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22nd of June, 2023


Costa Rica (Tourism)

If I could describe myself in three positive words I would use funny, hard-working, and studious. If I was to describe myself with three negative words I would use worried, fearful, and anxious. Whether I am using positive or negative words, all of these words make up who I am, or so I thought. If you were to tell my younger self that would be going on a trip with people that I have never met in my life, I would tell you that you have the wrong person because I was never the most outgoing kid growing up. I was the kind of kid that would stay home with her family. I was the kind of kid that would stay there by herself in her room and read a book. I was the kind of kid that would only hang out with the people that I knew and was comfortable around. I was never the kind of kid to step out of her comfort zone to try new things, but this year I had a goal to change that. This year my goal was to put myself in situations that would make me the most uncomfortable, trying new things that make me feel silly without having any thought about what other people would think of me. I have done many things to try to accomplish these goals but the biggest and most challenging was going on this trip. However, the trip gave me the opportunity to create a new set of goals for myself: learn a language I don’t speak; learn about other ways to live a sustainable life; and, create new relationships with people from all over there world.

These goals did come with their own challenges, one being that I don’t speak Spanish, so it would be hard for me to communicate with the locals. Another is that I wouldn’t have my phone to stay connected to my friends back home. Lastly, it would be the fact that I would be so far away from my family with no way to communicate with them.

These challenges did not outweigh the things I was most excited for: trying new things, experiencing a new culture, and getting the chance to learn a new language in an environment where that language is spoken. So far my experience has been incredible. One of my favorite moments was getting the chance to try the chocolate seed before it was processed into chocolate. I also really enjoyed learning the process of making chocolate and being able to contribute to that process by operating a cocoa-seed grinder.

Another highlight has been waking up and working on the farm (finca Corronga) and planting ‘yuca’, while also listening to the owner Felix tell us his stories about how he started. I loved seeing how passionate he is about the work he does on the farm and I loved how much he wanted to take care of us when it was supposed to be us helping him. A bonus to working on the farm was getting to hear Kevin sing a song. Lastly, I would have to talk about the hike we went on because we got to walk up the mountains and the view we got at the end of it was so rewarding. Something I found to really appreciate while being here is how hardworking everyone is, but it’s also the fact that they don’t see what they do as work but rather they see it as a task that brings them joy, purpose, and happiness. Seeing their passion and love for what they do gives me the hope one day I will be able to find something to be just as passionate about.

Another thing that I really appreciate is that nothing here goes to waste. All the food that is not eaten, all of the peels, and all of the garden cuttings, are used for compost which is then mixed with the soil to help harvest the plants. On our final day with Felix, we got to help him move the compost into the new pile.

These past six days have taught me a lot and I can’t wait to continue on this journey of experiencing new and unfamiliar things. I am very grateful for all the friendships I have made which makes me very happy that I did not pass this opportunity up.

Composed by Naheema



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