I wanted to have a day back in the US to reflect and settle back in at home before writing my last post. Looking back, I have just begun to miss Costa Rica more now than before. What interests me is that what I enjoyed most about Costa Rica was the mindset. Por supuesto, I enjoyed the natural beauty and the ruggedness of the city streets, but there are beautiful places in the US, and I have not missed any of them as much as I have Costa Rica. Life in Costa Rica seemed to be so much simpler. Once I returned home, I was overwhelmed with how much was going on, and partially amazed that my family was ordinary despite the chaoticness of our house. I found that it was hard to continue this simplicity, because our inner environment is so often a reflection of our outer environment.
I cannot deny that my time is Costa Rica was a vacation, which biases my perception of it. Even still, that slowness and present-moment style of living seemed vastly different from here. During my first dinner back home, I found myself becoming upset because I had trouble getting my family to sit down for dinner. At my host family’s house, when dinner was ready, everyone was seated and would stay seated for at least 30 minutes. There is a difference. Something that cannot be pinned down but is visible after even a day of living in Costa Rica. I wonder, if a big part of this tradition. In Costa Rica, my experience of the day was much more structured around meals. In this sense, daily routines became rituals, and were treated with a certain sense of sincerity that is often forgotten in the US. A nice, sit-down family dinner that occurred nearly everyday in my host family’s house only occurs with some sort of justification, like a holiday or birthday, at my house back home.
It also seemed like people were not constantly trying to get ahead. I often find in the US that I speed through activities so I can have more time for X later, but I speed through X to have more time for Y. The problem is that when Y finally comes, I have difficulty slowing down and simply speed through to Z, constantly bouncing from leisure activity to another without any actual leisure. Thus, I am going to challenge myself to continue living my life “tico-style” as much as I can. I am immensely grateful to my host family for providing such an enriching and enjoyable experience. I will always remember their gift to me. As the ultimate challenge of study abroad, I hope to continue with the open-mindset that I cultivated in Costa Rica back home. I plan to continue practicing spanish and learning about the world, such that my trip be far more than just a vacation or a study abroad to fufill Spanish credits. Instead, it will be the foundation of many more years of exploration and global stewardship.