Dear Costa Rica…
Its official (well almost). I’m nervously heading back to Costa Rica. Nine years have gone by and I sadly know it just won’t be the same. Costa Rica was my first, foreign country. In college, I was accepted into a cultural exchange program where I hoped to practice the language and “get the hell out of dodge.”
Thinking back, I’m surprised at my memory. That drunken night in Tortuguero. Under the moonlight, we jumped into the ocean only to find out later it was shark invested. Or visiting the grocery store with my Tico family discovering that mayo doesn’t come in jars, or that rum and coke comes in cans. We soaked in hot springs, hiked to waterfalls, and went horseback riding through the rainforest. And, for one hot minute I became fluent in Spanish, I learned how to dance, and appreciated music like Mana (Oye mi amor!).
Cultural exchange it was. Costa Rica molded me as a traveler and an adult. I saw beautiful life lessons amongst poverty. I fell in love, not with a person, but with a country (you never forget your first). I was away, truly away, for the first time in my life. And it was peaceful. It was Pura Vida!
I’ve procrastinated going back. Places change. People change.
It’s been awhile. I’ve thought of you often. It looks like tourism has treated you well. After our love affair, we’ve both grown and experienced more of what the world can offer. I trust that our next encounter will be just as memorable.
All my love,