Well I’ve been back in the USA for over a week, and I’ve finally brought myself to write my final blog post. I guess the reason I’ve been putting it off is because I’m in denial about the fact that my Costa Rican experience is actually over. I know it’s cheesy and cliche, but I really did not fully understand how much it meant to me until I got home.
People keep asking me what I miss the most or what my favorite part was, and it is so hard to answer. There’s not just one thing that made my experience what it was. It is really hard to put into words the way the people and culture impacted me. Things like my little cafecitos with my mama tica, daily bus rides, random conversations, exploring new places, and being the only gringa in a class full of ticos are the things that affected me every day and really made me feel immersed in the country. By the end of my time there, although I missed my family and a few other joys of the USA like crazy, Costa Rica felt like home. That’s the reason I miss it so much. Walking down my hill to the bus stop, buying fruit smoothies, eating rice and beans, and being surrounded by the Spanish language became my new normal, so it’s hard adjusting back to what used to be “normal” at home in the US.
Readjusting is definitely a process. There are lots of reasons that I am glad to be home. I am loving spending time with my family and friends and eating some of my favorite foods after so long — my first three meals here were Bojangles, Chick-fil-a, and Cookout — but it’s not easy just going back to life as it was before. If it’s not already clear, the US and Costa Rica don’t share tons of similarities. The general pace of life and the way people interact in Costa Rica is so different, and I grew pretty fond of it, which makes it difficult to switch back to the go, go, go lifestyle of the US. I need my coffee breaks. Also, everyone here speaks English! What’s up with that? Granted, there were several times in CR where I began to resent the Spanish language and would have loved to just speak in English for a minute, but now it is everywhere and to be honest it’s a little overwhelming. Where I used to be scared to speak Spanish outside of class before CR, I now find myself seeking out Spanish speakers when possible. I met a nice Peruvian couple at one of my little sister’s swim meets and absolutely loved talking to them. Costa Rica definitely increased my confidence and ability speaking Spanish by A LOT. I just want to talk to my Ticos.
As much as I would love to hop on the next flight to San Jose for just one more pura vida day, I have to get back to living my real life, and gracias a Dios (thank God) all my experiences stay with me. Now that I’m back, I definitely see myself and the world around me differently. Going out on my own really helped me get to know myself and push myself and see what really means the most to me and ways I need to grow. It also showed me that the world is so much bigger than my little piece of North Carolina, and I still have so much to learn. There is no way to describe how incredibly blessed I feel to have had this experienced and, through good and bad, to have been able to grow in the ways that I did. It was really the adventure of a lifetime and I will absolutely cherish it forever. Wow, sorry for getting so sentimental, I just really love Costa Rica, y’all. Thanks so much for caring about my life and reading my blog this semester! As always,