A friend who lives here in Costa Rica called me today and said “Welcome Home!” I responded, “home?” She then asked if I for some reason wasn’t in Costa Rica at the moment. “I’m in Costa Rica. I just don’t know where home is.”
I flew back into this country on Tuesday after spending a wonderful five weeks in the United States soaking up all the time I could with my parents, grandma, brother, best friends, and boyfriend. I made several trips to St. Augustine, two of which I got to visit with some of the people who got me where I am today. Walking down the halls of Flagler, though, I was no longer a student, but a visitor. At the place of my student-teaching, I was no longer an intern, but someone sharing the details of my new life and listening to what’s been occurring in my old life.
When I flew into San José on Tuesday, I went to stay with my Mamá Tica. Lilliana, or Mamá Tica as I call her, was my first host mom when I studied Spanish in Heredia in 2011. Her family has really been a blessing placed upon my life. I could have been put in one of a handful of homes two years ago, but instead I ended up with this wonderful woman who loves me like I am one of her own.
God has really been testing me so far that I’ve been back in the country. Well, He tests me everyday, but I have really had to face my fears since I’ve been back here. Sometime during my slumber on Wednesday night, I awoke to what I thought was an earthquake. Fantastic. I had just been talking to another student staying in the house about the September 5th earthquake, aftershocks, and many tremors that I have endured.
Sometimes I feel like Peeta: real or not real? I didn’t look at my phone or my ipod which were both on the nightstand beside the bed. I didn’t care what time it was; I was tired, and I wanted to go back to sleep. The quake felt strong to me, but I didn’t hear anybody else stirring in the house. When I got up the next morning, I refrained from opening my computer to go to the Ovsicori site and browse through the seismic registry. If I didn’t know what time I had woken during the night, there was little sense browsing the website to look for what may or may not be there.
After breakfasting, I asked “¿tembló anoche?” My answer was yes. Praise the Lord! Was I really happy that I was shaken awake by a real tremor or earthquake? Strangely, yes I was. I later found out on the news that 3 earthquakes had occurred in the central valley area (right where I was) over the night around 1 am, the strongest of which registered as a 5.3!
Now, I know that God shook those mountains three times for me. Coincidence that they occurred in the central valley at the very same time that I was there, during the night, and strong, too? I think not. It was my welcome back (not welcome home) test, He didn’t wait anytime giving it to me, and I couldn’t be more proud of myself and the calmness that overcame me in the moment.
My second big test, was something somewhat planned and in being so, had been stressing me for quite some time. I had to go downtown San José to police headquarters to be fingerprinted. I planned to do so on Thursday. Not only was I nervous about the process, I had no idea where the place was that I should be going. In Costa Rica, places don’t have physical addresses; instead, they are found by telling how many meters or kilometers that are north/south/east/ west from a specific “landmark” such as the bank. That doesn’t give me any peace of mind when I have no clue where said bank is.
Well, the police headquarters is across from some shopping center in San José. Enter: Mamá Tica. Although she lives in Heredia, she told me how I could get there. I would take a combination of busses and taxi. Luckily, I knew where to pick up the first bus from Heredia to San José, because I had done it several times while living with Mamá Tica in 2011. Knowing that walk was far and time was against me because the police close at 3 pm, I took a cab to the first bus station and arrived just as a bus was loading up. Forty-five minutes later I stepped off the bus. I was told I needed to find the theater, head west (or was it east?) until I found the social security office and then I could pick up the next bus from there. I wandered for five minutes not knowing my east from my west, and really not remembering WHICH of the two I should be heading, before I decided I would opt for a taxi. Good choice.
Several hours later, I was back on a Heredia-bound bus with traces of ink still on my hands. What a relief! Consider test number two passed! I had waited in lines all day long, but not really known what was going on. Those waiting were divided into groups, but after several hours of observing, I was unable to find a process to the order in which each person was called back. As far as I knew the police closed at 3, but it was impossible to estimate what time I would get called back since I didn’t know how many people were before me! Finally about 2:30, my name was called. I don’t know what a person would do if he or she didn’t speak Spanish, because we each had to go through a little “interview” before getting prints taken.
Friday morning I began the rest of the journey down to this little piece of paradise. I arrived at the bus station a whole 7 minutes before the bus was scheduled to leave, ran to the bus and told the driver NOT to leave until I was on, and ran back to the taxi to roll my luggage over to the bus. Six hours later, I was on the other side of the ferry, had finished the remainder of the bus ride, and had rolled a very heavy suitcase into the room I stay in. I am a nomad.