I have gone to a Confirmation, a First Communion, a baby shower, and multiple birthday parties. I have seen horror movies and listened to 80’s music and endless Latin ballads. I milked a cow and collected eggs and ate wild berries and harvested fruit from trees in the backyard. Saw mountains and tarantulas, and a volcano spewing smoke and ash. I have lived with triplets, their parents, two cats, two dogs, two Loras, a canary, several chickens, two iguanas, and some doves.
I’ve been drinking a lot of coffee, learning to cook comida típica (aka arepas) and eating plants from the garden. I savor the culantro, the beans, the rich lettuce fed off of plentiful rain. I’ve seen the worst attack of ants on basil of my life, and I’ve seen extreme joy from the first harvest of a market garden carved from dirt, all hard work paying off.
I love my new friends that I was lucky enough to meet here, and I’ll miss every one of them. Because we watched the stars together, and played more soccer than I thought was possible, and they showed me their world how they see it, with all the varied species of wildlife that I got to know for the first time. Monkeys, frogs, snakes, and birds. We walk through cafetal and fincas, seeing this world by virtue of our own energy and willpower.
I went to the beach and swam in the ocean, and I stood at the edge of a volcano’s crater. I met endless amounts of family members and I laughed with babies and old people. There were no hot showers for three months, and I ate rice and beans at least twice a day, which was unironically really delicious. My Spanish has improved massively, and I try to make mistakes with candor and grace.
I know how to make a dreamcatcher and plant yucca. I can identify medicinal plants and make fresco. I try to translate English music for my host family, scrambling to speak as quickly as the words pass me by. I answer endless questions about which season is which in the States: when do the leaves fall, how long does the summer last, and do the dogs have to come inside when it snows?
Costa Rica sounds like passionate love songs in Spanish, and it sounds like the rain that is loud on the metal roof, and it sounds like the frogs at night and the dogs that bark as you pass the gated houses. It sounds like Spanish sentences that are longer than English sentences, a string of words that seems like it’ll never end, a ceaseless wave. It sounds like the Nokia ring tone and horns honking during soccer games, and it sounds like GOOOOOOOOL!!!!!!!!! Costa Rica is every color, saturated. A mariachi serenaded me at a surprise going-away party, and there were millions of hugs and smiles. I pass the houses that I now know, saying Adios to everyone, because I want to share my love for this place with all of them, and with every greeting is a silent thank you that I hope they hear, because they’ve given me so much just by being who they are, in their beautiful home. I feel joy at the sight of all of life in Aquiares.
I’m so grateful for my time here. I hope I’ll be back soon.