Thursday, June 9, 2011


The early morning sun cast its celestial rays over the endless expanse of mismatched, corrugated, tin roofs. As I lifted off the ground with my dog safely tucked in the compartment below me, I soaked it all in for the very last last glimpse of this significant country and its people that has left an indelible mark on my soul as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I breathed it all in, and said my final farewell.

Days earlier I had said farewell to my community of Copey. It was there that I spent two years and made a mark - or a dent, as least, I had hoped. Afterall, that's why we embark on such adventures, right? - to somehow make a mark, and of course, marks are made on us...the place and the people always ends up leaving a deeper mark on us. These marks are often hard to conceptualize, ambiguous and hard to see. Rather, I think they are more felt. When I went house to house to the important people in my community to say farewell and enjoy our last cafecitos together, I knew by the tears, the sentiments spoken, the comfortable connections, the open invitations for return, that marks has been made.

As I look back on this freshly completed experience, I wonder if I was successful? Is this the point of Peace Corps? To be successful? Or to fulfill the 27-months of service to JFK's liking? Well, perhaps. But I know that I can say that I leave this experience behind (while taking it much of with me, of course) with 100% satisfaction and have no regrets. And while it was largely about the work and the collaboration on projects, it was most importantly for me about the relationships formed. I will never forget the extended embrace of the father of one family I became close with. How his love for me - a mere stranger just two years earlier - exuded from his arms as we said a tearful goodbye. And the mother. And their son. It still makes me incredibly sad......over a month of being back home.

Now I move forward and on from this experience, carrying with me the important provisions - changed, fearless, stronger, zero regrets. Where I will go, I don't yet know. Much like two years and three months ago, I once again step into terra incognita. And I'm pretty darn sure I can face anything that will come my way, just a little bit stronger...

Thanks for following along and stopping by my journey, readers!!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Signed, Sealed, Delivered.

Today as I relinquished my Peace Corps ID that has served as my entire identity for the past 26 months, it hit me - I'm movin' on. And as I left the Peace Corps office after saying some serious heartfelt goodbyes, it also hit me. And after filling my two-page, check-out sheet with important, executive signatures, getting final approval of release, it hit me even more. I got on that bus for the last time and bid adieu to my life that I have known for the last two years.

Signed, sealed, and tomorrow, I will be delivered.

How to express and form words for this experience has not yet come to me. Therefore, I just wanted to post a final farewell from this beautiful country that has penetrated my heart and mind over the past two years. A huge, huge, huge, enormous thank you from the deepest depths of my heart to every person that has affected my life here in Costa Rica. I could not have done it with your support.

Meanwhile as I board the plane tomorrow and see this country fade into the great, expansive distance below, I will ponder, I will reflect, and I will give thanks for all that has become of me. As well as try to come up with a thoughtfully composed cadence of words...something on which I can hang my latest emotions.

Until next time, the United States we will meet.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tomorrow's Wise Words....of Today.

Here is Arturo. He is the father of a 6th grader I worked with in a girls' empowerment group my first year here. He used to own a private taxi company, so I would drive with him to and from Copey every now and then. Now he drives a van that transports students in the area. I ran into him my last time in Santa Maria, my nearest town and I was so lucky to drive up to Copey for the last time with him - it was a perfect, late, sunny, afternoon.

Here are his wise words, in talking with him about me leaving and how I felt about my experience and Costa Rica:

"Here in Costa Rica, we live Pura Vida [**the Costa Rican phrase meaning Pure Life, calm, no worries], we don't have many problems in relation to other countries. You know, in the end, if a person has a place to eat, a place to sleep, somewhere to watch their television, they live happily, calmly, they can live in peace."

Hasta luego, readers!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Wise Word Storm!

Stay tuned for tomorrow's wise words from Arturo....they're coming at me left and right lately!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Todays Wise Words....

....spoken by a true wise man the other day at cafecito, Mario, the father of a family I am close with in Copey.

"It doesn't matter if the roof over your head is made of plastic or gold, both serve the purpose….it matters more what's inside - the family, the unity, the love."

Need I say more? I think not.

Until next time, Readers.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Musings on Leaving...

I only have two weeks and three days left being a Peace Corps volunteer! What a mixed bag of emotions right now. Set to take flight from this Rich Coast bright and early Thursday, April be received (with my dog) in Portland, Oregon by my sister!!!!!!

This is her, by the artsy, that one...

In other news...this family has become my second family in Costa will be hard to leave them. Set to spend my last night with them... it will be hard to leave many things from here. The time is ripe, though.

Until next time, readers! Yes, there will be a next time.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Just another day........encountering Juan

So today as I was walking into town, way up ahead of me I noticed a man on a bike coming in my direction, and simultaneously heard someone shouting "Christ lives in you!!" "Christ loves you!!!" with their arms waving in the air, and their bike haphazardly steering its own way up the road. As I got a little closer, I realized it's my neighbor, Juan. A bothersome, anticipatory sounding sigh softly came out of my mouth.

Now, Juan is my nearest neighbor. He lives up the road from me about 300 meters. He is a genuine man. He lives alone by the river with his big brown dog who often wriggles its way between my barbed wire fence to play with Riley. He is the caretaker for a very nice weekend cabin, also on the river located between our two houses. He lives a seemingly simple life. He seems content.

I like Juan. But, sometimes, there's not enough I can do to muster up the patience to listen to him and his preaching. On my morning hikes, I have three options: 1). I can take the road into town, 2). I can take the road to the side of town (very steep) or 3). I can take the road out of town just following the river, aaaaaaand also past Juan's house. The latter is one of my favorite walks. But if I do this, I've learned that I have to pretend I'm out for a jog as I pass Juan's house. Otherwise, a friendly morning 'hello' turns into a Southern Baptist preaching session. Now, I don't think Juan is a Southern Baptist. In fact, I'm pretty sure he's just conventional Christian, but he sure does love preaching. The first couple of times I listened to his preaching. But time again and again, I realized can only smile and nod soooooooo many times.

So today the conversation went like this (as I sped up as to make it looked like I was in a hurry)….

"Hola Juan"

"Hooooola Rebeca!"

"Hey, you got a bike!"

"Ohh yes, it's just an old one that was up at the house, I'm coming from Santa Maria"

**Santa Maria is a town 7 kilometers DOWN DOWN DOWN the steep mountain road, and quite a feat to bike up.

"Wow, you must be strong!"

"I am celestial!!!! Christ lives in me, Christ loves me!"

At this point I realize the preaching has begun….

"So, wow, you really can do anything"

"All this matter (motioning to the nature surrounding us), it's all celestial, it's all Christ….!!!!!! You know that!?!? You know CHrist lives in you…….!?!?!?!"

"Juan, yes, and I'd love to chat, but I'm a running late today (trying to scurry off in the opposite direction)"

"CHRIST LOVES YOU!!! (he shouts as I'm trying to indirectly motion that I have to go)…..

(bold used to denote preacher-like shouting).

And on our ways we went. I chuckled to myself as I continued on down the dirt road.

Just another uncommonly common day in the Peace Corps….