Here I Go Again…
As you´ve all probably figured out from previous writing, I´m not a huge fan of goodbyes and this morning was no exception. At 8am I boarded a shuttle to Tamarindo and waved goodbye to Annie, Katie, Tasha, Matt, and Leif, having seen off Tom yesterday. I felt a little choked up as I took my place by the window, knowing that I was now on my own for the next two weeks, and getting closer to returning home. The past three weeks of volunteering have opened my eyes to so much, from learning about different cultures to seeing how hard true manual labor can be, and I don´t think I was quite ready to let it end. I cannot wait to come home just to post the pictures to share with you all of the amazing people I´ve met and work I´ve done… “Your heart will melt.”
To be honest, I also welcomed the daily distraction of working and socializing… it was the break I needed from reality and gave me time to sort out what I really wanted to do when I returned to the States.
I stared out the window for a LONG time today, as the car ride from Monteverde to Tamarindo lasted about four hours. To be fair, the first hour and a half I sat rather nauseous… the unpaved roads in Costa Rica are a nightmare on the digestive system, but after the first stop we ventured onto some main highways and it was slightly smoother. A huge smile was brought to my face when we got out at the rest stop and I was greeted by a tree full of toucans and two monkeys! I saw more wildlife on my way to pee than I did in the whole Monteverde Cloud Forest, but hey, that´s life.
Once we hit the main highway drag the ride got a little smoother, and I was able to focus more on the beautiful scenery whirling past. The one thing that really strikes me here is the sky… it comes in two dimensions. The first, flat layer of sky sits like a painting, bright blue hues dusted with light strokes of clouds against the horizon. The second layer jumps out at you like a 3D movie, huge puffs of white cotton that dangle mid-air, inviting you to come play. Sometimes, on rainy days, they just sweep right over you like you´re an airplane buzzing through the sky.
At orientation three weeks ago they spoke of “culture shock,” warning us that we were bound to experience it at some point during our projects and living with the families. I never really felt it until I arrived in Tamarindo this afternoon. As I stood in my hostel room, the multiple beds and buzzing sound of roommates being replaced by a single bed and a collection of ants and mosquitoes to keep me company, I suddenly felt very alone. I walked down to the beach and stared out at the Pacific for awhile, and then perched myself in a hammock and laid for about three hours, watching the sky go from blue to grey to pink and eventually, black.
Thoughts of the past few months swirled through my mind, as I focused on my latest decision and where life would go next. It´s frustrating sometimes to be constantly starting over, feeling like nothing you try seems to stick and the problems you think you are leaving behind find their way of sneaking up on you at your weakest moments. A friend tonight pointed out to me that sometimes hearts are not meant to heal… that a scar stays with you forever and its how you choose to protect it and cover it up that helps you move on. I am a firm believer in seeing the best in people, and if nothing else I believe this trip has helped me open my mind and my heart to new possibilities and friendships with people I would have never expected. It has also brightened my eyes to a huge world that exists outside of New York City, and has me looking to spending more time watching sunsets than the sunrises that I´m used to.
So here I go again on my own… maybe a change of coasts will bring me closer to home.