Settling in, and regretting it.
Sometime in the late morning or early afternoon of the Thursday of the first week of classes (exactly 3 weeks after setting off from home), I passed a major landmark in study abroad experience: I got bored in Costa Rica.
It was a national holiday. We had no classes and no scheduled activities, so I took a lot of time to do very little.
But it was more than that. I had gotten comfortable. I had even started something of a routine. Most disturbingly, things had begun to seem ordinary.
How? How could I travel to an exotic country I had wanted to visit since I was learning to read, only to get bored after 3 weeks? It’s not that I expected every minute of my study abroad experience to glimmer with quetzalian iridescence. I just didn’t think my sense of wonder was so fickle. I firmly believe that ordinariness is a delusion suffered by those who are too lazy or ungrateful to sustain the curiosity that recognizes the extraordinary in everything. How could I sit like that in the central park, staring at rock doves (Columba livia, the city pigeon we’ve all seen a million times), instead of running after the parakeets in the treetops? I hadn’t even identified them yet!
How do I find the extraordinary again? I wondered. Well, how did I lose it? I got comfortable. So I needed to start by making myself uncomfortable. I need something to challenge me. Physically. Culturally. Navigationally.
Luckily, I found just the thing.