Chapter 1: The Quest for Pura Vida

Top Thoughts as I Prepare to Leave Costa Rica (For the First Time)

My flight doesn’t leave until next Tuesday, so technically I’m in Costa Rica for nine more days, but I’m already almost completely packed.  No, it’s not because I’m getting antsy–I’m actually quite enjoying the rate at which time is going.  It’s actually because early tomorrow morning I’m headed off on a mysterious week-long trip to some remote part of Costa Rica to do volunteer work as part of the study abroad program.  And when I say “mysterious” I mean I haven’t summoned up the willpower to read the highly detailed schedule they sent me.  I’m lazy.  (Also the reason I haven’t posted in two weeks.)  Anyway, I want to have everything packed so I don’t have to mess with it when I get back next weekend.

I’ve had the end of the semester in my sights for quite a while.  It’s been a hot topic of conversation among the exchange students for one reason or another.  Some are super stoked to get home and some are having trouble letting go, but everyone can agree that the end is coming.  That being said, in no particular order, certain things have been on my mind pretty consistently.

  • Christmas.  There’s no Thanksgiving in Costa Rica, so they don’t have the “no Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving” rule.  That means guilt-free Christmas commercials and decorations in November.  The problem is that it’s impossible to feel Christmassy when it’s 85 degrees outside.  I keep having oddly nostalgic and idyllic visions of riding in a sleigh in the cold to see Christmas lights, polishing mistletoe-entwined banisters, and making gingerbread houses–never mind that I’ve never done any of those things in my life.  Whatever.  Long story short, I’m stoked for Christmas.  On a related note…
  • I’m ready for cold weather and snow.  Oh wait.  There’s no snow in Texas.  When did home start looking like TV-America?  As for the cold weather, I’ll probably be tired of it in about a week, but that will be an epic week.
    Just kidding.  This picture's in New York.  And the snow's fake.  Story of my life.
    Just kidding. This picture’s in New York. And the snow’s fake. Story of my life.

    The only recent picture I could find on my Facebook of winter in Texas.  Because who takes pictures outside in the cold?  Look, there's even people with long sleeves.  It's a rough season.
    The only recent picture I could find on my Facebook of winter in Texas. Because who takes pictures outside in the cold? Look, there’s even people with long sleeves. It’s a rough season.
  • My family is the best.  My cousin had the gall to get married while I was in another country and I had to endure pictures of (almost) all of my favorite cousins together  and having fun popping up on my newsfeed.  Jerks.  I only hate them because I like them so much.
  • My sister gets her own bullet point because she’s a diva and complains that I don’t mention her specifically in any of my posts.  That being said, she’s worth at least ten bullet points because she’s my favorite person in the world.  If anyone has any objections to that, you’re probably at least on the list, so don’t worry about it.
  • End-of-the-semester joy/relief is the same no matter what country I’m in.  Also, I kind of want to brag that I’m stress-free for at least two months until the next semester starts.  It kind of makes up for the stress I had to endure with group-work, essays, and presentations in another language.
  • Congratulations and thank you to my past self for deciding to study abroad for two semesters.  I’m all full of happy emotions with very little sadness to be leaving, since I know I’ll be coming back soon.  That being said, it’s going to be twice as hard to leave next June.
  • I’m kind of attached to Costa Rica.  It grows on you.  I’ve read about exchange students being “homesick” for a foreign country after they leave, and I’m starting to get it.  Another country isn’t just a land full of novelties–it’s a home for thousands of people, and after a while you start to see why it merits that label.
  • Why are all my friends going away, and what will the new models be like?  Just kidding, my gringo friends are fantastic and I’m going to miss them.  We built up kind of a tight community and it’s really hard to see that go since I’m the only one that will be here next semester.  And I really do worry about what the new group will be like.
  • I have too many thoughts to fit into a concise list.  I’m a complex person, y’all.  So I’m just going to mention this and end the post abruptly so I can leave you with an image of me as a mysterious woman.

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