by Hannah Nevitt, Greenheart Travel Volunteer Abroad Participant
I have enjoyed and learned much from the connections with my host family, the locals, and the shared moments with other wandering souls just like me. Whether it’s learning how to make cheese and tortillas with my host mother, teaching my host siblings how to make S’mores, or sharing coffee with a holocaust survivor, these moments have all become inspirations.
As I continue on with my life here in Costa Rica, working with students, meeting new people, or creating works of art with my Tican friends, I have also begun to take note of how different my life has become. I am learning to embrace the life “Tranquila,” (tranquil) as the word “stress” does not exist. I have become accustomed to a world void of material possessions and replaced it with the importance of humanism; taking the time to enjoy the connectivity between people and becoming a part of the community.
Here, my name is “Jana.”
I am the Tican version of myself; a student, a teacher, and a recognized face within the small community where I now live. I am no longer an “extranjera,” foreigner, or “gringo” (a word used to describe North Americans). I am the “older sister” that my host siblings look up to, a friend to chat with over coffee, and a willing hand to shake.
I am a teacher of English, a student of culture, and the girl that lives down the road. I listen to Cumbia instead of the top 40 hits, and I shamefully have come to enjoy the overly dramatic “Novellas” (Latin soap operas) just as much as everyone else here in Costa Rica!
I have finally become a part of this community.