For me, the most culture shock I got was on the plane. From looking out of my window seat while still grounded in Costa Rica and seeing the endless foliage, to suddenly flying over Florida’s modernity of endless buildings and lights, my heart was internally screaming to turn around. My whole body felt that this was wrong; I wanted to go back to Costa Rica where my life was simple. What a weird unexpected feeling that was.
After landing and walking into the US airport, I recovered from that initial reaction. I fit right back in here, as if I had never left. This was all familiar to me, and I knew exactly where to go, and what to do. I even bought myself an overpriced, Chinese fast food meal, which I didn’t even know I had been craving for 5 months.
I agree with my fellow Costa Rican blogger, Hilda, the most disappointing part of being home is that I can’t tell the stories right. In my head they are brimming with excitement, and laughs, and picturesque scenes, but as I try to make them come alive for someone else, the same feelings I once had are not relayed. Instead these adventures are either trapped inside of my imagination or the confines of a 4×6” rectangle. It may be sad, but I am beginning to realize that those moments are now for myself to hear the faint echo of laughter and reflect upon the countless adventures that I had the courage to go on.
This whole experience is really about how much you let in. How much you allow yourself to become immersed into the culture. It does not happen naturally, they are direct choices that lead a person to build a life in a new country. How much you let this experience change you. You may change, you may not change, it’s really more of a conscious action that requires more effort than one would imagine. Costa Rica has changed me, if only in the fact that I can no longer stomach the half-hearted impersonation of “rice and beans” here, my taste buds call out for the real Costa Rican counterpart (shout-out to my host mom for cooking utterly delicious food that I may miss the most).