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Published: July 18th 2005
The dog-I notice how lethargic animals are especially here. Lethargic, yet smarter than the average animal!
My list of:
What I’m not going to miss:
· Constantly feeling moist
· The random bites that appear on the skin from invisible mosquitoes
· Pervasive fear of dengue
· Or malaria
· Or parasites
· “Piropos” especially those callouts from men with their children (GROSS!) and grandpa-aged people (still gross!!!)
· Crazy computer keys with the upside-down- question mark taking place of the parenthesis key (and I still never found out how to do the back slash)
· Dancing with my instructor Rafael with big sweat marks on his back and his snapping at me with his fingers to do a turn
· Sticky hair after I take a shower (let me tell you, it’s sooo hard to comb)
· “Chinita Bonita”
· Rain. Every. Day.
· Ridiculous dust and smoke and weed. I’m not gonna lie. I think my lungs are a little darker than usual these days
· Crazy traffic and that feeling that I’m going to die pretty soon
· Ctrl + G means to save, not Ctrl + S (ugh!)
· Throwing toilet paper in the garbage can
· No cell phone (I realize that they are indispensable, sadly, because they clear up so many
miscommunications and prevent a lot of frustration)
· Water that can kill you if you drink it (well, maybe I wouldn’t go that far)
· The feeling that I’m going to get attacked by a feisty little dog while running
What I’m going to miss:
· Good coffee
· Waking up to, “Cómo amaneció?”
· Good old gallo pinto and plátano maduro
· Ticos (oh, they’re sooooo friendly and nice)-actually some a little too friendly-refer to the sixth down on my “not going to miss” list
· Waking up at 6:50 am in the morning then going to class
· Seeing the mountains
· Plátano maduro
· Speaking Spanish everywhere I go (believe it or not, I love speaking Spanish)
· Dancing, including Cumbia, Salsa, and Merengue. Even reggatón!
· Riding on the bus, especially bumpy ones! I love looking out and seeing the country through the window
· Knitting with my Tico madre
· Did I mention plátano maduro?
· Hearing my tico mother call my tico father “Viejo” (meaning old, like ancient) and “Bonilla” (his last name)
· The amazing singularity of the Costa Rican culture
I have always hated goodbyes. It
Juan Carlos, Cristina, María
the crew that took me to San José (my cousins and aunt that's hyper and reminds me of my mom)
is one of the hardest things in life. But it is a part of life. And it is only natural. Nothing lasts. Feelings don't last.
I woke up on the day of the 17 of July 2005, the day I was supposed to leave. I sat at the breakfast table as usual. My mom greeted me, "Cómo amaneció?" I said my usual "Bien,gracias." She told me she made some rice and beans, or gallo pinto. And of course, my favorite plátano maduro. My usual cup of coffee also. But something felt different. It was solemn. It was dark. Literally. She had told me it was always hard, when people have grown attached. I have only been there for a little less than 7 weeks, but it was still not easy. The night before, my tico dad looked especially sad. He told me that it was because I was leaving. He imagined one of his daughters leaving the house, and that would be sad for him. He feels like I'm one of them.
Sometimes God has felt very far away from me. Have you ever felt emotionally and/or spiritually dead? Well, in Costa Rica, I certainly have. And I have in
Owl butterfly in the Secret Garden!
the past too. But I realize that those periods of dryness do not last. But He does…His love is not tied to my emotions, the state of my mind, my thoughts of Him, or the distance from where I began my relationship with Him. It seems obvious, right? But being far away from my place of comfort has brought me to consider the capacity of His Love. It is the same. Forever. How extraordinary. Because by how we live in this world, it is extremely hard to understand something so constant. It is not natural to think that way. Everything changes in our lives. Friends. Home. Job. Likes and dislikes. Tastebuds. Oneself...
And my home is not in Costa Rica. Neither is it in Glen Ellyn. Or Champaign-Urbana. That is why goodbyes are temporary. I wrote in a letter to my Tico family that even if we don’t get to meet later, if we won’t see each other, we would be reunited as a family again, in the kingdom of our Father in Heaven. Yes, only that lasts.
So my mother was on the way to the airport with me. We spotted my dad coming from church. I honestly did
el jardín secreto
The Secret Garden!
not know what to feel. Such a strange situation. Me, their “child.” Them, my “parents,” dropping me off at the airport. To go back to my other parents. Call it weird. Or awkward, dare I say (did you ever notice how awkward the word awkward is?). Anyway, I was more agitated than anything. They told me to visit them when I came back, and that I have a family that loves me very much. I hugged my mother first. She thanked me. She wanted to go away real quickly before she cried. But it was too late. Then I hugged my dad. I could not understand what he was saying.
And me, you ask how I was? Surprisingly, honestly, regretfully… emotionless. Why? I did not understand. Perhaps it was my way to cope. Or maybe it was that I was confused in many respects. Or even that I was anxious about my plane ride. Maybe it was all so unreal. Like a dream…
But it was on the plane ride back that brought me to a profound sadness. It always happens like that for me. It takes a while for my brain to get accustomed to changes. And for events
to sink in. I realized that I wouldn’t see them for a while.
But I didn’t cry.
I know that si Dios quiere, if God wants, I will come back one day. And it will be even greater. To be reunited. In a place where I'm known as "Chinita."
I sure am going to miss my little Chiquiticos (boy, is that bad grammar, serious English-Spanish redundancy)! For now, I am back in a place where I'm just another one of them. Doesn't bother me 😊
Okay, so I'm back! I’m expecting to see some of you guys sometime before I go back to school! And show you hands-on pictures, and even tell you about it all in person! As for now, pura vida!
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