A short collection of pointless quotations

Amongst the inside jokes my friends and I are continually forming during our time abroad here:

“It feels like I’m walking on…rocks.”
“That’s because…we are?”

“I’m totally not as sloppy as her!”

“I feel like Angelina on MVP night.”

“It’s the bread before the bread.”

“Hey guys, so what’s your 5-year plan?”

“But why is the rum gone?”

“She sounds like a man!”

“I made out with four guys in the past 24 hours!”

“You speak six languages? You must have a good tongue.”

“I’m going to fuck the guts out of that girl.”

“No soy un color!”

“I feel like a Chilean miner in here.”

“Shots on the corner, weed in the park.”

ETA: This recent one just HAD to be added in:

“This is my fucking country. I’m a cowboy!”

Someday I’ll be coming home

I’m learning that homesickness exists in various forms. It was a concept I never really understood until sophomore year of college, and even then I was only feeling homesick for Chicago area things, such as Jewel Osco and the ABC7 news. My family I missed on occasion, for sure, but I knew I would be seeing them at least once every month or so.

My first week here in Costa Rica was filled with an emotionally powerful kind of homesickness that I had trouble washing away. At the time, I was not ready to say good-bye whatsoever to several people. Those first couple of weeks were extremely difficult to get through (as evidenced by some of my earlier posts) but eventually I settled. And now I think I’m finding myself faced with another version of this thing called homesickness.

The last time I was in the Chi, *sniff sniff*

It’s the little things I miss, little things that eventually become so profound in my head I have to bury them somewhere so that I don’t start bursting into crying fits again. When my parents left for Las Vegas and California almost two weeks ago for a short vacay, I paused on the routine calling and e-mail texting because I figured they would be busy. But eventually my mother started sending me frantic Facebook messages, all of which essentially begged me to give them a call to let them know I was still alive (they weren’t too happy when I told them I had gone to Nicaragua for the weekend). Annoyed by her persistence, I held off on the demanded phone call until yesterday afternoon.

That was when I realized that perhaps it would be better for me to not speak to my parents so much after all. Hearing my real dad’s voice as it recalled their Hollywood-filled trip out west was a little jarring and unexpectedly painful. Particularly because I could still hear my host parents elsewhere in the house, chatting away in Spanish. As much as I admire and appreciate my host parents for being the wonderful people they are, I am definitely starting to miss my own.

I miss hearing words exchanged in Tagalog, not Spanish. I miss eating rice and adobo for every meal, not rice and beans. Hell, I even miss hearing the sounds of TFC and “Wowowee” coming from the television instead of “Bailando por un Sueño” or something of the sort.

And if it wasn’t for the fact that more people communicate to me now through Facebook Chat instead of AIM, I would probably have tried to deactivate my profile at some point in this trip to avoid seeing the statuses and updates of friends back home. Facebook has become so crucial for me and my American friends here in Costa Rica, and yet at the same time it kills me whenever I see pictures of groups of friends that don’t include me in them.

Clearing the air

It’s hard to believe that I’ve only been here in Costa Rica for almost a week. I have so many emotions rolling through me right now I don’t quite know how to handle them. Admittedly, I didn’t come here with the best attitude. There were just so many things about the end of my summer that had upset me so much, and even right now I can’t help but still feel so angry thinking about them. I was so upset and disappointed in a lot of people. It was my last month at home, my birthday month, and it felt like nobody gave a shit. No one tried to hang out or talk with me, nor did a lot of people show up to either of my birthday/going away parties. Some might say that things like that can’t be helped; people were busy, couldn’t make it, etc. But I still can’t help but feel like I don’t mean anything at all to a lot of people. No matter how much fun people think I am, no matter how much effort I put into being a good friend, it still feels like nobody has ever bothered to do the same. Year after year.

My last visit to Champaign was a joke and a waste, nor was my last day at home the peaceful worry-free good-bye it should have been. My birthday was even more of a joke. I don’t know anyone who’s ever had to deal with having a birthday the day after landing in a completely foreign country, but let me tell you it is not fun. As nice as my host family was in making me a small card, cake and everything, it hurt not being around people who could have made it even more special. Although I don’t know why I think that would have been possible; my birthday has always been a fucking joke and sometimes I feel like I should just erase it from the calendar because it’s pointless.

And I can’t believe that I’m seriously writing about all this when I should be retelling every adventure so far of this study abroad experience. Guess I just needed to clear the air first so I can really enjoy my time here in Costa Rica without all this bullshit lingering in my mind. Hasta luego…

Valle de Orosi

I just want to be happy

“I could stand by the side and watch this life pass me by.” – Leona Lewis

I swore that I would never be one of those people to agonize over lists of New Year’s resolutions because I always thought those kinds of people were just crocks. So you want to improve your life, why is it you only take the time to evaluate and suggest improvements whenever the calendar year changes? Life resolutions should be made and implemented when you create them, when you feel that your life is due for some changes. And most of the time, New Year’s resolutions are all the same. They’re all attempts to repeat the failed resolutions of previous years. Lose weight, take better control of finances. Really, that’s it.

