El tiempo vuela rápido

So thanks to Best Buy and their subscription services and dumb automatic renewal shit, I am now down to my last $70 or so. And in a few days, lovely TCF will be doing their routine out-of-U.S. ATM checks and deducting another $40 from my account, which in effect means that at the moment I am very very dirt poor and will be nearly destitute in about a week. Not quite sure how I’m supposed to get through my last few weeks in Costa Rica on such meager funds. My financial situation in general has dipped from terrible to terribly preposterous to the point where I can’t even cry about it anymore, I just laugh pitifully at myself. Oh dear.

I have about three weeks left in this country. That’s three weeks left to enjoy all the following:

  • open container drinking in the streets
  • Cacique and Flor de Caña (hands down the greatest rum in the world)
  • Musmanni, Taco Loco, La Casa de la Hamburguesa, Bulevar pizza, and all the other food joints I’ve fallen in love with here
  • hearing reggaeton, salsa and merengue nonstop at all the bars/clubs/discos
  • steady 80 degree weather during the day (summer’s just started here, how insane is that)
  • my host mom’s FABULOUS cooking…SIGH
  • going to the beach! On either coast! Clear blue waters! Black sand! White sand!
  • Tico men (errrr hahaha…)

The list is endless, as you can imagine. I am not ready to leave Costa Rica. I am not ready to leave Central America. Whilst I am eager to reunite with familyfriendsandlovedonesyadayada and eat all my favorite delicious American foods again (oh, you can be SURE I have a list ready), I am not eager to leave my newfound favorite vacation destination. I am not eager to return to a life of stress and fast pace and go-go-go. In Costa Rica, we say “Pura vida” and “Tranquilo.” Basically, chill. Do I really have to leave all that?

So I’ve been meaning to document all my weekend trips and such on this blog, but as you can clearly see that has not happened. The last week in particular was particularly near-epic. My gringo friends and I trekked to Monteverde, a tourist nature/adventure-type town up in the mountains, first. After a day of exploring treetops and walking on some scary-ass suspension bridges, we resumed our drinking habits at night. Our next stop afterward was La Fortuna, another tourist town north of Monteverde and located right by Arenal Lake (it’s so strange to be saying that in English) and the Arenal volcano. There we frolicked, quite literally, in some waterfalls. It was glorious. The Thanksgiving break ended at the beach at Samara, yet another tourist town on the Pacific coast. I think I might have sunburned my right eyelid.

Alas, if only I had my dumbass camera with me to document it all. Further documentation of the past 3 months will have to continue at another time.

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

It’s already August, WTF?

So I have less than a month here in the United States before I jet off to Costa Rica for a good four months. My feelings? Very mixed. A veritable melting pot of emotions, one swirling after the other and wisps of it emanating from time to time. Alright, enough with the wordiness, but one thing’s for sure.

I’m just not (entirely) ready yet.

Naturally, I’m not too surprised at this conclusion. I’ve never been ready to do anything no matter how excited I may have gotten for it in the past, save for that glorious day when I finally left for college three years ago (three years? How?!). I’m never ready to leave Champaign when the school year ends, I’m never ready to leave Bartlett when the school year (or semester) is about to start up again, I’m never ready for anything.

Sometimes I question my decision to stay in Champaign this summer. I don’t regret it at all, but I do think about how things may have played out if I hadn’t stayed here and just went back to the suburbs. I’ve actually never been more than ready to leave Champaign (I’m in need of the hustle and bustle that is Chicagoland), but the idea that I won’t actually be coming back for the fall semester is a little jarring. I know I’ve always said that I’m meant to study abroad, I need to get out of this country, I need something to jolt my life back into that feeling of excitement and awe of the future…but I never expected to get so comfortable with the people I managed to surround myself with this summer.

But I guess before I can even think about saying good-bye, I should get some work done. And by some work I met a shitload of work.

Nothing lasts forever

Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of music from my adolescent years. Replaying all my old CDs (Avril Lavigne’s Let Go and Hoobastank’s The Reason in particular), YouTubing “classics” from when I was an angst-ridden 14-year-old just trying to figure out what was going on with my life… And you know what I realized? I’m not just reliving memories and moods from my younger years — I think I’m actually living them again. Is this how life’s going to be? Cycles of emotion, change, experience, everything that goes along with the territory of being a human being over and over again?

The past 3 or 4 days have felt like a vacation for some reason. I’m not sure I’m ready to go back to another week of classes and homework and living day to day as if a bomb was ticking off somewhere. My internship interview last Friday went really well. I totally wasn’t expecting it to be a breeze, especially considering my low self-esteem and history of rejection. But I hit it off with my two interviewers (at least, that’s what I thought), and hopefully something good will come out of it in the coming week or so.

Life seems to have steadied itself for the time being. Being at home this weekend was refreshingly and surprisingly therapeutic. It was one of those ordinary, plain kind of weekends at home that you know you should cherish because they come so sparingly nowadays. I bought my brother Final Fantasy XIII for his birthday, and it looks so wicked but at the same time made me feel super nostalgic for the more classic PS/2 games (VII-X). Which gives me an idea. I have VIII with me here at school…

When I got back last night, I found out my roommates had bought a bottle of Bacardi 151. I was sincerely shocked.

They wanted to make a certain drink that Amanda found out about recently, and the 151 was one of the ingredients. That was OK with me, but apparently they didn’t realize that that particular Bacardi was FLAMMABLE with an alcohol content of 75.5%! I don’t know how we’re ever going to finish it. I can’t even fathom the idea of taking a shot of it straight up.