March 3, 2017
I can’t believe it’s March and I have now been in San José for 7.5 weeks, with the time continuing to fly by more and more quickly. Each week, I volunteer on Tuesday and Thursday at a local daycare called Kinder y Maternal Huellitas. I definitely think I learn more from the kids than they do from me.
On Tuesday I was washing their hands before snack time and I kept asking the kids, “Necesita sopa?” thinking I was saying, “Do you need soap?” Turns out sopa means soup in Spanish… so I’ve been asking the kids for the past few weeks if they need soup EVERY time I wash their hands. Well finally, on Tuesday little 4-year-old Isabella looked up at me and said, “Es no sopa, es jabón?!” I burst out laughing because what else could I do? Glad Isa had my back and finally corrected me… (thanks girlfriend you da bomb).
Being wrong is something that I have had to become completely okay with. Every day I am corrected whether it’s by a cashier, my Mama Tica, or even a 4-year-old. If being here has taught me anything, it’s that it is okay to make mistakes and the people who really matter are going to give you a little bit of grace when you do.
I am completely content with this chaotic learning process. I’m reverting back to childhood memories of learning to tie my shoes as I learn to speak the language. Day by day my vocabulary expands, but it definitely never becomes 100 percent easy… I’ve been speaking lots of Spanglish let me tell ya! The challenge is something I have come to love, and when I get through a conversation where I can completely understand my Mama Tica, nothing is more encouraging.
This past weekend my friends Kasey, Hope, and I went to La Fortuna waterfall. I believe it is the biggest waterfall in Costa Rica, and it honestly took my breath away when I first saw it. Surrounded by the lush, green forests, we got to horseback ride up to the waterfall where we walked down 500 steps to get to the pool that is at the bottom. Talk about the most beautiful view in the world…
After our horseback riding adventure, we spent Saturday by the pool and eventually went to some natural hot springs. Picture about 50 people sitting in a river and talking together in the United States. I honestly don’t think it would ever happen. There were local Ticos everywhere and the hot springs looked like a creek or river. The water temperature was probably 90 degrees, which was amazing after a long morning of horseback riding. Definitely a unique experience sitting in this giant, completely natural hot tub with 50 plus strangers.
The weekend before La Fortuna, so the weekend of February 18th, I went on a field trip with my land vertebrates class to Palo Verde National Park. The park was absolutely beautiful, but I can honestly say that birdwatching was NOT the best thing I’ve done so far. Haha. It was pretty boring, but the sunset in the park was the most stunning one I’ve seen yet. It just goes to show that even in a place that is not the most interesting to you, you can find beauty ANYWHERE in this country. We slept in mosquito nets all weekend because there was a risk of scorpions getting in your bed at night and showered in cold water all weekend (: Definitely appreciated coming home to Mama Tica that Sunday.
Saturday morning of my field trip I found out that my cousin Nate died in a car accident Friday night. In the midst of this outdoor camping trip, it really did not feel real. Losing someone in your family while you are abroad is extremely hard, and I am valuing life now more than ever. I will not stop making a point to let my loved ones know I love them, because this loss has only shown me how short life truly is. In a matter of 30 seconds he was gone. I learn something new every day, and that day I learned life is too short to not send the “I love you” text whenever you think of someone like that.
I am so lucky to have such a strong support system not only at home, but here as well. I’m soaking up all these life lessons like a sponge and continuing to go into every day with an open mind. Five more weeks and I get to hug my mom and dad! Until then, I am embracing every single moment of being here.
Rest in peace Nate, we all already miss that smile ❤
Field trip to Palo Verde