Travel Journal: Costa Rica
This particular entry is long overdue and comes as a result of five weeks that have changed my life. It doesn’t seem fair to all of the experiences I’ve had and to all of the people I’ve met to boil down five weeks of my life into one final entry. Yet the thing that I have learned about the numerous goodbyes is that there are an equal number of hellos to follow. No matter how many times you say goodbye to someone or some place, they or it will forever be with you, subtlety influencing your way of thought and perspective.
Costa Rica has done just that. It has influenced me and changed me in ways that I never thought possible. Most importantly, it has affected me in intangible ways that can’t necessarily be logically explained. The closest suggestion I can offer is that you, the reader, go forth and experience Costa Rica—or any place that intrigues you—in your own way. No study abroad experience will be the same, even if it's in the same country with an identical itinerary. There are some things that are the same, though.
No matter the level of affluence, parents want the absolute best for their children. My host mother in La Paz, Mirian, reminded me so much of my own grandmother. She was famous for asking me if I was hungry and upon my “No, thank you” she would say “Well, okay, I’ll just make you a sandwich.” That kind of southern hospitality was in full force in Costa Rica when even if I just looked hungry, I was fed on the spot.
Furthermore, people are curious and eager to learn especially when students from other countries act with humility. For a variety of factors, many people in other countries do not hold the United States in the highest esteem. But a willingness to listen, learn, and not judge goes a long way towards establishing friendlier relationships abroad. I look forward to the day when I bring my family to Costa Rica and introduce them to all of the amazing people I met—Rafa, Jason, Mariangela, Mirian, and Mari—I know I have friends who I look forward to saying “hello” to one day soon.
Pura Vida. Gracias por leer. Que dios le bendiga.
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