It was somewhere between kilometer 9 and 10 that it hit me, “I’m in Costa Rica. I’m doing a pilgrimage – no – I’m living in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. A year ago I would have never even dreamed that I would be here doing this. I am in COSTA RICA!” And then, in the height of my profound reflection, a strong waft of urine and sewage hit me. “Well thaaaat’s that,” I thought smiling, “There’s nothing like the smell of port-a-potties to bring you back to reality.” But what a sweet reality it is.
While I can’t say that I haven’t had difficulties in the past two weeks, I can say that now I’m in a good place. The first week of class was an unwelcome flashback to the first weeks of college two years back. The frazzled anxiety of getting lost on the way class had, by the end of the week, turned into a deep painful ache of homesickness. But then came the weekend, which meant a getaway to Guanacaste, the northwestern province of Costa Rica, and its beautiful beaches and toasty dry Texas-like climate. The weekend was filled with many sights and experiences, but, most importantly, a peace-bringing God moment (or, several moments) that gave me the strength I needed to embark on my second week of school. Reinvigorated, I started the week off with a mini-adventure to Walmart (a wee bit further than what my host mom had me believe), an incredibly slow and exasperating read of two poems for one of my literature classes (the shorter two of four), and a wonderfully refreshing yoga class with my host mom. In short, the week seemed promising. Key word: seemed.
Tuesday started off well enough, but at 9:50 pm as I sat in the freezing emergency ward in San Jose hooked up to an IV, thoughts of well-being were far from my mind. It was nothing serious, just a horribly upset digestive system from weeks of dietary changes and stress, coupled with a virus (as the happenings on Wednesday would give strong evidence for). I was back in my bed not long after midnight and was up Wednesday morning for class feeling absolutely peachy. Again, the day had other plans, but by Thursday afternoon I really was on the uphill. And, por dicha (a Costa Rican equivalent to ‘thankfully’ or ‘thank goodness), I was able to recover in time to undertake the romería or pilgrimage to the Basilica de los Ángeles in Cartago. The pilgrimage is a yearly tradition that coincides with the holiday that celebrates the patron saint of Costa Rica, Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles. Talk about God moment(s). To keep this short, or rather, to not make this an epic poem, I’ll just say it was a great experience (all 22 km of it) and that I recommend it to anyone who can find a reason to walk 4-5 hours of (beautiful) hilly terrain.
The next day, with surprisingly minimal pain, I went to an incredible yoga workshop that focused on balance and inversions with my mom and her two friends. It was a great opportunity to reflect and continue searching for inner peace, and, of course, to stretch all the muscles I worked the day before!
And with that, I leave you all once more!
P.S. Next time I promise I’ll make a shorter post, but only those of you who got this far get the satisfaction of knowing I made that promise:)