Katie Thompson is a student at the University of Michigan and an ISA Featured Blogger. Katie is currently participating in service-learning abroad with ISA Service-Learning in San Jose, Costa Rica.
When your computer gets a virus you wouldn’t mind being home to fix it. When your body gets a virus all you want is to be back home. That’s how I was two weeks out from the end of my stay in Costa Rica: stuck in bed, wanting some chicken noodle soup and my mommy. I’ve been sick abroad twice now, and let me just say, it really sucks. It is with this mindset I entered my final week in San Jose. I felt better, but my head was already back in the States. Then I got out of bed, got out of the house, and Costa Rica made sure I would bawl my eyes out before I left.
The thing about living abroad is there will come a time you feel completely comfortable; a time when you’ve found your groove. You’ll have friends to go out with, you hardly think about how you’re getting around or what you need to do, and life just feels completely normal. Basically, you ingratiate yourself into a new group of friends, a new culture, and a new way of life.
My last week there my coworkers took me out on a “paseo” through the country-side for the whole day. On my last day of work my boss brought me presents and a cake to thank me for the past three months. A couple other coworkers got me small gifts as well. Then, they took me out to dinner and we all went out to karaoke and made fools of ourselves (I should say I made a fool out of myself, my coworker who sang sounded good). I had so many of the people I work with say I could stay with them when I come back to visit that I can’t possibly imagine not doing so.
Not only was I touched by all of this, it made me think about the fact that if I stayed I could do this all the time. You create a new life for yourself, and somehow it is right at the end you realize just what you’ve made, and just what you’re leaving behind. There will always be loose ends, there will always be a change, and there will always be something or someone you’re leaving behind. I’ll accept it; I have to, because I can’t stop here. There is always a new place just along the horizon to explore. My roommate discovered over the last few months that I have a tendency to say “I want to be there,” and point off to some distant, unexplored location. All I have to do now is decide where the next distant, unexplored location is.
Pura vida, mae.