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“¿Qué es lo que se pierde al cruzar una frontera? Cada momento parece partido en dos, melancolía por lo que queda atrás y por otro lado, todo el entusiasmo por entrar en tierras nuevas“.

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What do we leave behind when we cross each frontier? Each moment seems split in two; melancholy for what was left behind and the excitement of entering a new land” ~ Ernesto ‘Ché’ Guevara

An earthquake, dancing on the beach and in grocery store aisles, awkward patches of sunburnt skin, scorpions, a toad in the shower, jumping off a cliff into a freezing cold waterfall, a rodeo, 4am fireworks, riding in the back of a pickup squished between foreign friends and a surfboard, paddle-boarding to the tiny island filled with beautiful hermit crabs, getting a beating from the rip tide, helmetless motorcycle rides down dirt roads, motorcycle burns, tropical rain storms, zip-lining through the mountains in Monteverde, melting into a hundred different sunsets and accumulating a thousand more memories.

The first couple of days in Costa Rica, I had a lot of doubts, and a lot of demons. The heat swallowed me whole and spit me out. I yelled at my American anxiety on the porch one Saturday morning and told it to go to hell. I wasn’t there to worry. My Costa Rican life slowly got better and better after that. Every day little miracles began happening…sloshing through the rain-forest, photographing Rio Celeste and vipers, making local friends, exploring volcanic land, wiping mud all over me and jumping into a river, salsa dancing the night away, “working” for half an hour at our favorite bar, seeing howler monkeys in the street, iguanas climbing trees, running into new friends on every street, being invited to dine with Argentinians.. feeling like I was transported there over my mushroom pizza, even sitting in my hammock on my lovely little hotel apartment patio with the fat cat napping underneath me felt like a mini-miracle. I was so alive. and I was so damn grateful. I was, to sum it up…content.

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I cried when I left. It wasn’t so much hard to leave Costa Rica as it was to leave behind my feeling of peace I found there. I didn’t cry because I wanted to stay, I cried because I didn’t want to leave.. the experience..the freedom…the pura vida. I teared up on the shuttle ride to Liberia…. then again in the airport…in the airplane. The happiness I acquired there was well appreciated and dare I say well deserved.

Coming back felt like hitting a wall. My pura vida life could only live on in my head and my heart…because to an extent, this sort of sentiment has a shelf life. Freedom like that doesn’t fit in in this city or in this North American culture. I am so happy that it re-opened my eyes though…because now I remember what it’s like to be free, now I remember that life doesn’t have to be “this way”, now I remember that I can change it again anytime I want. I remember how to find the open door.

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