I’m Leaving Costa Rica in Less Than a Week. How Do I Feel?

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The time has come for me to finally leave Costa Rica. After nearly 5 months abroad, working, traveling, and discovering, I’m on my way back to New Jersey. I’m going to see my friends and family, and reacquaint myself with the United States for two weeks.

How do I feel?

Well, I don’t think it’s going to be much of a “reverse” culture shock. I’ll have to stop myself from speaking Spanish in restaurants and stores, and I’ll be able to drop my toilet paper in the toilet again. And no more cold showers! But other than that, it should be a smooth transition.

The only thing is, I’m coming back in the thick of the holiday season! Right now, to me, it doesn’t feel like Christmas. Yes, the city I live in is decorated with lights, but in a tacky and religious way. It’s also about 90-100 degrees every day. That’s not Christmas to me. But, I’m hearing Christmas songs here and there, albeit in Spanish. No, not “Feliz Navidad”, but real Spanish songs. Usually religious, praising Jesus and Christianity. It’s part of the culture. I don’t mind, I like that.

I’m mostly excited for a few reasons. One, I need a vacation from work. I’ve been teaching every week for 5 months straight and traveling on weekends like a maniac. I’ve actually stopped all travel for the past two weekends because I need a break. I haven’t stopped moving! It keeps me going and it keeps me busy but I need to remember how to take it easy for now.

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The other reason I’m excited is that I get to see my mother, my family, and my closest friends. It’s nice being abroad but any person with even a small slice of humanity to their name would miss those closest to them after 5 months. That, and watching hockey from 7-9:35 with those closest to me. Streaming the games in my small apartment while drinking an entire 6-pack is fun, but not nearly as fun as chowing down, yelling at the screen with a giant grandma’s pie in front of me!

Why else am I excited? Rogue One. My God. I’m a huge Star Wars fan, and I can’t wait for this movie. I won’t be able to see it opening night or even opening weekend, but I’ll be able to see it the following Monday! That’s literally the first thing on my list, actually. I expect to wake up that morning, eat eggs and bacon with coffee, possibly get a haircut, and make my way to the movie theater. My God. A new Star Wars movie. I’m giddy just thinking about it. I’ve saved a little extra money so I could see it twice, maybe three times. It’s serious.

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Why else? New York. I miss the proximity to that place like no other. I have plans to go there when I’m home at least twice in two weeks. Possibly a third time. It’s my favorite city, and I’m in love with it. I never thought I’d miss it as much as I do. I’m actually more excited to go to New York rather than returning home to New Jersey.

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That brings me to my last point: photography. It’s a constant passion for me, and I’ve taken a lot of pictures in Costa Rica. I’m finally starting to grow it into a business, selling prints when I come home and offering discounted photoshoots. I also have plans to turn it into a small business when I make my way back to Costa Rica. But, to be able to photograph the snow again. And my home, or friends, or family. And to be able to spend a day shooting with a 50mm lens in New York. It’s just an amazing thing to think about. I’ll be sure to update my photography pages every single day with the new photos I get. Any environment in the snow is something that makes me stop in awe to look at, when done right of course. I want that perfect photo I can look back on and smile at. That fantasy-kind of atmosphere where everything is blanketed in white which come to life when you hear “Baby It’s Cold Outside”, the version from Elf with Leon Redbone and Zooey Deschanel. So many beautiful things are associated with that, and despite the wonderful weather of Costa Rica, I feel like that’s a big thing missing from my life, especially in December.

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So here’s to you, United States of America! One more week of teaching with my students, and I’ll be back in your arms again! I’ve been looking forward to it for quite some times!

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John DeSarno

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