Hola from Costa Rica, I’ve been here for 5 weeks now and I am officially half way through my trip. Unfortunately I have been sick for the majority of this time but I’ve had a chance to do lots of the things I love, like surfing, Spanish, taking photos and snorkelling. And while Ive been here I’ve also learnt some very valuable things.
Being in country with a culture that’s pretty different from your own you expand your worldview so much. Sometimes it small things like the fact that none of the roads in Costa Rica are very good, most people have dirt bikes just to get to the grocery store, but back in Canada i take the fact that you can always drive on the roads without worrying about your car getting stuck in a pothole. In some cases my worldview was changed by pretty big things. My best story is from a couple days ago, me and my dad were driving to the next town and we saw this woman and her daughter who was about 5 years old. We stopped and let them in, and they the woman started telling my dad and i how they got there. She explained that they had lost their house and all their possessions in a fire so they were walking/hitch hiking to Nicaragua so they could be with family. For reference they were going to Esteli, Nicaragua, that’s a 10 hour drive if you have a car and the roads were in good condition, which they are not right now, and this woman and child were doing this p journey with no money, no phone and only the clothes they had on their body. So me and my dad drove them to the next town and we took them to get groceries snd gave them money for a bus. So we parted ways and we just have to hope that they’ve made it there by now. After seeing them and their problems it made me realize how privileged my problems were.
While I’ve been here I’ve also had to do a lot of learning and in the cases of my surfing, spanish and math lessons I had new teachers. Every teacher I’ve had since I’ve been here has remarked on how fast of a learner I am which wasn’t the case a couple years ago. In school we always talk about growing as a learner and we usually talk about specific categories but since I’ve been here I’ve noticed that I’ve improved as a learner so much! It’s very inspiring to feel and see the progress I’ve made, my mindset about learning has completely changed, I’m now excited to learn and it makes me excited to fail at things because then I will know for next time how to get better. I’ve especially felt this with learning how to surf because every bad wave I fall off of is a chance for me to catch the next one better! Ive also been practicing my photography a lot and I was looking at my photos from the last time I was here and the amount I’ve improved is really exciting. Here are some of my favourite photos I’ve taken:
Extra things about what I’ve learnt in Costa Rica.
- Intertidal life is incredible and completely insane. There are many tide pools here and hundreds of creatures that survive by adapting to the every changing environment that is the intertidal zone. In fact I even saw a nudibranch, an intertidal creature I’ve been wanting to see since I went to Oregon for a field study in 2019. I love learning about the ocean so much I am now seriously considering studying marine biology after high school.
- Seasons here are completely different. There are only two, its either rainy season or dry season and theres no in between. One day it’s raining everyday so much that the roads flood and the next day the rai stops and it wont rain again for about 5 months. So there’s no day that the season changes you just feel it, the air changes and just like that its a new season. Yesterday was the first day of dry season and what people say is true, you feel the change in the air.
- People here are happier and friendlier. Everybody here just has a more positive outlook on life and it rubs off on you. Everything here feels more welcoming. People enjoy the little things like running on the beach with your dog or opening the perfect coconut. I actually just look it up and according to the New Economics Foundation, Costa Rica is considered the happiest country in the world.
All these new experiences have changed the way I learn and perceive the world and have taught me so much about the world I live in and my place in it and I’m so grateful I got to be here. Entonces.. hasta la próxima vez! (So.. Until next time!)