Wednesday, May 6, 2015

And so the day has arrived

I must admit, I have been careless with the time I have had here in Costa Rica. The saying, "you don't know what you have until it's gone" rings so true in this current moment. Even yesterday, I was joyfully skipping around because I was finally about to return home. But today, it was all different. A day of 'lasts'; I had my last breakfast in my home (gallo pinto, of course), I had my last walk to school, I had my (maybe) the last time I'll see you goodbyes, and many more. I was walking down the road by myself, thinking about my time here and just kind of reflecting. There is something so beautiful about having time to yourself, to think in your mind and not have anyone criticize you or contradict you. It's just a simple time to hangout with the person who knows you best, you! That sounds really lame and I know it kind of is, but it's something that I think not too many people take time to appreciate. So anyways, I'm walking down this road and kind of had a flashback to my very first night here in Costa Rica. I was walking home with Beighlie and we were totally lost. It was dark outside and we had been told to fear walking without a male past sunset. I'm thinking, "how the heck am I supposed to survive in another country for three months if I can't even find my own house?" Now, I know this country's capital all-over. I wasn't worried about my reentry because I was, and am, so excited to return to the states. But after today, I realized that I am going to have moments where I feel lost in my own city or moments where I just want to hug one of my amazing teachers. There are things that have become a part of my life that I now have to leave behind and thinking about that just scares the crap out of me. We had a final lunch today at our school with our teachers and other adults that have helped us through these past few months. It was in the moment that the 'thank you's' and the 'goodbye's' started that my heart started to crumble to the floor. So this next portion is about these people that have invested in me in my time here in Costa Rica.

To understand where I'm coming from, we had class every day but the weekends. In the morning, I had a two hour grammar class. After that, I had a one hour conversation class and following that, I had a one hour history and culture class. Also, our weekend trips were also considered a class. Our professor traveled with us to every single one. I've never had teachers like the ones I have had here. Granted, it's easier to become closer when the class sizes are small and you see them every day. But I wish you could all experience what I experienced. Teachers that prayed for us and teachers that encouraged us when they could see we were at the ends of our ropes. I had a beautiful teacher (and friend) help me in numerous classes with personal problems. Not only did she help me during class, but she also took time to counsel me outside of class. I received advice from her that I will forever take with me. It wasn't just Spanish that I learned here, it was so much more than that. Living in another country without your friends and family can be a daunting experience, but I realized today that I had a family here with me the whole time. One of my other teachers could always tell when something was wrong with me. She would hug me and ask me how I was doing- ¿Qué pasó, mi corazón? "What's wrong, my love?"-and would give me relevant advice. And I'm telling you, constantly, they encouraged and encouraged and encouraged. When you're trying to master another language, encouragement from others is sometimes the only thing that keeps you going. I'll miss the genuine hugs and the conversations so dearly. It's something that I want to take back with me to the United States.

Switching the subject a little bit... While here, I have been journaling as much as possible. I personally love journaling and have always done it since I started high school. It's a beautiful way to vividly remember things. I also highly recommend journaling for two reasons: the first reason being that writing things out can help you realize things a lot better. The other reason is that you can write down all your prayers and go back and see how God answered them. It's a great way to share with others. So I actually started journaling about Costa Rica a little before I came. On February 17, I wrote, "I fear the emotional pain I'll experience when I have to leave. Isn't it funny how I can miss something that I haven't even experienced yet? I know this trip will change me and that is the most exciting part. I will really get to figure myself out." And that confirms how I feel today. The emotional pain is inevitable, but I'm glad I have something to miss. It means that it was worthwhile. Although, I don't think I have totally figured myself out yet, which is ok because I'm too young to have it all figured out. But I thank Costa Rica for making me realize this. I will hold my memories and feelings deep within a little, precious box in my heart. Lol, I'm trying to lighten the mood here. Through all of this, every single day, God has been with me and has carried me. If you're reading this and you think that God has left you or has forgotten about you, don't you dare doubt yourself for a second that He has ever left your side. I know that my Redeemer lives and that He is the reason for my joy. He can be the reason for your joy, too. I'm just sorry that it took me going to another country to realize this.

So I guess this is it:( My final blog post from Costa Rica. Thank you all who have followed along with me and have also encouraged me. I seriously feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have so many people that I love in my life. Now I have family in two different countries!

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