How are you feeling?

It’s all anyone asks anymore.

“How much longer until you leave?”

“How are you feeling about getting back to the states?”

“Are you excited?”

“Are you sad?”

“How are you feeling?”

“How are you feeling?”

“How are you feeling?”

And it’s not just coming from family and friends. It’s my constant inner dialogue too, though I know it’s not useful. We’re going home in less than 3 weeks, whether I’m happy or sad, so I wish I didn’t feel the need to examine, qualify and judge my own emotional state. But alas, even 11 months in the jungle couldn’t cure me of that habit.

When I wake up at 4:45 in the morning because the daylight is beginning to creep into my room, I’m ready to go home and get a good night’s sleep. I long for soft sheets and cool pillows. But then I open the windows to the crisp air and see the fresh, green mountains glistening with morning dew, and I know how much I’ll miss those rolling hills.

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I put on ratty clothes, I throw my hair into its perpetual ponytail and I start sweating. And I want to go home and be clean, and well-dressed, and comfortable. And then a troop of monkeys starts howling outside and I think “you won’t be hearing those soon,” and then I want to cry.

And I go to the grocery store and I want to go home where the food quality is better, the selection is vast, and the prices are cheaper. And then I realize that I’m walking down the aisles thinking to myself in Spanish and I think how marvelous that is and – sadly – how quickly I’m going to lose that skill when I’m home. I think about how much I’ve grown here.

Then I try to complete a work project and get frustrated at the glacial pace of the internet and I want to go home where I can work so much more efficiently. And then Lee comes sauntering by in his swimsuit, and announces that he’s taking a break, and does a cannonball into the pool. At 1 p.m. on a Wednesday. And I know he won’t do that at home.

And then I miss my people back home so much it hurts. And then I love my friends here so much I ache.

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I guess you could say I’m a mess.

Most of the time, I feel that I’m ready to go home. It has been a wonderful year – better than I could have hoped – and I’m so very glad we had this experience. But it’s not always an easy existence. I read a quote about Nosara the other day, and I thought it was perfect.

“Never has living this easy been this hard.”

IMG_6832And it’s true. Life here moves at an easy pace. I have devoured so many books this year. I have been truly BORED so many times, which I realize is a novelty and I embrace it. But then the bugs swarm and the water gets cut off and you’re sweating ALL THE TIME and the gas station is out of gas and the doctor isn’t at his office today and a million other inconveniences conspire to spoil your mood.

I would be lying if I said I’m not lusting for the comforts of home. And for that, I feel a bit guilty.

Perhaps part of my guilt comes from admiring what I see in my spouse. Lee didn’t grow up as an outdoorsman. He didn’t spend his childhood in the woods, hunting and fishing. As adults we enjoy camping together, but initially I was the one to suggest we go spend the weekend in the woods, surrounded by nothing but nature and our nylon tent.

But oh, how he has taken to this lifestyle. He feels the very same discomforts here that I do. He sweats. The bugs bite. The internet is slow. But for him, looking out at the vast ocean and the dark green jungle – that’s enough. Living in Costa Rica strips away all artifice, and in this very natural, wild environment, he thrives.

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I find this infinitely admirable. But I think in truth I’m still a first world girl who enjoys a foray into the third world, with a return ticket home.

But one of the great lessons I feel Costa Rica has been trying to teach me is to make the most of who I am, and where I am, and how I am at this moment. A friend, a fellow expat, posted this picture on my Facebook page the other day:

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And so over these next few weeks, as we complete our time here and begin our next chapter at home, I will try not to constantly measure, contrast and compare (I’ll fail, but I’ll try!). Instead, I will focus on finding the heaven in every place and everyone I meet. Everywhere.

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2 thoughts on “How are you feeling?

  1. Well done! Makes me want to go some where and do what you have done. I guess I am a generation too late but I admire the adventuresome spirit in others.

  2. I’ve really enjoyed reading about your family’s adventures in Costa Rica! Lee lived across the hall from me our second year in college. I’m so impressed with your family’s courage and resolve to actually go there, live there and experience everything for an whole year. Most people would just think about it. What an incredible experience! When my son is older my wife and I would love to have a chance to do something similar, seeing that it’s possible is inspiring. Thanks for sharing this! 🙂

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