Back at Davidson. My plane touched down in Charlotte around 2:00 am on Friday the 7th. Even though I was coming back to the familiar, I was nervous. Maybe it was because I was excited to see my friends, teammates and other Davidson randoms who brighten my day, or maybe it was because a wonderful semester abroad had finally come to an end. Costa Rica had really become a home to me and leaving beautiful Central America was almost as hard as leaving my beloved Trinidad on my first trip to the US.
My last day in Costa Rica was an emotional one. My host family had problems of their own but still managed to keep it together in order to give me a very special dinner and farewell. Their kindness and unselfish ways were part of the reason I really enjoyed my time in Costa Rica. Not only did this family open their house to me but they let me into their home. From babysitting my host brothers to occasionally cooking dinner, I always felt like I was actually a member of their family. They introduced me to nearly all of their relatives and went above and beyond in terms of hospitality. If I had to suggest one thing to someone going abroad it would be to form a bond with your host family. Have conversations with them, surprise them from time to time with small gifts, and treat them as if they were your real parents or real siblings.
Before I stepped on the bus to leave the town of Puntarenas my host family stopped me. My host mom put her hand in mine and gave me a key. My host dad then explained that it was the key to the front door of the house. They said that I could return to Puntarenas anytime I wanted and would have a place to stay at their house. Back in my soft days I would have cried, but now hard and experienced, I just looked up to the sky and avoided the tears from leaking out. This exchange was truly symbolic of the relationship I formed with this family. To be honest I cannot picture my future without seeing them again.
My trip to Costa Rica has afforded me the opportunity to take a step outside of my hectic life in the States and recognize the more important things and the things about myself that I need to change. Sometimes we are too busy to actually think, and living what the Costa Ricans call ‘pura vida’ for the last four months has allowed me to approach obstacles in a very calm way. I feel rejuvenated and ready to take on my senior year at Davidson. I formed some great bonds in Costa Rica and I know that my friends there will be awaiting news from me in the future. The thought that a group of people cares for you is enough to produce a motivation within that inspires one to live a life that revolves around making these people proud to be associated with you. Knowing that someone stands with you through the good and bad inspires you to live for the good. “Para siempre” I will remember this far away family and “para siempre” I will carry with me the lessons learnt on our journey together these last four months ... “Gracias por todo,” and thank you Davidson for giving me the opportunity to experience this eventful semester abroad.