"Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration" -- Charles Dickens
We have actually been back for a week now. I can't believe how fast time has flown by since we got home!
Yes, Mom and I returned from our amazing Costa Rican adventure on the 21st. From the 10th to the 21st of August, we experienced all sorts of new things-- we were immersed in the culture, struggled with the language barrier, saw beautiful creations in nature, sweated in the high high humidity, saw a big green sea turtle lay eggs, danced, ate at a gorgeous restaurant overlooking San Jose, driven on rumbly bumpy roads, swam in the Caribe (Caribbean- I like saying that Spanish style now), saw two volcanoes, a waterfall, a new starry sky, lots of lightning, sunshine, rainstorms, made mistakes when speaking Spanish, laughed a bunch, dealt with some interpersonal issues, and so much more.... What an adventure and boy was it exhausting.
Seriously, the first two days back home, I was so tired by the afternoon! It has taken quite a few days to get me feeling back to my usual energy level. Not only that but it is a process assimilating from one culture to another. After 10 intense days of being in Costa Rica and having limited communication with friends & family, it took a few days to feel acclimated. While it was a great experience in Costa Rica, I do have to say: there is nothing like coming HOME.
As I have gotten older, the word, home has taken on many new meanings. Home has been many places with different people. In college, home was the dorm that I shared with my friend Jennifer... Over the four years, our home varied a bit, as we moved around, but basically, that little town we lived in was home to me. It was home because it was familiar, whenever I passed the WOU entrance signs- it was like those bricked walls hugged me in... When I went to Arizona two different summers (2008 & 2009), though I was only there for 2 weeks at a time, my home was my friend's apartment or his parent's house- though new at first, it became comfortable and I grew quite fond of both places... AZ also felt like home because I fell deeply in love with the open dry desert and big blue sky - home felt free to me and endless... And on the happy occasion we make it to the beach house on the Oregon Coast, I feel home there too... I love our family beach house- with its nifty old furniture (sometimes rather funky, being it is a 'dumping ground' for various family items), its beachy smell and big windows overlooking the small city; the sound of the waves and smell of fresh air... yes that is a home too. And then there's my home, here in the metro area, the home I have lived in for 24.5 years. I have the same room with changes of course from the years, and my wonderful bed...
Also, I have a greater appreciation for the area that I live in, the wonderful Pacific Northwest. Truthfully, I have struggled with liking it in the past few years. I have felt restless and frustrated with living here. A big part of it is the rain. Though I am a native and am used to it, I loathe the rain. We have had so much rain and clouds this year, I have almost gone into a permanent state of S.A.D. But while all this yucky weather drives me nuts, I am very fortunate to live here. Though there is the threat of earthquakes, they have been quite minimal in my lifetime (though I am sure it will change). In the PNW we don't have too much to fear really, as compared to those in the East Coast. It has been sad watching those dealing with Hurricane Irene. What a nightmare.
Home can be in so many places. And in a broader sense, one's country is one's home. Some may not feel this way or have differing opinions... but I have to say, I have a greater appreciation for my nation. While it is not perfect, nor have I seen everything, to me, this is home. I love my country for its imperfections, its struggles, and its triumphs. There is much to be grateful for and I am so glad I live here.
To throw you for a spin- while this is home to me... and there are so many feelings that come with it, I will always have my Costa Rican home in my heart. I was incredibly blessed with the people I met, the friends I made, and the beautiful house I stayed in while I was there. After 10 days, it didn't seem as new to me, and it became a home in its own way.
We always take a little bit of what we experience with us :)
More to come on my trip later!!