My flight to San Jose felt like it was yesterday. I remember landing and looking out the window. I remember walking outside and seeing the giant green mountains in the distance. It’s surreal that I’ll be leaving in a few hours, but I will never forget this trip. I’ll never forget Costa Rica.
I honestly did not know what to expect from this trip, and by going in without expectations or goals, I feel that it made it even more satisfying. I was a blank canvas, waiting for those four weeks to paint and create a piece of work. As I ventured through each day, new strokes of paint were added. After 29 days it is complete, and I am content. But I was not the only one who added to my canvas. Through every person I met here, they too contributed to this experience, this blank canvas.
There are things I have done that I never thought I would have done. From something as small as finally eating papaya after years of hating it (I still don’t like it, but I tried it nonetheless), to playing with monkeys, to zip-lining across the Costa Rican rainforest, to getting my ear pierced. There are a plethora of moments and experiences I could go on about, but there are some I will keep near and dear to my heart and share only with myself.
Of course there were not so good times, like when I got terribly sick the Saturday in Manuel Antonio or was ambushed by mosquitos in Puerto Viejo, or when I didn’t pack accordingly for Monteverde and was freezing and wet from the rain. But, despite the minor setbacks, I did not let it get in the way of my trip. Sometimes unfortunate or unfavorable things happen, but the only thing you can do is keep positive and move on. With the help of my friends here, I was able to keep a blithe spirit.
I could not have enjoyed myself as much if it weren’t for the people I met here. Studying abroad allowed me to create friendships with people I would never have met. From people at SDSU, to people from Ohio, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Hawaii, just to name a few. The beauty of studying abroad is that we were all strangers prior to the trip, and within those 4 weeks we grew close and formed bonds. I am so appreciative and honored to have met such a sincere and eclectic group of individuals. Our journey in Costa Rica is over, but never forgotten.
Traveling or staying in a new place for a prolonged amount of time is like the silhouette of the mountains. There are the very apparent and large hills of the mountain, being the positive experiences of the journey. But there are also smaller crevices and dips within those mountains. These represent the moments of regret, apprehension, sickness (both homesickness and physical sickness), or maybe just a day you did not feel so great. My time here in Costa Rica has been thatーa mountain with several small bumps along the way. But when I look at that mountain from a distance, I do not see the small declivities, I only see the mountain.
As I look back at my journey in Costa Rica, both now and many years in the future, I will only remember this as one of the most positive, eye-opening, and remarkable experiences in my young life. It’s natural to have dips and crevices, so don’t be discouraged. Even if you can see them in the distance, it does not take away from the beauty of the mountain. If anything, it enhances it. Go find your mountain. As for me, I’m ready for the next one.
¡Pura Vida Mae!