Today is Friday, which means it’s feria day. As I have since I’ve moved to Jacó, I will go down to the local farmers market and pick out the freshest assortment of fruits, vegetables, and other goodies that the weekly offering allows. Today is also Balut day – the designated Friday of the month in which I will head to San Jose to join the Danish boys in what’s quickly become one of my favorite evenings. And as I do almost every morning, I woke up, did some email, did some writing, and went down for a short walk on the beach. Nothing to see here.
Today is also the last time I will get to do those things in Costa Rica.
That routine that I have become so accustomed to has acted as a pretty effective shield against everyone’s most hated game of counting down the time you have left. For the last month everyone has been asking me how I’m feeling (supposedly in regard to my imminent departure and not that I have looked painfully ill – though one can’t be sure) and my answer has consistently been that I am pretty level.
I’m not a person that tells people how I’m feeling with great ease. Until now speaking about leaving Costa Rica has been really easy for me because I’ve only touched it on a superficial level. I’ve talked about missing Canada, accomplishments achieved while here, and looking forward to the next step. These are all of course true, they just don’t delve into the depth of what leaving a place you’ve called home for a long period of time really entails: leaving a big chunk of your life.
The word leaving often comes with qualifiers. You can always come back. Costa Rica isn’t far away. Everyone leaves at some point. Again, all true. But in this context they’re used to sugar-coat the difficulty that comes with making the decision to leave.
I can –and most certainly will – return to Costa Rica. But in whatever context that is, it won’t be the same as now. This hit home this morning with having to ration how much feria food I buy and now being able to count the number of beach sunsets left on one hand. If Costa Rica was trying to get my attention, she certainly has it now.
I suppose my attention hasn’t been focused on that until now because, until now, nothing has been out of the ordinary. I’ve continued with my pretty standard work routine. I’ve traveled a little, but not that much because, in the three years here and for how small Costa Rica is, there isn’t very much I haven’t seen. I’ve said some final goodbyes to great friends already – but, that’s also normal (though never easy) as it’s just a natural part of living abroad.
As I head into my last weekend, I’m somewhat stupidly realizing that I’m now doing all these things for the last time. That doesn’t bother me; I’ve never been overly sentimental about ‘one more time’ types of things. What I am realizing is that instead of being sad about leaving, I’m happy to have had such an amazing journey. And that journey is a tribute to all the incredible people I was fortunate enough to meet along the way.
When people ask me this weekend how I feel I now have an accurate answer: fortunate.
And I can’t wait to do it again.
3 thoughts on “One For the Road”
I know exactly what you’re talking about. I’ve lived in and then left several countries. What’s bothered me most, is the people you leave behind. Because as much as you’d like to, you’re not really going to keep in close touch. At least not with everybody. And not in the long run.
Every time I was leaving a country, people I’d made friends with would also ask me: how are you feeling? There’s never been an easy, straightforward answer to it. It’s a strange mixture of happiness, sadness and uncertanity.
But when I look back at all those goodbyes, I do feel fortunate too. Fortunate that I’ve had the opportunity to have lived in 6 different countries in 5 years. Fortunate to have been through great adventures. And fortunate to have met incredible people.
Pura vida mi compa! Keep in touch and start planning a trip to Holland 🙂
Couldn’t have said it better mate! You’ve summed it up beautifully. The best part of living abroad, after all, is the people you meet. I think the sad part about leaving anywhere is knowing you won’t keep in touch with a lot of people you would like to.
Holland, or Europe, will definitely be visited amigo. Let me get settled back home first. Once winter starts kicking my ass I believe that will be enough motivation. Saludos a Magara and nos vemos pronto.
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