Pura Vida, Broken Phones, and Real Living

“Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport.”

Another week has passed here in Costa Rica, and what a week it has been.  This time, sitting down to blog, I hardly know where to start.  Every day here feels like about five.  If you’ve ever had one of those days where, at the end of it, someone mentions something you did that morning and your reaction is “Wait. I thought that was like two days ago!”…well, that’s how it is here.  Every. Single. Day.

This last week was an intense one, in many ways.  It definitely brought the transition from tourist to student.  I have Spanish for four hours every morning and an intercultural communications class in the afternoons.  Plus, on top of it, I started my service learning last week. I had homework in both classes every day…including a forty-five minute presentation for intercultural communications.  Then, on Tuesday, my iPhone, which had been struggling for the past week, decided that it didn’t want to function any more.  So, I’m phoneless, which also means cameraless–the part that is by far the more frustrating.  I hit a point of exhaustion with the language for the first time.  And two days after we got back from our time at a volcano, my legs are still pretty scraped up (allbeit rather more tan), and every time I try to take the stairs, my muscles are convinced they’re being asked to perform some new type of torture.  All that in a week.  But so, so much more.

This week, I got to spend time praying with prostitutes on the streets of this incredible city and seeing what Jesus is up to right here in San Jose.  I survived mid-terms.  I explored more of this new city and began to have deeper conversations with those around me–both in Spanish and English.  I HIKED A VOLCANO, had a too close for comfort encounter with a jumping pit viper, salsa danced, and explored the city.  I swam in a hidden rainforest lagoon.  I spent an entire weekend waking up to the breathtaking views of the rainforest.  I swam in hot springs and went down some of the most fantastic water slides ever.  I’ve continued to love the food.  My mama tica is an incredible cook.  Not having my phone has forced me to push myself in new ways and get out of my comfort zone at a totally different level.  We found a Starbucks (don’t judge, sometimes, we all need a taste of home…), and for the record, their drinks are wayyyy better here.  I’ve expanded my Spanish vocabulary, made new friends, and now flag down taxis and cross the hectic streets without batting an eye.  It still feels like a dream.  I wake up every morning and have to remind myself this is real life for me, right now.  I feel so beyond blessed to be here.

The Costa Rican mantra is “pura vida”… pure life, or life purely.  That’s truly how they live…and it’s teaching me a lot.  I’m learning to let go and roll with the punches.  How to value the postives in American culture (like how we sure know how to get things done) but to also recognize that I need to slow down more and appreciate the simple things in life.   Pura vida. Costa Rica doesn’t give you a choice… you can fight it, but you’ll be miserable. Or, you can let yourself embrace it and go into every day, basically knowing that nothing is going to be the way you planned it.  It will, however, be a breathtaking adventure that will challenge and grow you in ways you never expected.

Pura Vida,



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