This is a response to a question I received earlier: “What’s Costa Rica like?”
Costa Rica is my paradise. It is the most beautiful place in the world. <3 Haha well, I’m biased obviously. But I’ll give you a little idea of what it’s like through my eyes: In the evening, as a child, you’ll run around your neighborhood on a hill, chasing fireflies with all your friends and catching them in little jars, and then set them free again. Every morning, you wake up to the sound of a river and the most beautiful birdsong you will ever hear. When you walk outside, you feel free and refreshed; the air is clean, and the temperature’s perfect. Your neighbor smiles and waves at you, cheerfully says “Good morning!” and asks you how you’re doing. Almost anywhere you go, you’ll probably bump into somebody you know, and next thing you know, you’ll have spent two hours talking to them about everything. At school, no one cares if you wear makeup, if you’re gay, how much money you have, or whatever. You’ll make true friends here, whom you’ll have for the rest of your life. When school is out for the day, you’ll probably stick around a little because you actually love it and everyone who teaches and goes there, and maybe you’ll play some soccer with your friends. When you’re ready to leave, you’ll either be crammed in the back of a pickup truck with a bunch of your closest friends, the ones you’ve had since elementary school, or you’ll bike home, but on the way you’ll stop by your favorite bakery to pick up a loaf of bread because the baker makes the best bread you’ve ever tasted. He’ll say “Good day!” and smile at you. You’ll visit the pet shop next door to play with the puppies, and the boy who works there will shyly attempt to flirt with you, and like everyone else, he will smile at you. On Friday, after school, you’ll head to the beach in a caravan of family and friends, cars and vans and pickup trucks loaded with coolers and snacks and games and everyone will be taking pictures with the locals and your dog will be running up and down the coast and be the happiest its ever been. You’ll camp out and huddle close around a bonfire, sharing stories and reminiscing on all the memories you share. You won’t have a care in the world, because you love the world and the world loves you. (By this point, I’ve started to cry. Sorry this has taken so long to answer, it’s hard for me to.) If you’re lucky, you’ll all get to witness a volcano erupt, and its explosion will be beautiful and unforgettable. But, you won’t go before you stop by the pizzeria and pick up the best pizza you will have ever eaten. The pizzeria is right next door to the bakery, and the pet shop. The owner makes and delivers the pizza himself, and after all these years of you being a regular, he knows what you want before you order it so it’s already ready after school. But most importantly, he’s become your friend. He even attends your birthday parties. And as a gift, he’ll bring boxes and boxes of your favorite pizza.
Someone you meet and fall hard for will treat you like royalty and even if you move away, they’ll stay your friend for the rest of your life. They’ll always send you letters and comment on your pictures on Facebook, and tell you they miss you, but they’ll be happy that you’re with someone else and you’re living a good life in the fast lane in a city in a faraway country.
You’ll have to have left your dog behind with your old neighbors, because you know she wouldn’t be happy any place else. Every time you come back to Costa Rica, you’ll visit her, and every single time, although she’s grown old and has almost completely lost her sight and hearing, she’ll know you’re there, and she’ll run to you, jump on you, lick your face, and love you, like you never left. You’ll visit all your friends, and they’ll all want to know every detail of your life. Everyone will want to see you, and everyone will want to hear your stories, compliment your looks, admire your feats, and gush over your new relationship with a boy. Whenever you leave, your heart will sink to the depths of your soul, and every day of your life that you’re away from home, for the rest of your life, you will miss it and be terribly homesick. I promise you. But every time you get on a plane, every hour you’re in the air and every second you’re running through that airport to be released into your freedom…it’s the most powerful, exhilarating feeling. This I promise you, too.
After a few years of this, you’ll grow tired of your mundane life in the fast track, in a city of strangers, in a cement jungle under a starless sky…and you’ll long to be home. And each time you come back, that exhilarating feeling will only come back stronger. A thirst, forever unquenched. By this time the pizza man will have lost his battle with cancer, and your fifteen-year old dog will have been buried on the hill. Your favorite teachers will have retired. But you will return to your school, and your house on the hill, and the bakery, and the beach and the forest and the river and your friends will have never changed because
» Jan 5,2012
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