Four days ago, I returned from five weeks abroad in Costa Rica. On Sunday, Costa Rica beat Greece to qualify for quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup. As the game was playing, I was unpacking, and trying to make myself fruit frescas just as my host family did, wishing I could hear the car horns and people yelling back in San Jose. The city would be in uproar about the game, and I wanted to see that.
Before I went abroad, I didn’t consider how it would feel to come back– I was more tired than anything else. I was still thinking in Spanish. When the O’Hare Airport Customs Officials spoke in English, I was taken aback, and then I couldn’t stop laughing; I was relieved, happy, sad, nostalgic for the country I had just came from. For several months before leaving, “Costa Rica” was what I told people when they asked how I would spend my summer, and it was something I was constantly planning for: I need to get rain boots for Costa Rica. Will they have the kind of tooth paste I use in Costa Rica? What if I don’t understand the bus system in San Jose? Now that it’s over, it is as if a milestone has passed.
Costa Rica was not my first time out of the country, but it was the first time I traveled alone, as well as lived for a longer period of time outside of the United States. I don’t know how prepared I was for that. It was the little things that proved to be challenging– navigating a grocery store or asking for directions to my bus stop. Now that I’m home, I see those aspects of travel everywhere, and I am immensely grateful both to be home and to have had the opportunity to live abroad. I couldn’t have picked a better country. When my host family dropped me off at the airport, my mother said “Nos vemos”– we will see each other again. And I genuinely hope she is right.
Thank you for taking this journey with me! Until we see eachother again,
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">I'm Dorothy Moore, a recently-declared Geography and Education Studies major at Macalester College. I am originally from Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago, so I am most comfortable in cities with public transportation, bike routes, and corner coffee shops. My favorite words are wanderlust (love of travel) and fervent (having great intensity of spirit) and I try to live with them as guiding principles. I love to read and write, and I am always looking for a new story to tell. I don't know where I'm headed, but for now, I'm happy just exploring.</span></p>