Well, now I guess I’m going to have to swallow what I just said because I’ve come to realize that I do indeed have my own set of resolutions to lay out for me to accomplish. They’re not all necessarily goals I quickly conceived just for this, but rather life propositions that have gradually come about that I shall continue to adhere to in an attempt to find that elusive happiness. Or even simple contentment, that’s all I’m looking for.

Love, cherish, and honor my family

This is something I think I’ve subconsciously set out to do in recent years. I’m straying away from my hostile adolescent ways and trying more to keep this household together. It’s not a role I think I chose or was dealt with. It is just something I have to do. I want my parents to be OK, I want my brothers to grow up and be happy, prosperous people. I’m finding that the more I’ve been getting older, the more dependent I become on the well-being of my family. I don’t know where I would be without them, and I don’t know how I could function if I knew they weren’t happy. I’m not sure if I’m even explaining this right, but all I know is that I’m learning (and really trying) to be less selfish. At least, I hope that’s what I’m doing.

Be a better writer

When I decided to become an English major, it was because I simply liked to read books. I have never nurtured a serious desire to write poetry or critically acclaimed works of literature. I lack the creative drive to try and inspire the world with my words of wit. I never wanted to become a high school English teacher. I just like getting lost in different worlds, transporting myself to a universe that was different from my own. I still think books — plain, sheets of paper bound together, an object those electronic devices could never replace — have such a unique, raw power to make me feel anything. While I’m not going to go so far as to say that my goal this year is to actually get on the grind and write a novel, I want to learn to better express myself. I want to be a better blogger and write more than just about how tired and cranky I am. I want to write more short stories and see if maybe there’s a creative spark somewhere in there.

If there’s one book that I read in 2009 that stood out to me the most, it was Zadie Smith’s White Teeth. I had to read it for one of my English classes last semester, and I was just floored at how this woman’s writing struck me. Everything we talked about from that novel was literally everything I have thought about and mused about. Every topic was something I had never dreamed of dissecting in a contemporary novel. And to think, she started writing that book when she was my age. This year, I want to develop my words. I want to learn to actually, profoundly, and seriously write.

Redefine all my notions of friendship

This is something that I have literally been struggling with my entire life. I’m not sure if I’m good at having friends. I don’t know who I can truly trust with my feelings and innermost thoughts. If I’m not being paid enough attention to, I hide away and channel my anger through some other means. This isn’t to say that I’m never surrounded by people I have fun with. I truly believe that I’m good at being friendly. I’ve always prided myself on being one of those people you could trust your darkest, deepest secrets with, because you know that I’ll always be listening. I guess, if anything, I feel as if I focus too much on being a good friend to others that I don’t know if I know how to have others be good friends to me. It is extremely difficult for me to open up to people, for me to place my trust in others. I’m not the type of person who calls someone up in the middle of the day so that I can vent for the next three hours. If you show no interest in my life, I won’t share it with you. I’m so self-conscious about others not caring to know what is going on in my life, that I never let them get a chance to. I’m almost certain that this is a large reason why I’ve never been in any kind of serious relationship before. I think this is the resolution that is going to be the hardest for me to even think about. I’ll be the first to admit it, I have this huge, gigantic solid wall surrounding me that I don’t know how to break down. And it is my hope that someday, in the future, I will discover how it can be taken down bit by bit.

I think I might still be a little buzzed

The weirdest thing just happened. I was listening to my iTunes in shuffle mode when all of a sudden I heard Jennifer Lopez blaring out. Now, I do have a couple of her CDs and I do like her music. I had the song in question on my iPod at one point, I know that. But I’m pretty sure I removed it from my iTunes a long time ago. And I’m extremely curious as to how it made a reappearance on my computer — when I just performed a Dell PC Restore a few days ago and had to completely reinstall my iTunes. Odd.

Today was such a random, fun day. After work, my friend Kathy and I decided we wanted to go laser tagging. So we got a couple of others to join us and headed towards Laser X. Played a few games, drank some jager in-between. After we were done laser tagging, we were driving back onto Lake Street when there were two police cars stopped on the street, their lights flashing. One of them, a really young mischievous looking one, looked at us and jokingly shouted out, “Put your seat belts on!” It was hilarious. And then while we were waiting in the left turn lane, the cars finally turned their flashing lights off and pulled up to the right lane next to us. That same cop this time looked at us again jokingly, and made that “I’ve got my eye on you” gesture. The cops were acting more crazy than we were!

Later, we were just sitting at the park, beyond the soccer fields by my house, drinking some more jager when a couple of people biked by. They seemed older, and the guy pulled up first. He announced himself as Officer Scrappy and jokingly asked what we were doing: if we were smoking up, if we had vodka on us, the like. At first I was wondering if he was an actual bike cop, but then we saw the can of “barely beer” (that’s what he told us) in his hands and he continued to laugh at the randomness of it all.

Wow. Why is it I alwayss end up blogging in the wee hours of the morning?