Goodbye America, Hola Pura Vida!

Mavis Britwum is a student at The College of New Jersey and an ISA Featured Blogger. Mavis is about to depart to study abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica on a Fall 4 program.

It’s 11:32 pm and just as I’m making my way up the stairs to go to sleep, I hear a set of keys rattle against the main door. They bring their remnant conversation from the car to a mumble as the door finally opens. My parents have just arrived home from a long day of work and knowing they’ll be starving and tired, I’ve prepared them something warm to eat to mend their empty bellies and help them obtain a sound night of sleep. I hang around for 15 or so extra minutes as we catch up on taxi cab tales and hospital stories, jokes, family drama, politics, news, etc. After dinner and the Late Show with Letterman, we bid each other goodnight I know it’s not much, but it’s this space between the closing of today and the midnight approach of tomorrow that we get a chance to eat, sit and talk as a family. I’m going to miss that.

I get an uncomfortable blaze of heat as I skip down the subway stairs rushing to catch my train. I make it just in time as the two-note tune plays for the doors to close. A little breathless, I rest against the subway doors and take a look at my reflection in the opposite window. “Do not lean on subway doors” I chuckle a bit knowing every New Yorker is guilty of at least one crime. Suddenly, a loud voice booms from the middle of the car as a man performs a spoken word piece. Something about poverty and children, he’s got the attention of half the subway crowd while the rest bury their heads deeper into their newspaper or close their eyes tighter and turn their music up louder to really block out all the noise. But this time he’s not even asking for money; just a little dose of our time. I’m going to miss that.

As I prepare for my abroad experience to Costa Rica, I think of all the big and little things I’ll miss about home.  My family and friends constantly ask, “Are you excited?” and I respond “Yes!” but truthfully I’m a bit nervous as well about what to expect. I’ve done the research but am I really prepared? Did I pack enough clothes and shoes? Do I need a sweater, because it might get cold at night, or does it? What about an iron? Oh, bug spray! So many things swarming in my head; I need to chill out! But in all, I’m ready to be fluent in Spanish. I’m ready to meet my new family and be a part of them. I’m ready to explore the meaning of rice and beans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’m ready for the tropical adventures, the bus rides on highways and byways exploring neighborhoods and navigating around nameless streets. I’m very excited about my volunteer work at the Children’s hospital and being able to learn medicine and Spanish at the same time.  I don’t know if I can do enough research or read enough books to prepare for my experience but I’m ready to go! I’m ready to see the world from a new lens and  finally become a part of the Costa Rican culturePura Vida in one week! 

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