And so the goodbyes begin.  Yesterday my study abroad program held the Farewell Dinner for our party of 51.  Despite our large group, I have built fond memories with a lot of these individuals and know that I’ll be seeing a handful of them again when we make visits in the States.

Our dinner was at Mirador Ram Luna, a Costa Rican interactive restaurant up in the mountains.  Not only did we get unlimited visits to the buffet and a performance from the typical Costa Rican costume-wearers (creepy, but cultural n’ all), but outside next to the fire-pit was a view of the entire San José city beneath us.

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San Jose city view from the mountains at night

 

It’s Thursday.  My flight is Saturday afternoon.  I have two more breakfasts, and two more dinners with my family here in Costa Rica.  It’s surreal.  My dad always said I was slow (lol, but not kidding), but now I see that maybe, in some warped way, he was right.  I’m slow to process emotions.  They don’t suddenly come about.  It sits in me forever before it starts to boil.  I feel sadness because I know I should feel sadness to leave.  But right now, I’m okay.  I’m okay with going home.  I know it will hit me when I get to the airport, or maybe not even until I’m on the plane flying.  The same thing happens with excitement for me.  I remember my high school senior trip was to Disney in Orlando.  Everyone was so pumped and ready, and I was waiting for unnerving eagerness to hit and it didn’t really happen until I arrived— best trip of my life by the way (Go Knights).  So right now I’m sad, but I’m also letting it happen.  I know that the strong friendships I’ve conjured in this environment will carry through when I go home.  Inevitably in a much different way, however, considering my friend who I’ve been living with the past four months lives across the country from me.  But we’ll create new memories, in new places.

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Me and Erika at the AIFS farewell dinner – December 14, 2016

Erika and I moved in on August 27, 2016, however I didn’t actually meet her until the next day.  I arrived at the house around 10 a.m. and when I went to bed that night she had still not arrived.  I woke up to breakfast made by my Mama Tica, and Erika sitting at the table. That’s how we met.  An incredibly ironic way for us to meet, considering our friendship, as we have became very fond of sharing our love for food together.  

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Attending the US vs CR soccer game – November 15, 2016

 

When you resort to giving your totally inexperienced and unprofessional friend scissors to cut your hair, you know this is an item that belongs on a list named something like “When your a college student trying to save money”, or “Abroad and ballin’ on a budget”.  I think I did a fantastic job on Erika’s hair and if your a close friend reading this, feel free to give me a call for a trim, it’s free!

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Me giving Erika a haircut

My other roommate arrived at the end of September, when Erika and I had already been settled in a month.  Chasity, Erika, and I never had classes together (except for me and Erika having Spanish the first month), yet we bonded so genuinely when at home.  We had multiple different friends and often did different things during the day, occasionally meeting for lunch, but home was always a place I looked forward to retreating because it was fun with these guys.  This made me realize that there are some people that I really could live with (because my first year of college proved otherwise).

Erika, Chasity, and I had so many mornings of breakfast and color.  We always eat breakfast together.  I heard stories of other home-stays where students didn’t eat together or didn’t even eat breakfast at all some days.  I liked our family breakfasts with Mama Tica on the chair in the corner and Cesar (the dog) upside down asleep on the couch and Marley (the cat) on the bookshelf sitting up right with her eyes closed.  After breakfast, once we were all done with 8 a.m. Spanish courses, we had mornings free, and that meant coloring!  After Thanksgiving we’d do it with Christmas music, happily provided by me, reluctantly listened to by all others in the house (you’re welcome).

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One of my personal favorites, tortillas stuffed with re-fried beans, peppers and onions- of course with a whopping bowl of freshly sliced fruit- and my cup of tea!

The cover photo for this particular blog post was chosen because it’s so random and dysfunctional, which describes most of my experiences in Costa Rica.  I mean it.  This was just everyone who had the guts to jump in the freezing waterfall-waters of La Fortuna while the rain simultaneously soaked us.  So with barely any time to take a picture without water logging a person’s phone, someone snapped a shot of all of us standing on a conveniently present piece of rock in the middle of this vortex of powerful currents.  Usually I’m the person who ruins the picture with the awkwardly placed arm or the closed eyes, but in this, no one was prepared, ironically, except for me!  I’m the one with the yellow top leaning in from the left, smiling, eyes open, yes looking like a wet mop, but prepared!  Would you look at that.

Now I will scroll through my Pura Vida photo album on my laptop and pick random pictures of my time here to commemorate on.

 

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The first weekend I was here, on our way to Tamarindo we stopped at a tucan facility- this was the result
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Waterfall walk with my Dad when he and the family visited

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Manuel Antonio- morning waves
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My friends and I after zipling, superman-ing, and Tarzan swinging in the forests of Monteverde while it was raining

I have so many fond memories here in Costa Rica.  Yes the ones with the really cool looking photos are great, but also day-to-day routine things.  Nobody will ever have the exact same experience as someone else.  People’s perspectives are different.  Nobody will have the same experience of living with Erika and Chasity and our unique relationship with our Mama Tica.  Each is distinct.  I’ll miss the little things that someone else may think is weird, but to me, I took notice, and I liked it.  I will miss having the Spanish cooking show playing on TV in the morning, or the TeleTica morning show that always has a different type of doctor as a guest to teach something to us.  I’ll miss being able to walk outside and cross the street to go to the convenient store, and if they don’t have what I need, walking a tiny bit further to go to Pali (the supermarket).  Yeah, I’ll miss you, too, Pali!  I’ll miss the incline on my way to school that I hate so much and makes me sweat on the last stretch of the walk.  I’ll miss the variety of food places to pick from for lunch: the expensive American-owned artisan restaurant, local family sodas (Graniticos is my favorite), the pita and panini place with student discounts, I’ll miss it all.  I’ll miss the man in the truck stopping by the house to sell us fruits and veggies for the week.  I often would buy pineapple from him for less than $2.  I’ll also miss the way Mama Tica slices it up and puts it out in its adorable and designated bowl for breakfast.  Well, there are many more, but that list should do for now.  

I have no format for this goodbye letter, post, entry.  I don’t really know where it’s going.  Well, maybe this is where I should end then.  To a place I will always hold dear to my heart, rather than goodbye, I say farewell, Costa Rica.  Take care. We’ll meet again.  Hasta pronto.  Tan luego.

Pura Vida!

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AIFS program farewell dinner – December 14, 2016

 


 

 

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