Three months and a day ago, I arrived to a country I had yet to meet full of excitement. I'd known before I even enrolled at MVNU that Costa Rica would play a part in my language acquisition. It was one of the biggest things to ever happen to me. It's hard to see how much I have changed, if I have changed at all. Of course it is nearly impossible to spend three months in another country and not change at least a little bit. I know I have definitely changed in the food department. Before I came to Costa Rica, I was one of the pickiest people you'd ever meet. I'd freak out if there was something on my sandwich that I didn't ask for or if there were finely diced onions in my food. I'd go through my tacos and take out anything other than the chicken and cheese. But now, it doesn't really bother me anymore. Yeah, I'm still picky and my host mom will tell you that I am the pickiest person she has ever hosted but I think I'm finally caught up with the rest of the functioning world. It's kind of a relief. I no longer have to fear Chinese or Mexican restaurants. That's what we call a #FirstWorldProblem, folks. Something else I have recognized as a personal change is how I interact with others. I have learned to have patience when it is most needed and when to pray for others when it seems the hardest. I have this bad habit of saying whatever I want whenever it comes to my mind. It's one of the reasons I am so sarcastic. I'm still working on it, but I realize the importance of our words and how imperative it is to think before we speak, or think before we tweet. I knew I would make it but I'm surprised now looking back that I actually did. These past three months weren't exactly a vacation. Yeah, I visited some amazing places. I guess you could count those as vacations, but it was beyond that. I lived with a family who didn't speak any English (I'm basically a pro at charades now), I had to adjust to their customs and eat their food, and I had to live in a house with people that I love. For me, that last one was one of the most difficult challenges. Aside from the family, I attended classes everyday that were also in my second language. That was ok for me, but sometimes when you're talking about Latin American history, it'd be a tad easier to just learn it in English. We had exams and homework and projects just like usual. Except that on top of that, we were supposed to volunteer every week and do extra studying as well as build relationships with our families, the missionary families, and within our group. Something that I have realized about our culture is that we are extremely competitive and hard on ourselves. Our professors would constantly remind us to take a breath and calm down. My response? I can't! I have to keep a good GPA, and I have to make sure that I learn this perfectly, and I have to make sure that I do better... yeah, the list goes on.
These past few weeks have been rough too. I am so excited to come home. It's not that I am homesick, or that I dislike Costa Rica, I just can't wait to get back into my own routine. I miss being able to be independent (something else that is a big aspect of our culture.) I miss being able to hangout with my friends or my sister when I want. Costa Rica has been lovely, but it is not my home. There really is no place like home!! That's a phrase I can finally say with assurance. I'm so lucky that I have something to look forward to. My family has been so supportive of me these past three months. Their encouragement and prayers have kept me afloat. Actually, it wasn't just my family! I know there are so many of you who have said prayers for me and for my parents. Thank you so much!! The notes and the mail, all were more appreciated than you know. Prayer is a cool thing because it isn't generic. God listens to what we tell Him and He helps us out the best way that WE ourselves need! God doesn't give me the strength to complete a surgery, God gives me the strength to wake up everyday and have a conversation in my second language when I don't even want to be talking at all. I know that is kind of a weird analogy, but seriously! Think about it! God is personal.
I officially have six days left here. The raining season started last week. Everyday in the afternoon, it pours. And when I say pours, I mean cats, dogs, cows, elephants, whales... yeah, the rain drops are huge and powerful. I live for rainy days so I'm content. I only have two more days of classes and then I'm a senior in college! WHAT?! How did I get here? I swear it was just yesterday that I was graduating from high school. It's scary being 20. I have no idea what I'm doing or where I'm going. I guess it's nice knowing everyone was once there and they somehow survived. With that being said, if you'd like to pray for me, please pray that:
I trust God with my future and where He wants me to be.
I get a summer job because I need one realllllly bad
We have a safe flight home (Thursday, May 7 at 8am)
I have an easy reentry and readjust to the United States without trouble
Thanks for sticking with me throughout all these posts.