getting better. She is warming up to us little by little. She still likes her peace and quiet and alone time, but honestly I do too. It’s nice to just be. Especially somewhere like this where it’s so nice to be here and to be alive. I am glad I didn’t back out and miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime. I really, truly think I could live in another country. Maybe not here, but Puerto Rico or Spain, or even Italy. Who knows where God and where life will lead Caleb and myself.
Costa Rica Journal #3 7/21/17
Okay, I’ve been slacking a bit on these. A lot has happened. I’ve seen monkeys, sloths, iguanas, butterflies. I’ve experienced a teeny tiny earthquake. I’ve touched magical globes… It’s been amazing, and I can’t believe we only have one more week left. I’m honestly sad to leave. I’ve finally bonded with my Mamatica, and she’s so sweet and cute. Her love for her children is amazing and she shows the same love to us. It’s so nice. We’ve met two of her sons, and they’re both so nice. They speak English and Spanish both, and it makes it much easier to understand each other. The people here are so nice, all around. Everyone smiles and says “good morning,” on the streets. They can NOT drive though! It’s bad.
Costa Rica Journal #4 7/24/17
Deep sea fishing this weekend was AMAZING. James’ parents were so nice, we caught a lot of fish, and sleeping next to Caleb is always a plus. It was an incredible experience, and we even saw hundreds of dolphins. It was definitely unlike anything I’ve ever experienced and the ocean was so incredibly beautiful. I don’t see how anyone could be in the middle of the ocean and have any doubts that there is a God. Something so vast and beautiful cannot be a coincidence.
I’ve gotten into a pattern and routine here. I feel like this is my life, my every day. Going back is terrifying. I’ve finally adapted and am happy. Going back to the US is going to be a lot. 5 days left.
Over the weekend, Caleb got me a bracelet. It’s blue with a metal charm that has a cut out of a turtle and it says “Pura Vida.” I haven’t taken it off since he gave it to me. I’ve purchased presents for my grandparents, my sister, my best friend, and – of course – Caleb. I hope they like them as much as Caleb likes the pocket knife I got him. One side says Costa Rica, and the other says Pura Vida and has his name burned into it. I think I’ve done well.
As much as I dread returning to my former life, I really miss my dog. I’m ready to start another chapter with Caleb in our new apartment. The past few months have been a lot. I’m still trying to process the fact that my dad is gone. That he’ll never come back. Everyone keeps telling me how strong I am. I don’t feel strong. I’ve honestly never felt so weak. However, I know I have to continue to function. If I give up and give in to the depression and anxiety, I don’t think I’d ever recover. If I lay down, I’ll die in that very spot. So, even if it feels like I’m crawling on broken limbs, I will continue on.
I know it’s not healthy, but I’m misdirecting all of my anger and frustration to the smallest things. People who don’t deserve it are receiving the majority of my frustrations. I don’t know how to stop lashing out. However, a lot of real problems are coming to light, and I’m no longer afraid to address them. I don’t have the patience to bottle up my feelings, and I guess it can be a good thing. Despite everything, I’ve never laughed as much as I have in Costa Rica. It’s like a break from everything. I needed it, and I guess that’s why I’m afraid to go back.
Costa Rica Journal #5 7/26/17
Our time is – sadly – coming to a close. I’m really sad about that. I love life here. I’m away from my grief and all of the struggles. Here, in paradise, I’ve set aside all of my responsibilities. There is a sweet side, though, among the bitterness. I get to move into my first apartment with the love of my life. We get to start our life together, officially. I’m so excited to begin this portion of our journey together. We even have a dog together now, Ranger. I miss him so much. He’ll, hopefully, be excited to see me.
Enough about home, though. Here its Wednesday. I’ve just finished the final exam for the Spanish class, and am currently in the English class. I hope I’ve done well.