The Final Countdown (Part II)

Buenas Dias!

Well, I guess this is it. I am (mostly) finished packing, and I’m going to call for a cab to the airport in exactly one hour!! Since sleep is clearly not an option tonight, I figured I would use my last few moments productively. My flight leaves at 7:15, but apparently here the protocol is to arrive at the airport three hours early! Anyway, I have a layover in Atlanta for about three hours or so, then am scheduled to arrive in St. Louis around 4:30 this afternoon! Fortunately, a girl in my group has a flight leaving at 7:00 and a nine hour layover in Atlanta, so that should help kill some time.

This whole last week has been truly bitter sweet. Final exams went well enough, and I passed both classes, so I can’t complain 🙂 We had our last dance class last night, so I’m pretty much an expert now on Salsa, Marangue, Bachata, and Cumbia (but not really). Today, we all went to the market in San Jose and it was really interesting. I was able to talk to and bargain with all of the venders, so I guess I pretty much achieved what I came here to do. In the evening, we all took a really long bus ride to a restaurant, which was situated on top of mountain. From the dining area, you could see over all the city lights, and it was breathtaking. We got home around 11:00, and I’ve spent the remainder of the evening packing and stalling.

It hasn’t really sunk in yet that I’m actually leaving. Well, it kind of has, but its just so hard to believe that I am never going to see these people again. Sure, we’re all friends on Facebook, and I now have somewhere to stay in like 10 different states, but I just got so used to seeing them everyday, that its going to be so weird when I leave. Especially Frances. She is truly one of the most generous people I’ve ever met, and I’m really glad we were roommates. I’m also really going to miss my family, and am not looking forward to saying goodbye. Yesterday, however, as we were parting ways my phonetics professor reminded me of the quote, “don’t cry because its over, smile because it happened” so I’ve been trying really hard to keep that in mind. OH and on a good note, they found out last night that their youngest son and his wife are expecting their first child! Overall, I could not have asked for a better living situation.

On the other hand, I am ecstatic to see all my friends and family again! I read that when students return from studying abroad (although I’m sure for a longer period of time) they sometimes experience what is referred to as “reverse culture shock”, and that going home can be even harder than arriving in the foreign country. I don’t want to speak to soon, but I don’t really foresee that happening. There are actually a lot small things that I am excited for, such as driving my car, that I never thought I’d miss. Although it might be weird readjusting to my old life, I am looking forward to having a bit of a break from school, and, again, I CANNOT WAIT to see everyone! I am a little worried that after I get settled in back home, I’m going to really miss Costa Rica, but I guess we’ll see.

Its also hard to believe that this whole experience is finished. I mean, I spent the last nine months or so planning for it, and now its over. I feel soo lucky to have had this opportunity though! Needless to say, I could not have done without all of the support I have received. I owe a lot of it to my mother, who selflessly put countless time and energy into helping prepare for this trip (as well as life in general), and who has always supported me. I am also really fortunate to have a great family overall; seriously, all my other parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins…everyone helped me be able to do this. And of course, none of this ever would have happened had it not been for all of the people at McKendree. I’m not going to lie, the process of applying for study abroad and everything was rather extensive, but every department I encountered was extremely pleasant to work with, which made the whole thing much easier. I also owe a lot to all of my professors who have taken the time to help me cultivate my academic interest and prepare me for life after McKendree. I’m realizing that, as I enter my senior year, this is the begging of the end of my time at McKendree, so I’m going to try really hard to make the most of it.

Well, I’m running out of time to shove the last of my stuff into my suitcase, so I guess I’d better go 🙂

Hasta la proxima!

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These things are stationed all throughout the school and readily dispense both hot and cold water. I really wish we had something like this at McKendree... :)

These things are stationed all throughout the school and readily dispense both hot and cold water. I really wish we had something like this at McKendree… 🙂

Natalia with baby Niko!

Natalia with baby Niko!

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