Wednesday, February 10, 2010

back in Atenas!

I feel really blessed that I have the opportunity to return for another term with eMi in Costa Rica!  My return to the States for a few weeks was great in that I got to see all of my family in such a short time period.  I got to spend a lot of time with my parents, and I stayed a week at my brother's house, too, which although felt like a short time, was again a huge blessing.

Coming back home to Costa Rica has been a neat experience, as well, and it's been so fun to be back with my host family and friends here.  I say "home" because I was pleasantly surprised how much it felt like coming home when I arrived back here with my host family and friends from eMi.  At this point, the word "home" has a weird meaning to me -- I left my home in Georgia to come back home to Costa Rica, all the while I still feel like I'm from Colorado.  It's a little weird.  But the time I've spent so far with my host family here has been terrific.  I came back to Costa Rica a week before the other interns, so I spent the whole first week with just my host family.  Because of that week, I feel like I'm here not just to be a part of the eMi group, but also as a part of my Costa Rican family.  Although I'm leaving in a few months, my host family and their friends and family treat me as if this were my home.  I've heard several people say that in our culture we put up a shield when we spend time with someone who we'll say goodbye to, to avoid getting too attached.  They don't do that here, and I think that's why I feel like I'm "home."

At this point, I've been here 4 weeks since coming back.  I spent 3 weeks in language school and another week in an orientation for the new interns.  Now I'm very ready to start working and actually doing what I came here to do.  Like I said in the previous paragraph, I've really enjoyed my time in Costa Rica, but at times it has been difficult personally because I can't do as much as I'd like to (for example, go to Haiti!).

Since we went to Haiti in the fall, the earthquake has been especially hard to take.  I think I get depressed sometimes because I want so badly to actually do something about it, but I can't.  EMI is sending teams to Haiti, and I would love to be a part of one of the teams, but so far it hasn't been possible.  I understand why I haven't been a part of the teams so far, but it's still frustrating.  In fact, I don't even know what I could do there, but again I just want to go to do something.  It's difficult sometimes to accept the unfairness of the world, and to understand why we are on the better side of it.  It's difficult to think about our friends there suffering so much, when at the moment there's nothing I can really do about it.  There are lots and lots of relief groups travelling to Haiti now, and lots of money being donated, so we can hope that in this time, with all eyes in the world on Haiti, that the country can make a turn-around.

I know there are plenty of other ways I can't serve without going to Haiti.  This Saturday our team leaves for our project trip, which this project is in Belen, Costa Rica.  It's an existing Christian school that at the moment needs an expansion.  As of now, I don't know too much information about the project, but I'm excited to learn more about it soon!  And of course, I'll tell you more about it after our trip next week!

Here are some pictures I've taken from January and early February in Costa Rica.  My host dad's brother got married last weekend, so several are from the wedding.

Relaxin' at the house with my 5 year Tico sister, Ana Maria

Ana Maria's birthday party -- we had a piƱata!

Eating lunch with my host siblings.

My language school classroom

Ana Maria ready for the wedding

Host brothers at the wedding, Esteban (left) and Andres (right)

Host parents and Ana Maria ready for the wedding

My host family and I at the wedding reception

My host dad's sister Jessica's family

My host dad's mother

They all tried to teach me to dance at the wedding.  This was a lesson I had with my host dad's brother-in-law "Poyo."  Needless to say, my hips are too "gringo"

My spin moves are also pretty "gringo"