January 29, 2015

The weather today was gloomy which kind of matches my mood. I have been dealing with such a mix of emotions. It’s a battle in my head between what I miss at home vs. what I’m going to miss here. I hung out with Mauricio today at the orphanage, one of the little boys that I connected with early on in the trip. He is definitely the one I will miss the most. He touched my life in ways I can’t express and I can only hope that I touched his as well. Even though tomorrow is my last day there I had to say goodbye to Emilia because she will not be there tomorrow. She gave me a certificate to thank me for all of my help at the orphanage. I felt silly being praised for what I have done there when I am the person who will be forever grateful to have crossed paths with all of these beautiful souls. Before I left, Emi said “Espero quenuestros caminos se cruzan en el futuro.’ meaning “I hope our paths cross again in the future.” I have definitely thought about coming back here at some point in my life.

I’m not quite sure sure why but this journal entry has left me in tears. In so many ways I have seen myself grow and mature in ways I never knew were possible. I also think a huge reason of why I am so emotional is because because I am so proud of myself. This trip changed my life in more ways than I can explain. Although it sounds cliche, I could not have asked for anything more. Tomorrow is my last full day here which I am sure is going to leave me with a mix of emotions. More tomorrow…

January 30, 2015

Today is my last day volunteering at the orphanage. It’s still pretty early here so most of the kids are doing their morning chores but it is such a beautiful day that I decided to sit outside to write in my journal. On the car ride here I tried to take everything in. The car ride that I had taken 20+ times back and forth and thought I had memorized. All of the cultural differences that I was so unfamiliar with when I first got here are now all things that I got so used to seeing.

Mauricio just came out of his house and saw me from across the orphanage. He yelled my name – he calls me Jessieca even though all of the other kids call me Jess – and ran and jumped into my arms. I told him it was my last day here and he just kept shaking his head “no”. It is so touching to see that I have made that kind of impact on him while I’ve been here. He just ran back to his house so let me continue… As I was saying, I was noticing all of the things that we don’t have back home, the things I will miss. The crazy driving that I was first terrified of, the colors, the sounds, the beautiful people, the dogs, horses and cows walking down the street next to the cars, and of course what I will miss most of all, the sunshine.

So to continue what I was saying about Mauricio… He ran back to his house to get his breakfast and came back out to play with me and the other kids. We played with the Bananagrams and Mauricio spelt out “Jessica y Mauricio” and made me take a picture. They also taught me a game using the dominos and we made string bracelets. The bracelet I made today was red, white and blue; the colors of both the American and Costa Rica flag. I love having all of these bracelets on my wrist because they all have a story behind them. Although the downfall will be when I take them all off and I have a super cute tan line halfway up my arm.

I went to a few of the houses of the kids I became close with to say goodbye. In Spanish class we learned some goodbye phrases so I used those to wish them the best and to tell them I will miss them and they will always be in my heart. The younger kids were clinging onto me and kept saying “no, no, no”. Saying goodbye to Mauricio was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. He was clinging to me and hugging me so tight. And of course as he started getting teary, I burst into tears. Once I stopped crying and before I got picked up I was waiting down by the front gate and heard the voice that I knew so well, yelling my name. When I turned back I saw Mauricio standing in front of his house waving goodbye and saying “Adios Jessieca!” So as you can image I was a mess all over again. Words can’t explain how much this child means to me and only God knows if one day we will meet again. Mauricio will forever hold a place in my heart.

This afternoon Ansley and I walked into Cartago for the last time. I really wish I has more time to get to know her because she was so fun to hangout with. I Skyped with my mom and sister tonight to go over my packing list and flight information. I know I shouldn’t be but I’m a little nervous about flying tomorrow. I wish I could just skip the full day of travel and just be home. Saying goodbye to my friends is going to be really hard too. I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow so I should get some sleep…Goodnight!

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January 31, 2015

It’s 8:30am right now and we are leaving for the airport in a bit. Since I am about to leave I had to mark my painted handprint on the wall. I choose to write the saying “trust the journey” next to mine because that has been something I have kept with me since my first day here. Last night we all stayed up super late just talking and enjoying each others company. We talked about me going to visit them at college and I really hope I get the opportunity to see them all again. I’ll write again once I’m at the airport…not looking forward to all these goodbyes…

I’m writing from the San Jose airport. My friends had an earlier flight so I waited at their terminal until they all got on the plane. Leaving them was such a difficult goodbye for me. I am going to miss them all so much. I am also pretty anxious about my flights. I think it’s just the anticipation that is making me nervous but all of these different feelings are making me feel really emotional this afternoon. Well, I’m about to board the plane, more later…

I did it! Well…almost. We just took off from Miami and flying over the city was so cool! Everything was lit up and sitting in the window seat I got to see it all. But the important thing is in 3 hours I will be back home in Boston! Yay!!

This trip was beyond anything I would have ever dreamed it would be. Although I am really excited to see my family tonight, I can’t help but wish I was still with all of my friends at our home in Cartago. I could not have asked for anything more from this experience and I can’t wait to see where my next journey will take me! Pura Vida!

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