I’m so excited to welcome the New Year, mainly because 2013 was a bit of a roller coaster for me. If I had to sum my year up in one word, I would say that “TRUST,” would be it! I finally made my move to Costa Rica and although I didn’t know what to expect, I felt that I made the right decision. I arrived with no real plans other than I was going to work as a TEFL teacher and although I had done some training in the corporate world, I had never taught students in a classroom setting before, but I went through the necessary training to get my TEFL credential and I was ready to start! Well not quite, I had never been to Costa Rica, but a desire to learn Spanish and a few stories here and there, inspired me to take a leap of faith. I had one contact via my cousin who teaches in Africa. She had a friend who lived here and she introduced us via email (don’t you just love technology). My plan was to stay with her a few days while I go job hunting and find a place that I could call home in this land of “paradise.”
Before my arrival I was told that Costa Rica does not have addresses, they navigate by landmarks (even landmarks that no longer exist, but in the minds of those that once knew the landmarks were there) case and point, in order to get to other areas of Costa Rica, the most familiar bus depot is the Coca Cola station, but if you’re looking for a Coca Cola sign, you won’t find it because it hasn’t been in existence for over 10 years, it’s just used as a point of reference without the reference. The first time I heard that there were no addresses, I thought that had to be the most bizarre thing I’d heard in a while because how does one get around without an address?!
I arrived sometime after midnight and hopped in a cab and quickly realized that I was no longer on familiar territory (you’re no longer in Kansas, Dorothy). After a failed attempt to communicate I immediately asked the driver if I could call my new friend because I was never going to be able to speak to him with an understanding that either of us would feel comfortable with. Now that I think about it, I’m not even sure how he understood that I needed him to make a call for me because he didn’t speak English and it was clear that “hola and adios,” weren’t going to cut it (flashback to my high school Spanish teacher who constantly asked me to pay attention in class because I may need this one day), at the time my thoughts were “sure I will Mrs. Moreno,” boy was she right!!
That late night arrival to a country I had never been to and the meet up with a person that I had briefly chatted with via email would be an indication of what my journey would be like during my time here, be mindful, but trust that it will work out even when fear wants to silence you and send you back to a comfortable and complacent place. These were feelings that I felt from time to time.
Fast forward almost a year later and I’m happy for the experiences that I’ve had and the lessons that I’ve learned and continue to learn. While there are many lessons that I will take into the New Year, there are a few that stick out.
My first lesson is that there are times that you have to depend on others, which may include family, friends and strangers (depending and trusting in others is a big lesson for me because it can be uncomfortable). I’ve learned many hard lessons following the Do It Yourself motto and it does not work. Don’t get me wrong, there comes a time for DIY, but when there’s time for help, just accept it and be open.
Secondly, perfection will never happen and fear is the enemy. Many of us are perfectionist and it is my belief that “perfection” is a myth, you work with what you have and you put it out there. Of course you will continue to build upon it, but don’t waste your time on perfection because you’ll never move forward. I’ve struggled with fear and perfection and they can be paralyzing. I read a quote that said’ “courage is doing what you’re afraid to do in the face of fear.”
Lastly, we are all placed on this earth for a reason and it is our responsibility to find the “why,” for our life. During your quest, you will make mistakes, learn from them. You will also have achievements, applaud them and take time to enjoy the moment.
So, I close with this note of reflection, as I continue to use this blog to chronicle my journey in life, travel and whatever else comes up. I am a work in progress and will continue to be the best person I can and live life the way I was meant to live it and that’s with total bliss!
Thank you for reading, until next time, besitos!!