(Photo) Ode to My Gringo Friends

ALL of my gringo friends are leaving and not coming back next semester, which is kind of a lonely prospect for me.

It’s funny because when I met the first fellow gringo on the second day in Costa Rica, we had a conversation about how we both wanted to have primarily tico friends and not be like those clusters of exchange students speaking their native language that we see on our home campuses.  Guess what?  We both became part of that group of gringos joking around in English and laughing uproariously.  And I don’t regret it.

The fact is, we all supported each other through what, for some of us (including myself), was one of the hardest periods of our lives.  We banded together over the familiarity of home, the ability to sound intelligent when we spoke, and the desire to see an entire country in just over four months.  We learned about other parts of the United States from each other and made promises that there will be a place to crash if any of us travel to North Carolina/Utah/Texas/Louisiana/New York/(or whatever state!).

I don’t deal well with awkward sentimental situations and will probably do all I can to avoid good-byes, so here’s my acknowledgement of the good times.

I already had to say one good-bye.

I already had to say one good-bye.

So, not the best lighting...but hey, look!  A

So, not the best lighting…but hey, look! A volcano!  Also, where are my pterodactyls, Matt?

My favorite picture of three of my favorite people.

My favorite picture of three of my favorite people.

She thinks she knows me, but can't guess which direction my humor's going when she's not sure of what I said.

She thinks she knows me, but can’t guess which direction my humor’s going when she’s not sure of what I said.  And sharing is caring.

Because we're classy.

Because we’re classy.

She told me she was going to be here next semester.  That turned out to be false.  But she got into her dream school and is going off to do great things, so I can't blame her.  Well, I can.  But I won't.

She told me she was going to be here next semester. That turned out to be false. But she got into her dream school and is going off to do great things, so I can’t blame her. Well, I can. But I won’t.

I was totally third-wheeling it here.  Whatever the girl equivalent of a bromance is, they have it.

I was totally third-wheeling it here. Whatever the girl equivalent of a bromance is, they have it.

So remember that time I forgot my ticket to the coolest event ever but with a combination of teamwork and perseverance we managed to get it?  Yeah, worth it.

So remember that time I forgot my ticket to the coolest event ever but with a combination of teamwork and perseverance we managed to get it? Yeah, worth it.

And here's how it paid off.  We look so pretty and colorful.  Of course, we lost one, but he's still with us in our hearts.  Actually, he was with us the whole time, he just didn't make the picture cut.  Next time, bro.

And here’s how it paid off. We look so pretty and colorful. Of course, we lost one, but he’s still with us in our hearts. Actually, he was with us the whole time, he just didn’t make the picture cut. Next time, Mateo.

Costa Rica.  Where you bond under waterfalls.    And among butterflies.  And then one of you goes to Chile four months later, because she can.

Costa Rica. Where you bond under waterfalls. And among butterflies. And then one of you goes to Chile four months later, because she can.

Don't judge me--I can dance.  You know who you are.

Don’t judge me–I can dance. You know who you are.  Sean.

She's really good at avoiding pictures, but she's been like a sister so I had to get her in somehow.  McCafe for life.

She’s really good at avoiding pictures, but she’s been like a sister so I had to get her in somehow. McCafé for life.

Oh hey, there she is.  Also, a nod to the professional hairstyling by Ryan.  (So three machas walked into a bar...)

Oh hey, there she is. (So three machas walked into a bar…)  Also, a nod to the professional hairstyle, courtesy of Ryan.

So here I am, learning how to take selfies.  It's harder than it looks.

So here I am, learning how to take group selfies. It’s harder than it looks.

So we're technically related since his host mom is my host mom's sister and we're also related by blood (pressure).  He's my primo tico, and was a part of so many of my adventures.

So we’re technically related since his host mom is my host mom’s sister and we’re also related by blood (pressure). He’s my primo tico, and was a part of so many of my adventures.

Just because everyone looks so good.

Just because everyone looks so good.

Looks like a family dinner or something.  This should be on a brochure for something.  I don't know what, but something happy.

Looks like a family dinner or something. This should be on a brochure for something. I don’t know what for, but something happy.

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