Whether it is something commercial, such as Hooters or McDonalds, the relational nature of people, or the simple interactions that make us quirky as individuals – some things are noticeably universal. For someone who has never left the United States, I had no idea what to expect from this place. The differences that are so apparent (ex. language) are so minute compared to the nature that brings us together. I am living in a house with an elderly woman who does not speak any English, and she is also lending her home to three other students from Peru, Japan, and central Costa Rica. Once upon a time, I heard a the phrase, “Growth is always two steps outside of your comfort zone,” and that could not be more true. The diversity that should separate us appears to be bringing us together, and as we strive to learn more about each other, we grow.
This house has a summer camp feel to it, and the area is much different than any I have ever experienced. We can clearly hear the sounds of cars, dogs, and sirens from outside our thin walls, but I have never felt more at home in a place that was not my own. My tica mother, Doña Noemy, cooked a delectable meal of arroz con pollo with beans and vegetables. Many of her family members came to visit, and it reminded me of my own in that her ten year old grandson played video games while we were eating (my little brother in a nutshell). Afterwards, the other residents went upstairs to do work, and I joined – providing a much needed distraction. In my conversations with Angie, the student from central Costa Rica, I have become gradually more excited about the adventures and experiences that are possible in this place.
Here I sit at terminal D11 thinking about all that I will be leaving behind in America, and the greatest experience of my life that I am hours away from encountering. It has already been an eventful day to say the least. I stayed with my cousin last night in Charlotte, NC to make my travel for the day a bit easier. When we arrived at the airport today, we stepped into the elevator, and as the doors closed a repairman says, “We’ve been having some trouble with this elevator today.” Not exactly what we wanted to hear, but a few jittery bumps upward landed us at check-in. I sent my last “See you soon” texts and calls, handed my phone off to my cousin, and ventured through security. Taylor Swift and Tyrone Wells have been keeping me company with some good tunes while I wait for other students to arrive at the gate – I guess I was the only one who got the memo to arrive four hours early :).
I’m counting down the days before I leave for Costa Rica – anxious would be an understatement as to how I am feeling right now. I’m bracing myself for a huge culture shock since I have never left the country, but I am excited beyond words. I am truly passionate about people, so to have the opportunity to immerse myself in another country’s customs is going to be an phenomenal experience.
What I know about my future homestay:
1) I’ll be living with an elderly woman who apparently is an amazing cook, and her daughter who is a disk jockey.
2) The entire second floor is meant for students studying abroad, so I may be living with peers from Spain, Italy, or France as well!
Follow this link to view the number of days that I have left in the country!