With only seven days, two exams and one suitcase to pack up, my days in Costa Rica are coming to an end. Luckily, my friends and I have decided to make the most of it by dubbing our final week “Fun Week.”
Featured photograph (right): My friends and I at the top of Cerro de la Muerte, the third tallest point in Costa Rica.
Before “Fun Week” began, I went through what I would call “hell week.” With 2 exams, 2 papers and 1 presentation all in Spanish, I was constantly studying since my usual technique of “winging it” wouldn’t work with the language barrier. However, I managed to complete all of it with the help of copious amounts of caffeine, chocolate and sheer dumb luck.
With all that in the past, I can now focus on truly saying good-bye to Costa Rica, tica style. Unfortunately, my traveling days are over after the previous weekend’s last hurrah in Montezuma, but I think staying in Heredia— the small city where I’ve gone to school, slept and ate for the past 5 months— is the perfect way to end my Costa Rican adventures.
Since there is so much to do and so little time, my friends and I compiled a list of “Fun Week” activities, which includes:
- finally buying gifts/souvenirs for the family
- drinking coffee outside a local coffee shop while flipping through magazines
- hitting up the pool to touch up our tans
- getting crepes
- and many more.
This may seem like a list that could apply for any student studying abroad, but it’s so generic because we’ve already done so much. I zip lined across the rainforest in Monteverde, rode a banana boat in Manuel Antonio, watched turtles almost lay eggs in Playa Ostional and climbed to the third largest viewpoint in Costa Rica. These amazing, “once in a lifetime” experiences now seem normal to me while ordinary activities have become exciting, such as going to the movies.
This doesn’t make me jaded or immune to the wonders of the world, but merely ready to go home. As a military brat, I’ve traveled around the world and experienced some amazing things— riding an elephant in Singapore, watching Pope John Paul II speak in Rome, boogie-boarding in Hawaii— and many more.
But what I haven’t done is experience my own culture in my own country. I’ve never tried true Southern food, gone tailgating or attend a Fourth of July parade. And while I’ve seen the world, I’ve seen very little of the United States.
So after living in Asia, Europe and Latin America, I’m ready (and excited) to live in the U.S. and finally do normal things. I’m grateful for the experiences and memories I have, but as Dorothy would say— “there’s no place like home.”