Sometimes great connections just fall right into our lap, then later lead to other connections. A few weeks after I met the man in the flower shop I was contacted by a local journalist asking if he could do a piece on my work in Sabanillas and Sabanas and my perspective as a foreigner of this area. I accepted, glad to have the opportunity to share with a greater audience the presence of Peace Corps in Costa Rica.
As I start to reflect on my past year here certain things come to mind. I am grateful for the the lifelong friendships I have formed along with the love, affection, generosity, and hospitality I have received from those around me. (A huge HUG to Rafa and Mile, Zaida and Daniel, Kattia and Guiselle). I've learned to not be obsessively results driven, to chill out, to take time to drink coffee and sit on the porch just because. I've enjoyed the mix of generations that happens here. I spend my free time with people of all ages from child to great grandmother. From each person I walk away inspired in a different way.
Time and time again, I been inspired by how visionary Costa Ricans are. They are always thinking of how to improve and develop their current situation. And, they are super handy. They can fix anything around the house. They use the natural materials around them (wood, bamboo, recycled materials) for everything. My curtain rods and napkin holder are made out of local bamboo by my landlord. The milk in my frig is from the cow I milked this morning. The chicken in my freezer was raised by my next door neighbor. The cheese I ate today came from the community next to mine. The pigs are fed by sugar cane that grows next to the stable and left overs from the local restaurant. The water for the farm animals comes from a natural creek. Life here is more organic, more natural. We life off the land around us and we produce less waste.
I am an addict to the traditional Gallo Pinto (rice and bean dish) in the morning, accompanied with a homemade tortilla, a fried egg, and a little avocado. With that said, I must admit whenever I go into the city I find the American restaurant open.
I've faced challenges in the Education system. In particular, a lack to resources such as a projector, photo copier, text books, or other teaching materials. A lack of motivation from teachers has been a problem as well as way too many days when classes are canceled for one reason or another. I've also had great successes professionally. Several of my students have passed the final, daunting English exam after literally years of failing. I've seen professional growth in some of the teachers I work with and a huge increase in students motivation to speak English.
I couldn't be more glad that I have another year here. In fact, I wish it was longer. Who knows the future...