You all, I have a confession to make.
You ready? It’s a big one.
I haven’t left Monteverde since I came here. Over two months ago.
I know! Crazy, right? (Ok. Not as crazy as all of the confessions in my last post, but still.)
I love to travel. I love to experience life in different places, but I am also very much a homebody. I like routine. I like familiarity. I like a certain degree of permanence.
Which is why I think these past few months have been so good for me. I’ve gotten the best of both worlds. A new culture, new language, new people, new climate, but also routine, familiarity, and permanence, all at once. I’ve been able to do new things, eat new foods, say new words, but still return to the same family and same bed every night.
And to be honest, I am so happy I chose this study abroad experience over the typical one of studying at a foreign university and traveling to new places every weekend. Not going to lie, the latter would have been so awesome and sometimes I’m a little jealous of my friends that get to do that (I want to go to Amsterdam for the weekend!), but if I were to have chosen an experience like that, I would have felt like a leaf blowing in the wind for months. I never would have been able to lay down my roots, and feel like I was firmly planted in the place where I came. I would never have been able to go for runs through town and, without fail, have at least three groups of people I know say hi to me. I never would have been able to know which stores always have chocolate chips, which ones occasionally stock them, and which ones never have them. I never would have been able to know which five of the students in my class are cousins with each other and with my host family. I never would have been to end up at the surprise birthday party for the town priest, or win $30 when I was last in a race. I never would have been able to walk down the street, and have voices call out, “Hi Christina!” from a tree (I love teaching first graders).
I would have just been another tourist, another foreigner, another gringo passing through. And while I very much hold all of those different identities, at least I am not passing through quite as quickly. I least I am building up relationships, experiences, and knowledge that I never would built if I hadn’t spent this much time in a small town.
Tomorrow I’ll be heading to Nicaragua for five days to renew my visa and see some new sights, but after that, I’ll be back here for another two months, and I’m so excited.
Runs, lesson plans, meals, Quaker meetings, interviews, observations notes, platanos… life here has a lot of charm. If only I didn’t miss Chester, Philadelphia, and Minnesota quite so much.