Saturday, August 3, 2013

First Nights

     It's been a long time since I sat down and wrote something other than a literature essay due the next day. Life has been very busy and exciting this past year, so I obviously have plenty to talk about but not enough time to relate it all. I have been swamped with everything from friends to time management to major decisions for the future. Why I haven't been able to convince myself to re-enter into writing is a mystery. I think part of this reason is that after being at times overwhelmed with so much in my life, my brain was to go numb and have another source of entertainment rather than consciously making something creative. Of course, it's not bad to zone out with a good TV show every now and then. But after a while I need to be convinced (at times forcefully) to kick my brain into gear and occupy it with another topic other than "catching up" on eight seasons of Supernatural.
     That said, I am not a lazy person. I keep my life very busy and full of fast-pased events. I am an A-student, intern at a job I love, senior in high school, class counselor in  Young Women, I sing, act, play guitar, write music, and occasionally blog. So I keep busy fairly well. Though when I find myself with nothing in my schedule or a few days off, I start to slip into a zombie-like phase, especially when it involves a television show with a fandom (which is a community that surrounds a tv show, book, movie or other such work of fiction). I'm a seventeen-year-old girl, it is totally normal to watch television and crush on its fictional characters.
     ANYWAY, enough with my angst-y tirade. I am doing something productive so let's keep a little bit higher standards. It is time to go into a detailed account of my fascinating trip to a foreign country--by myself.

     About a week ago last Sunday, I found myself with passport in hand on my way to San Jose, Costa Rica. I was incredibly excited to be traveling with an abroad program around the country for two weeks. My dad had lived in the Costa Rica and Panama areas for two years, serving his mission for the Mormon church when he was nineteen. During Spring Break this year, some students at my school had worked with one of my teachers to go on a week's trip to Costa Rica as well. One of my good friends--who also took her own trip to the country when she was younger-- was flying to China to tutor a friend of a friend's college-age son in English. My other very good friend was spending a week in Tonga to build a schoolhouse for underprivileged children. Yet another friend was also visiting family in China.
     A lot of us were traveling this summer. I spent a lot of my time being excited for my friends and their various excursions, but I almost forgot about my own. It was honestly not until I was waltzing through the airport with my mother that I started to comprehend that I was truly going to Costa Rica. Then at the connecting flight in Atlanta I totally understood the circumstances under which I was traveling: alone, to a foreign country in a foreign language, being looked after by individuals I had not met, with a group of people I had nothing in common with, with only a backpack and two books on psychology, for a long period of time.
     I was so ecstatic I thought I might burst.
    On a side note, yes, I did indeed pack two books on psychology. Summer reading assignment? I wish. My mom instructed me to get a light paperback for the trip. Okay, so not the most page-turning concept to decide on. Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight and The Science of Evil were both paperback, most of the reading consisted of notes, anyway. So I bought not one but two books on psychology for hiking through the jungle? I just couldn't decide which one to get, so I got both. For the record, they were both fascinating.
     I was meeting a couple at the airport, whose house I would stay for a night before getting on a four-hour bus ride to the coast at Playa Tamarindo. "San Jose is a small airport!" They said. "You'll find them easily!" They said. Count on Kate to miss the orange construction paper with her name on it in a Costa Rican airport. Thankfully, I knew enough Spanish to say, Ayudame, soy una Americana con mucho dinero. (Help me, I am an American with lots of money.) After asking around and eventually winding up in the exact place I started, I found the person I was looking for, Carlos. Forgive me if I was a little distracted by the waving crowd and loud native dancing. Carlos and his wife, Francini, drove me through the suburbs of San Jose to the guest house, so it was called, a boarding place for travelers, like me, of the program.
     That night it rained, but I was so exhausted (from what I don't know. I sat on a plane for five hours, how is that so exhausting?) that I fell asleep immediately, leaving hardly enough time to listen to the pitter-patter of the rain on the ground. Even in a completely different country, the rain still sounds the same.


Here's to that first night in a new place,

Kate

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