You love your independence, and your heart is set on traveling all the time while abroad. Also, you are staying with a host family, and you will be taking courses. While trying to balance your adventures abroad sometimes you are not interested in being tied down to any rules or regulations.
Posts from the ‘Costa Rica’ Category
Ticos (Costa Ricans) are a very amiable people. They love to talk, enjoy sports and get involved in their communities and in the lives of their children. Throughout my initial exploration of San José, I’ve picked up on a few key things that have really helped me to integrate and become more familiar with my surroundings. Below are my words of advice to help get used to the norm in San José. Read more
Over this past year there has been a theme of walking forward, of coming to the present moment so that you can receive all that it has to offer. Not living in a land of would have/should have/could have, but instead embracing what is. Since arriving in Costa Rica, it has been a constant fight to stop the “what if’s” and instead see the splendor of what is. With questions plaguing my mind, from the location I’m in and the program I chose to truth and reality and if they can be known, I have found that staying in the sea of “what if’s” is a good way to grow cold and stagnant. Read more
Looking past the fluffy white clouds and the hustle and bustle of the airport, I am fascinated by the various types of travelers– how they move, their states of emotion in certain instances, and the traveler’s motivation for traveling. In an airport people vary in shapes, sizes, and language but they all have a similar body language which signals how they feel. Read more
I remember it clearly. I had talked briefly with my aunt about studying abroad Costa Rica. I thought it would be amazing, I told her. She was seated at the kitchen table in my grandparents’ house, and I, standing, was walking away when she looked up. “Oh yeah, it’s going to change your life.”
Pausing in the doorway, I turned to see her looking straight at me. Not a hard look, but serious. I don’t know why she wouldn’t be, but still. She caught me off guard. She had caught me in the middle of those general expressions of excitement I would often give in the months preceding my departure. The earnest, but ordinary dispensing of smiles and answering of questions about spending three months in a beautiful tropical country, learning Spanish and having adventures and what not. That such a trip, this trip in particular of which we spoke, would change my life, in fact never occurred to me.
I can’t say I’ve been waiting for my life to change since coming here. But in the past couple of weeks, I’ve been sensing something different. It’s not the slight homesickness of Thanksgiving past, nor the bittersweet mix of reflecting on my time here and looking forward to returning home. It’s closure that I’ve been looking for. Something grand, something to nudge me toward a future big and bright after I bid Costa Rica good-bye… for now.
Today was it. What began as a Sunday to catch up on work turned into a chance to cheer on my friends in a 15k turned into me finding myself, 13 kilometers in, fantasizing about heaps of warm cheesy pasta.
Think a long looping country road, a cow mooing passionately from over the padlocked gate. Thinking back to high school cross country, I couldn’t help but wave at passing trucks and bystanders, many of whom cheered us steadily on, others who called out to me, the passing “chinita,” or simply regarded us impassively. In other moments, I lost myself completely. I don’t even think my eyes were open all the way.
I’m not really sure why it was so fun. Certainly race atmospheres are plentiful in positive energy. The rock music imbued the morning with a playful vibe, too. And nothing gets better than locating a gentleman on the bus in telling singlet who permits you to share a cab with him to the start and then refuses to let you help pay for it. Nothing except for the lady in pink who offers you her water bottle at the 13th kilometer, later using it to wave you on from a few feet ahead as those pasta visions beckon.
Aching hips aside, I feel absolutely wonderful. In 4 years of running, I have never felt that runners’ high until this hour and a half of my life. Perhaps my coach was right when she said I might be suited to longer distances. After today, I’m certainly ready to try more races like this one. In certain stretches of the race, when the verdant mountains rose ahead of me, and the grassy fields of the campo rolled alongside, I couldn’t help it. I thought, this is Costa Rica.
Whatever I was looking, I found it today. Doing this race helped me finally give myself completely over to an experience. Going out too fast in the beginning, for once I had no fear. For the first time, I just ran. And now, just like the moment I passed the sign for the 9th kilometer, I feel ready for the finish. I am so thankful for every inch of this country I’ve been able to see. For the kindness and support I have been shown, especially from those people whose paths have crossed mine along the way simply by chance. To reach the end of this journey, that will be a very great adventure.
Costa Rica’s tropical climate means that it’s always the season for ripe, sweet fruit. Fresh produce overflows from the markets and street carts of vendors, and I always return with a colorful bounty. Bananas, mango, papaya and pineapple are frequent purchases, but without trying very hard, I nearly always end up coming home from the market with a new find. Here are a handful of my favorites: Read more
“When you learn, teach. When you get, give” — Maya Angelou. Our lives are in constant flux. Seasons are changing, and with it, our schedules, attitudes and our plans for the future. Despite all that is said of the slower-paced life in the tropics and “tico time,” there’s no shortage of things to do, places to go, people to see. So it can be an exciting challenge to take things one day at a time. My prompt for this blog entry was to offer up a local perspective of Costa Rica. I’ve been struggling to capture what exactly that is since I received it. However, I think the words below capture my experience here. Read more
Inhaling deeply, I let the tropical air fill my lungs as I absorb the mountainous landscape. Lush green is highlighted by the white wisps of low-laying clouds and glimpses of a bright blue sky. It is easy to let the words pura vida slip from my lips as I exhale. After only a week and a half in the small Costa Rican city of Heredia, it is becoming increasingly clear to see how this phrase manifests itself in the day to day life of the average Tico. Read more
Graffiti has always been an obsession of mine. There’s a sort of resourcefulness and a certain passion that is displayed in various types that just screams the human need to be heard, to be remembered and to express oneself. Perhaps this is why, in places where expression is regulated or suppressed, messages spring up like weeds in a garden. Read more